Faculty Biographies

Aric Attas

Aric Attas received his MFA in Photography from the Hartford Art School in 1996 and BS in Psychology from Hobart College in 1988. He has won numerous awards for his fine art which has been exhibited internationally. Currently Attas is the owner of Aric Attas {Creative} in Vero Beach, Florida where he is sought out for his architectural, product and food photography. He is on the faculty of the Vero Beach Museum of Art and actively mentors private students from around the world. Publications include Luxe, Four Seasons Magazine and Vero Home, Life & Design. Attas has also been featured on Ovation TV’s art and culture program American Canvas. Most recently his work was added to the permanent collection of the University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Lynn Berkowitz

Lynn Berkowitz is an experienced museum educator with a career spanning over 20 years. Lynn has overseen thousands of educational programs during her tenure as Director of Education for The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, as well as in her role as Director of Learning Experiences and Interim Museum Co-Director at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and most recently at The Barnes Foundation, as Community Programs Manager. She holds an M.F.A. from Temple University and currently teaches various online art appreciation classes through diverse educational organizations.

Hester Bloom

Hester Bloom has a Master’s Degree in psychology from the University of Florida and is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, an international registry of yoga instructors and training programs. She is also a certified Qigong instructor through the Cloudwalker program in Vero Beach. 

Judy Burgarella

Judy Burgarella has taught painting and drawing for fifteen years, and her work has been exhibited in many galleries and shows, earning her numerous awards. She is an artist of many mediums, including sculpture, and she has studied with such notable artists as Christopher Chang, Dorothy Starbuck, Karen Lafell, Lou Bonomarte, and Charles Gruppe.

Walford Campbell

Walford Campbell attended the Walsall School of Art and Derby Lonsdale College in England. He served as head of Ceramics at Solden Hill House in England, and taught at Edna Manley College in Kingston, Jamaica. Walford’s focus is on surface decoration and larger sculptural forms.

Edmund Cortez

Edmund Cortez is a performing musician as well as an art educator. He has dedicated his life-long career to ensuring educational services to people with disabilities during his five-year term as the New York State Assistant Commissioner of Education and later on as the President and C.E.O. of the National Center for Disability Services. Upon his retirement, Mr. Cortez has launched a prolific career as a musician, painter, and ship-model builder. His model of the Gunboat Philadelphia is now housed at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

Christopher Louis Fasolino

Christopher Louis Fasolino has an M.A. in art history and English literature from Plattsburgh State University. He has taught art history for more than ten years, including courses for undergraduates and museum docents. His historical adventure novel, Men of Promise, was published in 2015. Christopher’s new novel, Early Nature Artists in Florida – Audubon and His Fellow Explorers, is available from Arcadia Publishing.

Carolyn Fee

Carolyn Fee has her B.F.A. from the California College of the Arts, and is the founder and teacher at For the Love of Drawing Mill Valley, Tiburon, teaching art courses dedicated to the drawing experience. She has also curated art collections for corporate and private collectors. Carolyn has taught drawing to both adults and children.

Risa Gettler

Risa Gettler is a calligrapher, designer, illustrator, author and instructor, who combines her advertising career with her lifelong study of letter arts. She has studied calligraphy at University of Calligraphy/Italy, Princeton University’s Department of Spanish Medieval Art, the Morgan Library, Getty Center, and UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In addition to commissioned hand lettered and illustrated books, Risa’s art is featured in many books including the centennial edition of the Speedball Textbbook, 24th edition.

Xaque Gruber

Xaque Gruber graduated from Pratt in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing. He studied art education at Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In 1992, Xaque earned his first graduate degree (art education with a concentration in K – 5). Xaque taught art in New England to thousands of schoolchildren, primarily in Douglas, Massachusetts, and in the summers, in Concord, Massachusetts at the Middlesex School.  In 1999, he was nominated for Massachusetts Art Teacher Of The Year. In addition to acting and writing for tv and film, Xaque began working as a reporter and teaching art in Florida. He is a freelance journalist for The Press Journal newspaper, and teaches art workshops here at the VBMA Art School. His own artwork is primarily watercolor and mixed media.

Sherry Haaland

Sherry Haaland received her B.S. in art education from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has extensive experience in both oils and pastels, having studied art and art history for many years. Sherry is a professional studio artist, receiving many commissions for pet portraits in pastels.

Cynthia Hurst

Cynthia Hurst has practiced Tai Chi for nearly three decades. Continuing studies of the art include qigong with instructor Hester Bloom and yoga with Himalaya Parker and Shelley Adelle in Vero Beach, as well as training in 18-step qigong and 24-step Ta Chi Form with Glenn Grossman in East Lansing, Michigan. Cynthia has a B.A. in social work/psychology and an M.S. in HRLR from Michigan State University.

Joel Johnson

Joel Johnson has a B.F.A. in art from Westminster College and M.F.A. in painting and art history from Utah State University. A career artist, Joel has received numerous awards, exhibited in many national shows and has been featured in many fine art galleries throughout the country. Joel is a member of the National Watercolor Society and the Transparent Watercolor Society. He is also an exhibiting artist at the Prix de West in Oklahoma City at the Cowboy Heritage Museum. This will be his fifth year and in 2021 he was awarded the Donald Teague award for Outstanding Work on Paper. His work has been featured in Southwest Art magazine and also Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. His work is represented by Mountain Trails Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit  www.artistjoeljohnson.com 

Kent Johnson

Kent Johnson has his degree in ceramics from Palomar College, along with two years in studio production. He has also worked with renowned potters, Stephen Hill and Lana Wilson. Kent spent the past thirty-six years as a landscape designer, receiving awards from the Home and Garden Show in San Diego, and created displays for the prestigious Delma Thoroughbred Club.

Morgan Kuster

Morgan Kuster obtained her Master of Arts in Teaching from The George Washington University in 2017. As an arts educator, Morgan has developed and executed virtual learning programs, diverse curricula, workshops, and family experiences to strengthen educational programs surrounding exhibitions and permanent collection objects. She is currently working as part of the To Dye For Collective on a surface design project with the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum in addition to her role as Gallery Programs Coordinators at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. 

Vickie Marsango

Vickie Marsango is a studio artist and Treasure Coast art instructor who works in oil, acrylic, mixed media, assemblage, and encaustic. She has studied fine art in colleges and universities in Illinois and California, and has attened extensive workshops with R&F’s Ellen Koment (encaustics), Stewart Cubley (the process of painting), and Steven Aimone (expressive drawing/painting). 

Dawn Mill

Dawn Mill has a B.A. in art from the University of Central Florida. She is a professional artist whose work includes watercolor, drawing and graphic art, pastel, oil, and acrylic. She teaches art to adults and children. 

Marlene Evans Putnam

Marlene Evans Putnam works in watercolor, and most recently in oils, and has conducted numerous workshops around the country. She is known for her portraits as well as seascapes, has won many awards, and continues to exhibit throughout the U.S. Mrs. Putnam’s work is included in many public and private collections.

Barry Shapiro

Barry Shapiro is a graduate of Pratt Institute (BFA in painting and printmaking) where he studied with internationally renowned artists such as James Grashow, Vasilios Toulis, Rudolph Baranik and Audrey Flack. His portraits and abstract landscapes have been featured in several exhibits including The Brownstone Art gallery (Brooklyn, NY), the Nathan B. Rosen Museum Gallery (Boca Raton, FL), and locally at The Emerson Center, The Center For Spiritual Care, the Community Church Narthex Gallery and Lighthouse Art Gallery.

Diane Thelen

Diane Thelen, who joined Film Studies in the fall of 2014, holds a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in art and French, from Douglass College. She also did post-graduate work in education at Rutgers University. A former Language Arts teacher, who has traveled abroad for many years, Diane combines a keen interest in film, together with a curiosity about people and cultures. She brings this appreciation of cinema to the class, to share its emotional power with all of Vero’s movie buffs.

Christine Thomas

Christine Thomas has been a professional artist for more than thirty years, participating in galleries and showing at fine art shows around the country. Her specialties include acrylics, silk painting, murals, silkscreen printing, and decorative painting, and she has won awards for her fiber art.