Our Team

Diana Didrikson, Owner & Studio Manager

Diana embraces all aspects of her life with passion and commitment.  Her most recent endeavor as the new owner and manager of Aliki's Art House is no different.  Diana's caring nature coupled with her leadership skills, dedicated work ethic and educational background are the perfect fit for maintaining Aliki's mission of delivering superior quality art education with exceptional customer service. 

Trained as a Speech-Language Pathologist from the University of British Columbia, she brings a strong knowledge base of right and left brain functioning, including the value of using art and drawing to enhance thinking, problem-solving and learning.  She enjoyed much success and fulfillment as she specialized in neurological communication disorders for almost 15 years in both public and private practice.  Diana gained valuable entrepreneurial, leadership and team-building skills through her involvement in numerous non-profit initiatives such as the establishment of the Highwood Community Playschool.

After being at home full time for 4 1/2 years with her four children, she was eager to explore her personal interests.  She experienced first hand the life-changing impact of art on herself and her family as both a client and parent with Aliki's Art House.  With her husband’s support, she decided to shift her career and apply her skills and experience to managing the art studio located in their neighborhood.  

Diana's role as owner of Aliki's Art House offers just the right balance of work and pleasure …  "because art makes you feel good!"

Jaye Benoit

Jaye recently received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree majoring in Intermedia at the University of Alberta.   Currently maintains a studio practice which includes painting, mixed-media works, and installation. Her work has become a searching for the place where the tangible and intangible meet, in order to express a value that has been lost in our time. To that end she is interested in self-expression as a gateway to self-understanding, and ultimately societal evolution.  Her work is exhibited throughout Canada, and is in private collections in Canada, the USA, and the United Kingdom.

Jaye has a history in art instruction and mentorship for artists with developmental disabilities, the development of community events and artistic initiatives with non-profit visual arts organizations, and is a registered yoga instructor with the Sattva School of Yoga. She is keen to share her talents and passion for art with her students in the Beginner Drawing and Mini Masters classes and looks forward to new discoveries from their perspectives.  

Deborah Lawton

Deborah Lawton (B.F.A.) studied art at the Alberta College of Art (1982) and also at the University of Calgary. It was here that she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture (1988). She also studied Costume and Set Design at the U of C.

As a sculptor Deborah has exhibited her sculptures in several locations in Alberta and private collections in Western Canada contain her work. She is passionate about sharing the love of art with her community. She encourages fellow artists to pursue their talent and has been teaching Fine Art in Alberta since 1985. Deborah loves to ignite the potential of young artists and it is this desire that led her, in 2005, to teach for Airdrie Kiononia Christian School as the Sr. Drama and Fine Art instructor. 

Active also in the theatrical community, she has designed and constructed costumes and sets for several local theatrical productions. Since 1999 she has worked for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play primarily in the wardrobe department; for the past five years she has filled the role as the Production Designer.

As the owner of Art Branch Studio Deborah is also able to 'branch out' into the many areas of her creativity (sculpture, teaching, graphic design, custom jewellery and clothing). Deborah works and lives in Calgary with her children Linnea 19, and Bryson 16.

Carrie Phillips Kieser

Carrie Phillips Kieser (B.A. Fine Art and Art History) studied at Mount Allison University and at University of California Los Angeles. She has traveled extensively, to China, Japan, France, England, Germany and all through out the United States.  She has a professional artistic practise in drawing and printmaking and has shown both nationally and internationally. 

Now, as a working artist and mother of two young boys she continues her more exotic travels through her imagination as she flies to space in her cardboard spaceship with her two caped bandits. Working with children and adults alike within her printmaking practice and other endeavours, she understands the enrichment, empowerment and confidence that art can bring to peoples lives. 

As well as teaching at Aliki's Art House, Carrie is an art educator with the Art Gallery of Calgary and has developed art projects with teachers through Learning Through the Arts and the Royal Conservatory.  

Carrie is leading a core group of returning students, along with new budding artists, in the Intermediate Drawing Classes for Children and Adults with her knowledge, artistic skills and genuine love for teaching art. She also offers her own KinderArts program and an Adult Watercolor Class at the studio.

Blythe Bohonos, Expressive Art Therapist

Blythe is honoured and delighted to serve as in - house expressive art therapist and facilitator at Aliki’s Art House.  She brings with her a B.Ed in Art Education (U of C) and a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy (Graduate Program, Vermont College of Norwich University)... but most of all, she brings her deep passion for the creative process.

Blythe’s own journey began in childhood. Growing up quiet and introverted, she found her own voice through creative modalities such as art, music, dance and writing. Into adulthood, activities such as journaling, expressive art and dream-work brought comfort, clarity, guidance and healing.  She eagerly shares with her clients many of the tools and processes she herself has found beneficial and meaningful. Inspired by humanistic, archetypal, transpersonal and integral perspectives, Blythe has woven these into her evolving approach, one that values compassion and heart-based wisdom.   

Outside the studio, Blythe is a busy mother (of two teens) who loves to play piano, read, bike, hike, dance NIA, meditate and converse with like-minded seekers around topics relating to science, spirituality, consciousness, imagination, healing and extended human capacities.  Blythe has admitted she doesn’t much care for cooking. She’d rather be up to her elbows in paper mache!!!  That said, she hasn’t yet found a way to wriggle out of the cooking. 

Best Wishes

Alice (Aliki) Rathgeber, Founder

Alice (Aliki in Greek) Rathgeber (B.Ed.) is the founder of Aliki's Art House and has been an art educator for over 25 years. She graduated from the University of Regina, majoring in middle years education, visual and language arts; taught in Saskatchewan; then moved to Calgary to attend the Alberta College of Art and Design.  In 1991, she decided to begin a home-based business that would allow her to stay home with her children. Since then, Aliki’s Art House has taught hundreds of artists, teachers and educators the skill of drawing. Aliki's practical methodology takes the mystery out of drawing and helps anyone learn how to draw.  

Aliki has relocated to Australia with her family and continues to share her expertise as an Instructor and Art Facilitator.

Eunice Hau

Eunice Hau holds a B.A. from the University of Calgary, with a double major in English and Psychology and a minor in Visual Studies (Art) and Art History. She loves teaching because it allows her to invest in young people and stretch her own horizons. Her fascination with the nuances of the human face has led her to specialize in graphite portraiture (although, as a child, she avoided drawing people at all costs). She is a published author and is currently working on a novel for young adults. She simultaneously wrangles other ideas into short stories and other creative works.

Her other hobbies include photography, filmmaking, playing basketball, and keeping her Beta fish alive. She has trotted the globe to 20 countries so far, including Guatemala, Thailand, Greece, Egypt, Italy, Zambia, Austria, Singapore, China, Australia, and Israel.

She loves people and volunteers in downtown Calgary, building relationships with immigrant and low-income families. Through her experiences, she has been stretched, enlightened, and humbled to give and receive God's grace-based love.

Eunice is committed to teaching the Beginner Drawing Class on Saturday afternoons and is keen to work one-on-one with students in Private Lessons.

Juli Katchur

Juli Katchur has always had a passion for art and spent her childhood with a pack of crayolas always in hand. She recently graduated from Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary with a major in ceramics. You can find a variety of Juli's ceramic pieces on display, and in use, at the studio.  Her future plan is to become an art therapist.

Juli is very outgoing and loves working with kids; she especially loves watching kids get excited about the art they have created. She enjoys hiking, biking, music, reading and writing. Juli has a passion for Africa and previously spent seven months in South Africa and Uganda doing mission work with the organization Youth With A Mission. There she helped renovate an orphanage, run afterschool programs for children, health programs and other community work. 

This year, Juli shares her dedication and passion for art education with the Mini Masters Drawing and Advanced Drawing Classes.  Past students and parents all adore her.

Natalie Lauchlan

Natalie Lauchlan is currently a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design, majoring in Fibre Arts. She feels strongly about the importance of art and self-expression as tool for personal development, growth and healing. She hopes to continue her studies in Art Therapy to help others find the freedom and confidence that art has brought her, and many others.  

We appreciate Natalie's compassion with all her students and her dedication to helping them achieve their individual, creative potential over the past year at Aliki's Art House.   We wish her much success as she focusses on her final year of studies at ACAD and many personal exhibitions, as well as curating & working at a gallery, and working as an ambassador for the College. 

Shara Petch

Shara Petch, with the goal of becoming a teacher from a very early age, graduated from the University of Calgary in 1999 with her degree in education. One of her favorite courses was Art for Elementary Children, and rumor has it, her sketchbook is still being used for ideas and inspiration. Shara was fortunate to spend her teaching career at Bearspaw Christian School building into the minds and lives of her Grade 2 students.

In 2005, Shara was introduced to the concept of art journaling by Alice Rathegeber who came to give a 2-day workshop to the teaching staff. Immediately Shara fell in love with this idea, not only for the students in her classroom, but also for herself personally. She was blessed to take additional journaling classes from Alice where she was challenged in her drawing abilities, creativity and problem solving.

Shara entered into the wonderful world of motherhood in 2010 and delights in spending the days at home with her son and baby daughter. She also loves long chats over coffee with friends and family, date nights with her husband, reading a variety of books and is always being inspired by new ideas to journal about.

We are very pleased to have Shara spread her joy of creating with our youngest artists in the Mini Masters classes.

Heather Uptigrove   

Heather is one of our Summer Camp Instructors.  As a young budding artist, she studied with Mrs. Alice Rathgeber through classes and camps at Aliki's Art House for 5 years. Then as an assistant, she began sharing her art skills and talents with other students at Aliki's Summer Camps in Drawing and Sculpting for the past 3 years.  Becoming a Summer Camp Teacher was the natural next step. 

Heather has loved art all through school and is currently entering her second year of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Art and Design Program at Sir. Winston Churchill High School.  She has enjoyed working with younger artists in many settings including volunteering at an orphanage/school in Haiti and Day Camps in Calgary.  She teaches weekly in children’s classes at church and never tires of babysitting. We all enjoyed a great camp season with Heather at Aliki’s this summer. 

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