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visual and performing arts courses

All of our courses are taught by working artists & educators using quality
materials in our climate controlled art studio spaces at the Belle Levine Art Center.
In all instances, we emphasize personal instruction through limited enrollment.
Our performing arts courses will be offered in our gallery space
which features a Marley dance floor.

a note about registration and payment options:
Register and pay online! We accept MasterCard or Visa.
Pay via PayPal (you do not need to have a PayPal account)

Call us to register over the phone

Print out the registration form available
by link below and return to us via one of the following methods:
mail, hand deliver, or scan and email (to

For after hours drop off, we have a locked drop box
available which is attached to the building and located
just to the right of our main entrance.

Advance registration is strongly recommended
as classes fill quickly. Please note that we do NOT pro-rate tuition.

Scroll down for details.

Click here for 2015 registration form

Instructor BIOS available below.




Drawing Fundamentals & Techniques with James Sparks
This informative, hands-on drawing class will be geared to improving confidence and ability in both observational drawing as well as the many possibilities of textures, patterns and imaginative abstract forms. The emphasis will be on investigating a variety of media and may cover portraits, basic animal forms, still life and fantasy. Materials list provided upon registration.

4 Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30pm
June 16, 23, 30, and July 7
$105/$100 PAC members
Student Name(s)


Driven to Abstraction with Jeanne Demotses
For students with some experience in painting in oil or acrylic.
For students with some experience in painting in oil or acrylic. Through this workshop, students will explore strategies enabling them to observe, analyze, simplify and interpret the landscape. Using photographic sources and focusing on line, shape, color, scale and movement, students will develop abstract imagery to produce paintings in oil, acrylic or pastel.
3 Wednesdays from 9:30am-12:30pm
dates TBA

$130/$125 PAC members

Watercolor - all levels - with Jeanne Demotses

This class covers the basic principles of watercolor. Students will develop skills necessary to produce finished paintings. Demonstrations in composition, focal point and design will be covered. Bring any watercolors, brushes and paper you have. Materials list provided by instructor at the first class. Register early, enrollment limited to 12.

6 Fridays  1-3 pm
June 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31

$150/$145 PAC members
Student Name(s)

All Media on Location Class with Jeanne Demotses
Saturdays in the Park with Jeanne
5 Plein Air Saturdays from 9am to noon
Paint the landscape of the Hudson Valley in oil, acrylic, watercolor or pastel. Students will visit 5 different locations in Putnam and Westchester counties to try to capture the beauty and variety the landscape has to offer. The course will include demonstrations, techniques in various media and offer students individual critiques. A list of materials and locations will be provided @ registration. Rain dates we'll move inside at the Belle Levine Art Center.

5 Saturdays  9am-12noon
July 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15
$195/$190 PAC members

Student Name(s)

New: Creative Canvas with Terry Fokine
Want to have a GREAT time painting your own Masterpiece? Have friends that want to be creative while having a lot of FUN? Come to the Art Center for a night of Paint N Giggle and leave with your very own work of art. Family night out; all ages welcome! A professionally stretched 16"x 20" canvas as well as all other materials included.

Thursday, August 6 @ 7pm
$35/$30 PAC members

Student Name(s) and Age(s)



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PHOTOGRAPHY with Dr. Bernie Kessler
Personal Individual Instruction You Can Afford – One hour lessons taught in the Artist’s Studio

Join Dr. Kessler in his studio in Yorktown to learn about any phase of digital photography that interests you, from buying a camera to printing, and everything in-between. Receive clear, uncomplicated instruction. Your creative journey begins in the photographer’s studio which is equipped with 4 printers, a 24" iMac and 2 PC laptops. Instruction is available Monday - Friday, between 2-6pm. Call the office to work out a schedule and to register.
One private one hour lession @ $50.
Three private one hour lession @ $135.
Advance payment required. 845.803.8622

PHOTOGRAPHY with Margaret Rizzuto
Margaret is a Portrait Photographer who teaches the Basics of Photography on a one-to-one or small group basis.. Classes are taught in Margaret’s Mahopac Studio where she teaches “proper camera handling”; the "Exposure Triangle” which includes: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. She’ll also review your camera’s automatic and manual settings. Margaret will delve into image composition, planning and styling your shot to get the results you want. Working full-time as a photographer allows Margaret a wealth of resources for camera purchases, location shoots, props, publications, etc. which she is happy to share.
One hour private lessons @ $50.

Three one hour private lessons @$135.
Advance payment required; call the office to schedule, 845.803.8622.

PHOTOGRAPHY with James Sparks

Mr. Sparks is a painter and visual artist/educator who stresses a fine arts sensibility to the art of photography. The emphasis in his instruction is with mastering light and space with a variety of camera accessories including lenses (both zoom and fixed) and the knowledge of creative lighting techniques with electronic flash and ambient or "available light" conditions. Basic camera operation is understood only as a means to an end in conveying a visually arresting and meaningful personal photograph.
One hour private lessons @ $50.
Three one hour private lessons @$135.
Advance payment required; call the office to schedule, 845.803.8622.

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Learn something new and polish your skills at one of the following 6-week clay course offerings. Classes provide personalized instruction and weekly demonstrations of projects and techniques. Personal exploration always encouraged.

Wheel Class from Beginner to Practiced Michael Cole
This 3-hour course provides a concentration on wheel throwing and is limited to 6 students so each has access to a wheel. Glazing techniques will also be developed. Hand building is always an option. Limited enrollment.

6 Tuesdays, 6:30- 9:30 pm
June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21
$205/$200 PAC members plus 4 cents per cubic inch in materials/firing fees.

Student Name(s)

General Class from Beginner to Practiced with Maaike Hoekstra
In this course, all techniques will be explored including wheel throwing, hand-building and lead-free glazing; open to all levels and limited to 8 students.

6 Wednesdays, 7-9pm  
June 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22
$150/$145 PAC members plus 4 cents per cubic inch for materials/firing fees

4 Saturdays, 2-4pm
July 11, 18, 25, August 1
$105/$100 PAC members plus 4 cents per cubic inch for materials/firing fees.

Register below for either session.
Student Name(s)

Clay in Your Day from Beginner to Practiced with Elizabeth Barksdale

Explore the versatile media of clay – Bend, Fold, Bond, Imprint and more – using tools and your hands. Create a variety of 3-dimensional projects such as figures, masks, animals, flowers, containers, wall hangings, etc. In addition to the registration fee, a materials/firing fee is due @ four cents per cubic inch

4 Tuesdays, 10am-1pm 
July 7, 14, 21, 28

$150/$145 PAC Members
Student Name(s)




Special offer for teens & adults

try a one time class for $20. without committing to a whole session. If you decide to continue with that offering, your $20 will be applied to the tuition. An affordable way to try something new!
New students only.

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NEW - Teen offerings in the Arts:

Fundamentals of Drawing with Rosalie Marcus
Ages 11-14
This class will focus on building mind/eye/hand/body coordination, opening up to different ways of seeing, and applying those abilities to drawing.  The 6 basic drawing techniques of line, shape, volume, gesture, texture, and composition will be covered.  New subject matter including drawing faces, fashion and illustration will be included. One of the main goals of this class will be to find the connection between what you see and imagine and the ability to express that on paper.   Beginners and more advanced students will be able to apply these skills at their own level, as the class will not be limited by group projects, but rather will focus on each student's personal development.

4 Fridays 3-4:30pm
July 10, 17, 24, 31
$105/$100 PAC member
(includes materials)
Parent Name
Student Name(s) and Age(s)

Clay in the Pottery Studio
with Maaike Hoekstra  
Ages 13-15
In this general clay class students will explore clay on the wheel as well as hand-building.
Specific techniques will culminate in projects both functional and decorative. Discover the pottery in you! Lead free glazes only. Instructor to be announced.

4 Fridays 4:30-6pm July 10, 17, 24, 31
$105/$100 PAC members
(includes all materials
Parent Name
Student Name(s) and Age(s)

Portfolio Development with Jeanne Demotses

Ages 16 and over.
A preliminary assessment will be made covering past art courses taken, work done independently, student's strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, as well as a review of  quantity and quality of work needed to prepare a portfolio for presentation to colleges and art schools. A series of exercises and projects will be designed to assist the student with the development of pieces needed for portfolio presentation for individual colleges.  Work will be done one-on-one with the instructor as well as independently.
$65 for a one hour private session. Call to schedule (845.803.8622)




performing arts classes & workshops for 16 to adult

private piano for ages 2nd grade through adult



Basic Ballet - Olenna Truskett
Ages 16-Adult
The perfect class for you if you have no ballet experience and always wanted to learn, or if you have not done a plié in some time! Come learn — or relearn — the basics of this exquisite art form, which is not only fun, but good for you, your posture, flexibility and strength. Classes will be taught in a comfortable and supportive environment, by the talented and experienced Olenna Truskett. Leotards and tights are not necessary; however, students should dress to be able to move with hair tied back. Ballet slippers are a must!
6 Wednesdays 6-7pm - TBA
$130/$115 PAC members

Intermediate Tap with Mary Jane Houdina
Ages 16 - Adult
Start off your week the right way, with a high energy, exciting tap class with Mary Jane. Tap technique is taught to the experienced tapper, involving the entire body and utilizing light, quick footwork. There is a focus on attitude and quick study of combinations and details, where students are encouraged to put their own unique signature on movements.
Requirements: Prior experience required.
Low heeled character shoes preferred.
6 Mondays 6 -7 pm - TBA
$130/$115 for PAC members

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Group Cabaret with Marci Elyn Schein (limited enrollment)
Ages 16-Adult
Explore your vocal range as you prepare your own songs to perform, cabaret style! Marci has amazing skills and vast training, and will bring out talents you never knew existed! Come with your own song choices, or have Marci choose a song that best matches your style! Course will culminate in a performance TBD.

6 Thursdays 7-9pm
June 18, 25, July 2, 9, 16 & 23

$130/$120 PAC members
Parent Name
Student Name(s) and Age(s)

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Private Lessons:

Audition Prep for Teen & Adults with Marci Elyn Schein
Prepare for that next theater audition, college audition or your next High School Musical
with Marci’s expertise as she assists you in developing your song (including NYSSMA songs) and monologue choice, and gives you pointers on how to best succeed in your audition.
$75.00 for one hour private session-Call 845.803.8622 to schedule lessons @ PAC.

Voice and Acting Lessons for ages 8 to 80 with Marci Elyn Schein
Join Marci and get personal, hands-on performance instruction, in either voice or acting, or both! Marci’s students have performed in Broadway, Off Broadway and Regional productions.
$75.00 for one hour instruction Call to schedule 845.803.8622 lessons @ PAC

Piano Lessons with Mark Snyder

Ages: 2nd grade through adult.
Learn piano from Julliard trained Mark Snyder, an educator and performer whose innovative teaching style enhances the learning experience and encourages positive results.
$30 for a private 30 minute session. After school, evenings and weekends.
Call to schedule.


Registration Hours: Tuesday - Friday from 11am-3pm



Click here for registration form.

Advance registration is required for ALL classes & workshops. Classes are registration driven and can only take place with sufficient enrollment. Please register early so that we do not cancel a class. Do not appear for a class if you have not already registered with the office.

REGISTRATION can be done in person, by mail, by email or phone. Please access our registration form and get it to our office when completed with your payment. Payment forms accepted include cash, MC/Visa, personal check or money order along with the form and can be hand-delivered, mailed, scanned & emailed or call.

We attempt to accommodate everyone but we:

REFUND POLICY: NO REFUNDS WILL BE GRANTED AFTER THE FIRST CLASS MEETING, without a doctor's note. Full refunds are issued for classes cancelled by the Putnam Arts Council.

ABOUT MATERIALS: Adult Classes may require materials and a list will be provided upon registration. Youth classes include all materials unless stated.

CLOSINGS/CANCELLATIONS: It is the policy of the Putnam Arts Council to follow the Mahopac Schools for weather delays/closings. This information is available at WHUD, 100.7 FM and on their website, and

Our Faculty of Teaching Artists - adult offerings


Michael Cole
Michael, a resident of Mahopac since 1997, took a pottery class in August 2011 and has quickly developed a new passion for throwing pottery on the wheel. A “Recovering Actor” (having performed in musical theatre productions in New York and across the country), he makes his living as personal assistant to Stephen Schwartz, composer and lyricist of the Broadway shows GODSPELL, PIPPIN and WICKED (among others). Mr. Cole’s voice can be heard on the sound tracks of the DreamWorks animated feature Prince of Egypt, the Wonderful World of Disney television special Geppetto and Disney’s live-action feature Enchanted. Other passions include home improvement and waterskiing. On pottery: "I'm particularly drawn to the idea of altering the basic wheel-thrown form, the sculptural aspects of pottery and juxtaposing finer elements with the more 'earthy' bisque-ware."

Jeanne Demotses
Jeanne's primary medium is oil. She also often works in watercolor, acrylic, pastel, monotype and collage. She experiments in making her own paper to use as a ground for her pastel work, and uses the paper as a collage element. Her work ranges from the figurative to the abstract and often combines aspects of both. Jeanne's paintings are in many collections in the U.S. and in Europe. She maintains a studio in Peekskill and is a member of that community's growing artist district. In addition to her classes at the Putnam Arts Council, she also teaches oil and watercolor painting at other schools, and portrait painting in her studio. Jeanne studied art at Hunter College, the Art Students League and the Westchester Art Workshop.

Therese Fokine
I have always been a creative person, with crafts and hands on pieces of art. I have been inspired by many people in my life, and by life itself. I began painting later in life,  with Lee Hochberg, of Yorktown, NY.  Later taking drawing with Joanne Zwolski of Yorktown, and then with Jeanne DeMotses, an amazing teacher and friend. It is a passion and a brilliant way to see the world,   Art makes you truly LOOK.

Mary Jane Houdina
Mary Jane has had a varied and prolific past in the performing arts. She was associate choreographer for the movie THE GREAT GATSBY and tap consultant for Peter Allen at Radio City Music Hall. On Broadway, she was associate choreographer for the original ANNIE, and choreographer for INTO THE LIGHT. Regional theatre productions have seen her work in a myriad of musicals, including OKLAHOMA! star Jean Stapleton, FOLLIES star Juliette Prowse, and SHOWBOAT star Gavin MacLeod. She is the 1998 Barrymore Award recipient for her choreography for CRAZY FOR YOU at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and Barrymore nominee in 2001 for SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, and in 2006 for 42nd ST. On TV she choreographed The ADVENTURES of SLIM GOODBODY IN NUTI-CITY for Captain

Dr. Bernie Kessler
Bernie Kessler has been an award winning photographer for over 50 years, exploring and celebrating the beauty of nature, including human nature. His images have been exhibited internationally and are in corporate and private collections. He is recognized as an outstanding teacher. His ease of style creates a non-threatening learning environment. Students have fun and feel very personally inspired as they improve their photographic skills.

Deb Lecce
In 1971, while still in high school, she first embraced clay. As she wandered the halls searching for the stone carving room, she stumbled upon the clay studio. Looking back at it now, this was and is the only time that she had ever been grateful for her lack of directional skills. She observed the students at their wheels, and the hand builders shaping expression into developing forms. She was enamored. From this moment on she knew that clay was my passion. The potter’s wheel is her primary tool. It allows her to create a canvas for embellishment while also challenging the physical boundaries of the medium. Wavering rims, darted forms, and paddled surfaces help her discover which direction a piece will go. She has attended Alfred University, Penland, Haystack, as well as Peters Valley. She co-created Clayworks on Columbia, Brooklyn, NY.

Rosalie Marcus
Rosalie is a painter, illustrator, and graphic designer.  She has exhibited her paintings in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Nova Scotia, and California.  Her art work has been reviewed in many newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Bergen Record (NJ), and ArtNews Magazine.  Rosalie has also designed books, fabric, housewares, brochures and corporate logos for such clients as Warner Communications, King Features, Bloomingdales, and The National Organization of Women.  She was also an art director for a housewares company.  She attended Cornell University, got her BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, and her MFA from California Institute of the Arts.  Locally, Rosalie has taught art workshops at the Mahopac Public Library, at the after school program at Fulmar Road School, and is presently teaching drawing at PAC.

Margaret Rizzuto
Margaret Rizzuto is a published photographer who specializes in contemporary women’s portraits. She is a self-taught, perennial student who loves that there is always something to learn and something to teach about photography. She has an easy-going style that lends itself to casual yet inspiring classes.

Marci Elyn Schein
Marci is a performer in jazz and classical vocal music and all disciplines of musical theatre, as well as a producer, director, musical director, vocal coach and proud member of Actors Equity Association. She most recently played the Adult Female and was the Musical Director for the Garage Theatre Group's production of Spring Awakening. She currently concertizes and records for composer Philip Springer (Santa Baby, How Little We Know). She has entertained audiences of over 14,000 at Tavern on the Green for the NYC Marathon multiple times. Marci has been featured on numerous CD’s: HOT MAMAS LIVE, HOMEWARD BOUND (Philip Springer) and THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC COLLECTION CD (Michael Ficocelli ) and many more. Marci has originated many roles off Broadway and regionally including the role of Selena Peake in SO BIG (based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Edna Ferber), sharing the stage with Broadway veterans such as J. Mark McVey, Loni Ackerman, Joe Kolinsky, Bruce Sabbath and more. Regionally, she has performed in such shows as FOOTLOOSE, THE KING AND I, COMPANY, SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM and many others as well as performing her Cabaret show in Atlantic City, Foxwoods Resorts and numerous venues throughout the east coast. She holds a Bachelor of Music in voice (classical and jazz) and theatre. As a jazz vocalist Marci has performed with an array of jazz greats some of which include, Jeremy Wall (Spyro Gyra), Joel Rosenblatt (Spyro Gyra) and Dave Weckl (Chic Corea), to name a few. Please visit for more info.

James Sparks
Jim is a prolific painter and photographer whose work has been shown and collected country-wide. His special talent and energetic style as a teaching artist is widely known. His experience ranges from elementary level on up, with particular emphasis on college level instruction in art history, drawing, photography and painting (College of Mt. Saint Vincent, Bronx Community College, Connecticut Institute of Art and others). His BFA in Painting is from Washington University and MFA from the University of Southern California.

Mark Snyder
Mark was formally trained at Juilliard and is a published and recorded composer. Mark is an experienced and accomplished instructor who has taught many piano students throughout the county, and is still doing so. He has appeared in TV, in the movies, in many theaters and on many sets throughout the years. Mark's stage credits include Fagin in Oliver, Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Creon in Antigone, Captain in Mr. Roberts, Frank in Over the River and Through the Woods, Norval in Dearly Departed, Maurice in Social Security and most recently, Erronius in A Funny Thing Hpppened on the Way to the Forum.

Christopher Staples
An award-winning mixed media artist and workshop leader, Staples cross pollinates collage and print making with painting and drawing in her abstract works. Combining words and images is of specific interest. She has a passion for bringing new and rich creative experiences to people of all levels of artistic ability, opening and pushing the boundaries for the creative voice she believes is inherent in all of us. She has a studio in a converted barn, is Executive Director of LOOK | ART, and exhibits regionally. Further information is available at

Olenna Truskett
Olenna Truskett has enjoyed many artistic endeavors as a dancer and choreographer. As a child, she relished ballet classes in the US, Japan, the Philippines, and Iran. As a teenager, she trained with Mary Marshall in Virginia, and at the Harkness and Joffrey schools in New York. At the College of William and Mary, she studied modern dance and worked summers at Busch Gardens, clogging and being cut in half 5 times a day during a magic show! Settling into an engineering career, she moonlighted for many years, dancing and choreographing for the Fairfax Ballet in Virginia and Lee Harper & Dancers in Georgia. She later taught dance at Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, helped incorporate and run Prelude Ballet Ensemble, a nonprofit youth company in Putnam Co., and served as faculty at several William and Mary summer dance intensives. Currently, she indulges in dance classes at Union Hall Studio in North Salem with other dance enthusiasts and serves on the Board of the Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition with the mission to renovate and open a performing arts theater above the Studio Around the Corner at the Old Town Hall in Brewster.

Joann Zwolski
Joann works with a wide variety of mediums. Her work visually expresses a passion for line and color. Her palette is full of brilliant hues from a wide spectrum. She combines both abstract and thematic elements in her "works on paper". She has exhibited through solo and group shows in the tri-state area and Delaware. Joann received her BFA from Pratt Institute and her MA from the College of New Rochelle. She has taught art for over thirty-five years to students from kindergarten to high school and has been teaching adults drawing for the past several years in a variety of places.


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Watch For Additional Visual Arts Classes And Workshops To Be Announced Soon - For Adults And Children.


Sign up for a one-on-one hour long portfolio review with one of our teaching artists.

Student rate $50, all others $100

Call for additional information


PAC’s programs and services are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and NY State Legislature. Public support is also provided by Putnam County Government.  Additional revenue is generated by the Putnam Arts Council through membership, educational and creative programs, fundraising efforts and through donations from the public and private sectors.


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