2018 Spring Semester Classes

Arts & Minds’ Spring semester classes are now accepting registrations. Don't miss out on our exciting spring offerings!

Upcoming Classes

Check out our upcoming productions, classes, workshops and events

African & Latin Dance - CLOSED

Find your inner rhythm and expand your dance skills in this fun, energetic class! Through African Rhythms and Afro-Beats, students will learn how to connect with music and interpret it through movement.

Costume Design - CLOSED

Students will learn how to analyze a script and characters, getting their ideas on paper with pencil, ink and watercolor, and construct a costume using second-hand, inexpensive materials.

Creative Writing - CLOSED

Students will be guided through a series of writing exercises designed to build their skills in the essential ingredients of fiction and imaginative writing.

Dance Around the World - CLOSED

In addition to learning the various dances we will study the culture of the countries, learn about the popular dances there today and the origins of some of the dances that were brought to the United States.

Drawing & Mix Media - CLOSED

Students will combine various drawing and painting materials, such as tempera paint and colored pencil, collage with paint and drawing materials, watercolor and oil pastels, and other combinations of materials.

Improv Comedy - CLOSED

Students will explore how to act without preparation, practice flexibility and react creatively while learning off-the-top-of-your-head techniques.

Intro To Social Dance - CLOSED

Students will be introduced to three of the most popular social dances in Texas: Swing, Two Step, and Merengue. By the end of this class students will be able to lead or follow 2-3 patterns on time with the music to each dance.

Mythology - CLOSED

This class prepares students to take the competitive National Mythology Exam and covers Greek and Roman mythology basics, Native American & African tales and Norse mythology.

Public Speaking - CLOSED

This fun public speaking course teaches students how to stand up with courage in front of a group and have fun presenting.

Stage Make-up & Combat - CLOSED

The perfect introduction to stage makeup and stage combat. Classes will alternate weekly between these two exciting theatrical arts. Scenes incorporating makeup and combat techniques will be developed at the end of the semester.

Tween/Teen Actor's Workshop - CLOSED

Designed for both new and experienced actors, this class will cover a wide range of standard acting techniques and skills, including warm-up and relaxation techniques, approaches to characterization and motivation, line reading, memorization, and ultimately scene work.

Virtue of the Week - CLOSED

Each week, students will discover and explore universal virtues in a “get‐up‐on‐your‐feet, hands‐on” approach that incorporates storytelling, arts and crafts, music and movement, drama, improv, games and more.

Young Actor's Workshop - CLOSED

Using theater games and exercises, young actors will develop vocal and physical abilities, learn to perform in a group environment, explore storytelling, utilize their imagination, tap into their concentration and respond to their fellow actors.

Little Women

Arts & Minds’ Page to Stage Series presents a full-length drama by local playwright Isabella Russell-Ides. This show is cast and in production. Show Dates: Feb. 9 & 10. Tickets go on sale in January.

Dates: 2/9 & 2/10
Our Staff

Valarie Atwood - Executive Director/Instructor

Valarie Atwood serves as Executive/Artistic Director for Arts & Minds and has been an educator for over 25 years. Her love for arts and education integration and the theatre inspired her to establish Arts & Minds. Previously, she founded Homeschoolers East Co-op where she fulfilled a variety of administrative roles on the Steering Committee for 10 years while teaching various subjects to a wide span of age groups. Before homeschooling, she developed the Virtue Of the Week (VOW) program and was a founding member of KIDPROV®, an arts-in-education improvisational comedy troupe, working with over 300,000 students and teachers throughout the U.S.

Valarie integrates her extensive knowledge and unique application of improv, creativity, problem solving and team building skills into each class she teaches whenever possible. Some organizations she has worked with include Destination Imagination, Gifted & Talented trainings, Big Thought, Artsmart, the Dallas Theatre Center Teen/Children's Theatre, Dallas Children's Theatre, Brookhaven College, Northlake College, the YMCA and Girl's Inc. Valarie attended Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis, MO where she majored in theatre arts and is a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts of Houston, TX.

Brianna Williams -Instructor

Brianna Williams is a dancer in the DFW area who travels to different dance festivals across the country to perform and take workshops with instructors from around the world. She has been dancing since the age of 4, took ballet, jazz, and hip hop at Janie Christi School of Dance and Rowlett Dance Academy and performed in the Moscow Ballet's production of the Russian Nutcracker at the age of 10. Brianna was part of the dance program at Lakeview Centennial High School, was in drill team and took classes in modern, contemporary, pom, military, and Bollywood dancing.

In 2012, Brianna started learning Latin social dances which include Salsa, Bachata, Cumbia, Merengue, and Cha Cha Cha when she lived in Austin, Texas. In the years following, Brianna has learned Kizomba/Tarraxhina, Semba, Brazillian Zouk, Afro-Rhythms, Afro-Beats, Kuduro, Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, and Tango. Brianna is currently part of Rhythm & Beatz Dance Company based in Los Angeles under the direction of Lola Monet aka Lola Queen Beatz.

She is in the process of completing her Associates Degree at Eastfield Community College and intends to transfer to the University of Texas for both Dance and Sociology. Brianna continues social dancing and performing her solo at various venues across Dallas. She is excited to be working with the team at Arts & Minds and is determined to make sure students receive a quality and safe dance experience.

Amanda Sevak - Instructor

Amanda Sevak earned her Bachelor of Science in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and has over 20 years of experience working and volunteering in education and the performing arts. She has worked in nonprofit administration for Rotary International and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and served as an AmeriCorps volunteer bringing arts enrichment to an inner city school in Chicago. Her international teaching experience, which includes India and China, stretches from pre-school to adults and encompasses subjects such as music, dance, drama, special education, and English.

Amanda's voice can be found on two musical albums: one with her college a cappella group, Significant Others, and, most recently, on an original children’s album, A Day in the Park, that she co-wrote and produced with her band, humdiddle.

Additionally, her background in dance is extensive, including over 20 years of dance training and 5 years of teaching various dance classes and creative movement. She has studied tap, jazz, modern, ballet and world dance styles (such as Bollywood, Bhangra, and African) and has significant performance and choreography experience. She believes everyone can dance and enjoys helping others discover the joy of expression and unity through movement.

The mother of identical twin girls, she is learning to play the ukulele and loves to sit by the water writing in her journal – the paper kind.

Amanda taught A Cappella Group in the Spring 2017 semester and is thrilled to be a part of Arts & Minds. She looks forward to inspiring students as well as being inspired by them.

Jennifer Wagnon -Instructor

Jennifer Wagnon started homeschooling her oldest daughter in 1999. Her two daughters have since gone on to be full-time college students, and Jennifer is now homeschooling her son for high school. As a military family the Wagnons moved many times while homeschooling, living in a total of 7 states and one other country.

Jennifer strives to take best advantage of every place they live, absorbing local history and culture while balancing those experiences with solid traditional school work. Jennifer studied literature at the University of Oklahoma and has taught a variety of literature and poetry classes in co-ops from North Carolina to Hawaii and in between. She has served as a Poetry Out Loud local homeschool coordinator for 4 different competitions.

Now that she is part of a retired military family that has settled down, she looks forward to seeing students grow their confidence in public speaking through poetry.

Lynda Hollers -Instructor

Lynda Hollers began her Theatrical and Dance career in Miami in the early 70’s as a Pied Piper Player at the North Miami Playhouse and was a Maridon Dancer performing at various venues on Miami Beach. In the 80’s Lynda studied Drama & Dance at Florida International University, and then taught Ballroom Dance at Arthur Murrays & Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Orlando, Florida for 8 years.

Lynda took a break from teaching dance to raise her family, and to homeschool her daughter. After moving to Texas 8 years ago Lynda returned to the dance floor and currently teaches youth and teen classes at various locations outside of DFW. Lynda is trained to teach Ballroom, Country Western, Latin, & Swing Dancing. Lynda coaches the Tango & 2 Steppers Country Western Competition Team, a team that recently won 5 National Championships in Pro Am, Team, & Line Dance Divisions.

Janet Rogers -Instructor

Janet Rogers lived in the Netherlands for fourteen years where she attended Dutch schools and learned the language. She moved back to the U.S. at age 22 and now lives with her husband in Sachse, Texas and has two grown sons and is a grandmother of three. She liked to draw and do arts and crafts when she was a child and later received an Art Education degree from UNT.

She has enjoyed teaching art for over fourteen years. She started her career as a public-school teacher and after seven years began her home business, as well as teaching for home school coops since 2010. It is important for her to teach art technique and theory. Yet, the student’s individuality in artistic expression is equally significant to her.

Elizabeth McDermott -Instructor

Elizabeth McDermott has been acting since age 12 and has been involved in over 20 productions since then, both on stage and behind the scenes. Some of these include performing in Romeo and Juliet, Almost, Maine, Shrek: The Musical, Peter Pan, stage managing The Little Mermaid Jr., and directing An Irish Engagement and Dead Wedding. Throughout high school, Elizabeth taught multiple theatre workshops to all age levels. These ranged from teaching musical theatre numbers, to helping students understand and enjoy Shakespeare, to helping them prepare for auditions. Elizabeth is currently studying for a Theatre Education degree at Collin College.


Arts & Minds is an arts and education 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to empower individuals to use their knowledge and talents for enriching themselves and their community.

Arts & Minds was created to provide an inclusive, welcoming environment for diverse students to engage in the arts and humanities and to help individuals discover their unique capacities and talents, gain knowledge, develop skills for self-expression, build character and contribute positively to their community.

Our goal is for every student to realize their potential for making a meaningful impact on the local and global community through the arts and education.

We seek out dynamic, talented instructors to offer classes, workshops and seasonal camps to young people through homeschool and after-school programs.