Instructor Bios

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 four years and is pursuing a degree in Art Education. She loves working with pen and ink, as well as clay and watercolor.

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.

Pedro Centeno

Pedro creates functional pots such as, teapots, mugs, plates and jars using wheel throwing, hand building, and mould making techniques. His love of old building material, wood, rebar, and rusty metal, influences each piece. Through multiple glaze applications and firings, the desired weathered appearance is achieved and intriguing illusions of materials are formed. Visit Pedro's website.

Peggy Dembicer

Peggy Dembicer 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 and 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, including Gallery on the Green in Canton, Silvermine Art Guild in New Canaan and West Hartford Art League. She also exhibits regularly as a member of Connecticut Women Artists and the Surface Design Association. Visit Peggy's website.

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.

Moiray Giannola

Mo’s artwork is inspired by landscapes and the figure, her illustrations have been displayed nationally, and in many different group exhibitions. Her paintings can be found in numerous private collections as well as available to the public through public art commissions. Currently, she works full time as an Illustrator in addition to teaching watercolor classes. Mo graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Illustration program at the Hartford Art School, and is currently working on a residency at the Farmington Valley Arts Center. Furthermore, she is passionate about bringing art to the community, she is an active board member at the art League of New Britain and the Chair Person for their new Gallery Committee. Find Mo on Facebook, Mo Myra Art and Instagram

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.

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.

Jennifer Lawson

Finding her way into commercial art after college, Jennifer spent twenty years as vice president of creative design for LL Bean in Freeport, Maine. In her post-corporate career, she has worked for more than ten years as a freelance creative director, designer, and illustrator. It changed her life and how she sees the world. She has sketched and painted her way up and down the Maine coast and throughout the United States. She has sketched through Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon, over the Inca Trail to the ruins of Machu Picchu, while living on the island of Bali, Indonesia, climbing to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro, and most recently while walking on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain.

Laura Marks

Laura was hooked on Zentangle after being introduced to it in 2014. She attended the Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) Seminar #22 and has been teaching ever since. Laura obtained a BFA from Eastern CT State University in 1989 and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Hartford in 2001. To her, Zentangle is a nice combination of these two fields as she can express herself through her art while sharing this method she loves to others who may need to soothe anxieties, relieve stress, enhance their creativity or just make something unique and beautiful. Visit Laura's facebook page here.

Andy Mars

Andy Mars is a Freelance Photographer (specializing in weddings), Photo Artist and Instructor who creates one-of-a-kind mixed-media artwork by integrating photography with watercolor and acrylic paints as well as pastel chalk and pencils. 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, Metropolitan Musem, Manhattan & CT galleries. Visit  Andy's website.

Dori Melowicz

Self-taught in the ancient Japanese art of origami, Dori Melowicz has been folding for over 25 years. She submitted a piece for the 2001 Moscow Origami Peace Tree Project and is affiliated with Origami USA, OrigaMIT, and the Paper Artists Gathering. At the Webster Hill Elementary School of West Hartford, Dori certified the authenticity of the largest origami butterfly ever folded, according to Guinness World Records. She has taught various levels of origami at the Newington Public Library, the West Hartford Public Library system, and the New Britain Museum of American Art.

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.

Lisa Pichnarcik

Lisa Pichnarcik has been designing jewelry for over fifteen years. Her metalwork and mixed media designs are rooted in her study and exploration of a variety of techniques, including fold forming, wirework, stitching, stringing and knotting, chainmaking, lampworking, and beadmaking using precious metal clay, polymer clay, paper clay, and wool. The inspiration for her designs, although broadly ranging from living creatures and natural items to industrial forms and tools, comes from the emotional impact, mood, or memory associated with places and objects. Her work has been published in several magazines, including an honorable mention in CLOTH PAPER SCISSORS magazine’s Mixed-Media Excellence Awards in 2017. Lisa’s designs have been sold at various vendor shows, shops and galleries, and as commissioned pieces. She shares her love of jewelry design by teaching classes to both adults and children.

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.

Terry Wolfisch Cole

William Shakespeare never met Terry Wolfisch Cole, but he must have known she was coming when he wrote the words, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Terry is the founder and director of Tell Me Another. She is a Moth GrandSLAM champion whose story of running away from home was featured on the Moth Radio Hour and in Readers Digest. She has told stories onstage at the Moth in New York, Boston, Miami, and Burlington, at Risk! in Washington DC, and at numerous local shows throughout New England. An expatriate New Yorker, Terry is a cutthroat mah jongg player who prefers tequila and almost certainly swears more than you do. She is also a writer, yoga teacher, cookie baker, and passionate Bruce Springsteen fan.