About the Studio School

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The Studio School at the Glassell School of Art offers courses in art history and studio arts for adults, ages 18 and older. Studio courses and workshops are available in a variety of media, including painting, watercolor, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and jewelry.

Originally founded as the Museum School in the late 1920s, as part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Glassell School of Art has grown for almost 100 years, through several buildings, to a dynamic and diverse program today, encompassing classes for students of all ages. Named for Houston businessman and arts patron Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., the school offers programs and classes in all media areas, and for all skill and experience levels.

Classes may be taken at the student’s leisure or as part of a more in-depth study through the Certificate of Achievement program. Additionally, many courses may be taken for undergraduate credit as part of the University of St. Thomas’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program. For more details on the Certificate of Achievement program and the University of St. Thomas BFA program, contact the Studio School registrar.


Glassell School of Art
5101 Montrose Boulevard

In May 2018, the Glassell School of Art opened in its new home: a 93,000-square-foot building designed by Steven Holl Architects. The new L-shaped building is constructed from a series of sandblasted, pre-cast concrete panels, alternating with panes of glass, in a rhythm of verticals and slight angles.


• Fronts onto The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, which provides ample outdoor space for programs and performances
• A street-level café for students and the public
• The PNC Roof Garden, a sloping, walkable green roof offering dramatic views of the Sarofim campus
• For the first time, all Glassell School of Art students are served under one roof, since the new building houses both the Junior School and Studio School, as well as Core Program residents


Studio School Faculty

Email glassell@mfah.org to contact Studio School faculty and staff.

Michael Bise
MFA, University of Houston; BFA, University of North Texas
Michael Bise has taught painting at the Glassell School of Art since 2013. He received a BFA in drawing and painting from the University of North Texas and an MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Houston. His work has been shown at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont; McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas; and Fort Worth Contemporary Arts at Texas Christian University. He received a Houston Arts Alliance individual artist grant and the Hunting Art Prize, and he was a finalist for Artadia and a nominee for the Texas Contemporary Award. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Houston Airport System; the City of Houston; and the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. He contributes criticism and reviews for the online art journal Glasstire and is represented by Moody Gallery in Houston.

Amy Blakemore
Department Head, Photography
MFA, University of Texas; BS, BA, Drury College
Amy Blakemore has been teaching photography at the Glassell School of Art since 1985 and is the head of the photography department. She received a BS in psychology and a BA in art from Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, Missouri, and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She was also an artist with the Core Residency Program at the Glassell School. Blakemore’s photographs have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art 2006 Biennial, Day for Night. Her 20-year retrospective in 2009 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, traveled to the Seattle Art Museum and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Art League Houston honored Blakemore as the Texas Artist of the Year in 2015 and presented an accompanying exhibition of her work. Blakemore has exhibited with Inman Gallery in Houston for more than two decades.

Maria Chevez
BA, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina
Maria Chevez’s early exposure to art was through her father, a sculptor in Buenos Aires, who ignited her passion for architecture and design. With a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, Chevez seamlessly merged her interests in humanism, art history, and urban environments into her career. She excelled in international architectural competitions and curated exhibitions in major cultural hubs like Buenos Aires, Miami, Houston, and Manhattan. Recognized for her expertise, she advises artists and gallerists. Currently a teaching assistant in 3D Design at HCU, Chevez previously taught at the Visual Communication and Design Studio at the School of Architecture in Argentina for more than 20 years. Her career reflects a dedication to the intersection of art and architecture, inspiring the next generation of designers and creatives.

Charlotte Cosgrove
MFA, University of Pennsylvania; BA, Pennsylvania State University
Charlotte Cosgrove joined the Glassell School of Art faculty in 1967, teaching studio and art history courses. She completed a bachelor of applied art degree at Pennsylvania State University and an MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania. Solo exhibitions include A Transitory Realm (2009) at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont and House of Shadows (2007) at the Ellen Noël Art Museum in Odessa, Texas. Cosgrove’s work was part of Double Take (2001–02), a group exhibition that she organized and curated, which originated at the Art League of Houston and traveled around the state. Cosgrove’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions throughout Texas and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Art Museum of Southeast Texas; and private collections. Cosgrove also taught at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, and cofounded a professional photography business in Houston.

Sharon Dennard
BA, University of Houston
Sharon Dennard has taught ceramics at the Glassell School of Art since 2003. Her relationship with visual art began in the fashion industry. The forms, patterns, and colors used in clothing sparked creativity and interest in design that led her to a degree in photojournalism from the University of Houston. She continued her studies at the Glassell School and expanded her interest from photography to sculpture, working primarily in clay and wood. She has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. Her work has been featured in Southwest Art, Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle, 500 Cups: Ceramic Explorations of Utility & Grace, and PaperCity magazine. Outside the studio, Dennard frequently juries exhibitions and lectures on subjects such as ceramic sculpture and design. She also teaches at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

Diane Falkenhagen
MFA, University of Houston; BFA, University of North Texas
Diane Falkenhagen holds a BFA from the University of North Texas and an MFA from the University of Houston. A native of Texas, she has lived for extended periods in Brazil, Alaska, and England. Falkenhagen maintains a private studio on West Galveston Island and is best known for her fabricated one-of-a-kind jewelry. Her mixed-media compositions often combine evocative pictorial imagery with fabricated metal forms and a diverse range of media. Falkenhagen’s work is an unconventional marriage of material and content that references myriad interests including memory, metaphor, figuration, romanticism, historical ornament, art history, and iconography.

Eddie Filer
MFA, BA, University of Houston–Clear Lake
Eddie Filer, a native of Galveston, resides in Texas City. He earned his BA and MFA degrees from the University of Houston–Clear Lake. He has won numerous awards in art, including two Certificates of Excellence from the Portrait Society of America’s Annual International Portrait Competition. He has also taught art in public schools, as well as at Galveston College.

Jeff Forster
Department Head, Ceramics
MFA, Southern Illinois University; BA, St. John’s University
Jeff Forster joined the Glassell School of Art faculty in 2009 and is the head of the ceramics department. He has a BA from St. John’s University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, winning awards including the Juror’s Choice Award in Ceramic Object/Conceptual Material and the Luis Jiménez Award for first place in Sculpture on Campus at Southern Illinois University. Forster was awarded the Helen Drutt Studio Fellowship with his residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and completed residencies at Lone Star College–North Harris and the Armory Arts Center. Besides teaching and maintaining a studio practice, Forster sits on the Artist-in-Residence Committee at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and the Artist Advisory Committee for Fresh Arts. He also served on the board of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts for the 47th annual conference in Houston.

Francesca Fuchs
Department Head, 2-D
MFA, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany; BFA, Wimbledon School of Art, Great Britain; BA, Bristol University, Great Britain
Francesca Fuchs has taught at the Glassell School of Art since 1997, where she is head of the 2-D department. She completed her BFA at London’s Wimbledon School of Art (now Wimbledon College of Arts) and her MFA at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany. Fuchs came to Houston in 1996 for the Core Residency Program of the Glassell School. Her work has been shown at institutions including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. She has been the recipient of two Artadia awards and three Individual Artist Grants from the City of Houston. She has taught at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Rice University in Houston; and the University of Houston. Fuchs shows with Inman Gallery in Houston and Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas.

Mark Greenwalt
MFA, Pratt Institute; MA, BA, Stephen F. Austin State University
Mark Greenwalt is professor of art at College of the Mainland and has served as president of the Texas Association of Schools of Art. Prior to 2000, Greenwalt taught drawing and painting courses for the University of Houston, Rice University in Houston, and the Glassell School of Art. For more than 20 years he has been represented by Houston’s Hooks-Epstein Galleries, and he has participated in an art and pathology collaborative project with the University of Texas Medical Branch and Galveston Arts Center. Through frequent cycles of forming, deforming, and reforming imagery, Greenwalt’s nondeterministic figures evolve on drawing surfaces parallel to the greater world in which nature and culture increasingly fuse in wonderful and terrifying ways.

Jan Harrell
MFA, University of Houston; BFA, Texas Tech University
Jan Harrell is a metalsmith, enamelist, and educator who has been on the Glassell School of Art faculty since 1993, teaching enameling. Her love for glass and metal media was fueled by her early childhood years in Japan and then grew into her college and graduate-school vocation and passion. Harrell teaches workshops across the country and participates in invitational and juried exhibitions. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Houston Airport System at George Bush Intercontinental Airport; the Kamm Teapot Foundation; the Enamel Arts Foundation; and several private collections. More than 15 books and publications feature her work. Harrell received a BFA from Texas Tech University and an MFA in sculpture from the University of Houston.

Saul Hernandez-Vargas
PhD, University of Houston; MFA, University of California, San Diego
Saúl Hernández-Vargas is an interdisciplinary artist, whose work invokes the specters haunting the cracks and fissures of the Nation-State’s narratives. He has exhibited and performed at Blaffer Art Museum (Houston), Lawndale Art Center (Houston), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Casa Amano (Guatemala). He was an artist in residence at the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands (Arizona State University) and the Dust Program (Marfa), among others. His work has been discussed in The Tyranny of Common Sense: Mexico’s Post-Neoliberal Conversion by Irmgard Emmelhainz (Sunny Press, 2021). In 2020, he developed Afilada Radio and co-curated No hay lengua humana que—a series of radio interventions for independent radio projects in Mexico. His first book, Te preparé humo, was published in 2019 (UNAM, Mexico). He cofounded the publishing project Sur+ and Yagular Magazine. Hernández-Vargas holds an MFA in visual arts from the University of California San Diego and an Interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Houston. Currently, he is a Core Fellow at the Glassell School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

J Hill
MFA, BA, Stephen F. Austin State University
J Hill has been teaching sculpture at the Glassell School of Art since 1995. He is a sculptor who has had multiple one-person and group exhibitions in galleries, nonprofits, and museum spaces. Hill’s works and social projects have been executed in venues throughout Texas, in cities such as Chicago and Baltimore, and countries including France and Kenya. He has received awards such as the Artadia Houston Grand Prize and an Idea Fund Award, plus grants from Houston Arts Alliance. Hill continues to explore media ranging from traditional materials such as wood and steel to innovative uses of sound to create sculptural environments. He also employs the use of many digital tools. Hill received a BA in political theory and an MFA in sculpture from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Laura Hughes
PhD, New York University; MA, Université de Paris 8
Laura Hughes, PhD, is a writer and translator. She is the author of the book Archival Afterlives (Northwestern University Press, Fall 2023). Focusing on archive theory, media and sound studies, and creative partnership, her research has been published in scholarly journals and supported by the Mellon Foundation and the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. Laura grew up in Houston and received a BA from the University of Texas-Austin, an MA from the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the Université de Paris 8 (Vincennes/Saint-Denis), and a PhD from New York University. After a decade of teaching literature, theory, art history, and cultural studies at New York University, she returned in 2021 to Houston, where she co-founded Basket Books & Art, a bookstore and art exhibition space, in Montrose.

Liv Johnson
MFA, Texas Tech University; BA, University of Hawaii at Hilo
Born and raised in Pahoa, Hawaii, Liv Johnson earned her BA at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and her MFA at Texas Tech University with an emphasis in printmaking and sculpture. Her studio work focuses on printmaking, which ranges from intricate two-dimensional works to installation pieces that explore sound and light and combine a wide variety of materials. Over the years she has organized and volunteered for numerous community art events and has taught courses and workshops at universities and community studios. Her work in botanical illustration has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the first scientific illustrations of four new species of Cyrtandra in the journal Phytokeys. Johnson lives in Houston, where she continues to develop her studio work at Burning Bones Press and is a board member of PrintMatters Houston.

Bradley Kerl
MFA, University of Houston; BFA, University of North Texas
Bradley Kerl is a painter based in Houston. He received his BFA from the University of North Texas, and he has been an instructor of drawing and painting throughout the Houston area since completing his MFA at the University of Houston. His work has been shown widely across Texas, including solo presentations at Art Palace, the Galveston Arts Center, and Jonathan Hopson Gallery; and in group exhibitions in Houston, Dallas, and Lubbock. Kerl’s work also appears in the publications New American Paintings (no. 138) and Friend of the Artist (volume 7). He is represented by Houston’s Jonathan Hopson Gallery.

Denise Liebl
BFA University of Denver 
Denise Liebl received a BFA from the University of Denver in printmaking and painting. A long-time student at the Glassell Studio School MFAH, she worked closely with Arthur Turner from 2009 to the present in advanced watercolor studies. Her work has been exhibited at the Lawndale M Center, Houston, Houston Baptist University, as well as several group shows in Texas and Colorado. She currently splits her time between Houston and Colorado, teaching watercolor and drawing at the Center for the Arts in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Arielle Masson
MFA, University of Houston; MA, La Sorbonne, France; BA, Lycée Français, Belgium
Arielle Masson joined the Glassell School of Art faculty in 1990 and teaches painting and drawing. She first studied fine-art drawing at L’École d’Art d’Uccle in Brussels, Belgium. She earned an MA in Latin American literature and did postgraduate studies in linguistics at La Sorbonne. She received an MFA in fine arts/painting from the University of Houston. She was awarded a residency with the Core Residency Program of the Glassell School and with the Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France. She has extensively exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Texas, France, and Mexico, including a solo exhibition at the Museum of Anthropology of Xalapa in Veracruz, Mexico. Her studio practice includes all painting media and wall installations, with a specialization in the fabrication and use of egg tempera and gouache paint. She has designed major public artwork for the City of Houston, including the MetroRail Transit.

Michelle Matthews
MFA, University of Houston; BA, Wheaton College
Michelle Matthews is a sculptor, using a variety of materials to address environmental concerns. She has participated in artists-in-residencies at La Meridiana School of Ceramics, Certaldo, Italy; Atelierhaus Hilmsen, Wallstawe, Germany and Marfa Fieldwork Consortium, Marfa, TX. She has curated and participated in Collective Transference: Houston Area Clay at Stephen F. Austin State University, Cole Gallery, Nacogdoches, TX and Houston Community College Central Campus, Houston, TX; Without Borders at Mönchskirche Gallery in Salzwedel, Germany and Annex Energy, SITE Gallery, Houston TX. Her work is in Museum of Biblical Art, Dallas, TX. Other activities include project manager for New York based land artist Alan Sonfist during his installation for the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, University of Houston, TX.

Jessica McMahon
BFA, Pratt Institute
Jessica Lilah McMahon has taught Textiles and Fashion Design at The Glassell Junior School since 2012. She is a force in the fashion and textile industry, recognized for her visionary creations, experimentation with textiles, and two decades of experience in fashion design, arts and education. She was accepted to Pratt Institute at the age of 16 and went on to receive her BFA from the esteemed institute. With her eye for creativity, Jessica has been able to transform the way we look at textiles and fashion by constantly pushing the boundaries of art and innovation. Her accomplishments in the fashion industry have been acknowledged in notable publications such as Elle, WWD, Z!NK, The LA Times, InStyle magazine, and Clotheshorse podcast. Currently, Jessica is working under Jessitex, which serves as an experiment with creatures, soft sculpture and a return to the appreciation of raw materials and textiles.

Will Michels 
BArch, Pratt Institute
Will Michels has worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, since 1985 and has taught photography at the Glassell School of Art since 2001. He graduated with honors from Pratt Institute with a degree in architecture. Michels began to explore fine-art photography when he was the project architect in charge of restoring the World War I–era Battleship Texas. He has focused on portraiture, including self-portraits, environmental portraits of Battleship Texas veterans, and living-history documentation. Michels cocurated the landmark exhibition WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath. The accompanying catalog won the Kraszna-Krausz Award for best photography book in 2013. His work was included in the traveling exhibition and catalog Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present, organized by the Brooklyn Museum. Michels has received grants from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, Summerlee Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., and Artadia. He is a collections photographer at the MFAH.

Angel Oloshove
California College of the Arts
Angel Oloshove studied painting at California College of the Arts, and she worked in graphic design and toy development in Tokyo for six years. In 2017 her studio practice expanded into painting and printmaking, culminating in an editioned artist book with Aventures LTD Press. In 2015 her exhibition Floating Worlds was selected as a Critic’s Pick for the April issue of ArtForum and she was named one of Ten Modern Ceramists Shaping the Future by AnOther Magazine. Oloshove was shortlisted for the American Craft Council Emerging Artist Award in 2019. Her 2020 commission for MD Anderson Cancer Center features 12 ceramic sculptures exhibited alongside 12 pastel drawings, and her 2020–21 solo exhibition took place at the Ogden Museum Center for Southern Craft & Design in New Orleans. She teaches ceramics at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston and the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston. She is represented by Uprise Art in New York City. 

Patrick M. Palmer
Faculty Chair | Dean of Students
MFA, Arizona State University; BA, University of California, Santa Barbara

Patrick Palmer has been teaching painting at the Glassell School of Art since 1992 and has been the dean since 2010. He also serves as faculty chair. He earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA from Arizona State University. Throughout his 40-plus years of painting, Palmer placed works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and many other prestigious museum and university collections. Palmer’s paintings revisit an often-examined theme using abstracted figures/heads edged with some psychological intrigue.

Mark Ponder
MFA, Southern Illinois University; BFA, Lamar University
Mark Ponder joined the Glassell School of Art faculty in 2014, and he teaches digital photography and design. He received a BFA in graphic design from Lamar University in Beaumont and an MFA in drawing and painting from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. His work has shown at Gallery Homeland in Houston, Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Big Medium in Austin, Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, and BravinLee Programs in New York City. He received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 2014.

Brian Portman
BFA, Rhode Island School of Design
Brian Portman has been an instructor at the Glassell School of Art since 1999, teaching drawing and painting. He has a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, where he was a European Honors Fellow. Other awards and fellowships include the Arch and Anne Kimbrough Fund Award from the Dallas Museum of Art; an NEA grant; and the Core Residency Program of the Glassell School (1983–85). Portman’s work is in the collections of institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; the Blanton Museum in Austin; and the El Paso Museum of Art. He has also given seminars for the MFAH education department and was juror for Art on the Avenue. He has exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally and is featured in Catherine D. Anspon’s book, Texas Artists Today. He is represented by Meredith Long & Company in Houston.

Robert Ruello
MFA, Columbia University; BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BA, Loyola University
Robert Ruello joined the Glassell School of Art faculty in 2008. He is a visual artist working in both digital and traditional media. Ruello received an MFA from Columbia University in New York City, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA in psychology from Loyola University in New Orleans. Artist residencies include the Core Residency Program of the Glassell School, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France. Honors include a painting fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Gottlieb Foundation grant, and he was a selected artist for the publication New American Paintings (issue 102). Ruello has worked collaboratively on Transforma Projects with Rick Lowe, Sam Durant, Jessica Cusick, and Jess Garz; and Snack Projects with artist/curator Michael Guidry. He is represented by Inman Gallery in Houston.

Hollie Stephan
MFA, University of Houston; BFA, San Francisco State University
Hollie Stephan grew up in northern Arizona. She earned her MFA in painting from the University of Houston and her BFA in painting from San Francisco State University. She uses painting and the figure to examine American life. Stephan has taught painting at the University of Houston, and her work has been exhibited in various group and solo shows, including at Blaffer Art Museum in Houston.

Anna Tahinci
PhD, DEA, BA, University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne
Anna Tahinci joined the Glassell School of Art faculty in 2013. A native of Greece, she studied history and archaeology in Athens; art history and comparative literature at the Sorbonne (PhD on Rodin’s collectors); and museum studies at the École du Louvre. Tahinci has worked at the Musée Rodin, the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, and the Harvard Art Museums. She has taught at Boston University, Paris; the University of Minnesota; Macalester College in Minnesota; and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Tahinci cocurated the sculpture exhibition that was organized in Athens for the Olympic Games in 2004 and the exhibition Rodin and America at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University in 2011. She teaches a wide range of art history courses, from cave to contemporary, and her research interests and publications include French art and women in art.

Sandra Zilker
Department Head, Jewelry | Associate Dean 
MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art; BFA, University of Houston
Sandie Zilker joined the Glassell School of Art in 1974 and is now department head of jewelry/enamel and the associate dean of student activities. She earned a BFA from the University of Houston and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Zilker’s wild and colorful work has been exhibited worldwide. Several collections include her work: the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Racine Art Museum; Designmuseo, Finland; and Norden Felske Kundi Industrimuseum, Norway. Her work has been published in books such as 500 Brooches, 500 Bracelets and 500 Plastic and Resin Objects, as well as The Art of Enameling by Linda Darty. She is on the exhibition committee and has served on the board of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Zilker also serves on the board of Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and is past president of Houston Metal Arts Guild. The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft named her Texas Master Artist in 2014.

The Glassell School of Art receives generous funding from the Glassell Family; The Skiles Foundation; Leslie and Brad Bucher; Mr. and Mrs. John S. Orton; Powell Foundation; Sue and Rusty Burnett; Ellen and David Berman; JBD Foundation; Wells Fargo Foundation; and additional generous donors.