Teen Adult Painting & Drawing Instructor
Hello, my name is Jess Widmer and I am the Teen and Adult Drawing and Painting instructor. I graduated with a degree in Art Education and in Ceramics with a minor in Painting. I love making interactive sculptures as well as illustrative drawings and paintings. My goal is to create a safe space community for people of all levels to explore material, create, and have fun! Some of my favorite artists include Lisa Yuskavage, Egon Schiele, Beth Caverner and Nomi Chi. I look forward to working with you here at Locust Street Art!
Darron L Whitsett
Teen Adult Painting & Drawing Instructor
I am an award winning designer and photographer whose work focuses on fashion, portraiture, and advertising.
Mainly self educated, I have spent over 10 years cultivating my talents in the advertising arts starting with vocational training in high school. I went on to start my first business at 19. Working as a freelance designer under the name gorillas ink; I learned the in’s and out’s of the industry taking on a multitude of print and web-based projects. Later I lent my talents to help found and produce an independently owned and distributed magazine. It was during my run with this magazine that my passion for photography began to reignite. As fate would have it, I was introduced to the owner of a model management company and soon after began test shooting with them. Over the course of the next few years, combining photography with my history as a graphic artist, I started studio 46. Here in Buffalo, NY alone, I’ve created everything from college textbook covers to billboards.
In 1960, my grandfather drew Mighty Mouse for me and it was then that I was bit by the animation bug–I could not believe that cartoons were actually moving drawings! I really got my start in high school where I was making primitive animated films with an 8mm Bell & Howell camera. Then, it was in 1974 that I had actually begun work as a professional animator. For over 40 years, I have been involved in the production of commercials and corporate communications. In 2000 I was fortunate to have instituted a college internship program in my production studio in New York City. But in 2009, I decided to relocate and move from NYC to Buffalo in order to be closer to family and to teach classes for children and adult educators. During this time, I was even making occasional ventures to the west coast and Maine for additional teaching and development opportunities. I discovered Locust Street Art in the spring of 2014 and have loved the creative spirit here.
I’ve been helping out at Locust Street Art since 1987, teaching anyone who asks how to use a film camera and develop their photos in the darkroom. I’ve been taking pictures much longer than that, and I’ve managed to develop a pretty wide range of knowledge of photography and film cameras over that time. I’ve been called a film purist and film photography sage for my devotion to film photography, especially ever since digital cameras became more and more popular and widespread. I’ve exhibited quite a bit of my work in the Buffalo, NY area, and I make sure to get out to as many exhibitions as I can to stay current on what’s going on in the art scene around the region. Aside from working as a film photographer, I’m also one of the founders of the Still Film Photographers of Greater Buffalo group. I also talk art on my monthly radio show, the Burnham & Dodge Art Hour and have a regular coffee talk and meet up at the Second Cup on Thursdays at 11 AM.
Locust Street Art has felt like a second home to me from the minute I walked in the doorway of Kenn Morgan’s B&W Film Photography class. As a young girl in need of some artistic direction and community outreach, LSA became my haven. Here, I have had countless opportunities to learn how to express myself individually in all regards. I have developed my passion for creating and creators, art education (accessibility too) and community activism. Outside of Locust Street, I attend Buffalo State College, am an avid workers rights activist, occasional traveler and studio painter dabbling in all mediums. Inside LSA I just may be the one singing a little too loudly through the halls, dancing in the darkroom (teaching all the while) and happily answering your phone calls.