Linda has extensive experience both as a teacher and performer, and is widely recognized as an accomplished musician. A native of Minnesota, her musical studies on both violin and piano began at a very early age. Her high school years where spent near Washington D.C. where she studied with members of the National Symphony Orchestra. She attended George Mason University and West Virginia University prior to receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Performance in 1989, with honors, from the University of South Carolina. She moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1991 and studied with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Benedum Opera and Ballet while attending Duquesne University for her Master’s Degree in Performance. She currently works with the Mt. Lebanon High School Orchestra as an Artist in Residence. Ms. Andersen currently performs with several professional orchestras in the tri-state area. She has taught privately for over 25 years, has been highly recommended by local educators, and is currently teaching over 40 private violin and viola students. Ms. Andersen also has her own String Quartet who performs around the tri-state area. She currently resides in Mt. Lebanon, PA with her two adorable yellow Labradors, Emma and Major. To hear a sample of her playing, you can visit her website at http://www.sightsea.com/andersen/
Raemie is a self-taught chef who has been learning for more than 20 years. She brings a wide range of knowledge and experience to Sweetwater's Culinary Classes. Raemie has worked in several restaurants here in Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia. She has been teaching participation based cooking classes in her home and is thrilled to be part of Sweetwater's Culinary program. Raemie can soon be found at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District spring 2015, where you can purchase some of her most requested dishes. Also coming this spring will be her updated blog 'In the Kitchen with Raemie.' Keeping with her motto 'simple fare with a gourmet flair,' many of the ingredients Raemie uses in her classes and in her dishes come from her very own garden!
Melanie received her BFA from Edinboro University and her teaching certification in art education from Carlow University. When she's not subbing in the Penn Hills School District, she's curling up with a good book, crafting, or chasing her cats away from her knitting. Melanie loves learning and uses that passion to encourage students to unlock their own creative potential.
Dianne is a retired art teacher from the Montour School District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been an artist all of her life, but started studying painting seriously over the past 25 years. Dianne has studied under such renowned artists as James Sulkowski, James Douglas Adams, Thomas McNickel, Ron Donoughe, and Nelson Shanks. Her artwork has been in local as well as national art shows winning numerous awards including "Best of Show". She is a member of Pittsburgh Society of Artists, Western Pennsylvania Plein Air Painters and belongs to the Beaver Valley Artists Association and West Hills Art League. Dianne loves to travel and paint. Her recent trip was to Baja, Mexico where she actually was able to raft alongside, and touch, dozens of grey whales and their babies. She has painted in Monet's Gardens in France and the Galapagos Islands, as well as numerous other locations.
CHEF JAMES T. BELCH, CEC CCE SSC
Chef James Belch started working in commercial kitchens at the age of 15 and has never left the industry since. He is an Honor Graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park New York. After completing an internship at the Pittsburgh Hilton, Chef Belch worked at several Country Clubs and was the Rounds man Chef at the Le Mont Restaurant. Chef Jim was a Personal Chef in Saint Louis Mo and the private chef for the M. V. Regina, a private yacht based in Steward Fl. Being Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Educator Chef Belch taught at Pennsylvania Culinary Institute a Le Condon Bleu of North American Certified School for 22 years. Currently he works as the Chef for a Faith based Ministry and has his own Belgian Chocolate Truffle business.
Renea is active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th century. She has studied the myths and history of many styles of belly dance and teaches and performs tribal styles from many different cultures. Renea has taught many styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and belly dance. Renea is a certified Aerobics Instructor and Personal Trainer. She is also certified in Group Exercise, Step Aerobics, Kickboxing, and Yoga. Renea is the Director of a professional performance dance team, with whom she performs. www.dance4fitness-pa.com
Beverlee Blair, a graduate of Boston University, has been a lifelong student of English literature, psychology, history and the arts (having studied both dance and acting). Ms. Blair has worked variously as a court-appointed private investigator, performance artist and teacher of creative writing for teens and adults on both the east and west coasts. Her short plays have been produced in both California and Pennsylvania and her short stories have been published locally. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories, a novel and a television series loosely based on her experience as a private investigator.
A Pittsburgh native, Doug attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Dough recently returned to Pittsburgh after pursuing a career as a package designer and freelance artist for almost forty years in northeastern Pennsylvania. He is a signature member and past president of the Pennsylvania En Plein Air Society. For the past fifteen years, he has taught watercolor classes and shared his love of the beauty of colors with students at several art leagues, both in group and individual formats. He has given both demonstrations and workshops that benefited both beginners as well as more advanced students. Doug has exhibited in many areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida and is currently represented by Matthews Gallery in Bellevue and Bottlebrush Gallery in Harmony.
David Cooper is a commercial photographer based in Pittsburgh and has been an instructor at Sweetwater for over ten years. David combines his fine art photography background with his commercial experience to bring a balance to the art and craft of photography. His work has been exhibited in numerous local galleries, and is represented by Getty Images.
Subha Das is a professional percussionist/music educator in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania . He attended the Duquesne University School of Music from 1994-1999, and graduated with a Bachelor's of Music in Percussion Performance. During his tenure at Duquesne, Subha was fortunate to study orchestral percussion with Gerry Unger (former member, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra) and Stanley Leonard (former timpanist, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra). As part of the well-rounded education he received, Subha also studied jazz with the legendary Dr. John Wilson, Mike Tomaro , Lenny Rodgers and Jay Ashby (Paul Simon). For a brief period in 1996, he was able to study world percussion with Rolando Morales (Disney's Lion King on Broadway). Some highlights from music school were performances with Mike Stern , The New York Voices , and Michael Abene (GRP Big Band arranger), and being awarded outstanding soloist at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival in 1999. Since graduating, Mr. Das has built a very successful career for himself, being one of the most in-demand percussionists and private instructors in the Pittsburgh area. In 1998, he joined the staff of the award-winning Mount Lebanon Percussion program, where he holds the title of principal assistant director. Aside from teaching, Subha maintains an active career in performing with the following groups in Pittsburgh: The Olga Watkins Group, Cadillac Jazz, Donna Bailey, Resonance. In addition, Subha is and will always remain a student of his instrument. Over the past few years, he has been studying drum set with Steve Rucker (Bee Gees) at the University of Miami. Since 2007, he has also been studying Brazilian Percussion with master drummer Marcus Santos in Boston as well as numerous instructors in Salvador, Brazil. In 2012, Subha was named an educational artist for Meinl Percussion.
Teresa holds a B.A. in Art History and an M.S. in Historic Preservation. Previously, she worked in education and research at the Getty Museum, conservation at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, and currently teaches early-childhood art education at the Mattress Factory. In addition to art pedagogy, Teresa is a freelance conservator specializing in outdoor sculpture, architecture and monuments.
Jeff Ellsworth is an accomplished guitarist who has been playing and composing for over twenty years. He's played on numerous recordings for major independent labels and has toured with several bands throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. From a young age, he studied with talented instructors both independently and at Duquesne University. Jeff personalizes lessons accordingly, making his class a favorite of students of various skills levels and ages. His lessons are focused on the genre requested by the student and follow an intuitive pace on the fundamentals of guitar and bass guitar.
A teacher by profession, Pat loves sharing her knowledge of metal and design with interested students. She is a member of the Craftsmen's Guild of Pittsburgh and is a contributing artist member at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Her business, Jewelry Art by Pat Falbo, furnishes unique pieces to boutiques and galleries in Pittsburgh and Charleston, SC.
CALI FLEMING BINSTOCK
Cali received her Bachelor of Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and her teaching certification in art education from Carlow University. She has been teaching her little sisters how to make art ever since they could hold a crayon, has taught at summer camps and been called a "super-nanny" in her days working with children. Cali has a real passion for art and art history and for inspiring that same passion in her students.
Adrienne M. Grafton is currently living in Harmony, PA and working at her studio, The Studio Situation, on Pittsburgh's North Side. She earned a MFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University in 2005. Her recent work, inspired by emotions and memories is fabricated jewelry made of silver, gold, copper and brass and adorned with gemstones, pearls and enamel. She currently teaches at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh and travels on the east coast teaching workshops.
With over 30 years of experience in the food service, Chef Nick Gryszka has worked in many facets of the industry. From restaurants, hotels, business and industry cooking, and healthcare he has been exposed to a wide variety of kitchens and cuisines. He has also taught culinary arts for 5 1/2 years at Bidwell Training Center working in every classroom on every subject. He not only taught the students but helped to teach the new instructors as well. Chef Nick simply says "I loves to teach!" "I enjoy passing on the information to people who have an interest in learning about cooking." "The biggest kick I get is when a new student gets excited about what they have learned". "I keep the lessons simple and the ingredients used can be bought at your local grocery store." " I believe in giving people their money's worth, so when you take one of my classes you not only learn but you go home with all of the recipes taught in the class and can recreate them the very next day." He has also run the gamut in his career. He has worked in many leadership positions such as Roundsman, Sous Chef, Executive Sous Chef, Executive Chef, and Food and Beverage Manager. He is glad to be part of the Sweetwater family where minds can grow with the help of passion and creativity.
Lee W. Kikuchi studied music composition and computer science at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music. In addition to the requirements for the majors, his studies included: private piano instruction with Julian Martin & Mary Dannenberg, private voice instruction with Theresa Williams & Richard Miller, conducting with Daniel Moe, and several courses in musicology beyond the minimum for the major. Prior to attending Oberlin: Mr. Kikuchi studied piano with Hannah Li and Mineko Avery; studied cello with Robert Sametini and Allen Sher; studied violin with Frances Ortenberg; and studied voice with Claudia Benack. Mr. Kikuchi has been teaching private piano, voice, violin, viola and cello full-time since 2003, and has had private students off and on since 1985. Mr. Kikuchi has maintained the following professional memberships/appointments: tenor for the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (1982, 1991-92, & 1999-2009), private instructor for the Lisa Rae Music Studios (October 2003-present), instructor in strings and composition for the Alle-Kiske Music Day Camp (June 2006-2008), private instructor at The Kiski School-Saltsburg (2007-2010); Member of the Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Association (PPTA) (2004-present); Editor of the PPTA Yearbook (2005-2008); Chairman of the PPTA Student Composition Competition (2004-2009); Member of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association (GPC/PMTA) (2005-present); Judge for the PPTA Junior Solo Piano Competition (2008), PPTA Duet Piano Competition (2006, 2007 & 2008), and PPTA Elementary Solo Piano Competition (2007); Chairman of the PPTA S*T*A*R Evaluations Program (2009-present); Vice-President of the GPC/PMTA (2009-2010); President of the GPC/PMTA (2010-present); and Director and Founder of the Kikuchi Music Institute (2003-present)
Pittsburgh native, received her BA in Art Education from Carlow University in 2010. Sarah has been teaching at Sweetwater since 2011. She has also taught at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and The Andy Warhol Museum. Sarah is an elementary art teacher at Fairview Elementary in the Fox Chapel Area School District. Sarah specializes in drawing, painting, mixed media, and screen printing. She also enjoys making jewelry and crafting.
Jamie has Bachelor degrees in Art Education and Art Studio, as well as a minor in Art History from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh native has worked in a variety of art mediums such as: painting, drawing, ceramics, fiber arts, graphic design, and printmaking. During her undergraduate career Jamie worked as a work-study assistant for the ceramic department as well as a gallery assistant for Indiana University's Fine Arts Gallery. During the work-study program, she learned to fire various types of kilns, mix glazes and clay and assisted in building a soda kiln. As a gallery monitor, Jamie assisted in displaying, lighting, and uninstalling shows while the show(s) were in progress. She is well known for her work in fiber arts, specifically silk painting and Shibori (Japanese Resist Dyeing). In 2012, Jamie won the Jean Slenkner Scholarship Award for Excellence in Fiber Arts and Education. Her work has also been exhibited in Indiana University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Juried Art Show.
Judy is a professional artist who exhibits locally and nationally and studied for 15 years with Philip Salvato. She is a member of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Society of Artists and South Hills Art League, is past President of South Hills Art League, and is a Board Member of South Arts and Chartiers Valley Arts Council.
Terra Lee Mayes is an artist and teacher who has been involved in the arts for over 30 years. She loves to spark imagination and creativity in children and adults, so they may hone and use these abilities to cope with daily life. She received her BFA from Slippery Rock University. Before, during, and after her time at SRU, she has participated in many US workshops, studied fine art abroad in Poland and S.Korea, attended Grove City College for Electrical Engineering classes, and attended Bucknell University for Art classes. Ms. Mayes has worked at The Mattress Factory, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, New Hazlett Theater, The Ellis School, and many other art facilities around the Pittsburgh area and surrounding W. PA. She has taught Ceramics in Indiana at Culver Academy as well. Ms. Mayes is an independent artist as well. She has a clay studio at home and is a prolific artist. Terra is a well-rounded, down-to-earth person who is very excited to be part of the Sweetwater team.
Thom McLaughlin has been a theatre instructor for over thirty years. He has won awards for his directing, acting, teaching, and community service interests. He has taught at private independent schools all over the country, including Sewickley Academy, Cincinnati Country Day School, Chadwick School, Pittsburgh Playhouse Theater School, The McKee Place School, The University School, and Point Park University. He has been a curriculum developer, an artist-in-residence, a speech and acting coach, an actor, and a director. Thom was the artistic director and the force behind the Upstairs Theatre, Patina Productions, and The Provoke Theatre Project. Locally he has worked with The Theater Factory, The Pittsburgh Playhouse, The Jewish Community Center, Point Park University, South Park Theatre, The Olin Fine Arts Center and the Apple Playhouse. He has directed over a thousand plays and musicals. Thom's career goal has always been working with young people. His passion during the summer months is Performing Arts Camp at Sewickley Academy, held annually for the past twenty-five years.
A graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Deborah studied at the Woodstock School of Art in Woodstock, New York, The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, in Old Lyme, Connnecticut and with James Sulkowski and Ian Roberts. In November 2003 Deborah was awarded an artist-in-residency at The Julia and David White Artists Colony in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica. Deborah has been juried into many Connecticut shows, including the 61st Annual Connecticut Artists Exhibition at the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, Connecticut while a resident of Mystic, Connecticut. Deborah also has to her credit a book jacket design for the novel released June 2004, The Avatar, by Terry Ray, and ink drawings for a book by Melville O'Donnell entitled Confessions of a Male Stripper, a humorous book on furniture stripping and repair. Deborah was chosen to create ink drawings for the Mystic River Historical Society's House Tour in October, 2004. Seventeen homes and eight historic sites were featured on the tour October 1 & 2.Deborah has illustrated "It's Always a Good Day for Crabbing" by Karin Whiting Burgess. It's a children's book released in July of 2005 by Flat Hammock Press in Mystic, Connecticut and sales have been brisk. A second book is planned for 2006. Deborah has done illustrations for two other books published by Flat Hammock Press.Deborah loves to paint still life, landscape, antique and classic automobiles, and also drawing in ink. Deborah has traveled extensively and painted in Europe, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States. Her paintings are in private collections throughout the US.
ELIZABETH MYERS CASTONGUAY
Elizabeth Myers Castonguay earned BA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Painting and Drawing. Castonguay’s painting recently won First Place in an Open International Art Competition (Viridian Gallery, NYC 2013, Juror: E. Sussman, Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art). The artist’s paintings have also won First Place Awards in National Art Competitions (Dimensions/Winston-Salem, Juror: B. Davis, Curtor/Folk Art Museum, NYC) and in a National Figure Painting Competition at the Amarillo Museum of Art. Elizabeth’s work has been seen in numerous juried group competition exhibits at the Carnegie Museum of Art (AAP), the Westmoreland Museum of American Art (AAP), the State Museum of Pennsylvania (Art of the State), and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (Regional Competition/First Place). Elizabeth frequently exhibits in juried competitions at the historic Salmagundi Art Club (NYC) where she is a juried member, at the Sylvia Wald Po Kim Gallery (NYC), and at WAH (Brooklyn, NYC). Elizabeth teaches Life Drawing at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and has taught Drawing at CMU’s School of Drama, CMU’s Pre-College Fine Art Program and at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The artist’s website is www.CreationArtStudio.com.
Katie Murken works in mixed media to create books, sculpture and collage that are generated by process, pattern and chance. Through a sensitivity to the inherent properties of media, she draws meaning from materials and shapes ideas through rigorous studio process. Over the past decade Murken has also developed strong and diverse teaching practice based on her studio approach, including a 6-year Assistant Professorship at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Murken's work has been shown regionally and nationally, including exhibitions at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey; The Soap Factory, Minneapolis; The Contemporary Arts Center, Las Vegas. Her work is included in the collections of The Free Library of Philadelphia, William Paterson University, New Jersey and the J. Edgar Louise S. Monroe Library in New Orleans, LA.
Sally Oberdick has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and elementary teacher certification from Chatham College. She has taught the pre-kindergarten class at a local pre-school for 11 years and has taught children's classes at Sweetwater for 10 years. She is also a substitute teacher through the Northern Area Teacher Service.
Amanda received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Secondary Math education at Robert Morris University. Since graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Amanda has been working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sharing her love of art with these children has been very rewarding over the past few years. Amanda enjoys working in mixed media, and loves to share this process with the children she works with. Teaching students to see that anything can be art depending on how you look at it or use it is very important to her. Rather than focusing on the products they create, she enjoys teaching her students about the process of art making, and more importantly teaching them to appreciate it.
Donna Penoyer, an internationally recognized jewelry artist, is certified in metal clay by both PMC Connection and Rio Grande and is an award-winning member of the Craftsmen's Guild of Pittsburgh. Her jewelry has been featured in two invitational exhibits at Purdue University, where she won Best of Show in July 2010. A collaboration between Penoyer and glass artist Darlene Durrwachter Rushing was chosen to travel the world for a year in the Convergence II exhibit. Penoyer's whistle amulets and other pieces have appeared in multiple publications, including all four editions of PMC Guild Annual: Exceptional Work in Precious Metal Clay, with her work chosen for the 2009 cover. Penoyer is one of ten artists around the world chosen as a designer for the Master Muses program sponsored by Whole Lotta Whimsy, a leading online art supply company. Donna is an outgoing and enthusiastic instructor who teaches internationally and writes for Art Jewelry and other magazines. She has also been a professional stiltwalker since 1998, performing for corporate events and festivals. Penoyer's websites can be found at www.donnapenoyer.com and www.donnastilts.com.
Juliet Pusateri is an oil and mixed media painter whose works use texture and color to seduce the viewer. She is influenced by folktales, fireworks, synaesthesia, Abstract Expressionism, eclipses, bioluminescence, and the way the sun shines through cranberry juice. Juliet received her bachelor's from Carnegie Mellon University, focusing in painting and creative writing; she also studied in Rome through Temple University. She later moved to Colorado to teach ecology, orienteering, and outdoor living courses in Rocky Mountain National Park. She currently works in the Children's Studio at Carnegie Museum of Art. Juliet's work has been exhibited locally at Construction Junction, the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, and in collaborative installation in Schenley Park.
JOYCE WERWIE PERRY
Joyce Werwie Perry is the owner of le Poire, a fine art studio and gallery located at 11 E Crafton Avenue in the heart of Crafton near the West End of Pittsburgh. Joyce has won numerous awards in regional and national exhibitions, including juror's awards given by such people as Douglas Fogle, Curator of Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art, Virginia Mecklenberg, Curator at The Smithsonian,Washington, D.C and Faith Ringgold , renowned international artist and Caldicott Award winner among others. Most recently, Joyce received the prestigious Westmoreland Museum Exhibition Award by Curator Barb Jones for a solo exhibition in 2010.
Her work has been shown at Carnegie Museum of Art, Andy Warhol Museum, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Butler Museum of American Art in Youngstown ,Ohio, Avampato Discovery Museum in Charleston, West Virginia, Duquesne University, Seton Hill University, Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and many other local galleries. Joyce is a member and former Vice President /Exhibitions Co-Chair of The Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and has nationally over 110 works in private and public collections nationally. She also teaches her original knife technique at le Poire as well as Touchstone Center for the Arts near Uniontown, PA. Her websites can be found at joycewerwieperry.com and le-poire.com.
Vanessa Rossi is a certified art education teacher who possesses a lifelong passion in her field. As a Sweetwater Instructor, she has taught a variety of children at summer camps, After-School programs at St. James and Cornell, and art workshops throughout the year. In addition, Vanessa also collaborated with Summerbridge Pittsburgh to provide arts enrichment to middle school students facing limited opportunities. Vanessa also teaches visual art through Lincoln Park Performing Art Center's ArtReach program, which offers hands-on classes to PA Cyber school students throughout Pennsylvania. As an artist and educator, Vanessa's talents embody various styles and mediums including: painting, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, jewelry, fibers, assemblage, and photography. Her unique, diverse, and often nature inspire artwork is exhibited regionally in various galleries and festivals.
Emily Syes is a staff member at Carnegie Mellon University as Coordinator for Academic Programs and Communications. She enjoys working with college students pursuing interdisciplinary degrees that integrate studies in the arts with an academic field. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education for Museums and Cultural Institutions from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Education degree in Art Education from Carlow University. She is a PA certified K-12 art teacher with experience in both museum and public school settings. She has also worked for the National Building Museum in Washington DC and the Carnegie Science Center.
Cindy is a multi-media artist with experience in many fields throughout her 25 year career. She has been a fine artist, magazine illustrator, greeting card designer, mural painter, henna tattoo artist, teacher, calligrapher, musician and sculptor. Her current medium involves collecting natural elements such as insects, bones, feathers, pods, etc and meticulously arranging them as a Mandela pattern. She has designed interactive murals for schools and directed hundreds of local students in painting them. For the National Baseball League All-Star Game held in Pittsburgh, Cindy created an 8' painted relief sculpture which won first place with both the juror and public votes; it was displayed for 9 months in the city of Pittsburgh and is now permanently installed in the PPG Aquarium at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Cindy also spends much of her time in public service, taking photographs for the Butler County Humane Society, teaching art at Gilda's Club cancer center, and caring for rehabilitating animals at the ARL Wildlife Center. Her experience with animals and nature is evident in her fine art work.
Megan graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Art and Psychology. She went on to get her Master's Degree in Art Therapy from Marywood University. Megan works in the world of child and adolescent mental health treatment using art as a form of positive expression. She focuses in the ceramic arts, however, her creative endeavors are constantly changing and growing.
Colleen earned her B.S. in Art Education from Indiana University of PA. She teaches children's art in a variety of settings such as after school programs, scout workshops, home schooling classes and facilitates birthday parties. She presently substitutes for art K-12 in the public schools. Her art endeavors were in a "holding pattern" for 23 years while she was a flight attendant, but are now "taking off" as she pursues her art interests. Her pastel paintings which she exhibits locally have won several awards. She has written and illustrated several children's books which she hopes to someday publish. She is a member of the North Hills Art Center and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Amy is a sculptor, painter, illustrator and lover of all art including music and theatre. She received her Bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh with majors in Art and French. She also studied at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland and was an apprentice to artist Gerardo Dicrola in Paris, France. Amy is influenced by traditional sculptors like Rodin and Giacometti and contemporary artists like Valerie Hadida, Julie Taymor and Tim Burton. She is an active member of the West Hills Art League and currently works out of her home studio selling her work online (amyshortart.com) and in galleries and shows around Pittsburgh.
"A surge of visual impact here, a wisp of creative style there, if it looks good, leave it alone." Ron Thurston is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society and a past President of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society. He is a founding member of Pittsburgh Under Water and a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators. Ron has a long career as a commercial artist, whether from design firms in the advertising market, or in the personal commission field where his reputation as one of the area's premier watercolor painters brings many buyers to his work. Ron's favorite borrowed philosophy comes from the artist Henry Koerner: "If you do something with love, love looks back at you." For ten years Ron was the President of Watercolors, an artist-owned gallery located in the heart of Pittsburgh's downtown cultural district. He currently teaches watercolor workshops at Sweetwater and Touchstone. www.ronthurston.net
Charlotte Tolliver, CDP, is a Sister of Divine Providence. A Potter skilled in wheel thrown and hand built vessels, she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from LaRoche College and an MA in Ceramics from Edinboro University. She has been commissioned to do liturgical vessels for churches and retreat centers throughout the country. Charlotte teaches ceramics classes at Sweetwater and at Friendship Village of South Hills. Workshops, retreats and demonstrations for art clubs, senior citizens and high schools are also part of her ministry as a member of her religious congregation.
Olga Watkins has worked as a Personal Chef, Caterer, Restaurant Chef and Manager, Restaurant Consultant and Demonstration Chef. She is currently the Head Chef at Hollywood Gardens in Rochester, PA, a contributing food writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the leader of the Olga Watkins Band.
Celena graduated with a BA in Art Education from Carlow University. She is a PA certified teacher, with experience instructing grades K-12. She is a dedicated artist, specializing in drawing and painting. For over a decade, she's been avidly following Japanese animation and comics, which has lead to a love of Asian art and culture. She's attended over 30 anime conventions throughout the US and Canada, volunteering at many, including Pittsburgh's local Tekkoshocon, where she runs several workshops and panels.