Our instructors are drawn from a wealth of talented teachers, including nationally known artists from across the country and across the street. They are innovative craftsmen and artists who enjoy trying new techniques and love sharing what they do with their students.
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Jim Kostohrys from rural Mineral Point is an artist of the age-old art of drawing on animal bones. This art form predates Neolithic times.The bones are found and carefully cleaned prior to applying pen.
Megan Kulick’s artistic credentials revolve around years spent on staff at Shake Rag Alley. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves coming back to teach soaps and scrubs as well as other fun and fanciful Shake Rag Alley Youth Program classes!
Laura Lein-Svencner grew up in Downers Grove close to her grandfather’s farm, which was the last operating farm in Downers Grove, and now resides in Darien, Illinois. She’s married with four grown children and a home full of loving creatures. Although she has studied drawing, printmaking, sculpture, book arts and the art of hand papermaking, it is the love of paper and design that call her attention. She comes from many generations of “creative makers” working with their hands.
She is a signature member of the National Collage Society and co-founder of the Midwest Collage Society, which exhibits throughout the Chicagoland area. She has won many awards for her work, which are represented at Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, WI. Her works have been published in Incite 1, 2, 3 and 4 of North Light Publishing, Somerset Studio Magazine, Cloth Paper Scissor Magazine, The Professional Artist Magazine, The Artists Magazine and The Watercolor Artist Magazine through the years. Laura has self-published a Collage Sketchbook-Instructional Design Book, and she continues her second love of teaching the fine art of collage in classroom settings, workshops and online for the past 26 years. Her work has found its way into many homes through the United States and Internationally.
From 2015 to present, Laura’s work was selected to be printed on material by clothing design company Dolcezza-Simply Art from Canada (dolcezza.ca).
Leighanna Light is a passionate art instructor, thingmaker, bookmaker, and figurative assemblage artist. Her background is in fine arts and photography, and she has been teaching art workshops for the past 18 years. Leighanna is represented by galleries and museums across the country and her work has been published in numerous books and magazines. “I love to create, to hunt for things to create with and to share my creativity with others. It’s what I live for, it’s my oxygen.” Leighanna grew up in a small town in upstate New York and has spent most of the past 20 years in New Mexico. She currently resides in Taos, NM, with her best friends Thomas, Ruby, and Lily.
Julie Lukosaitis has been making glass beads for many years, and has been a glass flameworking instructor for almost 20 years. She is the owner of Beadazzled By Julz, and travels with her glass art studio around Wisconsin. She has many years of experience working in public education and teaching to different learning intelligences. She believes the best reward for a teacher is seeing the joy her students feel with their own creativity and building on their skills. When that happens, she can see their confidence grow and it shows in their work.
I was born and raised in Mineral Point and am now the Mineral Point Middle/High School Art Teacher. My husband and I have three beautiful young children and live outside of town. I am a true oil painter at heart but love all mediums, especially when able to teach them to others.
Roann Mathias is an artist and educator who is experienced in a variety of media including abstract painting, photography, watercolor, and lettering. All of these varied interests can be seen in her art. Her work has been published in Somerset Studio Magazine, Letter Arts Review and Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. She taught calligraphy and mixed media workshops for several years throughout the U.S. and Canada. After receiving her MFA in 2015, she became an adjunct professor at Memphis College of Art and Southwest Tennessee Community College. Originally from New Orleans, the colorful architecture and plant life instilled in her a love of color and nature. Travels around the U.S. and Europe inspired her love of nature and the landscape. Influenced by her study of art history, she has drawn on abstract expressionism to create large gestural works.
Andrea Matus deMeng
Andrea Matus deMeng is a combined media artist living in Vancouver, BC, who exhibits as well as teaches her unique combination of painting, collage, assemblage, and sculpture throughout the world. In her art, Andrea creates powerful portraits skillfully combining color, symbolism, and ornamentation. Each motif is a transport to a different time and place, and through the process unrelated and discordant shapes and designs are manipulated to find balance and harmony where at first there seems none. Her passions and strong feminine aesthetic can be seen in all of her endeavors. The improvisational nature of collage coupled with the very deliberate method of painting creates a balance of spontaneity and premeditation in her work. Inspired by her extensive travels, a unique personal history and too many artistic influences to list, Andrea hopes to inspire others to live their creative lives and pursue their dreams of transformation.
Patricia Ann McNair
Patricia Ann McNair’s short story collection, Responsible Adults, was named a Distinguished Favorite by the Independent Press Awards. The Temple of Air (stories) was named Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year, Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Readers Award, and Society of Midland Authors Finalist Award. Her collection of essays, And These Are the Good Times, was a Montaigne Medal Finalist for Most Thought-Provoking Book of the Year. McNair’s fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Barrelhouse, American Fiction: Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers, Hypertext Review, River Teeth, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and other publications. She was named to Chicago’s NewCity Lit 50 list, and A Writer to Watch by Chicago’s Guild Literary Complex. She is on the editorial board of Solstice Lit Magazine, and the curatorial board of the Ragdale Foundation. McNair taught at Columbia College Chicago for more than three decades and was nominated for the U.S. Carnegie Professor of the Year. She lives in Tucson with her husband, visual artist Philip Hartigan.
Memoir & Personal Essay – Writing Retreat
Manuscript Consultations – Writing Retreat
Deb Meyer of Columbus, Wisconsin, is the author of Curses! A Fractured Fairies Tale, The Whole Shebang, a semifinalist at the Garry Marshall New Works Festival and numerous other works. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, New Play Exchange, The Playwrights Center and Playwrights Ink, Madison.
Kris Miller specializes in primitive designs with an emphasis on textured wool and wide cuts (#8 and above). She also enjoys hooking with hand-torn wool. Her style has been described as “soft primitives.” Roving, sheep curls, paisleys, novelty yarns, and hosiery have all found their way into Kris’ hooking style at one time or another.
Kris is the owner of Spruce Ridge Studios. She has won many awards and ribbons for her rugs including her county fair, Michigan State Fair, Sauder Village, honorable mentions in A Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs XIII, XVI, XXII, and a Celebrations Finalist in 2018. Several of her original designs have also been featured as pattern inserts in Rug Hooking Magazine and the books Projects for Primitive Rug Hookers, Pattern Designs for Rug Hookers, and Finishing Hooked Rugs. She served as a judge for A Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs XVIII and XXVI. Her work has been selected for Early American Life’s Directory of Traditional American Crafts in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. She is the author of Introduction to Rug Hooking, published by Stackpole Books, and the self-published books The Grand Finale: Finish What You Start and The Little Book Of Eyes. She has taught at many workshops and rug camps across the United States, England, and Finland.
She lives in Howell, Michigan, with her husband and an assortment of Angora goats, sheep, alpacas, and a dog.
Greg Minster of Sheboygan has written numerous play-scripts of historic fiction. His other play-scripts include The Stovepipe Hat (a work on the death of Abraham Lincoln), and Words to the Wise, which earned second place in the Michael Lebow Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Play Script for Youth Theatre contest. A retired self-employed small businessman, Greg has a business degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, has taken several off-campus writing courses from the University of Iowa and an online play-script writing continuing education course from UW-Madison.
Trained as a painter, Richard Moninski received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master of fine arts from the University at Albany, State University of New York. He completed additional study in surface design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Moninski is strongly influenced by history, nature, and numerous decorative arts traditions. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited nationally. Awards include a grant from the American-Scandinavian Foundation for research in Norway, and artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Ragdale Foundation, and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. An educator with over 20 years of experience, he has employed diverse media and approaches in the course of his teaching.
Gary Warren Niebuhr
Gary Warren Niebuhr is a found object, mixed media, collage and assemblage artist. Gary’s art has been included in exhibitions at Alverno College (Milwaukee, WI), Anderson Arts Center (Kenosha, WI), ARTgarage (Green Bay, WI), Cedarburg Cultural Center (WI), Fond du Lac Public Library (WI), Grafton Arts Mill (WI), Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, MO), Kenosha Public Museum (WI), John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI), Monmouth Museum of Art (NJ), Mount Mary University (Wauwatosa, WI), Museum of Wisconsin Art (West Bend, WI), Re:Vision Gallery and Artist Studio (Kenosha, WI), Two Fish Gallery (Elkhart Lake, WI), Walker’s Point Center for the Arts (Milwaukee, WI), and the Wustum Museum (Racine, WI). Gary’s art is represented by Dee-Construction Gallery (Mineral Point). A10-year retrospective of Gary’s work was hung at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts in 2106. Gary was the curator of Connections, an exhibition of assemblage art at Re:Vision Gallery and Artist Studio in 2017 and had a solo exhibition at the Anderson Arts Center in 2021 called Nailing Crap Together and Calling It Art.
Gary served 40 years as a public librarian and now enjoys his retirement making art, take photographs, gardening, and watching old films and current sports. Gary lives in Milwaukee with his wife Denice and his cats Boginskaya and Biakabutuka.
Jodi Ohl is the author of Abstracts in Acrylic and Ink. Currently residing in Aberdeen, NC, Jodi has been teaching students around the world in person and online for the last nine years. Published in over 30 mixed media magazines, she also has been a contributor to eight mixed media art books in the last several years. You can find more of her work at http://www.jodiohl.com.
Kate Olsen Birner
I live in Mineral Point, the best small town in America! This is my 32nd year teaching elementary art; I am a practicing artist with work in a few galleries and have participated in many shows over the years. Unless it is a commission from a client, most of my artwork starts out as a dream, so I work in a variety of media, depending on the dream.
Instructor Website: wwwkateolsenbirner.art
Paul Pendola is a full-time Galena, IL-based green woodworking artist specializing in hand-carved wooden spoons and other hand-crafted woodenware. Using only an axe, straight knife, hook knife, and all-natural food-safe oil and wax, Paul’s mission is to create simple, authentic, and beautiful functional art.
You can find Paul’s work, and watch him work, at Galena Spoon Co., his retail shop located at 201 Hill Street in the heart of historic downtown Galena, IL. Paul participants in several leading traditional American art and craft fairs including The Galena Country Fair (Galena, IL) and The Waterford Fair (Waterford, VA), among others. Additionally, Also, Paul sells his work via several boutique retailer throughout the Driftless Region of northwestern Illinois, online at http://www.galenaspoonco.com, and via national wholesale accounts including The Holland Bowl Mill.
Interested in learning how to carve a spoon? Consider taking one of Paul’s classes here at Shake Rag Alley, at the Galena ARC, or at his home-based workshop, The Spoon Carver Cottage, located in downtown Galena, IL.
Paul (Galena Spoon Co.) has artist profiles on EnjoyIllinois.com and VisitGalena.org, and is an active member of the Galena Area Chamber of Commerce, The Galena Downtown Business Association, Key City Creative Center (Dubuque), Premier Business Partner of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, and active in many arts organizations in the Driftless Region.
Paul is a Chicago native, currently a full-time Galena, IL resident, and holds a master’s degree from the Cornell University School of Business.
Leslie Perrino is an artist and “art evangelist” who loves to share the power of art and creativity with people, particularly in her beloved areas of metals and enameling. Her artwork is a quirky mix of traditional and found objects, most recently combining computer/electrical components with enamels. She is a charismatic and effective teacher who encourages skill building and exploration of the medium.
Josh Petit discovered blacksmithing and welding at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in 2021 after moving to Mineral Point. Josh, trained as an electrical engineer, today is a cybersecurity analyst at Roseburg Forest Products. He currently serves as a facilitator of Shake Rag Alley’s Blacksmithing and Welding program and as vice president on the Board of Directors.
Deborah Petronio is an assemblage artist from Buffalo, New York. She describes herself as a lover of mermaids, gnomes, and old dollies. Her work exemplifies the juxtaposition of old and new, treasure and junk, and dark versus whimsy. She has been an instructor at art retreats and classes locally and nationally. Her pile of art supplies is legendary.