Meet our Learning To See Outreach Teaching Artists!

All LTS Teaching Artists are professional, practicing artists with extensive educational experience.  This powerful combination enables us to impart a deeper understanding of the art making process on each student.  Learn more about Learning To See Outreach HERE.

Aimee French is a lifelong artist whose earliest memories are of being fascinated by shapes, edges and textures. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from The Ohio State University. Having explored and worked in a wide range of mediums, a painterly quality marks much of her work, even when using the hardest materials. It is process oriented, and symbolism is often used. After many years of painting on silk and with oil, her current mediums are assemblage, felted wool and encaustic.  Aimee joined Focus on the Masters as the Learning to See Outreach Education Director in January 2011. Her extensive arts education experience includes class instruction, program development and management serving populations from all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and learning levels.  Her experience in museum education, certification as a Social/Emotional Arts Facilitator and 7 years working in humane education has given her a broad insight into the importance of how and what we learn manifests in a student’s life. Her goal is to nurture inspiration and trust in one’s unique creative voice.

Visit Aimee at www.facebook.com/TheBouStudio/.

What led you to become an art teacher?
I wasn’t planning on teaching at all. I got pulled into it little by little. The rewards have been priceless.
What inspires you to make art?
I just love the process of creating something new. Feeling the textures, watching the colors blend and change depending on what you put next to it, getting my hands dirty. Being surprised.
Michelle Glass has been working in the arts for nearly twenty-five years as an artist, educator and administrator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education with an emphasis in Art Studio Photography from the California State University, Los Angeles and a Master of Fine Arts in Public Practice (Public Art and Social Practice) from Otis College of Art and Design. Most recently she served as the Director of Education at the Santa Paula Art Museum where she built and launched the ArtSPARK School Tour and Outreach program, Teen Open Studio, Family Day, and the Artist in Residence programs. Under her administration, programs expanded allowing the museum to increase arts access and strengthen their partnership with the community. “I am so excited to join the FOTM team in this exciting new chapter of the organization’s growth!” Michelle said. She added, “It is exciting to be able to apply my skills in support of programs that acknowledge and preserve the contributions of accomplished contemporary artists and to be able to share their stories with the community.”

Images below:  1,000 Wildflowers & The Women of Arvin, 2017
Collaborative project where members of the Arvin community created hand embroidered flowers that symbolized the dwindling wildflower populations and women’s labor through generations of cultivation.

Why do you practice your chosen medium?  I work in the field of Public Practice because I am passionate about increasing arts access to underserved communities and creating community engaged art that works toward building a more just and equitable society.

What is the latest thing you’ve been working on?  Currently I am working on developing a large scale, environmental art project in Central California in partnership with environmental advocacy groups that will address issues of climate change.

Mariana Peirano is an award winning figurative artist living in Ojai, California. Born and raised in Argentina, she has spent most of her life in Southern California. Although mainly self-taught, she received her basic atelier instruction at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art. Her work reflects a passion for beauty in all its forms and a deep concern for the human condition. Preserving the realness of emotions and expressions in the people she paints, she captures humanity in its true form.  Mariana says “Art and teaching have been my life passions. I find the Learning To See program to be enriching and rewarding. Having present day local artists in the classroom brings a unique dynamic to the lessons that helps students gain a greater caring for their community, develop love and understanding of the arts, and gain confidence in their own creative process.

Visit Mariana at www.PeiranoArt.com.

Rima Muna is an internationally exhibited artist who lives and paints in Ventura, California. Born in Lebanon and raised in a diverse background, Rima’s work is influenced by her love of travel. Spirituality and nature act as points of inspiration in her work. As a vocalist and piano player, music is also one of the greatest inspirations for Rima, leaving energetic abstract expressions on canvas. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Design from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Rima completed a Masters of Education degree in Art from University of California Santa Barbara. Her 15 year teaching experience ranges through all ages in both the public and private sector.  Rima currently has an exhibit at the Santa Paula Art Museum. Her paintings are paired with Duane Dammeyer’s sculpture.   The exhibit will be up until late 2020.  Click HERE to see some of the exhibit!   

Visit Rima at rimamuna.comwww.instagram.com/munaart, www.facebook.com/RimaMuna.

What led you to become an art teacher?  I started teaching art when I was very young. Out of my parents house when I was 18. I enjoyed it so much, and always knew that I would return to it.
What inspires you to make art?  Nature inspires me – and sometimes a poem or a piece of music. I want to share that beauty with the world.

Aliza Jayne Bejarano is a self-proclaimed Renaissance Woman working in oils, installation, and performative art. She constructs her work in ways that the viewer becomes severely aware of their surroundings as well as of their past – immersed in the emotional experience of the human condition. She graduated from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting in 2018. She has several years of curatorial experience with art fairs and galleries in Los Angeles, and has exhibited in Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Nice, France. Her work is currently in the Latino Art Museum in Pomona and El Paso Art Association’s Crossland Gallery. In addition to her art practice, she works with various nonprofit organizations to revitalize local, marginalized communities. 

Visit her webpage at alizabejarano.com.

Elizabeth Souza life’s path has given her the opportunity to work in many artistic genres. She is a painter, fiber artist, craft teacher, published writer, and dancer. Her work is influenced by her diverse cultural background as an immigrant from the Netherlands of mixed ancestory. She holds a BA in Art with an emphasis in painting from California State University Channel Islands, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree from California State University Northridge.  

Visit Elizabeth at elizartist.cominstagram.com/elizabethsouzaartist and facebook.com/ElizabethMahinaMakesStuff

What led you to become an art teacher? I’ve always wanted to teach art, probably because when I was in high school I had such an inspiring teacher.  Pass it forward right? I’d like to share that kind of experience with other people.
What is the latest thing you’ve been working on? Right now, a lot of water color paintings. I’m also drawing a lot, which I compare to ballet for dancers, it’s the basic training that keeps you sharp.
Hobbies, interests outside of art? Knitting! I love knitting. I’m making a sweater, and a hat. And also spinning yarn, which is a very meditative activity.

Jessica Diaz is an artist currently attending California State University of Channel Islands majoring in art with an emphasis in animation. Narratives and story are her favorite aids to the arts, which are reflected in the of personality and character story of her work. She also works with the Santa Paula Art Museum as the current Assistant Art Educator. Growing up in Santa Paula, she acquired influence from the life of agriculture and a California setting. Her introduction into arts education came alongside her interest in museum culture, wanting to know the process of the artist’s work and their exhibitions in museums. She has taught in classrooms through Artist In Residency programs with elementary students, led school tours for k-12 grades, and taught children’s art classes through the Cole Creativity Center.

What led you to become an art teacher?  My biggest supporters in my artistic endeavor were my art teachers from elementary to high school, they left a big impact. Without their little push of guidance, I could’ve missed my chance at becoming an artist! Being an art teacher means I can be that beacon for the students who have yet to acknowledge their artistic persona. There is no greater gift than helping younger generations realize their creativity and the power they hold.

Why do you practice your chosen medium(s)?  I’m an artist who values studies over a final render; I like using watercolors, dry mediums like graphite and pastels, because they are done instantly unlike oil paints. Like impressionism they can give me a chance to color in the moment.

WAYS TO GIVE

Your donations support the programs that are at the heart of the FOTM’s mission…

 to document and archive extraordinary artists and their work through photographic portraits, audio and video interviews and biographical research that encompass each artist’s experiences, artistic reflections and development; and to present this work to a broad public through extensive education outreach to all ages – including at-risk youth through our Learning to See Youth Outreach program, Art & The Creative Spirit Enrichment Program for Seniors, a public monthly Artist Spotlight Series, exhibitions, publications, website and an extensive resource library.

CONTACT

Focus on the Masters Archive & Library
505 Poli Street, Suite 310, Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805.653.2501
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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation