It’s almost time to start thinking about registering for Spring Classes here at the center, so we’re dedicating this blog post to our awesome instructors! We have many talented instructors who devote their expertise and knowledge to teaching our courses and without which we would not be able to offer art education to the community. In a recent post about our Winter schedule, we wrote a little bit about each of our eight week courses and the instructors.

The bios for each instructor can be found on our Instructors web page and includes:

Barbara Damron, aka Queen Bee of Queen Bee Puppetry, who presents our puppet shows for children and is our home school instructor to children ages K-3rd grades.

Kristen Ellis is our instructor for Jewelry Making, teaching the fundamental skills of making jewelry with basic metalsmithing techniques such as sawing, filing, sanding and texturing.

Emily Fitch teaches Introduction to Drawing and is our art instructor to home school students in grades 4th-8th. She also teaches the Mommy & Me Art Workshops.

Jerry Francl Sr. is our Scratch and Arduino instructor, and teaches how to create stories and animation digitally, using the Scratch programming language. He also teaches how to construct 3D, interactive environments using Arduino board.

Olivia Glass is our Wheel-Throwing and Hand Building teacher as well as our Pottery instructor, where students learn ceramics basics.

Irene Maginniss Teaches our Glass fusions class, teaching students techniques of basic glass cutting skills for creating specific projects and art.

Emily Volz is our twice monthly Cork & Easel and Kids & Canvas workshop instructor. She is also teacher for our private events and birthday parties, and currently does custom artwork and murals for clients in the Mansfield area, as well.

In addition, we are pleased to announce that this Spring we are offering classes with four new instructors and we would like to welcome them to the center!. We will soon have their bios up on our website, but we thought we’d give everyone a sneak preview! Without further ado, in their own words, here is a little bit about our four new instructors at the Mansfield Art Center!

Ruthie Akuchie is a Nigerian-American freelance artist and native of Mansfield, Ohio and has been painting and drawing portraits since elementary school at Brinkehoff elementary, now known as the Spanish Immersion School. She is a 2007 graduate of Mansfield Senior High School, where she studied mixed media under Mindy Duncan. She attended North Central State College, and has designed greetings cards and children’s books for previous clients. She draws inspiration from art that tells a story. Her favorite medium to work with is mixed media. Her art shows a message of love and unity through diversity. She enjoys learning about history, other cultures, and specifically Asian cultures.

Matthew Kidney is best known for his functional ceramics and for his Western Raku ware. He has been greatly influenced by the American potter, Paul Soldner. Matt is currently the high school visual art instructor at Mapleton High School where he teaches a wide variety of courses from graphic design to sculpture. But, his passion for the past 15 years has been stoneware ceramics.

After graduating from Ashland University in 2004, with a degree in Art Education, he had the opportunity to return “home” to his Alma Mater. This is his 12th year at Mapleton and he enjoys introducing students to the wheel and to the endless possibilities that the media presents.

Paul Nielsen is a Mansfield resident of 28 years, splitting up careers between operating a residential remodeling company and flying as a commercial pilot. A native of Denmark, he started clay throwing at age 17, and immigrated to the US in 1974. Paul has over the years taken classes at evening schools as well as private classes in professional pottery studios.  He has also conducted classes, both at the Mansfield Art Center as well as in his own studio. Paul uses an older professional model Shimpo wheel and just last year upgraded to a 10CF Skutt electrical kiln.

Ellen Stiffler was raised in Mansfield, Ohio and attended Bowling Green State University and the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Psychology and Elementary Education.  She continued her education at UC’S D.A.A.P. (Design, Art and Architectural Planning). She lived in Cincinnati for 14 years and worked for Kenner Products in the planning and catalogue layout department.  She began painting murals in 1976, and in 1981, she relocated to Mansfield and worked as a sales representative for General Mills Toy Group.  When the company disbanded in 1984, she went back to painting murals in homes and offices.

She has been a member of the Mansfield Art Center since attending as a young student.  For four years she was the buyer for the Mansfield Art Center Gallery Shop. In the early 2000’s, she began working with beads, primarily making jewelry for friends and relatives and since has been displayed in over a dozen galleries.  She feels as if she’s on the second “phase” of her creativity as she especially enjoys weaving and working with fresh water pearls and Swarovski crystal. Since 2011, she has been the owner of Artspace Gallery in Downtown Mansfield.