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3432 Babcock Blvd

Pittsburgh, PA 15237


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10:00am - 3:00pm


Art for a Lifetime

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©2018 North Hills Art Center | 3432 Babcock Blvd.| Pittsburgh, PA 15237 | 412-364-3622 | info@northhillsartcenter.org

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Interested? Send Resume to: execdirector@northhillsartcenter.org

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Instructor Biographies

George Broderick, Jr. has worked as a professional in comics since 1982. He’s written stories for DC and Marvel Comics and handled scripting and editing on the LOST IN SPACE and QUANTAM LEAP comics for Innovation Publishing.

Douglas Brown is a Pittsburgh native who attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. After pursuing a career as a package designer and free-lance artist for almost 40 years, he recently returned to the Pittsburgh area.  He is a signature member and past president of the Pennsylvania En Plein Air Society. For the past 20 years he has taught watercolors and shared his love of the beauty of colors with hundreds of students.

Ruthann Farinacci has a B.S. in Art Education from Edinboro University. She has experience teaching in the public schools, a challenge program at La Roche College, and over 10 years teaching at the North Hills Art Center.

Kim Freithaler has a B.F.A. in Painting from St. John’s University in New York City and has taught elementary level  art in the Manhattan public schools. She participates in area art shows and does portraits by commission.

Annie Heisey earned a BS in Art Education and a BFA in Fine Art from Penn State University before pursuing her MFA at Boston University, which she received in 2007.  She has taught at various universities, art camps, and private companies such as Nike's Blue Ribbon Studio.  Annie has exhibited her paintings in cities across the country, including Portland, OR, Boston, and New York City.  For more information please visit www.annieheisey.com.

Laura Hilston has a B.S. in Art Education K-12 from Youngstown State University. She has over 20 years’ experience in teaching art to children and adults. Laura has been at the North Hills Art Center teaching private drawing lessons, group lessons and birthday parties and scout workshops for seven years. In addition to teaching, Laura enjoys acrylic and watercolor painting and beading.

Yvonne Plavetsky Hutchinson has been mesmerized by art and beauty her entire life. She is primarily self-educated: reading, painting, drawing, enjoying and teaching needle arts, drinking in nature, and visiting as many museums as possible. Since retiring she has been taking classes from Douglas BrownKim Freithaler and Amanda Zimmerman at North Hills Art Center.

Bethany  Kaiser is an artist and photographer based in Pittsburgh, Pa. She specializes in painting and illustration work, featuring landscapes, pets, and horses.  At Oakbridge Academy of Arts she studied fine art and photography, graduating with a degree in Specialized Technology. Several of her pieces have won awards and been in print. She regularly shows her work in the Pittsburgh area.  Her style is heavily influenced by the beauty of nature from a childhood in the country and is organic and whimsical.

Amanda Keiras is an illustrator and paper artist, who loves to creates strange stories, weird pictures, and fun pop-up cards. She has a BFA in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and has recently relocated to Pittsburgh from Chicago.

Stacy Koehler has been making quilts and other fiber art for nearly 45 years. She’s taught these skills in shops, community centers, conferences, quilt shows, special needs schools and adult day programs. She is a firm believer in the idea that expressing oneself and influencing the nature of one’s environment through creative pursuits is a vital part if human development, regardless of skill, interest or depth of participation.  In other words: for everyone.  Stacy has been a certified quilt show judge since 2005 and is also qualified to judge Masterpiece quilts.  She serves on the board of the national judge’s organization and is in the process of developing that organization’s blog, The Quilt Judge’s Eye.

Reiko Nakajima was born in Tokyo, Japan.  She began studying Sogetsu School of Ikebana in 1980, and became an instructor of the form in 1984. Shortly thereafter, she immigrated to the United States and started teaching here in 1989. She earned the first degree Instructor of Sogetsu School in 1990 and was one of the founders of Pittsburgh Sogetsu Study Group, which was established that same year. From September 1996 to August 1998, she served as president of Ikebana International Pittsburgh Chapter. Currently she is the chairman of Pittsburgh Sogetsu Study Group. She received Sogetsu School’s “Oversea Award” in 2007 and “Oversea honored Award” in 2017. She teaches Sogetsu Ikebana at North Hills Art Center and has workshops at Phipps Garden Center.

Elise Neill graduated from the Ohio State University with an engineering degree. She is also certified to teach pre-Kindergarten to sixth grade. Elise has been a member of the North Hills Art Center for over 10 years.  She enjoys Girl Scouts with her daughters, playing in the North Pittsburgh Symphonic Band, and crafting with whatever materials are on hand.

Miranda Pavelle is a recent graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, majoring in Animation. She has a love for movement, expression, and color, and believes that without art, the world around us would be very different and lifeless. Art is a core instinct of humanity, whether it be music, dance, sculpture, or painting. It is what defines our culture, lives, and expression. 

Jeanne Perrier has focused on botanical illustration in colored pencil for the past 15 years. She earned a Second Level Certificate in Botanical Illustration from Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and has Participated in numerous exhibitions, most recently winning Best of Show at the Washington County Arts Council Gallery in Hagerstown, Maryland. She is Currently on faculty at the Oil Valley Center for the Arts, and at Phipps Conservatory in the Botanical Art and Illustration program. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, Allegheny Highlands Botanical Art Society, Colored Pencil Society of America, and Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

Diane Pontoriero has a Masters in Art Education degree from Carlow University and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from the Pennsylvania State University. She is a full time elementary art teacher in the North Hills, is a board member of the North Hills Art Center and has been teaching classes at the Art Center for over 15 years.

Eva Pontoriero has a psychology degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a minor in studio arts. She works with autistic children and teaching art to children. She enjoys painting and ceramics.

Jan Steinle began her journey as an artist 40 years ago upon graduation from the Ivy School of Professional Art.  She spent the next several years creating store decor and displays for various retailers. After taking time off to raise her family, Jan became a Creative Memories Consultant, and later co-owned a custom picture framing shop in Shadyside.  In 2014, Jan fell in love with the Zentangle® art form, becoming a Certified Zentangle® Teacher (CZT) in April 2015.  Zentangle® is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.  Jan's mission is to share this meditative practice, empowering people to discover and embrace their inner creativity.

Melissa Tai has studied under many accomplished Pittsburgh artists.  A life-long creative, she has chosen watercolor for her professional endeavors.  She loves to take advantage of the flow and freedom of wet into wet.  Melissa can be found teaching at a number of venues in and around Pittsburgh.  She recognizes that there are many ‘right’ ways to do things.  She likes to introduce creativity to those who either think they can’t or just haven’t experienced the joy yet.

Gloria Tsang has been teaching the continuing education pottery classes at CCAC since 2007. She moved from Hong Kong to Pittsburgh about twenty years ago. She believes her Asian heritage keenly influences her works -- a taste of “East meets West.” She has been selected to participate in various Visual Arts Exhibitions for the 12 past years.

Emily Wozniak garners inspiration from what is around her. Born and raised in Pittsburgh PA and living in Chicago, IL has provided her with a landscape of a past industrial hub and a city that has influenced the history of American Architecture. Her education and experience in leading art classes have inspired people to find their ‘inner Picasso’ and have fun while doing it. This brings her such pleasure. We become an artist with proper landscape and INSPIRATION.

Cynthia Young has studied in the US, England, and Japan.  She has an MFA from the University of Florida, an MA from IUP, and has studied ceramic engineering at Alfred University.  Her residencies include the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in Doylestown, PA; Mendocino Art Center in California; Watershed Center for Ceramic Art in Maine; International Workshop of Ceramic Art in Tokoname, Japan; and PCA artist in residence.  She has assisted many times at the Penland School of Craft and has taught at Westminster College, Point Park University, University of Florida, The Ellis School, Mendocino Art Center, PCA and various other city art centers.  She exhibits nationally and locally.  Cynthia has Art certification for grades K-12 and Math certification for grades 7-12.

Amanda Zimmerman graduated from the Colorado Institute of Art with a mix of fine art and graphic design skills. A fan of Sci-fi and Fantasy work, she has continued to push her work towards realistic fantasy.  She draws inspiration from the natural world, artifacts and cultural costumes when building a character for story or game.

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