• Andrew Ochal

Meet the New Instructors at the Atelier at Arlene’s




Photos: Courtesy of the instructors


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The Atelier at Arlene’s prides itself on providing a quality creative educational experience, which would be impossible if not for our talented group of artists and art instructors. “Our instructors are an integral part to building our creative community and helping to accomplish our mission of fostering the creativity of our local community. That is why we take hiring new instructors seriously” says Andrew Ochal, the founding director of the program.

After putting a call out for instructors, searching social media and talking to other instructors, we have the pleasure to announce mixed media artist Joy Ting, bookbinder and visual artist Rory Alexa, artist Maria DeAngelo, printmaker and children book author/illustrator Sarah LuAnn Perkins and artist Nancy Lyons are joining the family of instructors at Arlene’s. Take a moment and get to know the new instructors and see what they are offering this Spring.


Drawing has been a part of Joy Ting’s life ever since she can remember. All through school, Joy found herself drawing and lettering for classmates and teachers. After a career in elementary education; she now works as an artist and teaches art to people of all ages . Throughout the day and in the wee hours of the morning, you can find her drawing or painting to continue her daily practice. Joy is also the author/illustrator of several coloring books including Joyful Designs and Joyful Inspirations. Joy has an online Painting a Mixed Media Floral Bouquet Class happening this May that is sure to help take your skills to the next level.


Rory Alexa was born and raised in Upstate New York with a fierce love for music and the fantastical. Her education began at SUNY New Paltz with a BFA in Graphic Design. Rory found her love for book binding during her undergraduate years at New Paltz. She spent hours upon hours in the book binding room; experimenting, playing with different stitching techniques, and ways to bind all the pieces together. Not only is it fulfilling, it also provides a calm state of mind when creating something with your own hands.

Rory is currently writing an original fantasy trilogy, owner of RA Press and head-binder of Book & Bobbin. She currently resides in Scotia along with my two cats and plant family. Rory has series of fantastic bookbinding workshops this Spring, called Bookbinding 101. One each month through May. Each one builds on the last and you will leave students with completed project each time. Click here to see what bookbinding workshops Rory and offering.


Maria DeAngelo is an artist and educator who has taught and created for the greater part of her life. Educated in the fine arts, Maria’s curiosity has led her to explore materials to create fanciful works. ArtyLadyMsD has created whimsical murals with positive messages in schools, educated hundreds of young artists, and created joyful artworks to share. She explores jewelry, fabric arts, paintings, sculptures and more.

Maria is an accomplished artist and creator. She has a Mixed Media Cards workshop and Acrylic Painting Class that you definitely don't want to miss. Plus, Maria is one of thirty Makers that are featured at our Spring 2022 series of Makers Markets at Arlene’s.


Sarah LuAnn Perkins is an illustrator-author of whimsical stories for the children's publishing market. Her illustrations resemble hand-carved prints, so many are surprised to learn that they are created entirely on a computer. Steampunk, folk, and fairy tales are common sources of inspiration, though any good story will do. She enjoys creating work full of wit, wonder, and whimsy.

Sarah LuAnn grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah with 10 horses and 2 super cute budgies. She received a BFA in illustration from Brigham Young University. She now lives in Upstate NY with her husband and two kids, and is the Illustration Coordinator for the SCBWI Eastern Upstate NY region. In addition to illustration and storytelling, she enjoys dancing Lindy Hop, learning (slowly) to play jazz Violin, and baking. Sarah LuAnn has a Linocut Printing for Beginners Workshop coming up Saturday March 19th. Like Maria, she is another Maker that are featured at our Spring 2022 series of Makers Markets at Arlene’s.


Inspired by her love of nature, Nancy Lyons creates art in various mediums such as watercolor, pastel, colored pencil, photography, collage and recycled book sculpture. She is a member of the Colonie Art League. Her eagerness to share her love for learning and creativity “know how” with others led to a 20-year career as an elementary school teacher.

Outside of the classroom, Nancy has taught many craft projects for youths and adults in various settings throughout the Capital District. Prior to teaching, her part time floral craft business allowed her to maintain her creative side, while raising a young family. In recent years, Nancy has channeled her lifelong love of reading, and interest in preserving the planet into repurposing books into decorative biblio-sculpture. Nancy is passing on this passion to students at her upcoming Folded Book Art: Creating A Beautiful Flower Vase Workshopon Saturday, April 30th.


The Atelier at Arlene's has been dedicated to developing creativity in our community since 2015. We are proud to work with an amazing group of talented local artists and instructors that bring the highest level of art education to every student. Classes and workshops are small ensuring everyone receives personalized instruction while benefiting from working in a group. Topics range over a wide variety of artistic pursuits and are geared to all experience levels. There is something for everyone and everyone is welcome to explore their creativity at Arlene's.

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