Mansfield Art Center

Our Instructors

Ruthie Akuchie

Ruthie Akuchie

Painting & Mixed Media

Ruthie Akuchie is a Nigerian-American freelance artist. She is a 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.

Barbara Damron

Barbara Damron

Puppetry, Sewing, & Home-school Art Instructor

Also known as Mrs. B., Barabara received her B.S. in environmental studies and her M. Ed. in early childhood and elementary education. She has taught preschool through 5th grade for over 20 years. She grew up outdoors and was inspired by the plant and animal world around her. She learned to draw and work with fiber very well. As a scientist, she made pen and ink biological illustrations for state and federal research reports. She’s taught children to draw realistically at Wol’s Nest and Mohican Outdoor School. In high school, her large hand-spun weaving won 1st place in an Ohio youth art show. Now she felts her own wool. Ninety nine percent of the puppets she now uses in her performances and workshops were made by Barbara. She’s taught children to sew and create and enliven their own puppets as well, including home schoolers in New Hampshire, at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina and at the Phyao Center in Thailand.

Kristin Ellis

Kristin Ellis

Jewelry and Enameling Instructor

Kristin Ellis has been a working artist for more than 20 years, exhibiting her work in galleries and art festivals around the USA. She has studied metalsmithing and sculpture at San Antonio College, The Southwest School of Art, and Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. During Kristin’s jewelry apprenticeship in the mid 1990’s, she met Cecelia Steindfeldt, a curator for the Witte Museum. Cecelia introduced her to the magic of copper enameling and provided her with a complete enameling studio. That studio is still in use today, though it is now nestled amongst the corn fields of Mt Gilead, Ohio. Kristin is currently an independent studio jeweler, creating one-of-a-kind original works with her unique blend of metalsmithing, casting, lapidary, and enameling techniques.

 

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Emily Fitch

Emily Fitch

Drawing, Print Making, & Home-school Instructor

Emily graduated from Ashland High School where she studied under Betsy Schuman who gave her an incredible art education and fueled her passion for the arts and teaching. Emily briefly attended the Columbus College of Art & Design and gained a strong foundation of techniques and skill while attending there. She then moved on to be a graphic designer for 6 years learning how to use her artistic talents in a fast paced work environment. After working with computers every day she decided to go back to school and become an art teacher to share her knowledge and passion for art with children. At Ashland University she received a painting award and an outstanding senior show award. Emily received her Bachelors in Art Education from Ashland University as well as a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught at the high school level for 11 years, entering her students work into juried competitions receiving many “best of show” awards and student work in the Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition in Columbus. Emily has shown her own work in several juried exhibitions throughout the country and has several pieces in private collections. Her work has also been sold in galleries throughout Ohio. She is a very experimental artist working with a wide range of mediums. Her primary focus is on painting, printmaking and jewelry making.

 

 

Jerry Francl Sr.

Jerry Francl Sr.

Scratch and Arduino Instructor

Jerry Francl’s received an Electrical Engineering degree from Purdue and worked for 5 years in local industries and 40 years teaching engineering technology, industrial controls and robotics at North Central State College.  He is passionate about teaching young people (and the young-at-heart) about using the computer as a tool to create digital media art (stories, animation, games and simulations) using the Scratch programming language.  He also teaches how to construct 3D, interactive environments using the Arduino board.

He has been a member of the Mansfield Art Center since the early 1970’s. His other interests include photography and collecting antique cameras and photographs.  Jerry also enjoys Roman history, art films, foreign language films, noire films, sci-fi from the 1950’s, Godzilla, and Charlie Chan.  He is also a member of the Planetary Society.

Olivia Glass

Olivia Glass

Ceramics and Youth Instructor

Bio coming soon.

Matthew Kidney

Matthew Kidney

Ceramics Instructor

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.

Irene Maginniss

Irene Maginniss

Fused Glass Instructor

Irene Maginnis is a graduate of The Ohio State University and has had additional coursework at Miami & Ashland Universities and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.  She continues to study and expand her knowledge and interest in surface design.  She has exhibited extensively throughout the United States in national and invitational shows, festivals and galleries. Selected exhibitions include Philadelphia Craft Show, Ann Arbor Street Fair, Smithsonian Craft Show, and American Craft Council in Baltimore, MD. Her works are included in many public and private collections including Hallmark in Kansas City, MO, The Dana Corporation in Toledo, the Ohio Craft Museum and the collection of Olga Hirshhorn of Washington, DC.  Selected awards and recognitions include Mansfield Art Center, Winterfair, the Columbus Arts Festival, Lakefront Festival of Arts in Milwaukee, WI, and Old Orchard Art Fair in Chicago.  Maginniss has taught and lead workshops, has been an Artist in Residence in the schools, and taught art at all levels.  She continues to be an advocate of the arts for people of all ages and cultures.

Paul Nielsen

Paul Nielsen

Ceramics Instructor

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

Ellen Stiffler

Ellen Stiffler

Beaded Jewelry

Raised in Mansfield, Ohio.

Attended Bowling Green State University and the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Psychology and Elementary Education.  Continued my education at UC’S D.A.A.P. (Design, Art and Architectural Planning).

Lived in Cincinnati 14 years and worked for Kenner Products in the planning and catalogue layout department.  Also began painting murals in 1976.

Relocated to Mansfield, Ohio, in 1981, as a sales representative for General Mills Toy Group.  When the company disbanded in 1984, I went back to painting murals in homes and offices.

Member of the Mansfield Art Center since attending as a young student.  For four years I was the buyer for the Mansfield Art Center Gallery Shop.

In the early 2000’s I began working with beads, primarily making jewelry for friends and relatives.  I’ve since been displayed in over a dozen galleries.  I feel that I’m on the second “phase” of my creativity as I especially enjoy weaving and working with fresh water pearls and Swarovski crystal.

Since 2011 I have been the owner of Artspace Gallery in Downtown Mansfield.

 

 

George Whitten

George Whitten

Ceramics & Painting Instructor

George Whitten is a well-respected artist and teacher in the community. He teaches ceramics and painting classes for both adults and children. His work has been exhibited across the country and he has been published in magazines such as Ceramics Monthly and Studio Potter.  Some of his magnificent large-scale paintings adorn the walls at Broken Rocks Café and Bakery in Wooster, Ohio. He received his BFA at Florida Atlantic University and earned his MFA at Wichita State University.

Selected Exhibition and Publications:

  • American Museum of Ceramic Art Institute for Contemporary Arts, Columbus, OH.
  • Ohio Designer Craftsman @ Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.
  • Ceramics International, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Carsley Gallery Inc., Montreal, Canada
  • Invitational Exhibition-Ran Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Neville Nowell, San Francisco, CA.
  • Canton Art Institute, Canton, OH.
  • Ceramics Monthly, 2000
  • National Broadcasting Corporation, Miami Vice, TV Series 1985, New York, NY Ceramic Art of the World 1973
  • Ceramic Art of the World 1973, Rothman Ltd., Canada
  • Raku Pottery, WKYC TV-3, Cleveland, OH 1982 and 2000
  • Studio Potter, Daniel Clark Foundation, Vol. 10, No .2, 1982, U.S.A.

 

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Emily Volz

Emily Volz

Cork and Easel, Kids and Canvas, Birthday Party, & private event Instructor

Emily Volz is an artist from the Mansfield area and lives in Galion with her husband and four children. She has been an artist for as long as she can remember and was lucky enough to have her love of art encourage by family and teachers. Emily has been doing custom artwork and murals for clients from the area since she was in high school at Mansfield Senior, and grew up with a love of music and writing. In her free time she is usually doing yoga, writing, reading, drawing, painting (yes she does art when she’s off work too!), and spending time with her children.

Mansfield Art Center

Mansfield Art Center
700 Marion Avenue
Mansfield, Ohio 44906

Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday 11am - 5pm

Mansfield Art Center