“Over eight years our children thrived in the nurturing environment at ArtWorks. Their abilities were tapped and their art skills refined through the direction, guidance and coaching of your very professional and committed staff.”

-Susan and Robert, parents

“The teachers and staff are so welcoming and energetic. They make me feel comfortable.”

-Sayuri, student

“The teaching style works incredibly well, and even if you do not have much experience using various art media, you can create amazing pieces of artwork.”

-Alec, student

Our Teachers

All instructors at ArtWorks are highly skilled, practicing artists who have been selected for their interest in working with children and their ability to relate to students of all ages. Each has been thoroughly trained in our approach to provide consistency in experience and to create a wonderfully supportive and non-competitive learning environment. Our teacher student ratio of one to six, combined with our personalized instruction allows teachers to cultivate close relationships with their students and to be mentors to aspiring artists.

Our teachers are all ideally suited for their roles in our studio. Each grew up with a passion for drawing and painting. As part of their development as artists, they each pursued a high level of mastery of skill and recognize the value and importance of that foundation in their own personal experience. Most importantly, each has a passion for sharing his or her expertise. Every teacher strives to pass along his or her knowledge and love for the process of making art.

ArtWorks is pleased to introduce you to our current teachers:

Cara Deringer is pursuing her BFA in Painting and Drawing at The Academy of Art University. Her favorite thing is sharing her knowledge of creating fine art with children. She is passionate about working with children and apart from her teaching at ArtWorks has babysat extensively, nannied, volunteered with the SF Court Appointed Special Advocate Program working with foster youth, and volunteers with Precita Eyes Muralists working with students in the San Francisco public schools.

Deanna Wardley attended The Academy of Art University where she studied drawing, painting, and ultimately graduated with an emphasis in jewelry making. Deanna has extensive experience working with children, having worked as a tutor for many years for Reading Partners, a non-profit organization that works with elementary schools in the Bay Area pairing tutors with students who need help improving literacy. At ArtWorks Deanna has found an opportunity to continue working with youth, while sharing her passion for art.

Diane Flick received her B.A. in Studio Art with an Emphasis in Drawing from UC Santa Barbara, and her M.A. in Humanities with an Art Emphasis from Cal State Dominguez Hills. Diane discovered how much she loved working with children and teens when she worked as a Camp Counselor. She has also volunteered in educational programs for children and adults. Since moving to San Francisco in 2004, she splits her time between the two things she loves: teaching and making art.

Elana Lutz holds a B.F.A. in Fine Art from Dickinson College and completed her M.F.A. in Painting at the Academy of Art University. As a fine artist, Elana's focus is on mixed media figurative work.  She has participated in solo and group shows throughout the Bay Area, most recently at a gallery near her home in Oakland. She has inspired young artists through her teaching at ArtWorks since 1997.

Erin Zhao is a graduate of Academy of Art University with a BFA in Illustration. Erin’s love for teaching children started in China where she worked in a local art studio with children ages 5-15. Locally she has volunteered as an Art Teacher at Chinatown Community Children’s Center, and through the ASD Climber Foundation. Erin comes from a family of teachers and while she has worked extensively doing graphic design and illustration work she has a deep desire to work with children long-term and specifically teaching art.

Jerry Boxley earned his B.F.A. from School of Visual Arts, New York. In addition to teaching at ArtWorks since 1995, he teaches at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and is a freelance illustrator.  His clients include The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and CBS Records. His illustrations have been shown in New York City at the Society of Illustrators and the Portfolio Show, and he has been profiled in Art Direction magazine.

Justin Oltesvig is an illustrator, graphic designer and photographer who has a BFA in Design from UNC Greenboro, and MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University. He’s had the pleasure of working with children and teens in many environments from impoverished areas in Brazil, to with at-risk high school youth in Florida. Justin welcomed the opportunity to join the ArtWorks teaching staff to work with Bay Area art students.

Kai Rasmussen is a Bay Area local who attended UC Berkeley and studied Studio Art and Cognitive Science. Kai has always enjoyed working with children and teens and has sought our opportunities to do so through camp counseling, and as a mentor through an elementary support program at Whitman College. She’s also been known to set up spontaneous art projects for neighborhood kids in her back yard, to share her love of art and crafts.

Micki Nelson originally came to the Bay Area because a devoted and inspirational high school art teacher supported and nurtured her interest in art. As a result of that encouragement, Micki attended The Academy of Art University the summer before her senior year of high school. That experience led to Micki moving to San Francisco to attend The Academy of Art where she studied drawing, painting, and ultimately graduated with an emphasis in printmaking. Micki hopes to inspire her ArtWorks students in the way her teacher inspired her.

Rachel Corn-Hicks is a Bay Area native who received her BFA in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburg. She is an illustrator and graphic designer who brings creativity, passion and flexibility to everything she does. She looks forward to sharing her artistic insight and excitement for working with children to the ArtWorks community.

Ryan Martin is a practicing fine artist who is represented by Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art, San Francisco. He graduated from California College of the Arts in 2007 specializing in Painting and Drawing. Ryan has worked extensively with children and teens through ArtEsteem in Oakland, where he had the opportunity to instruct over 1000 students at five different public schools, over a four-year period. After a year off to focus on his own painting, Ryan was thrilled to be returning to the classroom to work with the students at ArtWorks.

Yujin Lim grew up in the Bay Area and has a B.A. in Studio Art from UC Irvine. She fell in love with working with children and teaching art when she taught at an after school art studio in Southern California in 2007-2008, and deeply missed her students and the experience of teaching art since that time. In 2009 Yujin left for Korea where she worked as Academic Coordinator at Korea Poly School in Seoul. While abroad, she also freelanced teaching English and photography to both children and adults. We are delighted that Yujin has been able to return to her passion of teaching art to children and teens by joining the ArtWorks community.

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