Arts Instructors

Willow hires professional artists as instructors, many with lived experience of mental illness/substance use. They design & teach all classes, which are offered seasonally in Fall, Winter & Spring. Classes vary from season to season & support visual, performance, literary, fiber, & media artists.

Matthew has been performing, teaching, and writing about improv for five wonderful years. In that time, he has been a member of The Making-Box Comedy Theatre mainstage ensemble, received the Johnson Hart award from The Canadian Improv Games, and co-founded Big Chicken Improv. His writing has been featured on Jimmy Carrane’s Improv Nerd Blog, People and Chairs – The Improv Blog With Attitude, and The Making-Box Blog.

Elizabeth Chitty’s work explores what it means to be in a body, a place, with others. For over ten years most of her work has been focused on water and her most recent work was the video and spatialized audio work addressing the Detroit River, Swallow, exhibited at Art Gallery of Windsor in 2018. She is currently developing a work based on the Niagara River.

Andrea has worked as an illustrator, fine artist and designer for over 25 years. She creates art both traditionally and digitally for professional use and personal pleasure. After studying at Emily Carr Institute Of Art & Design and Sheridan College she ran her Hamilton based business, TurnStyle Imaging with two partners for 8 years. Since 2003 she has been employed as an Illustrator/Designer for a Niagara gaming company. Andrea also utilizes her artistic skills though freelancing, teaching, and local community involvement.

Geoff is a fine art painter who began his art training in B.C. where he is from, before studying at the Art Students League in New York City from 1997 to 2002. His work has been shown in exhibitions in Canada, the U.S., Sweden, Norway, and Trinidad.  He is represented by 4 galleries across Canada, and currently lives and works in St. Catharines. He also teaches in the Graphic Design program at Niagara College.

Joe is an interdisciplinary artist who has been performing, writing, and producing music in St. Catharines Ontario Canada for the past 20 years. He performs actively as a solo artist, as well as a member of The Woodshed Orchestra, Palooka, and Bronx Cheerleader. As a music producer, he has worked with countless artists such as Great Lake Swimmers, DRFTR, Fat Moth, Ashlee Standish, Aaron Berger, Dave Clark, and many more. He is the head producer at WOW! Recording Studio & Creative Music Space, a co-founder of SOUND SOUND Improvised Music Series, and is a co-founder of the In the Soil Arts Festival.

Azra paints, makes textile art and jewelry, illustrates books, and writes for magazines; not necessarily in that order. She enjoys playing made-up games and going geocaching with her favorite comrades – her husband and daughter. A stack of children’s books and mystery novels is always by her side, and she dreams about living in an earth ship.

Catherine Parayre is a faculty member at Brock University, St. Catharines where she teaches in the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, and in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Her publications include eight single- or co-authored books. In her abstract text-and-image practice, her creative writing finds its source in the visual making process. Parayre is the Editor of Voix plurielles, the journal of the Association of Professors of French at Canadian Universities and Colleges. She regularly co-curates exhibitions and also produces cultural programs for the radio.

John Sweeney is an English and Drama teacher, who continues to direct, sing and write poetry. His poems deal with connecting social injustice issues and the power of art.  John was selected as poet of the month of August 2019, for the online publication “Fiddles and Scribbles.

Curtis is the past Board of Directors Vice-Chair. Trained in classical theatre and voice, Curtis’ professional performance arts career spans 35 years including acting, directing, and local theatre company ownership in both Ontario and Alberta. He has been an arts teacher, arts consultant, and school principal, written on teaching and learning and arts in education and holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and the Arts. Currently, Curtis is an Adjunct Professor at Brock University in the Departments of Dramatic Arts and Teacher Education and provides professional development workshops in creative leadership and programming.

Click the image below to download the Fall 2019 Program Guide

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