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

Kim Bach

Kim Bach was born in Queens, NY and raised in Central and South America, Kim is the child of a military attaché. After constant artistic exposure within her family (her aunt was the well-known abstract expressionist, Lee Deffebach) and in college in California, Utah and New York, Kim Bach arrived in Hudson with a Fine Arts background and a mother who was eager to close up her tea shop in Park City, Utah.  VOILA!  Verdigris Tea was born. Since 2006, Kim has immersed herself in all things Hudson. In no particular order, she’s co-hosted a sidewalk chalk contest for children, a sock auction for the benefit of the homeless, a few author’s lectures, a flower show, lighthouse benefits, Bard classes on the history and varieties of tea, and tea and chocolate tastings too numerous to mention. Once, when a car drove up on the sidewalk and smashed through her front window, she commissioned a local artist (Earl) to paint the temporary plywood sheathing that filled the space for several days. Now retired from the retail world, she can be found in her Hudson painting studio, or on the Board of a local non-profit, or off walking long distance pilgrimages in Spain. Kim’s rescue dog, Pekoe, has contributed to the community as well – raising money for the Hudson Dog Park through cookie sales. 

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.

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

Peggy Reeves

Peggy Reeves is a mixed media artist living and working in Berkshire Co., MA. Her studio practice employs many of the methods and techniques of printmaking, painting and alternative process photography. She has an MS in Education and spent over 30 years as a high school art teacher in NY and MA. Her work is represented by 510 Warren Street Gallery in Hudson, NY and is in the collection of the Berkshire Museum.

Lizbeth Shelley

Lizbeth Shelley has a BFA from Arizona State University where she studied painting, textile design and ceramic sculpture. She has an MA in Art Education from New York University. For the past 27 years Lizbeth has taught art at a progressive K-8th grade independent school in New York City while pursuing a career as a painter with an art studio in Copake, N.Y.. Her most recent “house series” conveys the essence of each painted structure through her use of color, texture, and brushstroke.

Bob Watkins

Bob Watkins has always been interested in the fine arts. When he was 11 years old, he went to the Metropolitan Museum and was impressed by the Rembrandt portraits, “I felt like the eyes followed me”! This experience remained with him, and became the foundation of his fascination with art. Bob became a potter after studying and attending workshops. He was able to move to the beautiful Berkshires and was a successful potter for 17 years. He painted florals and landscapes on white porcelain, so it was a natural progression to paint with oils on canvas when he was ready to explore other areas of artistic expression. Bob says, “My landscapes are an attempt to capture the effects of fading light. The elusive hours of dawn and twilight, when light is just washing over the landscape, are the most interesting to me. –that intrinsic something that is never definable, but always recognizable when seen. Since we all have an internal sense of landscape, many of my paintings come from memories of things I’ve seen and thought to be interesting. I am fascinated by low light conditions when the landscape dissolves into misty half-seen forms. On any given day, I could be painting from life, my imagination, photo references, or any combination. After my initial inspiration, I rarely refer to my reference. Something internal takes over, and the painting becomes the force which directs me. My still lifes are done from life. Artists have the gift to make people see the underlying beauty and poetry in everyday life, and to make ourselves and others aware of the wonders of being alive. The joy of being an artist is being able to take the time to explore the things that interest us personally and share that vision with others. Bob has extensive teaching experience and we welcome him to ASCC.

Arielle Toelke

Arielle Toelke has cut paper, doodled, drawn, and made things from the minute she could use her hands. For over fifteen years, Arielle has worked as a celebrity makeup artist for film and television across the US and abroad.  While she continues to make movie magic, she finds personal fulfillment in textile art, cut paper collage, and illustration.  Arielle has taught textile classes and workshops in natural dyes, design, embroidery, and mending. Her first book was just released, Cooking Color, a beginners guide to natural dyes found in food and food waste.

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