RIVER TREE ARTS FACULTY
EMMA ALEXANDER. JEWELRY
Emma has been in love with making jewelry ever since taking her first metalsmithing course in high school. When she graduated she knew she had to keep going. Emma took courses at both MECA and Heartwood College for the Arts. After college, Emma moved out to Seattle for a few years and started working for a jewelry supply company. It was there that she was thrust into the vast world of jewelry making. “I had never really thought outside of metalsmithing before and my mind was blown! I loved helping our customers discover new techniques and I’m excited to do the same for the students at River Tree!”
ALICE CARROLL. METALSMITHING
Alice Carroll holds an MFA degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a BFA from Portland School of Art. She served as Artist in Residence at the Penland School of Crafts from 1992-1994. During that time she acted as studio coordinator of the metals department. She has exhibited widely, including shows at the National Arts Club in NYC, Hodges Taylor Gallery in Charlotte NC, and is a member of the American Crafts Council and the Society of North American Goldsmiths. She came back to southern Maine in 1994, and has been teaching jewelry and metalsmithing since then and is currently running a studio full time making jewelry and decorative/sculptural work.
OWEN CONFORTE. GUITAR, UKELELE
DEREK DRINON. VISUAL ART
Derek Drinon, artist and photographer, attended Portland School of Art majoring in print-making, minoring in graphic design. He taught briefly in Worcester, MA in a day-care/kindergarten environment before moving full-time to the Seacoast region. He did design work for the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, and also taught hand-painting of pottery to adults and children. After moving to ME, he attended Rockport School of Photography to enhance his skills. Besides photography, he works in watercolors, oils and charcoal. He received a “Best in Show” in 2011 at the River Club in Kennebunkport and his work hangs in private homes in the area.
DUANE EDWARDS. GUITAR, BASS, ENSEMBLES
Bassist Duane Edwards is an accomplished musician currently residing in Portland, Maine. Duane has performed throughout New England and Canada. He studied jazz at the University of Maine at Augusta with Boston bassist Greg Loughman, Thelonious Monk Institute Award recipient Steve Grover, the composer Richard Nelson, and saxophonist Frank Mauceri. Duane has also studied with jazz heavyweights Ben Allison and Drew Gress. He performs in a variety of groups with styles ranging from jazz to rock to cuban; and has shared the stage with illustrious musicians such as Chuchito Valdes, Jon Langford, and Trombone Shorty. His music has been featured on All About Jazz radio and across the United States. Mr. Edwards currently teaches at the Midcoast School of Music in Portland and is the Music Department Coordinator at the River Tree Arts. He also joined the adjunct faculty at the University of Maine at Augusta and Bowdoin in the fall of 2014.
GAYLE FITZPATRICK, BFA, MEd. VISUAL ARTS
For over thirty years Gayle has taught in public and private schools, colleges, adult education and community programs that serve people of all age, abilities and demographics; including The Chicago Hearing Society, the Marwen Foundation’s I Had a Dream Program, Wells Public School District , The New School, Simpson College in Iowa and at the Autism Society of America’s Annual Conferences.
Gayle is a practicing artist who creates and exhibits works in painting, printmaking and papermaking. She earned her BFA at Massachusetts College of Art, continued studies in the Massachusetts state college System, Penland School of Crafts, Haystack School of Crafts and with Master Tsuneo Naito in Japan.
BARBARA FRASER. PIANO
Barbara brings together an eclectic background in the arts, education, and therapy as a music instructor. Her specialties include teaching piano and voice students of all ages to read music, training her students with a unique approach combining classical and jazz theory. She brings extensive experience directing early childhood and school-age arts and educational programs. She has 20 years of musical training on piano, voice, bassoon, and clarinet. Barbara has a BS in Child Development and Educational Psychology, and a secondary focus in Fine Arts, from Union College in New York. “My primary role as an educator is to create a warm, exciting atmosphere wherein my students want to explore and learn, creativity and uniqueness are fostered, expressing feelings and collaboration are modeled and supported.”
LAUREN HASTINGS GENOVA. VIOLIN
Lauren Hastings Genova holds a Bachelor’s of Music in violin performance and a Master’s of Ethnomusicology from Boston University. She also attended The Royal College of Music in London, England during the autumn of 2006. Prior to university, she attended Walnut Hill School in Natick, MA and the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School program. As a violinist, Lauren has toured internationally. She has studied privately with Dean Stein of the Portland String Quartet, Yuri Mazurkevich, Rosemary Furniss, William Fedkenheuer, and Ferdinand “Dino” Liva of the DaPonte String Quartet, among others. Lauren currently performs as a member of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Amarantos String Quartet, Alhan Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, and other various Maine-based ensembles. Along with classical music, Lauren is devoted to and encourages an open-minded approach to music performance and study. Along these lines, she also enjoys collaborating with many of Portland’s rock musicians. As a violin teacher, Lauren utilizes various pedagogical methods that she tailors to the student and his/her learning style and interests.
ANN GUINEY. VOICE, THEATER
Ann Guiney is active as a performer and teacher. She holds a Masters Degree in Music in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. She has appeared as a soloist with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Company in San Francisco, the New England Philharmonic, the Marblehead Symphony Orchestra, and the Longwood Opera Company and recently Our Theatre Company. Ann has served as Director of Performing Arts at River Tree Arts in Kennebunk. Ann often adjudicates national and local vocal competitions and auditions. She maintains a busy voice studio both privately and at River Tree Arts. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Her students have appeared at Our Theatre Company, Ogunquit Playhouse, Boston Children’s Theater,Rochester Opera House, Maine All-State Chorus Festival, Portland Players, Portland Lyric Theater, North Shore Music Theater, Boston Children’s Chorus, and the Boys Singers of Maine to name a few! Ann works with students of all abilities for beginners to professionals.
CATHY SCHROEDER HAMMOND. CERAMICS
Cathy Schroeder Hammond has been making pottery in Maine since 1987, and teaching in various programs in the Portland and Kennebunk areas since 1991. She spent many years as Ceramic Technician and Instructor at Maine College of Art, and is glad to help welcome ceramics back to River Tree Arts. Since 2001 Cathy has been living and working in Lyman out of her own Pasture’s Edge Studio.
LUCY WEBB HARDY. SEWING
Lucy Webb Hardy has been sewing for 45 years. She has taught sewing to adults and children alike through adult education, 4-H, after school, recreational and RTA programs. She is a process-not-product teacher, and embraces upcycling whenever possible. Her repurposed mittens, birdhouses and other goods can be found at RTA’s Prelude show as well as in her home shop. She has two grown children, lives in Wells with her husband David, and is a long-time ed. tech at the Kennebunkport Consolidated School during the school year.
EMMETT HARRITY. PIANO
Emmett Harrity is an active pianist in the Southern Maine region who performs and enjoys a wide variety of music, specializing in jazz and other improvised music. A 2012 graduate cum laude of the University of Southern Maine School of Music, he now resides in Portland and spends his time performing, accompanying and teaching private lessons. He is the pianist for The Fogcutters big band and the piano trio Standard Issue, both based in Portland. Emmett has experience teaching a range different styles and skill levels, and hopes to instill in his students the same excitement he feels for music and the piano.
WILLIAM HESSIAN. VISUAL ARTS & ROBOTICS
William Hessian holds a BA in Studio Arts from Winona State University in Winona, MN and is known to many as The Canvas Killer and as Mr. Art Hunt, and his students know him as Mr. Billy. One of William’s creations is Canvas Kill Live.This is an art form in which the artist creates and “kills” an art piece during a performance. Some of the implements he has been known to use are blenders, swords, and knives. William also does Miniature Art Hunts on a national level, inviting communities to find his hidden artwork and win prizes. William often tells his students, “there are no wrong answers in art,” and therefore the results are limitless.
MEGAN HOLTHAM. CERAMICS
Megan grew up on Martha’s Vineyard MA, and has always shared a love for the arts and small coastal towns. While her 4 years at Gould Academy and many winters spent at Sugarloaf Mountain solidified her desire to one day move to Maine, it was her year at The Landing School for Boat Building & Design that landed her in Kennebunkport, in 2004. Megan’s passion and experience as a boat builder fueled her curiosity to explore other mediums such as metal, clay, graphic design and most recently, custom picture framing. As she finishes her final year at the University of Southern Maine to earn a degree in Art Education, she is eager to teach all ages the mediums that she has become so familiar with, most specifically, ceramics.
Megan’s experience with many mediums of art, and particular love for clay, has earned her several recognitions at USM including the “Disciplined Award for Ceramics” and most recently afforded her the opportunity to show one of her pieces at USM’s Juried Show. Megan’s experience as a summer intern at River Tree Arts solidified her enthusiasm to work at a community based arts center to help nurture and enrich the creative young minds of all her students.
SHARON MEISEL. PIANO
CAREN-MARIE MICHEL. VISUAL ART
Caren-Marie Sargent Michel was born in Portland, Maine and is a lifelong Maine resident. Michel is a devoted plein air painter working in acrylic and pastel on locations all over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. She has been painting plein air for over ten years. Michel is President of the Pastel Painters of Maine, past Treasurer of the Union of Maine Visual Artists and President of Westbrook Arts & Culture. Michel earned her B.F.A. in painting from Portland School of Art in 1978 (now Maine College of Art.) Her work has been selected for juried shows all over the country. Michel is represented by North Light Gallery in Millinocket, Maine. She is a member of the Saccarappa Art Collective in Westbrook, Maine.
JOE RIILLO. Saxophone. Clarinet. Flute
Joe Riillo, a classically trained clarinetist, quickly discovered the enticements of R&B and Jazz. Switching to the saxophone, he developed a singular style influenced by artists ranging from King Curtis and Johnny Almond to Cannonball Adderly and Lester Young. On the clarinet, he offers tribute to Pete Fountain, Jimmy Hamilton, and Eddie Daniels. Joe pulls from diverse musical interests including classical, jazz, funk, folk, Blues, R&B, and Big Band Ensemble playing. Music career highlights include performing and sharing the stage with James Cotton, BB King, J. Geils, The Legendary Blues Band (Muddy Waters back-up group) with Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Rich Big Band, Dan Hicks and the Acoustic Warriors, BR 549, Leon Redbone, Susan Werner, John Pizzarelli, and many, many more from Palm Beach, Florida to Quebec City, Canada. Joe is a graduate of Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre, PA where I was privileged to study with William R. Gasbarro, mentor to Richard Stoltzman, currently the premiere classical clarinet soloist in the world. Mr. Gasbarro was also an original member of Red Nichols seminal Five Pennies, regarded as the most progressive jazz band of the “hot” jazz era.
ANGELA HAMEL RUSSELL. DANCE
Angela has been dancing since the age of 18 months. She began her training at The Dance Space in Lower Village before studying at Sharon Arnold Lux’s School of Dance in Arundel. There, she learned valuable skills, not only with dance technique, but also teaching dance to children, teens, and adults. While teaching at Sharon’s, Angela also worked at the Kennebunk Elementary School, teaching an after school dance class through the Stretch Beyond program. During this time, Angela also danced and competed with The K.H.S. Dance Team. After taking home the solo trophy for Irish Dancing at States, she progressed to Nationals and took home the top Irish title. With a passion for competition and dance, Angela has attended numerous workshops, conventions, and classes. Through these opportunities, she has been able to work with some of the industry’s top dancers and choreographers. More recently, Angela ran and instructed gymNation’s dance program in Kennebunk. Angela created a multi-disciplinary dance program for all ages at River Tree Arts in 2012 that continues to grow each year.
ABBETH RUSSEL. VISUAL ART
Abbeth Russell teaches art and juggling. She received her BFA in Painting from Maine College of Art where she graduated with honors. She has shown and sold her work in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and all over Maine. In her spare time, Abbeth enjoys juggling flaming torches, working on her novel Destroyer Sky, and hanging out with her amazing cat, Jackson. Portland, Maine is the wonderful city she currently calls home & is involved with various art organizations and street art performances.
LAURA SAVARD. VISUAL ART, CERAMICS
Laura Savard lives in the Kennebunks with her two daughters. Living and loving her oceanside community, Laura brings a diverse & multi-talented teaching style to her afterschool classes.
Being a mom, artist, teacher and the Gallery Coordinator at River Tree Arts, she has found art to always be her muse. Savard, having learned the trade of Picture Framing and Gallery Coordinator at in high school through a work trade program, she has since worked at & owned galleries from Worcester MA, Miami FL, Santa Fe NM, Portland ME & Kennebunk.
With art being her lifeblood, she has found her passion in carved gessoed iconic-style paintings, Raku sculptures, large murals and printmaking. Laura has taught at RTA since 2010.
KIMBERLEY PURCELL-SHIPMAN, MA. WRITING
Formerly, a University Creative Writing and Proficiency Lecturer for the Department of English and currently a creative writing consultant for Our Story Matters 2, Kim Purcell-Shipman provides unique workshops on soulful writing, intuitive writing, and writing as a healing art.
Kim teaches a beginner how to capture those first elusive sentiments and takes a pro to new depths. She offers a safe place, according to AWA guidelines, for her students to flourish.
As a workshop leader, Kim leverages over 20 years of experience and a Masters of Literature to aid you in your writing endeavors – be it poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, a novel, a screenplay, a short story or even a story slam. Kim learned from the best in their fields: the scriptwriters from Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Fight Club and author of the bestselling novel Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden.
JONATHAN TRUMAN. DRUMS
Jonathan has been playing professionally for nearly a decade throughout Maine, and beyond, which has included recording time in Nashville, and jazz gigs in New York City. Jonathan got his start playing in his hometown of Hallowell, ME, but currently lives and frequently plays in the Portland area. Jonathan has 4 years of teaching experience and has worked with both kids & adults. Regardless of your age, Jonathan is your guide into the massive, and exciting, world of drumming.
RUSSEL WHITTEN. VISUAL ART
In 2004, at age 22, Whitten was juried into the 70-member Ogunquit Art Association, Maine’s oldest art group founded in 1928 to bring together professional artists to exhibit their finest work and provide an educational forum to enhance the cultural life on the Seacoast. He received two scholarships to study fine art at Heartwood College of Art in Kennebunk, where Hardy, West and Lethem were his teachers. Whitten went on to complete a year’s course of study at the prestigious Art Students League of New York, after which he came back to Maine and pursued the OAA. Russel is well versed in several mediums & styles. He has shown his work throughout New England, including the Barn Gallery.
Mission / History
Board & Staff