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A.R.T.S. Teaching Artists
Jane Antee has been with A.R.T.S. since 2007. “I wish that all elementary schools would have an art program so that creativity, uniqueness, and self-expression are acknowledged daily.” Jane holds a degree in medical illustration but is well-known in Sonoma for her abstract acrylic paintings, where she is drawn toward abstract images that create stillness within chaos. “When I'm stuck on one of my personal paintings, I often think about what is important in my A.R.T.S. classes: freedom, risk, confidence, joy. The students teach me.”
Deborah Colotti began teaching in the A.R.T.S. program in 2005. Colotti specializes in 3-D artworks composed of recycled, up-cycled, and easy-to-find materials. “Sometimes the art I do in my studio inspires a direction for a class project, but it also works the other way around! Working with SVMA and A.R.T.S., the students and I go on a creative, discovery tour together; this is the best teaching-by-example adventure I can offer them! I like teaching because I am able to observe the true value in exploring the creative areas of life. Creative pursuits provide new directions from which to trouble-shoot and pull solutions. It takes practice to walk this not-so-linear road!”
Diane Egger-Bovet is an accomplished ceramicist and fiber artist. She has been with the program since it began in 2000, when the first student show was at the Sonoma Women's Club. “I enjoy teaching because I’m always learning something new. The students get a richer, more in-depth experience due to this program.” A veteran art educator in Sonoma’s public schools, Diane says, “my family has dubbed my car ‘the art mobile’ and whenever I go for a walk and some child sees me, I hear, ‘there goes my art teacher,’ and it makes me smile.”
Rosemary McNeely has been with A.R.T.S. 2005 teaching at Dunbar and Prestwood elementary schools, The Presentation School, and more recently, at Woodland Star Charter School. “I like to work in every medium possible to show students that creativity is easily at their fingertips.” Rosemary holds a BFA in sculpture and painting from Massachusetts Collage of Art and also studied ceramics at Philadelphia College of Art. “I want to show students that their creativity is like a muscle and when exercised, they can surprise themselves, learning that art happens easily when you give it a chance.”
Jill Sabel Valavanis has been involved with the A.R.T.S. program since 2011. “I love the program because it allows the students to focus on a theme for several meetings, getting immersed in visual art for an extended period of time. It's also a great opportunity for the kids to create something that is exhibited in a real art museum. When they are adults I hope that they will be more likely to visit art museums and galleries, or perhaps consider a career in the arts.” Valavanis holds an MFA in Integrated Three-Dimensional Media from California State University, Long Beach. She works with both fiber and metal to create sculptural objects.