Welcome!

Posted: June 28, 2014 by PJ Abode in General

Welcome to MindSpace!

MindSpace is a space committed to a meeting of minds through sharing, and by sharing we hope to form a strong sense of community that all can rely on for joy, support, and aspiration.

The legacy of legendary horseman James Wyllie lives on – and SMC Community Ed’s Fundamentals of Horsemanship students are among the beneficiaries.

Janet Maruhashi and Lisa Marlowe with Billy.

Wyllie died March 16 in Agoura Hills at the age of 98, but he left an indelible imprint on California’s equestrian community as well as thousands of students he taught over a long and storied career. (Highlights of his fascinating life include working with Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service, qualifying horses for the Olympic Games, and teaching such celebrities as Nancy Sinatra among the 65,000 students he had.)

And his unique horsemanship and teaching philosophy continue under three of his closest devotees and friends at the James Wyllie Equestrian Education Center in the lovely Saddlerock Ranch in the hills above Malibu.

Saddlerock Ranch, where the James Wyllie Equestrian Education Center is located.

Longtime program director/coordinator Lynn Carr continues in her role as “stable godmother” to both horses and students, having ridden and worked side-by-side with Wyllie since the 1980s. Main instructor Janet Maruhashi rode with and worked as Wyllie’s assistant for three decades, having started as his student in 1983 in an SMC Community Ed class offered through Pepperdine University. And teaching assistant Lisa Marlowe rode and trained with Jim for almost 20 years, and says “he became a big, major force in my life.”

Between the three of them, they are at the center every day, offering classes three days a week, taking care of the three horses in their stalls, and handling various upkeep and administrative duties. Volunteers Sylvia Hohri and Ed Andrews, longtime students of Wyllie, help take care of the horses.

Students who take the Fundamentals of Horsemanship class learn the basics of horseback riding in a fun environment that combines classroom instruction, groundwork, and riding instruction in the ring and on the trail. Not only are the ring and Saddlerock Ranch trails beautiful, but also one of the trails leads to nearby Rocky Oaks State Park with its pond, picnic area and abundant wildlife such as deer.

Students on a trail ride in the nearby Rocky Oaks State Park.

But beyond technique and safety, students find out how to communicate intelligently with the horse while in the saddle. Indeed, Wyllie was not only a horse whisperer, but a horse philosopher and life coach, say his devotees, who are carrying on his unique approach to teaching horsemanship.

“Jim was such a creative educator and fascinating man,” Marlowe said. “He encouraged us all to remain curious and questioning; working with horses brings new ‘life lessons’ every day.”

James Wyllie with horse Brett.

Marlowe and Maruhashi love teaching and have enjoyed all their students, including those from SMC Community Ed.

“All the students are so different – they come from different occupations, ages and backgrounds,” Maruhashi said. “But they’ve all been lovely.”

The center has three horses – Billy, who the center owns, and Checkers and Sparky, who are leased. (Earlier this year, two of their horses died, the same year Wyllie died – Scout at the age of 30 and Eric, who lived to be the remarkable age of 42.)

“I think there can be a very strong spiritual bond with horses,” Marlowe said. “They bring us closer to nature, and we’re always trying to get that sixth sense. And horses teach us to live in the moment.”

 

Gregory van Zuyen’s 3D Printing classes, which were launched in fall 2016, have been so successful that SMC Community Ed has added two classes this fall – 3D Printing Teacher Certification I and II. As the 3D printing technology has taken off, Gregory in this article talks in personal terms how trained instructors will be able to teach, among others, children and librarians. Gregory is also the managing editor of the online 3D printr magazine.

By Gregory van Zuyen

Susan, my wife, caught me on the stairwell. She was going out to pick up our 5-year-old son from a LEGO play date. Our conversation ran the gamut of getting our son movie tickets for “Ninjago” to how pitiful our LEGO collection is compared to that of other parents. As conversations often go here in our household, we were quickly talking of how to 3D print LEGOs — once again.

YouTube host Matt Denton holds up a 3D-printed LEGO creation.

3D printing LEGOs spurred me to tell her of the work I was doing with SMC Continuing Education’s 3D Printing Teacher Certification courses. “The real focus in the industry right now is in education,” I said. “Children can learn to do this very same skill and they are doing it now in some places. What is beautiful about the idea is that the technology is there to tap into the spellbinding creativity of children. What we can create in the future is unimaginable, because we have become adults.”

Susan responded, “That reminds me of an idea I had — that all the current 3D printing jobs are at libraries. Libraries already have 3D printers and they need the staff qualified to print out requests for people.”

L.A. Public Library celebrated Science Day 2016 with 3D printer display.

I nodded that this was true; we’ve seen it ourselves. It’s a job trend that will only grow.

“Beyond that,” I said,  “There will be 3D print shops in every city.”

“Yeah, but right now,” she said, “We need to find a less costly way to make our kid’s LEGO collection a marvel to behold. I’m embarrassed to host a play date.”

“Which is why,” I said, “I’m trying to find ways to teach our son to do it himself with the printer we have.”

She nods, gratified in knowing that with the progress of 3D printing so far, our son’s generation will have astonishing capabilities to explore.

In a world where stress levels seem to continue to climb, it’s no wonder that many are searching for new ways to relax. And one of those ways is Reiki – a Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation and healing – that is growing in popularity. Indeed, the National Institutes of Health has recognized the increasing use of Reiki on terminally ill cancer patients.

Dr. Laura Luna, new Reiki instructor

SMC Community Ed has been offering Reiki classes for years, and now has a new instructor, Dr. Laura Luna, a psychologist with a long list of academic credentials that includes a Ph.D. from New Mexico State University in Counseling Psychology, teaching and research experience, publications, conference presentations and more. Her primary job is Learning Disability/Mental Health Specialist at California State University, Fullerton.

She has been practicing Reiki since 2011 and became a Reiki Master in 2012 and has been teaching Reiki for almost two years at Cerritos Community Ed.

Reiki is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.

What got you started in the practice of Reiki?

I moved to New Mexico for my doctorate program in 2008.While I was there I learned about all types of different healing modalities. New Mexico is such a rich and diverse place where a lot of healing happens. Reiki was one of the things that I came across. I was really drawn to Reiki and completed all of my certificates fairly quickly as I loved it so much and found it so beneficial.

What do you like about teaching?

I love creating spaces for people to share their stories, to connect with each other, and to create community. I like the opportunity to be flexible and creative because I never know who is going to come to my classes. I like teaching because it is an opportunity to influence people in a positive way. I see teaching as an exchange of energy so I learn from my students as they learn from me.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t like to use the word “crazy” because I work with people with disabilities and oftentimes “crazy” is a negative way to describe people with mental illness. I think traveling alone might be the wildest thing I’ve done. To me, it’s not really so novel but when I tell people that I’ve traveled out of the country alone, they are surprised. I love traveling and enjoy doing it alone although I love to have travel partners too.

 

What is your idea of a perfect day?

My perfect day would be hanging out with my dog Cedro at the beach, touching the water and feeling the waves with my feet as the sun sets in the evening.

What is one of the best compliments you ever received?

The best compliment is when my students share with me at the end of class that they never felt so relaxed and so good, or when they tell me they haven’t felt so relaxed in a long time! That’s the best compliment for me! It makes me feel like I did my job with teaching Reiki. The most important thing with Reiki is to be in a state of relaxation. I love that compliment!

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I looked in my phone and my last photo is so fitting for me. The last photo I took was actually a picture of the hand’s acupressure points. I just got this book about Mudras and I was sending the acupressure points to my friend.

What book(s) are on your nightstand now?

“Living Buddha Living Christ” by Thich Nhat Hanh. “Mudras Yoga in Your Hands” by Gertrud Hirschi. And my study materials for the Psychologist Licensure Exam.

Anything you would like to add?

Yes. I am grateful for all the wonderful things that have come to me through my Reiki practice. Part of being a Reiki Practitioner is to practice gratitude and give thanks. Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to meeting more students in the future who have a thirst for growth, healing and personal development.

Reiki Level I, an intensive one-day workshop, will be offered Saturday, Oct. 14.

By Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education

J001-Golden Flight

Victoria Bleeden’s “Golden Flight” is the winner of the 2017 Student Photo Contest

As our third Annual Community Education Student Photo Contest comes to a conclusion, as always, I am filled with wonder of how this little contest of my imagination has grown to be the annual anticipated event that it is now. Our community once again demonstrated its enthusiasm for photography: altogether, the contest drew 167 photo submissions from 39 current and former students, almost double the 90 images from 22 participants in 2016.

Congratulations are in order to Community Ed student Victoria Bleeden for winning our 2017 Student Photo Contest with her stunning image of a hummingbird that she calls “Golden Flight.”

Victoria captured the photo with a Canon EOS Rebel T3, a regular telephoto lens and a fast shutter speed (sports mode). Victoria came to us through quite a different route than the contest winners we have had in the past: the Calabasas equestrienne and mother of 18-year-old twin boys has taken just one class at SMC Community Ed, the popular Memoir Writing with instructor Monona Wali.

victoria bleeden horse jumping

Victoria Bleeden is an equestrienne who has never taken a photography class

“I am truly honored and thrilled to win this award,” she said. “I began taking photos seriously only about two or three years ago, so this is a particularly meaningful award.”

In many ways, Victoria represented a change from the contests of the past two years. Not only is Victoria our first female winner of the contest, she has also never taken a photography class with us or elsewhere, and this is the first year that our winning cover moves from landscape to still life. Victoria’s interest in photographing the hummingbirds in her backyard eventually translated to the beautiful cover that captured the hearts of many of our voters. We can only imagine that as this annual contest grows in popularity that it will attract even more talented photographers in our community to participate, amateurs and professionals alike.

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Chad Suggs was first runner-up for his image “Barker Dam”

Kudos also to the other two finalists in the Photo Contest – first runner-up Chad Suggs with his stunning image of Barker Dam, which is located in Joshua Tree National Park, and Diana Clevenger-Stephens for her close-up of a dandelion, using a macroclip on her iPhone. Last but not least, a big thank-you to all the contestants who participated and all the voters who helped us choose our fall 2017 cover. Until next year!

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Diana Clevenger-Stephens was 2nd runner-up for her close-up of a dandelion

As SMC Extension/Community Ed continues to expand its technology-related business course offerings – particularly in cutting-edge technologies – it has scheduled new classes in Google Docs and Slack, which fall into the Age of Edge Computing and Blockchain.

seth david quickbooks

And the program has turned to an instructor with a combination of business acumen and teaching skill who is passionate about these new technologies.

“I take complex concepts and make them simple for those who don’t have a background in the subject,” says Seth David, who recently taught Excel to a group of SMC employees to excellent reviews. “That is my super power, plain and simple.”

David is, as he describes, the “chief nerd” and President of Nerd Enterprises, Inc. which provides consulting and training services in accounting and productivity based software. Consulting services range from basic bookkeeping to CFO level services such as financial modeling.

David graduated from Pace University in New York in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and has held a variety of positions in several companies, including Biggs & Co., a Santa Monica-based accounting firm specializing in bankruptcy. He has also been a speaker at conferences throughout the nation.

* * *

Can you talk about the growth in document sharing, both in terms of Google Docs and Slack?

We’re getting into the age of Edge Computing and Blockchain technology. This means information has multiple input and output channels. It has to.

There was a time, not long ago, when having the ability to e-mail a file to someone, so they could work on it, and e-mail it back to you, was really efficient. Now it’s archaic.

Document sharing has to happen, and it needs to happen in real time. This means co-authoring, and Google Docs offers that. No other application, not even Microsoft, offers the same kind of real time co-authoring and collaboration capabilities that Google Docs has.

Once we adopt this kind of technology, we start to see the advantages. Not only can I share and collaborate with people in real time, but also I can easily link a document in any other app that I am using with colleagues.

Enter Slack.

Slack is a communications app. Similar to what I described above about document sharing, e-mail used to be a highly efficient form of communication. Now it is incredibly inefficient.

Slack solves that problem. It is a private communications channel, accessible only to the people I’ve shared it with. Spammers can’t get in.

Then Slack has the ability to organize things with Channels, Pins and Stars. This makes it very easy to organize, categorize, and easily reference information when I need it later.

So I can link a Google document in a channel in Slack. Five people from different parts of the country can access that document and discuss it in Slack. It’s incredibly efficient, especially when I am looking for information long after my independent recollection of what was discussed, and where, is gone.

seth david with dogs

Why are your classes important?

These classes are important because they speak to how we are beginning to communicate and what the future of business communication looks like. There is a paradigm shift, and the changes are happening fast. It will be challenging for some to keep up.

These classes will help with that. Using these products is not rocket science. Once people see how to use these applications, they will get it. There are people like me who love to dive in and learn these apps, and then there are people who don’t have the patience. People like me figure out the right solutions to the right problems, and then we can listen to people explain what they need to do, so we can recommend the right solutions.

What kinds of people are Google Docs and Slack important for?

They’re definitely important for small business owners, as well as for people in the workplace.

There are personal uses too. Recently I turned a client onto Slack. He’d never heard of it before. A couple of weeks later, he sent me a message in Slack, thanking me for introducing it to him. He explained that he started using it with his fiancee and their wedding planner.

Seth David will teach How to Use Google Docs beginning Sept. 16. His Slack Communication Workshop is scheduled for Oct. 6. He will also teach Fundamentals of Microsoft Excel 2013 for the PC – Creating Spreadsheets on Nov. 4.

Raul B. Subia came to Los Angeles in 1988 like so many before him – to seek a career as an actor-dancer-singer. Driving from San Antonio, Texas with few possessions and about $1,500 to his name, he spent the first night in L.A. in his car.

Raul Subia 1

Although he landed a few gigs in Hollywood – including co-star roles on a couple of television series and a spot on the Spanish-language version of “Star Search” – he has had an eclectic career in interior design, retail, cosmetology, event planning, nonprofit management and – mostly – real estate and property management.

And it was at SMC Community Education that he took classes to prepare for his real estate license exam. He now is a licensed real estate agent and property manager with a firm in L.A.

Subia got his initial taste for real estate assisting a celebrity interior designer making high profile homes beautiful. His interest in real estate and property management grew as he moved into facilities-related positions, including overseeing prestigious high-rise buildings from a facility and operations management position and serving as a Corporate Concierge at the landmark “1888 Building” in Century City, whose tenants included major corporations such as Turner Broadcasting.

Raul Subia 2

He says his real estate training at SMC Community Ed was valuable, and he has particular praise for instructor John Anderson.

“John is really knowledgeable and his passion for real estate is admirable and I’ve learned so much from him,” Subia said.

SMC also gave him the opportunity to pursue his passion for sustainable living by getting his LEED Green Associate certificate from the college’s Resource and Recycling Management Program.

Raul Subia 3

“As a real estate professional, my commitment is driven by my troubleshooting skills and keen focus on VIP-level service,” he said. “As a true people person, my inspiration is to help clients with the best in commercial development and leasing, sales transactions – or just securing that perfect place called home.”

Subia says real estate is challenging and that he is learning a lot about the field.

“I used to be under the real estate umbrella, but now that I have my license,” he said, “I understand the profession and all its complexities better.”

Raul Subia can be reached at Rsubiarealestate@gmail.com.

NOTE: SMC Community Ed has a more detailed story on student poet John Young in our monthly newsletter, Sound Bites. The following is an excerpt from that article with an additional poem not included in the Sound Bites article.

John Young poetry book

The thin line that often separates genius from madness, or bursts of brilliant creativity from severe depression, is an intriguing topic that has generated countless articles, essays and discussions over the years.

And it is a topic that has taken on new meaning to SMC Community Ed student John Young, a prolific writer whose world was turned upside down a year ago when he had a breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Young, who took Betzi Richardson’s poetry class last fall, recited two of his poems at last month’s Community Ed Open House to high praise from audience members

“This is the first time we had live poetry reading at our Open House, and John’s performance was powerful and yet surprisingly intimate,” said Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education. “I think everyone in the audience was touched by the sincerity and the artistic depth of his work.”

john young-guitar

Young is unusual in that his diagnosis came late in life. He is 57, and most people are diagnosed at a younger age. In fact, his siblings and friends were shocked at the diagnosis and he himself had no idea he was bipolar.

He said over the years he has had manic episodes where he had huge bursts of energy and would get “massive amounts of work done” at his computer-related job.

“But I didn’t understand it and I just thought it was my personality,” he said. “I was never out of control.”

A year ago, however, things did get out of control. Within a month, his 17-year relationship ended, he was feeling intense pressure at work, and two of his close friends died. He started buying things he didn’t need, including five iPhones, two massage chairs, a $7,000 bed, computers and a robot. He rescued a dog while living in an apartment that forbade pets. And he stayed up for days with no sleep.

His sister and brother, who live on the east coast, became alarmed at his dramatic behavior shift and came out to L.A. to be with him.

“They saved my life because I would have had a heart attack staying up so many days,” Young said.

John young in Betzi class-all

John Young with fellow poetry students & instructor Betzi Richardson

The day after Super Bowl 2016 he had a breakdown and was admitted to a psychiatric ward, where he stayed for 16 days. That’s when he received the bipolar diagnosis and was put on medications.

Since then, he was forced to go on disability, he’s struggling with memory issues, and his medications are constantly being modified.

But he has been a productive writer, has taken stand-up comedy classes, and has even published a volume of poetry, “Hardcore Dance Poems,” which is available on Amazon in digital and paperback.

“Eyesore” (Dedicated to the legendary icons who have passed away through the years)

 Now that 

David Bowie’s died

Who’ll take his place

You or I?

 

Not in music

Just in style

You’re a delicious 

Eyesore in argyle

 

Don’t just sit there

Let’s do something 

Be like Andy Warhol

Not the village bumpkin

 

Say something different 

Say something important 

 

Oh shut up and 

Pass that bottle

Of juicy red currant

 

Let your body hit the dance floor

Let the dance floor hit your body 

 

Let your body hit the dance floor 

Let the dance floor kill your body

 

Runny makeup

In your eyes 

Dance the dance

Until you die

 

The Jean Genie 

Granted your wish

Your jeans will fit

Before you perish

 

I don’t have that many friends

But if you hold me

You’ll be one of them 

 

Butcher

Baker

Candle Stick

Maker

 

Actor

Model

Orgasm

Faker

 

You ran in screaming

What was I mumbling

 

I just smiled

And said

I love you

 

You can turn anything

Into a literal depiction

 

Yet you still have trouble

Separating fact from fiction

 

Can Being a Notary Enhance Your Career?

Posted: January 31, 2017 by Bruce Smith in General
Tags: , , , ,

Carrie Christensen teaches several Notary Public classes at SMC Community Education. She is director of Los Angeles-based Notary Public Seminars, Inc., which has been a leading public course provider for well over 15 years.

Notary

What are the advantages of being a notary public? 

Being a notary is a relatively easy job and it’s great to have an additional stream of income.

If you’re working in a bank, or as an administrative assistant, for example, does being a notary usually increase your salary? 

 It should, but it’s not automatic. A Notary might have to negotiate with their boss when appropriate. A notary may be able to charge fees when they notarize for their company but the arrangement must be agreed upon first. It’s a great resume builder when job hunting.

Notaries who worked full time earned average annual salaries of $36,000 as of 2013, according to the job website indeed.com. Is that accurate? Is that salary a little low compared to other professions? 

That number does seem low, although it’s probably an average taken from notary earnings throughout the nation. In certain areas like southern California, notaries earn more on average than notaries in northern California.

It also depends on real estate trends. When there are a lot of houses on the market, notaries are making more money. Also, since notaries in California receive a pay raise this year from $10 a signature to $15 per signature, that number will increase. It may not seem like much, but notaries are also allowed to charge for travel. There is no set cap for travel fees.

Mortgage signing agents earned average annual salaries of $45,000 as of 2013, according to the jobsite indeed.com. Is that accurate? That’s more lucrative and so your new class would be a real benefit, right?  

We call them Loan Signing Agents and yes, this is the only way to make a serious living as a notary. We do offer a one-day class on how to notarize loan documents. It does take a bit of extra knowledge to be efficient.

Carrie Christensen

Tell us briefly about yourself. Why did you become a notary public? Why did you start Notary Public Seminars?

Directly out of college, I started working for National Notary Association. It was a perfect fit, as I love public speaking and the law. I decided to start my own company because I felt I could create a better seminar and make more money on my own. This has been a great niche for me.

Is there anything you would like to add? I’m very grateful to partner with Santa Monica College. I feel they truly care about their students and educational vendors.

Carrie Christensen will teach three classes this spring: Become a Notary in One Day, Renew as a Notary in One Day!, and Become a Loan Signing Agent: Build Your Own Notary Signing Business.

 

 

By Michelle King, Director of Career & Contract Education

Michelle King

Happy New Year to all our wonderful students, instructors and community members!

We’re starting our year in an exciting way by holding our Third Annual Open House this Saturday, Jan. 21 that will feature class discounts, mini presentations, demonstrations and more.

lucy-liao-at-table

The Open House, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will give you a chance to meet instructors and staff and learn about the rich variety of offerings in the Spring Semester. It will be held at the SMC Bundy Campus, Room 123, 3171 S. Bundy Dr., Los Angeles. Ample free parking is available.

More than 20 instructors will be on hand to talk about their classes, including art, Italian, French, writing, ballet, photography, health and fitness, stand-up comedy, sports, self-development and more. You’ll be able to enjoy instructor mini presentations and demonstrations and to receive 15 percent discounts if you register for classes at the Open House. Free SMC Community Ed totes will also be given out while supplies last, and refreshments will be served.

Jackline Daneshrad at table

Last year we were thrilled that we drew 120 visitors to our Open House, and many took advantage of the discounts to sign up for one or more classes each. You can drop by any time between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and we think you’ll be pleased by the wide variety of classes that will be offered in spring. In fact, we have slated more than 170 classes, workshops and tours, including several new offerings, for the Spring Semester, which begins Feb. 13.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the Open House or our classes. You can call us at (310) 434-3400 or email us at commed@smc.edu. Our website is http://commed.smc.edu and you can register for classes online.

Bryan Ricci in Living Color

Posted: December 20, 2016 by Bruce Smith in General

Bryan Ricci not only paints in vibrant colors, he thinks about what color means in contemporary Los Angeles.

ricci-1-good-crpd

The painting instructor – who has taught at SMC Community Ed for three years and also teaches at Loyola Marymount University and gives private lessons to elementary school children – continuously explores themes of modern life in his art work.

Lately, he has been focusing on color and the application of paint in abstract forms.

“The work that I make now is about a process of application of paint, and I’m doing things with paint that maybe hasn’t been done before,” Ricci said in an interview in his West Los Angeles studio.

ricci-painting-2015

But he’s also excited by a recent show of his in Brisbane, Australia called “Chromophilia,” a celebration of color that was informed by the book “Chromophobia.”

“Color is really important and it reflects my life,” he said. “It’s why I came to L.A. from New York.”

He explained that the vibrant colors of Los Angeles – reflected in its natural environment, architecture and diversity of people – captured his imagination when he first visited the city in the late 1990s. He moved to L.A. in 2000 to attend graduate school at Otis College of Design & Art, where he earned a Master’s of Fine Arts degree.

But to his chagrin, he has noticed that L.A. is becoming increasingly beige — reflected in recently constructed apartment buildings, McMansions and other elements of the city’s built environment. Hence, in reaction to that, he turned to a celebration of color.

ricci-craggy-2015

Ricci has explored many styles of painting in his career. He started out as a landscape painter and is interested in going back to that.

“My landscapes will be a tribute to the environment because we’re in dangerous times,” he said. “I’m hoping the paintings will help me or others remember what is important.”

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A native of upstate New York, Ricci received his BFA from Purchase College School of Art and Design SUNY in 2000. He has been exhibited widely across the United States in group and solo shows, including his 2005 solo show “A Closer Look,” held at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. In 2006 his art appeared as part of an exhibit of American painters at the Insa Art Center in Seoul, South Korea.

In the Winter Session he will teach two classes – Landscape Painting and Paint Anything! (both of which begin Jan. 7).

“I really love to teach,” he said. “I like to keep an art conversation going. And it helps my work too.”

Bryan Ricci will teach – Landscape Painting and Paint Anything! (both of which begin Jan. 7) in the Winter Session