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's of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Lora Lingl, our Yorba Linda Studio Manager, 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 oversees the hands-on classroom training for all teachers, as well as day-to-day business, of the entire Yorba Linda studio. She is also an invaluable advisor for the entire Art Steps management team. With over eight years of experience teaching our world-class fine art program, 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.


Gemma Magdaluyo is our wonderful Mission Viejo Studio Manager. A highly skilled, organized teacher who exudes compassion and thinks well on her feet, she constantly supports and uplifts those around her. Gemma's calm, steady presence reliably provides the sort of strong leadership her staff have come to rely on, and her outstanding sense of time management and orderliness make her the perfect person to provide hands-on help to parents in her office. Her passionate commitment to watching all her students develop exceptional drawing and painting skills for life make her an outstanding mentor to her strong team of teachers, serving each and every child in her studio.


Miss Debi, our wonderful Central Office Coordinator, is a kind, caring former pre-school teacher who runs our Yorba Linda office under Studio Manager Miss Lora's guidance. She also coordinates our Central Office, occasionally taking calls for Miss Gemma's Mission Viejo studio, and handling scheduling, finance, and ensuring that parents are always well-cared for, and that things hum along smoothly in our offices. Miss Debi understands our program well, because she has scheduled herself in to a class, and is on her way to artistic mastery as well.


Allie Quinn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from Brigham Young University, where she studied fine art and pottery. Warm, personable, and quick-thinking, Miss Allie has helped with her parents' busy pumpkin patch business for years, and absolutely loves working with children. Allie is particularly organized and a quick study, executing our fine art program with excellence, all the while making kids feel comfortable and content as they have fun learning in her class. Miss Allie is also the Program Manager and teacher for our nonprofit organization, Bright Artists.


Annie, our Teen Program Director, is an extremely dedicated fine artist holding two degrees from Cal State Fullerton: a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with an emphasis in Drawing and Painting, as well as a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in painting at California State University, Long Beach. Annie is not only personable and kind, but a first-class painter with outstanding technical skill. Her experience and passion for teaching advanced skills makes her the perfect mentor to our most dedicated teens.


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.


Dekota Flaherty currently attends California State University Fullerton, majoring in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Drawing and Painting. Dekota is a phenomenal oil painter and a dedicated artist. Her passion for working with children stems from her own memories of her mother's support. She enjoyed plenty of creative opportunities as a child, and entering coloring contests are some of her favorite memories. Dekota has a kindhearted, expressive nature that we know our children and teens love.


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.


"Miss Halie" the Assistant Manager for Art Steps Yorba Linda, 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 have made her responsible, reliable, and ready for challenges, and once you meet her, you will find that she is perfectly suited to teaching all ages. She provides wonderful support to our Studio Manager, Ms. Lora, as well as personalized, exceptional mentorship to each of her lucky students.


Kathleen “Kat” Derby, the Mission Viejo studio's Assistant Manager, has a well rounded artistic background as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. Upbeat and fun, Ms. Kat has a degree in Illustration and Animation from California State University, Long Beach. Teaching runs in her family, so having helped in her mother's elementary classroom over the years has provided her with a deeply developed sense of how to relate to kids. Her upbeat, can do spirit and amazing sense of teamwork have brought wonderful energy and vibrancy to her students, their families, and our staff as a whole. She and Ms. Gemma make a great team, and we couldn't be happier to have her around.


Marielle Bas has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cal State Fullerton, and is a talented, highly skilled artist in her own right. Her boundless enthusiasm for visual art, her genuine caring for the people around her and her steady, trustworthy attendance of classes make Marielle a treasured member of our team. With unparalleled patience, Marielle thrives at providing an outstanding class to every possible type of student. While her performance in class shows that she is committed to excellence in teaching classical realism, Marielle also serves as a portrait artist inside Disneyland, and brings their signature cheer, care and tact in working with kids and their families.


Taylor Harai, who will begin teaching in August in our Mission Viejo studio, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, 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, because she spent seven years of her childhood, from 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.