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Meet the Artists

Meet the awesome local artists leading the way in Colorado Springs! They're not just teaching art—they're living it, bringing their passion and community spirit to every class.

art teacher, erin, smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Erin

Drawing & Painting

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and minor in Art History; Colorado State University

Erin is a painter, illustrator, muralist, and instructor, currently working and residing in Colorado Springs. She taught for a number of years painting and drawing classes at Bemis School of Art at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center at Colorado College, as well as at the Manitou Art Center. She has also taught painting at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, and teaches numerous private lessons and figure drawing sessions.

Art has always been an integral and important part of Erin’s life. After putting herself through school and earning two fine arts degrees, she lived in numerous cities throughout the US, always painting, but working a variety of jobs. Upon returning to her home town of Colorado Springs, with much determination and hard work, Erin became a professional artist, showing and selling her work, as well as teaching.

“I believe that art brings all people together, as it helps us to express ourselves in a necessary, and even therapeutic way. Creativity is a calming, often challenging, and peaceful process for me. I am extremely passionate about Art and Art History, and look forward to sharing that passion and experience with my new students, and old, at Pikes Peak Artist Collective!” -Erin

*Contact for mural and commissioned artwork requests

art teacher, amanda dodson, smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Amanda

Drawing & Painting (Youth)

Bachelor of Social Work; University of Texas
Master of Social Work; Simmons College
Focus on therapeutic art

Amanda is a painter, writer, and instructor with a background as a mental health therapist. She is a lifelong artist and began working as a sewist’s assistant at age 13, and a professional photographer at the age of 16. Amanda started her career by teaching art to elementary-aged children in both Texas and Boston. When she became a therapist, she focused on incorporating therapeutic art with clients and colleagues.

Amanda has extensive experience facilitating art therapy groups for neuro divergent children and teenagers, as well as people in recovery from eating disorders. While living in Memphis, she began holding art journaling and watercolor workshops for helping professionals. Amanda relocated to Colorado Springs in 2021 to continue her work as an artist in this beautiful, creative community.

Amanda values providing a calm, creative environment to reduce stress. She is passionate about creating a safe space for children and adults to develop their artistic independence and express themselves freely. Amanda is excited to get to know the community at PPAC and witness the beautiful art created!

art teacher, Tessa, smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Tessa

Painting & Clay

Bachelor of Arts in Art Education
(grades 5-12) ; Minor in Italian; Salem State University

For the past 12 years Tessa has been teaching children and teens in summer camp, community arts studio settings, and after-school programs. In 2014 she began working and teaching at a ceramics studio in coastal MA which expanded her teaching to adult classes as well. Teaching also encourages Tessa to develop her own art, through her small business, which she started in 2015 under the name Tessa Lation Studios, where she makes and sells ceramics.

Tessa is passionate about helping people gain confidence in the arts, especially in ceramics. She is particularly experienced in and drawn to hand building methods of ceramics. She also loves getting people excited about wheel throwing, giving them a foundation to get into their own flow and fine tune their skills. Over the years of teaching ceramics, Tessa has come up with several “tricks of the trade” to help people along the way. She is always happy to offer up several different methods to help a student break through any roadblock they might encounter.

art teacher, Al, smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Alexandra (Al)

Clay

Alexandra is currently studying to obtain her Bachelor of Studio

alrosetanner@gmail.com | 530-845-1293

Alexandra is a multimedia artist who is passionate about ceramics. Her study of Studio Arts consists of drawing, painting, printmaking, 3D design, and sculpture, but her love of working with clay led her to where she is now – a small pottery business owner and a ceramics instructor here at Pikes Peak Artist Collective.

The thrill of taking earthen materials and forming them into functional (or just simply beautiful) objects is one she hopes to share with many aspiring artists to come. She finds working with clay to be both challenging and therapeutic, and hopes to encourage others to get their hands dirty and experience the joy of clay firsthand.

Alexandra enjoys the creative community that PPAC has to offer, and she aims to cultivate a classroom that is welcoming and inclusive to artists of all skill levels. She believes that clay is a medium for all, and is excited to share her extensive knowledge of wheel throwing and hand building methods.

art teacher, Rhonda Conn-Parent, smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Ms. Rhonda

The "Grad Class"

BFA; The University of North Texas
Extensive training in High Trust Psychology

Rhonda formed the Studio Graduate class after many years of teaching art to children. Rhonda recognized what children wanted and needed as artists and as learners. As a result “The Grad Class” is designed to balance structure and freedom, a “flipped” classroom or art studio where the student produces work primarily from their own vision along with one monthly “touch point” art lesson taught by Rhonda or a local artist. Touch point lessons add to students repertoire of skills that they can then integrate into their own art-envisioning/making process; from art history, to art appreciation, to specific art techniques.

A fun aspect of The Grad Class is students can work together or glean new ideas from one another. The class is limited to 12 students to allow for a calm independent class dynamic.


The Grad class is not based on age level, it is based on a readiness to produce work independently. Ages can vary, with a minimum age of 10 to max of 18.

The soul, passion and energy of the group organically forms into an art “sanctuary” where young people can live their artist-self with courage, a willingness to grow and authentic love for exercising that voice inside of them that truly needs a platform.

rhondacp@gmail.com | 719-338-5193

art teacher, katie paris, smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Katie

Clay

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work;  University of Wisconsin-Madison

Katie started her professional career in social work, working at several local community agencies here in Colorado Springs. Over the past few years, Katie has pursued her artistic hobbies as a new way to connect to the community. Katie began by assisting with youth art classes at PPAC, using all forms of media to create art. Katie has since transitioned to focusing on teaching adult ceramic classes.

Katie’s goal is to create an atmosphere for students and artists to pursue their creativity. She is there to encourage and support local artists- both those new to working with clay and those with prior experience. Everyone is welcome and she will be there to support you throughout your session. Katie believes that a supportive environment is key when trying something new, and as your teacher, she sees her role as creating that environment for your session.

In our pottery date nights and small group sessions, you will have the freedom to play, explore and create with wheel throwing and hand building techniques. The small group setting is perfect for you to build memories with your friends and loved ones, try something new, and connect to your community at the same time- and most importantly, rest and have fun!

Katie can’t wait to share her passion for ceramics with you. See you at the studio!

ceramics manager, liz,  smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Liz

 Ceramics Manager

ecovell313@gmail.com | 719-352-6608

Drawn to Colorado’s natural beauty and boundless opportunities for adventure, Liz and her family moved here 7 years ago from St. Louis. While living in the Midwest, she worked as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, engaging with clients of all ages with a wide range of abilities and challenges. It is a profession in which she quickly developed a deep passion for helping people learn to be successful in areas of their lives that are important and matter to them. 

Liz was introduced to clay and the Pikes Peak Artist Collective in the Spring of 2021. Liz and her husband took a private class and fell in love with the clay art form and the studio. That initial class inspired her to become a membership student at PPAC, to build a home studio, start her own pottery business, and to expand her experience with PPAC as the Ceramics Manager and a teacher. Liz works both on the wheel and with hand building methods. She loves to alter wheel thrown pots by utilizing sculpting and hand building techniques. 

As a teacher Liz believes that by providing an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming environment everyone can create art they love. In her approach to teaching pottery, she strives to foster an atmosphere that encourages each student to find their skills and talents, discover their personal style, and develop greater artistic confidence with each new project.She believes there is no wrong way to work with clay and the art of creating with this tactile medium is a gratifyingly meditative process producing rich rewards every step of the way.

art teacher, Sara, smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Sara

Clay

Associates of Anthropology; Pike Peak State College

semopps@gmail.com | 719-445-6652

Sara is a passionate ceramic artist with over a decade of experience in the clay medium. She has a deep love for people and cultures, which she studied through Anthropology at PPSC. In summer of 2022, she took the leap to pursue a career in ceramics. Today, she sells her handmade pottery locally in Colorado Springs and online at earthandsunpottery.com.

 

But Sara's passion doesn't stop at creating beautiful pottery. She also has a deep desire to share her knowledge and inspire others to explore their own artistic abilities. Whether you're a seasoned artist or a beginner, Sara welcomes you to embark on a journey of self-expression and creativity.

 

Sara understands the joy and fulfillment that comes from working with clay and excited to help you unleash your inner artist.

studio owner, Lauren , smiles in front of mural painted on studio wall

Lauren

Owner & PPAC Manager

Baylor University; West Texas A&M University, B.S., M.S.

Lauren took over ownership of Pikes Peak Artist Collective in 2024, promising to continue supporting the studio and it's community, upholding a 20+ year commitment to Colorado Springs and it's vibrant residents. 

Originally from Houston, Texas, Lauren found herself at Baylor University for her undergraduate degree, eventually graduating with degrees in Computer Science, Finance and Economics. After college she spent 5 years on the East Coast, exploring the museums and galleries of Washington, DC, while working as a technology consultant for the State Department, Department of Defense, and smaller private companies. After years of crunching numbers and dissecting algorithms, Lauren's heart decided to dance to a new rhythm -- one painted with hues of creativity.  And then, destiny unfurled its canvas. Lauren, fueled by passion and a longing for community, stepped into the role of PPAC’s custodian. The studio’s legacy, spanning two decades, now rests in her capable hands. She envisions a space where pixels meet pigments, where algorithms converse with abstract expressionism.

So, when Lauren isn’t deciphering lines of code, she’s curating exhibitions, nurturing budding artists, and weaving her own story on canvas. And yes, she still jets back to the East Coast, where memories blend seamlessly with the present—a tapestry of art, travel, and the indomitable spirit of creativity.

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