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Art Center of Battle Creek

Teacher Bios


Lorrie Grainger Abdo teaches surface design, papermaking and altered arts classes for all ages. She is the past president, exhibition coordinator and workshop coordinator, for the Handmade Paper Guild of Southwest Michigan. Lorrie has taught at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center and other retreat-type workshops in Michigan and Wisconsin. Her artwork can be found in galleries in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. Take a look at her work and artistic life at

Craig Bishop has taught elementary to adult students for the past 40+ years. He received his MA in Teaching Art from Western Michigan University. He has taught at Gull Lake Community Schools, Kellogg Community College, and Western Michigan University. Craig is primarily a painter.

Susie Blyveis started painting in both watercolor and oil at the age of eight. She had a small art and craft business selling her work in shows and shops throughout the state. Her success led to teaching adult education in the surrounding school districts. She is influenced by gardening and beautiful outdoor landscapes. It has been said by an admirer of her talents that "if you look closely, you might see her footprints in every one of her paintings."

Susan Briggs has been involved in art for most of her life. She is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, and attended several art schools before completing her BA in Art at WMU. Her passion for teaching, and her interest and experience in a variety of art media led her to become a certified K-12 art teacher after a 20 year career in graphic design. Susan has worked as an art educator since 2005, and continues to work in graphic design through her business, Bristol Lake Studio. Her personal creative interests include fiber arts, fused glass, photography and printmaking.

Mary Cornwell

Robert Clouse has a BA in Art Education from Western Michigan University and an MA from Michigan State University. He has presented numerous workshops to county and local art societies and he has had the privilege of taking pastel painting workshops with nationally known artists Ben Konis and Albert Handel.

Gary Colles has been making artisan cheese for eleven years. He has training from Glengarry Cheese Company in Canada, Ricki Carol of New England Cheese Making Company and from Michigan State University. His last training was from Peter Dixon in Pennsylvia on
Farmstead Cheese Making. He has made many types of cheese but most of the classes have been the fresh cheeses which can be made easily in the home.

To further explore a lifelong passion for drawing, Elizabeth Crabtree obtained a degree in Drafting and Design in 1995. Inspired by the brilliance of nature, she stepped into the world of color in the early 2000s experimenting with various medium before falling in love with acrylics in 2006. Her present concentration is on creating painterly but realistic landscapes in acrylics on paper. Elizabeth believes there is an artist in everyone and enjoys sharing her passion and knowledge with her students.

Glenda Lyn Doorn-Specht, NCTM, is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. She has also had the privilege of studying the visual arts at the American Academy of Art and The Palette and Chisel in Chicago, Illinois, and at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her most influential instructors have been Dale Popovich and Jon McDonald. "I love to work in watercolor more than any other medium because of the freedom and movement of the paint and water, and because of the magic that happens as it dries." When she is not busy with the visual arts or with all things musical, she is running, hiking, backpacking, or kayaking.

Kim Eberstein received her MFA in painting from Western Michigan University where she also trained in papermaking and printmaking. She taught at the School of Art at WMU for many years after graduation teaching drawing and design classes. Kim currently teaches K-12 art in the public schools.

Dawn Edwardsis a fiber artist specializing infun, out-of-the ordinary felt hats. She sells her work under the name of Felt So Right throughspecialty retail, boutique and gallery shops throughout the United States. Dawn has studied, and worked with, several renowned felt artists from around the world, including Elis Vermeulen, Chad Alice Hagen, Thomas Horst and Nicola Brown. Her felt works have appeared in exhibitions, art shows, magazines and books.Dawn is a member of the International Feltmakers Association, Surface Design Association, Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo, Handweavers Guild of America (HGA), is a juried member artist in the gallery shops of the prestigious Textile Center, Minneapolis, MN, and the Pacific Northwest School of Art, Coupeville, WA.

Tom Garland knew at age eleven that art was his passion. He creates professional caricatures year round and donates his services to non-profit organizations to help raise funds for various causes. Tom is an ArtReach instructor and sells his work in several galleries in the area.

Audrey Haddock is the art teacher at Bellevue High School. Before teaching secondary classes, she was the elementary art teacher. She is involved with Crane Fest and the inspiration behind the colorful patterned sandhill cranes that welcome CraneFest visitors to the October event. Audrey is a practicing artist.

Laurel Jane Design Hayes paints the love of her life~~sky and space; she realizes that her paintings are an invitation to dialog about things unseen and esoteric. Laurel is fond of using iridescent paints, metallic oil paints, and glitter to illustrate those places and beings that are relative to Earth. Often she combines meditation with her art.

Janet Kincaid creates jewelry with wire and kiln-fired dichroic coated glass. She has taught stained glass in adult education at various schools, wire wrap jewelry in school evening classes, and at Delphi Creativity Center in Lansing, MI. Janet has her work in various art galleries in Marshall and other Michigan locations in the Upper Peninsula, Garden Gallery, and Life Under The Sun Gallery in Mackinaw City. She currently has pieces in the Nipper Studio in Marshall.

Judith Konesniis a glass artist andinstructor specializing in hand blown glass, flamework bead making, fusingand kiln casting. She is from Toledo Ohio, where she earned her B.F.A. degree (1981) from the University of Toledo joint program with the Toledo Museum of Art. Her glass art designs centers around sea creatures, coral reefs and traditional vessel forms. In the past 12 years, Judith hasadded glass bead makingand kiln casting to her creative exploration and loves to share her skills and knowledge with her students.Ms. Konesni has exhibited her glass art in museums and galleries across the UnitedStates and abroad. Judith has taught glassblowing at the furnace for a total of 18 years in Toledo andKalamazoo and bead making for 6 years in Kalamazoo. Her loveof making jewelry and colorful glass comes together in bead making.

Joan Larsen was born and raised in rural Saginaw County, MI. She attended Delta College and Western Michigan University where she obtained a degree in Art Education (1974) with an emphasis in painting. She has also attended art classes at Spring Arbor University and many art workshops. She has exhibited work in many juried competitions both locally and statewide. She has had several one-woman exhibits including an exhibit at the University of Michigan.

Marti Levy is originally from Otsego, Michigan. She moved to Battle Creek with her husband, Paul, in 1966 after graduating from Olivet College. She worked for several years in area schools and also spent ten years working for the City of Battle Creek. Her interest in the arts has been lifelong, being the daughter of artist, Avis McConney. After retirement, she increased her activities in the arts by making jewelry and hand bound books. Her pieces reflect her appreciation for natural materials such as silver, stone, and pearls often mixing these elements with man made materials.

Ken Murphy began his career in ceramics in 1980 under the direction of Dallas Shoesmith from whom he learned wheel throwing, sculpture, hand building, chemical mixing, glazes and firing. Having a passion for the Art Center, Ken has served on the Board of Directors and as a volunteer.

Martha O'Kennon studied math at the University of Richmond (VA), and PhD in math at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. While there, she was a member of the local Weavers' Guild, ttaking and teaching orkshops in various kinds of weaving. She has lived in China, Africa, reland, and South America, and learned a lot about the art forms of those places. Martha loves the interplay between math and art, and loves to experiment with different media and different methods and structures for weaving cloth and other objects.

Lyndie Parrish has grown up with glass. She and her late husband Gordy had their own glass shop in Hillsdale MI before moving to Marshall. She owns Lyndie's Window Art Glass Studio which is housed in an old 1870s barn. Lyndie carries a full line of art glass supplies, gift items, and does custom glass work.

Betty Perkins has worked at Olivet Middle School for 10 years in the art department and with special needs students. She enjoys teaching in many mediums and helping children discover their own creative abilities.

Dorothy Rollert attended art school in Detroit where she studied all media. She was a student of two professional painting artists – June Gustavson and O. Jack Bond. She created commissioned paintings for Marshall Fields in Chicago. Dorothy has taught watercolor for 40 years.

Sue Trowbridge has been painting for all of her life. She graduated from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. She lives in Vermontiville with her husband and their 14 year old son. Sue's paintings can be viewed on her blog at

Rebecca Schnorr Print Artist - Rebecca's passion for the fine print and printmaking began unexpectedly while fulfilling a course mandate for a degree in Art History. The required course in Printmaking and its various techniques was the beginning of a love affair. The artist enjoys the many varied forms of the print technique, and the endless opportunity they present for exploring, combining and expressing ideas. Rebecca is inspired by words, life and faith and how these elements combine to add meaning to our lives. Her palette is usually bright and opaque, with much contrast of color and shape. She likes to develop images that give the viewer cause to think, rather than giving them all the answers. She enjoys working in her studio and sharing the love of printmaking with others.

Dallas Shoesmith began his love for ceramics at an early age making sculptures from clay found around the family farm. He earned a BS in Education from Western Michigan University and did post graduate studies at Michigan State University, University of Tennessee, and San Diego State. Dal has worked as lead teacher for the United Arts Council in the Arts for Learning Programs and conducted many clay workshops. He has taken part in many exhibits and was honored as Outstanding Career Education Teacher for Branch, Barry and Calhoun Counties.

Mary Smith-Stokes has a BS from Siena Heights University, has been teaching basket weaving since 1985 for local community education, numerous Michigan and out-of-state basket conventions, guilds, church groups, and Girl/Boy Scout troops. She specializes in traditional flat and round reed basket designs both of aesthetic and utilitarian baskets. She has written and published over three dozen basket patterns. In 2001 Mary was selected to be among fellow basket weavers who have samples of their basketry on display at the Michigan State Museum.

Joe Takens has a constant need to create. He has been in manufacturing for thirty years lending an industrial flair to his sculptures. Jewelry fascinates him and he has worked with lost wax casting and silver smithing. His inspiration for glass art began with glass artist Dale Chihuly. Joe fires and fuses dichroic glass pieces into his paintings and jewelry. His work had been displayed in Muskegon's Hackley Art Museum and he sells his work in Michigan and Chicago.

Susan Teague's paintings and drawings have consistently won awards and recognition over the past decades. Her artistic career lists more than 70 plus national and regional competitions and exhibitions, and 20 one-woman shows. She has been credited with more than 100 personal interviews regionally and across the country in television, radio, press, magazines, and publications for her accomplishments as an artist, book illustrator, and workshop presenter. Her artwork can be found in private and public facilities, churches, and schools in Michigan, Kentucky, Lousiana and the West Coast. She has become well-known to Southwest Michigan for the 400 linear-foot mural she painted at the New Bronson's Children's Hospital.

Jose Tudon is a self-taught artist that has been drawing for 28 years.  He has drawn in a web series called the Fantashtiks and has a web page on  Jose is very enthusiastic about drawing and creating characters, be it anime, comics, or animated cartoons and video games. He believes in teaching students how to find their style of drawing and then to improve on that style.

Jeffrey L. VanNortwick graduated from MSUwith a Technical Degreein Landscape and Nursery Management. Soon after college he installed the existing landscape of the Art Center. Thiswas a veryearly project while working with the late Bill Kitchen and Bill Betts. Jeffrey also worked onlarge-scale professional commissionsone being the world headquarters of Archway Cookies, located in the Fort Custer Industrial Park of Battle Creek and many other private landscape installations here in Michigan and throughout the country.
The developmentof my Landscape Manual Programhas provide greater opportunities for success with the avid gardener and home owner creating effective designs that are easily interpreted with long-term maintenance needs. Sustainability,increasing property values and enjoyment of your space is a top priority.

Elise Weiler is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University with a teaching degree in K-12 Art Education and Secondary English Education. She enjoys working in various mediums, but favors assemblage and mixed media art.

Gina Whitesell Jewelry design is the perfect outlet for a mom with A.D.D! As a graduate of Marshall High School I have lived in the Battle Creek area all of my life and am married to my (very understanding and wonderful) husband Scott for 17yrs.  We have three active boys who keep me from taking life and myself too seriously.  I have been creating one of a kind jewelry for 16 years.  I am a self-taught artist and look for the beauty and humor in everything and try to bring those fun and playful elements to my designs.

Emily Wohlscheid has a BA of Fine Arts from Adrian College and is currently working in both metal and fiber. Her work in both of these mediums is very deeply rooted in craft. Emily enjoys combining traditional and modern techniques with new, found, and recycled materials to create jewelry, garments, and accessories from recognizable materials that are not obvious at first glance. These "surprise" elements create playful and familiar pieces for everything from everyday wear to evening elegance. Emily's work can be viewed at

Nan Worthington has a passion for sharing art experiences with children.  Her inspiration is seeing children discover and explore their own creativity.  She is a primary grades elementary teacher with previous preschool teaching experience. Her degree is in Child Development from MSU.  You can reach her at

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Art Center of Battle Creek • 265 East Emmett Street • Battle Creek, MI 49017
Telephone: (269) 962-9511 • Fax: (269) 969-3838

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