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. Visit her personal website AliceCarrollDesignCenter.com
PIPER CASTLES – PAINTING
I have known I wanted to be an artist since I was five years old. Painting has always been my medium. My work is a joyful celebration of nature and color, expressed through realism. I use acrylic paint on wooden panels to create my paintings. I hope anyone who views my work feels calmer and more peaceful for having done so. Pause and take a deep breath. Let the scene relax you. Nature is a healer. Enjoy this right now, just for a moment. My paintings are to remind you to breathe, to let go, to feel joy and peace within. My work is a meditation in paint, a visual reminder to come back to the here and now, a moment of calm in a sea of busy.
Nature is my inspiration. Walking outside is where painting ideas come to me. Nature fills me with awe and peace. That’s what I want to capture in my paintings and share with the world. There is so much that is beautiful here in Maine. It’s hard not to see paintings everywhere.
I graduated from Pratt Institute with honors and have been very fortunate to work with many amazing clients over the years including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Wells Reserve, Gary Pike House, Blacksmith’s Winery and New Hampshire State Parks. I owned my own gallery for many years but now show my work at other galleries which allows me the freedom to spend more time outside with my daughter, husband and two dogs.
JEFFERSON CONIARIS – Illustration
Jefferson Coniaris is an illustrator based in Southern Maine. He started drawing and creating art at a very early age and furthered his skills by attending the Maine College of Art, earning a BFA in illustration in 2008.
Jefferson primarily works with comics, caricatures, logo and tattoo design, portraits, and cartoons. He enjoys creating art with a variety of media but favors ink and digital coloring.
He has been working freelance, successfully self-published, and continues to create new art daily. When he is not drawing, Jefferson loves spending time with his wife and their three children and watching them grow. See his work at https://www.coniarts.com/
MCKENZIE DAVIDSON – Art Education
McKenzie Davidson holds a MAT (Masters of Art in Teaching) from Maine College of Art. She graduated from that program in 2019, and took an elementary art position in district RSU 21. McKenzie currently teaches at both Sea Road and Mildred L. Day School.
Before McKenzie moved to Maine, she taught at Grace Academy in Hartford, Connecticut. She received her BFA with a concentration in Painting from Plymouth State University in 2015. Although McKenzie is a painter, she is passionate about introducing her students to 3D mediums.
GAYLE FITZPATRICK, BFA, MEd. VISUAL ART
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.
LUCY HARDY – SEWING
Sewing instructor Lucy Hardy has been sewing for 45 years. She has taught sewing for 15 years in 4-H, Adult Education, at Rivertree Arts, and in private classes. Her mittens and tote bags have been marketed at craft shows and RTA. She loves keeping this life-long learning hobby alive through her classes. She adores her students. Lucy received her B.S. in Education from the University of Southern Maine, and recently retired from the Kennebunkport Consolidated School. She lives in Wells with her husband David.
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.
TINA FISCHER – KNITTING
Tina Fischer loves to knit and loves to teach others to enjoy this creative, portable craft, which has seen an energetic revival of interest the past few years. Tina’s been knitting since she was a teen, has taught friends and family members of all ages to knit, and designs knitting patterns too. She lives in Kennebunk and is a writer and editor as well as an avid gardener.
JACKIE GRIGG – VOICE, PIANO
Jackie Grigg received her Master of Music and Advanced Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy from New York University and her Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado. As a graduate student in New York, she taught private voice lessons and group voice classes to undergraduates at the university. Teachers and mentors include Jeremy Aye, Brian Gill, Dianna Heldman, Bill Wesbrooks, and Bonnie Draina.
While at NYU, she performed as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, and was featured in Massenet’s Cendrillon, as well as workshopping several new musicals. In 2015, Jackie was awarded a creative grant for an intensive study on Bock and Harnick’s musical She Loves Me and its source material, culminating in a performance in which she portrayed the role of Amalia Balash. Jackie works with students of all abilities for beginners to professionals.
MEGAN HOLTHAM – CERAMICS
Megan grew up on Martha’s Vineyard MA, and has always shared a love for the arts and small coastal towns. She landed in Kennebunkport in 2004 when she attended The Landing School for Boat Building & Design. 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. Megan’s experience with many mediums of art, and a particular love for clay, has her primarily working in River Tree Arts ceramic studio; however, you will often find her helping at the front desk and hosting our very popular “Craft Night” program.
STEVE HREHOVCIK – DRAWING/CARTOON
Steve remembers the first picture he drew – a jalopy at age seven. As he filled the blank sheet with the bent fenders, torn convertible top and steam erupting from the radiator cap he began an artist’s journey that continues to this day. Steve works in pen and ink, acrylics, charcoal, pencil and colored markers, plus graphic design in CorelDraw. His subjects include cartoons, caricatures, homes and buildings, portraits, equestrian art, pets, scenic views and maps. He studied art and design at Rutgers University, the University of Miami, Catholic University, Maine College of Art and Heartwood College of Art. On trips, rather than using a camera, he prefers to capture the memories on a sketch pad.
RACHEL JAFFE – CERAMICS
All my life, I have been inspired by the beauty of the world around me. Surrounded by constant inspiration, my passion for the arts grew as it was a muse and an outlet to capture the world’s beauty. I’ve dabbled in visual, theatrical, musical, culinary, and decorative art forms throughout my time on this earth. There is something magical about creating from one of earth’s elements: clay. From the moment I got my hands dirty with clay not so many years ago it has become my niche, my one true passion.
Throughout my creative journey I have learned that the most joy is found by sharing my passion with others. I’ve taken ceramic classes in and out of school (another long journey), worked full time at a pottery studio, and instructed after school multi-media art classes for young children in my hometown Falls Church, Virginia. As an aspiring young artist I hope to expand my growth and knowledge of this ancient art form and can think of no better way than to learn through teaching others. I am pursuing this dream by gaining as much experience as possible and continuing my art education at SMCC.
For me, working with clay has always been a very meditative and therapeutic outlet. I also draw inspiration from my other creative hobbies such as playing ukulele or violin, watercoloring, creating dreamcatchers, or crafting with anything I can get my hands on. I am partial to any craft that allows me to get my hands dirty!
HEATHER LEWIS – VISUAL ART
ACCOMPLISHED VISUAL ARTIST, TEACHER, COACH Heather Lewis possesses a life-long immersion in the arts beginning in Delaware with artist parents, fine art training at The Philadelphia College of Art, and over three decades of actively creating art for exhibition and sale. PASSIONATE about helping others reconnect with their own creativity, she is a seasoned studio arts instructor and creativity coach who inspires learning through her engaging and encouraging teaching style. She has taught and conducted workshops throughout the northeast for all different age levels from pre-school to college. She is an adjunct studio arts professor at York County Community College. “As with her paintings, Heather’s classroom instruction serves as a magical conduit through which others discover their own dreams, visions, images, and feelings. She creates a learning environment where her students feel safe to explore and, simultaneously, challenged and stretched to their highest potential. Heather truly embraces and models the belief that her classroom provides the venue to set the creator in each of us free. “ Read more on Heather Lewis here
CONOR LINEHAN – GUITAR
Originally from Bangor, Maine, Conor Linehan has been playing guitar, performing, composing, and arranging music since the age of 12. In his youth, Conor quickly gravitated toward a variety of pop, rock and folk guitar styles and soon started playing with many professional groups. In his teens, Conor discovered a new passion for jazz and classical music and began to cultivate dreams of becoming a performer and educator. He has spent much of his life in Portland, Maine where he attended the University of Southern Maine School of Music, earning his BM in guitar performance with a concentration in jazz studies. Conor has been an active member of Portland’s music scene playing in various professional music projects as well as leading his own groups.
His latest project is a six-piece experimental jazz and funk ensemble called YEAHMAN. Conor is proud to be an accomplished local music educator having taught a massive variety of guitar styles to students ranging from total beginner players to professional level musicians. He also is an experienced teacher of ukulele, bass, mandolin, songwriting, arranging and music theory. Conor works all over Southern Maine at a variety of private institutions as well as his own independently owned studio in downtown Portland. Today, Conor is extremely excited to be the newest team member of the River Tree Arts music faculty in Kennebunk!
CAREN-MARIE MICHEL – VISUAL ARTS
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.
MEREDITH RADFORD – ART EDUCATION
Meredith Radford is a designer, artist and art educator from Nova Scotia who now calls Maine her home. She graduated with a BFA from Concordia University, a diploma in Graphic Design from NSCC, and has been a professional artist and graphic designer for over 12 years. Occasionally, Meredith is also an elementary substitute teacher and is currently teaching here at River Tree Arts.
Meredith participates in a few art shows and festivals every year. Her art is narrative and whimsical, inspired by her love for the ocean and surfing. From hand drawn and digital illustration, to collage and painting, her work covers an array of media that speaks her visual language. Iconic surf figures, imperfect surfboards, imagined plants, and patterns, are some of the recurring subjects in her pieces. Her intention is to bring people joy through her work.
BRIGID RANKOWSKI – ART INSTRUCTION
Brigid Rankowski is an artist with a disability advocacy background. She obtained her Master’s degree in developmental disabilities in 2015 and has connected art with the disability culture. She has gone on to be a Teaching Artist Leader as part of the Maine Arts Commission and uses multiple mediums to work with the strengths of each student.
BRENDAN RODDY – CERAMICS
I come from a very creative and expressive family, and making art has always been something that I have been encouraged to pursue. I would draw with my aunt, craft with my mother, learn about photography from my father, and always loved working with my hands. I am greatly inspired by all things water and ocean related. Being new to coastal Maine, I find the shape of shells, the crashing of waves, the flowing of water, and oceanic life both beautiful and organic. I strive to interpret these forms and gestural lines in my ceramic sculptures and pottery.
I received my BFA in 3D Design with a concentration in Ceramics at Salisbury University in Maryland and went on to get my Masters of Art in Teaching from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. I currently teach Fine Art at the Middle School of the Kennebunks in Kennebunk, Maine. I’m excited to teach at River Tree Arts and be part of such a creative community. My work can be viewed on Instagram at brendanroddyart or on my website at http://www.brendanroddyart.com
SERINA RUGGERI – SEWING
Serina is a mom of one, wife of a talented photographer, and lover of all things sewing. Over the many years of watching her great Aunt T hand-make dresses, bedding, window treatments, and doll clothing, she soon discovered the joy of sewing. Now, you can find her making her own clothing and teaching workshops here at RTA.
Serina also owns a quaint non-profit shop (Soulful Stitching Shop on Etsy) that dedicates profit to a charitable cause. Of each item that is sold, a generous percentage will be donated to your local community outreach service (wherever you are) to feed and clothe hungry children and families. The rest is used to replenish her thread and needles!
You can catch up with her on her IG account @SoulfulStitching to see the many projects and classes as well what’s new in the shop!
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.
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.
SAM SMITHWICK – MUSIC INSTRUCTION
Originally from Mississippi, Sam Smithwick is a teacher and singer/songwriter who performs and offers instruction in songwriting, literature, history, rock band, guitar, bass, and ukulele. A graduate of Auburn University and the University of Southern Maine, he resides in Kennebunk and spends his time writing, performing, and teaching. Sam toured nationally and worked in concert management for nearly twenty years. Teaching a range of styles and skill levels, Sam specializes in creative writing, the blues, and coaching beginner musicians.
SHELBY TRONDLE – THEATER
Shelby has been acting, singing, and performing for as long as she can remember. At the age of five you would find her standing on a table belting out the star-spangled banner in her most operatic voice, entertaining her parents’ guests. Long before Shelby’s desire to pass down the love of theatre to her own two children and the children in the community, she performed choral and lead roles in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance”, “The Mikado”, and Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Ernest.” Shelby also competed at the state and national level for duet acting, creative oral interpretation, vocal solo, vocal duet, and choral performances.
She enjoyed traveling with an honors ensemble and choir for over three years. For the past five years Shelby has directed children’s theatre, taught public speaking, and improv classes for a home education cooperative here in the Kennebunks. She has just completed her first year as the children’s theater director here at River Tree Arts, which ended in a fun, energetic, and successful production of the Wizard of Oz. She is pleased and privileged to be working alongside such a talented and creative group of faculty and staff, including a very supportive community.
LINDSAY WALLER – VIOLIN, VIOLA
Lindsay Waller, originally from Rhode Island, began playing violin at the age of 6. She attended the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for Performing and Visual Arts where she gained valuable musical skills such as theory, piano, and vocal technique. Going on to study with Anatole Wieck at the University of Maine, she graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance in May 2018. During her time there she served as Principal Second and Assistant Concert Master in the university orchestra, also participating in chamber music, jazz combo, solo recitals, and local gigs with friends. In her final year, she worked as the Music Director of the college radio station WMEB 91.9 and began teaching violin lessons at RDL Strings in Bangor, ME.
After graduating from the University of Maine, Lindsay moved to southern Maine where she started teaching at the Gorham School of Music. She recently received her Maine Teaching Certification and teaches K-5 general music at Sebago Elementary School. She continues to perform as a member of SeaCoast Ceremonial Music and the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra. She believes music can help us all become more patient and empathetic people. In the future she plans to continue to perform, teach, and explore the variety of music the world has to offer.
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.