John Armstong (Founder/Owner/Instructor) - Drawing, Painting, Voice
John's key objectives in founding the Open Arts Studio with his wife Lucy is to provide students with a classical foundation in music, visual and performance arts while creating a safe, noncompetitive and enjoyable classroom atmosphere. He teaches the Open Arts Drawing Method, singing, voice overs and improv. He has a Bachelor of Music from Central Washington University and received his Masters degree in Music & Classical Vocal Performance from the University of Colorado. John has created and studied art since his childhood.
John teaches with passion and excitement to all ages but has a special talent with children. He encourages each student to build their drawing and painting skills with a fun manner that keeps the children wanting to learn more.
Jennifer Joye (Manager)
Jennifer Lamkin (Receptionist)
Ann Hurst (Instructor) - Watercolor, Painting
Ann was born and raised in the Seattle area, but became an artist while living in Hawaii where she resided for twenty years. Her mother and brother had amazing artistic talent and she always wondered if she might have that talent in her. Ann had always loved art and knew one day she would pursue it. She began her journey by reading books and watching how-to videos for watercolor painting. At some point deciding she needed more instruction, she began taking classes.
She was inspired by the natural beauty of the islands and loved the vivid colors which she expressed in her work.
Ann was a member of the Hawaii Watercolor Society, and was fortunate to sell at the Honolulu Academy of Arts for a time, the Zoo Fence in Waikiki and annually at the Haleiwa Arts Festival for a number of years. She had a solo show at Hoomaluhia in 2010 and sold at various art shows and fairs around the island. Ann also began to teach beginning watercolor classes and taught art to high school kids in a private school. It was a fantastic and memorable time in her journey as an artist. She does miss her island art life, the climate and the people.
Now that Ann has moved back to the Pacific Northwest she says, “her surroundings are much different, but still breathtakingly beautiful. There is an entire new world around me and so much to paint. I am excited to be here and to grow as an artist. and I still have so much more to learn, and my journey continues...”
Mikko Freeman (Instructor) - Drawing, Painting
Mikko studied multimedia and fine art at the Northwest College of Art and Design with a focus on oil painting, as well as art history, business and philosophy at the Evergreen State College. For several years he recorded and performed music professionally while maintaining his passion for painting. While traveling in Europe he rediscovered traditional painting for himself after spending days studying Sargent, Leighton, and Waterhouse paintings in the Tate Britain. Deeply moved by these historic works Mikko decided to return to his artistic training in a traditional manner. He moved to Italy and studied classical drawing and painting at the Florence Academy of Art. Steeped in tradition, history and a community of burgeoning realists he began to develop his voice as a representational artist. Currently, Mikko lives, paints, and teaches in the Pacific Northwest.
Leslie "Sparkle" Gavin (Instructor) - Beading & Jewelry
Peter Giardina A.K.A. "PECO" (Instructor) - Guitar, Piano, Ukulele
Peter Giardina has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Youngstown State University in Ohio. He earned his Master's degree in Education Technology from City University. Peter has been working as a public school teacher for 15+ years and has a background in the Orff and Kodaly teaching methods. He has taught guitar privately for 20+ years. Peter has experience in many areas and styles of guitar such as fingerstyle, classical, electric rhythm and blues as well as rock. He has participated in many cover bands, tribute bands and original bands. Peter is also an aspiring singer and songwriter.
Michelle Cove (Instructor) - Pottery
John Vorstadt (Instructor) - Pottery
John Vorstadt is a ceramic artist from the finger lakes region of upstate New York. He works primarily with clay to create functional forms displaying the processes of construction and materiality. In 2015 he graduated from Alfred University with a BA in Interdisciplinary Art and is the recipient of the Kiki Smith fellowship at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Following, John completed a post-baccalaureate from the University of Florida and is currently teaching ceramics in Tacoma Washington.