Eric Westbrook (he/him)
Eric Westbrook is a professional painter, illustrator and instructor living and working in Washington, DC. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelors degree in Graphic Communications and Studio Art.
His paintings have been shown extensively in solo and group shows in and around the Washington DC area. Exhibitions of his paintings have been held at Studio Gallery, Dumbarton Concert Gallery, Gallery Plan B, and the Arts Club of Washington. His paintings are held in private collections as well as in the permanent collection of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Eric’s paintings are known for capturing the spirit of the urban landscape in a series called Urban Nature. Rendered in a style that has been described as “heightened realism”, they depict the little-noticed corners of the city where man-made structures combine with the forces of nature. In addition to landscapes, Eric’s recent work has explored the portrait and figure in landscape settings both realistic and idealized. He is currently accepting portrait commissions.
Eric currently teaches drawing and painting and Cocktails and Canvas at VisArts. His work can be seen at www.ericwestbrook.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Yablonsky (he/him)
Joe Yablonsky specializes in gelatin silver photographs of public sculpture and architecture. The photographs are taken when a rare combination of lighting and atmospheric conditions are present to highlight the sculpture and its environment. Subjects include works by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French, Isamu Noguchi and others. All photos are hand-printed and in a traditional darkroom using fiber paper and are then selenium toned for increased archival permanence.
His work at can be seen at www.JoeYablonsky.com.
Roger Kirk (he/him)
Roger Kirk is a ceramicist and educator from the D.C. area. He has a studio in Washington D.C. and teaches ceramics and digital art at Montgomery Blair High School (MCPS).
Roger has a B.A. in Art from UCLA, a Masters in Teaching from University of Maryland, and is currently enrolled in the M.F.A. Program for Ceramics at Hood College.
Roger participates in local craft fairs, where he sells dinnerware, planters, and other pottery. He also experiments with decorative fine art vases. You can check out this variety of work on his website, kirkceramics.com.
Roger believes that any person who commits to learning ceramics can be successful and he loves to support adults and children in their ceramics pursuits.
Ryan Rakhshan (he/him)
Ryan received his BA in art history and philosophy from Hood College in 2011. After teaching at VisArts from 2011 through 2014 he spent a year as an artist in residence at Brockway Center for Arts and Technology in 2015. After brief stints as a used car dealer, an industrial kiln loader, and a production potter, he has returned to teach at VisArts. Ryan is currently an MFA candidate at Hood College. His work is inspired by the absurdity of human existence in a society that seems to have lost its grip on reality and morality.
Richard Nussbaum (he/him)
As a third generation stained glass artist, I have designed and executed both religious and secular commissions, utilizing traditional stained glass techniques and materials as developed through apprenticeship, training and employment by major stained glass studios in New York City including: Lamb; Rambusch; Greenland; and Glassmasters. I have been an instructor at Stuyvesant Adult Center and YWCA adult class in Manhattan. I feel the breath of my work reflects the relationship with my father and grandfather, who were both respected stained glass artists and innovators; who worked in the same creative medium and within the same studios that I have worked in. There is a history that was inherited which generated a new wave of enthusiasm for a traditional skill that began centuries ago.
Xiaosheng Bi (he/him)
Xiaosheng Bi was born in Xi’an China. After teaching ceramics at Qinghua University for eight years, Xiaosheng immigrated to USA in 1997. Now he lives in Maryland and teaches at Montgomery College and is a Studio Artist at VisArts as well as teaching ceramics.
Xiaosheng’s work reflects his traditional Chinese influences, yet is infused with a contemporary aesthetic. Suffused with gentle colors, his delicate forms shine with the brilliant translucency of bone china porcelain. Traditional Chinese motifs such as bamboo leaves or lotus blossoms are painted and sculptural with dynamic, nearly abstract strokes.
Bi’s works have been exhibited in solo and group shows in Asia and the USA. His ceramic and sculpture works were collected by museums and private collectors.
Kiel Posner (he/they)
Kiel is a ceramicist currently living in Bethesda, Maryland. They received their BFA in Craft and Materials Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. While in Richmond they also completed a Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine arts and participated in a residency at Shockoe Bottom Clay before relocating to the DMV.
I think about my work in the legacy of the button factory my great grandfather worked his way up to owning after immigrating to NYC, from Eastern Europe, in 1912. Collaging ceramic decals remnant from the factory on mass-produced second-hand ceramics I try to draw from Trompe l’oeil and op art to make surfaces that challenge the viewer’s sense of focus. I feel dizzy surrounded by an untrustworthy culture constantly competing for my attention all while trying to erode my own sense of history and truth from right out from under my nose. A now third-generation Jewish American I know my material and immaterial inheritances are real I know my history is real. I can’t believe I have to remind myself.
This instructor is an Emerging Teacher.
Ann Hobart (she/her)
Ann Hobart has been a professional potter and teacher of pottery for more than 40 years. Ann is an Adjunct Professor at Hood College, Frederick, Maryland in the Ceramics Program, where she teaches Handbuilidng, Wheelthrowing, Raku and Surface Decoration.
Ann created the Potters’ Guild of Frederick in 2007, which is a non-profit educational organization that holds monthly meetings and operates a gallery in downtown Frederick featuring the work of its members.
Ann’s thrown, functional work is influenced strongly by English Country pottery, but her love of surface decoration has lead her work in entirely new directions that she delights in sharing with her students.
Sharon Gude (she/her)
Sharon Gude is a native of Montgomery County, growing up in Bethesda and spending a large part of her childhood on her grandparent's farm in Rockville. It was there that she learned to appreciate the natural beauty of the Maryland landscape. She attended Moore College of Art, University of Maryland, and earned her MFA in painting from American University.
Sharon has lived in New York City, Washington DC, Delaware, and West Virginia. She currently resides in Rockville. She has created a large body of work which includes oil paintings of cityscapes and landscapes from these locales. Recently she has been experimenting with abstraction, making canvases of geometric compositions, texture, and bold colors.
Sharon has taught art to students of all ages in the Washington Metro area for over thirty years. She has shown her work in New York, Delaware, West Virginia, and widely in the DC area.
Jenny Beech (she/her)
Jenny fell in love with clay as a high school student in Silver Spring, MD, and decided that she wanted to pursue ceramics as a career. She graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Ceramics concentration. While at Towson, she exhibited her work twice in the annual juried student show, winning awards for her pottery on both occasions. Her work has appeared in shows at Baltimore Clayworks, Mugi Studio, Supermud Pottery, and Clay Arts Las Vegas.
Jenny has worked at several studios and after-school programs, teaching ceramics to both children and adults. In 2019, she moved to NYC to pursue her career in clay and started teaching at three studios around Manhattan. Jenny discovered a passion for teaching the potter's wheel and grew profoundly as an artist and an educator. Connecting with students over clay is one of her joys in life!
Hiral Joshi (she/her)
Hiral Joshi was born and raised in India, and moved to the US some years back. She graduated with a degree in science and then Computer Animation Design & Multimedia, for over 10 years she has worked as a Visualizer.
Today she is far away from computer-aided creativity — instead she ventures out into the world of imagination and abstraction. Her visual artwork consists of acrylics, watercolors, and mixed media.
Her water media portrayals combine playful spontaneity with an exquisite sense of drawing, colors and textures. Her work is about the colors, abstraction, beautiful birds, animals bold brush strokes, textures and loosening up emotions.
She has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows and have received awards too.
Hiral has taught dozens of creative workshops and shared her passion for Acrylic and mixed media with hundreds of students over a period of years.
To see her work visit: http://hiraljoshifineart.com/
Ellen Lafferty (she/her)
Ellen Lafferty teaches both adult and children’s classes at VisArts. She also teaches in Montgomery County Public Schools, St. Joseph Regional Catholic School in Beltsville and Create Art Center in Silver Spring. Prior to becoming an art teacher, Ellen worked in the travel industry honing her event planning, communications, marketing and organizational skills. As a college student Ellen studied art history in Rome, Italy through Temple University’s study abroad program and she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art with an emphasis on History from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
At VisArts Ellen teaches Cocktails and Canvas, Wine Glass Painting, Wine and Weave, Mosaics, Open Paint and Finishing Touches. She also teaches children’s class throughout the year and at VisArts camp in the summer.
Kate Lanxner (she/her)
Kate Lanxner has more than 25 years’ experience as an art educator for all ages and has illustrated five books. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in Art Education and Printmaking, and went on to study color etching at the international studio, Atelier 17. in Paris, France. She has taught art in public and private schools and camps, and at Cornell University’s Johnson Museum of Art Community Education program. Her prints, drawings, and watercolors have been exhibited at the University of Pennsylvania art museum, as well as at Cornell, the Ithaca, NY “South End Art Hop,” Atelier 17, McMillan Wharf Art Studios (Provincetown, Cape Cod), Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery (Glen Echo, Md.), and at the VisArts faculty exhibition.
Roza Matlin (she/her)
Roza Matlin is a self-taught artist and muralist from Russia, currently living in Maryland. She is adept in many mediums, including acrylic painting, woodburning, needle felting, and even painting with coffee. Always on the lookout for new inspiration, she is passionate about sharing artwork and learning from others as well as teaching. Roza has a long history of giving art lessons to students from many backgrounds, with an age range of three years old to eighty-three years old. It is her belief that anyone can make art, and she encourages others to tap into their creativity whenever they can.
Roza has also painted over 70 murals within Montgomery County, indoors and outdoors, in public and private residences. Her most notable mural is "Dream of Knowledge," a Starry Night homage featuring children discovering the joys of reading books, on Flower Avenue in Long Branch, MD. Roza's work is largely inspired by nature and the classic works of masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Johannes Vermeer.
Roza participates in local craft fairs and takes custom orders for paintings and hand-decorated items. You can find her work at instagram.com/rozadream
Sarah Sater Murray (she/her)
Sarah is a self-taught artist who enjoys acrylic painting as well as working with a wide range of mediums, drawing inspiration from nature, the magical realm, feminism, and Mother Earth. She has a professional background in both carpentry and sewing and has been an instructor of adult classes, children's classes, and camps at VisArts since 2015.
She believes that the artistic process is oftentimes just as important as the finished product and that as long as we are creating, we are doing good work. Sarah encourages her students to learn that there are no mistakes in art, only opportunities for more creativity within the process. Her goal for each class is to create a safe, fun, and exploratory environment free from self-judgment where students can tap into their own personal experience and creativity to make exciting projects and learn new skills. She strives to help each student find their individual artistic voice and offers personalized guidance and encouragement wherever possible.
Sarah’s hope is that she can help foster a growing love of art and the process of creating art that can be carried with the students into the rest of their lives.
Elaine Parks (she/her)
Elaine has been creating as long as she remembers. She earned a Bachelor of Studio Arts from the American University and went on to earn her Masters in Art Therapy from The George Washington University. She has worked with adults and children in a variety of settings. Not only has Elaine been sharing her passion for art with clients, but with her three children as well. Elaine began working at VisArts at the start of the VisAbility Art Lab pilot program in 2015 where she is now the director. She also teaches a multi-media class to adults with autism as part of the Accessible Arts program at VisArts.
Emily Eisinger (she/her)
Emily Eisinger earned her BFA from The University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP). Emily joined VisArts in 2016 as an instructor and professional artist in the Pop Up space on Maryland Ave. She teaches weekly classes, seasonal workshops, private art parties, and corporate team building art events. Emily also recently completed a semester teaching art to the after school Community Companions Group through Catholic Charities.
Janet Greer (she/her)
Janet Greer has made nurturing creativity and curiosity part of her mantra for life. She has taught children and adults art and ceramics for many years in a variety of settings. She has an MA from Hood College and is currently in their MFA program. Her art history studies have impacted her belief in the importance Art as a unifier in today’s society. Janet is a lifelong lover of all things creative. From a young age, making art became her emotional voice and source of empowerment. This continues with her today as she interacts with children, youth and adults alike. Her work is infused with reflections of family and the gift of nature we are blessed with as a human family. She hopes to inspire peace and celebrate unity amidst the chaos of today’s society.
Janet is an Adjunct Professor at Hood College, Frederick, Maryland where she teaches Ceramics. She loves teaching at VisArts where she is able to continue exploring the endless possibilities Ceramics offers. She is the Gallery coordinator for the Potter’s Guild of Frederick, where she displays and sells her work.
To view her work, please visit her website at janetgreerceramics.com
Jessica Panicola (she/her)
Jessica is a native New Yorker with a background in Art, Education, and Design. She previously worked as an international Art Educator for grades K-12 in South Korea, Morocco, and Bolivia and she completed an artist residency in Turkey. She has a BFA in Studio Art, an MAT in Art Education, and an MFA in Design for Social Innovation. Though Jessica has the most depth and experience working with clay in different ways, her conceptual work is often mixed media. Currently, Jessica has been running her own startup, Compottery, where she has designed modular ceramic composters for the average urbanite.
Virginia Warwick (she/her)
Virginia Warwick was born in 1982 and grew up in Frederick, Maryland. After graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park, she soon entered Rinehart School of Sculpture and was part of the Artscape Outdoor Sculpture Competition for two consecutive years. Since graduating from Rinehart she has been showing consistently. Her work has been shown at such places as the Arlington Arts Center, ConnerSmith, Edison Place Gallery, Hood College, Goucher College. City Arts Gallery, Creative Alliance, Current Gallery, and Visarts at Rockville. She has been included in the Transmodern Festival in Baltimore for multiple years and has participated in two performance art festivals in New York. Virginia currently lives in Frederick, where she creates and teaches art. She also teaches art at Visarts at Rockville and throughout the DMV areas.
Marzieh Narenji (she/her)
Marzieh was born and raised in Tehran, the capital of Iran, and moved to the U.S. some years back. She graduated with a BA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the University of Tehran. For over 20 years she has worked as a visualizer. She loved teaching and working with adults and children in a variety of settings. She is working now at VisArts with the VisAbility Art Lab. Printing and painting mixed with digital media are her mediums of choice. Her work focuses on utilizing visual art and design as prosocial means of communication and exploration of thought. Her paintings have been shown extensively in group shows in Tehran and around Iran.
Martina Sestakova (she/her)
Martina is a textile designer, abstract painter, and art educator. She loves reading and travel. As a designer, she turns her original artworks into textiles that convey a variety of life experiences. Her scarves are featured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. Martina’s favorite word is joy. She seeks it in her abstract pieces on yupo. To her art and creativity are just the perfect ways for finding joy in many aspects of our lives.
Martina holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Maryland College Park and an M.F.A. in Fashion Design from the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
At VisArts Martina teaches basic watercolor techniques and mixed media classes to students of varying ages. Learn more about Martina at www.radostbymartinasestakova.com.
Michelle Izquierdo (she/her)
Michelle Izquierdo is a locally- based artist who was born and raised in Montgomery County and earned her BFA from the University of Maryland.
Michelle possesses a unique eye for color and draws inspiration from the vibrant images and different textures observed in every day life. Michelle believes art should be an interactive experience and she strives to create art that is engaging and multi-dimensional and encourages viewers to touch her art in the hope it will stimulate other senses and enrich the overall experience.
Michelle regularly creates color-inspired and upbeat paintings for commission. She’s had the pleasure of showcasing her artwork throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York and London. To feed her artistic hunger, Michelle teaches Cocktails and Canvas classes at VisArts.
Kim Swanner (she/they)
Kimberly Swanner has a degree in Japanese and an abiding love of gaming, comics, and all things nerdy. This perspective shows itself in the playful nature and modern twists she brings to both her 2-D and 3-D artwork.
Her online portfolio is at www.KimNKaboodle.com
Kim currently teaches children and adult ceramics classes, children's painting and drawing, multi-media, and comics and illustration.
Brian Williams (no pronouns shared)
Brian Williams is a local artist from Montgomery County Maryland, passionate and inspired by 2D animation and comic book art. Growing up with inspirations from Disney, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Marvel, and DC comics has led to his passion for art. Brian studies 2D animation at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Learning different techniques to increase his craft and desire for art through digital mediums, acrylic abstract painting, and illustration drawings, he has been a part of various events and venues while also continuing to pursue a career as an animator and comic book artist, including Art soirée "rooftop fusion" and D.C. and Art all night. With other artistic skills, like Graffiti art, he continues to use all that he has learned to provide excellent creations and teaching students comic art and character creation.
View Brian’s work here:
Gary Moomau (no pronouns shared)
After working in a pottery studio for a semester, I took my first pottery class in 2013 at Anne Arundel Community College and was hooked. I changed my major as soon as possible and transferred to Towson University, graduating with a BFA in 2017. Since then, I have kept busy working in multiple clay studios, making a forever-changing body of work, and helping upstart a local glaze company. I find that the work I tend to make is as fun to make as it is to hold. I make pottery with interesting deep texture and moving parts. As someone who has been fidgety my entire life, I embraced it to the point that my process is often viewed as tedious and fiddly. But it keeps my hands busy, and the final product does as well, which is all I really crave in my art.
Gary teaches ceramics classes for children and adults at VisArts.
Nanette Bevan (no pronouns shared)
Nan Bevan creates luminous interior landscapes with glass. Her larger pieces explore opalescent worlds with no boundaries and floating dreamscapes. Smaller vessels explore abstract forms and colorful patterns, inviting the viewer to bring beauty into everyday life. Her work is inspired by stories that seek to make sense out of an unknowable world, the endless color explorations of Paul Klee, and the beautiful, strange and often unpredictable changes heat will create in glass. When the kilns are full, she carries her love of color onto paper and canvas. In the past 20 years, her work has shown in exhibitions across the country. From the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, she now lives in Maryland and thinks often of snow.
Her work can be found on www.nanettebevan.com and www.nanettebevan.etsy.com
Michael Metzner (no pronouns shared)
Michael Metzner is a ceramic artist currently living in Frederick, Maryland. Having worked with sculpture since he was a child, Michael turned to wheel-thrown pottery while attending Hood College. In his freshman year, Michael began working as a studio assistant and artist for local potter John O’Neill, at O’Neill Stoneware Design, where he gained valuable skills in functional and production pottery. Michael graduated from Hood with a B.A. in Ceramics and a certificate in Art Education in May of 2009.
Since 2010 Michael has been teaching High School art in Montgomery County and is currently entering his fourth year teaching ceramics and darkroom photography at Albert Einstein High School.