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 more than 20 years and teaching this fun and challenging art at Washington Heights for 10 years. She is known for her sense of play as well as her technical knowledge. 

Loay Boggess

Loay is a lifetime learner and artist conversant in multiple mediums including clay, weaving, bookbinding, printmaking, and photography. In 2001 she received a B.F.A. from CU Denver. In 2007, Loay found her passion in mud and fire. She instructs the monthly wood firings at Washington Heights Art Center and runs Sunday Open Studios. 

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.

Judie Dickinson

Judie has been weaving since the early 1980s (unless you count a potholder 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 and ply-splitting. 

Will Dickinson 

Will was educated at the University Of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences and the Glasgow School of Art, majoring in fine arts and anthology. His art has been featured in many shows and exhibitions in New York City, Washington D.C. and Florence and Assisi, Italy. He has made his home in Denver and is a member of Prism workspaces. 

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 the Developmental Disability Resource Center’s Art and Soul program, teaching art classes to disabled adults for the past 10 years. 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.  

Kristee Graham 

Kristee is an internationally collected fine art painter, sculptor and jewelry designer. She has completed a body of work consisting of hundreds of commissioned works, original paintings, drawings, jewelry design, art photos and commercial graphics. Her work has been shown a various fairs and festivals throughout Colorado and in many whole sale and retail venues in the U.S. Kristee is now focusing her craft on inspiring young people to follow their creative dreams. 

Katrina Hoing

Bio coming soon.

Jan Janas

Jan has a bachelor's degree in art education and has attended multiple universities to strengthen and diversify her art style. She has written four silk painting books, appeared in many juried/invitational art shows, and her work hangs in private/corporate collections. Jan has taught students in elementary school, high school and universities. She has traveled and taught in many states conventions and in France. 

Joy Jensen

After a lifetime of working with fiber, Joy has been weaving for over nine years and continues to love all of the possibilities that are presented through color, texture and pattern. There seems to be infinite opportunity to learn and create through weaving. As a teacher, Joy loves helping students develop their projects and see them through to completion and success!  

Renee Jorgensen

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, D.C.  He has worked as an oil painter for over 22 years. His work currently hangs in collections as far east as Philadelphia, and he has shown as far west as Diablo Valley College, in California.

Judy McCann 

Judy’s work is a culmination of years of studying pottery and jewelry art forms. Her love of pottery led to her interest in metalsmithing. Judy is the founding member of “Painted with Fire Art Guild” at Washington Heights and is involved in many summer markets. 

James McLellan 

James has been working in ceramics for more than 18 years. Since receiving his B.F.A. from Metropolitan State College of Denver, he has continued teaching and showing his work in Denver and out of state. James enjoys working in all of 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.

Rita Moore

Rita has been an artist for over 40 years. She began as an artist/graphics illustrator for the Boeing Company in Seattle. She is a private instructor and freelance artist as well as an instructor at Washington Heights, teaching the art of painting on porcelain. She has a compassion for wildlife, animals and humans, which influence her art.  

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

Bio coming soon.

James Overstreet 

Currently working as a fine artist in Denver, Overstreet’s main focus is oil painting, however he is accomplished in acrylic and watercolor. Overstreet works in other mediums as well, including ceramics, sculpture, drawing and photography. Overstreet obtained a B.F.A. at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in 2017. He has shown his work in various places throughout Colorado and Wyoming, including the Cheyenne Artists Guild, The Cheyenne Civic Center, Ester and John Clay gallery at Laramie County Community College, Art Lab in Fort Collins and the Phillip J. Steele Gallery in Lakewood.

Laurey Patten

Laurey is a certified PMC jewelry artist, potter and fiction writer who thoroughly enjoys teaching. She developed her lifelong interest in clay right 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 heroic fantasy novels, jewelry design, herbology and travel.

Alina Deac Pelegrin 

Alina has been an illustrator, painter, and expressive sculptor over the last couple of decades. She turned her attention to mosaic fine arts with explorations in color and andamento, followed by advanced studies in application and cutting techniques. Her mosaics and illustrations have been exhibited in several shows on the West Coast and Colorado. 

Jade Phillips

Jade received a B.F.A. from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and an M.A. in studio art from Eastern Illinois University. Her life journey is dedicated to empowering students to become artistic advocates for themselves, as she has learned how to be her own agent in various forms from previous mentors.  

Slawa Radziszewska 

Slawa specializes in realistic portraiture, figure painting and other representational imagery. She works from live models or photos, using oils, pastels, charcoal or watercolor. Slawa believes that creating art will fulfill our potential and that in learning new skills, we always stretch ourselves beyond our limits. As a result, this process can bring joy not only to us, but to others as well. 

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 woodcarving 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.  

Bob Smith 

A renowned artist and studio potter for more than 40 years, Bob started his career working in functional stoneware but quickly moved to low-fire work, especially raku. His current work reflects an increased interest in Terra sigillata and saggar firing, which has made a large impact on his work in scale, gesture and surface treatment.  

Anne Van Leeuwen 

Anne has been a hand papermaker for over 30 years and has taught paper making and cyanotype. She received her B.A. in design from UCLA. Her paper making training includes work at Carriage House (Brookline, MA); Fabriano, Italy (Paper’s first home in Europe); Taos Papermaking; and the International Association of Papermakers workshops in Italy and France.  

Sumi von Dassow 

Well-known as a potter, teacher and writer, Sumi has 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 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 has earned a B.F.A. with a concentration in weaving from Colorado State University. She’s been weaving for over 40 years. Known as “the Weaving Lady,” Robin specializes in doing programs about weaving and spinning for Denver metro area children in schools and at events. Robin has taught inkle weaving for shops and weaving guilds throughout the Front Range for many years.