Sewickley’s Sweetwater Center for the Arts is bringing in a slate of renowned artists as instructors for its 2024 Master Classes. The series of five three-day workshops will take place between April and October of 2024.

“Our big goal with the Master Classes is to offer something here at the Center that you maybe wouldn’t be able to get otherwise,” said Liana Agnew, exhibition and events manager for Sweetwater Center for the Arts.

Each workshop offers an opportunity for passionate artists to take intensive classes with a small group. The format allows for more one-on-one time with the expert instructors.

“Class sizes will cap at 16, so it’ll be a nice group but not too overbearing and very personal,” Agnew said.

The five visiting Master Class leaders work in a variety of artistic forms, and each workshop will be different. According to Agnew, Sweetwater worked to find artists who had teaching or instructional experience so that attendees can get the most out of their experience.

Jennifer Allen will be kicking off the 2024 series from April 26-28. Her ceramics class, “From Slab to Fab,” will concentrate on creating repeatable forms in slab built pottery with paper patterns.

A duo of pastels workshops will follow. From May 31 to June 2, Barbara Jaenicke will present “Landscape and Light,” which will examine how to use oils and pastels to capture light in landscapes. Christine Swann brings “The POWER of Pastel” from Aug. 23-25, where she will demonstrate her five-layer process to creating life portraits in pastel.

The Sept. 26-29 class will be “Figuring Out,” taught by Kensuke Yamada. He will teach a number of hand building techniques to create ceramic figures.

Lastly, from Oct. 25-27, instructor Samuel Dunson will lead attendees through a journey of art and memory in “They Will Remember You.” The mixed media class will cover a number of creative stages, from research and inspiration to production to critique.

Each of the five workshops is a unique, high-quality experience, according to Agnew. “The target audience is anyone who’s interested in developing their craft regardless of what stage you’re in,” she said. “They’re going to benefit anyone who wants to take the time for themselves to really develop their skills.”

While this is a great opportunity for artists from the region, Agnew also said that these classes are a chance to bring people from all over to the local area. “We’re trying to make Sewickley a little bit of a destination point for folks who follow these artists and want to take these classes,” she said.

They are also meant to get attendees one-on-one time with the artists and bring together people with similar interests.

With a packed weekend schedule, each workshop should allow for mingling and learning, both during class time and outside of it. Each weekend will include a meet-and-greet for the artist and class participants, an opening reception on Friday night and a lecture on Saturday that is open to the public.

“So if you’re unable to attend the workshop, you can stop in Saturday evening and hear an hour-long lecture by the artist,” Agnew said.

The cost of each class ranges from $450 to $650, and advance registration is encouraged because of the small class sizes.

Sweetwater Center for the Arts has been part of the Sewickley community for nearly 50 years. The Center offers classes in a wide range of creative fields, from visual arts to culinary arts to performing, for people in all stages of life and at every skill level.

They also hold concert series, fundraisers and exhibitions every year. Agnew believes that they are an important part of the community. “We offer a little bit of everything for somebody. I like to think we can reach a broad range of folks in that way,” she said.

She emphasizes that the Master Classes are more intensive than their other offerings. “It’s a lot more hands-on than your regular class or workshop here,” she said.

Sweetwater Center for the Arts’ 2024 Master Class series will be held between April and October. To register for classes, or for more information, visit

Alexis Papalia is a TribLive staff writer. She can be reached at