A number of area artists teach at Purple Turtle Art Studio for both children’s classes and special events. Keep checking back to see who has joined the team.

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LeAnn Hale

LeAnn is an artist and art educator and owner/founder of Purple Turtle Art Studio. Her mission is to equip children with the tools of creativity so they are able to express themselves visually with confidence.  She earned her BA from West Virginia University in 1993 and her Art Education Certification from Sam Houston State University in 1999.

LeAnn opened the Purple Turtle in the fall of 2000 and has been enjoying it ever since. Before the Turtle, she taught the visual arts at Johnson Elementary School for five years. Previous to Johnson, she worked for many summer art programs: Girl Scout Camp, Brazos Valley Art’s Council and Boy’s and Girl’s Club of the Brazos Valley. LeAnn also taught for two years at Art’s for Everyone, a non-profit program and later served on its board of directors.

LaGina Evans, Music Instructor 

(830) 591-6465

Facebook: @LaGinaEvansPianoStudio


LaGina Evans has been a piano teacher for 17 years, and a music teacher for 8 years. She’s been a singer all her life, and was the choir director and worship leader at her previous church. She’s had a passion for music ever since she started singing at 2, and playing piano at 5. She loves teaching, and has a natural ability to relate to students with a vast array of personalities, abilities and challenges. Throughout her musical career, she has helped countless children (and adults) realize their unique strengths, and overcome their difficulties, to become the best musicians they can be.

LaGina has been married for 31 years, and has 3 grown children. She loves to sing, travel with her husband, and spend quality time with her family – including performing at community and family events (between the 5 of them, they sing, and play piano, guitar, bass, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, harmonica, tin whistle, flute and percussion). She enjoys sharing her passion for music with children, and would love the opportunity to teach your child!

Samantha Bares 

BFA, University of Louisiana at Lafayette 

MFA, University of Colorado Boulder 

Samantha Bares received her MFA with a concentration in printmaking from CU Boulder in May of 2021. As a graduate student, she served as an instructor, teaching introductory printmaking classes and foundational art classes. She began working at Blinn College in the Fall of 2021, where she has taught drawing, art appreciation, and art history classes. 

Samantha grew up in Nederland, Texas. Her artist father got her interested in art at a young age, and her mother encouraged this practice all throughout her life. At the root of her work is a strong drawing background, followed by an interest in exploring representational narratives – she wants her work to tell a story. Samantha encourages all students with varying abilities in art to find value in themselves and their personal narratives when creating. She seeks to cultivate a respective environment that is open to giving and receiving feedback, while fostering the confidence of her students as they learn and grow.

Cella Siegelman is a sophomore illustration student. She grew up in College Station, Tx, and currently attends School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her passions mostly include character design, creature creation, and graphic design solutions. She works mostly digitally, but is traditionally an analog artist. She has been using photoshop for 10 years, Adobe photoshop for 2, and has just began painting with procreate. Her traditional art mediums include ink pen, watercolor, and oil painting.

Cindy Kovar’s artistic abilities include pottery, paintings, jewelry making, photography and up-cycling. Since childhood, her hands are almost always dirty as she rarely stops creating.  She has taught hundreds of students through the years and enjoys sharing her love of art. 

She designs and sells pottery beads and pots for her Etsy shop

Mrs. Krajca has been involved in the education community of BCS for the past 16 years. For the past two years, she’s been an English teacher at One Day Academy. Her love and enthusiasm for teaching the English language is contagious to her students. She’s often able to draw in even the most reluctant young writers while still engaging and challenging the most passionate young writers.


Amber is a mother, visual artist, potter and owner of Mud Ponies Pottery. She earned her B.F.A.  in studio art from Sam Houston State University in 2008 and an Associates degree in Commercial Art & advertising from T.S.T.C. Waco in 2003.

Amber started Mud Ponies Pottery in 2008. She makes decorative and functional pieces full of texture. She has had a booth at Sherwood Forest fair and has traveled to different art shows around Texas. She has fascilitated youth pottery education programs at Joy Pottery, Brazos Valley Arts Council and Hillcrest Baptist Mother’s Day out all the while instructing private lessons. Amber loves teaching children about the creative possibilities of working with clay.



Lisa Urban

Lisa Urban is a former artist-in-residence for The Arts Council of Brazos Valley and the City of Navasota. Before moving to Texas for the residency, she grew up in Kansas. As an artist she likes to create surrealistic worlds using oil paint on canvas.

Lisa’s work involves knitted objects within her scenes, and as such she is an avid knitter. She has been knitting for almost 8 years now, having picked it up in college, and considers herself to be advanced. Of all the things one can knit, her favorite is socks!
Her teaching experience including three years of assistant pre-school teaching, running two summers’ worth of camps in her hometown and most recently teaching after school art for the Arts Council.

Russell Marcontell 

BA, Sam Houston State University

MFA, San Miguel De Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Russell has been teaching Drawing, Design and Art History to students from kindergarten through college level and beyond for the last 14 years.  He has taught at the Children’s Museum, the Frame Gallery, Extra Education for the city of College Station and studio classes at Blinn and Sam Houston State University. I have been instructing at the Purple Turtle since 2014.

Teaching students with little or no drawing experience is one of his favorite things to do. He starts with the concept of , “there are no mistakes”.  His goal is to give students the tools to understand the process of drawing and strengthen their own personal sense of creative awareness by using basic techniques and a variety of media.

Tamara Garza
Professor/Graphic Designer

BED, Texas A&M University

MS, Texas A&M University

Tamara Garza received her M.S in Visualization from Texas A&M University back in ‘08. She has been a member of the art faculty at Blinn College since 2016 where she has taught Photography, Graphic Design, Art Direction and Digital Illustration as well as lectured regularly on Art Appreciation. She has worked independently as a photographer and graphic designer for over 15 years, having dabbled in visual effects for a spell after graduate school. She’s passionate about digital art, graphic design, women in technology, roller derby, classic ford mustangs, homemade tortillas and the life-changing experience of traveling abroad with an artist’s lens on life. She is a co-founding member of Garza Photo Design, a web and graphic design shop she manages from her home studio.


Natalie Jensen

Artist and entrepreneur, Natalie Jensen has been “creating” since she could hold a crayon. As a child, she spent hours under her mother’s sewing table, playing with buttons or experimenting with embroidery thread. When asked for what she wanted for Christmas or birthdays, she would promptly reply “craft supplies and books”.

Her love of creating spans from sewing to leather work, jewelry making to interior decorating, wedding design and cooking.  Her love of vintage and repurposing is the inspiration behind her art, and is applied almost daily- upcycling and altering anything from clothing and jewelry, to recipes.

In 2012, after finding herself the sole provider for herself and her two young children, Natalie funneled all her creative energy into founding Peculiar Sentiments, a mobile boutique that has become the vehicle for selling her art and designs. She is a full time stay-at-home/work-at-home mama, taking her kids (who she homeschools) and her designs on the road, to art shows and vintage markets across America.

Cathy Rylander came to TAMU in 1976 and never left.  She received a BA in English in 1981 after majoring in a series of mostly unrelated subjects : Environmental Design, math, journalism and the science fiction club.  She and her husband have four grown children, all of whom are artists.

“Ms. Ry” has taught art at Saint Michael’s since 1991 to students aged from 2 years to 19 years.  Her favorite thing to teach is whatever is happening right now, ranging from stitchery to calligraphy to paper sculpture to costuming to assemblage to repurposing furniture.  She loves to make art from unexpected materials.


Vanessa Taraba is the owner and designer of Fairy Fly Farms, creating handcrafted soap, bath bombs and other bath products, since 2014. The goal of FFF is to create products that you and your family feel good about using, with a sustainable lifestyle in mind. She lives with her husband, and two children, in the Brazos Valley countryside. They recently relocated to BCS, so that Vanessa can attend veterinary school at Texas A&M with the class of 2023. She has a varied science background with a BS and MS in Biology from CSU Pomona in Ca, however it was the minor in chemistry that gave her the skills to pursue soapmaking. She is constantly learning new techniques, and enjoys sharing her skills and knowledge with others in a fun and relaxed setting.