AVA Faculty

Adult Classes and Workshops


Sande French-Stockwell graduated from Syracuse with a BFA in Sculpture, and completed 2 years of Sculpture at L’Accademia Delle Belle Arte in Rome, Italy. Of the 50 years that she has practiced her art 30 of them have been, more or less, full time. 6 of those years have been as a teacher. www.SandeStockwellSculpture.com

Evan Williams received his BFA from Syracuse University. He began his career in pottery as an Apprentice Potter at Simon Pearce before becoming a Master Potter with Miranda Thomas Pottery where he has worked since 2002. Evan exhibits his work throughout the US and is a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. www.graceandevanpottery.com


Digital Arts / Photography

Charley Freiberg has been a commercial photographer for almost 40 years and has been teaching artists how to photograph their artwork for 25 years. charleyfreibergphotography.blogspot.com

Nick Gaffney received an MFA in Photography from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and a BA in English from New York University. Nick is a documentary photographer who has exhibited nationally and internationally. He has taught Photography and Studio Art in higher education for more than 15 years. ngaffney.net


Laura Di Piazza holds a MFA degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. She is the founder of Here+Now Publishers. Laura teaches calligraphy workshops at Dartmouth College, Society of Scribes (NYC) and MAKE! Skilled Hands (Berlin, Germany). lauradipiazza.com

Julie Püttgen holds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Georgia State University. She works across media (painting, photography, digital animation, installation, book arts) and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Julie has taught a wide range of media at AVA including drawing, encaustics and collaborative art. www.turtlenosedsnake.com


Meredith Smith holds a BFA and MAT from Rhode Island School of Design and did post graduate study in costume and theater design at Brown University. She has worked as a costume and jewelry designer, college professor, and owner of a London-based clothing company. Meredith is a juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen.


Jennie Anderson is a welder and craftsperson who teaches on a technical, mechanical and intuitive level. Her career of more than thirty years in the construction trades has given her a broad understanding of the craft for students wanting to learn the skills.

David Ernster received a BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Ceramics from West Virginia University. Since 1989 David has worked professionally as a production potter, goldsmith and designer, independent studio artist, and educator. David is a juried member of the League of NH Craftsmen, has exhibited throughout the US and taught extensively, most recently as an Associate Professor at Colby-Sawyer College. www.davidernster.com

Sabrina Fadial is an artist who works in a variety of materials focusing on fiber and metal. Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, and Ruth Asawa have influenced her work. Fadial attended the Pre-College Architecture Program at Carnegie Mellon University, received her BFA in Textile Design from Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts. As a sculptor, she strives to document the beauty of what is endangered or commodified. Much of her work is inspired by nature and women. She creates abstract organic forms using both steel and fiber. For the past thirty years, her work has been shown extensively in galleries across the US and is part of numerous private collections. Fadial currently runs Stevens Branch Studios, a creative incubation space in South Barre, VT. In addition to her art practice, she is on the Architecture faculty at Norwich University. sabrinafadial.com

Roger Goldenberg holds BS and BFA degrees from UNH, and a MFA from UNC, Greensboro. He has taught at UNH, Granite State College, Great Bay Community College, Norwich University, Portsmouth Music and Art Center, NHIA at Sanctuary Arts, AVA, and numerous public and private schools. www.rgpaints.com

Jimmy “The Welder” Martell has been welding for 35 years, most of those running his own business near his home in Wilmot, NH, and the last six years with Dartmouth College. As a teacher his primary objective is to introduce the basic, critical techniques of welding—to be learned before self-expression and improvisation can factor into any trade or craft. By committing to learning the techniques, his students will increase their appreciation for welding in everyday life, and be inspired to create their own functional, durable, and beautiful objects.

Joe Montroy teaches sculpture and drawing courses at colleges, art centers and universities across New Hampshire. He has been creating and exhibiting sculpture for 18 years. j-montroy.com

Stefania Urist is a multimedia sculptor who is interested in combining and contrasting nature and architecture. A native of Westport, CT, Stefania has lived in and gathered inspiration from various different locations including Brazil, Seattle, Brooklyn, and Southern, VT. She earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Glass Department in 2013. She has taught a variety of glass and art classes at Urban Glass in Brooklyn, NY, the AVA Gallery, and at a range of art camps. www.stefaniaurist.com

Paulette Werger received her BS in painting and sculpture from the College of Saint Rose and Skidmore College in NY and her MFA in Art Metal from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Paulette exhibits and sells her work both nationally and internationally and teaches workshops in jewelry making and metalsmithing techniques. www.pjwerger.com

Mixed-Media and Writing

Kim Gifford is a writer, artist/photographer and teacher. She has worked as a writing instructor specializing in memoir, creative writing and journalism. She also teaches privately throughout the state of Vermont and the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire, at The Writers Center in White River Junction, VT, area arts centers, assisted-living facilities, camps and more.

Michael Metivier’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Washington Square, North American Review, and African American Review, among other journals. As a musician under the name Oweihops, he has opened for such artists including Kristin Hersh, Red Heart the Ticker, and Elephant Micah. He is an editor at Chelsea Green Publishing in White River Junction, and lives in Vermont with his wife and two daughters. michaelmetivier.com

Robin Elizabeth Weisburger enjoys painting seascapes, landscapes and abstracts using both pastels and acrylics.  Her work has been shown in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine and is currently hanging in private collections  throughout the Northeastern US and Quebec. robinsartandframing.com


Jennifer Brown began her art career at a young age making woodblock prints in her family kitchen. She majored in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University and earned a degree in art and education from Vermont College as a parent and working adult. Most recently she has taken painting and printmaking workshops at Art New England in Bennington, VT, as well as continuing to study oil painting with painter, Peter Granucci. She explores nature, landscapes, and figures in the landscape using primarily watercolor and gouache.

Margaret Dwyer earned her BFA from Sienna Heights University and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. Margaret works in several 2D and 3D mediums (though watercolor is her favorite). Her work has been included in numerous juried national and international exhibitions and has been published in art books and magazines. www.margaretdwyer-artist.com

Stephanie Gordon received her BFA from the University of Michigan. Stephanie taught art at Hanover High School for 18 years before retiring. She currently teaches community art classes for adults and teens. Stephanie has most recently been making encaustic paintings. She exhibits work locally and regionally and her art is in many private collections. sbgordonart.com

Daniel Gottsegen taught for close to twenty years at California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco, teaching all levels of painting, drawing, Foundations and working with graduate students. Gottsegen has done large scale Public Art Projects; he recently created a series of twelve large windscreen glass panels for the new light rail station in Westminster, CO, just outside of Denver. Gottsegen has won many awards and fellowships. Recently he was selected to be the Artist in Residence in 2017 at the Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. He has also been awarded a Vermont Arts Council Individual Artist Creation Grant. www.dangottsegen.com

Joan Hoffmann paints impressionistic oil and watercolor landscapes and birds en plein air. She is dedicated to painting, teaching and preserving the wild landscapes that she explores. Joan lectures on the History of American Landscape Painting, National Parks, and Public Lands and the Art of Landscape and teaches and exhibits her work in UT, CO, CA, and at her studio in South Royalton. www.joanhoffmann.com

Debra K. Jayne is a painter and printmaker. She received her undergraduate degree in art from the University of Washington in Seattle. She received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts in 2014. She is a founding member of Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, has exhibited her art work there, at AVA Gallery, and throughout New England. www.debrakjayne.com

Robert O’Brien received his BA from S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo and has worked in watercolor for 40 years. Since moving to Vermont in 1977, he has focused his work on the landscape and architecture of New England. He studied with James Whatford, Tony Couch, and Marshall Joyce. He is a member of many watercolor societies and has won numerous awards. www.robertjobrien.com

Olimpia Piccoli has been teaching yoga on and off the mat since 2005. It was through her movement and meditation practice that she discovered a place equal in stillness and self-reflection to the blank page or canvas. Within this container, we find the freedom to be authentic while giving ourselves a record of this present embodiment. Since 2012, Olimpia has been teaching and developing this unique combination of art and yoga in both art and movement classrooms. olimpiapiccoli.com

Jonathan Rose has taught pastel (and oil and acrylic) for 10 years in Nevis, West Indies. He is currently teaching pastel at Center for the Arts, New London. Jonathan believes that many aspects of pastel can be taught quickly, and that it is a gateway medium for other ways of painting. www.jonathanhrose.com

Keri Wiederspahn is an artist, teacher and iconographer. After receiving her BFA in sculpture from Parsons School of Design in New York City, Keri founded the Creative Hands Art Studio and Atelier Gallery in Madison, NJ, providing both a gallery for emerging artists and innovative fine arts training to over 2,000 children and teens annually which she led for fifteen years. She more recently has pursued Christian Russian-Byzantine iconography, studying in specific egg tempera techniques for a decade under the late renowned Russian iconographer Ksenia Pokrovsky. Her icons, created through Iconeye Studio, have been exhibited in galleries, churches, and museums throughout New England and in private collections internationally. She is currently working with master iconographer George Kordis on the new International Centre of Contemporary Iconography in Athens, Greece. www.iconeyestudio.com


Heather Milne Ritchie is a professional granite memorial carver and artist in many mediums, and has been making stone sculptures for 19 years. Her sculptures are shown in New England galleries and across the country in cemeteries nationwide. She has taught workshops and classes at The Governor’s Institute of the Arts summer sessions, and has worked in high schools as an art assistant, primarily with young women to explore their artistic voice and grow communication skills. She welcomes the opportunity to work with young and old alike. Her unique role as a woman carver in the traditional stone art trade is balanced with a personal passion for making art. heathermilneritchie.com

John Hikory is a granite carver who worked as an independent carver in Barre, VT. for 28 years. While there he carved various saints and soldiers on memorials ranging in size from 8” high 3/4” in reliefs to the nine foot statue for the Korean War Monument in South Boston. Born and raised in the N.Y.C. area as John Houk, he monitored classes at The Arts Students League of N.Y.C. in the early ‘60s and attended Columbia University’s School for General Studies and School of Arts, 1964-1968. He has been a artist in residence at the Carving Studio in West Rutland and shown his art at several venues including AVA Gallery, Cider Hill Gardens, and Sculpturefest in Woodstock. Now living in Windsor he pursues creating his own abstract and expressionist images at his studio.


Chris McGrody has been building custom furniture and handcrafted cabinetry professionally in his shop for 15 years. Prior to starting his own shop, Chris worked for a number of years at a local furniture studio building high end traditional Shaker furniture. While working there as a craftsman, he also ran the workshop program and taught week-long and weekend workshop courses. Chris also instructs regularly at the Dartmouth College Student Woodshop. Chris enjoys passing along his knowledge of woodworking through project based classes. www.chrismcgrody.com

Jay Singh is a skilled woodworker and sculptor. He is known for his use of texture and color, and it is often difficult to tell what material was used in any given piece. His work has been strongly influenced by his interest in spirituality and African aesthetics, and has been exhibited widely and featured in private collections. He has been an instructor in the Fine Woodworking department at Santa Fe Community College

Dudley Whitney has been teaching woodworking at Dartmouth College’s Student Workshops for thirty years. He was profiled on NPR’s Special Series, 50 Great Teachers, “Among Dartmouth’s Lathes and Saws, Lessons in Creativity” by Gabrielle Emanuel.


Children and Teens

Derek Bell received his BFA in Painting in 2008 from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Painting, and spent three of his years there as a Teaching Assistant. As a painter, Derek prefers landscape, portraiture and animals, as well as an occasional still life. Since graduating from RISD, Derek works primarily in oils, watercolor, gouache and more recently egg tempera. www.derekbellart.com

Hannah Boutin has taught at AVA Gallery for two summers, in 2017 and 2018. She is currently a special education teacher at Hanover Street School. She has a Bachelor of Fine arts in painting and art history and a Masters in the Arts of Teaching for K-12 Fine Art.

Fine art photographer Edward Fielding has been working with kids and fun STEM projects for the past ten years.  When Ed is not producing photos for book covers or museum quality art prints, he teaches beginning programming and Lego Mindstorms robotics at AVA. Fielding also coached a middle school FIRST Lego League team for four years. www.edwardfielding.com

Althea Goundrey was AVA’s first AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in 2009 and has taught children’s classes ever since. She earned a Masters in Education focused on Child Development as well as a Graduate Certificate in Museum Education from Tufts University and studied Studio Art and Art Education. Althea is a member of the Orford Art Group, curating and hanging semi-annual shows.

Karl Neubauer has been a studio artist and artisan for thirty years. His work can be found in shops and galleries throughout the US and locally at The Artisan’s Hand in Montpelier, The North East Kingdom Artisan’s Guild in St Johnsbury, Catamount Arts Gallery in St Johnsbury, and AVA Gallery.  He has been teaching art to young people in and out of public school for over seven years. www.karl-art.com

Susan Davis Shimko earned a BA from Smith College in Education and Child Study and an Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in Learning and Teaching.  She has taught in the elementary grades in both public and private schools and is a long-time Masterpiece Art Program educator.  Ms. Shimko studied art history at both Smith College and Harvard University and is an avid proponent of art literacy and integration in the classroom.  She is familiar with the New Hampshire K-12 Curriculum Framework for the Arts and the Vermont Department of Education Arts Grade Expectations.

Allison Zito received a BFA from the University of the Arts. Her artwork has been exhibited in numerous museums including The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield MA, The Delaware Art Museum, The State Museum in Harrisburg PA, and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has taught at The Philadelphia Museum of Art and University of Pennsylvania Morris Arboretum.