• John Pocopanni
    John Pocopanni Pottery Instructor
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    • Pottery Instructor

    John is a certified instructor of art for Pre K – Junior College. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Art and a Master of Art Education from the University of Montevallo. Both degrees allowed for the development and mastery of three primary disciplines: Ceramics, Photography/New Media and Oil Painting. In
    addition to his academic career John has accrued nearly 7 years of work experience in the field through various marketing and promotional companies and has had work featured in publications both in Alabama and nationally. In the classroom John aims to create an environment that is not only laid back
    and relaxed but also challenging, both creatively and personally, in the hope that each student gains a better understanding of their artistic capabilities as well as how themselves as individuals and artists can influence their work.

  • Lynn Dodson
    Lynn Dodson Painting Instructor
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    • Relaxed, Creative, Productive Painting class for adults
    • Private Instruction

    Lynn’s love for painting began over 25 years ago. As a student at the University of Montevallo, Lynn was honored two consecutive years with the “Excellence in Painting” Award.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Montevallo in 1997.  Since that time, Lynn has been working full time as a freelance artist, receiving commissions from both private and corporate patrons.  She has also enjoyed teaching art classes to adults and children.

  • Parastoo “Paris” Farzad
    Parastoo “Paris” Farzad Photography Instructor
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    • Basic Digital Photography for youth and adults

    Paris graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Commercial Photography. She is an internationally published and award-winning photographer. Her company, Paris Photographics, specializes in wedding, portraits, and event photography. She is also the owner and head instructor of the Birmingham School of Photography located in Homewood, Alabama.

  • Candye Lundy
    Candye Lundy Pottery Instructor
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    Candye Lundy is a beginning hand-building pottery instructor for the SCAC.  She specializes in creating large serving vessels and functional pottery pieces.  Under Candye’s guidance you will learn the basics of utilizing clay to create functional art. Candye lives with her husband, Don, at the tranquil Horsefeathers Farm.  She has a background in interior design.

  • Allen Tolbert
    Allen Tolbert Guitar/Mandolin Instructor
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    Allen Tolbert has toured professionally in the southeast for nearly 20 years. A veteran of Birmingham-based Glenn Tolbert & Company for 17 years, Allen has made hundreds of appearances ranging from festivals, weddings, churches and private parties to radio and television appearances. He appeared as a featured guest on a special youth edition of the nationally-syndicated radio broadcast of the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, as well as performing numerous times on the Country Boy Eddie TV Show with many guests including Hank Williams III. His festival appearances include Horse Pens 40, opening for such acts as Ricky Skaggs, The Del McCoury Band, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Blue Highway and The Whites. Allen also performed at the Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Gatherin’ nearly 20 different times, opening for acts such as Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Tony Rice Unit, J.D. Crowe and the New South, IIIrd Tyme Out, the Osborne Brothers and Claire Lynch. His debut solo CD is scheduled to be available soon.

    Allen teaches guitar and mandolin full time. He has taught private lessons at Alan’s Discount Music in Vestavia, Guitar Pros in Trussville and Tannehill Strings in McCalla.

  • Amy Pickens
    Amy Pickens Sculpture & Pottery Instructor
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    Amy Pickens – local artist on Willow Island Road, Shelby, Alabama. Amy spent many years working in the jewelry design industry.  An art school graduate, Amy is ready to share her talent and insights with her students.  She lends her skills in leading our Creating in Community – Sculpture/Pottery evenings.
  • Edna Sealy Booker
    Edna Sealy Booker ArtAbilities & Children's Art Instructor
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    • ArtAbilities Director
    • Art Instructor for Seniors & Children

    Edna Sealy Booker attended Auburn University where she completed her Bachelor of Arts, Masters of Education, and Education Specialist degrees. Edna has taught in public schools for 26 years and presently she directs and teaches art for the SCAC’s ArtAbilities Program. ArtAbilites brings art and music lessons to special needs students in over 20+ Shelby County Schools at no cost to the schools or students. She has continued her artistic education by taking courses at UAB, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and studied under artist Linda Vance. Her awards & achievements include: Selected to paint “In the Park” at Seaside, Florida; Former Hoover Art Show winner; Recipient of the Shelby County Teacher of the Year Award.

  • Calliope Pettis
    Calliope Pettis Music Instructor
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    • Private Lessons
    • Music Workshops

    Calliope is a classically trained vocalist and self-taught instrumentalist. Though she is a performer at heart, off-stage, she has a strong desire to enable others to create. Since 2015 she has taught private lessons and lead Music Workshops for young adults with special needs. Calliope uses her quirky original music as a vehicle to reassure students that “there is no right or wrong way to create”! Her goal as an educator is to give students the confidence to be themselves, the tools to express what they are feeling and the patience to convey challenging emotions in a creative way.

  • Chris Cruz
    Chris Cruz Painting/Mixed Media Instructor
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    • Painting/Mixed Media Workshop Instructor

    Chris Cruz was a stay at home mom when she signed up for her first painting class over 30 years ago. She was looking for something creative and fun to do. Chris was introduced to the power of the paint brush and was hooked from then on. The vibrant colors reminiscent of her Caribbean and Florida living was the perfect setting for her to let loose and express herself in a visual way that words could not tell. Three years ago she came to Alabama to be near family
    and has never looked back.

    She calls herself a Mixed Media Experimental Artist because she believes there are no limits to what you can create when you let your mind take over with creativity. Chris is an Artist Educator for Marabu Paints, GOLDEN Paints and Silver Brushes. Because her belief in spreading the love for ART is so strong you can find her doing painting workshops at the Shelby County Arts Council, Alabama Art Supply, Falcon Art Supply, and Artists Inc. where she encourages her students to break all the rules and just play. She also does group painting parties to stimulate the creativity in those that are interested in learning
    how to relax through art. Her goal is to unite creative women through art. She travels to teach in Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and in anyone’s living room who has an interest in connecting with people. Her goal is to have the love of art pass on to the next generation.

    Collectors of Chris’s work have said: “Her paintings are fun, different and always have a happy feeling to them that people love.” People call on her when in need for that special gift. She has won numerous awards and people who collect her work say it brings a smile to their faces. She is a member of the Mountain Brook Art Association, Shelby County Arts Council, Central Alabama Arts Association and The Middle Tennessee Decorative Artists Group.

    Chris can be reached at 954-608-7220 or visit her @ http://www.chriscruzdesigns.com

  • Nita Terrell
    Nita Terrell Pottery Instructor
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    Nita Terrell is a graduate of the University of Montevallo where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degree. She currently resides in Alabaster, Alabama, with her husband David and son Eli.

    Nita started working again in ceramics in 2009.  She finds joy in creating functional pieces that become a part of someone’s everyday-life or special occasion’s pieces. Much of her work is created by incorporating and combining both wheel-thrown and hand-building components to create subtle but basic design.  All of her unique ceramic pieces are food-safe, lead free, microwave and dishwasher safe, yet maintain her signature designs that have simplistic yet elegant lines.  She started teaching ceramics in 2012 to children and adults, and today continues to share her enthusiasm and knowledge of ceramics. Through teaching these classes she has evolved as an artist and is constantly changing and improving her ceramic process.


  • Ellen Tweiten
    Ellen Tweiten Piano Instructor
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    Ellen Tweiten received Bachelor and Masters degrees in piano performance  at the University of Michigan.  She did post graduate work at The Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore  and the University of Texas at Austin. She has held several college teaching positions including that of Adjunct Professor of Piano at Birmingham Southern College.  She was the pianist for the Alabama Symphony for sixteen years and and has performed in numerous solo and chamber music recitals.  In her spare time she enjoys training horses and gardening.

  • Krista Wendle
    Krista Wendle Voice Instructor
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    Krista has been a professional vocalist for 30 years. She toured the Southern United States with various musical groups for more than 8 years, playing such venues as the Hard Rock Cafe, US Virgin Islands & Universal Studios, Orlando. She has opened for top acts like, David Lee Roth, formerly of Van Halen, and played with several groups local to Vermont, Florida, and Alabama. Krista is experienced in many vocal styles, including jazz, country, top 40, and rock. Her teaching is not only aimed at making you a better singer, but also a more effective performer.

  • William Yarbrough
    William Yarbrough Guitar Instructor
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    With southern roots William A. Yarbrough was born and raised just outside of Birmingham, Alabama. His talent as a guitarist and singer/ songwriter has developed over the last 19 years. William currently serves as Guitarist at Canterbury United Methodist Church and Lead Guitarist at Independent Presbyterian Church Birmingham, Alabama

  • Leslie Belk
    Leslie Belk Voice Instructor
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    Leslie is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in Music Education specializing in vocal performance. She has taught private voice lessons and worked in education for over 20 years. Her specialty is teaching a variety of repertoire that focuses on her students interests and vocal style. Leslie has had the opportunity to teach all ages in education and her true passion is in the area of Musical Theatre. As a drama queen herself, she loves to encourage the creativity that comes along with discovering the true meaning of each and every song and portraying that character through the performance. 
    Leslie is currently the music teacher at Elvin Hill Elementary School in Columbiana. Her primary goal as an educator is to encourage students to find their passion and giftedness in the arts, to be comfortable in their own skin and gain confidence in themselves through the process of performance. 
    Leslie currently resides in Chelsea with her loving husband Justin and two amazing kids Hannah and Gabe. They have a cat named Mellie that LOVES to eat! 
  • Rebekah Perry
    Rebekah Perry Piano Instructor
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    • Piano Instructor

    Rebekah Perry graduated from Pensacola Christian College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education, with an emphasis in piano pedagogy. Following her graduation, she immediately began her teaching career at Vestavia Hills Conservatory of the Arts and Dominion Baptist Church where she currently teaches. She has had the privilege of teaching grade school ages through senior adults, but primarily focuses on grade school students. Having recently moved to Columbiana, she is excited to share her love of music with her community by teaching at Shelby County Arts Council.

  • Bruce Andrews Executive Director
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    Bruce Andrews wide array of experience includes:

    • Singer-song writer and Inductee in the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame with 40 plus years of performance experience.

    • Grant writing and Arts program planning

    • Venue management and coordination with artists including event promotion

    • Commercial Music marketing with The Benson Music Group (now Provident Music

    • Extensive Mural painting experience working in concert with interior designers

    Read Even More…

  • Sharon Rogers
    Sharon Rogers Piano Instructor
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    Piano Instructor, Sharon Rogers, teaches at Elvin Hill Elementary during the day and for us on Thursday Afternoons. Sharon studied at Samford University. A resident of Chelsea, Alabama, she is married and has two children.

  • Nelson Grice
    Nelson Grice Pottery/Sculpture Instructor
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    Nelson earned a BFA and an M.Ed from the University of Montevallo and has been teaching in the public schools since 1996. His professional career as a sculptor compliments his role as a teacher. Through hard work and his love for art, Nelson’s sculptures have continued to evolve and grow with each passing group of students. He sees the students as an inspiration. “Teenagers live in an imaginary world,” he says, “and it’s that imagination that inspires me”. Nelson is known for his whimsical and entertaining animal sculptures and paintings. He has had multiple corporate and museum purchases. 


  • Benny Ndalima
    Benny Ndalima Development Coordinator/Music Instructor
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    • Development Coordinator
    • Drumset / Aux Percussion (All levels)-Ages 6+
    • Piano (Beginner – Intermediate)- Ages 6+
    Benny Ndalima is a native Tanzanian who recently earned a BA in Business and minor in Music from the University of Montevallo. He was introduced to the Shelby County Arts Council through the University of Montevallo’s Falcon Scholars program. During his internship, doors of opportunities opened up for Ndalima because of his hard work and now he is the Development Coordinator for the SCAC. In his spare time Ndalima enjoys playing the drums and sharing his love of music with others. He has adopted a diverse approach as a pianist through gospel, jazz and world music influences. His culture and self-taught background inspired the idea to explore music education in an academic institution. Ndalima also composes music and has been involved with a few orchestras and several bands. Come explore some intercultural musicianship with Benny!
  • Byron Thomas
    Byron Thomas Music Instructor
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    • -Private Lessons
    • -Group Classes
    • -An emphasis on Jazz/Blues/Gospel


    Born and raised in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, Byron Thomas is one of the best kept musical secrets in the south. He has played for a wide range of people, from world dignitaries to famous entertainers to inspirational speakers. He has dedicated his life and love to the practice and performance of music, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from Stillman College in 2004. It is this love and pursuit that has made him a southern music phenomenon.

    Byron plays for several different artist and groups within the city of Birmingham including, Belinda Peoples and Smooth Blend , Jose Carr and Pizzaz, The Official Clutch Band, Aretta Woodruff, Elnora Spencer and countless others.

    Currently he is and Minister of Music at Bethel Baptist Church of Pratt City and president of Morfingarz Music. He the loving and devoted husband to his wife and biggest supporter, Mrs. Deidra Brown-Thomas