expressions gallery
2035 Ashby Ave. Berkeley, California, 94703

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Expressions Gallery Arts and Educational Center

Expressions Gallery Arts and Educational Center is a 501 (C) (3) non profit corporation. We offer workshops, seminars and classes to artists, kids and adults. For more information go to our website at: or contact our Educational Coordinator: Marge Essel at 510-548-2617 You can also call the gallery at 510-644-4930 and leave a message.

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Current Show | Show Archives

Artist Biographies -
Kids Are Us
June 13 - August 7, 2009



Click on Thumbnails to Enlarge Artwork

Miriam Abramowitsch


Miriam Abramowitsch was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the daughter of a concert pianist. Following in her father's footsteps, she devoted her life to music and has experienced a long and fulfilling career as a singer and teacher of voice. She has also had a lifelong love for color, style and texture (as a child she wanted to be a clothing designer).   Three years ago, having never before attempted any visual art medium, she became interested in felting and took a number of classes at Deep Color in Kensington.  Since then she never looked back and has been creating and selling her colorful felted scarves throughout the Bay Area and beyond.  The artist states:  Felt is created by the alchemy of wool fiber with warm water and pure olive oil soap to produce a versatile material that ranges from spider-fine and soft to thick and strong, depending on its intended purpose. I design my scarves in a number of different ways.  I mostly use a blend of wool and tencel fiber, which produces a soft, crinkled, shimmery effect.  Right now I especially enjoy creating playful latticework scarves in a riot of different color combinations, and felting a variety of shapes and colors onto lengths of silk chiffon or hand dyed habotai silk. 



Sandi Adams

Sandi Adams lives in Berkeley, CA.  Interest in the visual arts has been a constant in her life.  At nine, she was introduced to watercolor at her Saturday Milwaukee Art Institute class. Watercolor has remained her primary medium, but she has also worked in ceramics, textile arts, photography, and now, acrylic and mixed media collage. Her art training includes coursework at Pomona College, Scripps College, UCSF Extension, CCAC in Oakland, and served as an Art Docent at the Oakland Museum. In addition, Sandi has taken workshops with local artists including Judy Greenberg, Jane Hofsteter, Kathleen Brennan, and Ann Baldwin.  She is affiliated with the California Watercolor Association, Marin Society of Artists, Valley Art Center, and Frank Bette Center for the Arts.  Sandi participates regularly in juried shows at these organizations and has had three solo exhibitions in the East Bay.  Last year she received five awards! Sandi uses her photography as inspiration for much of her representational work, but has been increasingly drawn to abstract layering and collage.  She says, “Involvement in my artwork renews and enriches me.  The doing of it, the process, is critical to my well-being.  An end product is almost secondary to the process! I am working toward achieving glowing, translucent color to convey an emotional impact and enjoyment for my viewer.”



Georgia Bassen


Georgia Bassen, who "never met a process she didn't love" grew up in New York, Seattle and northern California, but always in "bohemia"-- her father was a novelist and family friends were painters, actors, writers and the odd professor.. From as early as she can remember she was painting and drawing and taking art classes. In high scool she worked intensively with Windsor Utley and at 17 went off to Smith College to major in art. There a scheduling glitch led her into a philosophy class, eventually into the Ph.D. program at Berkeley, and to teaching human rights, logic and critical thinking at Cal State Hayward. While teaching part time, she went through the CSUH studio art program and from there to an MFA at San Francisco State (1991). She worked in ceramics, (Leslie Ceramics prize, 1986) painting (Mel Ramos, Ray Saunders), bronze casting, sculpture (Stephen deStaebler), set design, and digital art. For the past 5 years she has been happily making jewelry, working with Hadar Jacobson in Metal Clay.Favorite artists: Franz Marc, Paul Klee, Hadar Jacobson. Icons: trees, fish and tall buildings.



Carol Jones Brown


Carol Jones Brown has been painting and doing art for over 40 years.  She has a BS degree in journalism and a teaching certificate for adult school in fine art, crafts and
communications.  She has taught art classes at the Adobe Art Center in Castro Valley, then 30 plus years with the Hayward Adult School.  She works primarily in acrylics and
mixed media..She has shown in a number of galleries, and her paintings are in many collections around the world.  She is a member of several active Bay Area art organizations that display her work.  Carol says, “After painting for many years, I don’t try for a particular image, such as a seascape or a floral.  Now I strive to create something that is rich in color, fun and exciting—a  surprise for me and those who view my art.  Recently, I have been attacking my empty canvases with globs of brilliantly hued acrylic paint, dncing my brushes around the canvas for a challenging start”  Her works are magical, stirring and exciting and Expressions Gallery is proud to present her work as part of Kids Are Us.



Talia Brown


Talia Brown was born in Oakland, CA on August 5, 1999.  She is currently in the third grade at Walden Center and School in Berkeley, CA.  She really likes her school because she is surrounded by art.  Walden gives an art-based education, which allows her to have some form of art every day that she is at school.  Her favorite type of art is painting.  Artist says, “I have loved art ever since I was in pre-school.  I paint a lot at my grandma’s house.  She is an artist also, a weaver.  She encourages me to paint and even wove a painting of mine.”  This is Talia’s second painting that has been in a gallery.  She is very excited about seeing her work displayed.



Elizabeth Dante


Elizabeth Dante was raised in the rural south and now is living and working in Richmond, Ca.  Dante has worked and traveled in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Germany and Italy.  She has attained an affinity for the third world, and acquired the skills of the old world. This ever present influence has provided Dante with a stylistic inspiration for works ranging from classical naturalism to primitive stylistic narration. Much of her work explores the dynamics between round organic forms and hard ridges angles, and the spaces in-between.  By exaggerating this interplay, her work creates a sense of tension which is both lively and sensual.  Dante states, "My world combines ancient and modern rituals, extracting stylize motifs and archetypes, ancient and I pay homage to the many facets of the human sprit, characterized by warmth, humor and sometimes political commentary.  Her works have been showcased in "Art on The Rock At Alcatraz" and "Day of the Dead" exhibition at the Museum of Mexican Art. In 1990, The City of Oakland purchased her sculpture "Woman’s Liberation", as a gift to Nelson Mandela. She also received the Art of Peace Award the same year.



Cordelia DeVere


Cordelia DeVere lives in Richmond Annex and has traveled and lived throughout the U.S. She was born in Hollywood Calif and spent her early years in the L.A. area. Art was always a part of her life as both her grandmother ( a painter ) and her mother ( a sculptor ) were influential in her early years. Cordelia has worked in many mediums ( mosaic furniture, clay, glass, garden art, and painting ) but now has a passion for fiber art. Her day job as a designer and home stager got her interested in the idea of recycling and repurposing material and scraps of all kinds .On a visit to her friend Giselle's studio she picked up all types of scrap fabric and yarn , then a few trips to the Repo Depo (East Bay depo for creative reuse ) and the Gizzy doll was born. Each doll is handmade and is one of a kind. As they are being made each dolls individual personality begins to emerge, sometimes with unexpected results.



Debbie Fimrite


Debbie Fimrite is a deaf, Japanese-inspired artist with over 30 years of experience studying, creating, exhibiting and occasionally teaching art. She enjoys painting, drawing, sculpture, computer graphics, photography, origami, creating art dolls and altering Barbies. Always interested in art as a means of inspiration, self expression and healing; she was fortunate to grow up in the presence of many supportive artists including her mother who is a painter and sculptor. Over the years she has exhibited in a number of Bay Area Galleries including the Fort Mason Art Center, the Nanny Goat Hill Gallery, Gallery Sanchez, The Tea Spot Cafe,  the Japan Center, Red Ink Studios, the Market Street Gallery,  Art 94124 Gallery, Age Song Gallery and participated in San Francisco and East Bay Open Studios.



Pam Fingado


Pam Fingado was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she continues to live and work today. Raised by parents who had both attended the San Francisco Art Institute, Pam developed an interest in art at an early age and by age ten had already won her first award in art. She attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in the 1980s where she began to focus on graphic arts and silkscreen. In 1984 she earned an art degree in printmaking from California State University at Hayward. She has exhibited for twenty years and in 2003 participated in the Biennale Internazionale Dell’ARTE Contemporanea in Florence, Italy. From 2003- 2007, Pam has constructed over 150 paper figures.  This body of work followed a series of oil paintings in which she had reconstructed the figures of her ancestors by studying faded, torn and aged photographs. Among some of the  cut paper figures Pam constructed were a group developed from exploring the idea of living in trees. “I imagined what it would feel like to sit on a branch, swing from a vine and rest under a leaf.  This would make life incredibly simple.” With these thoughts I added some friends and a group of inhabitants called “treeples” or tree people. The resulting images are whimsical and light-hearted.



Rinna B. Flohr


Rinna B. Flohr lives in Oakland, California. She grew up on the East Coast in New Jersey and New York. She graduated from Syracuse University with a B. A. in theatre arts and a Masters of Social Work. She also completed a Certificate in Psychodrama at the Moreno Institute of Psychodrama in New York. She received her license as a clinical social worker and for 37 years she worked as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and as Deputy Director of Mental Health for Alameda County, Director of the Center for Special Problems, San Francisco Community Mental Health and Assistant Director for San Francisco County Behavioral Health Services. In 1991 her house burned down in the Oakland fire, which led her to study Interior Architecture and Design in order to rebuild her home. She completed the program at UC Berkeley in 2001. With an interior design degree she started Design Ideas (  and she began doing remodels and designing new interiors that later led her to staging and floral design. She studied floral design with Ron Morgan. Her floral designs were part of the Bouquets to Art Show at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco in the past and she was a member of the San Francisco Museum flower committee. She also makes jewelry from recycled materials left over from interior design projects and later from other found objects such as found rubber from inner tubes of tires or cement from building sites. She was President of San Francisco Women Artists in San Francisco, one of the oldest women’s art galleries. Currently she is founder and Director of Expressions Gallery in Berkeley, Ca. ( )



Sue Mary Fox


Sue Mary Fox splits her year between her winter workroom in Berkeley, CA, and her summer workroom in the village of Robbinston, Maine.  Born and raised in a rural hamlet on the wild Maine coast, Fox spent her early summers organizing bits and pieces of nature’s “art parts” into patterns on 2- and 3- dimensional surfaces.  Much of her outdoor time was spent along beaches assembling installations of flotsam & jetsam that would become rearranged by time, tide, and weather.  Participating in the long term process of building & observing the progress of disintegrating beach installations has been a life long interest. Although she trained in ceramics at university, Fox spent 32 years in the field of design & construction using the sewing machine– at various times employed making Art to Wear clothing; costumes for theater, dance, opera, & circus; and more recently in creating site specific installations for commercial interiors.  A full time studio artist since 2001, Fox maintains a fully equipped sewing studio on each coast where she primarily produces boldly colorful quilts with an abstract contemporary edge. Her large format quilts have been exhibited across the United States and in Europe. Scarf making offers the joyful opportunity to play with color and texture.



Chandra Garsson


Chandra Garsson lives in Oakland, California. She grew up in Los Angeles, California. She has two degrees in fine art, including a Master of Fine Arts from San Jose State University, with her B.F.A. from U. C. Santa Cruz. The mixed media sculptures presented in this exhibition are made from wire, bone, doll parts, mannequins, beeswax, fishnet, metal, wood, paper, paint, jewels, cheesecloth, nails, an antique toy bank, hands praying from a religious reliquary, gold leaf, a Barbie doll torso, an ancient red toy windmill, and various other materials. The “Three Wise Men” are actually a depiction of three little sisters: Devine Justice, Devine Maternity, and Devine Contemplation. They play divinely with notions of role reversal with the most powerful of our world, men, but with a sly twist, for they are wise.  "Worship” keeps spirituality in the troublesome box of all that we hold dear in most of our human cultures, namely money, alluding to the old saw, “all that glitters is not gold.” Finally, Barbie on a cross reminds us, along with the three little wise men, that we the woman, we the man, we the baby, we the people. No one is better than anyone, and we all must be the best that we can be, our own most Devine selves. In the last show in the old space of Pro Arts Gallery (the first solo exhibition of the gallery at the time), over two hundred of Chandra Garsson’s works were shown in the exhibit, Insomnia (Awakening), a mid-career retrospective of the artist’s work.



Deborah Griffin


Deborah Griffin is an artist and a storyteller, who constantly seeks ways to incorporate the two into a visual narrative. She pursued art and design at the University of Arkansas and studied with Henry Hensche, Wolf Kahn, Jane Wilson, Don Lee, Josepha Vaughn, and Maggie Taylor. She is a member of Alameda Art Association, NAPP National Association of Photoshop Professionals, the Alameda Women Artists, Autobody Fine Art, and the Frank Bette Center for the Arts where she has won two Honorable Mentions and one Best of Show in 2009. Her recent exhibits include, Picture This Gallery, Long Beach, CA, RAW Gallery, Oakland, as featured artist for May, Renew Exhibit at the Alameda Library, and the Alchemy Exhibit at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. Using ephemera from the past and photographic elements both vintage and taken especially for the project; she repurposes and repositions the people, places and things to tell a new story, to fashion a new narrative that explores archetypal characters and ideas. Deborah states, “I prefer to create an arranged and developed space, an environment layered with images, symbols, and meaning. I create worlds that are practically bursting at the seams with content. They are intended to lure the viewer into succumbing to this place, to realize there is always more to explore, or mysteries that will be revealed if you spend some time in the story.”



Susan Hall


Susan Hall was born in Florida but has resided in the East Bay since age 5 and currently lives in Albany.  She earned a BA and MSW at UC Berkeley.  After 21 years as a juvenile probation officer, she retired in 1994 to pursue her life-long interest in art.  Her journey into painting began with watercolors in sunny Puerto Vallarta Mexico where she hangs out for a month every winter.  More recently she has turned to oil painting and has taken art classes at Laney college.   She is a frequent world traveler.  During her travels to third world countries, she takes photos which are later used for inspiration in painting.  She searches out vibrant scenes when traveling and tries to translate the mystery and sparkle of the scene into a painting.  In the past she has focused on vistas and landscape.  More recently she includes people of the local culture into the scenes, engaged in their everyday activities. She especially enjoys trying to capture the charm of young children onto canvas.  Her work has been shown in many restaurants, several galleries in the Bay Area and in a gallery in Puerto Vallarta.



Sofia Harrison


Sofia Harrison is self-taught, she started creating artwork in 1999 and since then has participated in numerous gallery and juried exhibitions in the bay area, with selected shows in New York. She lives and works in Napa and has been commissioned by clients across the country. Sofia uses glass and words with an entirely fresh perspective to create a mixed-media piece that is visually pleasing, intelligent and soulful. "I gather words in much the same manner as a painter mixes paints," she explains.  Magazine advertisements are her favorite source for words and phrases: "When taken out of context, they become either particularly funny or especially poignant." Her work embodies the collective thought patterns of our society: fractured but connected, expressing individuality, desire, spirit and reason. She affixes the words to the hand cut glass pieces and then attaches them to mannequins, boxes, sash windows, baby dolls and furniture. The framework chosen is often dictated by what she can, to put it plainly, garbage-pick. "I was driving in Berkeley and spotted an old stool half buried in tall grass in a vacant lot. I almost caused an accident by making a b-line to nab it." Now encrusted with verbiage, the work is entitled Tossed in Berkeley. "I love the process of reincarnation."



Bruce Heppler


Bruce Heppler was born in Berkeley 1955 (Kaiser).  He graduated Berkeley High in 1973 and  worked at Lawrence Berkeley Lab from 1975 to 1983 as a mechanical technician.  He moved to Covelo, Mendocino Country and opened a welding and repair shop.  Bruce has been working with metal all his life. He did an art sculpture for a benefit for a local music teacher whose mobile home burned (made a phoenix from trailer frame), got positive comments and started making other things.  He takes inspiration from many sources, notably Louis Armstrong, the Three Stooges, and the Marx Brothers.  When he’s not working on farm equipment, he’s making art.



Melanie Hofmann


Melanie Hofmann graduated with a BFA in Textiles from the California College of the Arts in 1996. Her home and studio are located in Berkeley.  She first explored the joy of creating art in pre-school and she has not stopped since.  As a teenager Melanie fell in love with fiber art, specifically with weaving and dyeing fabrics. Melanie has received awards from the Taegu International Textile Design competition and from Manhattan Arts International.  Limited edition prints of her digital art are in the corporate collection of Lifescan, Inc. in Milpitas. Melanie works with both textile and digital media.  For this show, she is featuring her art of tile and Italian Charm bracelets. Her work has been inspired by a number of artists including, Jean Miro, Rene Magritte and Magdalena Abakanowicz. She was also influenced by the artwork of her maternal grandmother, Zura Young, an abstract painter. Melanie seeks to convey through her work the interactive process with her media and a visual representation of her inner world.  In addition to Italian Charm bracelets, she can make custom bracelets or tiles with photos and artwork that you provide.



Stan Huncilman

Stan Huncilman was born in Indiana but he is a product of the San Francisco Bay Area art world.  He attended San Francisco State University where he was introduced to Funk Art and Happenings in the ‘70s.  He received his M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1984.  S.F.A.I. is the home of the Bay Area’s leading art instructors. He has been a sculptor for more than 25 years.  Stan works in a variety of materials.  As a matter of practice he uses the material that is most expedient to creating the sculpture he wants rather than “pushing a particular material.”  His sculptures often begin from a simple sketch.  He prefers to work in a direct manner rather than making molds of models before the final sculpture. The artist states: “I combine a child-like playfulness with primitivism. This creates a wonderland of intriguing forms and convoluted messages.  When I enter my studio there is a mental sign post reading “Linear Thinking Stops Here.” Through my sculpture I create a world of nutritiously puzzling paradigms whose roots may be in religion, folk art, nineteenth century industrialisms or Greek mythology.  In this world, a whimsical sense of humor walks arm in arm with an obstinate determination to create.  The sculptures in this exhibition are part of his “All My Psyches” series, a whimsical yet intriguing observation of the complexities of consciousness.  His solo exhibits include Holy Names College in Oakland, California and the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.



Helen Jones

Helen Jones lives in Berkeley within biking distance of this gallery.  She grew up in a Navy family. They moved all around the USA according to the whims of the Navy.  Any interest in art was ridiculed as pretentious--"makin' purties". The Catholic church was also a huge early influence--a love for gaudy color and gilt and a commitment to atheism began early in life.  Most of her life energy has been divided between making a living and political activism.  She helped found an abortion clinic in Chico in the 70's, made effigies and banners for anti-war protests, and fought christian fascist "operation rescue" for several years. Most of her fabric or paper mache work from this period was burned or smashed. Recently, she has been most concerned about climate change. While grappling with this problem she has kept her sanity by doing ceramics and gardening.  Her ceramics has been influenced by the ten wonderful years that she lived in the Mission District of SF.  She tends towards objects that can be displayed in the garden.  Many thanks to the South Berkeley Senior Center for providing a wonderful studio and to Dianna Bohn our friend and teacher.



Gerry Keenan


Gerry Keenan was six years old when her father gave her a microscope.  She was transfixed by the beauty of the crystalline life forms in a single drop of pond water and believed that there surely could be nothing else quite as beautiful.  Years later, the artist, who has a degree in biology and in studio arts, uses natural light and 35 mm black and white film to, as she says, "capture the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete wonder" of her surroundings. Using acid free pens designed for use on photo paper, she builds up layers of color in order to impart a tactile quality to her work. Gerry has work in collections throughout the continental US and in the Virgin Islands. Solo show venues include: Studio 7038, the Rockridge Café/Gallery, Soga & Associates Architects/SF and the Lucky JuJu Transview Gallery. Gerry is pleased to have won First Place Photography in the only competition she has entered, which was a juried show of fine art connected with the 2005 San Ramon Arts Walk. She states: " My camera gives me a way to record the fleeting moments, life forms, and images that represent the tenuous, magical bonds that exist between all of us and the world we inhabit. I delight in, and am intrigued by, how slowly, and most often quietly, Mother Nature, acting in concert with wind, water and sunshine, decomposes, and then recomposes man made objects into elements of transient beauty.



Devon Kelley-Yurdin


Devon Kelley-Yurdin grew up in lovely Burlington, Vermont. After discovering at a very young age that she had no hope of focusing on just one thing at a time, she spends most of her energy trying to absorb as much nformation as she can about as many different things as possible, and her art reflects that mindset. She states: "A crucial part of my process is sifting through past 'scraps' to discover and utilize old ideas, patterns, and ink washes that were created months and years ago. By recycling these thoughts and textures I can develop an ongoing dialogue from piece to piece. And, while producing new work, new scraps are created that, in months or years, may help enrich and build this dialogue." In the summer of 2008, after a 5-year stint in Brooklyn where she earned her BFA in Communications Design and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, she packed up and relocated to the Bay Area. In addition her astonishment with the amazing year-round produce, California has proven to be the perfect place for her to continue to make daydreaming and obsessing both productive creative activities.



Jenny Sueyoun Kim


Jenny Sueyoun Kim lives in San Mateo, CA. A daughter of Korean immigrants, Jenny was born and raised in Los Angeles. She comes from a long line of artists, mostly painters, and she herself has been drawing and painting since before she started school. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Linguistics, her passion for art intensified, and her interest in three-dimensional media flowered from her “love of decorating the human body—from tattoo art to jewelry." In 2004, she began taking Metal Arts classes at the City College of San Francisco, and metal immediately became her favorite medium. She states: “What's so amazing about working in metal is its coldness and hardness, and with it, being able to create a sense of elegance, movement, and life--which really spoke to me like no other medium has.” Her jewelry pieces reflect her love of organic forms: floral and figural. Her work is entirely hand-sculpted from wax, which she creates in her home studio, and then casts into sterling silver at Scintillant studio in the SF Mission district. She does all steps of the sculpting and casting process herself, from start to finish. In 2007, she began working as a silversmith and jewelry designer on a full-time basis. Her website is at



Coral Lambert


Coral Lambert, currently living in the US, was born and raised in England and studied at Central School of Art in London, Canterbury College of Art, Kent and received her MFA in Sculpture from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1990.  Since then Coral has shown her work extensively in England and America including The Barbican Center, London, Franconia Sculpture Park, MN, Convergence, in Providence, Rhode Island, Grounds for Sculpture and twice in Chicago’s International Navy Pier Walk. Coral Lambert has lectured as a visiting artist at the Royal College of Art, London and RIT, New York among many others. From 1995-1998 she held the position of International Artist/Research Fellow in cast metals at the University of Minnesota. In 2000 she was invited as the semester visiting artist at the University of North Carolina and has returned there several times since. Coral is the Founder of the US/UK Contemporary Cast Iron Sculpture Residency Program that has taken place in England and America annually since 1997. A recent recipient of the Jerome Fellowship and Gottlieb Foundation Award, she also has artwork in several private collections. She and her husband spent a brief time here in Berkeley, Ca after they were evacuated from the Gulf Coast hurricane Katrina where they lost much of their work. Coral is currently Co-Chair of the 5th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. Her artwork references asteroids, standing stones and volcanoes; icons of transformation that careen between astronomy above and archaeology below. Central to her work is the exploration of concepts related to growth and form, with a particular interest to those specifically found in natural phenomena that contain some kind of metaphysical presence.



Charles Lucke

Charles Lucke lives in Hercules, CA. He began borrowing his father’s cameras while growing up in Stratford, CT, and has been a freelance photographer since the 1970s. He added a darkroom to each of five consecutive residences, and though he shoots mostly digital today, he continues to mine an inventory of thousands of slides and negatives for images to exhibit. His first solo exhibit, “Four Ways to Abstraction,” was on view at the XZIBTit Gallery in Hercules for two months in 2007, and in July 2008, the Hercules City Council awarded him First Place in the first annual Hercules Photography Contest. Charlie’s inspirations include Hugo Steccati and Ruth Bernhard, who, though their work is very different, were both creatively involved in photography to the end of their long and interesting lives. Regarding his interest in abstract photography, the artist states: “There’s a desire in me to create something that no one else has created (or at least, not precisely the way I have created it.) It’s a way to free the form and change it from a visual reality to an unreality. It’s a way to free the process from the precise reproduction of tone, colors, and forms and let the right brain reign.”



Shao Wei Liu

Shao Wei Liu, a native of China, came to U.S. as a student in 82. She graduated from the Academy of Art University in S.F. in 87 with a Master's Degree of Fine Art, majoring in Illustration. After working for several years in commercial art she started her long career with computer and console games. While having a job making 3D weapons and monsters, she paints watercolor during lunch breaks, waiting for kids' activities and whenever there is a chance. Her favorite topics are trees and young children. She considers them the two most beautiful things in life. The displayed paintings here are children of her co-workers. The originals were given to the parents.The artist, in her spare time, has exhibited at Portola Valley Art Gallery, Triton Museum in Santa Clara, Mountain View Art and Wine Festival and so on. She has donated her paintings to Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Triton Museum's Fund raising for Education and various school fund raising events.



Laura A. Luzzi


Laura A. Luzzi is a working Artist living in San Francisco. She grew up in NJ and formally studied Fine Art and Illustration at the Pacific NW College of Art in OR, after receiving a Master's degree in Counseling and Human Relations. Art has always been a part of her life; creating illustrations for publication, developing creative arts curricula for youth, judging youth art competitions, and most recently painting in acrylic and mixed media. She was influenced to "paint big and use more color" after living in New Mexico, "inspired by the people and places I encounter". Laura paints in ways that challenges observers to discuss, interpret and conceptualize what is happening. Her work has been described as "moving from representation to abstraction" (often in the same painting) and she has been recognized in group and solo exhibitions to include Berkeley Art Center, La Pena Cultural Center, and Petaluma Arts Council in CA. Some of Laura's work from 2007 is on file with Gallery Aferro and Montclair Art Museum's Le Braun Library in NJ. Stars & Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of chosen for this show, was painted in honor of the joy and hope of children and "after shopping with my 4 year old friend who pointed out a unicorn and various knights". Laura's work is privately collected and she welcomes commissions, especially to capture your 'favorite things'.



Jennifer Wallace Mack

Jennifer Wallace Mack has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. She works in various media: painting, photography, mixed media, and jewelry.  Her work is consistent in the quality and detail in each medium she applies.  She has exhibited at a number of solo and group shows, many of which were juried.  Shown at Expressions Gallery is her magnificent jewelry.  Jennifer has served on various Boards of Directors for long standing Artists Organizations such as the San Francisco Women Artists, where she was a past President and continues in the current Board as Vice Treasurer and The San Francisco Gem and Mineral organization where she is currently Treasurer.



Elena E. Maroth

Elena E. Maroth lives in Kensington, CA. She was born in Havana, Cuba and emigrated to the U.S. in 1960. She attended San Francisco State University, then worked in Marin County as an adult education teacher; since 1985 she has been Art Director of the non-profit classical record label Music & Arts in Kensington, where she lives with her husband. Born close to the sea in Cuba, Elena Maroth has been surrounded throughout her life by nature, music, and visual beauty. The rhythms of the ocean and the culturally vibrant life of Havana  inspired Elena early on to dance and paint. She studied ballet with dancer and choreographer Alberto Alonso at Pro Arte Musical, continuing at the legendary Alicia Alonso Ballet School in Havana; she also studied art at the Escuela San Alejandro, but is largely self-taught. After moving to the U.S., Elena’s art has continued to be inspired by her early environment as well as by her ballet training: she has brought to her visual art work the joy and rhythm of color and movement. She works mainly with acrylics; most of her canvases are 3x3 or 4x4 feet in size. -- She has exhibited at SF Zen Center (2), Fourth Street Gallery (Berkeley), Green Gulch Farm (Muir Beach), La Pena Cultural Center (Berkeley), Berkeley City Club, San Francisco Women Artists Gallery and Expressions Gallery. Her published work includes a Univ.of New Mexico New Music Festival brochure cover painting and several CD cover pictures for Music & Arts.



Sonia Melnikova-Raich

Sonia Melnikova-Raich was born and trained as an artist and architect in Moscow, Russia and has been living in San Francisco since 1987.  In recent years she turned to photography but her training and “inner eye” as a painter and architect show throughout her works, many of which have a strong resemblance to painted media. Sonia is a winner of several juried art and photography competitions and exhibits her work locally and nationally. Currently her works are on view in the exhibit called “Dreaming in Pursuit of Memory” at Caladan Gallery in Cambridge, MA; in the  “Embodiment” international juried art exhibit at Lawton Studios gallery in Liburrn, GA; “Myth, Magic and Mystery” at Red Door Gallery in  Oakland, CA; and “Wabi Sabi” annual juried art exhibit at O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, Mill Valley, CA. One of her images, “Morning Paper” from the “Left Behind” Series has been included into the 2009 issue of “Diffusion,” a magazine devoted to unconventional photography. “ I do not necessarily endeavor to show exotic locations where nobody has traveled before or unusual things which nobody has seen before, but rather, what others have looked at but saw a different story from the one I see “, says the artist. All works are signed individually produced original archival quality prints on Somerset Velvet paper. The artist avoids mass-producing her work by printing on-demand a limited number of pieces (some are one-of-a-kind) while maintaining full control of the quality of each individual print.



Connie Millholland


Connie Millholland resides in Benicia, California and her art studio is also located there within the artists community.  Her inspiration to become an artist began in elementary school.  She developed, very early, an eye for drawing and was asked by teachers to develop art projects for the school. She holds a B.A. degree in art and has additional education attending classes at the San Francisco Academy of Art and also by studying under professional artists in their studios.  Her figure drawing instructor was most influential.  She admires his process and philosophy of capturing the energy of the pose and this resonates within her to create energy in her works. She has also been greatly influenced by design techniques and when an idea comes to mind, she contemplates on how the concept can be uniquely presented within an interesting design. The two works presented
in the Kids Are Us Showare created in oil on canvass.  The luxurious quality of oil paint hopefully enhances emotion as the color, textures and design engage the viewer in a non-representational experience. Like many other abstract artist
she allows the painting to develop itself, but she adheres to a formula and process that allows her to feel successful.  She states:” Each painting calls to me for perfection, and I work until I am satisfied.“




Maj-Britt Mobrand

Maj-Britt Mobrand lives in Berkeley, CA but was born and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. As a little girl, she saw her grandmother’s loom in the attic and was very intrigued by it and knew she wanted to master one of those.  She has taken weaving classes both in Sweden and the U.S., but is for the most part self-taught.  She has been teaching weaving here in Berkeley since 1968.  Some of the juried shows she has participated in are U.C. Berkeley and Live Oak Art Galleries in Berkeley (1969); Artist League of Vallejo Gallery (1975); Olive Hyde Art Gallery in Fremont (1988); and Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland (2006 and 2008).  She has also participated in many Open Studios and has shown her work at various local venues and as a result has weavings in many private collections. Artist states:  “I enjoy using traditional weaves and patterns in a non-traditional manner and am striving to find a harmonious balance between the natural and the artificial or planned.  My inspiration is derived from music, nature, travels, and from my students.  It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm of my students as they develop their projects on their looms after I’ve given them the ‘know how’.”



Mona Ram


Mona Ram has lived in the Bay Area since the 60's and is recognized mostly as a performing artist. Her strong continued belief in a Higher Power combined with the "Artist's Way" has broadened her talents within the Visual Arts. This is Mona's 3rd show at Expressions but her first work using Paper Mache.  The project was developed from an idea conceived on her daily walks while collecting trashed colored candy wrappers: The power and delivery of parental messages to their children.  Hence the title "Treats? (on a Silver Platter)". Reusing resources on hand is highly important in all her works. Mona lives in Berkeley and can also be seen every Sunday singing in the Glide Memorial Gospel Choir in S.F. for the last 8 years.  She is ever grateful for her inspiring and supportive friendships; her loving and brilliant daughter Shree and Rinna whom she believes is yet another "angel" in her life.



Diego Marcial Rios


Diego Marcial Rios lives in the Bay Area and paints in acrylics. He graduated with honors with an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Department of Fine Arts Graduate School and a B.F.A. from University of California at Berkeley. He received a number of honors scholarships for Academic study. His artwork illustrates many complex social-economic issues faced by ontemporary society.  About his work he states: “I create art that is isually stimulating to gain initial viewer acceptance.  Once this is achieved, the viewer is confronted with ancient symbols of life and death.”  The figures and landscapes in the art are inspired by what I have experienced and later dreamed about. Diego’s work has been widely shown throughout the United States and Mexico and he is in a number of Museum Collections: The Auchenbach Foundation Collection at the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, Oregon; Laguna Beach Museum, Laguna Beach, Ca.; Museo National De La Estampa, Mexico City, Mexico, etc.. He has also illustrated a number of books and his work is part of a number of Public Collections: Harriet Taubman Gallery, MD; Mission Cultural Center, SF; The Collector Gallery of the Oakland Museum, Oakland, Ca.; Irish Arts Council, Belfast, Ireland and many more.  He has appeared as a speaker on Art and been interviewed on Television. His artwork has been included in many magazines.



Deborah Robins


Deborah Robins is a real live folksinger who lives in Berkeley, CA.  She makes fun and wearable jewelry out of repurposed and found objects like paper clips, safety pins, and sea glass, with the addition of colorful vintage buttons gathered from flea markets around the worlds.  Originally from Chicago, she was exposed to fine art through innumerable trips to the Art Institute of Chicago, where the colors and shapes from several Grant Wood landscapes, captured her imagination.  For two years in a row, Deborah has been selected to participate in the unique Maker Faire as “Folkiedokies: Repurposing with a Purpose”.  Deborah Robins is the Executive Producer of a PBS/WETA television series about the history of American folk music, “THE MUSIC OF AMERICA: History Through Musical Traditions”.  Deborah is the sister of Laura Olear.



Selma Rockett


Selma Rockett lives in Berkeley, California and was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine. As a very young child, Selma learned to use “make believe, fantasy, whimsy and pretend” to enhance her days and this is what influences her art. Many wonderful people she has met in life inspire her work. Hats have always had a role in her life. Selma is primarily self-taught however she did study briefly with Bertha Underwood in Oakland, Ca.  Her mediums include fabric, straw, yarn, wool and “lovely trinkets, feathers, buttons and all things shiny.”  The hats are hand molded, using an art medium to set the design. The hats are not ‘named’ as most are one of a kind—therefore ABSOLUTE WHIMSEY.



Rosie Rosenthal


Rosie Rosenthal lives in Berkeley and grew up in the Bay Area. Her grandfather was a rockhound, her grandmother crocheted and painted china and watercolors; her mother was an artist – she painted and made jewelry. As a child she took classes at Studio One. As a young adult, she did jewelry and batik before pursuing a BFA in Fine Arts at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1975. She states, “Alexander Calden’s Jewelry and Faberge inspire me.” She has received a number of awards for her printmaking, and is in Arthur Murray’s collection. Her current modality is unique jewelry with handmade beads, semi-precious stones, and pearls, that is whimsical and elegant which she is showing at Expressions Gallery.



Anne Ross


Anne Ross currently lives in Alameda, California. She grew up in Urbana, Illinois and has been interested in art for as long as she can remember. Some of her earliest memories involve illustrating favorite story books. She obtained her Bachelors degree in Advertising Design  at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has worked as a copywriter and designer. The pieces in this exhibit are part of a larger Twisted Doll series involving images of the doll in far-flung, often incongruous, and sometimes perilous settings. Anne began exhibiting her photographs in  2007 and has won awards at the Frank Bette Center in Alameda. Her first solo exhibition opened at Nomad Café in Oakland. She prints her own gelatin silver prints and is also exploring large scale digital  photography. She continues developing her art with  education and training. Recently she has completed classes at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley and at Autobody Fine Art in Alameda.



Christine M. Rossi


Christine M. Rossi lives in Berkeley California but originally comes from a rural area in up-state New York. Christine began exploring art at an early age winning several art competitions while in high school. She was influenced by Japanese art and theater while on an exchange program to Japan. Christine later studied costume design at SUNY Binghamton, illustration, oil painting and color theory through the University of California Extension Programs. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80's she began working as an architectural model builder and illustrator for a San Francisco Architectural firm. She branched out into creating illustrations, two and three dimensional, as well as models throughout the 80's and early 90's. Other career pursuits took her away from her art practice; however, she returned to creating pieces that reflect her philosophical reactivity to her personal world and the world at large.  The works are secular in nature but draw heavily on religious and mythological imagery. "Creating has become tuned to preserving the every day life of those that preceded me capturing a day in human history, or telling a story through the imagery of the land and human interaction. My work is indicative of my exploration of the human experience through spiritual and mythological cycles and interaction with the natural world. This work uses images based on the original Tenniel illustrations of “Alice”, and are reflections on the state of our modern world and collective psyche. Christine exhibits in galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area and has artwork on the Ovation TV website,  under cmaerossi, as well as her own website and blog and may contact Christine at



Prartho Sereno


Prartho Sereno lives in Marin County and grew up in Rochester, New York, where she spent summers at a family cottage waterskiing and splashing around with paint. She took a few art courses at Bowling Green State University while studying psychology, but it was at an ashram in India in 1981 that, without instruction, Prartho began her journey in watercolor. She found its liquid transparency perfect for bearing light. As a poet, Prartho has always been drawn to metaphor—the mystical revealing itself in the ordinary; her artistic heroes include the surrealist Magritte and such early 20th century illustrators as Kay Nielsen, Elenore Abbot and Edmund Dulac. While living in San Diego in the mid 1990s, Prartho was juried into the Spanish Village Artists Collective, through which she gave painting demonstrations and regularly exhibited in Balboa Park. Her paintings were recently featured at Gallery Route One in Pt. Reyes Station and have been chosen for several CD, magazine, and book covers. The paintings in this show are from her national-award-winning gift book, Causing a Stir: The Secret Lives & Loves of Kitchen Utensils. Of her creative process, Prartho says, “If I meditate on a simple image, other forms inevitably arise: An Indian beggar sprouts wings, stars break out inside a glass pitcher of syrup, an old redwood tree grows the gnarled hands of an old woman, a face arises in the soupspoon.”



Linda Sims


Linda Sims lives in Bel Marin Keys.  She is a 5th generation Californian, born and raised in Alameda. Her first art teacher was George De Mont Otis, her great uncle. She is grateful for: 8 years study with Chester Arnold, travel,  museums, galleries, and life:  all great teachers. Linda Sims has had 18 solo shows, was an art therapist, had an interior design business for 15 years, and renovated real estate. Gesso and oil paint on a child's outgrown clothes, an egg tempera of the child, a piece of life is not discarded.  An old palette and image of an egg tempera create her own self portrait. Art allows her complete freedom and joy, and she hopes that it is contagious.



Rita Sklar


Rita Sklar is an award-winning artist.  She took up art seriously only 11 years ago, attending classes and workshops throughout the Bay Area and training with a private watercolor master in Madrid for a year. She draws inspiration from her life in the multi-cultural Bay Area.  Previously, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa and worked for corporate giving programs and foundations serving the Bay Area’s non-profit community. Recently awarded a commission by the County of Alameda, Sklar has also received a grant from the City of Oakland.  Her works are in private collections across the country and in Europe.   Her paintings of animals and birds have been shown at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, the Oakland Zoo and other venues.  Her landscapes have been shown at Filoli Gardens. Expressions Gallery presents Sklar’s spiritual works in water media on paper. Sklar skillfully juggles organic and geometric forms, transparent and opaque paint - all held together by a basic abstract underlying shape. It is this intricate dance, rendered in strong color and value, which produces her exciting paintings. Solo exhibits featuring Sklar’s works have been held at the Montclair Gallery, Tilden Park Nature Center, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Wente Vineyards Estate Winery, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Pro Arts Gallery’s Broadway Windows Project, and the Albany Community Center. Currently, Sklar’s work are featured at the Solano Grill in Albany, the San Francisco Women Artists’ Gallery and the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto. More of her work can be found at Go to to see my watercolors, current shows, and awards.



Emily Jurs Sparks


Emily Jurs Sparks is a native Oaklander.  She is a soprano with the Oakland Symphony Chorus, and she also likes to write.  She has had no formal art training, but has been making things all her life.  Her house and yard are her main canvas, where her biggest installations are the deer mural on the hillside retaining wall, Allegra the garden dryad, and the pique-assiette (broken ceramics) wall on the driveway that delivery trucks keep breaking. At home, few surfaces are safe from paintbrush or glue, though so far her Saab is untouched.  Her current art form is toy-size Art Cars, inspired by what you see in the “How Berkeley Can You Be?” parade. Emily combines materials such as in collage, piece- and glue-work.  She does not use patterns; all her work is original.  Animals, the whimsical, and the unexpected are driving forces. Her favorite subject has always been animals, and they are passengers in all her Art Cars. These cars are often sighted at DakotArt on Piedmont Avenue, and are seen this summer at Expressions Gallery.



Arlene Risi Streich


Arlene Risi Streich, grew up and lives in Oakland, Ca. and cannot remember a time that she has not been interested in art. She received her B.A. ED and A.B. F. A. (Painting) from California College of Arts and Crafts (Now CCA) and has lived and spent much time in Mexico doing painting and photography. She has taught in the Oakland Public Schools, Diablo Valley College (Painting, drawing and fashion illustration) and CCAC (Children’s classes). She is presently exhibiting her glass jewelry, a medium started four years ago, and her painting. Her Jewelry work is influenced by her background in painting incorporating a bold use of color and line. Her painting and jewelry work has been shown in numerous exhibits around the country and in private collections. Artist states: “Our role as artists is to continue to amaze, provoke, stimulate, delight and agitate the senses. The fact that we continue to do so is a testimonial to not being complacent, while trying to process the internal/external creative dialogue.”



Eli Streich


Eli Streich is an artist and drummer. He lives in Oakland, California. Eli is nine years old and has been involved with art his entire life. His favorite type of art is cartooning. Eli is very influenced by the work art of his late grandfather, Marty Streich. He has looked at his grandpa's work closely since he was very small. His grandmother, Arlene Risi Streich is a talented artist who has helped Eli develop his own unique style: trance-cartooning. Eli has created comics such as: Harvey the Teenage Goat; Stash; and Bad Boy. In addition to trance-cartooning, Eli plays drums in E. W. Wainwright's African Roots of Jazz, and he studies percussion privately with Ward Spangler of the Oakland Symphony internal/external creative dialogue.”



Wynette Weaver


Wynette Weaver lives in Albany, CA, when she isn’t on an adventure in another part of the world, combining her passion for travel and photography.  Wynette’s passion for photography began when, at age fifteen, she took out a bank loan to buy a camera to replace her trustworthy, but not very exciting, Brownie.  There was no looking back. Over the years, while working first as a nurse and then a tech writer, Wynette studied and practiced the art of photography in many areas; portraits, landscapes, black and white, etc.  When the digital camera arrived, Wynette immediately envisioned  the possibility of altering a photograph to create a truly original and more meaningful image. The ambiguity of the medium is also attractive to Wynette .  There is a sense of mystery about thefinal image which prompts viewers to ask, “What is this? How did you do it? It’s beautiful.” This intention of sharing her adventures with others visually and emotionally is in Wynette’s mind as she works hours into the night on a new project. Wynette’s photos have been published in travel brochures, magazine articles, and won awards in various categories. The Tibetan Buddhist Way series was showcased at the ProArts Studio Tour in summer, 2006.  Her most recent award was First Prize and Best in Show in the Travel/Journalism category at the Berkeley Camera Club. Images available as cards, prints and canvases in varying sizes. For more info, email



Emmryss Wren


Emmryss Wren currently lives in Berkeley and was raised in London, England.  She has received no formal training in art, but ha always considered herself creative, making art out of things that were available, at the time.  Her current art uses hubcaps and sticky backed vinyl sheets of color, old jewelry etc:  The artist states that she always starts at the rim and works inward, with no actual concepion or the finished outcome. She says the pleasure, for her, is in the end surprise.



Mary Ann Zapalac


Mary Ann Zapalac has been living in Oakland, CA for the past twelve years. She grew up in Austin, Texas with dueling interests in art and science which  she attempted to resolve with an M.A. in medical illustration at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She remained at the medical  center as a staff medical illustrator for several years, but a growing love of  children’s illustration caused her to pursue children’s educational and ‘edutainment’  CD_ROM contracts which eventually led her to the bay area. She has been working as a freelance illustrator for the past sixteen years. Painting grew from an occasional  pastime during breaks between illustration projects to a serious pursuit several years ago when inspired by the rich textures of tapestries, the bold, simple forms in quilt patterns and the brilliant colors of stained glass, she began to experiment with textures on canvas. The cycle of order and chaos is a central theme in her acrylic animal paintings. Pieces of fabric, dried leaves, moss, grasses, shells, fish hooks, old keys, soda can flip-tops, surgical knife blades, sequins, lace, nails, matches and feathers have all been pulled from retirement to create an underlying layer suggesting the seemingly random, continuously fragmenting and fertile foundation for order and life. 



Vallejo High School Students - Sr. Art Class

Joanne Adriano grew up in Vallejo, California. She became interested in art during a recent summer school program.  She is also enrolled in Advanced Art and spends a lost of time drawing and painting on her own.  She enjoys taking art classes and feels she can learn a lot from professional artists. Her recent work has focused on still life florals. She has shown her work in the Vallejo High Gallery and at the Solano County Office of Education. She has also entered the Tuckey McKay Art Show. She enjoys doing cartooning and working with acrylic paint. She plans on attending a vocational medical school in Concord, CA to become a licensed vocational nurse. She hopes to always keep doing art as a hobby.


Rachelle Banag was born and raised in Vallejo, California. She has been interested in art since she was a child.  Her dad was a very good artist and his abilities influenced her. Rachelle began creating art when she was eight years old. There was an art class taught at her elementary school by a volunteer teacher who came once a week. Rachelle was excited using pastels and watercolor paints. She did not take art classes in middle school, but worked on her own doing drawing and painting and then enrolled as a senior in Advanced Art at Vallejo High School. Rochelle enjoys painting the collage look and puts together a composition using various references from magazines. Her subject matter captures nature and nostalgia. She has submitted work to the Solano County Office of Education and shows in the Vallejo High School Gallery. Rachelle plans on attending San Francisco City College and is considering an art related career.


Jill Dayrit was born and raised in Vallejo, California. She became interested in Art as a little child making small collages and doodles and placing then in a binder. She has taken an Introduction to Art class at a community college and she attended the Oxbow School in Napa for one semester.  The program along with her advanced art class has enhanced her artistic skills.  She is very self motivated and practices her skills until they are mastered. Jill’s recent work has focused on still life and a social statement piece reflecting homeless teens. Her work has shown at the Oxbow Open House, in the Vallejo High Gallery and at the Solano County Office of Education Art Fair. She also enjoys doing photography and working with Photoshop on the computer. Jill is open-minded about the possibility of an art career, but she plans to attend U.C. Berkeley and major in psychology. She says she will always keep art as a hobby.


Danielle Dulaney grew up in Vallejo and is currently attending Vallejo High School. She became interested in art in her junior year after being placed in an art course to meet a fine art graduation requirement. Little to her surprise, she became very interested in learning how to draw and paint.  She has been in Advanced Art this year and finds herself very motivated creating expressive paintings. She has submitted work to The Solano County Education Art Fair for the past two years and has won Honorable Mention. She really enjoys painting with all mediums. Danielle is not sure about what career she will choose. She is thinking about an art related career and also becoming a veterinarian. She plans to attend Napa Community College and then transferring to the University of California at Davis.


Araceli Garcia was born in Long Beach and was raised in Vallejo. She has been interested in art since her first day of school when she received her first, new box of crayons. When she entered Vallejo High School she was enrolled in her first art class as a ninth grader. Her current work has focused on landscapes and florals and has shown in the Vallejo High Gallery and in the Solano County Education Art Fair. She enjoys doing all types of art and is thinking about an art career.  Next year she hopes to attend California State University East Bay.

Jedd Mallari was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when he was eight years old. He became interested in art in pre-school where he began to draw cartoons.  Unfortunately, Jedd had minimal art in elementary school and no art classes at middle school.  When he began his Drawing and Composition class at Vallejo High School as a freshman he became very inspired and motivated to learn the techniques and excel with his art projects.  Jedd’s art has been constantly displayed in the Vallejo High School Gallery and his work depicting a homeless teen was selected for the Solano County Education Art Fair. Jedd has learned a lot this year and he hopes to continue to take more art classes where he can improve his drawing and painting skills. He would also like to learn digital art and master Adobe Photoshop. Perhaps he will venture towards achieving an art related career in his future.


Ariel Nickles was born in Richmond and raised in Vallejo.  She became interested in art for two reasons.  First, her brother who majored in art in college influenced her, and second, her love for drawing and painting anime and manga animation designs. She has had two art classes at Vallejo high School and she also draws and paints on her own time at home. She enjoys painting in acrylic and drawing with colored pencils.  She feels an artist needs to practice regularly to master their skills. She currently has one of her pieces in the Solano County Education Art Fair. Ariel is going to attend Solano Community College, and then go to the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She would like to develop her career around animation or comic book illustration.

Patrick Pascual spent his early childhood in the Philippines and has attended Vallejo High School for the last four years. When he was in first grade he began to draw and took a liking to it.  He has taken two art classes at Vallejo High School and he has been able to experience various mediums other than what was available in the Philippines. He has mastered chalk pastel and does very well with watercolor paints. His work has been shown in the Solano County Art Fair and the Tuckey McKay Art Contest winning first place in both. His focus has been still life. He plans on attending Napa Community College next year and then transfer to Sacramento State. He hopes to attain a degree in nursing and keep art as a hobby.


Ruel Ramos grew up in the Philippines and has lived in Vallejo for the last five years. He became interested in art when he would watch his brother drawing and painting. He did not have any private art lessons, but took beginning art and drawing and painting during high school.  He enjoys chalk pastels and water color, and has two still lifes in the Solano County Office of Education Student Art Fair and has won 3rd place in the Tuckey McKay Art Contest. Ruel is going to Sacramento City College and is still not determined as to what he will major in. He is considering a career in art and would like to attend the Academy of Art in San Francisco.


Danelle Santoyo grew up in Richmond. She currently lives in Vallejo and is attending Vallejo High School. She became interested in art when she saw her step-dad paint a landscape of a river in a forest. Her instruction from her step-dad and two art classes has motivated her to perfect her drawing and painting skills. Danielle has won first and third place for two pieces she submitted to the Solano County Education Art Fair and first place in the Tuckey McKay Art Contest. She looks to her art as an opportunity to express herself which is reflected in several of her creative works. Danelle has not decided into what career she will venture. She is attracted to becoming a graphic designer with an emphasis in advertising. She would also like to explore the possibility of obtaining a degree in nursing. She wants to always create, and if not actively creating within her career, she will definitely create art as a second career or hobby. 


Ken Tate grew up in Vallejo, California and currently resides there. He first became interested in art two years ago while browsing the Internet. He stumbled upon an artist’s website named Duey who works in pastels, colored pencils, graphite and photography. Duey’s expertise seems to be in all genres of art. Ken was so impressed by the quality of Duey’s art that he decided he wanted to learn. He enrolled in Introduction to Art at Vallejo High School and currently he is in Advanced Art. Ken also spends a lot of time drawing and painting on his own practicing and mastering his skills. Ken has focused on doing portraiture and has recently done Marilyn Monroe, Barack Obama and Martin Luther King. His art has been shown in the Vallejo High Gallery, the Solano County Education Art Fair, Tuckey McKay Art Contest and the national Boys and Girls Club.  Ken plans to attend Solano Community College, major in criminal justice and eventually attend law school. He hopes to keep art in his life as a hobby.


Jennifer Young was born and raised in Vallejo, California. She has been interested in art ever since she was a little girl watching her father create artwork. He encouraged her to begin drawing and painting. Her first experience with art was in the eleventh grade in an Introduction to Art Class, and in her senior year she enrolled in Advanced Art. She has greatly developed her skills in drawing and painting. She usually paints from photographs, but puts her own creative marks into the piece.  When she does not understand how to do a technique, she readily asks the instructor for assistance. Jennifer has specialized in doing animal figures and flower paintings done in acrylic. She enjoys creating from subjects in nature. She submitted one of her flower paintings to the Solano County Education Art Fair and received Honorable Mention. Jennifer plans to major in psychology and attend the University of California at Santa Cruz. She hopes to keep art in her life as a continual hobby.




Karen Benke


Karen Benke has inspired children in the art of creative writing for 16 years as a Free-Write Facilitator, Creative Writing Coach, and Poet-Teacher in the California Poets in the Schools program. The author of Sister (Conflu:X Press, 2004) and Poetry Editor of MEMOIR (and) Literary Journal, her writing for children has appeared in An Intricate Weave: Women Write About Girls & Girlhood, edited by Marlene Miller (Iris Editions, 1997); Beside the Sleeping Maiden edited by CB Follett (Arctos Press, 1997); and a number of Poets in the Schools Statewide Anthologies, including My Song Is the Light; My Pencil of Dreams; Nest of Freedom; Heart Flip; 100 Parades; Belonging to California; and Listen to the Wild. Other writing has appeared in regional and national literary journals, including Ploughshares, Poetry East, Hungry Mind Review, Runes, Hawaii Pacific Review, Santa Clara Review, Tiferet, americas review, Pilgrimage, Clackamas Literary Review, Rockhurst Review, and online at Poetry Daily. A graduate of the University of San Francisco’s Master of Arts in Writing program, she’s held writing residencies at both Hedgebrook and Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and is the recipient of two teaching grants from Poets & Writers and a four-time grant recipient from the Marin Arts Council Fund For Artists. She lives with her husband and son in Marin County, where she’s completing a non-fiction book of creative adventures for children titled Rip the Page! She can be reached via her website:



Prartho Sereno


Prartho Sereno is author of the prize-winning collection, Call from Paris (winner of the 2007 Word Works Washington Prize) as well as author/illustrator of the award-winning poetry collection, Causing a Stir: The Secret Lives and Loves of Kitchen Utensils (2008 IPPY Gift-Book Award). Her other publications include the chapbook, Garden Sutra; a song/ poetry CD, Salt; and a book of essays, Everyday Miracles: An A to Z Guide to the Simple Wonders of Life. She received a 2003 Marin Arts Council Individual Artist Grant in poetry, and has been a California Poet in the Schools for nine years.




Greg Pratt




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