Faculty

The Art School of Columbia County is honored to work with these practicing, professional and experienced teaching artists among our faculty They represent what we do best in serving our mission on site at ASCC, on location at various other sites and in collaboration with other organizations and schools . We look forward to providing you with opportunities to study with them, while you explore your creative interests. If you have questions about a class or a teaching artist, please e-mail us at

Michael Saltz

Michael Saltz was a long-time Senior Producer for the PBS NewsHour until he retired. During that period, he edited the work of 57 different writers for roughly 1500 essays. His work resulted in an Emmy and two Peabody Awards. He is the author of The Winding Road: My Journey Through Life and the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. His current columns are published on Substack. He is a longtime visitor and resident of Columbia County, along with his wife and Max, their gentle giant of a bullmastiff. 

Tim Ebneth

Tim Ebneth is a contemporary abstract painter and designer residing in Columbia County,     New York. A New York City native, he created installations at luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman’s, Gucci, Barneys NY and Studio 54 while attending art school. Tim was a sought after set designer and interiors stylist for fashion editorials, advertising and commercials. Ebneth studied Fine Art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and The Art Students League. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, NY. Tim Ebneth’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the Hudson Valley; New York City; East Hampton, NY; and juried and invitational exhibitions.

Mary Flinn

Teaching at ASCC for Adult classes as well as the Art of Summer Children’s Program teacher

Mary earned her BFA at the Swain School of Design, New Bedford MA and her MFA at Queens College in NYC. Mary has been teaching children since the 90’s in programs such as the D.A.R.E. Program in NYC at the Bronx Housing Project, and at the Ancient Oaks Farm creative arts program in Baltimore MD. She organized and taught art classes at the Bapuji Orphanage in Mysore India with the children at the orphanage for many years. She has had three solo exhibitions at The Prince Street Gallery in NYC, and at numerous group shows. Two-person shows include the Joyce Goldstein Gallery in Chatham NY; Baltimore City Hall,, and at Dartmouth College ,Hopkins Center curated by Ben Moss, as well as numerous inclusions in the Jason McCoy drawing challenges.

Sara Kay

Sara Kay’s career in the art world spans more than twenty-five years and includes, museum, auction house, gallery, and not-for-profit experience. In 2017, she founded Sara Kay Gallery specializing in the sale of blue chip modern and contemporary artworks and produced exhibitions from old masters to outsider art. Prior to running her gallery, Sara was Director of White Cube Gallery in London where she developed a secondary market department and sales team and focused on museum placements for gallery artists. Formerly, Sara acted as Director of the Fine Art Department at the Jan Krugier Gallery in New York, the exclusive agent for works by Pablo Picasso from the Marina Picasso Estate. Previously, Sara served as a Specialist in Old Master Drawings at Christie’s auction house, overseeing the North American department. Sara began her career at the Museum of American Folk Art. Sara is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts), a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) that champions professionalism and the advancement of women in the business of fine art. Sara serves on the Advisory Board of Pen and Brush, a nonprofit that promotes female visual artists and writers, and is a member of the Association of Women Art Dealers. Sara has lectured extensively on the topics of art collecting, navigating the art market and building a career in the business of the visual arts. She served as an Adjunct Faculty at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a member of the Advisory Council at Christie’s Education. In 2015, Sara was awarded Parmigiani Fleurier’s Women of Exception prize for her professional distinctions and philanthropy. She resides in the Hudson Valley. 

Clara Kirkpatrick

Clara Kirkpatrick is an Illustrator from New York City currently living in the Hudson Valley. She attended The School of Visual Arts in NYC where she received her Masters in Illustration .She works in the Editorial, Publishing, and Branding spaces to bring text and concepts to life through drawing. Her whimsical and energetic work can be found in The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and beyond!

Sandra Koponen

Sandra Koponen, a lifelong visual artist has focused in the past decade, primarily on oil painting and intensified her practice. Ms. Koponen is always expanding her oevre; her paintings range in style and subject matter, from portraiture to abstraction, from small scale to large scale, and tend to have a strong color sensibility and a thick application of paint.  Her paintings have received mention in The New York Times, the Times Union, Vice News and other publications. She has shown her  work at Smack Mellon Gallery (Brooklyn), SLA (NYC), Ten Van Eyck (Brooklyn), Time and Space Gallery (Hudson) and many other places.

Laura Lawson

The Art of Summer Children’s Program teacher

Laura has been an elementary school and high school art teacher in Wisconsin and has resided and worked in Columbia County and in NYC. She received her MFA from SUNY-Stony Brook, New York. 

Laura worked in Manhattan at Leo Castelli Gallery and has been a Director, Curator, and Consultant for numerous galleries in Manhattan’s Soho and Chelsea areas.

David Lesako

David Lesako received his degree in Art Education from Penn State University. He taught for 30 years in public school and on the college level for 8 years at Waynesburg University in. PA.  He has taught and exhibited his artwork as a landscape painter in watercolor, pastel, oil and he has a gallery in Ghent, N.Y.

David is the Volunteer Gallery Coordinator of Art School of Columbia County.

Tia Maggio

Tia Maggio, a native New Yorker, was formally trained in graphic design and advertising at Pratt Institute, she went on to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to study fine art and art history. Even before then, this pastel artist was immersed in the world of art. Her mother, Patricia, attended the Rhode Island School of Design and was a painter and her father, Joseph, “a weekend watercolorist” had his own interior design firm in New York and London. After college, Tia was the director of sales at her father’s firm, during that time she opened and managed their corporate office in London. Later she partnered with her friend Sonja, another Pratt graduate, to form Sontina Graphic Design, where their mainstay was designing company logos. When children came along, Tia left the corporate world and turned to watercolors and from there to pastels. After advertising she enjoyed the looseness –freedom- of fine art. “I like the immediacy of pastels because you can manipulate them with your fingers – and don’t have to wait for paint to dry! I could never really tell you what colors I use, I just reach for them instinctively, like cooking without a recipe – a pinch of this, a splash of that… Creating my art is a personal and intuitive process for me. I don’t like to intellectualize and wax on about my paintings. I start a visual story and let the viewer finish it. Nothing is more pleasing than to hear someone say, ‘oh that reminds me of…’ or ‘this painting makes me feel…’ My creation becomes their story by evoking an emotion or a memory.”   Currently she resides in the bucolic Berkshires, a place that has provided much inspiration. Her pastels of sloping Piedmont hills and skies have been exhibited locally in Northern Virginia and New York City, and are in private collections in the U.S., Italy, Southern France, and most recently, Guatemala

Charlotte Semmes

Charlotte Semmes has been crafting and creating for as long as she can remember. She received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Skidmore College with a concentration in Textiles and Painting and a minor in Anthropology. A cross-country trip following her college graduation landed her in San Francisco where she worked for several years in the design industry-Textiles, Apparel, Graphics and Accessory Design. She holds an MFA in Textiles from UC Davis, where she was awarded a full teaching fellowship in their newly established research-driven Design MFA program. Charlotte believes having her own creative practice is essential to inspire creativity in others, and it is one of her life goals to find a balance between the two passions. After graduating from her MFA program at Davis she did a one-year teaching credential program to become a K-12 Art Educator at Sacramento State. She trained during her teaching credential at a Waldorf-inspired high school with a linked learning pathway focused on social and environmental justice in Sacramento and eventually settled in the Lake Tahoe Area where she was the Upper School Art teacher at small expeditionary learning school, Adjunct Art professor at Sierra College, a teaching artist in the public schools and through a community makerspace. She presently lives in Columbia County.

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