Stirling Hall Staff

Constructed in 1929 and designed by the renowned North Shore architect Edwin H. Clark, Stirling Hall is Lake Forest’s best kept secret. Stirling Hall houses a fully-equipped, professionally staffed art center with emphasis on ceramics. Classes for children and adults, ages 3 and up, are offered four times a year. Adult and children’s workshops are also offered throughout the year, as well as the ever-popular Twigs Summer Camp. The Art Center has seven spacious, natural light studios, sixteen pottery wheels, three computerized electric kilns, a 57-cubic-foot gas kiln, a clam shell raku kiln, an outdoor raku and pit fire area, a ventilated, professional-grade spray booth as well as our newest addition, an outdoor soda kiln.

Meet Our Staff



Karen Avery - Director
Karen moved to Chicago in 1990 from Michigan, and the very first check she wrote was for her first pottery class at Lillstreet Art Center. She loved the touch of clay and was fascniated by the flames in the firing process. It took her a while to throw bigger, but she was hooked and spent all of her time throwing pots, and in a few years was teaching and firing kilns. Until recently, she had the very full-time position of Director, Adult Clay, and now she is very much looking forward to her new Director position at Stirling Hall. "Let's make some pottery and get the kiln fired. From start to finish, the world of clay never gets boring."

Debra Lerman - Art Supervisor
Growing up in Highland Park my passion was always art.  I attended the University of Iowa and student taught through Drake University in Des Moines Iowa, to earn a degree in Elementary Education with minors in Art  and Early Childhood Education. I taught school in Highland Park for 10 years before joining the City of Lake Forest as the Coordinator of the Youth Art Program in 2001. To further promote art education, I started after school art programs at Wayne Thomas Elementary School in Highland Park and Wilmont Elementary School in Deerfield.  My excitement for art education inspires my students to be creative and confident in their work. I believe philosophy is that you can't do art wrong, anyone can become the next Picasso.


220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600
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