The Art of Improv for grades 7-9

The Art of Improv will be offered for students in grades 7-9 for five Saturdays, Jan. 12 to Feb. 9, 9 a.m. to noon.

Instructor Lindsay Fitzgerald explains, "Improvisation is one of the best forms of comedic theater, but it takes practice. Participants will learn to think on their feet, accept the information given to them and work collaboratively with classmates to create scenes on the fly and maybe make some people laugh along the way. Students will play many games including, 'What are you doing?,' 'Freeze!,' 'New Choice,' 'Sing it!,' and many more."

There will also be a showcase at the end of the session to show off students' new improv skills. The fee is $115.

Fitzgerald has been practicing the art of comedy for years. She was a primary member of the Veranda Variety Hour, a sketch comedy show in St. Cloud, for four consecutive years. This is where she grew to love the art of improv comedy, and learned that it takes a lot of practice to be able to improvise well. Fitzgerald is a director now, working with all different age groups in and around the Twin Cities area. She loves being able to pass on her passion for theater to young artists, and help them discover how to express themselves on stage (while having at least a little fun along the way).

In addition, Fitzgerald has directed "Tomie dePaola's Strega Nona," "Goldilocks and the Three Pigs," "Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook," and "Mother Goosed" for The Phipps Children's Theater.

Art classes for teens and adults

Winter classes and workshops for teens and adults in drawing, painting, ceramics, polymer clay, writing and more are open for enrollment.

Those who register with a friend or family member will each receive 10 percent off the class fee. This offer includes all classes, except Beginning/Intermediate Pottery on the Wheel. To receive this discount, registrations must be made in person or over the phone. If one of the students cancels enrollment, the other student will be charged the 10 percent.

For complete class descriptions, instructor biographies, class fees and materials costs, go to, call 715-386-2305, or stop by the center.

Ballroom dance party Dec. 15

Ballroom dance parties are offered on the first and third Saturday of every month October through May, and the third Saturday of every month June through September, from 7-10 p.m. in the dance studio.

Tom Larson will offer a dance lesson during the first hour. The rumba and swing will be taught on Dec. 15. This is an opportunity to have fun trying out new dance skills in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Dancers of all experience levels are welcome. Admission is $12 per person.

Larson has taught at The Phipps since 2003 and owns the Ballroom and Wedding Dance Studio in Minneapolis. He performed for five seasons with The Continental Ballet Company.

Carved wood sculptures in The Phipps Galleries

The Galleries of The Phipps feature a hand-cut collage by Karlyn Atkinson Berg (Bovey, Minn.), carved wood sculptures by David Ekdahl (St. Paul), stoneware and porcelain pottery by Janel Jacobson and Will Swanson (Harris, Minn.), screen prints and ink jet prints by Natasha Pestich (Columbia Heights, Minn.), graphite and colored pencil drawings by Randall Richard Rogers (Brooklyn Center, Minn.), and paintings and drawings by Samuel Weinberg (St. Paul) through Jan. 13.

Jacobson and Swanson are the wife and husband team that is Sunrise Pottery, located near the St. Croix River, northwest of Taylors Falls, Minn. They create pottery throughout the year for regional and national shows and for galleries. Swanson uses stoneware clay for tableware, including plates, cups, bowls and serving dishes. Jacobson uses porcelain and stoneware with attention to surface modeling and glazing. They have helped coordinate and host the annual St. Croix River Pottery Tour since its beginning in 1993.

Jacobson received her B.A. in Art (Ceramics) from Decorah College, Iowa, in 1972. She spent three sessions with Marguerite Wildenhain at Pond Farm, Guerneville, Calif., and began a life-long career as a professional artist.

Jacobson writes, "In my earliest years as a potter I made useful, glazed stoneware pots. After a time, surfaces became a canvas for relief carving of one kind or another from subtractive to additive techniques, to create shallow depth on the surfaces of stoneware and then later on porcelain pots. Currently I am exploring surface texture and the addition of stencil designs, both subtractive and additive."

Swanson received his B.A. in Social Welfare and his M.A. in Design from the University of Minnesota. His life as a potter derived from being intrigued while using handmade pottery. He fashions stoneware clay into useful pots, to be experienced through the simple, aesthetic pleasures of everyday use. Swanson seeks to make pots that have a satisfying simplicity while allowing the character of the earth materials and the hand-making process to be evident. He reflects that, "the use and perhaps the meaning of any pot are projected onto it by the user ... long after it leaves the hands of the potter."

Galleries hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 4:30 p.m., as well as one hour before and through intermission of all performances in The Phipps theaters. The Phipps will be closed Dec. 24, 25, and Jan. 1.

Tai chi classes

Tai chi classes will continue on Thursdays, from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Meeting the needs of both the beginning and experienced practitioner, this class offers the Yang style long form of tai chi chuan. Certified tai chi instructor Mark Tomlinson, with 14 years of experience, conducts the classes.

Punch-cards may be purchased for $100 per eight classes. Classes are ongoing and may be taken at any time. Students only pay for the classes they attend. To enroll, send the fee to The Phipps Center, 109 Locust St., Hudson, WI 54016, call 715-386-2305 to register with any credit card, go online to, or stop by the center. A $5 processing fee will be charged for all mail, phone, or online registrations.

Private violin lessons

Private violin lessons for students ages seven through adult are offered throughout the year.

Instructor Sarah N. Bertsch has taught violin and coached ensembles for over 25 years. Previous positions include Northwestern College, Wooddale School of Music, Friendship School of Music, and Minnehaha Academy. She received her M.A. from St. John's University and her B.A. from St. Olaf College.

Bertsch has toured nationally with pianist Don Irwin and artist Fernando Ortega and has played concerts in Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Japan, and Guatemala. She has recorded with Sara Groves and a number of regional church music groups. Bertsch enjoys playing and teaching a variety of musical styles. She plays violin in the Oakdale-based global music group Ensemble Aventura and enjoys collaborating in Hudson with pianist Layton James. Bertsch often performs in weddings as a soloist or in one of her string ensembles.

For further information on violin lessons, contact Bertsch at 715-381-5735.

Voice lessons

Tony Holt, a former member of the King's Singers, offers private voice lessons for ages 11 through adult on Thursdays.

Holt, a native Londoner, was a boy chorister at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. He was a choir member of Christ Church, Oxford, as well as Chichester Cathedral and St. Paul's Cathedral. Holt was then a soloist and chorus member of the Monteverdi Choir and the BBC Singers. For 18 years he toured and recorded as first baritone with the King's Singers.

The fee is $30 per 30-minute lesson.

Private flute and piano lessons

Private flute and piano instruction for ages five through adults is available on Fridays.

Sue Christian, a K-12 music education graduate of Luther College, has taught privately since she was 16. One of her favorite teaching opportunities is that of the Hudson Middle School Band Camp, at which she works with budding young flutists.

A member of the Wisconsin Music Teachers' Association, she is involved locally with the St. Croix Music Teachers Association, offering piano performance opportunities to students of all ages. Also a member of the Upper Midwest Flute Association, Christian has tutored students who have won competitions in both organizations. One of her former flute students, as a sophomore in high school, earned the prestigious opportunity to perform in the top 12 for a national competition to solo with the Air Force Band. This student went on to pursue a career in flute performance at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Christian also has extensive experience in accompanying soloists and ensembles as a collaborating pianist in college-level recitals as well as festivals in area schools. In addition, she accompanied The Phipps Festival Chorus and The Phipps Oratorio Society for numerous years.

Birthday parties

Parents are encouraged to celebrate their child's birthday at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

Your child and guests will work with clay to create bowls, cups, and small sculptures. Children ages 7 and older will have a chance on the pottery wheel, too. The pottery will be ready to pick up within two weeks after the party.

The party fee is $218 for up to 9 participants, $24 for each additional participant. The fee includes all materials and clean-up, one to two hours of working the Ceramics Studio, one hour for snacks and gift opening, plus a behind-the-scenes tour of The Phipps (theater production schedule permitting).

To schedule a Ceramics Studio birthday party, contact Anastasia Shartin, 715-386-2305, ext. 103 or


The Western Wisconsin Photography Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. The club also schedules mid-month meetings to accommodate speaker's schedules and for hands-on learning opportunities. Photographers of all ages and abilities are welcome. For more details about upcoming programs and events visit

Healing arts at Hudson Hospital and Westfields

Current artists on view at Hudson Hospital and Clinic are Gloria Adrian, Cathy Durso and Jinjer Markley, Linda Ricklefs Baudry, Elliesha Klingberg, Elynn Lepel, Natalie McGuire, Western Wisconsin Photography, Christy Dickinson, Hudson Hospital & Clinic Staff and Volunteer Exhibit.

Artwork can be viewed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Maps are available at both information desks to help find artists' work.

Current artists on view at Westfields Hospital and Clinic are Laura Burlis, Rachel Cain, Ernest Gillman, Urban Landreman, Western Wisconsin Photography Club and Sylvia Benson. Artwork can be viewed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.