Meet our Instructors


Marian Alstad has led painting workshops in and outside of the United States, including Baja, MX, coastal towns of France, Italy, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Taos and Santa Fe, NM, Ireland and Costa Rica. She teaches students of all skill levels and is a knowledgeable and positive instructor, supporting her students one-on-one and in group critiques. Art is her life’s passion. She has won many awards in juried shows, and has over thirty years experience teaching watercolor in the Twin Cities.

Mary Axelson did postgraduate studies in painting and drawing at the University of Minnesota and St. Thomas University. Her work is featured in the Minnesota Governor’s mansion and numerous private and corporate collections. She is an award-winning artist who exhibits nationally and internationally, recently placing fourth in the Minnesota State Fair 102nd Fine Arts Exhibition in the Watercolor, Gouache, Casein, and Tempera class. She was also accepted into the International Society of Experimental Artists (ISEA) 22nd Annual Art Exhibit in Sanibel, FL. She has taught watercolor painting for many years. You can view some of Mary’s work at

Chuck Burton is a glass artist and owner of Burton Art Studios in Savage, MN and also the Glass Studio manager at Artistry. He received his glass education at nearby Normandale Community College. Mr. Burton can be found at craft fairs throughout the area.

Alex Chinn grew up in rural western Massachusetts in an old farmhouse with his painter mother.  He was exposed to many forms of art, including clay, from early childhood.  Clay became his primary artistic outlet while studying with Ron Gallas at Macalester College.  For more than 15 years Alex has kept an active studio at the Northern Clay Center and a home, and garden, with his family in Saint Paul.  Alex makes forms that are considerate of their intended use and are interesting to view and touch.  Nature is often a source of inspiration as are the daily needs around the house and garden. Images of his work can be seen on his Facebook page.

Sara Church has been a practicing artist in the Twin City area since the mid 1970's. Many of the themes and rhythms behind her images come from having spent early school years along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, summers in the country, and the study of classical music and dance. Nature, be it geographical, biological or psychological, continue to be her sources for expression and symbolism of immaterial realities. Sara earned her undergraduate degree from Goddard College, in Plainfield, Vermont in 1973, focusing on the fine arts and psychology; and her MAED in 2001 from St. Kate's in St. Paul, MN. She returns to teaching at Artistry following thirteen years teaching elementary art in the public school system.

David Cunningham is an Artist based out of St. Paul, MN. He studied Traditional oil painting at the Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art. Training at the Atelier was a four year endeavor which began with a series of exercises starting with charcoal drawings of plaster caste busts, before progressing to more difficult things such as still life, portraiture and the human figure in oil paint. Concurrent with these exercises was the study of life drawing with charcoal followed by Oil paint. After completing the program David spent a number of years painting landscape paintings as well as figurative work. Since 2010 David has developed a large body of work focused on urban landscapes. For more information:

Kathryn D'Elia joins the Artistry team after 14 years of formal training in the visual arts. Raised in Jacksonville, Florida, she attended all arts based schools during her upbringing. She earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 2011 at Flagler College in Saint, Augustine, Florida, focusing on figure painting from live observation in conjunction with pop cultural themes. She then moved to Seattle, Washington to earn her Masters degree in Drawing and Painting from the University of Washington in 2014, mainly focusing on collage and oil painting, exploring tropes, plays on words, and assemblage of new forms. . Kathryn recently relocated to Minneapolis to pursue her love of teaching full time and to devote her time to her own studio practice, manipulating biologic and anatomical forms into elaborate drawings.

Emma Freeman is a multi-disciplinary artist who works with textiles, printmaking, drawing, fabric based jewelry and photography. She loves little details, strong contrast and beautiful, rich colors. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Studio Art from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has run her own art business for almost 10 years. She has taught individual and group art classes around the Twin Cities including at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Her work has been featured in local and national publications and is sold at stores and galleries nationwide. She has a playful, fun approach to teaching and is on a mission to help people make more beautiful things with their hands. She believes that everyone is more creative than they think they are and wants to help them find the joy and empowerment that she has discovered through art making. You can see her work at and

Doug House has been strongly influenced by the French and American Impressionists, the Barbizon School of painters and American Expressionists. He is fascinated by their use of light, paint value and color to create mood, mystery and expression. For the past number of years, Mr. House has focused his landscape paintings around the National Forests, Parks and Scenes of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Great Lakes area and the Canadian Border Parks. He holds a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Lynette LaRue has been a teaching artist for Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center since 2009. She is the illustrator of "A Bugs Gift" which is in the American Comic Book Collection. Her art work has been seen in art centers, orchestra kinder-concerts, professional theatre performances, parades, large events, and television for over thirty years. Lynette also writes, directs and manages a wide variety of productions, bringing her unique expertise to theatre companies, community productions and colleges throughout the U.S. This Prior Lake resident is also trained as an educator and enjoys helping students from preschool through adulthood integrate the arts into their everyday lives.

Kathy Litwin Art is an integral part of Kathy’s life.  Drawing has been a friend of hers for as long as she can remember. Life took a different path for many years, but the need to draw softly called her back and has become a passion. Formal classes for Kathy began at the Edina Art Center, and it was there where she completed she training at the School of Realism. Her professional education continues as she attends workshops and lectures from regional and national artists. Still life had been a focus for Kathy, but in the last several years, plein air painting has become a new passion. She currently has a studio in her home (along with the entire outdoors!). At the present time she teaches drawing and painting at Artistry and the Edina and Eden Prairie Art Centers, and also for Rochester Community Education. Her work has been shown at the Edina Art Center, Robbin Gallery, Kelley Gallery, Frame Works in St. Paul, and Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa CA. 

Brady McLearen has been a teaching artist for 6 years and holds a BFA in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Minnesota, with a minor in architecture. He has been awarded grants from the Jerome Foundation, Central Regional Arts Council, and Central Minnesota Arts Board. In the past 4 years, Brady has completed a studio assistantship at JD Jorgenson Pottery through the Wood-Firing Exchange Program, received the Fogelberg Fellowship at Northern Clay Center, and was a resident artist at Guldagergaard International Research Center, in Skælskør, Denmark. His sculptural ceramic studio work is an experimental investigation of the formal languages and frequencies that we find in both the quantum and grand cosmic realm. 

Sandra Muzzy lives and works in Bloomington, Minnesota and is a full time artist. Much of her time is spent trying to capture, up close and on paper, those things in the natural world that intrigue her the most. The repetition of simple organic patterns and shapes are reflected in her paintings from debris on the ground all the way up to the nests in the trees. What catches Sandra’s fancy is sometimes a spring ephemeral, maybe a hardy weed in the cracks or even a feather dropped by a busy bird on its way to more important tasks. These simple objects are so easy to overlook in our daily bustle. She brings you up close to these treasures and asks you to take the time to enjoy them. Sandra is actively involved in the Minneapolis art scene.  She is a past President of the Minnesota Watercolor Society and has served both the Minnesota Watercolor Society and the Northstar Watercolor Society in a number of different capacities. Examples of Sandra’s work can be seen at

Carl Oltvedt works full-time as an artist in a variety of painting and drawing media. He retired from Minnesota State University Moorhead in May of 2015, where he was a Professor in the School of Visual Arts. He continues to teach workshops and short-term classes in the region. His work has been exhibited at Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis since 1978. His paintings and drawings are included in numerous public, corporate, and private collections. He has completed commissions for corporations and private collectors including Cargill Corporation, Minnesota Mutual, Securian Corporation, Microsoft, and the Laske family. He was a recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants in 2014 and 1991, and a Lake Region Arts Council/McKnight Artist Fellowship in 2002.

Erin Paradis is a ceramic sculptor living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota and her BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.  She has been a Visiting Assistant Professor and is currently a Lecturer in Ceramics and Sculpture at the University of Minnesota.  She has worked extensively as an artist, resident, and instructor at art centers and academic settings around the country including Odyssey Clayworks, Penland School of Craft, and Colorado State University.  She has traveled internationally and has shown work at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden, Scotland.  Paradis’ work is inspired by moments of uncertainty she experiences and how she gains clarity through encounters with seemingly ordinary structures, spaces, and objects in her daily life.  These moments are abstracted into her ceramic sculpture and composed into her installations.

Kate Renee lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kate graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in fine arts, art history, and a minor in design, and has worked with various galleries and museums in the Twin Cities including the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Larson Art Gallery, American Swedish Institute and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. After finishing up her Assistant Gallery Director Internship at Altered Esthetics, a non-profit art gallery in Northeast Minneapolis, Kate became the first Director of Solo Exhibitions. Kate writes her artist development blog, The Suction Cup to help other emerging artists with business skills. You can read her blog at

Kelly Ross
While pursuing her love for teaching as an undergraduate and graduate student in Education at the University of Florida, Kelly discovered her passion for pottery and sculpture. She began teaching ceramics in 2010 and has had the pleasure of working with students of all ages and abilities. Kelly’s favorite creations are made for everyday use but also incorporate an element of fun and whimsy.

David Swenson received his B.F.A. in studio ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He is a resident artist at Northern Clay Center and received a Fogelberg Fellowship in 2009.

Priya Thoresen is skilled in both functional pottery and abstract sculpture. Priya started out working on the wheel at Berea College, where she was involved in the school's apprenticeship program. Her hand built sculptural work references architecture and everyday objects. Priya completed an MFA at Arizona State University and was recently selected as a Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist.

Tom Tyler has received many awards for his paintings, and creates an informal, inviting environment in his classes. Tom holds a BA in studio art from the University of Minnesota, where he studied with painters Jo Lutz Rollins and Cameron Booth. Tom has participated in several solo shows and group exhibitions in Minnesota, California, and New Mexico.

Looking for an instructor? Instructor bios for visiting and master artists are on their class or workshop listing.

Head over to our Classes Page and click on the medium categories to find the right class for you!

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