Come and share the arts with ACA

Having Trouble With Cabin Fever?- An Art Class Could Be the Cure

Allegheny Center for the Arts (ACA) has many new adventures into the Arts and a variety of art-related classes for this winter and spring, 2014. Most teachers and classes from last year will continue. ACA will offer digital photography for beginner, intermediate and advanced students; “Drawing on the Right Brain”; acting for youth and adults; watercolor; creative collage; graphic design; chip carving; ukulele for beginners and not so beginners; and guitar basics. The center will offer beginning fiction writing, beginning movie-making leading into an advanced set of classes, a whole set of classes in Pesanka egg decorating, and a workshop for directors and actors to learn to collaborate. Classes for the most part have six-week sessions. Some classes need a minimum number of students to take place. Persons interested in taking classes can find a registration form on line at

Have a new camera or an older one you want to learn how to use? Ron Keeney offers classes in digital photography. These six-week courses will concentrate on how to use an SLR manual or adjustable camera (digital) and cover important issues like exposure settings, ISO, shutter speeds, f-stops, aperture, focal point, focusing (manual vs. auto), lens comparisons (zoom, telephoto, stock, closeup, etc.), quality vs, convenience, light, filters and flash issues. It will also cover composition “rules” and issues such as the “rule of thirds.” For all of these classes, students would be expected to bring in a digital camera with adjustable or manual controls. These classes will get you outside and using your eyes to see winter in a new way. Later in the spring, Keeney will present workshops in other areas of photography.

Feeling a bit low and in a down mood? Elissa Davis offers classes in ukulele. These classes will help ukulele players learn how to make this happy sounding instrument come alive and to play with a group. There will be a separate class for beginners. The intent of these classes is to help each player feel good about learning a new instrument. These lessons and practice at home will become your own happy hour.

ACA also supports a ukulele group called HULA. This group meets on second and fourth Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Players in this group need to know the basics and have a desire to have fun with each other as they learn to take away the winter blues.

Again Carla Melkonian will offer a nine-week class called “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.” This class is designed for students to use the right side of their brains – to become more creative. This would also be good for a person in the business world who wants to work outside of their current way of thinking. When a person begins to use the whole brain, great things happen to their inner selves. As one student said, ” I am seeing the world around me in a much different way.” Your winter will become less of a drag if you can learn to draw on the right side of your brain.

Lou Cable will teach acting for youths and acting for adults. Six people must be registered for each class. Cable has been on stage herself with Warren Players and has directed many times. She loves creating characters herself and enjoys helping others learn how to create a character. Cable also will offer a class called mosaic beading. In this class, students will learn to create a unique mosaic bead project using seed beads. Cable said she has been a crafter all her life as she is an original coal miner’s daughter. These classes will certainly help a person to get outside of themselves as they learn with like-minded people.

Jeremy Earnheardt will offer guitar basics. Earnheardt is new to ACA as a teacher but not as a guitar player. He was one of the people who helped bring music to the Appetite for the Arts in April 2013. Ben Johnson, the ACA’s former teacher, moved back to Oklahoma.

Don Reed will again offer his class on chip carving. A minimum of three students is needed for this class. This is a Scandinavian art form. Students will learn basic carving skills, refine techniques and complete a simple project. Reed loves looking for designs of this form, drawing them, and then creating them in wood. He says, “I want to pass this part of my heritage on to people who love to carve and take their work to another level.” There is no way for a person to work on a carving project and not take themselves away from feeling the winter’s cold.

Jessica Shoemaker-McElhaney will offer “Creative Collages: Mixed Media, Graphic Design & the World of Visual Culture” and “Introduction to Watercolor.” She is an art teacher for the Warren County School District who loves art and the way it can help people view the world around them differently. Shoemaker-McElhaney has been teaching art and computer for the district for five years. She has a bachelor of science degree in art education and a bachelor of fine arts in applied media arts graphics design. She received her master of arts degree in art education from Boston University and is currently on the board for the Crary Art Gallery and a member of the Warren Art League. Jessica’s classes start in March. These classes open just as the winter seems like it will never end and you are ready to move South. Brighten your day with art and stay in Warren.

Emily Jeziorski will offer a beginning class in fiction writing. Emily has been writing creatively since she first picked up a pencil at the age of six. She holds a minor in Creative Writing from Clarion University and has completed seven novels. Her work has been reviewed by several agents for publication. Students will explore the elements of creative fiction with in-class writing time and peer-review of work completed at home. Students will have time for revision and be given the opportunity to workshop each other’s fiction. Students will have developed the skills of character, plot, setting, and dialogue and have the opportunity to weave these elements together to create a work of original fiction. Again this class opens just in time to write a fictional piece of being in a warm and sunny place.

John H. Moffett will offer a workshop for stage directors and actors. Moffett is a trained classical actor. He has taught acting in many different formats. Some of his students were able to act professionally. He studied dance for eight years and studied acting under Jeff Siggins and Mary Hardwick. He received his bachelor of fine arts degree in acting and directing from Clarion University. Some of his directing credits are: “Two For the Seesaw,” “Three’s A Family” and “Barefoot in the Park.” He has had lead roles in “Star Spangled Girl” and “Foxfire,” to mention just a few. He has done more than 50 performances of “Love Letters.” When Moffett teaches acting, he makes it a journey of discovery. His students dive into the ways and means to enter a character and become the character. His main ingredient for this journey is to have his students have fun while learning to become an accomplished performer and/or director.

Jeff Johnson will offer a four-session class on beginning movie making. This will be followed by a more advanced six-week session on making better movies.

Cynthia Gedz will offer a full class in Pesanka egg decorating. Gedz got her start in the Ukrainian folk art of Pesanky in 1988 at the Ukrainian Art Center in Los Angeles, Calif. After taking a workshop at UAC and completing her first Pesanka, her egg won first place in the beginner’s division and third place overall leading to its showing in the center’s annual Easter show. After completing her bachelor of fine arts degree at California Institute of the Arts, it was some time before Gedz began the folk art of her father’s native land in earnest. She has created many traditional Pesanka designs, each with its unique symbolism, and some untraditional designs for clients using the traditional symbols in a new way. All types of eggs can be used. Those used so far are chicken, duck, goose and ostrich eggs.

The mission of ACA is to provide a creative, educational hub for arts and culture that offers opportunities for the growth, development and partnership of arts-related programs and small businesses in the region. ACA wants to bring many different people together to learn new skills, share with each other in a fun atmosphere and then bring more joy to the people around them. They have learned over the last three years of bringing art classes to people that persons learn better in a group of like-minded people and learn much more from each other than if they were learning their new skills alone. To find out more about the classes and costs, visit Sign up forms are on the site and can be sent to PO Box 431, Warren PA. People can also email Also like the Facebook page Allegheny Center for the Arts.