About Us

It’s not just an art class

Our program is student centered and student motivated. Our teachers work from an Arts in Education approach who’s benefits are supported by an expanding field of educational research and pedagogy. Arts integrated learning is a way to teach artistic skills and provide interaction within a social setting. We tailor our programs to meet the student needs. This authentic approach to education values the process and experiential learning as much as creation of art object or performance oriented learning.

We’ve watched our students benefit from our classes in wonderful and unexpected ways..

At CAWi we know that the making of art can be a fantastic motivator for learning. If you’ve ever made a piece of art using your creativity, you have experienced the intrinsic motivation to create something to be proud of. Our teachers assist students in creating art while using this opportunity to impart new skills; assisting them to strive toward expanding their abilities, emotionally, mentally, creatively and sometimes even physically.

Link to 2018 Spring classes 



Our Mission Statement

We are all Makers and Creators. Our nonprofit strives to serve people of all abilities and ages in Rochester and Western New York. We provide arts based vocational experiences for our participants with the goal of creating carefully crafted products, performances, and art installations. Together we are working to strengthen and enrich community through diversity where everyone is valued, and is viewed as having the potential to be resourceful, able, contributing members of society.

Our Instructors

Sarah Peters- Sarah has been a teaching artist working with all ages for twenty years, working at area schools, museums, summer programs and recreation centers as an artist in residence. She served as the CEO of CAWi, and was previously the director of The Corner Place Arts Academy; an interdisciplinary art program serving city youth. Ms. Peters has also taught at the Cyert Center for Early Education at Carnegie Mellon University and created several interactive public programs for the Strong Museum.

BA Humanities and Masters of Education in Early Childhood from the University of Pittsburgh, NYS Teaching Certification Early Childhood (birth- 2), Music Together Teacher Certification, Classical Theatre Certification from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Teaching Artist Certification from the Aesthetic Education Institute, Wolftrap Teaching Artist Candidate, Project Zero with Harvard University Instructor.

Mark Rodgers- Mark works in an art-based setting to help individuals take a mindful approach to their well-being. Art is utilized as a backdrop for addressing and discussing social skills, problem solving techniques, and coping techniques that can be used in daily life. Mark welcomes individuals who enjoy working with traditional and not-traditional visual arts media, as well as those with an interest in woodworking. Areas of Expertise: Children and adolescents, Complex Trauma/Grief & Loss, Developmental Disorders, Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Life Transitions, Parenting and Family Therapy

BS Printing from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Master of Science at Nazareth College in Creative Arts Therapy (currently fulfilling licensure requirements)

Jeannie Hines-Clinton- Jeannie has been an educator in the Performing Arts in the Rochester area for over 13 years, worked with RBTL with the Stars of Tomorrow Program, and has worked as a teaching artist at The Corner Place Arts Academy, ArtSmart through the City of Rochester, and theatre education developer and teaching artist with the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre in Auburn, NY.As an entrepreneur, she owns a craft based jewelry business, Jean’s Jewels, that has been recently recognized by Forbes.com.

Jeannie holds a NYS teaching certificate in Music Education (K-12), B.A. in Music Performance from Western Washington University and an Masters of Education and Technology from the University of Phoenix.

Keith Handy- Keith Handy has been composing, arranging, performing, recording and producing original music since his childhood in the early 1980’s, primarily, but not exclusively in the style of progressive or “art” rock, including several concept albums and a rock opera. He studied music theory at SUNY Fredonia, as well as computer art and filmmaking at the University of Buffalo.
In line with his passion for the continual study of the creative process in all forms, he has since branched out into improv comedy (incorporating copious amounts of improvised music), computer art in GIMP, programming in C++ for generative art and signal processing, puppetry, puppet making, and video editing.
Between 2012 and 2014, Keith developed and taught a course called, “Playing with Sound” at the Corner Place Arts Academy, exposing elementary school children to analog synthesis, sampling, and circuit bending. Visual and musical art making is a naturally healing activity and Keith’s mentoring approach is particularly good at helping participants develop social skills, overcome shyness and anxiety, and learn how to effectively communicate with others.

Pam Vogel- Pam has been a visual arts instructor for thirty-seven years, is a dedicated teacher who is committed to inspire in her students the aesthetics of art and a love of learning. Pam has been an educator at the Memorial Art Galleries Creative Workshop, the Al Sigl Center, and the Allendale Columbia School. She contracts with the Genesee Community Charter School and does after school classes in the Encore program at Allendale Columbia.

BS Art Education, Master of Art Education from Nazareth College

Michael Fisher- Michael is a full time professional photographer working in Western New York. He is especially inspired by authentically documenting the natural beauty and joy present in his subjects. In addition to his commissioned work, Michael’s photography has been featured in a number of publications, including the Saturday Evening Post and others. Like music and language, Michael believes that there is a creative spirit in all of us, and that photography can serve as an effective and accessible means of expression and emotion.

Kelly Cheatle- Kelly is a local artist who specializes in elegantly loud design. Her artwork varies in scale by several orders of magnitude, from multi-story massive installations to sculptures small enough to sit comfortably on a penny. Her diverse knowledge of traditional materials and image-making techniques has given her an appreciation for texture and dimensionality, even in digital formats. In addition to her collaborations with CAWi, Kelly is the Artistic Director of Airigami. Arigami is a creative firm specializing in colossal experiential and dimensional illustrative projects built from modeling balloons. Airigami projects have been the subject of much local, national and international media attention. Their unique fine art and award-winning illustration work has been showcased around the world.

Kelly received her design degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and pursued extensive study at RIT’s school for American Crafts in jewelry making, ceramics, glass and wood.