Centennial Art Center Staff
Josh Wagner serves as the Art Center’s Director and Supervisor for Metro Parks’ Visual Arts Division. Josh attended Union University, where he earned his Bachelors of Art (BA) degree with concentrations in photography and ceramics. After graduation, he moved to Nashville where he serendipitously encountered Centennial Art Center. Josh began teaching his own classes at the Art Center in 2003 after taking pottery classes with former instructor, Lena Lucas. In addition to teaching classes, Josh also worked as the Centennial Art Center Gallery and Pottery Studio Manager. He continues to teach an advanced level pottery class on Thursday evenings.
Josh views art as the expression of emotions and concepts –communication without the necessity of words. For him, these concepts come alive in objects, in moments and experiences. For the audience, each take-away is unique because no two individuals see the world exactly alike. Josh adds, “Although no one’s journey is identical, through art, we can construct a series of shared experiences. Art has the power to build community, bridging the gap between people from all walks of life. Let’s go make some art…and build community…together!”
Didi has been working at Centennial Art Center since 2013 and now serves as Gallery Manager and Specialized Skills Instructor. Didi moved to Nashville in 2009 from Santa Rosa, Ca. after traveling the country with her dogs. She discovered Centennial Art Center and began taking clay classes in 2010.
Didi has a BA in Studio Art (Painting) from Sonoma State University and a Graphic Design Certificate from Santa Rosa Junior College. She also studied drawing in at the Instituto de Artes Técnicas y Aplicadas in Jaén, Spain. Didi is interested in the painting process. She continues to study and take classes. She loves learning about painting because she thinks it is endlessly challenging and interesting. Her goals are often elusive, how to capture an idea, the light, or a feeling on canvas. She also loves to clay and has taken many classes in the CAC pottery studio.
She often teaches an acrylic painting course.
Guest Instructor/ Volunteer
Sandy Spain is a resident of Nashville, Tennessee. She began as a traditional artist, but soon discovered and fell in love with abstract art through the guidance of her mentors, prominent artists Michael McBride and James Threalkill. Sandy painted with them for several years in their studio.
She is a full-time artist exhibiting in several juried shows per year. Her paintings are in numerous private collections throughout North America and Western Europe.
Sandy teaches an intermediate abstract painting course and an entry-level class for drawing and painting course at Centennial Art Center. She volunteers weekly at Centennial Art Center Gallery and at their opening receptions. She also mentors classes for a local community organization.
You can visit her website at: www.sandyspain.com.
Mar has experience teaching art to both children and adults, including workshops for students with mental and physical disabilities. She taught art through a YMCA Art Enrichment Program for 10 years and currently teaches art classes with the NAZA as an enhancement Partner for the afterschool enrichment program.
Mar teaches an ongoing Printmaking Workshop on Thursday evenings at the Centennial Arts Center in Nashville. The class focuses on the basics of relief printing and silk screen printing. Techniques include mono prints, stencil, collage, wood and linoleum block printing using a professional Intaglio printing press.
Harry Denson teaches painting in CAC’s well-lit painting studio on Mondays and Tuesdays. He began in Hazel King’s painting classes and learned quickly. He started teaching his own painting classes in 2001 and has mentored many painters through the program.
Harry received his Bachelor of Science (BS) from Birmingham Southern College and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Vanderbilt University’s Owens School of Business. Now, as a retired Stock Broker, he‘s painted at CAC for more than 20 years.
Harry says, “My Teaching philosophy is all painting is, is making mistakes and then correcting them. If you make a mistake nobody’s gonna die, paint with reckless abandon and have fun!”
After graduating from MTSU in the mid-nineties Becca moved to rural Western North Carolina, where her husband, Mike, worked for the Park Service, and she began to discover the regional history of ceramics. They moved to Asheville and she began a Residency at Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, where she started working with and learning from some of the best potters in North America. She has been a working potter for 25 years and a teacher for almost as long, and remains committed to producing highly decorative, functional, high-fired stoneware and porcelain.
Becca has been teaching regularly for many years, developing skills in conveying new information to students in a direct and interesting way. She has taught classes at Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, as well as Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and John C. Campbell Folk School.
You can visit at: www.floydpottery.com
Pamela Davis Irvin
Pam Irvin first painted as a hobby then studied under Hazel King at Centennial Art Center. She began to look at painting as more than just a hobby and continued to study under Marion Cook at Watkins Institute. She also studied portraits with Jody Thompson and attended numerous workshops with George Shook, Harold Miller, and Michael Schofield.
Pam has shown paintings and sculptures in the Central South and All State Juried shows, and has created freelance illustrations for magazines and books. She has painted murals and commissions for local businesses. Her paintings were shown in a two woman show at the Parthenon in Centennial Park.
Pam teaches a Thursday all-media class. She teaches color mixing and composition. Pam enjoys teaching new artists how to work with watercolor and acrylic, and helping them reach their potential and enjoyment in painting.
Susie Ries has been a student of watercolor for over 40 years, specializing in botanicals, portraits, and still lifes. She has has been an enthusiastic participant in many watercolor workshops and taught some too.
In 2014, she completed with honors a 27 month Botanical Art Distance Learning Diploma Course from the Society of Botanical Artists in England.
She is excited by the challenges of communicating light and color with paint and brushes. What color is water in a glass? How does one describe the gentle contour of a white flower? How does one mark where a shadow begins and ends? Her garden is a research lab of sorts where she observes the small differences in shapes, colors, textures, and patterns of growing things. From painting and gardening, she has learned that the longer one looks, the more there is to see.
You can visit her website at: www.susieries.com
Larry and Tracey Rogers began working in clay in 2004 when Tracey gave Larry pottery lessons for an anniversary present. Larry attended the first round of classes, and Tracey joined him in the next round. Since then, they have taken many workshops together along the way to help them find the aspects of clay that appeal to them.
Larry teaches pottery on Thursdays at Centennial Art Center and is a member of the Artist Co-Op at the Clay Lady’s Studio and TN Craft. Larry is co-owner of LTR Pottery. Larry’s interest in clay is focused on Raku firing, He has taken many workshops to help him hone his skills. He focuses on traditional Raku, aluminum foil saggar, and horse-hair firing. Larry and Tracey sell their pottery in fairs and festivals throughout the southeast.
Larry enjoys teaching. He teaches several workshops a year in the Nashville area and has been teaching at CAC since January, 2017,
Wanda (Ellis) McMahan
Wanda was born in Ashland City, TN and raised there in an 1880’s home that had been in her Mother’s family for several generations. Adventure and the arts were always present in her life. Wanda dabbled in stained glass, basket weaving, pen and ink, beadwork, and other art forms for decades, but once she found clay, that was it.
She can’t imagine not feeling excited about working with clay. She has grown increasingly enamored with Raku and absolutely loves being an active participant in the glaze firing process.
Wanda began her odyssey in clay at Centennial Art Center 25 years ago, most of it under Lena Lucas. She has been a guest instructor for Metro Parks for 15 years, most of it at Centennial Art Center. Wanda teaches hand-building and wheel throwing and has a real passion for glazing. She loves color—natural, bright beautiful color. Wanda tinkers, tests and plays with the CAC studio glazes to create beautiful combinations of colorful pottery, and she teaches her student to do the same.
Catherine McMurray has been working in clay since college at SUNY Potsdam, where she received a B.A. in Fine Arts. Since then she has taken many classes from different artists in clay.
Catherine’s studio, Turning Grace, has been operating since 2000. She enjoys making a variety of pieces, from small mugs to large platters, small teapots to large lamps. Catherine enjoys the new creative avenues that continuously open up when working in clay. Ultimately, what she treasures in all pottery are simple, functional, skillfully thrown pieces that can be enjoyed for years and even for generations.
Catherine teaches pottery classes at Centennial Art Center. She hopes to share years of her own student experience and self-taught methods with her students. There will be an emphasis on throwing skills, handbuilding and projects from start to finish.
Tom’s interest in art began in public school. It was the only thing in which I could excel. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee and taught art in the public schools of Cheatham and Montgomery Counties for 25 years. He also taught stone carving at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft in Gatlinburg, TN, Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville, TN, and private classes. He continues teaching a handbuilding and Raku clay class at Centennial Art Center in Nashville, TN.
Tom enjoys taking an ordinary subject, an ordinary material and attempting to make something extraordinary. He enjoys sharing the handbuilt clay techniques and Raku firing with his students.
There are many things that come into one’s life that can serve as a career path or hobby. But, there are few things that serve to fuel one’s soul like creating an image from a thought process onto canvas. This transition serves as a mental health release and restores energy into Darlene’s life allowing her to escape and become part of a blank canvas.
Darlene has studied with the very best. The first is Bert Silverman and the list goes on and on. She is a product of Hazel King who was here forever.
She adores pastel, charcoal and acrylics. She finds portraits to be the most interesting. Getting their likeness is her forte. She was a “Quick Sketch Artist” at festivals for years and is still involved in that artistic outlet. She has been an instructor at CAC for 10 years and was a student of Hazel King’s for 30 years. These have been the best years of her life.
Amy Krimsier Sterling
Amy Krimsier Sterling is a landlocked mermaid presently residing in Nashville, TN. She earned her BFA in Animation from the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, and her MA in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Amy creates visual art in a variety of mediums, telling stories and capturing life's many elements through printmaking, ceramics, watercolor, oil, and anything else she can get her hands on.
As an arts educator in Nashville, Amy finds great joy in passing her own inspiration to others and seeks to help others see things in a way they hadn't before. Her greatest desire to is to make waves, and then swim in them.