Hi! My name is Denise Collins, creator of the Mermaid Art Studio, along with my good friend and fellow Long Beach Artist, Laura Bykowski. I am a Long Beach resident (19 years) and Certified K-12 Art teacher (MS ArtEd./LIU/CWPost), teaching 10 years in the Long Beach School District. As an undergraduate, centuries ago, I majored in both Social Welfare and Art; wasn’t sure if I wanted to save the world or paint it! Art kept beckoning me. I have studied at the Arts Students League, The School of Visual Arts in NYC, UMAss Art New England, as well as privately in the Art Studio Of John F. Murray, a classically trained Figure and Portrait artist. I am always learning and taking workshops to this day. I have worked as a social worker, graphic artist, freelance illustrator and Art teacher. At this point in my life, I believe my greatest strength as an artist lies in my teaching, especially with children and young adults.I am extremely fortunate to have realized this opportunity…and to keep it growing and evolving!
A few summers ago Laura and I began teaching Art classes out of a small garage which was the beginning of The Mermaid Art Studio. The experience made me realize how vitally important it is for children to have a community based Art studio, in addition to school, where they can express themselves all year long. Hurricane Sandy only fortified my conviction that this was crucial. I see Art as being a necessary vehicle for community restoration and rebirth and happily, I live in a community that supports this belief and nurtures it in their children!