Art and History Instructors

Jewelry creation happens in the Washington Heights Arts Center.

Performing Arts 

JD Barber

JD first heard the Native American flute live at a friend’s studio opening and mesmerized with its haunting and enchanting sound. He was instantly connected with it and decided right then to start working on fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a professional musician someday. Within two months he was showing others how to play the Native American flute. JD currently works part-time for the City of Lakewood and is working part-time on his dream of professionally playing the Native American flute. JD hosts a local monthly Native American flute player’s meeting and teaches Level 1 and 2 classes at the Clements Community Center. He lives in the Denver area with his dog, Lucy, and about two dozen wooden flutes he calls “friends". 

Kaylin Darst 

Kaylin is a Colorado native and has performed as an actor and singer in several local productions. After coaching synchronized swimming for many years, she is thrilled to also bring a love of theatre to children of all ages! She hopes to share all of the incredible life lessons she has learned and show her students just how important the arts are. 

Gary Jugert 

Gary is a lifelong Lakewood resident who plays piano, guitar, and way too much ukulele. He’s composed a number of musicals, is finishing his first symphony, wrote a couple of novels, founded the Rocky Mountain Ukulele Orchestra, likes cats and works at Starbucks to pay bills.  

Patrice LeBlanc

Patrice holds an M.A. in musical theatre and a Certificate in Music Composition from Regis University; she also holds her B.F.A. in musical theatre from Loretto Heights College. She has performed professionally for over 20 years and is an accomplished composer and playwright. Patrice is active as a director, educator and facilitator through many schools and arts organizations. 

Richard Nakata 

Richard is an award-winning magician who has been practicing the art of magic for over 30 years. He was born in Tokyo, Japan, but came to the United States when he was very young. Most of Richard’s childhood was spent growing up in Aurora. He is now a resident of Centennial.  

Visual Arts, History and Specialty

Pamela Bliss
Pamela has been weaving for about 25 years and teaching locally for 20 years. As a teacher, she is known for her sense of humor and warmth. One student said, “Pamela takes the fear out of learning something new.” She continually strives to improve her technique and broaden her knowledge so that she can share these with her students. In addition to teaching, she creates and sells her own woven and hand-dyed items at various venues.

Michael Bowe
Michael Is a student of both functional and decorative ceramic work and has a special interest in low fire methods and techniques. Michael is a performing artist and writer who happily discovered a love for ceramic art in the not- too-distant past.

Holly Causey

Holly has been learning and teaching art, fiber arts, cooking, sewing, crafts and quilting for many years. In working with children she has found joy and fun, and, loves to explore their world and their openness to creativity. Holly approaches these subjects not just as a project but as a passion.

Zoey Chapin
Zoey has always had a love for art and teaching. After teaching in public schools in Massachusetts for 6 years, she moved to Colorado and has loved working with the wonderful ceramic’s community and students of all ages.  She studied sculpture and art education at Montserrat College of Art and received her master’s in art education from Boston University. Zoey is passionate about sharing her love of ceramics and art exploration with others.

Anita Deen
Anita has loved the fiber arts for most of her life, starting early with knitting and crochet. Later, she learned to weave while living in British Columbia, Canada and, to spin. Teaching allows her to share her crafts without reserve and she has been teaching for over 30 years.

Judie Dickinson
Judie has been weaving since the early 1980s (unless you count a pot holder loom when she was 10). A teacher of high school Spanish, she was part of a team-teaching Southwest studies that included arts and crafts. Judie took an adult education class in weaving on a floor loom and has been caught in its “web” ever since. A workshop given by RM Weaving Guild started her on kumihimo.

Angel Estrada
Angel is a Denver based Artist and Educator. With degrees in visual art and art education he has been teaching art at the High school level as well with adults and children with different backgrounds through city and summer camp institutions.  He is a current studio artist and member at Globeville Riverfront Art cent (Grace) studios. Angel has done various city art programs and has been a feature artist with the Denver Art Museum as well as the Bi-annual Month of Printmaking festivities. He specializes in Printmaking techniques and teaches book arts, book binding and metal smithing at the high school and adult levels.

Specializing in printmaking, Angel has a particular love for landscapes and a passion love of teaching everyone how they can make fun, fast, beautiful work, with even the simplest of tools. In addition to printmaking, Angel teaches book-arts classes as well as metalsmithing!

Justin Doucette
Justin is a Lakewood-based freelance Photographer and Graphic Designer working every day to help his neighbors develop their businesses. Alongside his design work, he is passionate about both professional and recreational photography. A former snowboard instructor, ropes course leader, and summer camp counselor, he loves teaching and leading adventures. Justin is friendly, energetic, and eager to share his love of the creative industry. Join him for one of his classes to learn of the dynamic world of digital art and design.

Gail Firmin
Gail mentors for Developmental Disability Resources Center’s Art and Soul program, teaching art classes to disabled adults. She teaches drawing and watercolor classes for the City of Lakewood. She is active with the Lakewood Arts Council and a member of its co-op gallery, exhibiting her work in graphite, watercolor, pastels and mixed media.

Daniel Granitto
Daniel M. Granitto returned to his hometown of Lakewood, Colorado in 2016 after living and working in Chicago, Illinois for six years where he received his BFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Granitto’s works have been exhibited in galleries and museums spanning the western United States. Daniel currently works out of his home studio in Lakewood where he lives his wife and three kids.

Katrina Hoing

Katrina Hoing has lived in Lakewood since 2001 with her husband, who is a lifelong Lakewood resident. She is a self-taught cold process soap maker and mom to a teenage boy and four cats. Katrina has been making soap, bath fizzies and other personal items for about eight years and began teaching classes for the city in 2019. Katrina believes it is extremely gratifying to make the things we use every day with our very own hands.   

Jessica Lipton
Bio coming soon.

Ismael Lozano
Ismael “Izzy” is a Colorado native and has worked in the Denver Public School system for over 17 years at every grade level as well as the collegiate level at Metropolitan State University. He has taught for the Art Students League of Denver and has taught classes at the Smithsonian Latino Center in Washington. He has worked as an oil painter for over 22 years. His work currently hangs in collections as far east as Philadelphia, and has shown as far west as Diablo College, in California.

James McLellan
James has been working in ceramics for more than 18 years. Since receiving his BFA s from Metropolitan State College of Denver, where he has continued teaching and showing his work in Denver and out of state. James enjoys working in all the ceramic arts and teaching beginners on the pottery wheel.

Susan Michalakes 

Susan has been an avid crafter most of her life and enjoys dabbling in a variety of different crafts. Her passions include Zentangle inspired art and knitting/spinning. She was fortunate to be able to travel to Providence, Rhode Island in April 2017 to obtain her certification as a Zentangle teacher. Professionally, she has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for over 30 years and truly enjoys the wide variety of people she's been able to meet over the years. 

Norbert Nagel
Norbert has served as co-president of the Pastel Society of Colorado. Most of his work is done plein air, working to capture the feeling of a landscape more than copying it. His background includes working with regional pastel artists and at Metropolitan State College of Denver. And Colorado State University. He has won several awards for his plein air paintings.

Christine O’Dea
Christine has an education degree from the University of Maine and a fine arts degree from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She shows her ceramic/mixed media installations in local galleries.

Jay O’Shea
Jay is a watercolor artist with a background in oil and acrylics. He received several years training under Tom Berger, along with self-study and workshops. He has received several awards, including a People’s Choice award and a Most Improved Artist award at the Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival. He also has exhibited at the Lakewood Cultural Center and the National Mining Hall of Fame art gallery in Leadville. Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. He is retired as a supervisory landscape architect from the National Park Service.

Laurey Patten
Laurey is a certified PMC jewelry artist, potter and fiction writer who thoroughly enjoys teaching. She developed her lifelong interest in clay rift after grad school, while working on an archaeological dig in England.  Her work has been shown in Washington D.C. Virginia, and Colorado. In her spare time, Laurey enjoys writing fantasy novels, jewelry design, herbology and travel.

Slawa Radziszewska
Slawa specializes in realistic portraiture, figure painting and other representational imagery. In her classes she does art demos, which are very helpful for her students in developing drawing and painting skills. Her art in the making was presented in the “International Artist” magazine April/May 2019. She believes that we all have gifts to be shared with the World and in the process of creating art we can bring them to fruition and fulfill our potential. Painting portraits might be challenging, but it is also a very satisfying and a joyful process.

Judith Scott
Judith has an M.F.A from Denver University. For over 30 years she has been teaching various mediums. Currently she teaches at the Lakewood Cultural Center, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Art Students League in Denver. She is a lifetime member of the Pastel Society of America, winning many awards over the years and is included in several art books.

Joseph Sikora
Joseph was trained in traditional wood carving in Bavaria, Germany. He worked for 10 years as a freelance carver while in Bavaria and returned to the United States in 1991. He displays and sells his pieces at Sikora Woodcarving in Louisville.

Anna Valenti
Anna is a ceramic artist whose work centers around gathering spaces and the domestic objects that cultivate belonging. Stemming from family traditions of weaving, gardening, and jerry-rigging, Anna weaves and pinches clay vessels ranging from pots to chairs to screens. She received a BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a MFA from the Maine College of Art. She has exhibited nationally and is the recipient of the 2020 NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship and 2021 Colorado Arts Grant. Her research is in fiber clay bodies and currently maintains a studio in Longmont, Colorado.

Sumi von Dassow
Well-known as a potter, teacher and writer, Sumi work that includes brightly glazed functional pieces, burnished and pit-fired vessels and ceramic sculpture. She has participated in the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and has won numerous awards in major national and local shows. Her work has appeared in books and magazines, including Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated. She has edited two books for the American Ceramic Society. Her book, “Low-Firing and Burnishing,” was published in 2009, as well as a DVD titled Pit-Firing and Burnishing. Her book “In the Potter’s Kitchen” was published in 2014. Her innovative work is represented in permanent collections of several arts institutions throughout the country. Sumi studied ceramics in Seattle and San Francisco and graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State University.

Robin Wilton
Robin earned a B.F.A. with a concentration in weaving for Colorado State University. She’s been weaving for over 50 years. Robin has been teaching inkle weaving, rigid heddle weaving and beginning weaving at Washington Heights for almost 5 years.   Robin has taught inkle weaving for shops and weaving guilds throughout the Front Range for many years.