Our Artist Educators

The W. Charles Thompson Museum School at the Attleboro Arts Museum employs a range of award-winning artist educators.  Our teachers are all active, practicing artists with educational experience.  They thrive in a studio setting and are pleased to share their talents with students of all ages.

Artist Educator Biographies:

  • Michael Alfano has been sculpting figures, monuments, and philosophical pieces for twenty years. He first studied at the Art Students League of New York with an emphasis on life size sculpture and anatomy. His formal education continued at Boston University, and was augmented by internships with several prominent sculptors.  Michael exhibits his work at galleries and other public venues, and he is a regular entrant in art shows, where he has garnered over 60 awards. His sculptures are found in private collections throughout the world. Monuments and other public art he’s created are on permanent display in the United States. Newspapers, magazines, books, and television have featured Michael and his work.
  • Adria Arch is a mixed media artist whose work features strong graphic elements and vivid color. Her work demonstrates an abiding interest in evocative shape, often from unpredictable or unexpected sources such as doodles or paint spills. Her site specific, collaborative murals may be viewed at Stonehill College, Lesley University’s Porter Square building in Cambridge, MA and Danforth Art in Framingham, MA. Adria is a technical consultant for GOLDEN Artist Colors. Her upcoming exhibitions include Exposed in Stowe VT this July, the Hunt Gallery at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton VA, and the Grinshaw Gurdewicz Gallery at Bristol Community College in January, 2015.
  • Debra Banna holds a BSW degree in social work and a MLS degree.  She has worked as a school librarian at Dayspring Christian Academy, at the circulation desk in the Attleboro Library and as a children’s librarian at the Sharon Public Library.  During her 7 years in Sharon, she painted murals in the children’s room and developed and taught art education programs for the children.  After leaving Sharon, Debra started her own business, DeeAnne ART, and has been offering classes to home school groups, libraries, private students, and adult groups in various locations throughout Massachusetts.
  • Kaly Barrett holds a BFA in Fiber from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA.  Her work aims to explore the connection between ritual and ordinary objects and her practice is focused mainly on the function and life cycle of ritual cloth.  Kaly has taught children and teen art classes and camps at the Attleboro Arts Museum since the summer of 2012.
  • Sandra Barrett holds an Associates Degree in Social Studies from Berufsbuildungszentrum College in Hochstadt, Germany and her BFA in Sculpture from Bridgewater State University that she received in May of 2007.  Sandra is currently teaching Ceramics for all ages at the Attleboro Arts Museum.
  • Christina Beecher received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art.  She participated in the 2007 8 Visions Exhibition at the Attleboro Arts Museum.  She has exhibited in numerous group show throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and has won many awards in these events and exhibitions.
  • Judith Bertozzi holds a BFA from Tufts University/Museum School and a Masters in Art Ed. from Lesley University.  She has been “plein air” painting for over twenty years during which time she has taught at the Worcester Art Museum, Dighton/Rehoboth Reg. High School and Dighton Middle School.   Her work has received numerous area awards and is in both private and corporate collections.
  • T. A. Charron has been teaching students for over 30 years. He has won over 100 national awards in painting and drawing. His artwork is in collections worldwide. His drawing and painting experiences have established Charron as one of New England’s most valuable instructors.  T.A. studied at the Art Institute of Boston under Norman Baer (Howard Pyle lineage) receiving top honors in illustration and stone lithography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Also, he studied with Robert Douglas Hunter (Boston School lineage) receiving classical training. Charron continued his studies with noted artists; wildlife artist and friend Robert Bateman, portrait artist Daniel E. Greene, sculptor Veryl Goodnight, and watercolorists Nita Engle and Murray Wentworth.
  • Adam Cristaldi specializes in illustration and portrait art.  Adam holds a BFA with a concentration in Illustration from Massachusetts Collage of Art and Design and has been published in Say Good Night to Illiteracy: 10th Anniversary Edition. Adam also enjoys creating live caricatures for visitors during Attleboro’s summer Expo for the Senses and Winter Night Festival.
  • Paula DeSimone is an artist, author and educator who specializes in the Art of Suface Design.  A graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Paula is the author of four books on the subject of surface painting and is credited for developing a Certificate Program in Decorative Painting at RISD/Continuing Education.  Paula’s work is featured in international hospital, corporate and private collections.
  • Cheryl Gilbert is a trained artist who has been painting for over thirteen years.  Cheryl graduated from Rhode Island College in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education.  She has been an art instructor in the Attleboro Public Schools, Bay View Academy, worked as a production artist at Tatutina, and currently works as a floral designer at Flowers by the Station, Attleboro, MA.  Cheryl is also a birthday party instructor for the Attleboro Arts Museum.
  • Lisa Granata holds a BFA in General Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art.  She has a MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a year’s study in Florence Italy at Studio Arts Center International.  Lisa has been teaching a variety of art classes at the Attleboro Arts Museum since 1993 and teaching Introduction to Visual Arts at Dean College since 2002. Her exhibitions include galleries and museums on the east coast, mid west and Italy
  • Cristina Hajosy is the owner of C.E. Hajosy Photography, an atelier specializing in figure study photography as well as Cristina Hajosy Photography, a provider of wedding and portrait photography in New England.  She Holds a BA from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.  She is also a graduate of the professional program at the New England School of Photography and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
  • Renee Harding is an Associate Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the Fashion Design Department. She holds a BFA from RISD and an MFA from the Academy of Art University.  Renee has worked at Roytex, designing private label men’s active wear and sportswear for Pierre Cardin, Bill Blass and various mass merchants. She designed/developed print/knit/woven designs on CAD. She also has enjoyed working with a non-profit Brazilian artisan group and has taken students on a travel program to the modest community in Brazil.
  • Lisa Hirsbrunner is a longtime member and volunteer of the Attleboro Arts Museum. She delights in creating beautiful hand‐knit scarves & hats, as well as custom beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings for all occasions.
  • Cathren Housley, a native of Buffalo NY, came to Providence in 1979 to attend the Rhode Island School of Design (her 4th college) and never went back. Over the years, her eclectic career has included the roles of illustrator, product designer, sculptor, puppeteer, TV and film actress, rock musician, producer, installation artist, teacher and writer.  Cathren decided to go back to school in 2005. She is a recent graduate of the Children’s Book Illustration certificate program at RISD and is now embarked on a new career in publishing.
  • Billie Klegraefe has always enjoyed being creative and exploring many different mediums.  Once Billie experimented with mosaics for the first time, there was no turning back.  She loves everything about making mosaics from the whisper of an idea to finally wiping away the grout haze to reveal the finished project.  Billie has come to see the world differently after discovering mosaics.  Recycling old items into new works of art is her inspiration.  For example, a discarded table now begs to have bits & pieces attached and a broken dish or car window now represents a new texture.
  • David Laferriere is a graphic designer in the Communications Office at Wheaton College in Norton, MA.  He works in freelance design, illustration and online projects when time permits.  Before working at Wheaton College, he was in newspaper publishing as a designer at The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Boston Herald and The Enterprise in Brockton, MA.  He received a BFA in Illustration from RISD in 1980.
  • Margo Lemieux has been an artist since the 1st grade when she got into trouble with her teacher for “decorating” her workbook. After earning a degree in fine arts in painting from BU, she worked as a graphic designer, tee-shirt artist, newspaper correspondent, children’s book author and illustrator, and other interesting things. Currently she is an associate professor at Lasell College, Newton, MA. She still doesn’t know what she wants to do when she grows up.
  • Ben Macomber holds a BS in Commercial Illustration and Design from UMASS Dartmouth and a Certificate in Art Education from Bridgewater State University. He has taught visual arts for many years in public schools, mostly in the Attleboro School District.  Presently, he is on the faculty of RISD Continuing Education Young Artist Program, the Attleboro Arts Museum, the Rhode Island Watercolor Society and the Handicraft Club of Providence.  He also teaches watercolor painting and basic drawing at several Senior and Adult art centers in the area.
  • Kris Occhino holds a BS in Studio Art from Skidmore College and a Masters in Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design.  Kris has exhibited her work at venues throughout Massachusetts.  She teaches watercolor painting at numerous arts organizations and holds classes in her personal Treetop Studio in Attleboro, MA.
  • Bernadette Pace holds a graduate degree in Illustration from Syracuse University and has been enjoying life as artist, designer and illustrator. Her artwork reflects her interest in nature, ancient marks and the creation of icons and patterns that appeal to us through a variety of cosmologies. She is the author and illustrator of Sadie’s Sojourn. Bernadette has been published in American Watercolor Magazine and in the book, The Sacred Circle of Geometry and Symbols. She exhibits her work in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Florida.
  • Amy Rhilinger is a former Attleboro Arts Museum employee and current Board member and volunteer, with a degree in art history.  Amy enjoys experimenting with fabric and embroidery to keep her creative juices flowing.  She currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Attleboro Public Library.
  • Renée Newell Russo holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College with concentrations in Visual Art and Theatre and an MFA in Drawing from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She studied printmaking at Il Bisonte Studio in Florence, Italy. Renée currently teaches at Bridgewater State University.
  • Amanda Sharples is an Illustrator based in the Boston, MA area. Amanda in a graduate of Mass College of Art & Design and has a passion for illustrating children’s art and books. Amanda also loves to create fantasy art, character design, editorial and gallery work. Amanda has fully completed one full children’s book and has two more in progress.  In her spare time Amanda loves to explore outside by camping, traveling, hiking, etc. She loves playing with her dog, drinking tea and reading fairy-tales and folklore.
  • Kerry St.Pierre is a graduate of Mass College of Art & Design where she received training in sculpture, painting and drawing. Immersed in art since she was a child, it was her mother’s soft sculpture dolls and her love of Jim Henson’s creatures that inspired her current creations. Creating these one-of-a-kind hand sculpted creations allows Kerry to use her imagination to its fullest.
  • Steve Topazio holds a fine arts degree from the University of Rhode Island. He was inspired to become a sand sculptor while building a sandcastle with his family on a beach in Maine. After a couple of years of practice he was given the opportunity to compete in a Masters Sand Sculpting event in Hampton Beach, NH and from that point on he was hooked. Steve started up Sandtasia Sand Sculptors of the Ocean State in 2005, a professional sand sculpting company based in RI. Sandtasia has become one of the top sand sculpting teams in the northeast. They entertain crowds at venues such as New England country fairs, beach events, weddings, convention shows, team building and also offer sand sculpting lessons.
  • Katelyn Wheeler received her BFA in Art Education from Bridgewater State University in 2010.  Katelyn is employed by the Middleboro Public Schools as an Art Teacher for two of the town’s elementary schools.  She is currently working towards her MAT in Art Education from Bridgewater State University.  This will be Katelyn’s third summer has a camp instructor for the Attleboro Arts Museum.  She loves to engage students in an active and expressive arts learning environment.
  • Robin Wiseman is an artist and instructor at the high school, college and adult levels.  Wiseman has his studio in Providence, RI and teaches college prep and foundation art classes at the Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

















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