Instructor Bios

Stefanie Baechler

Stefanie Baechler graduated from CCSU with a bachelor's degree in art education and English as a Second Language. During the school year, Stefanie teaches art to 3rd through 6th graders in the Winchester Public school district. Since her college years, Stefanie has been teaching youth art classes, leading art adventure programs, and instructing art parties at the Farmington Valley Arts Center. Her work focuses on capturing fleeting and spontaneous emotions through colorful abstract figures and paintings.

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. She can work figuratively as well as abstractly, though in both areas she uses bold lines. Her paintings and illustrations display vivid colorful images with unique compositions. Visit Lindsay's website.

Mike Berlinski

Mike Berlinski has been drawing and painting since childhood, primarily using oil paints in the Plein-air tradition. His favorite setting is the New England shorelines, in addition to the beauty and liveliness of trees and their surroundings. He prefers the "Alla Prima" method, where everything is being painted "all at once" in the same session. Mike considers himself a true and traditional painter who loves the natural world and its possibilities for expression. Visit Mike's website.

Souby Boski

Souby is an artist and educator with several years of teaching experience. Since 2004, she has taught oil painting to adults at the Washington Art Association in Washington Depot, CT. Over the years, Souby was an adjunct professor of Art at Naugatuck Valley Community College and has taught Art in the Connecticut public school system and Adult Education programs. Souby loves to teach! Her goal is to engage, challenge and motivate her students. She strives to create an environment where students not only explore, learn, solve problems, create, collaborate, but also truly enjoy what they are doing. Souby holds a BA in Art Education from Stetson University and a MALS in Art from Wesleyan University. After Graduate School, she continued her education studying painting with nationally recognized artists and teachers, Eric Aho, Ira Barkoff, Lois Dodd and Ruth Miller. Visit Souby'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.

Elyse Cote

Connecticut native Elyse Cote began creating art in the ballet studio, co-founding and co-directing CONNetic Dance Company. She eventually found her way to painting and ceramics and completed a BFA at University of Hartford. Since then she has been a Resident Artist at the Wellsville Creative Art Center and taught ceramics at several local studios as well as The University of Hartford. Elyse has shown her work in a number of juried shows as well as group exhibitions. Although she no longer dances she continues to bring that physicality to her delicate hand built objects and the painted canvas, combining the aesthetic of her choreography with faceted vessels and gestural abstraction.

Drew Darley

Drew Darley is a full-time potter who focuses almost exclusively on wheel thrown vessels putting a strong emphasis on a clean refined form. Drew enjoys glaze chemistry and the science behind mixing and formulating his own glazes. His current focus is on crystalline glazes. While in college Drew studied ceramics and mathematics. He found connections between the two disciplines in regards to glaze calculation and form which allows him to constantly to push the materials to the limit. Visit Drew'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.

Linda Dick

Linda Dick enjoyed sewing and learning different construction and decorative techniques throughout her life. She studied sewing and apparel construction technology at the Fashion Design and Apparel Technology Institute in Slovakia. She is the business owner of "Kinder Threads US" designing and creating eco-sustainable hemp and organic cotton clothing for children. Linda has worked as a seamstress sewing dance costumes for MOMIX INC, Dance Connection, and other CT dance studios. She also creates stunning macramé art that is modern and incorporates color into the designs. Linda is born in Slovakia, additionally lived in Italy for 10 years, and resides now with her two young sons and husband in Winsted, CT. Visit Linda's Instagram

Sharon Dvora

Sharon Dvora has 20 years of experience as an art educator, sharing her passion for creativity, art, and design with students of all ages. She is a community-based artist who is actively engaged in the practice of process painting for many years. She has trained in the process of facilitation with mentor Stewart Cubley and the staff at The Painting Experience ( Sharon's Email:

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.

Mo Myra

When Mo’s not painting outdoors, she is working as a full-time commissioned painter and watercolor Instructor for various institutions. Her work has been included in both local, and national juried completions; most notably as part of the Society of Illustrators Student Competition in New York City. Her paintings can be found in numerous collections throughout the US and worldwide. Mo graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Hartford Art School and furthered her exploration of painting and education during a residency at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in 2018. She is passionate about bringing art to the community and is currently an active board member at the Art League of New Britain and a member of the Connecticut Plein Air Society. Visit Mo's website.

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.

Monica Hewryk

Monica Hewryk graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Master in Fine Arts in ceramics in 2021. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Central Connecticut State University with a concentration in ceramics in 2014. Monica previously worked as the University Assistant at Central Connecticut State University, the intern at Wesleyan Potters, and a Resident Potter at Guilford Art Center. She has been exhibiting work in juried exhibition and group shows since 2013. Monica maintains a private studio at home and continues to exhibit her work nationally. Combining personal narratives about time and the human condition, Monica’s most recent work illustrates ideas of imperfection, inevitability, and disease. She intentionally leaves portions of the work visible underneath the grotesque textured surfaces on her ceramic pieces to portray what used to be. Visit Monica'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.

Edith Skiba LaMonica

Edith Skiba LaMonica has enjoyed teaching drawing and painting classes throughout her art career in New York, Pennsylvania and now in Connecticut. With her informal approach, she focuses on the basic skills of composition and color while encouraging self-expression and creativity. Edith has a BA in Painting and MA in Art History from Stony Brook University NY. She taught Design and Studio Art at The College of New Jersey Trenton, SUNY Empire State College, Suffolk Community College NY, and Tunxis Community College, Farmington. Featured in the New Britain Museum of American Art Bulletin, her exhibitions include: Artworks Gallery of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA., Five Points Gallery

Kristy Lankford

Kristy Lankford is an experienced artist, illustrator, and art teacher. After attending Boston College for studio art and the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she received a Master's of Fine Arts in illustration, Kristy began her teaching career at a small arts college in the Washington D.C. area. Kristy has taught in public and private schools for the past 13 years in Virginia and will continue teaching art in Granby, CT, this fall. She maintains an active fine art and illustration career. Her favorite materials are watercolor, gouache, acrylic, and a little bit of digital painting. If she's not making her art, you can find her exploring the Farmington Valley, where she has recently relocated, with her husband and two kids. Visit Kristy'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.

Logan Marcus

Logan received a BFA from the University of Hartford in 2015 with a concentration in ceramics. He makes ceramic objects that have character and inspire curiosity, imagination, and play. His utilitarian ceramics are tools for thought.
"I am a graffiti writer turned potter. I notice rhythms and flows of lines and colors in the world and my studio. I package themes from those patterns and use them as inspiration. I let ideas reveal themselves through repetition. I add tags and logos to tie the identities and ideas together over the span of decades. My pottery time stamps the soundtrack of my life." Visit Logan's website.

Andy Mars

Andy Mars is a freelance photographer, photo artist & instructor: She photographs events (formerly specialized in weddings), people, and pets. She is a photography instructor teaching classes & workshops in digital photography, iPhoneography, mixed media photography and computer file organization & workflow. Her work has been exhibited at the Memorial Arts Museum in Rochester, NY, Manhattan and CT 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.

Deb Moyer

Deb Moyer occupies studio 8B at the Farmington Valley Arts Center, where she loves to capture the essence of nature through her vibrant oil paintings. She believes that the expressive arts have a way to heal and discover greater meaning in life. Deb has developed a series of "Art Break" workshops, inviting others to engage in various art forms and meditation. She is offering those workshops at conferences of educators, schools, non-profits, colleges, churches, businesses, and retreat centers. Her artwork has been shown in juried shows in the greater Hartford area. Additionally, Deb teaches piano lessons in her West Hartford home. Earlier, Deb worked as a broadcast and print journalist, a UCC minister, and a florist. Visit Deb's website.

Heather Neilson

Heather Neilson has pursued the study of art history and direct art making for the last 25 years. She has attended classes at the New York Art Students League and studied with several master artists. She received her B.A. in Communications from Rutgers University. She is a certified GOLDEN Arts Educator and teaches art workshops in her studio and throughout the region. Visit Heather's website.

Sue Nooney

Sue has been creating sterling silver jewelry at the Arts Center for close to four years. She started her training at the CT School of Jewelry Arts and has been honing her skills ever since. Sue’s philosophy is that all aspects of making jewelry require practice, and she has been practicing her skills for 4 years, 6 days per week. Visit All That Sparkles' website.

Erika Novak

Erika Novak is a ceramic artist and FVAC ceramics manager who focuses on wheel thrown collections of pottery both functional and decorative. Her work includes series of cups and mugs as well as vases, bottles, and hanging objects like lamps and planters. Erika pulls inspiration from patterns and textures found in Art deco architecture, early 20th-century design, as well as pattern found in American Southwestern textiles. After studying ceramics and art in college Erika now works as a full-time potter creating and selling her work at nationally ranked art fairs and showcases. Visit Erika's website.

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.

Dana Meachen Rau

Dana Rau has written more than 350 books for children in a variety of genres. She graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, with degrees in both creative writing and art history, and has worked in the publishing world as an editor, author, and illustrator. Since attending Vermont College of Fine Arts for her master’s degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults, she has also taught writing and literature classes at the University of Hartford, the Highlights Foundation, the Mark Twain House, and the Farmington Valley Arts Center. She is also a mixed media artist. Dana lives in Burlington, Connecticut.