Our Visual Arts Instructors
Get to know our visual arts instructors. We are all passionate about making a difference in the lives of the youth who step through our doors by providing a well-rounded arts education.
School of Visual Arts Manager
Jessica Trestain is the manager of our School of Visual Arts at the Arts Conservatory. She has gained a Diploma in Fine Arts then a Bachelors Degree in Arts Education from UBC and UNSW in Australia. She is a life-long artist and BC Teacher Certified with the Ministry of Education.
Being both an artist and a teacher, Jessica is able to bridge the gap between the technical aspects of artmaking and the theoretical components of effective communication and teaching practices. She has been teaching for over eight years alongside fine-tuning her own art. Jessica is a true art education advocate, teaching skills such as critical thinking, empathy, and social growth alongside arts techniques and history. Jessica has won numerous awards for her artwork.
- 2nd place in the Midsummer Arts Dream 2018 Exhibition for Drawing & Painting Category
- Third Place Finalist in the Waters Art Contest, Grey Cube Gallery 2010
- Winner of the Hazelhurst Gallery Sydney, Art on Paper Award 2006
- Winner of the Student Emergence Prize at Kudos Gallery, Paddington NSW, 2005
- Runner up in the Emerging Artist Award at AD Gallery UNSW Art & Design, 2004
Open Studio & Art Explorers Teacher
Teresa is one of our full-time arts teachers. She is originally from Ecuador and moved to Canada seven years ago. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Arts and Design. In University, she developed her artistic practice in painting, drawing, sculpture, mixed media. She had developed a lot of interest in art history, anthropology, and teaching and since then, has taught creative classes to young students in multiple art studios and online.
Art is a language that can flourish from an early age for Teresa. Her goal is to nourish the students’ confidence to investigate materials and contribute to their abilities to create independently. In her classes, the students improve their fine motor skills, observational and critical thinking skills. Their artworks explore materials, techniques, and the legacy of inspiring artists. Teresa’s teaching style goes hand in hand with friendly communication, evocative art, and supportive teaching. Captivating conversations about the process of creating and art history are part of every lesson! As a teacher Teresa is motivated by giving students the tools to be able to expand their creativity and to express it.
Arielle is an arts and youth educator. She studied drama education at The University of Windsor and is a certified yoga and children’s yoga instructor. Through her work, she guides her students through creative explorations of various themes using the creative arts as a vehicle to drive social and emotional learning. It is her greatest hope to inspire youth to deepen their connection to themselves and their environments through the world of art.
Ken is an author, illustrator, and animator living in Delta, BC. He acquired his BFA from University of Michigan School of Art & Design, and an animation diploma from Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts). Ken has worked as an animator on several short films for Scholastic/Weston Woods at BigFott Animation Studios, and taught animation courses at VanArts, Academy of Art, and Emily Carr University. For many years he also offered animation workshops for kids at schools, community centres, scouting groups, and Cedar Park Church’s annual Imagine That Summer Arts Camp. In more recent years he has put his expertise into writing and has published two textbooks on stop-motion animation. Recently he dived into the world of Illustration and wrote, illustrated, and self-published a series of children’s books: Gnomes of the Cheese Forest and Other Poems, Let There Be Owls Everywhere, and The Ice Cream Truck at Midnight. As a teacher Ken loves the way a child’s face lights up when they see a flipbook create the magic of a moving drawing, or when they watch a blob of clay move on its own. Animation is an art form that combines drawing, sculpting, character design, sound, technology, and storytelling all together to give kids a fun way to express their creativity.
Mike & Emilie Fantuz
Mike & Emilie are oil painters working and residing at our studio in Vancouver. Their work focuses on observing the local urban environment from different perspectives.
While they work as individual artists, they are always learning from each other and communicating with one another throughout our process. They want to share the experience of creating artwork in a setting where artists can learn together and have the opportunity to see different ways of approaching a painting.They have an October 2021 exhibition at the Ian Tan Gallery and an exhibition scheduled at the Christina Parker Gallery in St John’s Newfoundland next year.
“The Arts Connection leadership embodies the Canadian spirit of inclusivity, empathy and community. Our staff is from all over the world and everyone loves working here because there are mutual respect and camaraderie. Linda has always led by example and I always see her take the time to greet every staff member in the kitchen no matter how busy she is.”
Mehernaz Parakh, HR Administrator
“Feeling welcome and getting positivity and support from leadership is something that I admire, so that has been a good impact on my first couple of months here.”
Cindy Duong, Office Coordinator
“When you walk through our doors you can tell immediately that we are passionate advocates of the arts. There are few companies more worthy of a Business Excellence and Leadership award than this one. I love it here. And you and your children and grandchildren would too.”
Jennifer den Hartogh, Applied Arts and Science Instructor