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private lessons


Many of our talented instructors offer private lessons. This is a terrific way to learn how to do your favorite art activity. Lessons are scheduled on a individual basis based on the your calendar, the instructors calendar, and studio space availability.

Call 912-212-2787 and Tony Phillips  (912)-259-9228 will assist you in beginning lessons in your chosen area.

We do not require our students to sign any contracts. However, to reserve your regularly scheduled private lesson, you must

pre-pay for four lessons at a time. Also, unless you contact your private lesson instructor of your absence 24 hours in advance of your lesson you will be charged for that lesson.



Dr. Jonathan Aceto (violin & viola) has served as Director of the Statesboro Strings Program since 2004, he is the Conductor of the Statesboro Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Aceto holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Arizona State University and has extensive training in the Suzuki Method. A committed strings teacher, Dr. Aceto has served on the faculties of Mercer University, the University of South Carolina at Aiken, and Georgia Southern University. He has also taught at several summer strings camps and serves as a regular substitute teacher for the strings program at Savannah Country Day School. Dr. Aceto has participated in several music festivals including the Spoleto Festival held in Italy and in Charleston, and regularly performs in regional orchestras including the Hilton Head and Spartanburg Symphonies and the Augusta Choral Society.


Abby Thompson, (violin) teaches private violin lessons for beginning and intermediate learners. Mrs. Thompson holds a M.A. in Childhood Development and has been teaching violin at the Averitt since 2012. Proud mother of 2 children, Mrs. Thompson seeks to help engage families who desire musical endeavors.

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Robert Cottle (guitar, piano, voice) is a graduate of GSU, completing both a BM and MM in music education, as well as a MM in classical guitar performance. He has served as musical director for several Averitt STARS and Youth Theater productions. Some of his favorite productions at the Averitt Center include The King and I, Little Shop of Horrors, Honk!, The Wizard of Oz, Velveteen Rabbit, Oliver the Musical, and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. He recently directed music for Jesus Christ Superstar and 9-5 the Musical with the Collective Face Theater (Savannah, Ga.) as well as The Rocky Horror Show and Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Bay Street Theatre (Savannah, Ga.) He maintains a large studio by teaching piano, voice, and guitar at the Averitt Center.


Rebecca Goines, (piano)  received her Bachelor of Music degree in Theory and Composition with Piano Concentration from Georgia Southern College and returned to complete her Master of Education in Music degree. She is a member of the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) and their state affiliate, GMTA (Georgia Music Teachers Association). Over the span of 30 years, she taught General Music and Chorus in several area schools, including Marlow and Guyton Elementary Schools in Effingham County, as well as Willow Hill, Northside, Nevils Elementary, and Mattie Lively Elementary Schools in Bulloch County. She also taught private piano lessons at Bill’s Music Center in Statesboro and in her home during the 1980s and 90s. She is the pianist at Register Baptist Church where she has served since January of 2000. Rebecca enjoys working with students of all ages and is thrilled to offer private piano lessons through the Averitt Center.

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Brandi Harvey, (vocals)  has been tour de force in the Southeast music scene. With a passion for celebrating local musical talent, she has co-produced  the Rising Creek Music Series, written for a variety of publications including Discovering Bulloch magazine, and collaborated on numerous performance and recording projects. She is set to release her debut solo album at the end of the year. The album promises to showcase her versatility as a singer/songwriter. Her performance in One will be a preview of the album and a glimpse into her life as a single mother, writer, and performer.

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Wemberly Ponder, (Piano)  Ponder is the winner of the Fort Valley State College Annual Music Teachers Clinic Awards in Piano and Sight Singing; the winner of the Pro-Mozart Society Scholarship that enabled him to attend the Mozarteum Academy of Music in Salzburg, Austria, where he studied with pianist and pedagogue, Kurt Neumuller. 

He has performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue for Piano and Orchestra” with Georgia Southern Symphony and Bach’s “D Minor Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” with the Savannah Symphony.

Ponder was musical director under Mical Whitaker in the poetry production about “The Life of Langston Hughes” by Bob Dick that was staged at the Averitt Center for the Arts.  He has participated as an accompanist for Statesboro Youth Chorale and Statesboro Boys and Girls Choir under Dr. Tamara Harper.

Ponder is currently teaching piano privately in Statesboro.  He is an accompanist at Georgia Southern University. He is pianist for Greater Bethel A. M. E. Church under pastor, Rev. Deborah Lanier Scott, and pianist for Historical First African Baptist Church under pastor, Rev. James Howard.



Kimberly Riner, (ceramics) Director and Instructor, received her Masters of Fine Art from Georgia Southern University in 3D Art with an emphasis in ceramics. Riner has held faculty positions at Georgia Southern University and Ogeechee Technical College. She is actively involved in growing the art scene in the Statesboro area where she has worked with the Migrant Youth Summer Camp, ArtsFest, Summer Studios and Creative Art Studio. Riner was recently recognized as Adjunct Faculty of the Year at Ogeechee Technical College. Her artwork has been exhibited in a national and global scale and held in various private collections.  Exhibition venues include: Mason City, IA; Athens, GA; Lake City, SC; Cochran, GA; Sheffield, England, UK.


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Kathy Smith, (ballroom) did not start to take ballroom dance lessons until well after her retirement from teaching.  She can now offer basic instruction in East Coast Swing, Cha-cha, Rumba and Waltz. Dancing is one of the best ways to keep your brain young because it combines new learning with exercise, social contact and fun.  If you would like to learn enough of any or all of these dances to survive on the dance floor, sign up for private lessons today!

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