About Us and the Seasons Team

Sharing Our Creative Passion Through Our Art Classes For Adults

Seasons Art Class® offers art classes for complete beginners to improvers.

So, what sets us apart?

Established back in 2009, we found there was a real gap in the market for the type of classes that we wanted to run. We wanted to combine:

  • exceptional art tuition
  • a comprehensive curriculum covering the fundamentals in step-by-step classes
  • the most wanted mediums
  • expert techniques and tips
  • a warm and friendly environment, where people could meet and make new friends
  • the convenience of materials being supplied for our students

Since then, we have created our unique curriculum and class format. We offer a structured 14-week course of classes with an informal and welcoming atmosphere to ensure that our students feel at home whilst developing their individual artistic skills and confidence.

From humble beginnings…

Seasons Art Class® HQ began running their operations from the beautiful towns of Arundel and Petworth, with the first courses running from nearby Rustington. The classes were so popular that the demand soon increased to the neighbouring towns and villages.

Classes popped up in Horsham, Haywards Heath, Chichester and Lewes. Within a year and a half we were even further afield, in Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne and Bexhill. In the second year, we had reached Cornwall, London, Wiltshire and Kent.

Year after year, the popularity of our courses grew until the Seasons Art Class® had spread throughout the UK, from the South coast up to Scotland.

We consistently see an average 75% return rate from our students who come back for more – not only learning new techniques and exploring new mediums, but also enjoying a camaraderie with like-minded new friends.

Demand has been such that our courses are now in demand internationally.

The Local Area

Our Team

Genevieve Woodford

Founder, Managing Director

In 2009, Gen embarked on a remarkable journey alongside her partner, Mike Curry, by establishing the Seasons Art Class®.

Living at the time in the picturesque town of Petworth in West Sussex, they forged a friendship with the proprietor of a local art shop where Gen sourced her art supplies.

Upon discovering that the shop had fallen on challenging times due to the recession, Mike found himself wondering if there was a way in which they could help support their friend’s business while envisioning a lasting and fulfilling prospect for others.

His idea encompassed not only rescuing the shop but also opening up avenues of opportunity for other business owners through the creation of art class franchises with training taking place in Arundel.

United in purpose, Gen and Mike devoted themselves relentlessly, firstly running classes themselves, but eventually Franchising so that other people could benefit from their tried-and-tested business model. Tragically, in 2022, Mike passed away, leaving Gen as the sole director of the Seasons Art Class®.

With the support of her team, Gen continues her commitment to growing the business and can often be found working late into the night, communicating with franchise executives across the pond, dreaming up new ideas whether it be for class projects or fresh marketing ideas, and generally making sure we are ship shape and running a well oiled machine with a happy team, happy branch owners and happy students!

Genevieve Merrett

General Manager

I first began working for The Seasons Art Class in the autumn of 2018, initially offering support to Gen Woodford and Mike Curry, looking after enquiries and undertaking bookings management work. My role with the team has since evolved significantly and I now oversee all our branches in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, to ensure we have happy Licence Owners with thriving businesses. I also work closely with Gen Woodford and all the team in aiding the sustainable growth of our company going forward.

Prior to working with The Seasons Art Class, I had always been employed in the motorsport and automotive industries, with the latter comprising 20 years' experience working for an independent retail group, operating such luxury franchises as Aston Martin and Bentley. As such I recognise how important the provision of high-end customer service is - whether this relates to internal or external customers.

In my free time you will most likely find me training at the stables with my beloved share horse Gracie, who is an ex-racer. I am currently studying towards my professional coach accreditation too, so I can pass on my passion for all things equestrian onto others.

Chally Spokes

Principal Trainer/Tutor Recruitment/Showcase Branch

Chally Spokes is an artist and an accomplished trainer who specialises in communication and creative skills. With a background in education, commerce and media, she has been working with The Seasons Art Class® since 2013.

Chally provides tutor recruitment for new classes and delivers training for tutors and class managers.

She also provides ongoing support to help classes develop successfully as well as creating content for course materials and creative projects.

As well as selling her own artwork, Chally also manages The Seasons Art Class® in Burford where she’s delighted to be working with returning and beginner students in such a supportive and nurturing environment.

Luisa Dominguez

Principal Trainer

To sum up I have been lucky enough to have worked in the art world most of my life since studying Fashion Design and later Portraiture and Life drawing.

Subsequently I moved to the Cotswolds in 1985 to run a gallery and teach portraiture, watercolour and paint techniques courses.

I had a fantastic opportunity to become a Demonstrator for Caran d'Ache at Art Fairs and Art Societies throughout the UK as well as holding Portrait/Life classes and watercolour classes.

I then met Mike and Gen in 2011 and initially helped run one of their flagship branches plus my own Seasons branch. I have held a creative role within the company ever since and worked with them on producing artwork for returners curriculums and training videos, running the residential training courses held in Arundel, West Sussex, for our new branch owners.

Amanda Waite

Lead Artist

Amanda is passionate about the creative arts and sharing her expertise with others. She taught Seasons Art classes in the SW of England for seven years in 3 locations. During this period, she dedicated her time to ensuring individuals flourished in their artistic journey. Amanda is one of our lead tutors, creating the content for the project handouts and tutorial videos.

Her career began as an in-house illustrator with an advertising design agency in the NE of Scotland working in a versatile range of illustrative styles and mediums in watercolour, acrylic, oil pastels, oils and computer-generated using Adobe software. The projects were delivered for a diverse range of clients including BP, Elf Enterprise, Asda, the Royal Scottish Orchestra and the International Youth Festival.

Amanda now lives in a rural location in Angus. Portraiture in oils combined with cyanotype and abstracts in oils is a current theme of her work. In 2021 she exhibited in Eindhoven at Painting of the Year with a 7th place award and also made the long list for the Ruth Borchard Portrait Prize in 2021. Her happy place is in the life drawing room and the beautiful beaches along the NE of Scotland.

Rowan Crease

Systems Support

Rowan joined The Seasons Art Class® UK in 2023 and revolutionised the way we run things in our back office at central operations and now manages a small team. In her spare time, Rowan enjoys a range of arts and crafts.

Rowan works hard to ensure the smooth running of the business and helps us to deliver an efficient and top-notch service to our branch owners.

Caroline Thompson

Lead Booking Manager / Venue Finder

I joined the Seasons family in the spring of 2020. I’ve always been a people person and the beauty of working for The Seasons Art Class as Lead Booking Manager is that I get to engage with budding Artists up and down the country and from all walks of life. Everyone I speak with for the first time shares a common desire to discover their hidden talents and it’s a real privilege to be the first point of contact on that path.

It’s equally rewarding when I chat with students after they’ve completed their first course and hear all about the many ways that The Seasons Art Class has enriched their lives. It’s also wonderful to learn all about how they are producing works of art that they’re really proud of, especially those who were initially a little terrified at the thought of joining a group and picking up a paintbrush. One of the most important parts of my job is to reassure potential students that anyone can do the course, that they’re not alone and also emphasise what a fantastic gift they will be giving themselves by taking a leap of faith and having a go.

I also help Licence Owners find the right venue in which to hold their classes. I enjoy researching hotels to village halls and everything in between to secure something that is as close a fit as possible to the ideal.

I'm very blessed to be a part of the Seasons family, no two days are the same and from the very beginning I've always felt like a valued member of the team. Plus it's great to know that I've played a small part in helping hundreds of people unleash their inner artist!

Outside of work I'm a busy Mum. Originally a Yorkshire lass, I moved to London over 30 years ago and live in Tufnell Park with my husband, twin boys and my adorable cat, Tinky. I love holidaying with family and friends, be it here in the UK or abroad, especially if it involves a beautiful sunset or two. My main passions in life are Music, cooking and Yoga. I especially love going to gigs and I'm also partial to a little boogie on the dancefloor. My signature dish is a smoked haddock risotto and on Sundays I serve up a mean roast.

Fiona Hume

Venue Finder/Special Projects

Hi I'm Fiona and I've been working for The Seasons Art Class since autumn 2018 principally as a venue co-ordinator helping our lovely new Licence Owners find the best venue for their classes. I absolutely love this role, it's really satisfying seeing the Licence Owners with a great venue.

Prior to this I've spent the majority of my career in Customer Services and Operations management as well as being a PA to a CEO for 7 years.

My real passion outside of work is travel especially in S E Asia but any travel is OK with me!

Franz-Josef Ebel

Franchise Consultant/Licence Sales

Franz-Josef is not just a name, but a synonym for passion, determination, and vision in the world of franchising. His journey began in Franchising, and he extended his experience to the Seasons Art Class as a franchise consultant and more recently as the UK Development Manager for this esteemed institution.

But his roles were always more than just a job. The Cambridge graduate in Economics not only helped to develop the Seasons Art Class internationally, but also supported the company in finding new franchisees at home and abroad that are passionate about art and the unique business model.

While art captured his heart, Franz-Josef found his calling in franchising. With his natural ability to connect people and transform visions into reality, he found that franchising and art are remarkably similar. Both require passion, vision, and the ability to inspire and lead.

With years of experience in franchising under his belt, Franz-Josef has developed a unique perspective. He understands the challenges and opportunities that exist for both franchisors and franchisees and brings this knowledge to his work with the Seasons Art Class and beyond.

Farrah Koga

Licence Sales

Hi, I'm Farrah, I have been part of the Seasons Art Class sales and bookings team for 4 years now, working directly with both our new branch owners and students alike. I am now part of the Franchise sales team, which involves recruiting new license owners into our Art family!

Most of my career has been in sales, working for large corporates as well as independent business owners. My first ever Saturday job aged 15, began on the Portobello road market!

In 2016 I decided to take the plunge and I started up my own small business, so I have first hand experience of all the planning needed, challenges to overcome, effective management and most of all - how exhilarating and rewarding starting your own new venture can be.

Outside of work, I enjoy keeping fit - my friends comment that if I am not at my desk, then I will be at the gym. I love snowboarding, cooking and travelling.

Culvinder Kaur

Team Support

Culvinder joined Seasons in 2019 initially as a branch owner. She then successfully transitioned into joining our Head Office Team in 2022, offering support to other new franchisees, and helping to ensure new franchisees successfully filled their branches with eager students ready for a successful launch.

Culvinder, from Worcestershire, worked in client management from the age of 21. She graduated in Business Studies whilst working full time, and studying for her degree in the evenings. In 2010 she was made redundant from her role in Client Management, and became a full-time mother to her children. In her spare time, she would often fund raise and help at her children’s primary school, she also re-trained to be a teaching assistant.

By 2019 however, Culvinder realised that she needed a new challenge, and that she wanted to try and become her own boss. A friend suggested a franchise was possibly the easiest transition into owning her own business. The friend did however, state that it had to be the right franchise with a proper support structure in place.

Culvinder headed to the Franchise Exhibition, and there she met with the Seasons Team. She was instantly taken with the idea of running her own art franchise, having had limited to exposure to art as a child. Culvinder found Seasons to be massively supportive in helping her to launch her own business, and says it’s fabulous to be able to have the opportunity to help other branch owners enter the wonderful world of art and creativity and all it has to offer

Jocelyn Leslie

Team Support

Originally my background is in Sales, Marketing and Management. Where I worked specifically in corporate vehicle leasing. I then set up and ran my own food company, which successfully ran for five years while I also raised my young son. I then joined a Sales and Marketing group based in London and worked my way up to become the Managing Director. When the company moved abroad, I decided to remain in the UK, changing profession to head up an online marketing company in Aldershot.

Five years ago, I made the decision to run my own business again. I came across The Seasons Art Class at a franchise exhibition. I was so impressed with the company; the way it was set up and by its unique concept that I became a branch owner. Initially I ran two classes for one day a week. But with the steady increase in numbers, it grew to four classes two days a week. I have extremely loyal students, some of whom have been coming to every course since we started.

Last year a role was created for me within the Seasons Art Class, to join the support team and assist licence owners. In this role I typically help with queries relating to the classes themselves. However, in addition to this role, I now also proofread the course material; helping to ensure that it is ready in plenty of time for each new course.

Jackie Mansbridge

Team Support

I was first introduced to Seasons Art when visiting The Franchise Show at ExCel in 2017 and was immediately taken by the concept. Having just been made redundant from my accountancy job I decided that after 35 years working in industry, I would like a complete change and the prospect of being my own boss and combining a hobby with a small business, was very appealing.

I started running courses in September 2017 and was lucky enough to fill my very first course, and I’m proud to say we have been full ever since – including running classes online when the need arose during Covid restrictions. Our classes are fun, informal and educational, and the students love them – and I love running the classes and spending time with our lovely students

In September 2022, I joined the Head Office team on a part-time basis and am helping with admin functions such as: liaising with our designer to produce marketing artwork for branches around the country, responding to enquiries regarding becoming a tutor for SAC, distributing franchise information to potential new license holders…. and other ad hoc duties.

Simon Russell

Designer

For well over a decade we have relied on Simon to create all our marketing content and the lovely handouts that you as students get to take home and keep. Simon makes comic-based art, such as Nearlymades and ROY (appropriating Lichtenstein’s paintings for comic book panels), and provides illustration and graphic design for ethical companies and charities.

He is also Managing Editor for David Lloyd’s onscreen comic AcesWeekly and designer of books for London’s Cartoon Museum and Ralph Steadman as well as the Draw The Line political cartoon book. His current works-in-progress include an abstract comic on the 12 Labours of Hercules and a book about memory and space called “238855: The Distance Between Then & Now”.

I started doing graphic design for The Seasons Art Class® in 2012 by accident after I contacted Mike about possibly teaching some illustration threads. We met for a coffee and it was obvious that what I do in my personal practice would not be a good fit for a Seasons class, but the company was pleasant and the coffee refilled and we got to chatting.

When I mentioned my career as a designer of newspapers and magazines, with a side order of branding, Mike asked to see some of those projects and we agreed that I'd do a few production bits for his marketing.

That worked well, and we continued to do more and more, until eventually Mike and Gen were a constant presence in my emails and getting Seasons ads and flyers prepped for different locations became a regular part of my working week.

As a freelancer, having a regular client is great, but having a friendly and honest client is what makes it worth doing – the ever-growing Seasons team are one of the main reasons I keep designing and don't just wander off down my own illustration rabbit holes. As I once heard somebody say: always a pleasure, never a chore!

Harsha Desai

Team Support

I’m Harsha, I’ve been working for Seasons Art Class for around 5 years and known Gen for 11 years as our children are the same age.

We decided to work together using my skills with social media to help promote Seasons Art Class UK and World to others so that we can share what branches are doing and for potential customers to join seasons.

The artwork all the students produce is outstanding and what Gen has come up with is truly remarkable. People are expressing through art and that has to be one of the best experiences someone can have!