USAF Academy Airman & Family Readiness Center 719-333-3444 3296 0 Remount Foundation 719-963-5903 3274 0 Military & Veteran Success Center CSU-Pueblo Colorado Springs 719-586-6904 3231 0 Fort Carson Warrior Recovery Center 719-526-5577 3033 0 Wounded Warrior Project (904) 528-6798 2913 0 Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center 719-772-7000 1074 0 Angels of America’s Fallen (719) 377-8264 2687 0 Army Community Service 719-526-1949 2366 0 Institute for Veterans and Military Families: Onward to Opportunity 719-244-6634 2567 0 Operation Homefront 719-368-3898 2555 0 3807 144

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.

Sandy Friedman

I started working in ceramics during high school in 1965 and continued over the next several years completing a Master in Fine Art in Ceramics and Sculpture. I taught secondary education in Saint Louis, Missouri and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Later, I taught at Colorado College and the Bemis Fine Art Center.

Over the years, I have received numerous awards, participated in many shows, and have work displayed in collections across the United States, Canada, France and Spain. I was a production potter creating functional ware intended for everyday usage, as well as sculptural work designed to be decorative. I continue today, producing both high fire stoneware and high fire salt work. The majority of this work is more sculptural than functional, and often incorporated into steel & high fire salt sculptures that are between 4’ – 8’ high. Additionally, over the last 6 years, I have become involved with producing larger scale public art steel sculptures that are between 8’ – 16’ high. My work is displayed in southwestern galleries including the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center at Colorado College, as well as larger scale public art seen in communities across Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, California, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico and South Dakota.

Melanie Audet

Melanie Audet is originally from the Detroit area of Michigan. She received a BA from Albion College and a BFA from the Oregon College of Art and Craft, where she learned how to use synthetic dyes. She has continued her education by learning the art of natural dyes with professional instructors such as Donna Brown, Catharine Ellis and Yoshiko Wada. She is the owner and proprietor of Melanie Audet Limited Editions and Twig and Berry Dyes. Her love for textiles is more of a compulsion and she loves to share this passion with others.

Mark Wong

After graduating from Pomona College with a Bachelor of Arts in 1990, Mark Wong returned home to the foot of Pikes Peak where he has been making his one of a kind ceramics ever since. He specializes in all things round as his concentration has been focused on wheel thrown vessels. The decoration of said vessels has led to experimentation with a variety of treatments and temperature ranges.

Wong’s also worked with a wide variety of students – teaching children and adults through “Clayfest” and “Poetry and Pottery in the Park” summer sessions in Manitou Springs as well as pop up sessions with a portable kiln in tow. Through all these his emphasis has always been Socratic. A student on one end of the log and a teacher on the other- the roles often switch.

Wong’s life hasn’t all been clay – he has been a volunteer firefighter/EMT with the Manitou Springs Fire Department for 9 years, answering calls about 100 times a year, as well as skiing or fishing depending on the season. He can often be seen skateboarding up the hills in Manitou Springs towed by a couple of very enthusiastic mutts.

For more, visit

Photo credit: Adam Williams / Humanitou


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.”

Judith Marie

Judith Marie lives in Manitou Springs, Colorado. She received a BFA from the University of Nebraska and taught in rural Nebraska schools for five years. She moved to Colorado in 1976 and changed her career to graphic design when she worked as Creative Services Supervisor at the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper. She continued as a freelance graphic designer until 1992 when she opened and managed her art gallery, MAX ART in downtown Colorado Springs. In 1996 she returned to teaching, spending ten years as an art teacher at Sierra High School in Colorado Springs. She was a member of the launch team for an alternative middle school in 2006 and continued as the art teacher at Aspen Valley Middle School until 2016. She regularly shows her art works in the Pikes Peak region. She has exhibited work in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the Coburn Gallery at Colorado College, the UMC Gallery at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Downtown Studio Gallery at Pikes Peak Community College, Canon City’s Fremont Art Center, the Manitou Art Center, and private galleries.

John Wear

I threw my first pot in 1976. Over the ensuing 43 years, I maintained a pottery hobby while attending classes and workshops in community colleges, community pottery studios and later, in my own home studio. For ten years, I taught multi-level pottery classes at a large community art center in Bucks County, PA. In 2010, after retiring from a successful sales and marketing career, I opened my own home studio and have maintained a flourishing pottery business. Since moving to the Pikes Peak region in 2017, I am teaching classes again at the Bemis School of Art.

As a US Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, I am quite familiar with the customs and practices of the US military and I tend to bring those traits to my teaching.


Deborah King

Expressive Art Experiences. Prior to moving to Colorado Springs, Deborah ran an art business in Arizona for over twenty-five years. As a multi-talented artist, her specialties are Caricatures, Portraits, Acrylic painting, calligraphy, wood painting crafts, and murals. Deborah also taught arts and crafts at schools and non-profit organizations, including developing and leading an arts and crafts programs for the Flagstaff, Arizona Boys and Girls Club after school program. Deborah also designed and led a community mural painting project at the Family Food Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

As a Caricature artist, Deborah cheerfully provides high quality family entertainment (since 1990) for parties, corporate events, celebrations, festivals, fund raisers, conventions, schools, religious organizations, zoos and sporting events. Deborah also draws pet and people caricatures from photos.

Along with being an artist, Deborah is also a social worker and is completing her MSW this summer, 2019. As a social worker she has had the opportunity to facilitate art groups at a domestic violence shelter where she worked in Arizona as well as for community groups. Deborah enjoys sharing her passion for art with others and is excited to facilitate fun art experiences with the Military Arts Connection.


Kimberlie Griffis

Kimberlie Griffis (Kim) is a native of Colorado Springs and has lived in Colorado most of her life. She attended a private art college in Northern California and has BFAs in both Interior Design and Graphic Design. Most recently, Kim received a Master Degree from Naropa University in Counseling/Art Therapy and is a studio artist at Cottonwood Center for the Arts. She also holds a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and serves on local nonprofit boards.

Kim enjoys creating art that speaks to her emotions and utilizes a variety of methods and materials to express through her art work. She also volunteers with nonprofits in the area to facilitate art related healing workshops, specializing in trauma recovery through creative art expression.

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