Arts Instructors

Susie Amato (painting/sculpture) is the Founder of Artists in Conflict, specializing in working with artists from Third World Countries.  She is co-creator of several art workshops in the US and Italy/Africa and Cuba. She has also taught at The Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Helen Day Arts in Vermont and an assistant to Paul Lucchessi at The New School of Social Research in NYC. Susie is an artist and who also teaches sculpture and painting. She is a contemporary realist and has studied with Norman Raeben,  Paul Lucchessi, Barney Hodes, Nelson Shanks, Odd Nerdrum, Tony Ryder, Ted Jacobs and Ismael Checo among a few.  She is collected widely by institutions and individual collectors. Her work has been exhibited at Synchronicity Space in NYC, and numerous group shows as well , in regional galleries throughout the US, in France, Norway and Tanzania East Africa. She received The Phillip Izenberg Award for Sculpture and has won many awards and grants from the National Academy, Parsons/New School of Social Research and several artists foundations. Susie is devoted to her work and always inspired by the work of other artists. She believes there is so much one can say through their work and that the better education one has can only make a more intelligent artist creating work that will make a lasting impression and inspiration

Maureen Amaturo (writing, mixed media) has 25 years of experience as a professional writer and layout/ad/package designer in the fashion and beauty industry. Also, she has had short stories, articles and poetry published in national poetry anthologies, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Glamour & Harper’s Bazaar magazines to name a few. Maureen works with children and adults to encourage freedom and confidence in expressing themselves creatively, discover their imagination, sharpen verbal and written language skills, and build their ability to invent and develop ideas. She is currently working on several novels, both fiction and non-fiction, for children and the general market.

Laura Smith Anechiarico (cartooning, illustration, life drawing) studied art, biology and medical illustration at Baylor University and University of Texas at Austin. She studied life drawing at the Edward Hopper House in Nyack and the Reilly League in White Plains. She also studied landscape painting at the Art Student League’s Vytlacil School of plein-air painting under a variety of instructors so as to be fluent in many styles & techniques. Her artistic philosophy was most influenced by studying under Knox Martin at the ASL and the Master classes at the Met.   Laura earned her Master’s in Art Education at Manhattanville College.

Michael Awusie (acting)

David Baer (digital photography, Photoshop)

Ismael Checo (drawing/painting) Ismael Checo studied painting at Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo, the Arts Students League of New York, and as an apprentice in Andalusia, PA with Nelson Shanks. Later he was trained as a painting conservator in New York. His paintings explore a view of life that grows out of the Dominican/European influences that he has experienced. The human influences include irony, satire, and sarcasm. He views painting within the historical context of fine art. Since 1982, he has shown his work in many museum and gallery exhibitions. His paintings and drawings have been published in national and international books and magazines. For more information please visit His paintings and drawings have been published in national and international books and magazines.


Larry D’Amico (painting) received his B.F.A. from SUNY Purchase. His work has been shown extensively throughout the New York metropolitan area and across the United States over the last 20 years. He has taught painting, drawing, and sculpture at all age levels through the Westchester Arts Council and Silvermine Artists Guild.  More about Larry: New York artist Larry D’Amico’s interest in the play between representational imagery and the more abstract qualities of color and form, is evident in his Impressionist-style paintings.  His use of color in his oils, acrylics and pastels simulate light and create atmosphere. D’Amico’s paintings add a sensuous texture to an already color-drenched canvas, where vigorous abstract brush work and washes of color communicate the experience of landscape.  D’Amico’s work has been recognized in shows such as the “American Landscape” group show in Madison, Wisconsin; “Plein – Air: A Tradition Honored” in New Rochelle, NY; and “New York: Before and After 9/11”in Naples, Florida.  He has been the recipient of numerous awards for his work, with paintings in several corporate collections

Vincent Davis (cartooning/drawing) is a freelance cartoonist, illustrator, musican and audio engineer. He attended NYU and CMA in NYC, majored in Illustration and Audio Engineering and holds a degree in both. He is the author of his own cartooning instructional book entitled, Mr. Davis’ Cartooning Lessons-One Through Ten and he also designs retro pop culture t-shirts.

Daniel DeNapoli (drawing/painting) – At 18 he won the prestigious ‘Alexander Medal’, along with a fine Arts Diploma and a scholarship. He then attended The School of Visual Arts, N.Y.C., earned a BFA. He also studied at The Arts Students League of New York City with such renown artists as Anita Steckell, Ephrain Rubinstein, Jack Aragasso. Daniel won many competitions in the U.S.A. and Europe. The Kean Masson Gallery on West 57th Street exhibited his paintings in several group shows in the 80′s.

Elizabeth Derderian (painting) – Elizabeth B. Derderian earned her B.A. in art history from Barnard College and her MBA in marketing from NYU. Her work was featured in the June 2010 issue of American Artist Magazine and can be seen locally on the cover of the March 2010 Rye Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Map, the postcards of the Pearl Restaurant Group and the walls of On the Way Café, Ruby’s, and Sotheby’s. The American Artists Professional League granted to her in November 2011 the Cheap Joe’s Award in the 83rd Grand National Exhibition and in November 2010 the  Frank C. Wright Medal of Honor in the 82nd Grand National Exhibition. In December, 2010, she was juried in as a Full Member to the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, gained acceptance the past 4 years into their National Annual Exhibitions and won top awards in 2008 and 2009. Her work was also accepted in the 2009 and 2010 Annual Exhibitions of the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic and the 2010 and 2011 Annual Exhibitions of the Allied Artists of America. She has had 8 solo exhibitions. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her joy and skill of painting with her students at The Rye Arts Center.

David Baer

Ann Ladd  (drawing/painting,murals) spent her childhood in Europe and South East Asia where she learned to appreciate all forms of art, culture & history. Anne has painted murals and been a decorative artist in the NY area for the past 25 years. Her murals can be seen at the Neuberger Museum of Art, The Rye Synagogue, The Children’s Rehab Center in White Plains and in private homes throughout the East Coast. Anne has taught art to all ages and encourages her students to experiment with different materials so they can find a style that expresses their interest and personality.

Joy Kelly is an actor, director as well as storyteller. She has performed on “Late Night with David Letterman” and several soap operas and in the 1997 independent film “Out of Season.”  As a storyteller, she has performed in several venues including The New Jersey Storytelling Festival, The Mohegan Festival and Story Grove at the Clearwater Festival as well as numerous libraries and museums in and around the New York City area, Westchester and Long Island.  She currently works as a Teaching Artist in the New York City Public Schools as well as at the Rye Arts Center in their summer program and as part of RAC’S partnership with Headstart in Portchester, New York.  As an actor, Joy most recently was featured in the New York City Parks Project, Summerstage in the Faux Real Production, “Seven Against Thebes”.   She also directs for Theatreworks, USA.

Brigitte Loritz (watercolor) was born and educated in Switzerland. In the U.S. she attended the Parsons School of Design, as well as studying with such prominent watercolorists as Ed Whitney, Jane Carlson, Arne Lindmark and Diane Faxon. Brigitte is Artist-in-Residence for the Port Chester Council for the Arts and teaches in the Port Chester Public Schools in their Arts in Education Program. She is former Art Director for the American Yacht Club Summer Camp and teaches art activities in several Westchester schools. Her award-winning watercolors have been exhibited here and abroad, and she is particularly well known in the community for her paintings of homes and historical sites.

Gary Mack (decorative arts, mixed media) is an artist and trained educator.  He received his BBS and Masters of Art Education at Manhattanville College. He currently works at Manhattanville College for the Office of Disability Services. He assists students with their testing accommodations and acts as a tutor as well as mentor. Mr. Mack is currently finishing the requirements for a Masters Certification in Special Education focusing on children with Learning Disabilities – specifically ADD and Autism. As a teacher, Mr. Mack designs the content of each of his classes so that they are multi layered and deep learning experiences. Art skills translate into life skills and creative problem solving into learning tools. Plus each class is great fun.

Didi McKay (drawing,painting,mixed media) earned her BA in Art History from the University of Denver. She has studied at the School of Visual Arts and at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and at SUNY Purchase. She is currently a Museum Educator at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in CT where she teaches and develops programs. A journalist and photo stylist formerly with Fairchild Publications/ABC, Inc. Didi has taught after school art & writing in numerous area schools. She has had Art Residencies with the Hudson River Museum, The Westchester Philharmonic and Osborn Elementary School. She also enjoys charcoal portraiture as well as abstract painting and mixed media.

Patti Mollica (painting) Patti’s artwork has been aquired in numerous public collections including Mellon Bank USA, Sociéte Generale, Daimler Chrysler, and Sheraton Hotels. She has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in New York and New Jersey, and has received numerous national awards and scholarships including two full scholarships from the Pastel Society of America and the National Academy of Design. She also has twice won the Award of Excellence from Manhattan Arts International. Patti’s artwork is currently being published nationally and internationally as fine art posters and marketed thru museum, gallery and retail outlets. Coveted by both decorators and private collectors, her style is remarkable for its bravura brushwork and fearless use of color.  For more info on Patti, please visit

Mari Ogihara (ceramics) is a ceramic sculptor based out of Port Chester, NY. After receiving her MFA from Tyler School of Art of Temple University in 2006, she was awarded a year long residency at the Clay Art Center in New York. Currently, Ogihara is a ceramic instructor at Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, CT and at the Clay Art Center. Her work can be viewed in regional and national exhibitions, and she continues to develop a body of work inspired by female ornamentation and rituals.

Danielle Pottberg (drawing/painting, mixed media From Danielle:  A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Textiles, I had made New England my home for the past nine years. After receiving my MAT in Art Education at Rhode Island School of Design, I worked for a year as an Art Teacher at Cumberland HIll Elementary School in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Cumberland is an Inclusion Model School and I plan to continue my studies of Special Education so that I may provide art-making opportunities for all students.  I currently work as a full time Art Educator at Harlem Success Academy, and reside in Brooklyn New York.   In my studio practice, I am largely influenced by the relation of my subjects to their environment, and consequently, my influence on that environment through my work.
Specialties: drawing from life/observation, paint in oils and acrylics, silkscreen, drafting, applique’, photography (fashion and landscape), apparel

Marilyn Rabetz (colored pencil painter) received her BA from Brooklyn College, in New York where she studied with Ad Rheinhardt, the abstract expressionist, and Philip Pearlstein, the figurative realist. Both aspects of their concerns appear in her realist, sometimes magical, still-life paintings. Rabetz has exhibited widely over many years and has been published may times including four times in American Artist Magazine. The Director of the Richmond Art Center at the Loomis Chaffee School (a private preparatory high school), she also taught all levels of drawing, computer graphics and advanced placement at the school. Her work can be seen at her website, and she is currently preparing a series of instructional books on the overall topic of realist drawing and painting with graphite and colored pencils.

Leslye Smith (photography) received her B.A. in Art History from Manhattanville College. She has been a professional advertising photographer for over 15 years, and started her own commercial studio and in 2003 Leslye went solo and established Studio Smith. She has also taught at Manhattanville College and Greenwich Continuing Ed.

Martha Wingate Taylor is a glass artist, working out of her studio in Rye Brook, New York.  Her work includes casting, kilnforming, deep sandblasting, lampworking, cold construction, and photography on glass.   Ms. Taylor has studied with many internationally recognized glass artists, most notably Paul Stankard, who was a great influence early in her career. At both Urbanglass in New York, and the Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass she studied lampworking with Mr. Stankard,  Robert Mickelson,  Emilio Santini and Loren Stump.  She studied etching  with Austrailian glass artist Jane Bruce, and Jiri Harcuba from the Czech Republic.  and cold construction with Martin Rosol.  Ms.Taylor studied deep and layered Sandblasting with Steuben designer Eric Hilton, furnace formed sculpture with Paul Marioni,  Kilnforming with Mark Ditzler, and casting with Lucartha Kohler.   Before becoming a glass artist, Ms. Taylor was a professional singer, performing in Welsh both here and Wales, and singing on and off Broadway in New York for many years.  She has a 24 year old daughter, and a 20 year old son.

Sone Tower (drawing/painting/muralist,mixed media) received her B.F.A. from Purchase College S.U.N.Y. and M.S. from the College of New Rochelle. She is a certified art teacher who has taught art to all ages in the Port Chester Public Schools, Silvermine School of Art and in CT public and private schools. She has completed many collaborative mural projects & residencies in schools & public spaces throughout Westchester & Rockland County working as an Artist in Residence for the WAC and Neuberger Museum of Art.

Kathleen H. Wood (clay) received her B.F.A. from the College of New Rochelle and is certified to teach art in New York State. She has completed her M.S. in Early Childhood Education also at The College of New Rochelle. She studied with Marilyn Dintenfass and Judith Weber in New Rochelle and wood builder John Forbes in upstate New York. Kathy teaches art at Resurrection School in Rye, NY. Her work is in private collections throughout New York and Washington, DC.

Nicole Zahour