By Alison Stanton
Peggy D’Errico has loved everything to do with art ever since she was a little girl growing up in Ohio.
“My dad was an art teacher,” she said, adding that batik was one of his specialties.
Now, as general manager, artist and instructor at SunDust Gallery Paint & Pottery Studio in Gilbert, D’Errico gets to spend her days doing what she enjoys most: sharing her love of art with others.
SunDust Gallery Paint & Pottery Studio first opened in Mesa around 8 years ago; D’Errico, along with owner and artist Ron Floyd moved the studio to Gilbert 3-and-a-half years ago.
The open, bright and inviting studio is a one-stop shop for artists of all ages and abilities.
“We offer private, one-hour lessons for all ages and we also offer a variety of paint parties including ‘pet painting,’ wine glass and canvas painting,” D’Errico said. “We also do a lot of bachelorette parties and birthday parties, and fundraisers are really big for us right now.”
D’Errico currently has 41 students who range in age from about 6 to 57. She offers classes in acrylic painting, drawing, collage, batik, clay and paper mache.
The studio also has drop-in times for people who want to try their hand at “Paint & Take” ceramics and canvas painting.
The ceramics painting is very popular with both kids and adults, D’Errico said, because they can paint their masterpieces with acrylic paints, dry them and then take them home on the same day.
D’Errico, who started doing yoga in the late 1970s, also offers D’Errico Art & Yoga classes, a 90-minute class that combines gentle yoga and painting.
“We do yoga for about 35 to 40 minutes and then meditate for about 5 minutes and then paint,” she said.
D’Errico, who said batik is currently one of her favorite mediums, said one of the best things about teaching art to others is that she is taking something that she knows and loves and sharing it with others.
“Some of my students have been with me for five years, she said, adding that she strives to keep her classes as small as possible to allow for more one-on-one instruction.
“Here people have the ability to try new things and they can open the door to new experiences.”
As her students try out the new techniques, D’Errico sits nearby doing the same project; this allows her students to check out what she is doing while also helping them feel more relaxed.
D’Errico said she also enjoys teaching art to people with disabilities. She recently hosted an Art & Yoga class to a group of disabled veterans, and regularly works with several students who have autism.
“I’m trying to be sure that we are diversified and art can provide people with an outlet that is a way to release feelings they may have bottled up,” she said.
“I find art to be very therapeutic, so hopefully when people come here, they also let art take them to a different place.”
SunDust Gallery Paint & Pottery Studio is located at 207 E. Williams Field Road, Suite 102, in Gilbert. For more information, call 480-464-6077 or visit sundustgallery.com.