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Youth & Teen Classes

Spring 2014 (All materials included)
Click here for REGULAR class Registration Form (NOT for use with Summer Kids Art)

Cartooning with Jim Sparks
Ages 6-9
Drawing is fun but cartooning takes drawing to a whole new level of creativity. In this six week class students will learn how to exaggerate a character's facial emotions and body movements along with various backgrounds for effect and mood. By telling humorous, scary or melodramatic stories in past, present and future time, this class is a truly creative outlet for a child's imagination. A variety of media from charcoal to pen and ink will round out an enjoyable and educational experience perfecting cartooning skills for budding young artists.

6 Tuesdays 5:00-6:00pm 4/22, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20, 5/27
$135/$130 PAC members ($10 materials fee included)

Creative Kids Clay with Maaike Hoekstra
Creative Kids Clay focuses on exploring the art of designing, building and creating 3D clay projects through hand building, throwing on the wheel and sculpting and is ideal for first time students and returning potters. The course encourages personal expression through structured age-appropriate projects and individualized instruction.

Ages 6-9
6 Fridays 5:00 – 6pm 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16, 5/23, 5/30
$135/130 PAC members (includes $15 in materials fees)

Ages 10-13
6 Thursdays 4:30-6pm 4/24, 5/1, 5/8, 5/15, 5/22, 5/29
$155/$150 PAC members (includes $15 materials & firing fees)

Creature Work Shop with Sarah Gilchrist
ages 7-13:
Come create creatures, monsters, and mythical beasts in this imaginative class that incorporates drawing, collage, puppetry, paper mache, sculpture and more. Students will work individually and in groups to dream up and create all sorts of imaginary beasts using a variety of materials.

6 Wednesdays 4:30-6:00pm 4/23, 4/30, 5/7, 5/14, 5/21, 5/28
$155/$150 PAC member ($12 materials fee included)

Individual Art Journey for Teens with Sarah Gilchrist
Ages 14 -17 
This class is perfect for the teen that wants to explore different mediums that center around their own personal interests and for those that are looking to build their own individually- themed portfolio's. Together, we will use and learn the techniques of a specific medium and each student will focus on their individual theme as the subject matter. Some examples of projects/mediums are charcoal drawing, print-making, water-color, mixed-media, etc. Guidance will be given not only for how to use appropriate techniques for the medium, but also for idea formation, composition, use of color, imaginative elements along with general fine art elements.

6 Thursdays 4:30-6:00pm 4/24, 5/1, 5/8, 5/15, 5/22, 5/29
$155/$150 PAC member ($12 materials fee included)

Teen Photography with Jim Sparks
Ages 12-15
Learn how to use your eye as a photographer and your camera as a tool in this interesting & informative class which will include demonstrations on how photo images can be used to tell stories through shots from nature, studying printed images and portraiture. Come prepared to learn how digital images are made and printed as well as how camera settings work, all in a class that is informal and fun. We will also explore basic photo editing in Picasa and produce beautiful finished prints suitable for framing. Students need to bring a digital camera to the first class.
6 Fridays 4:30-6:00pm 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16, 5/23, 5/30
$150/145 PAC member ($10 materials fee included)


Click here for REGULAR class Registration Form (NOT for use with Summer Kids Art)

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.

REFUND POLICY: A refund will be granted prior to the first class. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GRANTED AFTER THE FIRST CLASS MEETING. 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

Drop by the Art Center during office hours Tuesday through Friday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.Advanced Registration required for all classes & workshops. Classes are registration driven and can only take place when minimum number of students is reached, so please register early to avoid cancelling a program. Do not appear for a class if not registered in advance.

Classes WILL be held during the Winter vacation week - February 20-26 as well as a special program for children. If you have plans to be out of town that week and would miss your class, please tell your instructor on the first day of class (or call the office) and we either find a makeup time for you or cancel the class that week.

Our Faculty of Teaching Artists

Liz Carey
Liz is a 200-hr Yoga Alliance-Certified teacher. She has practiced yoga for twelve years, and became a certified teacher in 2009. When not training yoga teachers, she designs and facilitates innovative training programs that help people develop awareness, authenticity, presence, and practical skills for deeply connecting with others and living a freer, happier, life. She has studied Shambhala Buddhism and meditation, and has a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Liz brings encouragement and acceptance to all of her work, and has a gift for helping people reconnect with and trust their own wisdom and intuition.

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 soundtracks 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.

Cathy Faiella
Cathy has been a very popular teacher at the summer program for years and teaches at a variety of art centers and other children’s programs in the area. Students flourish under her energetic and patient teaching style. She is a graduate of Connecticut College.

Sarah Gilchrist
A working visual artist and educator, Sarah introduces children to style and medium by showing them the work of great artists through history and then she encourages them to develop their own techniques, in pastel, watercolor, collage and other media, with light, fun, and playful presentations and activities. She has a Master of Arts degree in education from Manhattanville College and she studied in Italy as well.

Karen Herbst
An artist-educator and workshop instructor, her interests include children’s book illustration, painting, printmaking, mixed media collage and exploring the image-word connection in her art journals. She encourages experimentation with many art forms and believes there are no mistakes in the creative process, only opportunities to learn and grow. She received her BS in Art Education from Kuztown State University and her MA in Studio Art from the College of New Rochelle and has recently retired after teaching art for 32 years in the Pleasantville school district.

Gina Keidong
A practicing artist and art teacher, formally trained at SUNY New Paltz in Art Education with a focus in ceramics, she currently teaches in Croton-Harmon High School. Gina has been working with clay as a medium for over 10 years. From throwing to hand building Gina takes a holistic approach to teaching ceramics reaching out to her students individually, taking them from the point they are at to the next stage in creating.

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.

Amy Menasche
A long-time Mahopac resident, Amy has a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from New York University and Masters of Arts in Teaching from Manhattanville College. She currently teaches art, including three levels of ceramics and sculpture, at Byram Hills High School in Armonk, NY.

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.

Christopher Staples
An award-winning mixed media artist and workshop leader, Staples cross pollinates collage and printmaking 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 GALLERY in Mahopac, and exhibits regionally. Further information is available at

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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