Each person has a unique vision to share. The wide range of artistic opportunities available at Seven Directions Institute help students realize their creative potential. Kids and adults have at their disposal a wide variety of artist-grade materials and tools to explore their wonder and creativity. Instruction at SDI emphasizes the development of self-esteem through meaningful self-expression. Art and science skills and concepts are thoughtfully melded with a genuine respect for each student’s creative spirit.

About Our Name

“By knowing one direction, we may find any.”

The Name Seven Directions refers to a Native American concept. Besides North, East, West and South, several tribes considered Above, Below and Within, as additional directions. Because artistic endeavor has the potential to lead us to a greater awareness of ourselves and others, the reference to all the directions seems appropriate. The studio offers many different artistic directions in efforts to help discover a greater personal awareness.

Our Facility

Seven Directions Institute of Art and Science has a wide range of materials and tools available. Please explore the videos and images on this website to get acquainted with the studio. Also, feel free to contact us to arrange a free introductory class.

Seven Directions is centrally located at the Old Sash Mill, between northern and southern Santa Cruz communities. Our 2000 sq. ft. studio is equipped with artist-grade materials and tools for students to use, including stretched canvasses, acrylic paints, mixed media, a variety of professional-quality digital cameras, high definition video cameras, green screens and lighting equipment along with unparalleled digital arts workstations.

Highlights Include:

Live Animals
Seven Directions has over 75 different animals to inspire creativity in the pursuit of art and science. By observing real animals, students become more absorbed in their work while studying the amazing detail a living, breathing creature provides. Creativity brought to life!

Realistic 3D models
Our extensive collections of hundreds of 3D models includes mythical creatures, animals, flowers, sports figurines and much more. By drawing, painting and sculpting from 3D models, students learn shape and proportion in a powerful way that is not available solely from pictures.

Seven Directions has a collection of well over 500 art and science books which students use to inform their creative inquiry.

Digital Art
Our digital arts workstations are cutting edge. Eight workstations are equipped with drawing tables and Tablet PC Computers. Students have the option of using Corel Painter XI, Art Rage or Adobe Photoshop. All computers are networked so students are able to save and print their artwork. The studio is equipped with high speed wireless internet so students can set up their station anywhere in the studio. We also have a new printing, matting and laminating station so students are able to create their projects start to finish with ease.

Traditional Media
Traditional materials are still the cornerstone of a good creative arts program. At Seven Directions, students work with pencil, charcoal, water color, acrylics, clay and mixed media materials to develop their art making skills.

Our Instructors

Alyssa Lynn Gintert Alyssa Lynn Gintert, B.A. Graphic Design
Alyssa Lynn Gintert is proud and excited to be the new owner of Seven Directions Institute. She is a college graduate with a degree in Graphic Design from Azusa Pacific University. She has worked closely with Ben Hecht, founder of Seven Directions Institute, since 2007. In addition to Seven Directions, she has taught art classes in Elementary schools in Glendora, California and villages in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa while studying abroad.

Born and raised in Santa Cruz, Alyssa attended Westlake Elementary, Mission Hill Junior High and Santa Cruz High School. As an award winning, local artist, she has done design work for Whiting’s Foods at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Cowell’s Surf Shop as well as other organizations.

Besides teaching and creating art, Alyssa enjoys traveling around the world and learning about different cultures. She has a great love for the outdoors, camping, hiking and kayaking. She loves music and plays the piano. She values time with her family and friends and adores her dog, Sophie.

Amy Locatelli Amy Locatelli, Masters in Teaching
Amy Locatelli holds a Masters in Teaching and multiple subject credential from UC Santa Cruz. She received a B.A in Spanish and Liberal Studies from Santa Clara University. Amy has been a teacher since 2000 and a mother since 2006. Amy recently was a member of a local parent co-op preschool. She is also a homeschool teacher and private tutor.

Before coming to Seven Directions, Amy taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade Language Arts, Social Studies, Spanish and Math at Redwood Middle School in Saratoga, CA. She completed her two years of student teaching at Santa Cruz elementary schools. Along with a passion for working with children of all ages, Amy loves drawing, painting and being around animals. Seven Directions magically combines all of these together in one place.


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