Thomas S. Cleveland, Master Artist

Thomas S. Cleveland


At five years of age, Tommy wanted to be a real artist. Like many young children he loved to draw. He however, just never stopped. Driven by a passion to create, he honed his talent by persistence, training and practice. Efforts that were rewarded by prestigious national and international awards, Fortune 500 clients and as one of the nation’s first Master Artists to serve in the United States Mint’s historic Artistic Infusion Program designing our national coinage. Read more…




Amber Cleveland, Director, Instructor

The eldest daughter of master artist Thomas Cleveland, Amber was born into art with both parents in the graphic designer industry. In the late 1990’s, while her father was the lead instructor of the children’s program at the Houston School of Art & Design (HSAD), Amber spent every summer and weekend at the school working with a variety of artistic mentors that helped mold her creative mind. Her mentors, other than her father, included Charlie Brown, the original founder of HSAD, who gave her the opportunity to work as the administrative assistant starting at a young age. She learned more than just answering the phones however; she became versed in all the behind the scenes of what it took to run a business. Charlie taught her more than art – he taught her business sense. 

After high school, Amber graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor’s in Biology and a minor in Education. Her corporate job was unfulfilling however and something was missing. That ‘something’ she realized, was teaching and seeing the smiles on student’s faces when they realized their untapped talent was always within them waiting to shine through their artwork.  After Charlie’s passing, she took the opportunity offered to her family to share their wealth of artistic knowledge with a larger audience of students. In addition to the Artist Within Art School located in Cypress, they took on the new location and continued the dream Charlie had envisioned.


Samantha Byrym-Collins, Instructor

Sami Collins, Houston School of Art & Design


Samantha Byrym-Collins, “Sami”, was born in Houston, raised in Conroe and graduated Magma Cum Lade from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Painting. She has always been interested in art, even as a small child, and continues to pursue her childhood dream of being an artist, in every sense of the word. Currently a member of the Conroe Art League and Lone Star Art Guild of Texas, she has been asked to host several workshops coming up this year after winning best in show at the 2017 Annual Lone Star Art Guild Convention. Seemingly shy at first, her creative light shines through her art work and to all of her students as she inspires them to pursue their Artist Within. See more of her work here.

Nicole Cleveland, Cypress Director, Instructor

The younger daughter of master artist Thomas Cleveland, was also born into art, but began her artistic passion at the young age of eight. In 1997, her father was the lead instructor of the children’s program at the Houston School of Art & Design (HSAD). While Amber spent every summer working at the school, Nicky spent every summer and weekend drawing and painting at the school with a variety of artistic mentors that included: Shawn Carson, Charlie Brown, and her very own father Thomas Cleveland. 

After high school, Nicky continued working with her father when he started the Artist Within Studio School in Cypress and became one of the lead instructors while continuing her college education focused in and around human interaction and therapy. She is currently studying to get her LPC and is the director and coordinator of the Cypress location.


Rachel Parks, Instructor

Rachel Parks, like most artists, began drawing at an early age. Not so coincidentally, her first formal training was actually at the Artist Within back in 2005, with Thomas Cleveland as her mentor. Being an extraordinarily talented student, she excelled quickly and was asked to be an assistant there after two years of lessons. Rachel then went to college to refine her skills further and graduated from University of Houston with a Bachelors in Art and a minor in Art History. We are honored to have her working with us once again as a diverse instructor whose speciality is acrylic and graphite, but who is also versed in watercolor, oil, colored pencil and pastels.