Visual Arts

 Visual Arts Collage


Private Instruction



About the Visual Arts Department

We learn most efficiently through visual cues, so in the 21st century visual literacy is essential. Our classes and instructors provide the means to improve observation skills, become fearless problem solvers, stretch the imagination and master skills in student’s preferred medium.

Reasons to Engage in the Visual Arts

 1.      Build observation skills.  To draw well you must observe carefully.

 2.      Problem Solving.  To create a painting, you need to solve problems – lots of them.  Beginning with the decision of what to paint, what size and media will best suit, where to put the first stroke, what colors are needed…As the work progresses, the artist will be confronted with issues of composition, technical skill and style.

3.      Learn from your mistakes.  Not all works of art are successful, but ALL contribute to learning. In art the focus is on exploration and learning, NOT the right answer.  One painting or drawing is a step in a larger journey of exploration and discovery.

4.      Think Creatively.  Sometimes referred to as “thinking outside the box”…  There are multiple solutions to each design problem.  Artists are trained to continually search for better, different, unexpected solutions.

5.      Visual literacy.  Learn about color and make better fashion and interior design decisions.  Learn about visual design in advertising and make better buying decisions.  Learn about painting and composition and see everything – museum works, architecture, and commercial products – in a whole new way.

6.      Express yourself.  Explore how you feel, put that on canvas.  Visual arts provide an alternate language of expression that can be therapeutic and freeing.

7.      Create visions.  Imagine something better, different, new.  Then create it in paint, stone, clay. “Without vision, the people will perish”.

8.      Enrich your life.  Participating in the arts makes life better.  See all of the above.
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Semester Class Schedule

Fall Semester: September 11 – November 18

Mini-Session: November 20 – December 22

Winter: January 8 – March 17

Spring: April 2 – June 9

Summer: June 18 – August 18


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Private Instruction

Private and semi-private lessons in all media are available. Private rates are $46 per hour and $23 per half hour. Semi-private is $15/student (30 mins). Contact Phyllis Moser, Director of Visual Arts at, to inquire about these programs. Please note that class material fees may be an additional cost. 

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** Please note: Because the Institute provides materials and specialized tools for its Visual Arts classes, we recommend that students enroll 48 hours in advance of the first class **

To view and register for Mini Session 2017 classes, please click HERE or view and print a printer-friendly version of the catalog HERE.

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Phyllis Moser

Phyllis Moser

Phyllis Moser, Visual Arts Director at Yocum Institute, is a visual artist (specializing in acrylics and mixed media) as well as an accomplished calligrapher and designer. In her position at the Institute she oversees program design and development. Phyllis holds a BS in Art Education from Kutztown University and has studied calligraphy with Timothy Botts and Shiela Walters. Her work can be found in private and institutional collections across the country, including the Postal Museum of the Smithsonian. Her most recent exhibit (August 2014) was “Emerge” at Albright College. This interactive exhibit explored how technology can change and enhance our experience of art.



Jodi Bossler oversees our clay instruction at the Yocum Institute, working with all ages in group and private lessons. She has been an instructor at the Institute for 11 years encouraging young students to explore the visual arts through drawing, mixed media, clay, and fiber. Jodi holds a MFA in Photography as well as teacher certification from Kutztown University.

Tammy Updegrove  is an accomplished artist in multiple mediums including but not limited to charcoals, pen and ink, and acrylics. She is a published illustrator for Reading Reading Books and the Greyhound Love Series in addition to designing worksheets for Early Childhood Education.  Tammy was also selected to teach art techniques on an episode of John and Kate Plus 8.  For the past 8 years Tammy has worked at the Institute where she teaches Children’s Visual Art Classes and outreach programs. She enjoys helping her students explore the world of art and encourages them to discover thier natural artistic abilities.

Rich Houck has been recognized as an inventive and versatile artist in a variety of mediums. Known primarily for his paintings, over the past twenty years, he has exhibited in solo and in group shows throughout the Northeast United States, and in Rome, Italy. Rich holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, where he studied under Rohrer and Steve Jaffee. He is an adjunct professor at Alvernia College and instructor at the Yocum Institute. Rich Houck is the 2014 recipient of the Coggins Award, recognizing his professional achievements and service to the Berks arts community.

Shawna Hansberry has been a faculty member at the Institute since 2011. She has taught mixed media, bringing great enthusiasm to her classroom. She is a PA certified K-12 art teacher taking graduate courses at the University of the Arts. She teaches after school programs, and has just completed a season as a “long term substitute” with the Reading School District.

Julia Ramsey is a knitwear designer and a fiber artist. Her custom knitwear collection emphasizes handwork, craftsmanship and appreciation for raw materials. Her work has been included in major knitwear exhibits in the US and abroad. Recent exhibitions include the Fiber Show in Chesterton, MD, and an exhibition in Verona, Italy. At the Institute, Julia teaches knitting and stitching classes. Visit her website:

Kayla Ackelson is an srtist working in several mediums, some of which are watercolor, collage, and mixed media. Kayla received her BFA from Millersville University in December of 2014 and since then has been working in the arts and exhibiting her own work. Her artwork is driven by her interactions with nature, memory, and so much more:
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