Art & Dine in Downtown Mesa

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Adult Sculpture Classes
Children's Art Classes
Adult Ceramics Classes
Children's Drama Classes
Learn The Art Of Glass
Bring Out Your Crafty Side
Get Sparking With Metals Classes
Enroll Your Child In Art Classes
Learn Printmaking
Solder Your Own Jewelry

Classes Info

Register: 480-644-6520

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M-F: 8:00a - 7:00p
Sat: 8:00a - 5:00p

One East Main Street
Mesa, Arizona 85201

Classes:

Instructor Bios

 Jesse Armstrong

 Jesse Armstrong

Born in 1980, Jesse Armstrong grew up in Norman, Oklahoma. Even as a child, Armstrong conveyed interests in art and science and credits his mother, a professional painter, and father a trained biologist and environmental chemist in inspiring his career choice as a ceramic artist. Armstrong received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art with emphases in ceramics and sculpture in 2005 from the University of Oklahoma at Norman.  Upon completing his degree, Armstrong spent a year working as an artist in residence at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado.  He has also worked as the ceramics studio manager and instructor at the Firehouse Art Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Armstrong relocated to Arizona, and in 2010 received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics from Arizona State University.  Jesse worked as a Master Ceramic Instructor, Artist in Residence and Studio Manager in the Ceramics Department at Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, AZ, and was an adjunct professor of ceramics at Phoenix College in Phoenix, AZ and Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ. Jesse has also taught courses in Ceramics at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ and Yavapai College in Prescott, AZ. Starting April 1, 2014 Jesse became the lead instructor of the Ceramics Studio at the Mesa Arts Center.

 

 

Candice 

Candice Bairn

 

Candice Bairn started coming to the MAC years ago as a teenager.  As an Art Education and Ceramics major at ASU she chose the MAC to do her internship to learn more about teaching kids art.  She has been a children's art instructor here for about 4 years and loves it!  She has 2 children of her own, which she says being a mom, has made her a better teacher.

 

 Sandy Blain

Sandy is Professor Emeritus - Ceramics, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Director Emeritus - Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN. Her background includes a B.S. in Art Education from Northern Illinois University, and an M.F.A. in Ceramics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Having worked in teaching and administration since 1964, she has a diverse background related to educational programming – classes/conferences/seminars; gallery programming/installations; fund raising; public relations and personnel development. Her public service work includes involvement with national/regional/state/local craft organizations, often serving as a board member, consultant, conference coordinator, grant reviewer, exhibition juror, or presenter/workshop leader. As a practicing artist, her clay pieces have been seen in juried and invitational exhibitions throughout the country with reviews and photographs in media publications and catalogs. Sandy is an adjunct faculty member at the Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ. She is active with the Arizona State University Ceramic Research Center recently serving as Chairman of the Advisory Board with committee work related to educational outreach, special events, and the annual studio tour weekend. She is also serving as a docent in the ASU Museum store and in the Mesa Art Center store. She continues to serve as a juror for national and regional exhibitions, a workshop leader with emphasis primarily on handbuilding, and a consultant to various arts organizations.

 

Bob Bortfeld

Bob Bortfeld

Bob’s early life was spent in New Jersey.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from New Jersey Institute on Technology in 1975 and then moved Tempe, AZ where he currently resides.  The next 35 years were spent as a civil engineer and manager in the Phoenix Metro area until his retirement in 2010.  He has been directly involved with the commissioned artists on many Public Art Projects in the Phoenix Metro area since 1984. From 2004 t0 2010 he served on the Tempe Arts Commission.  Bob began taking classes in Lapidary and Jewelry at Mesa Arts Center in the early 1990’s from Wendell Waters.  Further refinement of his lapidary techniques came from additional skill building classes by well known Arizona lapidary artists Keith Horst & Doug Duffy.  As the lapidary instructor at Mesa Arts Center since 2005, his classes are “success oriented” and build on developing basic lapidary skills by “letting the stone show you what it wants to be”.  Also, Bob has been producing and selling his lapidary work to students, artists and jewelers throughout the U.S since 2000 and currently exhibits his work for sale at Southwestern Gem & Mineral shows. 

 

Ben Browne 

Ben Browne

Ben Browne was born 1982 in Corvallis Oregon. He started lampworking at 18 years old as an apprentice for Scott Bisson out of high school learning all the basics of lampworking. At 19 years old he began selling directly in galleries producing realistic sculptural representations of various spiders, insects and frogs.  At 20 Ben took a sculptural form class at the Eugene glass school with Milon Townsend. His preternatural ability and talent at such a young age earned him a teaching assistance opportunity at Corning glass studios and eventually 3 month apprenticeship with Milon directly. After working with Milon, Ben began producing sculptural production and continued to produce for high end galleries while teaching at Oregon State University. At 23 due to slowly failing health from heavy metal toxins he began to lampwork less and less until eventually no longer glass working at all. Once his health started recovering Ben traveled and then began going to community college in Oregon studying musical arts. Following this he studied the science of sound in Tempe Arizona. Afterwards he moved to Austin, Texas and began producing a unique and uncommon art which consisted of sound reflected through water and light known as cymatics. This led him back to the healing desert of Phoenix Arizona to focus on his personal health and the art of photography. In his pursuit to regain his full health Ben teamed up with The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and began treatment for heavy metal detoxification with the goal being to get him back to being able to lamp work full time as a profession.  This has opened up a new opportunity to combine all of his talents of photography, cymatics and glass working into one truly original and unique piece of art.

 Katie Cathcart

Katie Cathcart

Katie has worked for the Mesa Arts Center since 1985 when she was a graduate student at ASU. After receiving her MA in Child Drama, Katie joined the Arizona Artist’s Roster and become known as the Puppet Lady. Katie was part of the team that opened the first Arts Camp in 1990 and is still teaching Puppetry and greeting campers in her self- titled position of “Boss of the World”. In addition to teaching Puppetry and “Bossing”, Katie has acted in the last 5 productions of Stageworks and the Mesa Outreach Program. Education- Rollins College, Winter Park, FL BA in Theatre Arts Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ MA in Child Drama.

 

Jason Chakravarty

Jason Chakravarty

Jason Chakravarty began incorporating glass through the use of neon into his sculpture in 1998 while attending Arizona State University. He was employed for four years at a commercial neon sign shop where he learned technical fundamentals of the neon process. In 2002 he began illuminating hot shop forms and kiln casting glass while attending graduate school at California State University Fullerton. He has taken workshops nationwide including at Pilchuck, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Penland School of Crafts, and University of California San Diego. He has taught neon and kiln casting workshops nationwide including Arizona State University, Bowling Green State University, Urban Glass, Cleveland Institute of Art, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Appalachian Center For Crafts, and Penland School of Crafts. His work has been shown in over 100 exhibitions. Currently he is represented commercially at Duncan McClellan Gallery, Marshall LeKae Gallery, Penland Gallery, Pismo Galleries, and Thomas Riley Gallery. His studio is located in Arizona.

 

Steven Ciezki 

Steven Ciezki 

Steven Ciezki was born in Calumet City, Illinois and is currently living and working in Phoenix, AZ. as a glass artist.  As a kid, he was fascinated with the art of drawing.  This skill grew and developed further throughout his high school art classes.  During his college career at Illinois State University, experimentation with drawing, photography, and glass blowing changed his vision of the basic two-dimensional world.  Steven received his BFA in glass from Illinois State University and has plans to travel the world and continue to learn from the artists who have inspired his fascination with glass. Steven has taken workshops with Dante Marioni, Pablo Soto, Boyd Sugiki and Lisa Zerkowitz at Pilchuck, Haystack, and the Appalachian Center for Crafts.  He has worked as a teacher’s assistant at the Pittsburgh Glass Center and Penland School of Crafts.  Steven’s glass work is represented nationally by multiple galleries.  Among others, his work has been commercially exhibited at SOFA Chicago, Wheaton Arts: Glass Weekend, and Art Palm Beach.  Both the delicacy of cup making and vessel orientated technical abilities are his origins for inspiration and design.  His work has been constantly developing with ideas of keeping the viewer’s perceptual experience in mind.

 

Alix Clark 

Alix Clark

Alix Clark started taking dance seriously when she was 13 years old. In 2008, she joined EPIK Dance Company. Through EPIK, she has been able to open up for artists such as Usher, Jordin Sparks, and Dierks Bentley, performed at multiple half-time performances for the WNBA Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns, and has also done a promotional video for the movie, Step Up 4, with Stephen "Twitch" Boss. Also through EPIK, she has done many performances and workshops with underprivileged children. Now a Senior at Arizona State University, she is studying to get her Bachelor's degree in US History. She is currently dancing with EPIK Dance Company, the Be Kind Crew from the Be Kind People Project, and teaching at various studios throughout the Valley - including here at Mesa Arts Center, where she teaches Hip Hop.

 

Jewel

Jewel Clark

Jewel Clark earned her BFA in Metals and Jewelry from UT Austin in 1990 and her MFA in Metals and Jewelry from UNT Denton in 1995 where she studied enameling with Harlan Butt. Jewel moved to Phoenix in 2002 to pursue a degree in media arts and has added digital art photography and collage to her mediums. From 2006- 2009, she taught art foundation courses and computer graphics at South Mountain Community College. Since 2007, she has been Artist in Residence in Metals at the Mesa Arts Center where she continues to teach metals classes with an emphasis on enameling. Jewel continues to make one-of-a-kind metalwork and has exhibited across the United States and in Japan.

 

 Ingrid Donaldson

Ingrid Donaldson

Ingrid is a nationally and internationally collected glass artist and metalsmith. She began her artistic career in the glass field in 1995 and incorporated the metals field in 1998. Wanting to share her knowledge and technical expertise, she has her own teaching studio, and is a Master Teacher at the Mesa Arts Center. She was also the Resident Artist of Glass for the Phoenix Center for the Arts from 2003 to 2011. Using both traditional and contemporary techniques, her work focuses on the intricacies of the natural world through a conceptual evaluation of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. She is currently seeking a MFA in Metals from Arizona State University.

 

Joshua Dopp 

Joshua Dopp

The speed at which our lives work is getting faster and less stable everyday. Technology tries too hard to make our lives “better” and frequently just makes it more complicated and less real. Sometimes it is the simple things which are able to speak volumes; or in their quietude transport us to a more ethereal sublime state. Barriers surround us and define us. From our skin to the stone walls around our possessions to lines on a map. The edge or the border is the home of doubt and anxiety. At the threshold there is transformation and change, which our minds either comfortably confront or vigorously repel. I am interested in duality and the tension or blurring of opposites.  MFA in Sculpture/Glass @ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign BA in Art History @ University of California at Santa Barbara.

 

 Seth Fairweather

Seth Fairweather

Seth Fairweather began working with glass in New Orleans, LA, at Tulane University, after which he went on to receive a BFA from Alfred University. After working in several different shops around the country, he attended graduate school and received a MFA from Temple University. After graduate school, Seth worked as a stained glass fabricator, production glassblower, equipment fabricator, hot shop manager, and lecturer at the University of Miami. 

 

Ellen Gunnell 

Ellen Gunnell

Ellen Gunnell is a transplant from a small resort town in Michigan.  She has always had a passion for anything "art" and began college as an art history major.  While finishing up an AA degree in 1988 at Mesa Community College, an instructor suggested a ceramics class - since then there is always clay in the Gunnell household.  In 1996, after her children were all in school, Ellen took a part time job as an art educator at the Arizona Museum for Youth. One year later, in 1997 she began teaching kids clay classes at the MAC and has met and enjoyed working with many talented children.

 

 

Mike Healy

Mike has been making photographs since the age of six. He shoots film in all formats, concentrating on landscape, cultural landscape, and still life. In addition, he has more than fifteen years of experience in studio photography, in both film and digital, with an emphasis on artist portfolios. His commercial work has appeared in numerous books and magazines, including Surface Design, Ceramics Monthly, and Clay Times. He teaches film darkroom and Photoshop, and conducts demos and workshops in studio lighting, digital camera use, and Photoshop. He is currently artist-in-residence in photography.

 

 Hira Ismail

Hira Ismail

Hira Ismail is a recent graduate from Bryn Mawr College, an Ivy League Sister School, with a love for theater, acting, and writing. She took varying levels of acting classes and spent all four years performing in plays as a part of Shakespeare Performance Troupe. As one of the few college level women’s theater troupes, SPT gave her the opportunity to perform traditionally male roles as well as female ones. As a result, she can use a mascara brush and eye shadow just as easily to create a beard as she can to highlight her eyes. She has developed a passion for making Shakespeare accessible to larger audiences. Working as a Teacher’s Aide for Mesa Arts Center’s Summer Arts Camp for three years and as a Substitute Drama Teacher and Camp Supervisor for one has been a step on the way to teaching her own class. She is honored to have experience teaching kids from 3-14 and is always ready with both lesson plans and surprises, usually involving a Shakespearean story or two.

 

 Tammy Johnsen

Tammy Johnsen

 

Tammy Johnsen, aka Tamalin, is an award winning visual & jewelry design artisan. The passion to create started in her childhood. Peers entered her drawings in youth art exhibits, where recognitions of her talents had began. The love of beaded jewelry started when she was 12 years old. She began by the reconstruction of her mother’s broken jewelry with a sewing kit. Redesigning or repurposing of these pieces to make something that suited her sensitivities. In the mid 90’s Tammy gained formal beaded jewelry knowledge & construction technique training from The Bead Gallery in Ann Arbor, MI. It was while in their employ she first started to instruct jewelry technique classes and to sell her own jewelry designs. In 1999 Tammy became a mother. Her focus as a mother & provider had been quite singular until 2007, when she launched a small business called Tamalin Craft. Tammy began again to sell her works online, in boutiques and at juried art festivals throughout Greater Phoenix in her spare time. In 2010 she was awarded Grand Prize in the Soft Flex Companies Steampunk Jewelry Design Competition. This design was featured in Bead & Button, Stringing, and Bead Style magazines. Tammy has written technical instruction for 2 jewelry designs published in Bead Trends Magazine. Recently returning to college for her fine arts degree, her first year accolades include, 2014 MCC Student Art Competition “Best of Show” Award & Scholarship for her graphite drawing ‘Herald to the Fig Seer’; And 2014 MCC Recognition of Academic Achievement Award. Tammy continually strives to expand her jewelry creation technique repertoire through attending workshops, and her private studies. Tammy’s personal mission at The Mesa Arts Center is to share her years of knowledge & experience in beaded jewelry construction technique with the hope to inspire passion for this medium of self-expression and adornment.

 

 

Jane Kelsey-Mapel 

Jane Kelsey-Mapel

Jane Kelsey-Mapel is a Phoenix based artist.  She exhibits her ceramic figure sculpture nationally and has had work featured in U.S. and international publications such as “Ceramics Monthly” and “Sculpture” magazine from Bejing, China.  Her work is held in numerous public and private collections including the Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin, the City of Phoenix Collection of Contemporary Arizona Ceramic Art at the Phoenix Airport Museum and the Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center. Jane holds a M.F.A. in Ceramics from the University of North Texas and a B.A. in Art from Arizona State University. She teaches ceramics at Glendale Community College and sculpture workshops at Scottsdale Artists’ School and the Shemer Art Center in Phoenix. Jane’s recent work includes clay and mixed media assemblages created in collaboration with Becky Frehse an artist from Tacoma, Washington.  A travelling exhibition of their collaborative work entitled “Reconfigured” was shown in Seattle, Tacoma and at the Phoenix Airport Museum.

 

Teri-Jo Kinnison 

Teri Jo Kinnison

Teri Jo is a Metals Instructor at Mesa Arts Center.  By 1990 she wanted to start making things again, so she started her on-going learning to make glass and metal objects; developing the hand skills of how tools are used today; and studying old and unusual tools of previous generations.  Her current favorites being hand drills and rose engines.  Skills and techniques have been learned in formal classes, workshops, and private instruction at locations throughout the country.  Topics have included glass bead making, jewelry scale metalwork, larger scale metal work, enameling and engine turning.  Teri Jo's current focus is on any hammer technique to shape metal and techniques for creating surface textures for use under enamels.  These skills and their creations are what she enjoys sharing with others.

 

 Lauren Lee

Lauren Lee

Lauren received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Arizona State University. She teaches art at a local fine arts high school and spends her breaks in the school year teaching art at the Mesa Art Center. She also is a fine artist, displaying work at local shops and galleries within the Phoenix community.

 

Larron Lerdal

Larron Lerdal

Larron was born in Oakland, California, lived in Egypt for many years, and has now settled in Mesa, Arizona.  Elements of both cultures can often be found in his work. Considered primarily a functional potter, he uses clay mostly, in a drawing and painting aspect.  His utilitarian pieces are highly decorated.  He emphasizes the beauty in items of everyday use.  “Food should nourish the body, tableware should nourish the soul.” Always having a great love of rich colors, he uses a high fire reduction atmosphere. By doing this, he achieves areas of true single colors and many rich combinations over the base and underlying colors, with each piece becoming an individual, no two alike, piece of functional artwork. Larron is primarily self-taught in this craft but was fortunate to attend a workshop with Bennet Bean. He also spent decades working with his mentor and friend Mel Jacobson in additional pottery workshops. He started the pottery program in 1976 at Leisure World and continue to teach there currently. His work has been seen in several publications, such as The Studio Potter Network- March 1992, Clay Times- November/December 1996, Pottery Making Illustrated- Winter 2001. His work has also been seen in the local papers, usually in reference to the Empty Bowls events held each October, of which he was co-chair for three years. His work has been seen in national shows, such as the Studio Potter Show- Philadelphia 1992, Galleria Mesa- “Table Trappings,” Craftsman’s Gallery of the Shemer Art Center, and the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. Locally he has achieved 1st Place at the Arizona State Fair in 1996, 1997, 1998. Larron’s students have achieved 1st, 3rd, & 5th at the Arizona State Fair in 2002, and in 2003 they placed 1st & 2nd.   He takes great pride in their achievements.

 

Miles Lester 

Miles Lester

Miles Lester is a performing singer/guitarist/pianist who has studied and taught all styles for more than 30 years. From working rock, blues, jazz, country/western and reggae bands to performing with MCC Jazz Band, Miles enjoys the process of teaching and performing these styles along with folk and indigenous musical styles to all ages and skill levels. Why play music? "To make people happy." (John Coltrane). Create your own reality. Learn to play music well and you will be developing your talents, as well as serving the world in a positive way.

 

 

 James Lynch

James Lynch

James defines his work as being detailed symmetrical designs and defined colors. "I hope to present work that can attract the eye, even at a distance and bring the mind to focus. These images speak of personal struggles, triumphs and beliefs. My passion for visual art, music, and nature has served to expand and inspire my imagination. Glass blowing has taught me many life lessons, enlightened my views, and has broadened my perspectives. My hope is that my work can have a similar effect on others.” James and his partner placed 1st in the Sonoran Art Foundation Annual Flame Off this year and their piece brought in the largest auction value of the night. James is currently the advanced Flameworking teacher at the Mesa Arts Center.

 

David Manje

David Manje

David is an Arizona native who grew up in Bisbee. He currently lives and works in the desert of east Mesa. He has a BFA in Printmaking and an education degree, both from Arizona State University. David has exhibited his artwork professionally for over thirty years. Currently, the Joan Cawley Gallery in Scottsdale represents David.  His work is in numerous private and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad.  As a dedicated instructor, David created the basis for all of the adult Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking classes at the Mesa Arts Center.  Since 1982 he has devoted much of his life to developing the quantity and quality of all the two-dimensional, studio classes at the Mesa Arts Center.

 

Emily McIntyre

Emily McIntyre

Emily was born and raised in a South Suburb of Chicago and received her BA in Art Education from Southern Illinois University in 1983.  Emily has taught art classes in the public schools in Indiana and Arizona, ranging from Kindergarten through High School.  Emily currently teaches Ceramics at Queen Creek High School and also teaches the Saturday Teen Wheel Throwing class at the Mesa Arts Center.

 

Bob Michalski

Bob Michalski

Bob graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI. His teaching career spanned 32 years at Marshfield High School and Marshfield Alternative High School, Marshfield, Wisconsin. While at Marshfield he was the Art Department Chair and taught Jewelry and Art Metals. Bob was also involved with New Visions Art Gallery, serving on its Board of Directors. As an Art Teacher Bob always felt the importance of being a producing artist. During his career he exhibited in several galleries and museums. In 2008 he found Mesa Arts Center and has enjoyed taking classes, volunteering and teaching. It's been a pleasure meeting and working with the people at the Arts Center and utilizing their state of the art studio space.

 

Michele Ceballos Michot 

Michèle Ceballos Michot

Michèle Ceballos Michot is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, artistic director, educator, visual and performance artist. Her performance history includes numerous international Ballet companies, dance and performance art productions. Her studies include the National Academy of Ballet & Theatre Arts, the American Ballet Theatre School and the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, the Royal Ballet School in London, England and the Institute Paliashvilli in Tibilisi, Georgia SSR. She has danced with Chicago Ballet, Deutsch Oper Am Rhine, Germany, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Ballet Nacional de Colombia and competed in the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. From 1990-2013, she founded and directed Opendance, a non-profit 501-c(3), which offered performances and arts & educational programming for schools and the community within Phoenix and the surrounding area. In 1994 Michèle met and collaborated with Guillermo Gomez Peña, director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra  and joined the  troupe where she continues teaching and performing throughout the world. Michèle teaches at the Mesa Arts Center, The Phoenix Center for the Arts, choreographed for AZ Opera’s “La Traviata” and the Southwest Shakespeare Co. ‘Fairy World’s”  and was nominated in 2014 for an AriZoni Award for choreography.   

 

 David Miller

David Miller

David was born in 1977 in Omaha, NE.  He graduated with his BFA in Photography from ASU in 2006, creating photographic series that reflected both the hyperkinetic films, games and comics of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as more humanist documentary work.  After ASU he became a teaching artist as well as exhibing around the Southwest/ West Coast and been published in numerous magazines such as Orion, View Camera, B+W/ Color, and others.  He currently lives in Chandler with wife Vesna and 2 children, Patrick and Magdalena.  

 

 Troy Moody

Troy Moody

Over 15 years ago while backpacking through Europe, Troy was introduced to the abstract stained glass of the post World War II Germans. Awestruck by the bold fields of color and the unorthodox and expressive line work, Troy was inspired by the enormous realm of possibilities of art glass. Since then he has been committed to the pursuit of artistic expression in glass. He’s studied with renowned masters in the field and completed numerous art glass installations for religious, commercial and private spaces in Arizona, California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and South Dakota. In 2006 he was selected to design 10,000 square feet of Terrazzo for the new Phoenix Convention Center, a project that earned him a 2008 Honor award from the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association. He creates autonomous works for gallery exhibitions and currently is working on the 75,000 square foot terrazzo project in the 15-story Maricopa County Court Tower to be completed in 2012.

 

 Laurie Nessel

Laurie Nessel

Laurie was mesmerized watching Dan Dailey blow glass at Haystack-Hinckley School of Crafts in 1971. She studied glassblowing at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, graduating with a B.S. in 1978. She has created residential stained glass since 1983. She has taught stained glass and flameworking at the Mesa Arts Center since 1998. Her work is featured in the 2014 book, 1000 Beads by Lark. 

 

Farraday Newsome

Farraday Newsome

Farraday is a widely exhibited artist whose work can also be seen in such galleries as Obisidian Gallery (Tucson, Arizona), Plinth Gallery (Denver, Colorado) and Katie Gingrass Gallery (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Her work is included in many collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Wustum Museumof Art in Racine, Wisconsin, the Prague Museum of Decorative Arts in the Czech Republic, the Ohio Crafts Museum, and the Arizona State University Art Museum. Her work has been featured in many books and magazines over the years.

 

 Polly O'Dette

Polly O'Dette

Polly directs the programs for the Metalsmithing and Jewelry, Sculpture and Photography Studios for Mesa Arts Center. Born and raised in Arizona, the artist has lived most of her life in the desert southwest. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, emphasis in metalsmithing from Arizona State University and a Master of Fine Arts, emphasis in metalsmithing and sculpture from New Mexico State University.  Her current body of work is an exploration of the desert landscape and the way humans and animals interact with their habitat.

 

Ashley Palma

Ashley Palma

Ashley Palma has been dancing since the age of three and has extensive training in various styles of dance. She has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, and Hip-Hop.   Currently Ashley is a member of Epik Dance Company, the Phoenix Suns Hip Hop Solar Squad and the Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad.  Ashley also choreographs for various high schools and dance studios. She is pursuing a degree in Dance studies at CGCC and plans to get her Bachelor’s at ASU

 

Lee Quarrie

Lee earned her MFA in Digital Media at ASU in May 2013.  She is an award winning international filmmaker and actor. Her script, "Patchwork Dreams," won grand prize in the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition.  She also works with the New Zealand production company Falvation Films as a writer and consultant on many of their projects; most recently the short film "Alone"  in which we follow a young man  fighting to survive as he is separated from all that he knows and loves. As an acting teacher, it is Lee's belief and practice to always be learning.  She studies weekly with Amanda Melby and takes advantage of other workshops that help advanced actors hone their technique and skills.  Lee has toured with the American Family Theatre as Auntie Em and Glenda in The Wizard of Oz.  Some of her favorite roles include Diana in California Suite and Helena Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  Lee will be seen in October 2014 on the stage of Space 55 in Mr. Burns Post-electric Play.  She has also served as the casting assistant on several television episodes and made for TV movies produced by RAW TV.

  

 Pamela Parker

Pamela Parker

Pamela has loved crafting and painting since she was a young girl. She studied art in high school and college before changing her major. In 2007 one of her dance students introduced her to card making and Pamela fell in love with paper crafting. She started teaching card making and paper crafts in 2009 and has recently started to vend her crafts online and craft shows.

 

Jeff Reich

Jeff Reich

Jeff is an exhibiting studio artist, has a home pottery studio and began teaching pottery part-time in Tucson. When he learned of a full-time job opening for lead pottery instructor in Mesa at the Mesa Arts Center, he applied. Rudy Turk, former director of the Arizona State University Art Museum, was part of the hiring panel. Jeff was offered the job, and was the director of the Mesa Arts Center Ceramics program until he retired at the end of March 2014. He is currently teaching one class a semester.  His work is shown by Obsidian Gallery in Tucson and Plinth Gallery in Denver, Colorado. It is included in numerous public art collections, including the Northern Arizona University Art Museum, the Ceramics Research Center of the Arizona State University Art Museum, the City of Phoenix Contemporary Arizona Ceramics Collection, the City of Mesa Contemporary Art Collection, the Kamm Teapot Foundation, and the Northern Clay Center of Minnesota.

 

Helen Rowles

Helen Norsigian Rowles

Helen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University graduating in 1983. Through college she painted scenery for The Lyric Opera Theatre and participated in several group showings. Helen was awarded a Board of Regents scholarship based on her portfolio and after graduating, she worked as an interior designer and freelance artist painting and drawing portraits, illustrations, and murals. Helen received her Masters Degree in Education in July of 2008 and currently enjoys teaching studio art classes at the Mesa Arts Center.  A new venture has recently emerged with the publication of a children’s book written and illustrated by Helen.

 

Heather Sellers

Heather Sellers

Heather is a professional artist born in the Midwest.  As a child, Heather was captivated by the art of glass blowing.  The skillful dance of fire and molten glass was something that never left her mind.  In 2005, Heather was introduced to the art of lampworking.  Heather has spent years designing beads, sharing knowledge and donating much of her work to charity.  In 2012, Heather’s designs were featured in a limited edition jewelry collection commissioned for Mary Engelbreit Studios.  2014 has been a busy year for Heather, her work was recently published in "1000 Beads" by Lark Publishing.  She was one of only ten artist chosen to create a limited edition bead for Beads of Courage.  The Design Challenge bead was unveiled at the 2014 Bead & Button Show, and will be published in a Beads of Courage book later this year. Currently, her flamework art titled "Looking Glass" is on display with the ISGB pOrtrait Exhibit.  She loves the challenge of developing and sharing techniques to simplify the art of flameworking.

 

Beth Shook

Beth Shook

Beth considers herself a native of the southwest, having lived her most reckless and influential years in El Paso, Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1985. Under the instruction of her most accomplished professors, she developed her skills as a craftsman, discovered a love of clay and her near obsession with the drawn line.  In 1990, she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Arizona State University.  Her teaching career began in 1990 at Mesa Community College. In 2000, she was approached to develop and facilitate an on-going seminar focused on glaze application techniques; a course that encourages students to develop the ceramic surface.  Ms. Shook maintains an active ceramic studio in Gilbert, Arizona near her home, where she lives with her family and a quirky Border Collie.

 

 

Matt Smith

Matt is a sculptor/artist with more than 30 years of real world experience creating fine art to functional and decorative sculptures. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture and then completed his Master of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University in 1983. His professional career as an artist has included working for various design companies as well as Mattel Toys, Disney, Toyota and other major designers, taking him all over the United States and abroad. Matt has worked for the Mesa Arts Center as the Master Teacher  Welding Instructor and a Adjunct Professor in sculpture at Arizona State University. 

 

 

Chiyoko Starkel

Instructor Chiyoko Starkel has been practicing various forms of martial arts throughout her life including Japanese Karate, Tai Kwon-Do, and other forms, however in the last ten years her focus has been on Tai Chi. She studied Chen style and Yang styles. She is still a student herself because Tai Chi is a never ending study. She has been teaching now for five years at various locations, and has won several gold medals at the AZ Senior Olympics in both hand form and sword form, and has participated in the Chinese competition at the Chinese New Year's competition and has won several gold and silver awards at these events as well.  

 

Michelle Startzman

Michelle Startzman

Michelle is a metalsmith and enamelist originally from Tucson, Arizona. She is currently living in Phoenix, Arizona, where she works as a studio artist and instructor. She received her MFA in Metals from Arizona State University in 2013 and her BA in Photography and Art History at The University of Arizona in 2005. Startzman’s photography background and interest in the nature of relationships has influenced her work, which includes close-up portraits obscured by layers and depth, and microscopic imagery. She is currently an Artist in Residence and instructor in jewelry and metals at Mesa Arts Center.

 

Genie Swanstrom

Genie Swanstrom

Genie began her artistic career as a painter. As a lark, she took a class in pottery. It sucked her in like quicksand. She loves the expressive nature of clay! She has been working in clay 19 years and still can’t get enough. She is very inspired by nature; all its beauty and majesty speaks to her. Clay seems to be the perfect medium to portray the life and movement and texture of the natural world. In her quest of artistic expression she studied art in Minnesota at Hamline University and the University of Minnesota as well as obsessively took workshops from the best ceramic artists in the country. While studying for her Master’s degree, she was impressed by the universal human desire to create art. She loves experiencing new cultures and lived for a year in a third world country. She loves to travel and recently traveled extensively in China, taking the opportunity to study art there. She is represented at Practical Art in Phoenix and at the Mesa Arts Center store. She also participates in several art festivals and shows each year and is very active in the art community in Arizona, having served on several boards and run art shows in the Phoenix area. She loves sharing her work and techniques as a teacher and the MAC is a great place for getting the artist in you energized and motivated for creating. Recently her work was featured in Phoenix Home and Garden magazine. Her artwork can be

viewed at her website: www.swanstromstudios.com.

  

Samuel Troxell 

Samuel Troxell

Determination has been the driving force in Sam’s life and is a favored aspect in his art.  This force has caused his art to be various yet traditional, and is often inspired by nature for it demonstrates such force.  Such views derive from his childhood in the bluff lands of Wisconsin along the Mississippi. His first real attempt at art at the age of 15 was making a silver bracelet for his mother.  He has traveled the world from the Arctic Circle to the Andes Mountains which inspires his art.  Metal has never disappointed him and is a constant challenge due to its nature.  Metal by nature is tough and resilient and only by understanding its nature can one learn to work with it, not against it.  His art is a testament to this knowledge and is both a marker of progression as a person and a guide to his future.   

 

Gabrielle Van Buren

Gabrielle Van Buren

Gabrielle has been a teaching artist with Mesa Arts Center for almost 6 years. She has dedicated her life not only to theatre and film education, but also helping to grow theatre in the Valley, as the Major Gifts and Development Events Manager for Phoenix Theatre. As an Arizona State University graduate, she appeared in a variety of shows including House Where Nobody Lives and Angel City while completing her theatre major. Gabrielle has performed around the Valley and abroad with Phoenix Theatre's Hormel New Works Festival, Arizona Women's Theatre, Carefree Theatre Company and for The American Alliance of Theatre Education Conference in Vancouver B.C. She most recently appeared in Tribes at Phoenix Theatre this past February. Keeping her film credits up-to-date, she is currently shooting the 3rd season of the hilarious sci-fi web series, Voyage Trekkers. Theatre can unlock a child’s imagination, and Gabrielle feels it is a gift to work with youth as they discover the power and confidence performance can create.

 

Agustin

Agustin Vargas

As an artist and architect, Agustin’s fascination with almost all The art techniques; Watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, printmaking and ancient techniques, such as egg tempera, silver point, and gold leaf, are found in all of his work. His artwork is in numerous private and corporate collections in the U.S, Mexico, and Italy.  He has taught at both the University of Mexico and the University of Juarez Chihuahua State, Mexico. Agustin has privately instructed students at his private studio since 1985. As a dedicated instructor, Agustin shares his knowledge of techniques and composition.

 

Jaylene 

Jaylene Verhaagen

Jaylene was born and raised in Arizona. She graduated from Glendale Community College with her associates degree in dance. While in school she competed in the Maricopa Community College dance competition, “Artist of Promise,” receiving a first place soloist award two years in a row.  Jaylene has been a member of EPIK Dance Company for close to four years now.  Jaylene has also danced with Scorpius Dance Theatre for three years.  Scorpius’ production of “A Vampire Tale” has taken Jaylene on tour to England performing in the Bram Stoker Horror Film Festival. Outside of dance Jaylene works as a preschool teacher.

 

Dave Vogt 

David Vogt

Born and educated in the Midwest, David earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1979. Moving to Phoenix following graduation, he successfully pursued an engineering and entrepreneurial career. In 1994, David retired from engineering and started to work full-time as a glass artist. David’s engineering background allowed him to design and build his own glass blowing equipment. He has also designed several specialized handtools that are often bought by other hot glass artists. Using these classic techniques and tools David creates paperweights, marbles, bowls, and solid sculptures that are on display in galleries throughout the USA.

 

Diane Watkins 

Diane Watkins

Watkins studied at Suffolk University, Boston in 1967-1968 and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC, in 1971 with a degree in Fashion Design. She took classes in Ocmulgee Pottery from 1986-1989 and at the Mesa Arts Center in Ceramics from 2005-present. She attended NCECA 2009-Phoenix & 2011-Tampa, and the Stephen Hill Workshop in Prescott, AZ in 2010. Watkins also participated in Waxin Zang’s Sculpture Workshop at ASU, and Sergiei Isupov’s and Takashi Nazakato’s workshop at the Mesa Arts Center. She currently teaches ceramics at the MAC: children classes, basic wheel throwing and Slip Mono Printing. Watkins has owned, operated and sold three successful small businesses, taught craft classes to children and adults at her business in West Newbury, MA as well as at Essex Community College, Merrimac, MA. She taught After School Arts at the Page School in West Newbury, MA and implemented an after school arts program for the Ahwatukee YMCA in 1998. Watkins is a Past Steering Committee Chair, at the Artists Cooperative Gallery at the MAC. She had one piece juried into the gallery show called “MOM” in Phoenix and has sold and displayed pieces at the Atomica Ceramica show in the Chandler Center for the Arts as well as at the Student Art Show in Chandler Gilbert Community College. She also had a Sake Set on display at the Maricopa CC District Offices. Watkins also participated in the 10x10 Show at the Mesa Art Gallery and had one piece shown at Arizona Clay. She juried the Ceramic Show at the Chandler Center for the Arts Feb- March 2011. She was juried into the CRC tour run by the ASU Ceramic Research Center in 2012-2014 and is currently a Board Member there. Watkins has hosted a yearly Ceramic Holiday Sale at her home for the past 6 years. She is a Member of the Arizona Clay Association and has been the president of many organizations such as HOA’s, Garden Clubs, Social Organizations, Golf Groups. Currently she is the CEO Athletic Vantage , LLC.

 

Yasmina

Yasmina

Yasmina has been teaching belly dancing since 1989 in the Phoenix area. She teaches workshops in and around the State of AZ and US and was thrilled to be one of the instructors at the Las Vegas Bellydance Intensive in Sept. 2012. In July 2011 she won Headliner of the Year at Wiggles of the West Dance Competition in Las Vegas along with taking 3rd Place in the Alternative Category.  Her labor of love website, www.joyofbellydancing.com is known worldwide.  Yasmina started her website in 1990 to inform dancers and dance enthusiast about belly dancing and the various forms of our dance.  Yasmina’s TV show “Joy of Belly Dancing” lasted 13 years in the Valley of the Sun from 1990 – 2003. The show was both instructional and performance with spotlighting dancers and musicians from all over the US. From the show Yasmina produced 5 performance videos for the market. After her first belly dance class she was hooked on this beautiful art form and hasn’t stopped learning and dancing. Her style of dance is American style with tribal fused in. American style is a fusion of many styles of belly dancing in itself and with tribal added in it creates a unique blend.

 



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