Say hello to our art education team! These wonderful artists are passionate and experienced in their respective fields. Click on each headshot to learn a little more about the instructor’s background and artistic interests!
Meet Our Instructors
Feeling very fortunate to have found success in a creative, entrepreneurial venture, Lydia jumped at a chance to share her experiences with students interested in making photography their career, as well. She joined forces with Florida State University and FAMU to host internships and shadow days throughout the school year for college students whom would benefit from learning the business of imaging during a number of years of studio operation. Her own diverse education and previous experience as a teacher in a classroom made this an easy partnership and one of the most exciting parts of her career to date.
Lydia is thrilled to have found the opportunity to join the team at Turner Center and once again share her excitement of art by teaching Beginner’s Photography.
Image: CAVERN by Christine Cabral
Author of several books, including a researched book of ghosts and the first book in a young adult fantasy novel series, she also writes short stories, plays, screenplays, and exceptionally bad poetry. Married with two kids, a dog, and a cat, she tries each day to balance family, teaching, and creating.
Art Instructional Experience:
Art instructor - Osceola Center for the Arts
Art Instructor - Orlando Museum of Art
School District Osceola County, Florida
Santa Fe Community College Outreach Adult Programs
Local and statewide workshops
Florida Art Group (FLAG)
Live Oak Artists Guild, Inc.
Colored Pencil Society of America
Gainesville Fine Art Association
Ann Kullberg Colored Pencil Magazine & online instruction
Image: All That Remains by Anda Chance
She earned two degrees, a BFA in art education and a MEd in Elementary Education. She has garnered awards in regional and national juried competitions, exhibits in invitational solo and group shows, and her work is held in numerous public and private collections. She has been published in The Palette and Southern Living magazines and other publications around the South Georgia area. See her work on her website (annettecrosbyart.com), Facebook, Instagram and her gallery Artists on Ashley in Valdosta. But she will also effusively add, “and you can come to my studio!” at the Turner Center for the Arts, where she is artist-in-residence and teaches classes.
Like her personality, her abstract work is vibrant and lively, full of energy and sensation.
After a career in social work (adoption and foster care), I retired in 2005. Wanting to learn something new, but having never held a brush, I decided to learn how to paint. I took numerous workshops with well-known artists. Although I was usually the “new kid on the block” in the classes with the most to learn, I never gave up. After miles and miles of painted canvases and tubes and tubes of paint, I am still learning. BUT, nothing gives me more pleasure than to share what I have learned through instruction and practice with anyone who, like me, has the desire. Thus, the Turner Center for the Arts has given me the opportunity to share my passion with others. I hope my enthusiasm for art and painting might give others the incentive to pursue their own creativity.
Most recently, I have enjoyed painting notecards using gouache (opaque watercolor) and gift bags and tags with acrylic.
Valencia has a passion for teaching and prays that she can inspire creativity in young artists. Valencia is a firm believer that every child can create great art. She hopes to encourage students' artistic abilities inside and outside the classroom. With the help of the Lead Instructor, Valencia’s main goal is to create a loving, positive, and welcoming environment.
Ken says, “I am very excited about this opportunity to relay what I know about music to others. I have found music to be a challenging, fulfilling, and very enjoyable part of my life. The challenges never end. Everyone finds themselves somewhere on a skill level between the worst and best musician they have ever heard, always wanting to move themselves up the continuum. I have taught beginning guitar lessons privately for some time and look forward to the group setting offered by the Center. I enjoy playing a wide variety of music; from contemporary to traditional, rock to folk, bluegrass to jazz; and believe I can find something that each student can relate to.”
Come and join us at the Annette Howell Turner Art Center for the Hall and Jill Project. It is being conducted as a community service to the underprivileged youth of our area but all interested parties are welcome. Got an old guitar, sets of strings, music stand, old guitar lesson books? Why not drop them off as a charitable contribution? Cash is also welcome as the office supply and string inventory will always need replenishing. Outreach of the arts is Center’s mission. We sincerely hope the Hall and Jill Project makes a positive impact on that mission and in our community. With your support and participation, it will.
In the summer of 2022, Steven was an instructor for The Philanthro Films film camp as part of South Georgia Film Studios. He has mentored multiple Mass Media interns from Lowndes High School, Valdosta State University, and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. Many of his interns have gone on to have successful careers in the film industry. Steven is also screening films for the 2024 South Georgia Film Festival.
Debra re-entered the workforce as a Realtor when her children were grown; but returned to her artistic beginnings in actual retirement. When she’s not playing with paper, paint and pastels in her home studio, she enjoys sharing her love of art by teaching painting and crafts to local area adults and children.
I was very fortunate to know what I wanted to do in life, but I just didn’t know how it was going to pay the rent. So, I sought out a formal education attending Middle Tennessee State University, a small commercial art school in Nashville and finally the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. The realization was I needed to pursue commercial art and advertising.
After school my wife and I found ourselves in South Florida where I landed my first real job with a printing company. This gave me the technical experience on what could and could not be produced commercially. Within a few years the natural progression was to start my own business in graphic art and design employing full time and contract personnel. For 37 years we worked with the top 300/500 corporations in the country. During that period, I also taught adult classes in technical and freeform drawing, watercolor and other media. It has been a great, fulfilling experience. If only I had known where a simple cartoon was going to take me.
Our retirement 15 years ago brought us to Thomasville, Georgia. It was the first time we had slowed down in all those years. Being here has allowed me to appreciate the time and space to once again dedicate myself to the fine arts both in personal pursuits and teaching. To that end, I was first a student with Fay Bridges Hyatt at the Annette Howell Turner Center of the Arts. Since then, I have taught drawing classes at the Center and for the last seven years it’s been my pleasure to be an instructor of an oil painting class surrounded by enthusiastic students who share the same love of learning, experimenting and creating. I truly love the art of teaching and the teaching of art."
She is an advocate for mental health. Lucía was twice awarded the Young Creators scholarship from the National Fund for Arts and Culture in Mexico.
With a specialization in illustration and painting, Tisa enjoys spending her free time creating beautiful pieces that demonstrate her creative flair. She not only teaches students to paint and draw but also inspires them to be creative and express themselves through art. She believes that art is a powerful catalyst for self-expression and can bring happiness and joy. By empowering children to express themselves through art, Tisa is shaping the next generation of passionate artists.
Melissa is an award-winning filmmaker, and her film work has screened in several film festivals across the country. Her choreography has been performed internationally. She has danced for Flatlands Dance Theatre, Larry Keigwin, Van Dyke Dance Group, John Gamble Dance Theatre and Sidelong Dance Company. She has also performed in works by Martha Graham and Twyla Tharp. Melissa recently worked with Texas Tech University professors, Dr. Ali Duffy and Dr. Peter Fischer, on a multidisciplinary performance titled "Evolution of Gaia."
She is currently touring her work, "PIHOS A Moving Biography," at Alzheimer’s disease awareness events. "PIHOS A Moving Biography" is a documentary dance/film performance that explores the life of her father, NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Pete Pihos, and his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The work has toured to Charlotte, NC., Winston-Salem, NC., Lubbock, TX., Philadelphia, PA., New York City, NY., Valdosta, GA., and Santa Fe, NM. In 2022, Melissa was featured in an NFL Films Presents feature titled "Remembering Forgotten Heroes.”
Melissa has written, directed, and choreographed two children’s performances for the VSU Theatre and Dance department's Theatre for Youth Audiences Tour, titled "Planets View from the Hubble Space Telescope" and "The Butterfly and the Bee". Both performances incorporated science education. She has recently co-written and published an interactive digital dance textbook, "Dance and Culture" with Associate Professor at Florida Southern College, Erin LaSala Phillips. She has also written an essay for a new book by Dr. Ali Duffy, Professor of Dance at Texas Tech University, titled "Dancing Motherhood."
Melissa holds an MFA in Choreography/Dance from UNC-Greensboro and a BA in Biology. Her previous dance faculty appointments include UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, High Point University and Salem College. She has been a national dance judge for Dance Machine and Boogie Fever since 2015.