Board of Directors

Helen Thomas, President

Helen Thomas has lived in Avon for over 30 years and served on the Board of Trustees at The Cobb School, Montessori on and off for over 20 years and was Board Chair from 2006 to 2011. Helen began as a student at FVAC in 2013 and joined the Board in 2014 as the Board Secretary, Chair of the Governance Committee, and President of ARTFORMS, a program focused on making "art accessible to all." She enjoys art, sewing, cooking and watching baseball.

Aaron Wartner, Vice President
Aaron Wartner is a member of FVAC's Clay Co-Op and a potter for over 20 years. He taught ceramics at Capital Community College in Hartford for nearly ten years, is a former curator, and has worked in marketing at several area arts and culture organizations. Aaron is currently the owner of BuzzEngine Marketing & Events.

Linda Howard Sorrell, Treasurer
Linda Howard Sorrell is an exiled Scot, and now US citizen, who has lived in the Farmington Valley with her family for over 20 years. After retiring from her career as a Human Resources Executive with several global companies, Linda has become involved with the Boards of several local, not for profit organizations. Her particular interest is in ensuring that the FVAC can realize its full potential to become a true leader in the Arts.

Kara Zablotsky, Secretary
Kara comes to the FVAC with a lifetime of involvement in the arts. As a child, Kara danced ballet with the Albany Berkshire Ballet and toured with the company through high school. While in college, Kara studied anthropology, traveling to India as part of the School of International Training’s program in Arts and Culture. There she studied Rajasthani folk dance and the tradition of silk sari production in the city of Varanasi. Kara is now a clinical social worker and has utilized arts and expressive therapies in her work with children and families. She became involved with FVAC as a ceramics student and is now a member of the clay co-op. Kara holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an M.S.W. from Simmons College. She is a mother of two and lives with her family in West Hartford.

Nine Dechamps

Nine’s passion for the arts began in theater. In her pre-children and pre-America life, she was Assistant to Artistic Director Peter Zadek at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, Germany (“the hands-down best job anyone could ever have!”). When she moved to the States, Nine was able to continue her love for theater with the Acts Factory Players. There she directed plays, designed and built sets, and tried her hand at costume designing. She also served for two years on the Board of New Britain's Hole in the Wall Theater. Nine is very excited to become part of FVAC and hopes to help support and nurture this beautiful art community.

Susan B. Grise

Sue grew up on the southern shore of Long Island. She received a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in nursing from Hartwick College. She moved to Connecticut after graduation and settled in Simsbury in 1986, where she still resides today. Her career path as a Registered Nurse focused on community-based health and wellness for older adults and, later on, workplace health and safety. Sue has a special interest in office ergonomics.
Sue and her husband, Mike, are parents to two children and grandparents to two wonderful young boys. Sue stays active with pool aquatics at the Farmington Valley YMCA and walks along the Farmington Valley’s wooded paths and roadways. She loves taking photos and has been a long-time quilter and crafter. In or about 2004, Sue became a volunteer after being introduced to the FVAC by her daughter. The FVAC Community Calls and Little Night Studio workshops are among Sue’s favorites for having inspired her creativity. As part of her participation on the Board, Sue would like to promote awareness of FVAC, support efforts to reestablish an active volunteer program, and help to achieve greater outreach into Hartford and its many local communities.

Thomas Mach

Thomas Mach, a Simsbury resident for 13 years, is the founder and president of Thomas Mach Interiors and an international color expert. He is the color consultant for all art exhibitions and gallery spaces at the New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) and consults on projects both in the United States and Europe. Thomas is a very strong supporter of the arts and is a yearly corporate sponsor of Simsbury Open Studios. Prior to opening his own company, Thomas was a vice president in the retail industry for the New York and Connecticut markets. Thomas splits his time between Connecticut and London, England.

Cynthia Mellon
Cynthia Mellon joins the FVAC Board with a lifelong passion for the arts and a newly found enthusiasm for painting. A classically trained mezzo-soprano, she has performed in concert and opera and has served on the boards of Simsbury Light Opera and Connecticut Choral Artists, where she was also Development Director and is still a performing member of the ensemble. By day, Cynthia enjoys her other passion – her love of animals – as a Veterinary Technician at Advanced Veterinary Care in Farmington. The Arts Center has become her home away from home, and she is excited for the opportunity to serve and promote it and the artists who also call FVAC home.

Melissa Meredith
Melissa Meredith is an intaglio printmaker with a much-loved studio at the FVAC, where she both works and teaches. Her artwork is in museums, and numerous private and corporate collections can be found in several New England galleries. An avid gardener, Melissa lives in Bloomfield.

Sue Nooney

Sue Nooney is a jewelry artist and a resident studio artist. She has always considered herself to be creative and organized, having worked as an Administrative Assistant for 39 years. Sue has served as President of the Employees’ Activities Association at her workplace and says she was in charge of ‘Fun’. Sue is the President of the Studio Artists Association at FVAC and is retired and living in Unionville.

Carol Kaplan, Executive Director