The Sonoma Community Center has added six distinguished artists and instructors to its arts education faculty. Artists Cate Whittemore, Nina Gorbach, Jill Dawson, Deborah Donahower and dance instructors, Carlos Chavez and Sheila Deignan will lead new classes during SCC’s spring session.
The new faculty members will expand SCC’s class offerings in painting, drawing, ceramics, dance and early arts education.
Whittemore holds a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and an MFA from the University of Minnesota. She was an adjunct art teacher at the University of Wisconsin and guest lectured in painting and studio practices at Northwestern College. As a scenic artist, Whittemore has painted sets for Broadway productions, “The Book of Mormon,” “Spiderman: Turn on the Dark,” and “Les Miserables;” television, “30 Rock,” and “Law and Order” and film, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” among other productions. She has held recent creative residencies at the Athens School of Fine Art and the American Academy in Rome.
Whittemore will teach “Cultivate Your Inner Muse in Watercolor” from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, April 2 to May 21.
Gorbach, founder of the WillMar Center for Bereaved Children, has taught art workshops for the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance as well as extensive art lessons in Sonoma and San Diego. Her work has been exhibited and sold in Europe and the U.S., including local locations such as Sonoma’s Meritage restaurant and the Mendocino Art Center.
Gorbach holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from UC Berkeley and a master’s in counseling education from San Diego State University.
Gorbach will teach “Basic Drawing” 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays, April 3 to May 22.
Dawson has spent more than 21 years working with children and has bachelor’s degrees in both early childhood education and community health education. In 1996, she won the Center Child Care Professional Award of Sonoma County. She initiated the Art at Lunch program at Dunbar Elementary School and directed a parent participation preschool in Santa Rosa for eight years. Dawson is currently the director of Rainbow Garden preschool in Glen Ellen.
Dawson will teach an “Art and a Story” class for children ages 3-to-5-years-old from 10 to 11 a.m. Mondays, from April 7 to May 12.
Donahower brings 25 years of teaching experience to her new teaching role at SCC. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in studio art from the UC Santa Barbara and taught ceramics for 10 years at Napa Valley College.
Donahower will teach “Wheel Throwing” for beginning and intermediate students, from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, from April 9 to May 28.
Chavez and Deignan have taught thousands of Bay Area people to dance over the last 20 years. They are both registered members of the Gold State Dance Teachers Association Certification Program. At SCC, they are offering a series of Jitterbug Dance classes. According to Deignan, “We enjoy the fun of meeting new people and the passion for dancing that motivates our students.”
Deignan and Chavez will teach a four-week jitterbug class entitled “Good Golly Miss Molly” from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, from April 24 to May 15.