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 Featured Artist: 

Laura Triplett

Our instructors are at the heart of the North Hills Art Center. Get to know them below!

There is no gatekeeping here! Our instructors bring immense value to our community by sharing their wealth of talent, knowledge, and experience.

We pride ourselves on the quality and diversity of our class offerings, and to make that possible we are always hiring new instructors! If you feel you have knowledge to share, send your resume and cover letter to: execdirector@northhillsartcenter.org.

We are accepting applications for most mediums, but we are especially looking for:

  • Adult drawing.
  • Children's drawing, painting, crafts, and/or pottery.

All of our instructors have current PA child abuse clearances on file.

Tip: Click on an instructor's name to view all of their current class and workshop openings!

Beth Baskinger has a BA in Creative Writing with a concentration in photography from Carnegie Mellon University and an MAT in ESL from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She taught ESL at the middle school level as well as adult education before taking time off to raise her children. The arts have always played a crucial role in her family and she continued writing and photography, as well as costume making, quilting and knitting. Beth is now an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Functional Nutrition Practitioner, with creativity being a foundational element for her business, Off The Plate. She stumbled upon a pottery class at NHAC after the pandemic and immediately fell in love with the medium, constantly pushing herself to learn and grow. She is excited to share the joy of self-expression through the arts with the NHAC family. 

Katie Botterman is a ceramic artist and instructor working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned her BFA in ceramics from Ohio University in 2021. She began working at the North Hills Art Center later that year, sharing her love of clay through teaching. From beginners to advanced, wheel-throwing and hand-building, Katie loves introducing people to this most elemental art of playing with mud and challenging returning students with more advanced techniques. Katie also helps to keep things running smoothly in the studio by firing the kilns, recycling clay for classes, and other maintenance. When there is time to spare she enjoys reading fantasy novels and adventuring outdoors: skiing, kayaking, hiking, and camping.  She also works on her own ancient-inspired sculptures and searches for opportunities to exhibit her works. To see more visit her website: katiebotterman.com

Douglas Brown is a Pittsburgh native who attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. After pursuing a career as a package designer and free-lance artist for almost 40 years, he recently returned to the Pittsburgh area. He is a signature member and past president of the Pennsylvania En Plein Air Society. For the past 20 years he has taught watercolors and shared his love of the beauty of colors with hundreds of students.

Ruthann Farinacci got her degree in Art Education from Edinboro University. She has previously taught pottery classes at NHAC and currently teaches Landscape Weaving. She has served on the Board of Directors here at NHAC for the past 20 years, 10 of which she served as Board President.  When not teaching here at NHAC, Ruthann teaches painting in the NHAC outreach program to residents of Vincention. She is a member of several fiber arts guilds in the area and she demonstrates and sells her artwork at various festivals and shops in the area.

Kim Freithaler is originally from New York City and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from St. John's University, where she completed an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also studied at the Art Students League in Manhattan. She taught art in Manhattan public schools and currently teaches painting at the North Hills Art Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she is the Executive Director. She is an award winning painter who exhibits her work in galleries, as well as local businesses. Her murals are installed in public buildings both here and in Georgia. Oil portraits are done by commission. A selection of her artwork may be viewed at kimfreithaler.com and facebook.com/kimfreithalerportraits.

Marianne Hilke's early art education was in Pittsburgh at The Ivy School of Art, then continued at the Rhode Island School of Photography. She established the Art department and curriculum for grades K – 12 at a large private school while living in N. Palm Springs, CA.

She is affiliated with the Butler Institute of American Art, Shenango Pallette Club and  North Hills Art Gallery and attends different workshops to keep skills updated. She also teaches for different organizations and at her home studio along with volunteering for the Veterans Administration.

Sheila Klotz fell in love with the world of art from the very first stroke of a paintbrush. Years later, she embarked on a new chapter by enrolling in a watercolor painting class. Since then, her artistic horizons have expanded to include acrylics, collages, and Gyotaku (an ancient Japanese technique). No matter the medium, her creations celebrate the vibrant energy of life.

You'll find her work showcased at galleries including Manos Gallery, Latrobe Art Center, Butler Art Center, and the North Hills Art Center as well as at libraries including Shaler and Monroeville, and at several coffee shops, restaurants, and professional offices. She also maintains a home studio in Gibsonia. Connect with her on Instagram @bluehuesartbysheila or visit her website bluehuesartbysheila@gmail.com.

Stacy Koehler is a quilt maker who started her first quilt when she was 22, finished it when she was 35 and has since become a little more productive. Over the years she has grabbed all the opportunities she could to learn  about quilting and other fiber arts, all without acquiring an art degree. She is a firm believer in the idea that expressing oneself and influencing one’s environment through creative pursuits is a vital and enjoyable part of life, regardless of skill, interest or depth of participation.  In other words: for everyone. Stacy has been a certified quilt show judge since 2005. She has taught in schools, shops, conferences, quilt shows and community centers. She does not have a specialty because it is all too much fun. Stacy started her involvement with NHAC when she moved to the area seven years ago and wandered in, looking for a new art home. Which she found.

Donna Caroline Lesondak is a self-taught Mosaic Artist residing in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Donna works primarily with stained glass but also with glass tile, smalti and found objects. Always needing to do something creative, Donna was a cake decorator working from home for fifteen years while raising her two sons. She has won awards for her cakes that were entered in shows and taught cake decorating for five years. After attending workshops with mosaic artists Kasia Polkowska of Colorado, and Martin Cheek of Broadstairs Kent UK, Donna found her true passion in Stained Glass Mosaic Art and has now been creating her art for eight years. Her favorite subjects are birds and nature. Donna has shown her art locally and has been a featured artist at Arts of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City, NC.

Jamie Monaghan was born in January of 1989 and began drawing as a hobby at the young age of 9. She enjoyed drawing some of her favorite characters, which eventually led her into an abstract style while also practicing realism from drawing her own hands. Jamie continued taking drawing and painting classes throughout middle school and high school. After receiving her undergraduate degree in social work in 2014, she found her way back to the arts one year later. With a longing to create again she began taking painting classes at The Baum School of Art in Allentown Pa. She began teaching painting sessions at a local studio in 2016. In 2017, Jamie moved and shortly after fully immersed herself into the art scene of Pittsburgh. 

Jeanine Murch is a freelance illustrator specializing in whimsical art and hand lettering for books, greeting cards, magazines, and advertising campaigns. She holds a BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and started her career designing children's books in the big publishing houses of New York City. After a decade of experience there, she took the leap from the corporate world into freelance to expand her creative opportunities and start a family. She's now happy to be living back in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, two children and sweet rescue pup—who all can be found as inspiration in her work.

Elise Neill is the elementary STEAM teacher at Cornell Elementary.  She has a computer engineering degree from Ohio State, an elementary education certificate from University of Pittsburgh, and a Masters in Stem Education from PennWest (CalU). Elise has been a member of the North Hills Art Center ever since her children were young. Elise also plays in the North Pittsburgh Symphonic Band, helps out with Girl Scouts, and is often found creating with whatever materials are available. She especially enjoys working with 3D printing and robotics.

Maureen Knecht Newcamp has a BFA in Fine Arts at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She started as a printmaker, then started Mosaic’s By Moe with Transformation Treasures in Lawrenceville, while working part time as a fitness instructor and Activity Person at Marian Hall. Maureen took a full time job with the North Boroughs YMCA and the YMCA Community Center. She left the Y in 2013 to work full time with seniors at Grace Manor at North Park. Life took a turn in 2018 and Maureen found her way back to the North Hills Art Center in 2020. While reinventing herself and wanting to be more involved in the Arts, she is starting to teach workshops.

Karen Nootbaar is a native of the Midwest, although for nearly 30 years she, her husband, and their daughter have called Pittsburgh home. Art has been a constant passion of hers and she currently enjoys watercolor, soft pastel, weaving, wet felting and knitting. A love of color and the interactions between colors is a continuing focus of her artwork. She has experience teaching a variety of creative projects, including knitting, crochet, Shibori dyeing, wet felting, rubber stamping, and collage.

Jeanne Perrier's art training and education is primarily from the past 20 years with a focus on botanical illustration in colored pencil, graphite, and pen and ink. She lives with cats. Pencils are safe. Studied under various national and international botanical artists and colored pencil artists. Earned an Advanced Level Certificate (highest offered) in Botanical Art and Illustration from Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Participated in numerous juried national and local exhibitions. Currently on faculty at the North Hills Art Center. Previously taught at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Oil City Art Center, and Masonic Village Senior Community. Recently awarded signature status (CPSA) by the Colored Pencil Society of America for having been accepted into their juried international exhibition three times within 10 years. Member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, Allegheny Highlands Botanical Art Society, Colored Pencil Society of America, Botany Society of Western Pennsylvania, and Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. jeanne.perrier@att.net

Diane Pontoriero is an artist, art educator and potter. She has taught art to children through adults. She enjoys working with pastels, watercolors, fiber arts and clay. She has a degree in Landscape Architecture from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Art Education from Carlow University. She is the pottery supervisor at the North Hills Art Center and the President of the Board of Directors. Her pottery is featured at the Firebox Art Gallery in Carnegie, PA.

Dwight Pritchett is a native of Pittsburgh but has also lived in Franklin, PA and Fort Lauderdale, FL. Upon graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Dwight ran his own successful graphic art studio for 45 years. After retiring, he joined the North Hills Art Center to brush up in various mediums like watercolor, painting and sketching. With his experience as a graphic illustrative artist, the NHAC invited him to join the talented and inspiring teaching staff at the North Hills Art Center. Dwight enjoys the challenges and rewards of teaching.

Saige Runyan is a watercolor artist based in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2021, she graduated from Penn State with a Bachelor of Architecture and a dual minor in Art and Philosophy. Though she had been creating art since she was old enough to hold a pencil, she first fell in love with watercolor when she began to use it to add depth to her technical drawings in university. After university, Saige and her partner settled in Pittsburgh. She focused on further refining her art style and began showing her work at Vestige Gallery. However, she soon found that she craved creative community. This led to her seeking employment at the North Hills Art Center, where she now serves as an office assistant and watercolor instructor. To see more of Saige's work, visit www.saigeleaf.art.

Tyler Stauffer is a User Experience Designer by day and a teacher by night. He has a BS in Art Education with certifications in Art K-12 and Mathematics 6-8. He has taught children 4-18 in the school setting and adults in both private lessons and at Painting with a Twist. He enjoys creating ceramic works focused on birds along with teaching ceramics, drawing, and printmaking.

Heather Tantalo-Spiegel took every art elective she could get her hands on through school, focusing on ceramics and metalshop. This experience lead directly into a jewelry repair shop apprenticeship where she stayed for the next 4 years in that trade. Later she went into childcare, working primarily with preschool/school age children for the next 5 years and planning many of the art projects at the school age level before moving on to work at an Embroidery shop. Heather now teaches various art classes at North Hills Art Center, focusing mainly on pottery and fiber arts.

Susan Vincent is an illustrator with long-term experience in the art field, and her work has included everything from business card designs to wall murals. She has a passion for working in pastel and oil, but more recently has leaned into computer-generated artwork and is loving the versatility it provides! As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she has illustrated six children’s books, is working on her seventh, and hopes to publish her own children’s books someday. She has taught painting and drawing to both adults and children at the NHAC, as well as other local art centers. Part of her joy as an artist is helping others discover and develop their talent while being a part of their creative journey. She has a degree in Visual Communications from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and took art classes at Carnegie Mellon University. Her artwork has been featured in various shows throughout the Pittsburgh area and has won Juror’s Choice and Honorable Mention awards. 

James Warmbrodt is an attorney by profession, but his avocation is watercolor painting. A mostly self-taught painter, James is a signature member of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, and he is also a member of other art organizations including the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, the Cranberry Artists Network, and the North Hills Art Center. In addition to exhibiting his paintings in art shows, James accepts commissions from a growing number of patrons. James began teaching watercolor painting as a way to share his interest and enthusiasm for watercolors with other artists, and he particularly enjoys seeing students develop their ability and enjoyment as watercolor painters.

Cynthia Young studied ceramic art in Japan, England, several locations in the US and ceramic engineering in Alfred, NY. Her MFA was earned at University of Florida. She has taught at Mendocino Art Center, Westminster College, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and North Hills Art Center. Teaching is important to her because of the great people she meets and the enjoyment of seeing the progress of the students along with their satisfaction in the development of their skills.

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North Hills Art Center

3432 Babcock Blvd | Pittsburgh, PA 15237

(412) 364-3622 

info@northhillsartcenter.org


© 2023 North Hills Art Center

The NHAC is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization

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