Instructors

Helvi Abatiell — Pottery, resin, multimedia artist

Helvi has been teaching pottery to kids and adults for over 25 years. After gaining a studio art degree from UVM she opened Creative Space Art Gym in downtown Rutland, VT. Soon she discovered she needed to focus on her new and growing family. After a couple of years away she got her hands dirty again at Hands On Minds On children’s art studio and helped her friend create Muddy Hands Pottery Studio. When that program was transferred to the Rutland Recreation & Parks Department, Helvi continued to share her passion for clay with Rutland residents for several years. Now, Helvi finds herself at the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland teaching camps and classes, and helping with their summer programming.  

She is inspired by nature’s patterns and sunflowers, and loves walking through her woods in Mendon, VT finding interesting plants, roots, and other things to add to clay or resin.

Jason Bemis — Artist, Graphic Designer, Color Designer, Musician, Ecologist, Teacher, Muralist, Photographer

Jason Bemis is the leading presenter for the International Association of Color Consultants North America. He utilizes his experience as an Ecologist, Designer, Artist, and Musician to explore our unique co-evolved relationships with color and light and the environment. Using the scientific method, experiential exercises and Hands-on learning he explains the depth on how color and light aect us both physiologically and psychologically, and how we can utilize this knowledge to create humane architectural environments that support the Human Condition.

Dale Schelling Bills — Artist, Painter, Watercolors

My specialty is painting moody Vermont forests of rich colored birch trees, created primarily by using spontaneous splashes and splatters of water color paint in a free spirited impressionistic style. My career as a professional artist began upon moving to Vermont in 1980 where I established a small private art studio in my home. I joined the West River Artist Guild and the Chaffee Art Center and began studying and painting with many of the local artists here in the Rutland area. My formal art training began upon taking Biological Illustration through the University of New Hampshire on the Isle of Shoals, just off the coast of Maine. There, I studied the Art of Biological Illustration. My artwork was published and used in the University’s Catalog. It was there and then that I discovered that Art, Natural Science, and Biology were intricately connected and that I loved it all! I then went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Natural Science, and a Masters Degree in Education from Castleton State College. I went on to teach at Fair Haven Union High School for a short while and then transitioned to a career in Environmental Health from which I just recently retired.

Andrew Hamling is a local actor, and member of the Vermont Actors’ Repertory Theatre Board of Trustees. He was trained in theater in Los Angeles and New York City.  His stage experience spans four decades. His recent, local productions were “Love Letters,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and “Marjorie Prime.” Andrew taught this acting technique in Los Angeles.

Sally Hogan — is a native Vermonter. Living in West Rutland, she attended local Christ the King School and Mount St. Joseph Academy in her youth and earned her B.A. in Adolescence Education and English Literature with a Minor in Art from Elmira College. After graduating in 2019, she received her New York and Vermont teaching licenses. Sally is now back at MSJ teaching Art and English, since the fall of 2020. She is primarily a portrait artist and prefers to draw in greyscale but enjoys working with colors, painting, and experimenting with other mediums and crafts. In her spare time, Sally enjoys playing and coaching basketball, hiking and snowshoeing, as well as exploring the great outdoors with her dog. In addition to making art and staying active, she enjoys reading and writing poetry, music, gardening, and watching movies. Sally also spends her summers teaching Art to Pre-K through second graders at Northwest Primary School’s Tapestry Program.

Ann McFarren — Artist/Painter

For over 40 years, Ann painted the Vermont landscape with its trees, mountains; its many brooks and lakes; all liberally sprinkled with charming little villages. She can never resist the call of the back roads and where they might lead. Ann is also drawn to the sea; more specifically the coast of Maine. For many years having been traveling there; observing and trying to capture the many moods of that rugged coast.

Rosemary Moser — Rosemary holds and Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been educating children from infancy through middle school in childcare programs, summer camps, afterschool and summer school programs, art centers, events, and other settings for over 35 years. She is a former visiting artist Start With the Arts instructor for VSA Vermont (now Inclusive Arts Vermont), a Vermont Master Gardener, an herbalist, a passionate cook, and the mother of a grown homeschooled daughter.

Kathryn Palmer-Wiegers — Artist/Painter

Kathryn is responsible for several Rutland murals, including “Batman” on the Griffin Building, and the recently installed “Elephants” located near the entrance to the bus garage on West Street. There are several others, including one on the side of the Rutland Co-op building on Wales Street, one on Center Street, and two on Merchants Row.

Gary Parsych — As a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Gary Parzych is a sculptor and art historian.  Inspired by historical and current events, Gary creates sculptures with permanent materials like metal and stone to document and record his subject matter. He likes to work on a large scale which presents many challenges but also allows for creative problem solving. He has worked as a sculptor for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and has since moved to Vermont to continue working with metal and stone. Gary enjoys teaching others about welding, carving, and three dimensional thinking. 

Helen Taylor — Violin/fiddle teacher

Helen is a classically trained violinist and seasoned fiddle player who has her degree in music and theatre arts from Bennington College. She studied violin and music education with legendary artist and teacher Ladonna Smith and has toured the world as an artist and performer. Helen was also a nanny and early childhood educator for 12 years and accepts students starting at age 3. She lives in Rutland City with her son, Otis.

Marisa Valent-Altland — actor, director, playwright, and educator

Marisa is based in Rutland, VT. Originally from New York, Marisa has taught children’s theater camps all over New York and Vermont. Her favorite thing to teach is Shakespeare. Favorite acting credits include Cinderella in “Into the Woods” (SPARE Productions), Susie Bones in “Puffs” (Rarely Done Productions”, and Mary in “A… My Name is Alice” (The Artistree). Favorite directing credits include “The Drowsy Chaperone” (SPARE Productions) and “Macbeth” (Boot and Buskin). This coming year, Marisa will be directing for Castleton University and the Dorset Players.

Steven Wilson

Steven lives in Pittsford, Vermont where he works as a local musician, teacher and videographer. His passion is the guitar, which he has been playing nearly every day for the last decade. Steven is currently pursuing a degree from Berklee College of Music’s online program where he’ll earn a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Music Composition for Film, Television, and Video Games. Along with the guitar, Steven sings, plays bass, drums, and piano. He is a guitarist, singer and songwriter in his band Dirty Red Hearts. His favorite bands are Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, and Kiss.