Meet the Faculty

Lisa Adams

Lisa Adams has been making art since she could hold a pencil. A Manhattan based illustrator for 26 years, Lisa relocated to the Mystic area where she resumed her career as a fine artist. Lisa’s unique style – a mix of super-realism, collage, naive drawing, and artists’ handwriting –  has garnered recognition and awards. She is represented by the Diane Birdsall Gallery in Old Lyme, CT. Her illustration work can be consistently spotted in mainstream magazines, The New York Times, and teen book-jackets for global publishing houses. She is the creator of the babyGap Teddy bear store mascot and the author/illustrator of the popular holiday children’s book “The Twelve Days of Christmas in New York City”. Lisa holds a BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

More about Lisa

Deb Aldo

Deb is a mosaic artist and landscape designer who specializes in large scale architectural installations such as murals, panels, garden sculpture and benches. She is the principal of Pietre Dure Design and has been making mosaics for several years. She offers workshops and residencies in mosaic for all ability levels. Aldo has degrees in Fine Art and Graphic Design as well as Landscape Architecture/Horticulture. Her combined experience in art and landscape architecture allows for fluency with both design and construction methods that create a structurally sound product with a low level of maintenance. Deb is a certified teaching artist in the state of CT as well as a member of the New England Consortium of Artist-Educator Professionals and has been teaching art for many years. She teaches pebble mosaic and architectural installation and basic mosaic classes at schools and art studios across the country. Her artwork and commissions are in both public and private collections in this country and internationally.  She exhibits her work nationally and is a continual student of mosaics as well. Deb has studied with Maggy Howarth, Sherri Warner-Hunter, Sophie Drouin and other notables in the world of mosaics.

More about Deb

Sheila Barbone

Sheila developed an interest in art at an early age and her teachers took notice of her talent. At the age of nine, the owner of Stonington Art Gallery was impressed by her work and exhibited her first painting. Sheila continued to paint scenes of Stonington for a number of years before she decided to embark on formal training. In her mid-thirties she enrolled in the Lyme College of Fine Arts, where she studied with numerous accomplished artists, developed her own unique style, and ultimately earned her BFA in painting. Sheila’s paintings are decidedly impressionistic, fresh renderings of the environment which surrounds her. Bold brushstrokes and layering of paint define her work. She is equally adept at painting the dramatic hustle bustle of contemporary cityscapes as well as the coastal environment she grew up in. Since her time at Lyme Academy, she has exhibited at such prestigious venues as the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, the Copley Society of Boston, Cooley Gallery, Lyme Academy, and numerous other venues.

More about Sheila

Brenda De Los Santos

Brenda is a New London native, specializing in portrait, wedding, and event photography. She is also owner of BDPhotography. She has won awards from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists.  For Brenda, capturing a moment or emotion is the driving force behind her work, and people are her favorite thing to photograph.  Brenda loves being able to share her passion for photography with her students.  In the classroom, she takes a step by step approach to teaching, so that students build upon their skills and knowledge each week. Brenda graduated from Boston University with a major in Photojournalism and has worked with daily newspapers including the Norwich Bulletin, The Day, The New Britain Herald, and the Middletown Press.

Louanne DiBella

At the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Louanne fell in love with the processes and challenges of making jewelry and hollowware and learned the almost lost art of jewelry rendering.  Her first job in jewelry design was at Victoria Creations Inc., New York City and Warren, RI. For 20 years, Louanne designed for brands such as Givenchy, Ann Klein, Guess, Donald Trump and Christopher Radko. Her designs are hand drawn and rendered in a variety of mediums: gouache, watercolor, marker, color pencil.  Louanne has also taught jewelry design, drawing and painting to all age groups. A Connecticut native, she studied painting and drawing with Lydia Booth of Guilford at age nine and then with Jack Richards at Robert Brachman’s school in Madison at the age of 12. She earned her BFA in jewelry at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Currently she works as a Teaching Assistant in a kindergarten classroom in Lebanon. She joined MAC faculty in the fall of 2012.

Carol Dunn

Carol Dunn is an award-winning printmaker and photographer, specializing in alternative processes for creating artwork. She exhibits frequently in the New England area and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Carol has also taught classes at QVCC (Quinebaug Valley Community College), Manchester Community College, Mystic Arts Center, Silver Circle Studio, the Guilford Art Center, Meiklem Kiln Works, Thames River Academy, Norwich Free Academy, and the Lyme Art Association. She is an Elected Artist in the Norwich Arts Center, Mystic Arts Center, Connecticut Women Artists, Essex Art Association, and Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. Carol is an Associate Artist with the Artists Coop Gallery of Westerly, and a member of Stonington Printmakers Society.  Her work is held in private collections throughout the US, and in far flung areas including Ireland, France, and Australia. She keeps a studio, Little River Studio & Gallery, in Baltic, Connecticut.

More about Carol

Laura Gaffke

Laura maintains her studio practice at Above Elite Studios, in Westerly, Rhode Island. She is an interdisciplinary, visual artist concerned with the creative process and how it can be used as a catalyst to learn, stretch, and grow.  Nature, place, meditation, self-reflection, relationships, and life experiences all inform Laura’s creative practice. She seeks ways to share art, teach it, nurture it and communicate it in a positive way, therefore encouraging the human spirit. Laura uses paint, mixed-media, photography, and found objects to ask questions and engage in a conversation with life. Laura is experienced teaching adults and children. Her goal as an educator is to encourage each individual’s unique way of seeing and expressing the world. She values an open dialog with students and enjoys seeing their own unique perspectives on the world. Laura graduated from Goddard College with an MFA.

More about Laura

Diane Gallo

Diane is a Connective native and has been teaching art for over 20 years to students in preschool through 12th grade. She studies metal sculpture in New Haven with Anne Lehman and works in direct metal. “I begin my sculpture in steel rod, bending and welding into three dimensional form.  Each armature is a three dimensional drawing that I finish with a skin of various material.” Diane has a BFA from Parsons School of Design and studied Art Education at Central Connecticut State University. She is a certified art teacher in Connecticut and New York and has taught in private and public school throughout the state.

Jamie Jackson

Jamie teaches children’s art classes at the MAC. She has experience in both art and early childhood education. Jamie received her Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Mitchell College in 2007, and a B.A. in visual arts from Eastern Connecticut State University. She has over a decade’s worth of experience working with children and has been teaching at the Mystic Arts Center since 2009.

Gretchen Lally

Gretchen has mastered a variety of mediums, techniques, and graphic design, though her mediums of choice are acrylic paint and stained glass. Along with teaching art, Gretchen continues to work as a freelance illustrator and website designer. She earned her BFA in 2004 from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University while majoring in Illustration. Gretchen received her teaching certificate in Art Education in 2007 and has used her abilities as a working artist and teacher at various schools in South Eastern Connecticut.

Gigi Horr Liverant

Gigi Horr Liverant’s work is inspired by inconsequential moments and places in life.  She juxtaposes rich colors, encouraging the observer to experience an ordinary scene with a fresh vision. Gigi has worked with pastels and paint for over thirty years.  Recently, she expanded her practice to the use of acrylic paint for large-scale paintings. She has won numerous awards and honors including First Prize, Connecticut Women Artists; Best in Show, Connecticut Pastel Society; and the Andrew Giffuni Memorial Award at the Pastel Society of America Annual Exhibition. She is a Pastel Society of America Master Pastelist and a Signature Member of the Connecticut Pastel Society. Her paintings are included in the collections of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Pfizer, Three Rivers Community College and the New Haven Paint and Clay Club. She is a graduate of Paier College of Art in New Haven, Connecticut.

More about Gigi

Conam Lee

Conam spent his childhood years in Hong Kong and has a diverse background with experience in caricature, computer graphics, and costume design.  Since 1995 he has become a graphic artist and professional illustrator dedicated to children, literature, and picture books.  Conam graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree of fine art and has continued his education by taking classes at Rensselaer at Hartford and Three Rivers Technical Community College.

Sarah Stifler Lucas

Sarah works in oil, pastel, and pencil; her style combines the representational with the abstract, giving the viewer an ever-changing focus on the human form. Besides her figure paintings, café scenes, and delicate renditions of children at play, She specializes in commissioned portraits. They include Medal of Honor recipient Captain George Street whose command was the inspiration for the novel Run Silent, Run Deep and Sidney Frank, founder of Grey Goose Vodka. Sarah’s work is exhibited nationally. Among her many honors are awards from Allied Artists of America; National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society; Salmagundi Club, NYC, Mystic Arts Center, and the New Haven Paint and Clay Club. Sarah is an elected artist member of many organizations, which include Salmagundi Club, NYC, Lyme Art Association and Mystic Arts Center where she has been on the faculty since 1988.

More about Sarah

Andrea Masullo

Andrea Masullo is a Mystic native.   During her college years, she started working as a summer camp instructor at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic. It was there that she discovered her passion for nature, teaching and working with youth. Andrea realized that she could combine those passions with her love for art to pursue a meaningful career in art education.  Becoming an art teacher gave Andrea the opportunity to branch out of collage making and explore a large range of mediums such as photography, painting, wheel throwing, hand building, drawing and mixed media.  Most recently Andrea has been working with leather, creating leather goods such as wallets and satchels.  She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B. A. in Art Education.

More about Andrea

Jack Montmeat

Jack enjoys painting portraits, commissions, still-lifes, and landscapes.  He gained his inspiration by Childe Hassam’s Old Lyme Impressionist paintings. Jack currently teaches drawing and painting for MAC. His work has also received honors in MAC’s exhibitions. He graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, has studied at Lyme Academy College of Fine Art and received fellowships to study in Paris and Florence.  He has won the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant three times and the 2004 Art of New England drawing award juried by Burt Silverman.

More about Jack

Sally Motycka

Sally is an artist with over 20 years of experience teaching pottery, photography, printmaking, drawing and painting, computer art, cartooning, weaving, and art history. Before moving to the area, she taught at schools and after-school programs across New England and she currently teaches art at Stonington High School. She has applied her skills to community efforts like “Empty Bowls”, set design for local theaters, and literacy volunteering. She earned her BA at Washington College in Maryland, has done graduate work at Maine College of Art and RISD, and holds a teacher certification in Connecticut and Maine.

June O’Connor

June’s current work in oils focuses on landscape and still-life.    For several years June has taught art in public schools and other educational organizations.  She was awarded “Teacher of the Year ’98-‘99” by the Plainfield Public Schools.  She earned a B.A. in Art with a teacher certification from Miami University in Oxford, OH and a MAT from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.  In addition to sharing her knowledge and love of art with children of all ages, June continues to enjoy classes at the Lyme Art Academy and here at MAC.

Hilary Opperman

Hilary has been teaching art since 2008. She believes art can be transformative and is a useful tool for self-exploration. Hilary has participated in various peace, political and volunteer organizations. These experiences have helped to bridge her creative pursuits. Moreover, Hilary is interested in the healing capacity of art and using creativity as a means of conflict resistance. She has also studied and created art that has themes related to social justice. Hilary has worked in a diverse range of media including painting and drawing materials, collage and assemblage. She embraces both representational as well as nonrepresentational forms of art. Hilary has instructed art privately and as a substitute teacher locally. She has attended Maine College of Art, and earned her B.A. from Eastern Connecticut State University with a double concentration in Visual Art and Art History.

More about Hilary

H. Gray Park, IV

As a plein air painter, Gray Park is known for his large marsh and coastal landscapes. He has a studio in Ledyard, but the majority of his work is done outside. He has been inspired by the works of Fairfield Porter, Edward Hopper, George Nick and Wayne Thiebaud. Gray has participated in multiple group exhibitions and one-man shows, winning several major awards including: The Museum Purchase Award, Award of Excellence, and the Stobart Foundation Award at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic CT; Best In Show at Mystic Arts Center; and The Newton Perkins Medal, The Norwich Free Academy. He earned his BFA in 1994 from the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore. During his third year, he spent four months in England at the Winchester School of Art. At a later date he returned to Europe and spent several months painting in Scotland where he was inspired by the colors and shapes of the boats in fishing villages.

More about Gray 

Jacqueline McLaughlin Phillips

Jacqueline is an award-winning artist who pushes realism with lights and colors, working mostly in soft pastels and oils. Jacqueline also has over thirty years of experience in commercial art and jewelry design. Since the early 1990s, Jacqueline has been chosen each year by her peers to paint the annual Hygienic Art Show poster.  Her work has been recognized by such prestigious organizations as the Connecticut Pastel Society and the NAACP. She has been extensively involved with many galleries, as a board member, judge, fundraiser, president, and teacher. She has shown her work and exhibited at numerous art shows and galleries including at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum of New London, Lyme Art Gallery of Old Lyme, Slater Museum of Norwich, Norwich Arts Council Gallery, the Pfizer Art Show, and the Pacific Street Gallery in New London.

More about Jacqueline

Kristen Thornton

Kristen enjoys working in mixed media and on commission for murals, invitations, and logos. Her studio is based in Essex, CT. She has over 10 years of teaching experience in schools and other educational organizations ranging from Pre-K through 12th grade. Kristen also teaches for the Tracy Art Center and is an art resident for LEARN at several regional schools. She earned her BFA at the University of Connecticut, with a focus on graphic design and illustration.

Alex Trachishin

Alex teaches a large variety of media and genres, from realistic to abstract art, and from watercolor to encaustics. Alex has had one-man shows in Old Lyme, Boston, New London, Jersey City, and Manhattan.  His works are represented in private collections in the Ukraine, Russia, Netherlands, Canada, Italy, and the USA. He is represented by Gallery BelAge, in West Hampton Beach. Alex was born in the Ukraine and graduated from Minsk Art School and later the Rhode Island School of Design.

Annette Womack

Annette is primarily a painter and printmaker, but she enjoys experimenting with all media.  Her current passion is the evolution that takes place when creating a mixed-media piece.  Her conceptual pieces often attempt to answer eternal questions about nature and humanity.  Her outlook is to let art be messy and when life gets messy – create art. She has been teaching in public schools, private art centers and rehabilitation homes since 2006. She completed graduate research on the connections between art, meditation and the creative process while obtaining her M.A. from Boston University, College of Fine Arts.

More about Annette

Katie Ziskind

Katie teaches the Yoga and Art program at MAC. She is highly interested in the symbiotic mind-body connection that can be experienced through yoga. Katie attended Baron Baptiste’s Immersion Weekend, planting the seed and inspiring her teacher training. She is registered through Yoga Alliance for her 200-hour Lifeline Power Yoga Teacher Training and Children’s Yoga. Katie has taken the course, The Anatomy of Yoga, with Ray Long M.D. FRCSC and Chris Macivor. Her teaching exploded in the summer of 2011 combined with her burning desire to share the true potentials of yoga. She has taught children’s yoga at the Westerly Community Yoga Center and the Waterford Friendship School. In addition to teaching children, Katie has shared yoga with members of the Crescent beach Association, Black Point Beach Club, McCooks Park, Ocean Community YMCA of Mystic, Blissworks Yoga and Healing Arts, Pradipika Yoga Studio and the Mystic Yoga Shala.  She is majoring in psychology at Mitchell College.