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Monart Instructor Bios

Catherine Hussey  - Instructor of Visual Arts

Catherine has had a lifelong love of the arts. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Catherine attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and graduated with a degree in fine arts. Later Catherine earned a Masters in Art Education from the University of Cincinnati. Her teaching experience spans the last 15 years all around the United States and overseas. As a military spouse, Catherine has had the opportunity to teach K-12 in Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Okinawa, Japan.
Since moving to San Diego in 2016, Catherine has continued to pursue her love of art education with Monart School of Art. During her first year with Monart, she has focused on elementary school art programs facilitating countless two-dimensional art projects. Catherine’s background and diverse experience have blended seamlessly with the Monart Method. Away from teaching Catherine enjoys art projects that range from printmaking to ceramics. Beyond artistic pursuits she enjoys time with her family, going to dog parks with her new puppy and volunteering at her children’s school.

Diane Maine  - Amazing Artist, Mother & Monart Teacher

I began working for Monart back in August of 2014. It's been a lot of fun teaching Monart, and the kids have been just great! The thing I love most in working for Monart is really the philosophy itself. It's such a positive and condusive environment for children to learn. We instill confidence and self-esteem in children, and everyone's artwork is different. It's really wonderful to build this foundation early on, but Monart is also great for adults, too!

I personally love working in graphite, and it is my favorite art medium. Some of my favorite hobbies are gardening and doing sketches and portraits people. “Life is Good!” That's my favorite quote and the mantra that I live by.

Karen Nauyokas  - Long-time Monart Teacher

I've been teaching for Monart in San Diego on and off since 2001. My sister used to show me the art her 4 year old daughter was bringing home from a Monart art class she was enrolled in. I was astounded at the progress she was making! Art has always been a life passion for me, and along with a soft spot for kids, I was encouraged to check it out. It has been a lovely match!
I love Mona's methodology, which is so much broader than people realize. Students gain not just an ability to make art, but a multitude of other life skills: such as concentration, problem solving, hand-eye coordination, and having self confidence. They also learn, a very worthy lesson, that the process can be just as valuable as the outcome.
I have a 4 year degree in Fine Arts from the University of Oregon, and 5th year training in Design at FIDM. With work experience in the fields of visual merchandising, advertising, college design instruction, and art gallery work, I've always managed to keep my hand in the creative fields. I've never stopped moving forward with personal creative endeavors by taking classes and having tried just about every design and fine-art medium. I like the challenge of trying to integrate various materials into a visual statement, always a fun creative exercise. Some of my passions include: Art, music, writing, travel, history, yoga, and roller skating.
What artists inspire you? I have always loved the 'Belle Epoque' era, from the unique graphics of Toulouse-Lautrec to the dreamy colors of Degas and all other things 'Monte Martre'. The Post Impressionist paintings of Van Gogh and Gauguin will always stay in range of my heart. Also the prolific ability and innovations of Picasso, Kandinsky, Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali and Matisse. Each style and artist brought something so vital and interesting to the arts.
In the past 10 years I've not once been bored with installation artists, such as Pierre Huyghe, Kiki Smith, Tim Hawkinson, Film/Photographer Gregory Colbert. Love the broad, unending possiblities this form of art presentation brings. The multi-sensory art experience is so intriguing.
Favorite Quote: "Color is the keyboard, The eyes are the harmonies, The soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul."

Leslie Vaughn  - Owner / Director

I bought Monart from the previous owner in 2012. It had already been in business for 15 years. The first time I walked into the studio (which was then in North County) I couldn't believe the art work on the walls. Did a 7 year old really do that? I was so impressed. I began learning about the method & saw it being taught. The concept and results really resonated with me. Though not an artist myself, I am a creative person who appreciates the importance of art education. Monart was a way for me to make sure quality art instruction continued to be available to parents and their children.
In 2015 we moved the Monart studio to Liberty Station. I'm a Point Loma native and was very excited with the art emphasis that was happening there. Great idea!! We love our new space yet still maintain strong ties to the North County area. We continue to offer after school programs in school districts throughout San Diego County in our ongoing effort to make Monart available to as many communities as possible.
When not in the studio, I am often in LA producing TV commercials. Though San Diego is my home, I went to college in Los Angeles and still spend time there working on creative projects in the film industry.

Mel Clarkston  - Award Winning Artist, Musician & Teacher

Mel is an award winning chalk artist, album cover artist, former gallery owner, and left handed bassist for the Common Link Trio!
Mel teaches a variety of media to students of all ages and loves working with them to bring out their own unique artistic style!
Mel enjoys the freedom that Monart allows for creative expression, while at the same time building important drawing skills. She is amazed at what kids are able to do in a short period of time- she firmly believes in the Monart tenet of “Drawing is a teachable skill that anyone can learn!”
When not making art or music, Mel can be found at her favorite place on earth…the beach! It is her passion to help rid the local beaches of plastic litter, which unfortunately, is a huge problem. It is her goal to take this plastic refuse and make art from it. She hopes other artists will follow suit!

Shari Roberts  - Artist & Animal Lover

I am Shari Roberts and I’ve been a Monart Instructor since September 2015. I enjoy watching the Monart Method “work” when I see the childrens progress from the beginning of the school year to the end - What Improvement! I have been an After School Art Instructor since moving to San Diego in 2012, and prior to that while living in NJ.
Professionally, for more than twenty-two years, I was an Interior Designer/Space Planner for the Contract Design/Office Furniture Industry. As a member of ASID, I was involved in all aspects of design and space planning. My interests in painting peaked with the “Faux Painting” Trends. I attended many courses, classes, and began my decorative painting career. With my experience and knowledge of furniture, I started to refinish and paint furniture at this time. As my creativity shifted I moved from the NY/NJ area to Carlsbad, rented studio space and began painting again (something I haven’t done in decades)!
Besides creating art and teaching art, I enjoy visiting museums. I love traveling abroad and photographing the sites. I am a Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs of America and one of my Labrador Retrievers is a Pet Therapy Dog at Scripps Encinitas. I am an active person, hiking with my pups, paddle boarding, without my pups, or just going to the gym. I also enjoy being a spectator to my favorite sports and teams which leads me to my favorite quote, by the great NC State Basketball coach, Jimmy V “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
Of course when my family’s in town, the whole world stops for my girls! LOL But, seriously, they are my life! And in my spare time…. Thank you for letting me be a small part of Monart San Diego! It combines my passion for the Arts and Children.