Our Instructors

Get to know The Painted Turtle Art Studio instructors! Each teacher comes with his or her own set of strengths and talents, providing for a diverse art education experience and array of course content.

Christie Valihura (Program Director)

Christie Valihura earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in both studio art and graphic design from Keene State College, and recently received her master's degree in art education from the NH Institute of Art. Licensed to teach in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, she has been instructing art for the past decade in Lexington, MA at an after school enrichment program. In Lexington, Christie coordinated activities for her students, as well as organized public art shows, and she has additionally spent the past two years as an itinerant elementary art specialist in the school district.

A New England girl through and through, Christie was born in Reading, MA, but has also traveled in the name of her passion; during college, she spent time studying art in England and she also taught art in Spain, at an English-Spanish immersion camp. Currently a resident of Hollis, NH, Christie is excited to be part of the Hollis Art Society and has added a studio to her home where she creates in her free time. She participates in community art shows and has shown her work in the gallery on West Pearl Street in Nashua.

Christie’s current medium of choice is mixed-media, and she makes stamps and stencils using found nature and geometric and cultural references. She enjoys the freedom she finds while creating textural abstract paintings. In the past, Christie has found her passions in animation, puppetry, photography, drawing, and making crafts. She enjoys sharing her passion for creating, using imagination, and the arts with her students, and works to promote her students' confidence and artistic styles through self-awareness and achievements.

Dominique Boutaud was born and raised in Nice, France. Since her childhood, she has been passionate about a variety of art, inspired by nature and the vibrant colors of the French Riviera, as well as her artist father. She moved to Massachusetts in 1996 and later settled in Nashua, NH. Dominique continues to explore her creative talent and grow her collection of masterpieces in her Lowell, MA studio. Both formally educated and self-taught in numerous techniques, Dominique has produced expressive works in many medias, including pottery, leather craft, bookbinding, quilt making, basket weaving, and much more.

In addition to her local work as a New Hampshire Arts Advocate Leader, Dominique has exhibited and studied with many artists from around the world. In her own words, Dominique’s mission as an abstract artist painter is to “create artwork for a quest of meaning, authenticity and expression of hope, serenity, peace and happiness for me and others for our future.” Most recently, Dominique has become a certified OMA Dementia Facilitator and has founded a business, Healing in Color, with a mission to bring outlets for artistic expression to sufferers of dementia. To learn more about Healing in Color, visit www.healingincolor.com.