MEET THE INSTRUCTORS!
We are incredibly proud of our instructors who have earned recognition both as artists and as teachers. With such a diverse and professional group, your experience in a Pearl School of Art class is sure to be successful.
Want to teach? Click HERE for more information!
Mary Ellen (Mel) Basham currently serves the Texas Art Education Association as Past President, Region 6 VASE Juror Foreman, State VASE College/University Liaison, Certified VASE Juror, and Distinguished Fellow. Mel is also a member of the CEDFA Cadre and National Art Education Association.
After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Sam Houston State University, Mel began her teaching career in Aldine Independent School District where she developed an Advanced Placement Art History and Studio Art Program at MacArthur High School. After 18 years of teaching, she retired from Shepherd Independent School District where she taught Art 1-4 and was National Art Honor Society sponsor. Mel has also worked with young children as daycare owner/director and dance instructor.
As an art educator, she believes the teaching process is the most valuable lesson for students. Her philosophy is summarized in this quote by Claudia Betti: “In life as in art, the process is the point. If you take care of the process, the end product will take care of itself.” As a retired art educator, Mel loves to work with other educators providing art in-service incorporating language arts, science and math.
As a practicing artist, Mel relates to Robert Henri’s quote: “I am not interested in art as a means of making a living, but I am interested in art as a means of living a life. It is the most important of all studies and all other studies are tributary to it.”
Growing up in Houston in the 60s and 70s, Arthur gravitated to the arts at an early age. Arthur struggled in school with reading and was eventually diagnosed with Dyslexia. He seemed to be able to draw well. His mom would take him to the MFAH. Arthur fell in love with the museum by the time he was 13. Arthur would take the bus down Bissonnet St to the museum on his own. Arthur excelled in drawing and painting, winning a scholarship to the Glassell School of Art in the 9th grade. Arthur received a small scholarship from the Watercolor Society to Kansas City Art Institute where he received a BFA in 1981.
Arthur returned to Houston after taking a grand tour of Europe. His father died shortly after his return. He and his mother struggled to keep the family business together. After the business failed, Arthur worked various jobs in the painting department at the University of Houston Main Campus while taking courses to earn a postgraduate degree. Arthur married and had two boys making it challenging to continue in the graduate program. After working a sales job for ten years, a former professor encouraged Arthur to start making art again. Arthur started substitute teaching for Houston ISD. Arthur taught for 20 years. He is a high school art teacher in Klein ISD and is about to retire from public education.
In the Summer of 2005, Arthur and another Houston painter were finishing a painting job on Richard Stout's house when they all decided to Plein Air paint downtown at James Bute Park. By this time, Arthur started painting scenes from drawings and photos of his favorite parts of the city. After that day of painting with his close friends, Arthur realized he could have a good body of works to show in exhibitions by 2011 if they Plein Air painted every weekend. After unsuccessfully getting his artwork in galleries, Arthur heard about an art market in the Heights called First Saturday Art Market run by Mitch Cohen. As Arthur's paintings matured and his confidence grew, he expanded the depth and breadth of his subject matter. What started as mainly Urban Landscapes has grown into a more regional survey of the part of the world Arthur lives in and loves from Katy Silos to the Smith Point wetlands. Arthur also Plein Air painted in Galveston from the cemeteries to Allen’s Landing. Arthur feels there is something about the sublime understated often truncated assemblage of stuff, where industrial, commercial and residential all compete with nature in this never-ending dance for dominance that make for what Arthur calls the beautiful ugly.
Cat is a lifelong artist with a passion for teaching. After pursuing her education in Art, Psychology, and Art Ed she began her journey in public schools at the elementary level - first in CyFair ISD, now in Klein ISD. Today she teaches middle school art at Doerre Intermediate School, as well as several special programs with the Pearl Fincher MFA.
Her art styles span from murals - both painted on walls and on the street at chalk art festivals every fall (Kerrville Chalk & Via Colori in downtown Houston), to portrait and pet portrait commissions, and any art that deals with bold colors and deep emotions. She is ready and excited to share art with you and your family this fall!
Kay Arnaud Munger was born in Louisiana and raised in Houston. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.
Kay taught in public school for 19 years. She was teaching art at Schindewolf Intermediate Klein ISD when she retired in 2016. Kay's students were very successful in various contests including the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo School Art program and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards contest.
Kay's first love for 25 years has been watercolor painting. She also works in acrylic and oil paints. Kay enjoys working with pastels and loves photography and printmaking. Kay has a passion for fiber arts and is a member of the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston, and former member of Tall Pines Spinners and Weavers.
Is a native Texan and award-winning artist, Caryn has had a passion for art since childhood. She took art classes throughout high school and later graduated with a BFA in Advertising & Graphic Design and a minor in Photography from Sam Houston State University. She taught art in Conroe ISD for 18 years and teaches mixed media and collage art classes and workshops in the community
Among her many [creative] interests, she enjoys photographing nature, performing artists and anything with dynamic lighting & texture, making mixed media collages and large, abstract acrylic paintings. When not creating, she will be out riding her motorcycle, hiking through the forest, spending time in nature or creating plant-based culinary delights in the kitchen.
To see some of her work, follow her on Instagram: @carynrock
Stephanie Villalta is a native Houstonian and grew up in the Spring area. Her first experience as an artist was in middle school where she participated in a several art shows. In high school, Stephanie's art was entered in a local exhibit and a few pieces were sold. These events along with a few of her favorite artists (Dali, Kahlo, Rivera and Bob Ross) helped to influence her love of art. Over time, she has strived to be like the artist that influenced her and be confident and always learning and growing as an artist. That influence has led her down the path of teaching and encouraging young artists at Hailey Elementary to make their own mark. Although her personal art is primarily done with acrylics and oil paint, she has also worked with clay, fiber art, collage and printmaking. Stephanie is always branching out and experimenting to continue her education in other mediums and techniques.
Hello fellow artist, My name is Debbie Welch and I have been teaching since the mid 90's. I currently am the Fine Arts Dept. head at Oak Ridge HS in Conroe ISD. I teach all the ceramics classes, sculpture, advanced drawing, and All 3 sections of AP art. I don't think I have a favorite medium to work in. What I love most about teaching my students is the enjoyment they have when they have accomplished something great.