Nicole Brown


Nicole Brown is the new director of The Studio and a recent graduate from Humboldt State University. She received her AA in Illustration & Design and received her BA in philosophy while taking classes in photography on the side. Her background includes fiber art, illustration, photography, and painting.

She is now focusing on painting in abstract expressionism & realism, while experimenting in woodworking. She aspires to continue her education in Art and Art Therapy.

Portrait as Picasso

KT Garcia

KT Garcia

Lead Teacher

KT Garcia is a HSU Alumnus with a bachelors degree in Studio Art and Art Education. After moving to Humboldt from Los Angeles in 2011, KT has fallen in love with the area and its tight-knit art community. KT works in multiple media including jewelry, small metals, ceramics, as well as painting and drawing.

KT has been an art teacher at the Studio since June 2015 and has enriched the program by teaching figure drawing classes.


Painted by Betty Kuhnel

Deborah Salizzoni


Deborah Salizzonni is a teacher at the Studio. Deborah has enriched the program by developing a culinary arts class and is now leading drama classes.

Deborah's life has always been connected with the arts. She grew up in a show business family of singers who played the nightclub circuit until she was 12. In school, she studied fashion design, jewelry making, ceramics, theater, and film acting. She took a break from college and traveled for six years as an apprentice to a bronze sculptor who taught her to weld.

In 1984, she returned to college to earn her BA in Liberal Arts and teaching credential. She loved teaching second grade for 17 years where she wrote plays and integrated art, music, dance, and theater throughout the curriculum. 

Now, she loves working with our visionary artists, who inspire her everyday. Deb also performs in local theater.


Painted by Gerri Sadler

Nicole Kita

Nicole Kita is a teacher at the Studio. Nicole graduated with a master of fine arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University in 2008.

Kita's artwork is inspired by anthropology and print media.

As an educator, she has taught artists of diverse ages, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, as well as individual emotional and learning needs.

Self Portrait

Benjamin Johnson

Benjamin Johnson

Video Workshop


Benjamin Johnson was born in Eureka and has lived throughout California, including the Salton Sea and Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

Benjamin leads the Video Workshop class and the Studio's band, The Gallery Beatz.

Benjamin has a bachelors degree in Theater Arts with an emphasis in Film Production.

Melanie McPherson

Ceramics and Mixed Media

Melanie McPherson is a teacher at the Studio, specializing in instructing wheel-thrown pottery with the artists.

Melanie has a BFA from the College of Visual Arts, St Paul, Minnesota. She has been involved in the arts, starting at a very young age. Her mother was a high school art teacher for over 20 years and several of her close relatives were painters. She was greatly inspired and encouraged by them.

Melanie's background includes drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, papermaking, jewelry and design. In addition, she has experience working in environmentalism, hospitality, and as a counselor for at-risk youth.


Rondi Dias


Rondi is one of the Studio's newest teachers, welcome Rondi!

Stephanie Swinger

Gallery Curator/Teacher

Stephanie is a recent graduate of Humboldt State University (HSU), with a double BA in Art Education and Studio Art as well as a recipient of the Museum and Gallery Practices certification HSU offers.

Stephanie's preferred medium is acrylic on canvas, focusing on heavy use of text and repetition to tell a story, but also enjoys creating sculpture from found objects.

Stephanie interned and worked at HSU's First Street Gallery, gathering knowledge and skills in the professional gallery world to apply to our gallery here at The Studio, The Cheri Blackerby Gallery.


Substitute Teacher Extraordinaires

Amanda Fowler

Rhonda Foreman

Meredith Smith