Children’s Art Classes Team

Get to know our team of experienced art professionals. We are thrilled to help your children develop their passion for art in Jacksonville, Jupiter, Richmond, and beyond.

Stephanie Larsen

Stephanie Larsen

President

Stephanie Larsen, President of Children’s Art Classes, studied art at the University of Colorado–Boulder. Her emphasis in art is charcoal and pencil drawing. Stephanie works closely with the founder of Children’s Art Classes, teaches classes at the Jacksonville studio location, and participates in the overall development of the Children’s Art Classes four-year curriculum.

As President, Stephanie also leads all aspects of franchisee training and support. From initial business planning, to site selection, marketing and launch planning, Stephanie has personally executed each franchise and will help drive your long-term success.

Barbara Gay

Barbara Gay

Founder

Barbara Gay, the founder of Children’s Art Classes, is a certified art teacher with over 40 years of teaching experience. She earned her degree in art education at the University of Wisconsin. Barbara has developed and implemented an in-depth art curriculum for children that has gained recognition in the Southwest over the past two decades. Barbara continues to refine our curriculum and training program. In addition to teaching at her Jacksonville studio, she is responsible for instructor training and mentoring. 

Her philosophy of art education focuses on building her students’ self-esteem through public recognition of their achievements. “The proof is in the pudding!” has been her motto. Teaching is her passion.

Sean Hansen

Sean Hansen

Franchise Director

Sean is your go-to source for Franchise Development. He is an Area Representative with WaveMAX and NerdsToGo, and the Franchise Development Manager for SurfaceExperts. Sean is a franchise industry veteran, and is here to help you through your discovery journey.

Kurt Barbel

Kurt Barbel

Studio Owner

Kurt is a school photography industry veteran with over 30 years working with schools and school districts throughout Northern Illinois.

Throughout Kurt’s career he has partnered with Public, Catholic, and Private and Home School Associations, working with Administrators of all levels to provide portrait, yearbook and school services.

Kurt continues his work by providing opportunities to students and families through Children’s Art Classes. Providing a comprehensive art education program that enriches the lives, raises the self-esteem, and improves the academic performance of our students as he has seen firsthand with his own children through the fine arts.

Kurt is a lifelong resident of Aurora, IL along with his wife Tracy and five boys.

Marie Kirkeiner

Marie Kirkeiner

Studio Owner

As a professional Music Educator with 30 yrs. experience, I have been a fine arts education advocate for many years. I know the benefits it provides to student development!  I am thrilled to be an independent franchise owner for Children's Art Classes and offer a high quality, curriculum-based studio art education in the Indianapolis community. In addition to art, I will personally be providing piano, vocal, and beginning guitar instruction. Register at www.kirkeinermusicstudio.com.

Laima Widmer

Laima Widmer

Studio Owner

Has 30+ years of corporate marketing and advertising industry experience which has led her to opening the doors of Children’s Art Classes Richmond. 

As the owner of CAC Richmond, she wants to provide a strong arts foundation to all students, regardless of ability.  A foundation that can have a significant multiplier effect by raising critical thinking and competency skills, improving performance in other areas of study and offering a social community for children to explore and discover in ways that only art can facilitate. 

As a parent, she has seen the desire to enroll children in STEM and sports and feels that there should also be a focus on providing a creative outlet through Art. 

Her passion for art education is born out of continuing the legacy of her husband, who was a teacher in Chesterfield County at Thomas Dale HS, the specialty center for the arts. He taught high school Math but saw the incredible impact on a student’s performance when they were also enrolled in art or performing arts programs.

Kari Yent

Kari Yent

Studio Owner

Kari Yent and her husband Rick have been residents of Palm Beach County for Five years. Kari is an experienced sales and marketing professional in the IT Security industry. She has always had a passion for arts and music since childhood and is committed to adding opportunities for children to develop these skills. Kari holds an Associate business degree from Anne Arundel community college and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Montessa Lizaso

Montessa Lizaso

Studio Owner

Montessa Lizaso has over 26 years of combined experience in healthcare and industry.  Earning her degree in nursing from Towson University in Maryland, she is a registered nurse, who started her profession in the operating room.  Her assorted career in cancer research, health coaching, and clinical analyst has allowed her to travel the world, and she has loved caring for or working alongside some wonderful people throughout the years.

 However, Montessa has also loved drawing and painting since she was a girl. Art was her escape when she was lost or needed focus.  Children's Art Classes opens that door to a dream she never could have imagined, and now she looks forward to opening doors to children in her community where through CAC’s art education, they are empowered to grow farther than they could ever dream and imagine.

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