USAF Academy Airman & Family Readiness Center 719-333-3444 3296 0 Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center 719-772-7000 1074 0 Fort Carson Intrepid Spirit Center 719-526-1327 3033 0 Angels of America’s Fallen (719) 661-6990 2687 0 Wounded Warrior Project (904) 914-1554 2913 0 The Retired Enlisted Association Chapter One 719-203-6736 4184 0 UCCS Veteran Health and Trauma Clinic 719-255-8072 1853 0 Operation Homefront 719-368-3898 2555 0 StableStrides 719-495-3908 3265 0 Pikes Peak Community College Department of Military & Veterans Programs 719-502-4100 2425 0 3826 148

Christine DeVivo-Speer

Christine is an artist, art teacher, and certified grief educator who enjoys music, traveling, spending time with her family, and a really good street taco.

As a former k-12 art teacher she has experience teaching adult and children’s art classes in a variety of mediums including ceramics, collage, drawing, painting, printing, and sculpture. Her primary focus is on meeting students where they are in their own artistic process encouraging exploring a creative outlet over the pressure of a “perfect” finished product. She recently left her teaching career after the sudden loss of her son. With the need to stay “tethered” to her life, and find purpose through the pain she became a certified grief educator and a grief movement instructor. As a legacy for her son, she co-founded the company Honoring X; art and wellness classes for grief groups who are honoring their own loved ones, and themselves through their personal grief journeys. 

Christine’s credentials include: a BFA in Fine Art from A.S.U., MEd in K-12 art education from Regis University, Colorado Art Educators Association’s charter/private school Teacher of the Year, certified Grief Educator through David Kessler, certified Grief Movement instructor.

Please note: I am not an art therapist and MAC experiences are not Honoring X grief courses. 


Caitlin Hannigan

Caitlin Hannigan recently returned to Colorado Springs from China, where she taught history for four years. Caitlin is Education Director at Concrete Couch and your facilitator for the Military Arts Connection. 

As the Concrete Couch Education Director and an Arts Instructor with the organization, Caitlin will teach the basics of welding, mosaic and community builds projects. Caitlin traditionally teaches history but loves exploring her artistic side and is excited to have you along on an artist’s journey, where she will teach you how to explore your artistic side and some basic skills that will allow you to continue creating.


Working with Caitlin will be other staff. Steve Wood is our executive director, and has been involved in all the military programming we have run, and is the lead instructor on welding programs. Christine Flores is our Community Coordinator, and takes the lead on mosaic and design projects.

Our mission at Concrete Couch is to work with community groups of all ages to create public art, build community, and to create environments and experiences that humanize our world. Concrete Couch is passionate about working with military folks for service and art, connecting them to efforts in the Colorado Springs community and investing in our local military community. Over the past 20 years, Concrete Couch has collaborated with the military on approximately 20 projects. Concrete Couch has run an annual 15-day program at Mountainside Elementary (for 12 consecutive years and counting!) which incorporates literacy and engineering and the participants built a giant marionette puppet based on a beloved book. Concrete Couch built a tile-covered art bench at Ironhorse Park with veterans, active duty personnel, and local kids; and ran a 2 year pilot project called “Fine Day Out” which involved a weekly activity of outdoor education or active community service.

Elizabeth Stanbro

I have a passion for helping people develop their creative “voice” through visual art. Working with people to make art that is meaningful, has been my goal throughout my career. My teaching experience includes working in a variety of settings from an art museum and schools to care homes and a hospital healing arts oncology program. I’ve also led Art and Mindfulness workshops for teachers.

Abe Stopani

Abe Stopani is a husband, father, author, artist and owner of AR Workshop Colorado Springs, a DIY boutique studio where people take hands-on, instructor-led classes making custom home decor. With years of teaching experience Abe can help you learn painting and woodworking techniques while making your own wall decor, centerpiece boxes, cornhole boards, lazy Susans, canvas wall hangings, chunky knit blankets, bottle openers, trays, and more!


Tony Merschdorf

Tony spent 8 years in the Air Force as a communications/computer officer. Since getting out he’s held a number of positions at technology companies. More importantly, about four years ago he decided he needed a tea tree soap to help with itchy skin. When he couldn’t find one he liked he decided to make his own. It turned out great and he’s been hooked ever since. The chemical process that turns nasty things like lye, beef tallow and other oils into a great smelling, beautiful, luxurious bar of soap is fascinating and fun to watch. He found it so enjoyable and interesting that he decided to teach others how to do the same thing with great results.

In addition to his soap making habit Tony spends time volunteering with battered women and their kids at TESSA (since September of 2009), building and maintaining trails with Rocky Mountain Field Institute and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and other stuff here and there. He’s a big fan of nature and getting out when he can.

Sarah Sidnam

Ever since she can remember, the arts have been a critically vital and enriching component of Sarah Sidnam’s life. Art is a means of co-creating—of taking an idea or an experience and developing it into a deeper expression and message whether it be a personal message or one intended to be shared. She has danced since the age of 4 (ballet, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, belly dance), experimented with film photography, dabbled in acrylic painting, and spent extensive time art journaling.

A mom of 4 and wife of an Air Force chaplain, creating a space for art in the chaos of life is one of the things that keeps Sarah growing and thriving. Her current investment and passion is in the world of art journaling. Taking the power of words in combination with the tactile experience of art is an incredibly powerful means to process and respond to life. No skills are required—just a willingness to try new things, make a mess, and bring your authentic self!

Sarah has taken several art journaling courses in person and online as well as taught one time workshops and an ongoing art journaling course. She has a heart to walk alongside people in their journey and story and help them thrive no matter what they have been thorough. As a Strengths Finder life coach, she loves to combine coaching with creativity to develop a truly enriching experience. You are worth it! She has also taught Pilates classes and children’s dance classes and is continually ready and willing to try new forms of creative expression!

Eric Fetsch

Eric Fetsch teaches painting as a part of Eric Fetsch Art Colorado Watercolors. Eric Fetsch Art began in 2007 as a way to unwind after work. As the owner of Design & Furniture businesses Eric found that learning something new and occasionally producing a nice piece was interesting and enjoyable. He has attended multiple workshops with local and national artists, learning techniques and methods from some exceptional artists. Eric really enjoys working with watercolor on Traditional Papers and Canvas. Unique and spectacular images are possible. He is conducting Watercolor Workshops to share what he has learned.

Sign up for a workshop and get started creating your own Colorado Watercolors!

South Platte Solitude
Watercolor on paper of a scene we used for a Workshop in March 

Jana L Bussanich

Hello! My name is Jana (pronounced “Yana”). In 2008 I was painting a theatre set when I remembered that if I were “going to be an artist,” I would work in watercolor. So, I set a goal of learning to paint with watercolor. As soon as I told myself I would do this, the next thought that came was, “But you’re too old. You’ve missed your chance, and you have no formal training”, followed by “Wait a minute – the next five-years will pass whether you do this or not. Why not find out what’s possible?” (read more of my story here).

Reaching the five-year mark of teaching myself to paint in watercolor was a real milestone, but I barely noticed when I passed the 10th anniversary. Why? Like American writer Elbert Hubbard, I discovered that Art is not a thing; it is a way. I no longer look for those milestones marked in years because it’s a way of being in the world that brings me joy by living my art on purpose. I opened my first studio in 2012 and began teaching others to paint with watercolor. When the pandemic closed the doors of my thriving in-person art program, I took classes online. The new Yellow Couch Classroom is an outgrowth of pandemic reorganization.  Over the years, I’ve developed an art practice that I feel good about. And I consistently get results that I feel good about. Like me, if you feel like it might be too late to learn to paint, I want you to know that I understand how you feel. I also want you to know that you can teach yourself to paint and get results that you feel good about with a few new tools in your toolkit and a little bit of knowledge about watercolor’s fluid characteristics. I hope you will join me for this mini-course.

Jana is married to James.  They have lived in Colorado Springs for 32+ years. They have four grown children and 6 young grandchildren. Jana enjoys time at her studio painting, teaching, and dreaming up the next creative project. She spends time with her grandchildren (not surprisingly making art!) and enjoys walking, traveling, and reading.

Jana L. Bussanich Art and Yellow Couch is the home of Fine Art painting, instruction, and related services. We create and sell original high-quality Fine Art. Creative design; manage commissioned private, commercial, and public art. We offer in-person and online classes. We are based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, serving clients worldwide.

Student Artwork, YCC 2020 Online

Melody Williams

I’m a teaching artist in fashion, fiber arts, printmedia, painting and drawing with over 20 years of experience. In addition, I help people to build on their design and writing skills. As an educator, I focus on sustainable creative, daily living practices for beginners and for people looking to dive deeper into their own projects and ideas. Something I keep going back to in my own work and while I’m teaching is that I care deeply about what happens to people individually and focus on creative growth.

  • Drawing
  • Painting (watercolor and acrylic)
  • Printmaking on fabric and paper
  • Sewing and fashion construction

Students will receive highly personalized, one-one-one direction, mentorship, and skill-building at home or online. *NOTE* I work almost exclusively online for public health reasons this year. Please message me for in-person appointments so that we can discuss safety measures.

Steffany Boucher

Steffany Boucher is a visual artist and certified sound practitioner and the owner of Echo Studio in Manitou Springs.  She has shown her work throughout the United States in both solo and group exhibits including Illinois, Colorado, Brooklyn, New York City. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Parsons School of Design in New York City and her BFA from Western Illinois University. Her 20 years of teaching include Parsons School of Design, NYC, Bemis School of Art, and Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs in addition to K-12 schools and educational programs in Art and Design, Sculpture and Drawing, in addition to Art History. Creative writing and research are the foundation of her studio practice.

“I strive to support students in the exploration and incubation of their own interests in connection with a creative process. I want to assist students in the development of their own visual language.”

  Website by Neon Pig Creative