Instructor Bios

Lori Anderson

Lori Anderson hails from CT, and went to College at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. While there, she majored in Painting and was trained using classical methods of drawing and oil painting. From 2010 to 2016 she lived in California, painting by day and teaching art by night. View Lori's work.

Stefanie Baechler

College student and fashionista Stefanie Baechler has been passionate about art since primary school. She has been instructing youth classes and arts adventures programs at the Farmington Valley Arts Center for two years and is pursuing a degree in Art Education. She loves working with pen and ink, as well as clay and watercolor.

Lindsay Behrens

Lindsay Behrens received her BFA from University of Connecticut in 2002. Lindsay works in a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, illustration and design and does commission work. Her work gravitates towards a number of different subjects. She can work figuratively as well as abstract, though in both areas she uses bold lines. Her paintings and illustrations display vivid colorful images with unique compositions. Lindsay has an extensive resume and she has had several exhibitions throughout Connecticut. Visit Lindsay's website.

Jim Brunelle

Jim Brunelle has been working with clay for over twenty years and has acquired mastery of the medium over the years. Jim produces work out of his studio in New Britain, CT, the Farmington Valley Arts Center, and the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. Aside from his work in clay, Jim’s paintings and prints have been exhibited in Connecticut galleries and museums. He was the winner of the print award in the NBMAA’s 43rd annual juried Members Exhibition. Visit Jim's website.

Melanie Carr

Melanie received her MFA from the College of Art and Design at Lesley University in 2011. Prior to that, she served in the United States Navy as an Operations Specialist on board the USS Willamette (AO-180) in Pearl Harbor, HI. After 10 years at the New Britain Museum of American Art, most recenltly as Curator of New Media, she is now Adjunct Professor at Central Connecticut State University where she teaches drawing. Carr’s work has been featured in exhibitions at numerous museums and galleries. She also has work in public and private collections. Visit Melanie's website.

Maurice Casas

Maurice Casas’ art is a result of several years of experimentation and a search for identity. It is the fusion of these two disciplines plus his personal sensitivity that have given him a new vision for color and design. His work creates an environment of invented realms and is juxtaposed between past and present. He uses semi-abstract and figurative mark making to create tension between reality and fanciful. Using Pre-Columbian Art and Iconography and elements of Architecture, Maurice has developed a unique and colorful language with its own vocabulary. Originally from Colombia in South America, Maurice has attended Colegio Antonio Narino and New York City Technical College. He has lived in the United States for 35 years where he has worked as a Visual Artist and Architectural Designer. Visit Maurice's Facebook page.

Lisel Crowley

Creating and teaching are at the core of just about everything that I do. I find inspiration everywhere and enjoy the camaraderie and community that is built when people of like minds and spirits gather together. As an artist, I am constantly trying new media and finding new directions for exploration. I currently specialize in metal clay, fused glass, alcohol ink painting and silk dyeing. As a teacher, I thrive on awakening the creative spark within people of all ages and backgrounds. Visit Lisel' s website.

Peggy Dembicer

Peggy is a fiber artist with a contemporary design aesthetic. Her background in tapestry and pattern weaving has evolved to focus and explore the unique and intricate possibilities of paper weaving. She is also known for her intricate bead artistry. Her background includes years of teaching adults and children in public and private educational settings. She exhibits her work regularly in CT galleries. She also exhibits regularly as a member of Connecticut Women Artists and the Surface Design Association.

Carolann Dvorak-Brewer

Carolann has accrued an impressive list of honors and awards. A first class realist, you may come upon her work in the form of Trompe L’oeil (French for “fool the eye”) murals, faux finished walls and furniture. Carolann paints these illusory scenes in Oil or Acrylic using brushes, rags, sponges, or feathers. Wherever you find her Art, you will find it to be vibrant, happy and alive. Carolann has a BA degree Magna Cum Laude from Douglass College at Rutgers University. She has been teaching at FVAC since 1991. Visit Carolann's website.

Margaret Freedman

Margaret has a Bachelor's in Fine Arts and a Master's in Elementary Education. She has taught Youth Art Classes at FVAC, the New Britain Museum, and is a certified Public School Teacher in Connecticut.

Elena Gibson

Elena Gibson has been a practicing fiber artist and educator for over 15 years. Her work is represented by galleries in Connecticut and Massachusetts. As an experienced art teacher, Elena has run numerous workshops in CT and MA in a variety institutions including Farmington Valley Arts Center, West Hartford Art League, Mandell JCC and New England Felting Supply. Originally from Slovakia, Elena has a background in graphic design.

Zbigniew Grzyb

Zbigniew is an abstract painter. His work gravitates towards different textures, shapes and feelings. His process of creating his abstract paintings require patience, for his work has extensive texture, line quality and balance. His paintings create a sense of space though the layers of line repetition and color. “While I paint, I work out ideas to their extremes without attempting to control the destiny of each painting. I control the process to a certain point, but then the painting itself takes over. When I recognize that every element of the painting connects, I stop the process. My painting is not about any theory or –ism. There is no content other than the image, no political message. The lines themselves are only the visual evidence of the energy of the process.” Visit Zbigniew's website.

Paul Iezzi

Nature for Paul, is the stimulus for artistic expression - the essence of the work of art. His endeavor is unity of formal consideration, with the process or thought, spontaneity of vision is sought to achieve simple awareness of living. Harmony and balance are key components in the construction of image. Of course, a little disorientation could lead to insight. Color lays the foundation for all of his work. Whether abstract, figurative, or figuration, color emotes the possibilities of the universe. This revelation becomes clear, and begins to take shape as the work evolves. “My methods and approaches vary according to the subject. Changes happen and occur spontaneously as needed. I find media and methodology change to suit the course of life's events. Creativity is an expression of what is experienced, thought, felt." Visit Paul's website.

Karen Israel

Karen Israel is an award winning pastel artist currently serving as President of Connecticut Pastel Society. Her paintings are created as a celebration of light and color that aim to delight the eye and engage the mind. Karen’s paintings are representational but symbolism and abstraction are constantly emerging in the frame. Her work can be found in many collections throughout the Northeast and Canada. Visit Karen's website.

Deborah Leonard

Deborah is an impressionistic and abstract painter that lives in West Simsbury Connecticut. Using acrylics as her medium, she enjoys plein air painting as well as studio work. Deborah’s love of nature, through observation and academic study has a strong influence on her painting. Her work has appeared in numerous juried shows and is in many private collections in the U.S. and Europe. Visit Deborah's website.

Andy Mars

Andy Mars creates one-of-a-kind mixed media artwork by integrating photography with watercolor and acrylic paints as well as pastel chalk and pencils. She prints on such materials as textured papers and canvas as well as traditional photographic paper. Andy’s main areas of focus are nature, people, animals, seascapes and urban scenes. Her work has been exhibited at the Memorial Arts Museum in Rochester, NY, Manhattan and Connecticut galleries and various Soho Gallery restaurants. Visit  Andy's website.

Donna Miller

Donna Miller is a certified interior designer with twenty five years of upscale residential design experience. She has participated in BFA and MBA programs and museums nationally and continues to be active in the arts of the Farmington Valley. Her four session workshop and workbook highlight all of the major topics considered by professional interior designers that can be applied to home decorating projects.

Judy Pascale

Judy Pascale, a native of Connecticut and a lifelong knitter, launched her career as a professional knitting instructor and designer. She has professionally sold her unique knitwear under the name THE JUDITH COLLECTION both privately and at juried shows. For the past nine years Judy has pursued the art of wet felting as another branch of her career. She teaches classes using this ancient technique to produce creative contemporary pieces.

Rebecca Picoult

Rebecca has been knitting for over 20 years, since her grandmother taught her to knit as a teenager. She is passionate about knitting and loves to share her knowledge with others. You can find Rebecca and see her work in Studio 10B at the Farmington Valley Arts Center, where she hand dyes yarn and designs knitting patterns. Rebecca lives with her husband, three sons, two dogs and a whole lot of yarn in Simsbury, CT.

Ron Rosenstock

Ron Rosenstock retired from Clark University in Worcester, MA in 2000 after teaching photography there for thirty years. He recently published his sixth book of his photographs, and his work has been featured in over 100 exhibitions, both in the U.S. and abroad, most recently at The National Museum of Iceland. Permanent collections of his work can be found at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, MA, The Polaroid Collection in Cambridge, MA, and the International Center of Photography in New York. City. Ron lectures at camera clubs and professional organizations as well as leading tours for artists and photographers to Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand, Scotland, and Cuba. Visit Ron's website.

Ceil Rossi

Living in Arizona for 26 years, Ceil discovered and learned from well-known gourd artists “the art of the southwest”. Soon she became a juried artist herself and opened the Carefree Gourd Gallery studio. Today she lives in Agawam, Massachusetts and participates in many art competitions and fine art venues with much success.

Hallie Sawyers

Hallie Sawyers, is a licensed massage therapist and nationally certified in Holistic Aromatherapy. She teaches the essential oil curriculum at Finger Lakes School of Massage, has been practicing as a certified aromatherapist since 2002, pursuing a clinical aromatherapy path since 2005 and her classes are approved for continuing education credit through both the NYS Board of Education and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Licensed massage therapists: there are 3 CE credits available through NYS and NCBTMB for this class.

Kathleen C. Smits

Kathleen Curran Smits is a landscape painter and teaches computer graphics at Manchester Community College. Her work has been exhibited regionally and includes not only landscapes in oils but digital abstracts as well. Most recently she co-juried and curated the Hospital For Special Care annual Joy of Art show and was part of a 2 person exhibit following. Visit Kathleen' s website

Julie Weaver

Julie Weaver is a practicing artist in Hartford, CT. She received her MFA from the School of Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and a Certificate of Museum Studies from Tufts University. She has shown her work in galleries throughout the United States including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington, DC. Julie is primarily an oil painter and hand paper maker. She is interested in community systems, human relationships, and the borders that separate neighbors. Visit Julie' s website.