Young at Art – Meet the Teachers

Each summer, ACA welcomes its smallest campers to the Young at Art, a morning camp for 4-5 year olds.  This year, we have three new enthusiastic and energetic teachers for our young campers.  We are excited to welcome Robert, Shooka and Ashley – read more about them below!

Young at Art runs in weekly sessions through Labor Day, come join us!


For the past ten years, Robert Rogers and his students of all ages have tromped through forests, zoos, museums, and even classrooms making music, theater, and mayhem. But gentle mayhem. Good mayhem. One afternoon, his students watched a goat give birth. They composed a song of celebration on the spot and marched it to all four corners of the farm. When indoors, Robert can be found writing plays and directing musicals for children, and performing lead roles in community theater and musicals. He graduated from the Kennedy Center Training Program for Emerging Playwrights as well as the American Conservatory and Asolo Conservatory Theater residency programs. Robert holds an MFA in Playwriting for Young Audiences from Lesley University and is Early Childhood Certified in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

He loves to skate, ski, and skimboard. Alas, despite years of training and a Masters degree in mathematics, he remains incurably silly.



“Music, life and enjoyment are three inseparable concepts!”  That is the basis of Shooka Afshar’s philosophy of music.  Kids in Shooka’s classes learn to open their ears to music and harmony and to experience the power of music.   She teaches rhythm, toddler tunes, group dancing and other fun activities, all using the Dacrozian Methods, through which students use movement to learn about music.

Shooka herself fell in love with music and performing at an early age.  She watched her first classical concert on a vhs at the age four and instantly decided to become an opera singer.  She started learning piano by ear and never stopped performing.

Shooka was awarded her BA and then completed her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at Longy School of Music. In addition to teaching in schools and the Community Music Center of Boston, Shooka also teaches flute, piano and voice to individual students.


AshleyYarnellAshley Yarnell has been performing all over the New England area since a very young age, and made her professional debut at the Publick Theatre Boston at the age of 12. Since then she has continued to pursue her love of music and all things theatrical, completing her BFA in Musical Theatre from the renowned Pace University in New York City, where she was able to partake in Master Classes with such industry names as: Jack O’Brien, Joanna Gleason, David Stone, Stephen Flaherty, Michael Greif, Victoria Clark, Jerry Mitchell, Adam Guettel, Donna Drake, Curtil Holbrook, Lonny Price, and Bob Cline. She has also performed professionally with: Rachel York, Patrick Cassidy, Lee Meriwether, and dance icon Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Following undergraduate study, Ashley decided to branch out from the musical theatre world of performing and into the world of teaching and contemporary music. She completed graduate coursework in Vocal Pedagogy, Jazz Vocals, World Music, Choral Conducting, and General Music Education at the University of Massachusetts. Since graduating in 2008, she has built up a plethora of students throughout the New England area and is extremely excited to be teaching in the very town she grew up in and inspired her love and desire for a musical life. An avid composer/lyricist as well, Ashley is looking to continue to perform and write for the live rock/blues/acoustic scene.


Faculty Profile: Marjorie Glick, Watercolor

marjorie glick's "Marsh Radiance"

“Marsh Radiance” by Marjorie Glick

If you’ve picked up our fall catalog, you’ve no doubt already been drawn into the inspiring beauty of Marjorie Glick’s watercolors.  Her “Marsh Radiance” graces the cover of our fall catalog and is generating a lot of “oooohs” and “aahhhs,” even from those not quite yet willing to admit that autumn is on its way.

Marjorie Glick is known for her large scale and vivid realism watercolors that are inspired by New England’s places of antiquity and by the beauty found in nature.  We couldn’t be more delighted to offer her classes and workshops here at ACA.

marjorie glick

Marjorie Glick

Now starting her second year as a teacher at the Arlington Center for the Arts, Marjorie is a warm, inspiring and challenging teacher who helps beginning and advanced students alike take their watercolor skills to the next level.

“I absolutely LOVE Marjorie Glick,” said one of her students. “She was so insightful, and inspiring. She always did a great lengthy demonstration each week, to help us understand how watercolors work, wet, dry, etc.”

This fall, Marjorie is offering Watercolor Foundations, Intermediate Watercolor, and a one-day Plein Air Workshop at Menotomy Rocks Park in Arlington.

Marjorie has been painting for 30 years and has exhibited at several regional museums and galleries including the DeCordova Museum, Berkshire Art Museum, Brockton Art Museum, Beth Urdang Gallery, Boston, and the Forum Gallery in New York.

She has served as Adjunct Faculty for The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and has been a member of the faculty of the DeCordova Museum School, in Lincoln, MA since 1986. She leads plein air workshops each summer in Maine and in 2009, she led a painting workshop in Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France.

Marjorie’s work is in over 40 corporate and private collections including The Federal Reserve Bank, Fidelity Investments, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tufts-New England Medical Center, all in Boston; Friends Hospital, in Philadelphia. She is the recipient of grants from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (Artist’s Resource Trust Grant) and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Her work has appeared in the following publications: Splash 11—New Directions: The Best of Contemporary Watercolor, by Rachel Rubin Wolf (North Light Books, 2010) and Watercolor Artist Magazine, feature article, Once Upon a Time by Meredith Lewis October 2010. She holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and has studied independently with Wolf Kahn and George Nick.

More artwork by Marjorie:

12glickmarjorie glick spaceandgraceMarjorie Glick (2)Learn more about Marjorie Glick on her website.

Faculty Profile: Barbara Zeles, figurative clay, expressive figure drawing

Faculty Profile: Barbara Zeles

Since she first started teaching at the Arlington Center for the Arts in 1992, Barbara Zeles has earned a reputation as a wise and wonderful teacher of figurative clay and expressive figure drawing.

Student artwork from Barbara Zeles clay sculpting class

Barbara has been teaching figurative sculpture and drawing at ACA for 20 years!  Her extensive experience as an International Folk Dancer and Massage Therapist give her insight into the balance and structure of the body. She has the knowledge to answer questions about the underlying anatomy and its landmarks on the surface.

Sculpture by Barbara Zeles

Barbara Zeles has a BFA in sculpture from Boston University. She has also studied painting at the Museum School, Boston and in Skopelos, Greece. Recently she has been studying glass blowing at the Massachusetts College of Art. She has exhibited throughout New England and the Atlantic states, including the Art Complex Museum, the Lamont Gallery and the Arthur Ross Gallery at University of Pennsylvania.

Clear Cranium by Barbara Zeles

Barbara’s copper wire pieces, looped into shapes and wrapped with molten glass, have earned her a page in the Corning Museum of “New Glass Review 26”.

She is an artist involved with process, which is seen quite expressively through her work.

She has been awarded three local Massachusetts Cultural Council grants.

Barbara has a studio at the Waltham Mills Artists Association in Waltham, MA.

Friday Night Teen Clubhouse @ ACA

Friday night, and nothing for your teen to do?
How many times parents have heard that complaint! 

Now there’s a great option at the Arlington Center for the Arts – the “Friday Night Teen Clubhouse” – a place for creative teens to connect, socialize and be creative in a safe and fun atmosphere, led by two Arlington High School graduates who remember what it was like to be a teen in Arlington looking for a place to fit in and hang out with other creative teens.

looking for something fun for teens on Friday Nights? Join the Friday Night Teen Clubhouse at ACA!

The Teen Clubhouse meets on Friday evenings, with new sessions beginning in the Fall, Winter and Spring, with separate groups for middle school students and high school students.    The cost is $110 for eight weeks, or $95 for ACA members.  Pre-registration is required, and teens must sign up for the full eight weeks (no drop-in option).

The middle school Teen Clubhouse runs from 6:00-8:00, led by Chris Legare,  an AHS graduate who has since earned his BA from Mass College of Art.  Chris is a long-time teacher of arts and animation at ACA.  For the middle school group, Chris plans on starting each Friday night with a guided lesson exploring mediums such as charcoal drawing, animation, stenciling, graphic arts, painting, installation art, sculpting and more. The second hour of each class will be dedicated to open studio time where students can continue on with the guided lesson, work independently or in groups on their own projects, socialize, and just unwind, have fun, and make new friends.

Chris Legare (on left, in red) will work with the middle school group in this fall’s Teen Clubhouse. Chris is known for his imaginative projects – everything from animation to street art to photography and more!

The high school Teen Clubhouse runs from 6:30-8:30, led by Brian Biciocchi, also an AHS graduate and long-time leader of ACA’s Counselor in Training program.  Known for his fun-loving and compassionate style, Brian is planning to make the high school clubhouse “a fun, social space to be creative and feel supported.”  Teens will pursue their own self-motivated projects and be encouraged to explore their own artistic motivations and produce works of their own design and planning.   An array of materials will be provided as well as a fun-loving, “it’s-a-friday-night” atmosphere with music and plenty of time to socialize and make new friendships (or strengthen old ones).

Brian Biciocchi will lead the high school group in this Fall’s Teen Clubhouse. Brian is known for his outrageous good fun and ability to connect with teens.

To learn more or to register for the Friday Night Teen Clubhouse, visit or call the Arlington Center for the Arts (781) 648-6220.

“Wizzards of Their Own Futures” – ACA’s littlest campers get magical at arts camp for pre-schoolers

Cute Alert…!  Art teacher and guest blogger Diem Dangers gives us a peek into the “Young at Art” room during Magic Week at ACA Summer Arts Camp.  Our littlest campers (ages 4-5) had a blast making magic hats, crystal balls, and thinking all about magic!

Diem Dangers (standing) leads the Young at Art pre-K camper in a magical week of art-making and creative fun!

Crystal Ball Project
The purpose of the crystal ball project was to allow the students to think about how to express the future visually. Over

Story Time during Young at Art – firing up the campers’ imaginations with tales of wizards and magic!

the course of the week, we read about magic and wizardry in a variety of storybooks such as: Anton Does Magic, The Magic Raincoat, The Magic Toolbox, Word Wizard, The Magic Babushka, The Dream Jar, Possum Magic, and The Wizard. We also sang “Down By the Castle” (an adaptation of “Down By the Sea” with lyrics that related to the magic theme of this week’s class) with Alex Fenn, our music teacher. We used these stories and songs to inspire conversations about what magic means, what crystal balls are and how they can reveal the future. The students were then asked to create their own crystal ball that would show what would happen in their future.

A magic crystal ball in the making…

It was a fun open-ended exploratory project, giving the little artists plenty of fun textures to play around with and discover including: glitter, felt, construction paper, pipe cleaners, paint, fuzzy woolen balls, crayons, paint, and cut-out photos from magazines for collage. As the week progressed, we also explored adding little pop-out windows to add extra depth and new dimensions to the piece. The students used these little pop-out windows to create entryways to secret passages to the future, and to cover up secret hidden treasures.

I loved how each student produced something totally unique, each interpreting the assignment in their own special way.

Young at Art campers in action, working on their Crystal Ball projects.

Some did landscapes of the future, others did visual stories of their daily lives in the future and their expected careers, others captured futuristic people they would meet. Some did a complex collage of various people, places and objects capturing various different people, times and spaces into one whole. Some kept within the confines of the “crystal ball”, others chose to “think outside the box” allowing their imaginations to wonder all over the page. I was surprised and impressed by such creative, unusual and unexpected arrangements of colors, objects and textures! They certainly have my enthusiastic support for this kind of exploration! After all, the value of creating art comes from what they learn through the exploratory process as much as it does making an end product.

During music time with music teacher Alex Fenn, the kids sang songs about magic, and made some special musical magic of their own, playing with percussion instruments

As an art teacher, I see myself as someone who creates conditions that inspires students to come up with their own ideas for making art that has meaning for them.  I like art projects that stimulate student’s imaginations, encouraging them to think independently for themselves about what they are creating and expressing. For me, children’s art is as valuable in and of itself, and is not to be compared to adult art or considered of lesser developmental quality.


One young camper with his finished Crystal Ball project

At the end of the week, students had the opportunity to share their crystal balls with the rest of the class. I see my students as fellow artists, and take them seriously when they describe their pieces and what they are expressing. I was so impressed by the students’ willingness to explain what their art meant to them, ask questions of others, and engage in conversation with each other. In the process of participating in this activity, they had the opportunity to define what their art meant to them. They were understanding of how different colors, textures and shapes can be used to visually represent the future.

Here is a short video of Emil describing his crystal ball and answering classmates’ questions about it.

Wizard Hats.

Towards the end of the week, we made wizard hats covered in traditional stars and moons and other creative designs. The wizard hats gave the whole Show-and-Tell activity a theatrical feel and added to the magic of the crystal balls. The little artists presented their piece not just as themselves, but as themselves as wizards of their own futures!

Show and Tell time, when each camper presented their crystal ball project, with everyone wearing their magic hats!


More Photos!
See more photos from our week, in our online slideshow.

More info:
for more information about ACA’s Young at Art program, visit our website.

Meet Pam Shanley: Teacher & Facilities Manager

“Without art I would be a bit empty, without a core to make connections in my life,” says Pam Shanley, Facilities Manager at ACA. Pam has been a part of ACA since September of 1999 when she was hired as the Facilities Manager, a job that has changed and expanded drastically over the years. At the beginning of her time at ACA, Pam’s role included taking on tasks that other faculty members felt she could aid with. Now, Pam is the director of the Arlington Open Studios, manages ACA’s Gibbs Gallery and Tuft Street Gallery, as well as managing all theater events. Those who take part in ACA in any facet will more than likely run into Pam as she constantly runs throughout the building to make sure each class goes smoothly.

Red Landscape by Pam Shanley

While Pam generally works “behind the scenes,” perfecting each classroom, organizing supplies, and adhering to teacher’s requests for classes, her more artful side comes out as a teacher, where she is beloved by her students for her warm and loving teaching style. Pam teaches clay workshops and general art studios for children. “[ACA is] the perfect community for me – teaching, working with other artists,” she says.

Pam’s artistry is not limited to the confines of ACA – she has been immersed in art since her childhood. She has a strong belief in the power of art making, in which she explains, “It is the vehicle that helps to connect a part of me that cannot be explained in words – just raw emotions. To me, color, shape, and texture convey a feeling that brings the idea of life. I think for some people it is a safe way to express dark or scary things that have happened to them.” This idea is not limited to just adults – Pam believes art can be a tool for all ages.

Paul George offers Watercolor Workshop at ACA

“ He is one of those rare individuals that not only a good painter but a committed and creative teacher as well.” International Magazine 2007

ACA is thrilled to announce a special watercolor workshop with Paul George in January, 2012.

This is the opportunity to improve your painting knowledge, gain confidence and learn from a sought after teacher, watercolor master and award-winning artist.  Combining humor, expert technique, color and lots of paint, Paul George creates remarkable and realistic paintings. Loosen up, have fun and learn, create a finished painting in a few hours.

Register early, Paul’s classes typically have a long wait list.

Weekend Watercolor Workshop with Paul George
Friday and Saturday, January 27 & 28th, 10am-3pm
$ 185m , $200 nm

PAUL GEORGE was born in Cambridge, MA and holds a BS Degree from Northeastern University. He is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, a member of the Cape Cod, North Shore, New England and Rhode Island Watercolor Societies; and member and former Vice President of Rockport Art Association.

Paul’s painting “Winterblues” was accepted by the American Watercolor Society for their 133rd exhibition at the Salmagudi Club in NY City.  He has also won the Winsor & Newton Award for Excellence in Watercolor at the National Watercolor Society. He has won many awards including the Gold Medal from the New England Watercolor Society. His work is in collections throughout the United States and Europe. Now a professional artist, Paul resides in Ipswich, MA. He has been teaching oil and watercolor workshops in Cape Ann Ma, Monhegan Is. ME, and Florida since 1996. His work can be seen at The George Gallery in Gloucester, MA.

To register for Paul George’s Watercolor workshop at ACA, call (781) 648-6220, or register online

Visit Paul George online

Calm Your Mind in Connie Mooney’s Meditation Bead Workshops

If you’ve ever felt like you could use a little more peace and serenity in your life (and who couldn’t?!) join Arlington jeweler and yoga teacher Connie Mooney in a Meditation Bead workshop at the Arlington Center for the Arts.

Connie Mooney displayed some of her Mala Beads at Arlington Open Studios, October 2011

Meditation or “Mala” Beads can be used as a tool to help you quiet and focus your mind in a personal meditation practice.

In this fun workshop you will create your own mala to wear as a necklace, bracelet or given as a gift to someone in your life who could use a bit of peace and serenity.  History of the Mala beads will be included as well as a short meditation practice.

Teen Workshop (for ages 13-16)
Saturday, November 12, 3:00-5:00pm

Adult Workshop (18+)
Friday, November 18, from 7:00-9:00pm.

Workshop tuition is $40, plus a $10 materials fee is payable to the instructor.  Pre-registration is required, and space is limited.  Sign up at, or call (781) 648-6220.

Some of Connie’s Mala Bead Creations:

Did you Know?  Traditional Malas, according to Connie, are made with 108 beads as it is a significant number in many Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.  It is said that Hindu deities have 108 names and recital of these names, accompanied by the counting of a 108-beaded mala is considered sacred.

Hope to see you at the Workshop!

Faculty Profile: Connie Thibaut, Luminous Oil Painting

Connie Thibaut

A passionate, knowledgeable and energetic  teacher, Connie Thibaut has a warm and supportive approach that brings confidence to the beginner; her wealth of experience and expertise will challenge the more advanced students working at more advanced levels as well.

In Luminous Oil Painting with Connie, students learn the secrets of the masters through Renaissance-style painting.  The class will explore techniques of alternating egg tempera and oil paint media, creating wonderfully translucent layers of paint.  “Glazing” is a remarkable effect that captures the luminosity, depth and vitality of color.  This class is open to all levels.

Connie studied painting for five years at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, where she was exposed to the Surrealist painters whose work made a deep impression upon her. Later, at Massachusetts College of Art where she graduated with a BFA, she learned about the Surrealist women painters. She has also studied with local artists such as the late Conger Metcalf, whose work greatly influenced her. Other inspirations include Feminist Art History and Feminist Jungian Studies.

After she was certified to teach, Connie earned the MSAE at Massachusetts College of Art; her thesis show was a Surrealist reinterpretation of an Old French romance. Connie has recently retired from teaching in public schools.


Frances, a student in one of Connie’s painting classes last semester, delighted with the work she created!

portrait drawing by Connie Thibaut

Faculty Profile: Karenna Maraj, Jewelry Designer

Jewelry artist Karenna Maraj will show you how to make stunning jewelry from precious metals. She is a wonderfully original designer who has been known to use bolts and washers to make her jewelry, too!

Karenna Maraj, jewelry instructor

Karenna holds a degree in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and now runs her own jewelry making business, Karenna Maraj Jewelry.

Karenna will be showing and selling her jewelry at Arlington Open Studios in October, where you can see more of her stunning necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more.

A beautiful necklace by Karenna Maraj

One of Karenna’s beautiful and inventive necklaces

If you’ve ever dreamed of making your own one-of-a-kind pieces, join Karenna’s next class at ACA!

In Making Metal Jewelry, you’ll learn the fundamentals of metalsmithing to create necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pins and more.  You’ll lean to solder, saw, hammer, set stones, and create hollow forms to construct any form of jewelry you dream up.  Beginners are welcome, and students with previous experience will work at their own pace, perfecting skills and learning new techniques.

Karenna’s “Bubble Bracelet” is reminiscent of the bubble foam along the beach at the ocean’s edge.

With our small classes and Karenna’s gentle one-on-one instruction, you won’t believe what you can create!