AVA Faculty

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Derek Bell beside "On the Road Again"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. https://www.instagram.com/perfectpoultryportraits/

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.

Robert Carsten graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and was a scholar at Academia di Belle Arti in Carrara, Italy. He is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and a contributing writer to the Pastel Journal and The Artist’s Magazine. Carsten is a Master Circle artist of the International Association of Pastel Societies, and his paintings and drawings have been shown in many museums and galleries, are collected worldwide and have won many awards. www.robertcarsten.com


Elizabeth D’Amico, a graduate of Syracuse and Columbia universities, taught in the Visual Arts Department at Plymouth State University until her retirement. A mixed-media artist, she shows regionally and nationally and is a signature member of the National Collage Society and an active member of the Women’s Caucus for the Arts-NH Chapter. She won a juror’s award in AVA’s 2019 Summer Juried Exhibition. www.elizabethdamico.com


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. Read more about Margaret here. www.margaretdwyer-artist.com



Cooper Dodds is a photographer and book artist living in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He received a BFA from Carleton College in 2013. His first monograph, Jumper: Flying in the Heartland, was published by Daylight Books in 2019. Cooper has a decade of experience working as a commercial photographer and he currently balances his time between commissions, personal work, and teaching.


Amber Geneva Erkiletian received her BFA at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago where she gained a passion for working in large-scale steel sculpture. Her curiosity about the range of materials available for sculpture caused her to pursue diverse fields that feed her professional development and her application of technical knowledge. Amber’s experience ranges from casting aluminum and bronze for art and industry, to fine woodworking and fiberglass construction, to refining microscopic precision components for the Mars mission. As an artist, Amber is drawn to the minute subtleties of expression in human body language. Her arts practice uses welded steel and Pal Tiya Premium, a unique sculpting cement, to create chimerical animal sculptures for outdoor installation. As an independent art teacher, Amber considers it her mission to ensure that everyone who wants to make sculpture can, at any scale and for any environment. For more information about Amber, please visit her website.

Nick Gaffney received his M.F.A. in Fine Arts/Photography from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, in 2002. Since then he has taught Photography, Studio Art, and Digital Media at a variety of places. He has exhibited his photography throughout the country, including solo shows at AVA and the Vermont Center for Photography, in Brattleboro, VT. He is currently on the board for the Vermont Center for Photography and is also a member of the Lebanon Arts and Culture Commission. He lives in Lebanon with his wife, two daughters, and dog Ruby. ngaffney.net



At the age of eight, Olivia Janna Genereaux took her first after school art class-oil painting. She learned to paint from life and to mix colors. She loved the control of building her own world, and found her place. She chose to attend Rhode Island School of design, where she studied textiles and illustration, majored in painting, and graduated in 1986. Four decades later in 2014, she earned a Master’s Degree from Lesley University, College of Art and Design. Her love of art is a gift she gives to herself and shares with others everyday.


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


Harrison Halaska received his Masters of Fine Arts from the Laguna College of Art and Design in 2018. His focus has been painting still lifes, landscapes, and portraits from life. He is engaged by the uncovering and discovery of his environment through painting. His paintings have been in various exhibitions, including shows at George Billis Gallery, Huntington Library, Laguna Museum of Art, and the 2018 XL Catlin Art Prize exhibition. He has also taught at the California School of the Arts San Gabriel Valley high school for two years. Harrison is excited to begin making paintings of his girlfriend, dog, and the beautiful New England landscape. harrisonhalaska.com


Berkley HeathBerkley Heath is a lifelong artist fascinated by the sources of the materials in our daily lives. Her work in organic agriculture and herbalism led her to discover natural dyeing, and she began studying traditional surface design techniques to incorporate her printmaking practice into her love of natural colors. Natural dyeing is an incredible confluence of many of her interests, from plant biology and organic chemistry, to design and ethnobotany, and she feels passionate about sharing this craft with others. She believes that physical interaction with the landscape facilitates a sense of place, well-being, and stewardship of our natural world. berkleysierra.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


Mike Howat is a New Hampshire-based painter and printmaker. His work explores themes of urbanization, Americana and collective memory. Since earning his B.F.A. from New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2014, he has been actively engaged in the growing New England art scene. He exhibits regularly with Kelley Stelling Contemporary and Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, and has shown with Chase’s Garage, Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, Nahcotta, among others. He is the current artist-in-residence at Kimball Jenkins School of Art, where he teaches classes and workshops in painting, printmaking and drawing. mikehowat.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, VT, he pursues creating his own abstract and expressionist images at his studio.


With a degree in Counseling/Psychology and a specialization in Expressive Therapy, Carla Kimball has long known the value of the arts to expand people’s awareness. As a long time practitioner of the contemplative arts (meditation, tai chi, yoga), a facilitator of group experience, and a photographer of ordinary things, she has experienced the power of mindfulness to calm the spirit and of photography to focus the mind. revealedpresence.com


Michael Kraatz holds a BS in Art from the University of Wisconsin and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has been a roster artist with the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts for many years, completing numerous Arts in Education residencies in public schools. He works in both 2-D and 3-D and is particularly known for his blown glass. Kraatz’s work has been shown nationally and regionally, including at AVA. www.kraatzrussell.com


Maggie mayfly Kundtz Joseph: Visual artist; AVA studio tenant since 2013; AVA instructor.  Strives to nurture & empower-young and old-in the creative process.  Earned a BFA from the University of Michigan in painting & photography; Master’s in photography from Maine Media College.  Early life, worked in the gallery/ museum arena and NYC photography scene; Currently, immersed in art making and raising a family.  Created the artist persona, mayfly, to better embody the ideas of ephemerality and transformation in her art. Read more about Maggie mayfly Kundtz Joseph’s life and work here.


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.


Sue Martin majored in art at a teacher training college in Ripon, Yorkshire, England. Currently retired as a classroom and reading teacher, she has time to rekindle and expand her artistic interests to include stained glass. She finds great delight in incorporating found objects into her work and she has exhibited her stained glass panels, in the Upper Valley.



Meg McLean is a painter and children’s illustrator living in the Upper Valley. She has a BA from the University of New Hampshire and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her illustrations appear in books and publications such as Click Magazine, Weekly Reader, and Zoo Books, and her paintings are in collections around the country. She has an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Cranbrook Academy of Art and is a member of the Copley Society of Art, Boston. www.megmclean.com


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


Mary Mead received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA from the Boston Museum School and Tufts University. She has taught printmaking and art history at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH and at Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction, VT. Mead is a member of the Boston Printmakers Society. www.marymead.weebly.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



Tracy Penfield has a history with AVA going back to 1985. She exhibited her fiber art, taught and modeled at AVA until founding SafeArt in 2000, based in Chelsea VT, where she resides. She passed SafeArt on to the next generation in 2020 and has a private practice in trauma healing at the Center for Integrative Health in Hanover and in Chelsea. She is also a dancer and the Artistic Director of the Passing Project: www.passingproject.org.



Kärin Rothwell became a student of clay back in 1981 under the tutelage of Karen Williamson at the Davidson Pottery at Dartmouth College followed by post-graduate classes at UNH. Having lived in the Middle East, Holland, Spain and Mexico, she experienced the history of strong clay cultures which led to personal discoveries in the medium. Karin served as a teacher/trainer at Dartmouth for many years and began the children’s program at the League of NH Craftsmen in 1984.


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.


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.



Stephanie Wolff works with paper, text, textile, and the book form. Her projects often explore themes of weather, history, and rural life. Her artist books have won awards and been exhibited in the United States and Germany. They are included in 500 Handmade Books, Volumes 1 & 2 (Lark Books) and held in public and private collections. She loves teaching book arts to help others share their stories. www.stephaniewolffstudio.com Instagram: @stephaniewolffstudio