About Us

Our History - Our Team
  • Engaging young minds through interactive learning, music and arts

    About Illumination Learning Studio


    Since our first Illumination Learning Studio concept opened in the Greenwood/Phinney Ridge neighborhood in April 2013, it has been a privilege to share our business of educating school-age children in the arts within our local neighborhoods and communities. By presenting a fun and engaging cultural, performing and fine arts curriculum which includes instruction in music, drama, voice, and fine arts, we have had a positive influence in thousands of children’s lives.

    We are an independent family business, employing many specialty arts instructors and teaching staff who develop our proprietary arts curriculum to inspire students every day.  It is our mission to engage and enlighten young minds through our programs. We offer an exceptional mix of cultural arts and academic based learning to benefit a child in their social-emotional and educational development. Our team works hard to form strong and impressionable relationships with our students, encouraging a passion for learning that lasts many years to come.

    Community is important to us and that is why Illumination Learning is a member of the Phinney Neighborhood Association, formerly serving on the small business advisory board and the Ballard Alliance of Businesses. We are active in Ballard, Greenwood, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge participating in community events year-round and taking part in charitable giving to help improve the lives of everyone living in our community. 

  • Affiliations

    ParentMap 2017 Golden Teddy FinalistRed Tricycle Totally Awesome Award Illumination Learning Studio   2016 Golden Teddy   golden-teddy-2015   golden-teddy-2014   pna   red-tricycle   seattle-good-business-network   think-local   family-works   seattle-art-museum

  • Our Founders

    • Mike and Molli Piper
      Mike: Co-Founder, Molli: Program Director & Co-Founder

      Mike and Molli Piper

      Mike: Co-Founder, Molli: Program Director & Co-Founder

      Co-Founder, Mike Piper has spent a lifetime immersed in music and has trained in a variety of musical instruments, with a primary focus and passion for piano. With a degree in Early Childhood Education and Music, Mr. Mike worked for 17-years as a Music and Cultural Arts Instructor for the Chicago Parks District, expanding their programs across multiple parks and teaching music to large numbers of students in the community. Mr. Mike pushes to make a positive difference in the lives of his students by encouraging musical exploration through movement and delivers one-on-one private lessons as well as instructing our music staff.

      Co-founder and Program Director, Molli Piper follows the philosophy that Early Childhood teachers lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning. Molli holds a Type-04 Early Childhood Teaching Certificate and has over 15 years of experience teaching Preschool age children. The Early Childhood curriculum she has refined for her classroom promotes advanced reading, writing, math and language skill development in our youngest students. Her teaching strategy is to provide children with hands-on, engaging learning experiences, that are fun but also serve to challenge students to use their “higher order” thinking skills.

  • Our Business Office

    • Will Piper
      Director of Operations

      Will Piper

      Director of Operations

      Will holds a MBA with a HR Management focus from Central Michigan, and a BS in organizational Leadership from ASU. Will has over 7 years experience teaching music privately, and has provided music lessons at Illumination Learning Studio since its opening in 2013. Will works to support all ILS staff as they create environments of learning that allow students the opportunity to explore and create in the different art forms. He strives to provide a structured environment of progression and creative exploration in hopes that he can instill understanding, passion and love for the cultural arts in the students at ILS.

  • Our Creative Arts Team

    • Jess Coulson, MA Art Ed
      Creative Arts Instructor - Fine Arts

      Jess Coulson, MA Art Ed

      Creative Arts Instructor - Fine Arts

      Jess Erin Coulson Colbert is a Masters Level art teacher and community artist. She is a founding member of women’s art collective Moonrise Studios, where you can see her paintings on display every second Friday from 5-10pm.

      Born and raised in Seattle, she completed her Bachelors in American Sociocultural Studies at Western Washington University before pursuing her dream of following in the footsteps of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe. Jess headed south to New Mexico where she finished her Masters in Art Education in 2013, started a family and lived on a communal organic farm for nearly 2 years before moving back here in 2016 to pursue a career teaching art.

      She is delighted to have the opportunity to share her love of art and art history and specifically acrylic painting with your kids. She lives with her own daughter, Piper (8), and husband, Ryan, with their bengal cat and three chickens on their mini urban farm in Greenwood.

      “ILS visual arts classes will be exciting and entertaining, as well as engaging and informative, teaching students both about the essential 7 elements of art and the arc of art history.”

    • Taylor McKinnon
      Creative Arts Instructor - Drama

      Taylor McKinnon

      Creative Arts Instructor - Drama

      Taylor enjoys using the performing arts to provide a space for students to explore and express themselves in a safe and supportive environment. In drama class students get to explore a variety of creative topics such as: Improv, Shakespeare, film making, directing, etc. It is Ms. Taylor’s biggest goal for students to find their creativity and grow their confidence through these interactive lessons.

      “ILS’s Drama class allows students the opportunity to explore many different areas of the performing arts, and I enjoy encouraging them to explore these ideas and watching find their own ways of self-expression.”

    • Bridget Kirk
      Creative Arts Instructor - Dance

      Bridget Kirk

      Creative Arts Instructor - Dance

      Bridget holds a BFA and teaching license in Dance Education, as well as a teaching license in Special Education, from East Carolina University (ECU). With an additional background in Special Education, she has a true passion for cross-curricular integration – teaching writing, math, science, etc. through creative movement. Through her cultural dance classes she hopes to develop students’ motor skills, critical thinking skills, self-confidence, abilities to work in groups, and appreciation for what other people have to offer us through movement.

      “The space in which I teach is a safe space where risks are rewarded, not for their success, rather for their bravery of their attempts.”

  • Our Site Supervisors

    • Yi Lin Naumman
      Site Supervisor at Greenwood Studio

      Yi Lin Naumman

      Site Supervisor at Greenwood Studio

      Yi Lin studied Computer Information Systems at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Originally from Beijing China, Yin Lin currently lives in Ballard with her husband, two sons and dog Paulie. She is passionate about children and education, and strives to create a fun, supportive and safe environment for her students.

    • Christina Andres
      Site Supervisor at Ballard Studio

      Christina Andres

      Site Supervisor at Ballard Studio

      Christina holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Teaching. Christina has worked at ILS in a variety of positions – from after school and Pre-K assistant, camp lead and site supervisor. Art and literature have always been a large part of Christina’s life, and she cherishes the opportunity to help introduce kids to a variety of creative outlets. Christina is dedicated to providing a safe, creative and engaging space that allows kids to explore themselves and the world around them.

  • Contact Us

    Contact us for enrollment information or to schedule a tour