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:


  • Lisa Abbatomarco is an Interdisciplinary Visual and Performing Artist whose modest studio space is often bursting at the seams with painting, puppetry, textiles, collage, sculpture, experimental theater, installation and sound art. Fueled by improvisation, mood and a multitude of materials, she transforms the recycled and discarded into forms both familiar and beautiful, often with an environmental theme. Lisa has taught extensively for IS183 Art School (MA), Tang Teaching Museum (NY) and RISE camp (RI). She has also designed innumerable workshops for community events, art centers and festivals in and out of the US and is listed on the RISCA Arts Education Roster.
  • Andrea Abarca-Coutts gained acceptance to Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts where she specialized in drawing and book making. In 2010 she began attending the Rhode Island School of Design for art education. During her time at RISD she worked as a teaching artist at a Portfolio Preparation program run by RISD for urban high school students. In 2012 she started a Post Baccalaureate Certificate program at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth concentrating on Drawing. She was invited to join the MFA program shortly thereafter. Andrea lives in Little Compton, Rhode Island while keeping a studio space and working in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
  • 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 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.
  • Sally Cobb is an active artist member and former ceramics instructor at the Attleboro Arts Museum.  After participating in several Museum mosaics workshops, she has transitioned from pottery making to creating mosaics. The endless possibilities of design and materials has contributed to Sally’s active interest in and enthusiasm for her new craft.
  • Sandy Coleman has been painting and drawing since childhood. She loves bold, bright colors, but also explores softer tones in her work. She often incorporates African design in her paintings or plays with symbols to create a personal language. Her goal is to explore and follow where the muse leads her as she seeks to understand her own artistic voice. Sandy also designs and creates beaded jewelry, as well as greeting cards that are works of art in and of themselves. Her work has been exhibited in the Boston area and has appeared in O Magazine. She has also been featured on HGTV’s “That’s Clever!’’
  • Bill Clark has practiced and taught calligraphy for over 30 years, and has addressed envelopes to hundreds of people all over the world.
  • 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.
  • Shelby Ganci is a high school Visual Art instructor in Massachusetts. She holds a BFA degree in Fashion Design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited in several shows in the Boston area. She is currently attending graduate school for Visual Art Education at Bridgewater State University.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nicole Maynard-Sahar is an artist/educator with MA state certification in visual arts for K-12. She has over twenty years of solo and group exhibition experience. Nicole’s primary mediums are painting and drawing but she also does work in printmaking, ceramics, collage, and comics. Her MFA is from the University of Pennsylvania and her BFA in painting and art education is from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is represented by the Bowery Gallery in New York City.
  • 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.
  • 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.  Katelyn 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.
  • Carol Wontkowski graduated from a technical photography school, and began her career as a commercial photographer, but soon found she enjoyed the creativity and spontaneity of the images she created outside the commercial studio. Her photographic interests soon evolved and she pursued freelance work while taking on positions in various fields.  Carol has exhibited her work in New York, Florida, South Carolina, California and throughout New England and is represented by the Next Door Gallery in Mansfield, MA, The Preservation Framer in North Attleboro, MA, and Papers in Newport, RI.

















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