Meet our Instructors

ArtsConnect is proud to employ a well-rounded and highly professional staff of teaching artists and arts educators.  On this page, you will be able to read about each instructor, find out what each one teaches, and follow a link to their class web pages.  We hope that you will enjoy the ArtsConnect classes and each instructor's approach.  If you are not sure what kind of class to take, then check out our Wednesday Workshops taught by our own instructors.  Those workshops happen one time and allow you to get to know our instructors and how they teach.

Charlie Berger is a professional artist and sculptor with more than 35 years of teaching experience, most recently as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Design at DAAP at the University of Cincinnati. Charlie holds a B.A. in Art from Dickinson College and a M.F.A. from the School of Art in the College of DAAP at the University of Cincinnati.  He is an energetic and articulate educator with significant and in-depth teaching, teacher training, and management experience.  Charlie has developed curricula, courses, and written and edited books and articles for techniques, materials, and artistic methods.  He holds classes at multiple locations in Cincinnati.  His greatest pleasure comes from helping adults and younger artists develop creativity and significant skills in drawing and painting. Charlie is teaching the ArtsConnect Evening Drawing Class on Thursdays for Session 2.

John and Suzanne Carpenter

Suzanne Carpenter (pictured above) is a highly trained and experienced piano teacher. She has studied at Oberlin College and Conservatory while attending grade school. She attended school at Interlochen Arts Academy. She has her Bachelor of Fine Arts in music (and art, drama, dance and creative writing)  from the University of Connecticut and Masters studies at Antioch in Special Education. She taught at East Manhattan School for Bright and Gifted in New York, taught in Mt. Healthy schools preK-12, and has run 3 piano studios. Ms. Suzanne teaches the ArtsConnect Private and Group Piano Lessons. Ms. Suzanne and Dr. John both own True Virtuoso Piano Studio.

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John Carpenter (pictured at left) is a concert pianist. He has the Artist Diploma from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (a doctoral degree awarded him due to his high level attained in his piano performance after finishing his DMA coursework),
Masters of Music from Manhattan School of Music and Bachelor’s in Music from Manhattan school of Music. He has recently played in the Los Angeles area with the orchestra and at the NAMM monster concerts and with Dayton philharmonic. He plays the traditional service for Mother of God in Covington and for the Wyoming Choir, and has a Radio show on WAIF 88.3 F.M. in Cincinnati, “Music Making Together – a building community program”. Dr. John assists Ms. Suzanne with the ArtsConnect Private and Group Piano Lessons. Together, they own True Virtuoso Piano Studio.


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Sharon Doering is a mother, artist, a board certified and licensed art therapist, supervisor, educator, avid traveler, and a “decent” cook.  She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts, an M.A. in Art Therapy, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. Her focus of her doctoral research was the recovery of human trafficking survivors.  Dr. Doering has taught courses in human development, mental health, cognitive-behavioral therapy, diversity, and communication skills at the community, undergraduate, and graduate levels.  Her work spans hospitals, schools, and residential facilities with adults, teens, and children.  Dr. Doering currently runs a private practice, Discover Solutions, LLC, that assists people to discover creative solutions in their lives.Sharon teaches the various Art and Mindfulness Workshops for the ArtsConnect Wednesday Workshops.

Marlena Hebenstreit grew up in a family of professional artists in Cincinnati.  As a young girl, she admired the old masters and her current work is influenced by their techniques.  She is educated from the Cincinnati Art Academy where she studied painting and figure drawing classes taught by her mother, renowned portrait painter, Carin Hebenstreit.  Marlena was formally trained, as well, by Mike McGuire of the Cincinnati Academy of Design.  Marlena manages a studio at the Pendleton Art Center, Cincinnati, where she creates and sells her paintings and artwork. Marlena is teaching the ArtsConnect Evening Painting Classes.

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Heather Hitchman is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at Southern State Community College, Hillsboro, Ohio.  She is also the Nature Shop Manager at Cincinnati Nature Center.  Heather holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History and Art Education from Mt. St. Joseph, a Master of Arts in Art Education from Miami University and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Tennessee. Heather teaches the ArtsConnect Evening Painting on Wednesdays, the Evening Drawing on Thursdays, the Kids Mixed Media on Tuesdays, Wednesday Workshops in Stained Glass and leads Girl Scout Fine Arts Workshops.

Susan L. Mueller is an artist living in Cincinnati. Over the past fifteen years, she actively pursued her interest in art with art workshops and classes at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Baker-Hunt Foundation, and Manifest Drawing Center. Local instructors include Ken Buck, Charlie Berger, Bruce Neville, Savannah Tate Cuff, and John Leon. Outside the area, she studied with Christopher Shink, Skip Lawrence, Judy Morris, John Salminen, Sue Archer, Carol O’Conner, David Drummond, Judith Carducci, Bill Fletcher, and Robert O’Brien. She is a member of the Ohio Watercolor Society, St. Louis Watercolor Society, and the Cincinnati Art Club.

Susan attended the University of Cincinnati, graduating with a MBA in Finance. Over the past 30 years, Susan worked in personal financial planning and Business Appraisal (CFP, CFA, and ASA).  Susan teaches the ArtsConnect Morning Drawingon Mondays and Daytime Painting on Mondays.

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Heidi Rice. Sewing Instructor

Priscilla Oehlschlaeger is a Cincinnati based costume designer.  She has worked for the Playhouse in the Park and with specific performers such as Jefferson James of the Contemporary Dance Company. Also know as Ms. P, Priscilla has been teaching hundreds of children how to create art and how to sew for many years.  She has worked on projects and taught classes with Roundabout Opera for Kids (ROK, Cincy), The Art Cart, I.S. Design Works, Summer Theatre Day Camp for the Playhouse, The Fringe Festival 2012, Nativity:  The Pop Opera for Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Main Street Opera Company, and her own Theater Magic Classes. She is the author of Make Costumes!:  For Creative Play under the name of Priscilla Hershberger.  Ms. P teaches the ArtsConnect Kids Sewing, the ArtsConnect Kids Camp, the ArtsConnect Girl Scout Fine Arts Workshops, and Wednesday Workshops.

Heidi Rice is a Springfield Township resident, wife, and mother of three.  She learned to sew as a pre-teen in the 4-H program.  Heidi taught sewing and quilting classes for 4 years at Sewn Studio.  Her favorite part of teaching sewing classes is watching people realize the joy and relaxation that creating with your hands brings. She also loves showing people that the craft of sewing and quilting can be trendy and modern, that they can sew stylish garments or make quilts that are either traditional, or works of modern art.  Heidi teaches ArtsConnect Wednesday Workshops and the Girl Scout Fine Arts Workshops.

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Katherine K. Smith is an artist, art educator, and the Education Director for ArtsConnect. She holds a B.F.A. from Wittenberg University and both a M.A. in Art Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Miami University. Her paintings and murals are found in homes, public buildings, and as illustrations in books and book covers. Her published writing is found in teaching, curriculum, and education journals. Katherine has served as an adjunct instructor for Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. She has taught curriculum leadership classes and Art Education classes for Elementary Education majors and has taught Art Appreciation for undergraduate students. Katherine also consults with Woodford Paideia Academy in Cincinnati Public Schools to assist with their integration of the arts into the classroom curricula. Prior to her university teaching, Katherine was a middle school art teacher at Tower Heights Middle School in Centerville, Ohio. Katherine has conducted research with ArtsConnect. 

Roger Ross holds a B.S. and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington.  Roger served two years in the Army and worked for Proctor and Gamble in California and in Ohio.  He and his wife began taking watercolor lessons together from Ray Loos and Lou Austerman and continued for 10 years.  He began painting in earnest after retiring in 1998. Since then he has studied with Eric Weigardt, Margaret Scanlan, Arne Westerman, Sam Holingsworth, Vola Lee, Bruce Neville, Ron Ranson, Tony Couch, Frank Webb, Homer Hacker, Mel Stabin, Susan Tregay, Dale Latinen, and Tom Fong.   

Roger is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, The Queen City Art Club, The Ohio Watercolor Society, and the Art on Symmes Guild. In 2013 Roger won a Springfield Township Art contest where one of his paintings was displayed on 18 winter theme banners on Winton Road. Roger teaches the ArtsConnect Intermediate Watercolor Class on Wednesdays.

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Megan Stevens Ceramics

Megan Stevens is a ceramic artist who creates functional pottery heavy with color and surface decoration.  She is experienced in hand building, wheel throwing, slip casting, glaze/clay making, and kiln maintenance.  Along with her functional pottery, Megan has created a few bodies of sculptural work.  She has had solo exhibits at UC and group exhibitions in Jindgezhen, China, Chicago, Illinois, and Cincinnati, Ohio.  Images of her work can be seen on her website:  meganstevens.com and on her instagram @meganstevensceramics.  Megan holds a B.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning and is currently employed as a kiln operator at Rookwood Pottery Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. Megan teaches the ArtsConnect Ceramic Hand Building Classes for Adults and for Kids. She teaches Wednesday Workshops. and Girl Scout Pottery workshops.

Patrick Walker works as a furniture maker, artist, and educator.  As an artist, he focuses on found, functional sculpture.  He loves to explore new mediums and techniques and attempts to use unique materials with unusual and surprising methods.  In particular, he enjoys saving and repurposing historic pieces that would otherwise be lost to history. 

Patrick earned a B.A. in Sales and Marketing from the University of Cincinnati and a M.A. in Secondary Education from Mt. St. Joseph University.  Patrick worked for the past 20 years in all aspects of the construction industry as well as owned his own company.  His specific focus was rough and finish carpentry.  Patrick teaches the ArtsConnect Adult Woodshop Classes, Open Woodshop Studios, Kids Woodshop Classes, Wednesday Workshops, and Girl Scout Fine Arts Workshops.

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