Instructor Bios

The Creative Arts School instructors are some of the most talented in South Florida!  These professional artists, photographers and writers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their classes.  As a result of expert instruction here, many of our students’ works have been juried into competitions and accepted into local, regional and national exhibitions.  Several of our high school students have been accepted into art programs at some of the best schools in the country. In addition to the individual website links below, you can connect with many of our instructors on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

WINSTON AARONS has a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Sarah Lawrence College. He has taught courses in English, Writing and Studies in the Novel, at Lynn University for several years, and was Director of the school’s Honors Program. He also taught Contemporary Literature at Palm Beach State College, where he was active in the school’s fiction and poetry workshops. He has given classes on the short story in Delray Beach’s Public Library Lifelong Learning Institute for the past three years. He has published a novel, Jasmine, which Kirkus Reviews listed as one of the top twenty-five of the top One Hundred Best Indie Books of 2012. Mr. Aarons now writes full time. He has two books, Who Is Sor Avraham, and his memoir, Sweet Like Sugar, for which he seeks publication.

NEW! LYNN AMSTERDAM is a perfect example of “It is never too late to learn to paint”. Prior to a severe car accident in 2009, Ms Amsterdam had a successful career as a Professional Photographer. Her work has been exhibited in
galleries in several states. Twice, Ms. Amsterdam has been tapped to do the back cover portraits for two authors. With a special niche for people, places and moments in time Ms. Amsterdam’s work is in private collections and in restaurants. Certain physical restraints forced Ms. Amsterdam to forego the photography and re-create herself as an abstract painter. Always the student and with a little help from both Old School Square and Boca Art School Ms. Amsterdam found her painterly voice in Abstract Painting. A member of WITVA and Delray Art League Ms. Amsterdam continues to push the envelope of her physical and creative universe. lynnamsterdam.com, @lynnamsterdamart

ERIN ASHLEY  is an internationally renowned artist who has lived in NY, Los Angeles and Florida for most of her life. A self-trained artist, her art career started by surprise when she tried painting as a new hobby that quickly grew into a full time art career. Her art has been published worldwide and has appeared on HGTV “Flip Or Flop” show, Bravo TV “Million Dollar Listing” and published in many art and home décor magazines including the cover of Refresh Better Homes and Garden magazine. You can find many prints of her works in home stores and websites such as Wayfair.com and more. Erin Ashley also shows her work locally at the Carre D’ Artist gallery in Boca Raton. View her work at: erinashleyart.com, @erinashleyart

JAN BUSH has been an artist and art psychotherapist since 1976. She is a nationally known speaker and presenter on art therapy and has worked with all ages in a variety of educational and clinical settings. She is a recipient of numerous awards and has been recognized for her publications including textbooks and professional articles.  Jan presently serves as a consultant in private practice based in Palm Beach County Florida. A popular speaker, Jan presents courses, invited keynotes, workshops, professional supervision and other learning opportunities in educational, medical, and business settings across the USA.

SALLY COOPER has been painting all her life and in the mid-nineties moved from detailed representational work to seeking the abstract.  She is a six-time winner of The Artists Magazine’s national competition and a Signature member of the National Watercolor Society.  Her work has been featured in Acrylic Artist, Professional Artist, and The Artists Magazine where her painting Blue Horizon was featured on the cover of the May, 2015 issue.  Most recently her work was included in the 2017 publication Art Journey Abstract Painting, as well as Eyes on Abstracts and Best of American Acrylics.  Her paintings have been included in numerous regional and national competitive exhibitions receiving awards in most.  Sally’s work is “about a creative process rather than a specific image or place.”  She is represented by Mary Woerner Fine Arts, West Palm Beach.  Visit Sally’s website at:  sally-cooper.com, @sallycooperart

BARBARA CRONIE received an M.A. in Writing from New York University. Her diversified background includes teaching, writing, and experience in magazine and book publishing. Starting out in NYC at Random House as a copywriter, she soon moved on to magazines as the editor of Modern Stereo. Two years later she became the managing editor of a publishing house which produced several magazines. Published as a journalist (articles and interviews), she has traveled to Italy twice, promoting food and wine for the Italian Trade Commission, NYC. Among her teaching positions she lists: The Lighthouse International, NYC; Katharine Gibbs School (seminars), NYC; Palm Beach State College; Palm Beach County Continuing Education—before forming the Writers’ Colony. She presently offers an editing service, Editing Par Excellence, for beginning and established writers who are preparing manuscripts for publishing. She is a member of The International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG).

DEBORAH LAFOGG DOCHERTY combines two great loves in her work: nature and painting. While working in nature. Deborah strives to give her audience a glimpse of how animals live in the wild. She received the Masters Circle award from the International Association of Pastel Societies.  Her work has been featured in museums, national and international art shows and International magazines as well as in private collections. Ms. Lafogg-Docherty has illustrated a children’s book with part of the proceeds going to save habitat critical habitat in the Florida Keys. Membership affiliations include: associate member of the Society of Animal Artists, signature member of the Pastel Society of America, signature member of the Artists for Conservation, member of excellence with the Southeastern Pastel Society, member of the Oil Painters of America, member of the International Guild of Realism, the Pastel Society of North Florida, Degas Pastel Society and member of the Women Artists of the West and the Audubon Artists.  Visit her web site at lafogg.com, @deblafogg

NEW! BETH GREEN’S photographic trajectory took her from modeling to behind the camera. After attending Boston University, Beth interned for Ansel Adams and Minor White. She returned to NY to work for fashion photographer Richard Avedon, where she learned the intricacies of studio work. Following these experiences, she longed to use her photography skills to tell stories from a female perspective. The opportunity presented itself when she relocated to Philadelphia and joined UPI as a “stringer” and eventually joined its staff in New York. Her inventory of photojournalism includes Queen Elizabeth, Pope Paul VI and three Presidential campaigns. In 1976, women journalists sued to have access to professional sports’ locker rooms, making Beth one of the first women photographers to cross that threshold. She was nationally recognized for her sports photography and received the National News Photographer Award for her pictures of Phillies’ shortstop Larry Bowa and the Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup victory over the Boston Bruins. In addition to baseball and hockey, Beth photographed Olympic competitors in gymnastics and basketball. Further, she added professional and collegiate basketball, boxing and football to her list of sports. Beth believes that her success in capturing “that moment” was a result of focusing on “two opposing players and the object of their aggression”.

NEW! JEN FISHER earned a B.F.A in interior design from the University of Massachusetts. During her years as a commercial designer in New York City she worked for prominent architectural firms such as Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates and Environetics. Transitioning to the academic world, she became an Academic and Career Advisor at the New York School of Interior Design teaching and mentoring aspiring designers. Jen’s desire to create small took her artistic career on a new path: jewelry design while teaching art to children and adults. Jen created her own architecturally inspired jewelry line which sold in contemporary museum shops such as the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, MOCA Miami, and the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. A select line of her jewelry is currently available in the gift shops at the Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg and at Old School Square Cornell Art Museum. Jen began painting while teaching and experimenting with new materials and techniques. Influenced from her interior design background and love of perspective drawing, her paintings allow her to express her creative thoughts using alternate mediums. Jen’s paintings and jewelry have been exhibited in local and national galleries. She participates in various juried art exhibitions in Palm Beach County and her work was featured in the Spotlight Gallery at Old School Square Cornell Art Museum in June of 2018. Her painting, “Pretty in Pink”, won the cover design for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County’s 40th Anniversary Winter 2018 issue. @jfishdesign

NEW! ANTHONY FRANCIS founder and artistic director of Improv U. He has been teaching actors, business professionals, parents, students and kids how to be more confident on and off stage since 2012. He is an actor, comedian, singer, MC and host. He has performed and hosted in Chicago, New York, Portland, Miami, and many more. He currently directs 3 improv teams and performs in 2 of them. He also performs a fully improvised musical comedy show called “Antfarm” which he produces with his MD Tony Tata. Anthony has taught thousands of people just like you to be confident and entertaining improvisers.

DONNA STEGER FULLER has a BA in Art from University of Florida, an MA in Anthropology from Florida Atlantic University. She has done extensive commercial work for Motorola, Office Depot, PBIA and others, as well as limited edition posters for the City of Boca Raton and Hilton Hotels and Holiday Inns. Ms. Fuller has designed Cover Art for the Florida Philharmonic and National League of American Pen Women, as well as private firms. Donna has executed many commissions of classical reproductions of old masters, such as Rubens, Vermeer and Guardi to name a few. Donna is a signature member of the International Acrylic Society, American Women Artists – National, Gualala, California Art Center and Women in the Visual Arts. Ms. Fuller’s paintings are in collections in the UK, Japan, Australia and USA.

RAYMOND GEHMAN For 25 years I have worked for the National Geographic Society, traveling and photographing the world. I have been awarded three National Geographic cover photographs, and I have published numerous book covers, books, and magazine articles. I studied fine art photography at Northern Virginia Community College and earned a degree in photojournalism in 1979 from the renowned School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I worked as a newspaper photojournalist in Montana and at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk before moving to National Geographic. My photographs have been featured in seven National Geographic Magazine articles including two cover portraits on “The Vanishing Prairie Dog” and “Eastern Wildlife: Bittersweet Success.” I have also done over a dozen singlephotographer National Geographic Books, including “Yellowstone to Yukon,” and eight National Geographic Travelers, including “Jasper National Park.” I have had exhibitions around the U.S.: The Native Spirit one-man show at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre, West Palm Beach, FL; Gardens and Flowers at the Centre; Circles of Light at the Jung Center Gallery in Houston, TX, the Dixie Art Loft in West Palm Beach, and Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County, FL; and a four-person show at the Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth, VA, entitled P4|Paintings, Photographs, Pottery and Prints: New Work…Raymond Gehman. Visit Raymond’s website at: raymondgehman.com, @raymondgehman

CARLA GOLEMBE  is an award winning painter and illustrator. She has received artist residencies from the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, GA; Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic and Kalani Honua in Hawaii. Carla’s paintings have been shown widely throughout the United States. Collections include Hyatt, Marriot, Pan Pacific Hotels, Fuller Art Museum, Boston Public Library, Academy Art Museum, University College (University of Maryland, Shepherd Pratt Hospital, Medical College of Virginia, Worcester Art Museum, The JFK Library, Montgomery County (MD) Art in Public Places, Chico’s and other corporate and private collections. An image of her painting “Moonflowers III” was licensed by Icon shoes for their Spring 2012 collection. Dos Puentes Vineyard in Mendoza Argentina commissioned her to create a painting for the labels for three of their wines. She was a chosen artist for “Keys to the Cities” for which she painted a piano that spent 2 weeks in a public place in Palm Beach County and was then donated to a charity venue. Learn more at CarlaGolembe.com@carlagolembe

LEE GORDON has a comprehensive understanding of the art and skills of photography. Since his first cameras – a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye and a Fujica Half Frame – he has owned and operated photographic studios, a fine art photography gallery, and is currently both a commercial and fine art photographer. Lee’s commercial interests are architectural, lifestyle and interior design statements. His creative interests are mastering and teaching photographic digital workflow and producing fine art prints. “My creative intention is to simply capture and share the beauty and wonder of the earth and its magnificent places, faces and spaces.” Learn more at LeeGordonPhotography.com@leegordonphoto

WALTER HARRIS is a confessed “anime nerd” at heart, Walter grew up fascinated with Japanese culture. After working in the restaurant industry for the majority of his life and (in 2017) achieving his lifelong dream of traveling to Japan, Walter created the Noodle Station eatery with “Asian soul food” in mind. Noodle Station is the first of its kind: Asian-American fusion in a fast, casual environment. The restaurant is a “build-your-own noodle bowl” concept that also serves bao buns, craft brews, wine and Asian beverages.

IRENE HILL is an award-winning Master Photographer and graduate of Northwestern University with a dual Masters Degree in English and Education.  She has photographed over 200 concerts and events throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, has been a special events consultant to the National Geographic Society, escorted numerous international tours, and created and managed hundreds of lectures, conferences and seminars.  As a lifelong photographer whose goals are now directed to instructing others in the art of fine photography, Irene brings a world of national and international experience along with a love of teaching to her students. Learn more at www.irenehill.smugmug.com.

SHARON KOSKOFF is a professional muralist and designer widely recognized in South Florida for her projects with children and diverse audiences. She is a cum laude graduate in fine arts from Brooklyn College, and holds an additional degree from New York School of Interior Design. She has taught at the Montgomery Armory Art Center, Boca Raton Museum of Art, and the Norton Museum of Art. Learn more at bysharon.com.

SID DELMAR LEACH graduated from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Fontainebleau, France. He has a B.S. in Art from B.Y.U, and is the author of two books on perspective and pencil drawing published by McGraw Hill. He taught drawing for seven years at FIDM San Francisco and has lived, drawn and painted in France and studied with Ted Seth Jacobs. Mr. Leach’s drawings and paintings are held in private international collections.

NEW! MICHELLE MARRA likes to boast that she was born with a paintbrush in her hand.  An intense four day workshop on acrylic abstracts  in 2012 at Old School Square turned her focus from oils and representational work to a world of joy, color, light and energy. She feels very lucky to paint and has devoted her life to painting daily.   Her work has shown at regional art museums and galleries in Florida, Connecticut and New York.  Most recently she was awarded a national finalist for Artist Magazine in 2020, published in ArtFolio 2020, is represented by Allison Sprock Fine Art in Charlotte, NC and AnArt Gallery in San Antonio, TX and continues to build an international following on Instagram.  Find her work at Singulart.com and through her website, michellemarrastudio.com @michellemarrastudio.

NEW! LESLIE MARTEL began her interest in art as a child while living in St. Simons Island, GA. Classes she took there influenced her lifelong love of art and painting. Leslie majored in Interior Design in college and worked in that field for several years. She then created a business designing and hand-painting on sisal rugs for the interior design industry. After 18 years she sold the business, allowing her to become more engaged in watercolor painting. After many years of watercolor, Leslie felt the need for a more challenging form of self-expression through her art, so three years ago she began to work with acrylics and abstract painting. She now combines this with collage and mixed media.“At this point in my artistic career, I am finding this new path to be the most challenging one yet… But I am having the most fun ever!” Leslie’s work has been exhibited at Soma New Art Gallery, Cape May, NJ, the Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach, FL, Chautauqua NY Art Center, Chautauqua, NY, and Old School Square, Delray Beach, Florida.

NEW! JANET ONOFREY was born in Pittsburgh, PA and moved to South Florida where the sunlight and mild weather beckoned her to paint, “in the open air,” en plein air. Her Masters Degree in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design lead to a residency in Provence, France with time in Barcelona and Paris. She was awarded the 2015 South Florida Cultural Consortium Visual and Media Artist Fellowship judged for her extensive body of work. Janet was awarded a residency at The Skopelos Foundation of Art on Skopelos Island off the coast of Greece. Her art has been juried into national exhibitions such as the American Impressionist Society, American Women Artists, is a member of the Oil Painters of America and Plein Air Florida. The Baker Museum in Naples, FL, Museum for Women Artists and Andrews Art Museum in North Carolina are just a few of her museum exhibitions. She was featured in “New American Paintings,” and her artworks reside in both public and private collections nationally. She teaches at Fat Village Center for the Arts, Boca Raton Museum School of Art and privately. Follow her on Instagram at @janet_onofrey or janetonofrey.com.

RALPH PAPA was born and raised in Manhattan and studied art and architecture in New York at Queens College and CCNY and at the Art Students League. His paintings range from studio works composed of real and imagined themes to figurative, portraits and plein air paintings. Mr. Papa teaches drawing and painting at his Delray studio and at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts. He is a member of the Garrison Art Center, the Delray Art League, Past President of the Artists’ Guild of the Boca Museum and co-founder of ‘Plein Air Painters of Palm Beach’. His works are in public and private collections in the U.S. and Canada and can be seen in galleries in Boynton and in Delray Beach at his studio, the Artists’ Guild Gallery and on his website at papagallery.com.

CHARLES PASSARELLI Charles Passarelli spent his professional career as a successful advertising illustrator. His work was commissioned by many clients in the United States and abroad, such as NASA, I.B.M., Air Canada, Voxal of Germany and all the US automotive companies. He also taught advanced illustration at The Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. When Charles retired he decided to follow his abiding interest in watercolor painting. After moving to Florida, he joined local art groups and participated in indoor and outdoor art shows. His work has been shown in art galleries in Florida and Michigan, and he has won several national show awards, including Best of Show at Pigeon Key as well as first place at Boynton Beach GALA, Delray Affair, and several indoor shows. He is a signature member and award winner of the Florida Watercolor Society. He continues to teach, conducting watercolor workshops and demonstrations in Michigan and Florida each year. Besides watercolor, Charles works in oils, acrylics, and pastels, as he believes artists should never stop expanding their knowledge of their crafts. Learn more at passarelli-art.com.

PETER G. PEREIRA is a versatile artist in Painting, Illustration Performance and Installation Art. Based in New York over the past twenty plus years, is now ready to settle in beautiful Delray Beach. He studied at the University of Omaha and Art Studies in Europe and Africa in the 1980’s and 90’s. On his return he was accepted into several prestigious galleries for painting including Timothy Roberts Gallery and Gallerie D’Art Contemporain (to which his abstract work has returned). He has since continued to create across disciplines and notably evolved the Trees of Life Sculpture Multimedia Installation over the past 10 years in New York and toured Internationally in recent years (with Figment Arts) bringing this unique Installation Series as far Geelong Australia. Based on Painting and Drawing from his time in Africa and later Montreal he also created the Paradox Box Series of Wrap Sculpture and Painting Performance Series and compose an original Album for the show which later became performed off-Broadway. As an Illustrator his Comic Book Narrative work appears in Strauss News. He recently was featured in the Reopening of the Cornell Museum, Delray Beach with his Trees of Life Sculpture and new Augmented Reality Media Outdoor Pieces 2017/2018. @petergpereira

AMANDA PERNA is a mom, wife, fashion & textile designer, author, illustrator, stylist and serial entrepreneur (that’s right, she wears A LOT of hats). Amanda honed her craft while designing for Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein and studying at the University of Alabama and FIT in New York City. She then launched her own brand, The House of Perna, which has been sold internationally to major retailers including Anthropologie, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, BHLDN and more.

Throughout her career, Amanda has taken every opportunity to see the world from a new point of view; styling for celebrity and corporate clients, creating cards for Hallmark, frequently partnering with major retailers for in-store events and appearing on two seasons of the hit TV series Project Runway. In late 2018, Amanda launched a second brand, Neon Bohemians, which debuted at Nordstrom. Inspired by her young daughter’s love of fashion, Amanda became a published author in 2019 with her first children’s book, F is for Fashion, an illustrated book of fashion ABCs for kids. @@theamandaperna

NEW! SEAN RADFORD has been performing as a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and singer for nearly three decades. His concert schedule often exceeds two hundred performances per year, and his love of music has seen him perform all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and the Caribbean. His diverse music industry experience includes coaching finalists on hit reality TV music programs, working with and directing bands for Nashville country artists, and performing at private events for celebrities, heads of state, and royalty. Sean is a third-generation music educator who combines his passion for teaching with his real-world experience as a musician to create vibrant, memorable, and effective classes for his students. Visit Sean’s website at seanradford.com

DIMITRI SAGATOV is fine art photographer and designer based in Delray Beach. Primarily self-taught, Dimitri’s photographs are in private collections across the United States and abroad. An active member of the Delray Beach community, he serves on the board of the Delray Art League. His artistic focus is on producing unique fine art prints, and sharing his passion for photography through teaching and exhibiting his work throughout Florida. “My intention is to evoke the memory of a time and place in my photographs. Not just as it was, but as I felt and experienced it.” Visit Dimitri’s website at: dsprints.com, @dimitrifla

VICKI SIEGEL earned a B.F.A from the University of Illinois and continued her M.F.A coursework at Tyler School of Art in Rome, Italy.  Ms. Siegel developed a passion for painting while she pursued a career in advertising.  Vicki’s work is influenced by memories, both personal and collective. Colors and light of the tropical landscapes in South Florida are inspiration for her energetic paint stroke of abstract expressionism and the use of multiple images of pop art.  Ms. Siegel frequently exhibits in South Florida and her work is included in numerous private collections.  View her work at vickisiegelart.com, @vickisiegelart

BETH SLOAT has a passion for guiding students to develop a strong foundation in their art as they are learning to express themselves. She earned a B.A. from Hofstra University and B.F.A. from Colorado State University. Before studying Fine Art at the Armory Art Center, she was an artist in Biomedical Communications at Southwestern Medical School. Beth has extensive experience in youth instruction and now teaches adults exclusively. Ms. Sloat exhibits her drawings and oil paintings various local venues and has work in private collections. By working from live subjects, she challenges herself and her students to “catch the moment of inspiration and make it live on the canvas.”