Remembering Helvi Abatiell — Pottery, resin, multimedia artist

Original Bio:
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.

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.

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.

J. Carter Merwin
J. Carter Merwin is an author and illustrator of YA and adult fantasy/fiction
as well as a publisher under the name MacGregor House which is located
in Castleton and is part of Merwin Gallery/Studios. She is a member of the
Womens Fiction Writers Association and the Independent Publishers of
New England. Her work on The Legend of Now recently drew praise at the
Indie Book Awards. Graduating from RIT with a degree in painting and
printmaking her specialty has always been pen and ink with occasional
forays into watercolor and acrylic painting. She enjoys teaching and sharing
the creative process with young people.

Of her writing — “ When I start a story each character appears as if they
walked around the corner at me, I don’t know who they are or where they
came from, they are as much a surprise to me as they are to my readers. I
had no interest in pirates and had no plans to write about them when I
began ‘The Swan and Arrow’, the first of five books in The Tales of Earden
series, yet there they were, sailing up the coastline. “

Her latest YA fantasy, Hobb’s Lake Secret, is fully illustrated with creatures,
and images of the lake district of Ontario, Canada where she spent all her
summers growing up.

J.Carter Merwin @ Amazon author central
Facebook at Merwin Gallery, J.Carter Merwin

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.

Kristen Partesi

Kristen has been a teaching artist for over a decade. She worked as a high school art educator for ten years, being recognized twice as Teacher of the Year and UVM Outstanding Teacher for her school district. She holds a M.A. in Arts Administration, and a B.A. in Art with a concentration in painting. She has exhibited work throughout the state of Vermont, and especially enjoys getting involved with community art projects and murals.

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.

Karen Wurster

Karen is an involved member in the Rutland Community. She has instructed art workshops for K-8 youth and created visual aids for classroom use, and is currently working with after-school programs, as well as instructing craft/art workshops at the Chaffee Art Center. Karen has been involved with non-profit organizations, schools, and teachers for many years, and has provided them with tools/resources for educational enhancement through art, music and physical education programs. Some of the organizations include Rutland Town School, Chaffee Art Center, Boys and Girls Club, Vermont Achievement Center, The Carving Studio, Rutland County Humane Society and more. As an active volunteer, Karen prides herself in putting her heart into every activity to create a difference in the community, and especially to youth. She is excited to be instructing camps this summer at the Chaffee, and looks forward to collaborating with the youth campers.