Each of our talented teachers, carefully hand-chosen by our Director for a kind, warm personality, strong classical artistic painting skills, and enthusiasm for working children, either has a fine art degree such as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, or is currently working toward one. Every teacher participates in 40 hours of hands-on, project-based artwork training with our Director, plus another 20+ hours in the classroom with an experienced teacher, to ensure consistent excellence in instruction.

Teachers are supported over time by in-classroom observations and out-of-class artwork reviews by our studio managers, as well as periodic refresher training to keep teaching skills sharp. At Art Steps, we pride ourselves on providing ongoing mentorship to staff, so that every single teacher can truly cultivate his or her passion for passing the time-honored tradition of classical painting skills to the next generation.

All teachers have been fingerprinted and background checked through the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Have you met your child's teacher? Before and after class, be sure to come in and chat! We love to be in touch with you!
Interested in teaching at Art Steps? Apply Here!

Hilary Key, Director

Hilary Key is the co-founder and CEO of Art Steps, having directed our studios since 1999. Hilary has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to joyfully running the show, Hilary enjoys watercolor and oil painting, as well as drawing together with her two sons. She also serves as founder and President of our nonprofit outreach program, Bright Artists.


When you call us, you may get to speak with our friendly Regional Office Manager, Michelle Carey. She leads our central office, where her phone and back office team happily serves our families for the Costa Mesa, Laguna HiIls and Yorba Linda studios. Her daughter took classes with us as a kid, so Michelle knows first-hand what it's like to be an Art Steps parent. With a lifetime of experience as a successful chief operating officer, running a law office, and home schooling her own two children, Michelle is well-equipped to keep Art Steps' office and back-end processes ship-shape as we grow!


When you call the studio, you are likely to reach our wonderful office administrator and scheduler, Hayley Mazeika. We have searched far and wide for just the right person to fortify our office and serve our families. Hayley is as warm, friendly and helpful as she is detail-oriented. We believe you'll love working with her as much as we do!


When you call our office, you might also have the pleasure of speaking with Yamilex "Yami" Aleman, our newest customer service specialist and scheduler to join the growing Art Steps team. We appreciate Yami's phone experience, scheduling expertise, and more; not to mention her warm, caring disposition.


Lora McWhorter, our Regional Studio Manager in charge of ensuring quality in all locations, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in sculpture from California State University, Fullerton. An attentive, caring mentor with a passion for fine art, Ms. Lora sees to it that all studios have what they need. Teaching our world-class fine art program since 2008, she has become its strongest advocate in our studios, ensuring that her teachers are well-prepared and equipped to succeed. Her dedication to the well-being of children manifests itself in her warm, kind, welcoming demeanor, as well as her steadfast commitment to ethical and artistic excellence.


Halie Santillan, Interim Studio Manager for Art Steps Laguna Hills, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Arts from California State University Long Beach. Halie has amazing skills in classical oil painting, and her personable, kind, caring nature is just as strong. Years of customer service and management experience, including years as our studio's Assistant Manager, have made her responsible, reliable, and ready for challenges. Once you meet her, you will find that she is perfectly suited to teaching all ages. She provides wonderful support to all of our teachers, as well as personalized, exceptional mentorship to each of her lucky students.


Robin Madsen, our Costa Mesa Studio Manager, holds a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree in Drawing and Painting from Cal State Fullerton. Robin's love for art is matched only by her love for children and teaching. With a passion for watercolor, she was drawn to art at a young age through the joy she experienced with Disney movies and children's books. That youthful spirit and optimism pours out of her in the classroom, creating an effervescent and cheerful environment for children to learn and grow as budding artists themselves. Combined with her years of customer service experience at Starbucks, Robin knows how to run a productive classroom where children have fun!


Ashlyn Dickson, Art Steps Yorba Linda's Interim Studio Manager, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in Animation from Cal State Fullerton. Sweet, cheerful and bubbly, Ashlyn is an outstanding visual artist and draftsperson. Years of customer service experience have given her excellent practice in carefully attending to each individual student, parent, and teacher. She's proven that she can do it all, from resolving urgent matters to conducting a classical painting classroom with efficiency, quality and grace.


Long-time staff member Gemma Magdaluyo helps all locations as our Training and Support Specialist. Gemma graduated from the Laguna College of Art and Design with a Bachelor's of Fine Art degree in Illustration, with emphasis on drawing and painting. Her years of experience allow her to provide support for teacher artwork training, as our Director's only proxy in this vital role. She also provides phone help directly to parents who call our office, as well as substitute teaching and lending a hand wherever needed at Art Steps. Her passionate commitment to seeing young artists blossom makes us all very lucky to benefit from her ongoing wisdom and support.


Taylor Harai, assistant manager at our Laguna Hills studio, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California Santa Cruz. She majored in Art and minored in History of Art and Visual Culture. Taylor comes to teaching at Art Steps with great enthusiasm, having spent seven years of her childhood, age 7 through 14, as a student in our program! In addition to her stellar artistic talent, Miss Taylor is full of smiles and kindness, so we are thrilled that she has become a vital part of our team.


Sureya Davis received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting from the Laguna College of Art+Design, after attending Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis, MN. Through her experience teaching elementary age students over the years, Sureya learned that she loves sharing her artistic passion with kids. With world-class drawing and painting skills, and work featured in numerous exhibits and private collections, she is an outstanding mentor for teens and advanced artists. In fact, she now serves as part-time faculty at LCAD, her alma mater. And we love Miss Sureya's warm, bubbly, and cheerful demeanor.


Friendly, communicative and genuine, Rishica Vendakesh has a strong drive to really get through to kids and enrich their lives through art. After changing her major from science to art, Rishica completed her final year at California State University, Long Beach. Her passion for art is clear, but her strongest passion may just be helping children. Rishica has already taught children of all ages through Free Arts, a Los Angeles nonprofit benefiting kids who have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty and/or homelessness. We're excited to foster her dedication to children and love of classical oil painting at our Laguna Hills studio.


Michaela Moffett has her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cal State Fullerton, and studied classical drawing and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. A long-time art student of 17 years, Michaela has extensive exhibition experience as well as knowledge of artistic media and art history. With years of customer service and teaching experience, she is warm, personable, communicative, and enthusiastic. "Miss Michaela" is a wonderful addition to our team of Yorba Linda teachers!


Mia Andrea, an Art Steps student herself from age 7 though 17, loyally served as a teacher's aide at our Yorba Linda location for two years before being promoted to the role of teacher in 2017. Holding her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Animation from Chapman University, Mia has amazing artistic talent, along with all of the patience, kindness, reliability and attentiveness our students deserve. We absolutely love watching Mia pass her skills on to the next generation of young artists.


Warm, kind-hearted and dedicated, Lesdy Sainz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Cal State Long Beach. After graduating, she expressed her artistic voice through drawing caricatures for Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, and private parties. Working in these family settings encouraged her to inspire arts appreciation for all ages, and to be involved in the art community. Now, at Art Steps Yorba Linda, Miss Lesdy loves sharing her knowledge of classical, realistic drawing and painting with students. She can light up any room, and has an upbeat sense of humor and fun demeanor with children and teens alike, making her classes irresistible.


Katelynn Baird attended Art Steps classes from age 9 through 18. She became a teacher's aide while still in high school, so she's been deeply immersed in our program and processes for years. "Some of my favorite memories come from the relationships and community I had growing up as a student at Art Steps", says Katelynn, so she knows how vitally important an excellent teacher can be in the life of a child. After studying fine art at Westmont College, she transferred to Biola University as a Studio Art major, where she is pursuing her degree. Now a teacher herself, Katelynn brings kindness, warmth, and a true passion for both teaching and practicing fine art.


Elizabeth Eadens possesses a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and a Masters of Fine Art from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her background as a yoga instructor helps her bring a balanced sense of calm, peace and vibrant energy to her classes, and her particular love of figure painting is evident in her passion for passing the principles of classical realism along to her students. All the while, Miss Elizabeth makes it clear that she cares about every student, as they journey from new to experienced fine artist in their own right. In addition to teaching our award-winning classical drawing and painting program, Elizabeth also serves as the Laguna Hills studio's Portfolio Prep Mentor. Elizabeth is certified by the College Board to teach Advanced Placement 2-D, 3-D and Design portfolio program.


Diana Danielis is a talented professional illustrator and graphic designer. She has studied at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and the Art Institute of Southern California, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach. An experienced artist, she has created and exhibited a wide range of public and private art projects throughout Southern California. Diana's warm, bubbly, quirky, fun personality complements her outstanding drawing and painting skills, making her an ideal teacher both for Art Steps in Yorba Linda, and the students she teaches regularly for our nonprofit program, Bright Artists.


Brooke Hunter is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting at the Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD), where she is on the Academic President's List. Prior to that, she was on the Dean's List at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. Brooke has enormous talent in representational art, particularly oil painting. Because both of her parents were college art professors, Brooke has spent a lifetime immersed in fine art, having worked at the LCAD gallery, participated in numerous art competitions in high school, and spent years developing her skills before that. Her passion for drawing and painting techniques, and her sharp intellect, are matched only by her connective, kind spirit. Brooke is a wonderful addition to our Laguna Hills studio.


Brendan Kendrick attends California State University, Fullerton, majoring in illustration, and has loved the environment at our studio so much, that he has worked as a teacher's aide for over a year, while hoping to be considered for a teaching position. As it turns out, Brendan, an Eagle Scout with a positive attitude, exceptional patience, and a caring heart, has incredible drawing and painting skills. He admires other artists greatly, and relishes soaking up as much information as he can to keep growing. Brendan delights in working with kids, and sharing his wonderful perspective on the technical aspect of fine art.


Ash Ho is working on her final year pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at California State University, Long Beach. Her emphasis and eventual career path will be in visual development and concept work for video games and related fields. Ash's tremendous passion for visual art is matched only by her enthusiasm for working with kids, and passing her knowledge of art on to the next generation. She loves teaching at our Costa Mesa studio.


Andrew Cortez is an active student at the Laguna College of Art and Design, pursuing his Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree with a minor in illustration. With strong graphic, conceptual and representational drawing and painting skills, Andrew takes great joy in both making art and in teaching. He brings levity, connection and skill to each of the students he teaches. Look for Mr. Andrew in the Yorba Linda studio on weekends and throughout the week! In addition to teaching our award-winning classical drawing and painting program, Andrew also serves as the Yorba Linda studio's Portfolio Prep Mentor. Andrew is certified by the College Board to teach Advanced Placement 2-D, 3-D and Design portfolio program.