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

Laura August
PhD, University of Texas at Austin; MA, University of Texas at Austin; BA, Georgia College & State University
Laura August is a writer and independent curator. She has received the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation arts writers grant for her writing in Central America; the IDEA Fund stimulus grant for her exhibition Mud & Blue; and the HAA Support for Artists and Creative Individuals grant for Studio Visit, a book of interviews with Houston artists. She served as critic-in-residence with the MFAH Core Program from 2016 to 2018. In 2018 and 2019, she curated citysinging at Lawndale in Houston; Mud & Blue in Houston; To look at the sea is to become what one is at Radiator Arts in New York City; The hurt can also be dyed blue at Centro Cultural de España in Guatemala; Sanación at the Anderson in Richmond, Virginia; Yvonne writes letters to the sky at San Jacinto College in Houston; and To Weave Blue at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. She is the founding director of Yvonne, a residential project space in Guatemala City, where she divides her time with Houston.

Michael Bise
MFA, University of Houston; BFA, University of North Texas
Born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Michael Bise received a BFA from the University of North Texas in 2001 and an MFA from the University of Houston in 2005. He is represented by Moody Gallery in Houston, and his writing and art criticism can be found in the online magazine Glasstire. Among Bise’s awards and honors are the Hunting Art Prize and Houston Arts Alliance individual artist grant, and he was an Artadia finalist. His work belongs to collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Houston Airport System; City of Houston; and Art Museum of Southeast Texas. Bise has exhibited his work at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Art Museum of Southeast Texas; Art Museum of South Texas; Tyler Museum of Art; Galveston Arts Center; Fort Worth Contemporary Arts at Texas Christian University; and McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas.

Amy Blakemore
Department Head, Photography
MFA, University of Texas; BS, BA, Drury College
Amy Blakemore has been teaching photography at the Glassell School 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 a Core Program Artist in Residence 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 (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.

Charlotte Cosgrove
MFA, University of Pennsylvania; BA, Pennsylvania State University
Charlotte Cosgrove joined the Glassell 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, and cofounded a professional photography business in Houston.

Sharon Dennard
Area Manager, Ceramics
BA, University of Houston
Sharon Dennard has taught ceramics at the Glassell School since 2003. Her relationship with visual art began in the fashion industry. The forms, patterns, and colors used in clothing sparked a 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 of Art 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 the Houston Chronicle, PaperCity, Southwest Art, Texas Monthly, and 500 Cups: Ceramic Explorations of Utility & Grace. Outside the studio, Dennard juries exhibitions and lectures on subjects such as ceramic sculpture and design. She teaches at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

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
BA, MFA, University of Houston–Clear Lake
Eddie Filer is a native of Galveston, residing in Texas City. 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 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 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, Painting
MFA, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany; BFA, Wimbledon School of Art, Great Britain; BA, Bristol University, Great Britain
Francesca Fuchs has taught at the Glassell School since 1997, where she is chair of the 2-D department. She completed a BFA at London’s Wimbledon School of Art (now Wimbledon College of Arts) in 1993 and an MFA at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. Fuchs came to Houston in 1996 for the Core Residency Program of the Glassell School of Art. Fuchs’s work has been shown at 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, among others. She has been the recipient of two Artadia Awards and three Individual Artist Grants from the City of Houston. She has taught at University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Rice University; and University of Houston. Fuchs shows with Inman Gallery in Houston and Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas. She also curates shows and writes articles.

Carlos David Garcia
Foundry Manager
MA, Royal College of Art, London; BFA, University of Houston
Carlos Garcia began teaching as a foundry instructor at the Glassell School in the fall of 2019. Trained as a sculptor, he has extensive experience working with metals, wood, and a variety of other media. His practice centers on bronze casting, using found objects as inspiration for larger-scale works. He earned his MA from the Royal College of Art in London, and his BFA from the University of Houston. Garcia worked for Mike Smith Studios in London, completing projects for artists including Julien Opie, Sean Scully, and Mark Wallinger, and has exhibited in both the U.K. and Texas.

Mark Greenwalt
MFA, Pratt Institute; MA, Stephen F. Austin State University; BA, Stephen F. Austin State University
Mark Greenwalt is professor of art at College of the Mainland and current 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, and the Glassell School. For more than 20 years he has been represented by Houston’s Hooks-Epstein Gallery. Most recently Greenwalt 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.

John Guess, Jr. 
CEO, Houston Museum of African American Culture; MA, BA, John Hopkins University
John Guess, Jr. serves as CEO of the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Since 2012, Guess has kept the museum involved in national arts and culture discussions, especially difficult ones. Most recently he negotiated for the HMAAC to become the only African American cultural asset to own and interpret a Confederate monument. He has curated exhibitions including Fresh and Contemporary: Moving Forward; Sandra Bland; The Art of Malick Sidibé; Indifference; Riding the Tiger: The Art of Bert Long, Jr.; and Close to Home: Latinx Art and Identity 2.0. Guess serves on the boards of Gulf Coast literary journal, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, and Artadia.

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 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 IAH, 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.

J Hill
Area Manager, Sculpture
MFA, BA, Stephen F. Austin State University
J Hill has been teaching sculpture at the Glassell School 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, to name a few. He has received awards such as the Artadia Houston Grand Prize and an Idea Fund Award, plus grants from Houston Arts Alliance (HAATX). Hill continues to explore media as wide ranging as 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, followed by an MFA in sculpture from Stephen F. Austin State University.

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. In 2015 she moved to Lubbock, where she earned her MFA in printmaking and sculpture at Texas Tech University. With a primary emphasis on printmaking, her work branches into multiple media, with pieces that explore sound, light, and installation, combining a wide variety of materials. Johnson has organized and volunteered for numerous community art events and has taught courses and workshops at universities and community studios. She has also published the first scientific illustrations of four new species of Cyrtandra in the peer-reviewed journal PhytoKeys. Her work has been shown across the country, and she has curated a number of exhibitions. She now lives in Houston, where she continues to develop her studio work at Burning Bones Press.

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 in 2009, and he has been an instructor of drawing and painting throughout the Houston area since completing his MFA at the University of Houston in 2014. 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 (138) and Friend of the Artist (volume 7). He is represented by Jonathan Hopson Gallery.

Arielle Masson
MFA, University of Houston; MA, La Sorbonne, France; BA, Lycée Français, Belgium
Arielle Masson joined the Glassell School faculty in 1990 and teaches painting and drawing. She first studied fine art drawing at L’École d’Art d’Uccle Brussels, Belgium. She earned an MA in Latin American literature and did postgraduate studies in linguistics at La Sorbonne. She received an MFAH 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, 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, 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.

Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud is an interdisciplinary artist who has participated in exhibitions and residencies throughout the Americas—in the United States, Caribbean, and Latin America. Recurring themes in her work include Minimalism, sensation, mapping land and nature, and Blackness. She has also led program initiatives throughout the United States and is the founder of labotanica, an interdisciplinary studio that was part of the Incubation Program at Project Row Houses (2009–11). Currently, she is director of education and public programs at the Houston Botanic Garden, and she created the organization’s first-ever public programs, which link plants/nature, people, and culture.

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 since 2001. He graduated with honors in 1991 from Pratt Institute with a degree in architecture. When he was the project architect in charge of restoring the Battleship Texas, Michels began to explore fine-art photography. 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 catalogue won the Kraszna-Krausz Award for best photography book in 2013. His work was included in the traveling exhibition and catalogue 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.

Patrick M. Palmer
MFA, Arizona State University; BA, University of California, Santa Barbara
Patrick Palmer has been teaching painting at the Glassell School 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 in 1977 and an MFA from Arizona State University in 1979. 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 current 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 faculty in 2014 and teaches digital photography. He creates playful, self-reflexive drawings and installations that critically address the potential empowerment and perils that come from positive thinking. His subversive, brutally honest take on his quest for happiness and success reminds one of self-help posters gone extremely wrong. Often gaudy and sometimes slightly icky, his visuals seek to tease out the duality embedded in our deepest feelings and emotions. The works are cute, sarcastic, but perhaps most oddly, highly austere. Ponder earned an MFA from Southern Illinois University in 2009 and a BFA from Lamar University in 2005.

Brian Portman
BFA, Rhode Island School of Design
Brian Portman has been an instructor at the Glassell School 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 the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art; Walker Art Center; Museo Culterdad, Mexico City; the Blanton Museum; the Old Jail House Museum; and the El Paso Museum of Art. He has also given seminars for the Museum’s education department. He was juror for Art on the Avenue. He has exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally. In 2010, he was featured in Catherine D. Anspon’s book, Texas Artists Today. He is represented by Meredith Long & Company, Houston.

Robert Ruello
MFA, Columbia University; BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BA, Loyola University
Robert Ruello joined the Glassell School faculty in 2008 and is the head of the digital arts department. 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. Honors include a painting fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Gottlieb Foundation grant, plus Ruello was a selected artist for the publication New American Paintings (Issue 102). Ruello has worked collaboratively on both Transforma Projects with Rick Lowe, Sam Durant, Jessica Cusick, and Jess Garz and Snack Projects with artist/curator Michael Guidry. He is represented in Houston by Inman Gallery.

Anna Tahinci
PhD, DEA, BA, University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne
Anna Tahinci is professor and art history chair at the Glassell School, where she has taught since 2013. A native of Greece, she studied history and archaeology in Athens and art history and comparative literature at the Sorbonne (PhD on Rodin’s collectors), and did museum studies at the École du Louvre. She 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; and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She 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, 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.

Kelli Vance
MFA, University of Houston; BFA, University of North Texas
Kelli Vance, an artist working mainly in painting and drawing, is an affiliate professor at the University of Houston. She has also taught painting, drawing, and art history courses at Houston Community College; Lone Star College; and Long Beach City College in California. She has had solo and group shows in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Mexico, among other locations. Vance earned her BFA in painting and drawing from the University of North Texas in Denton and completed her MFA at the University of Houston in 2008, after which she was awarded a year-long residency in Roswell, New Mexico. She was recently awarded an individual artist grant through the City of Houston. Vance is represented by McClain Gallery in Houston and Cris Worley Fine Arts in Dallas.

Sandra Zilker
Department Head, Jewelry
MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art; BFA, University of Houston
Sandie Zilker joined the Glassell School 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; Daviee-Walters Family Trust; The Skiles Foundation; Leslie and Brad Bucher; Sue and Rusty Burnett; John P. McGovern Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. John S. Orton; and additional generous donors.