Studio Artist Gallerya collection of works by Bethany Arts Community studio artists
We are pleased to present a gallery of works by our studio artists. Learn more about the artists who create at Bethany every day.
The Studio Artists
Kevin Byrd, Anne Carpenter, Jan Smith Castronuovo, Mary Ellis, Dagny Emiliani, Lori Ganz, Chloe Giroux, John Hyde, Andrew Irons, Jill Kiefer, Peter Leeds, Regina Luersen, Sharon Rowe
At the heart of the Bethany Arts Community are our local studio artists; the talented, creative, and beautiful people who call Bethany “home.” Coming from Ossining and the surrounding area, they have helped shape our community where like-minded creative people support each other and collaborate. Our studio artists have taught classes and workshops and exhibited their work in our galleries. They bring light and joy to Bethany every day and bring true meaning to the phrase that “renting a studio at Bethany is much more than just renting a space.”
We hope you enjoy this peak into their world as much as we do!
Kevin Byrd is a self-taught abstract expressionist artist based in New York. At a young age he found his passion by drawing and sketching from comic books. He was an art student in the local High School. His passion for art continued while serving in the Arm Forces by sketching other solders. After serving he became a Correction Officer for the NYS Department of Corrections, while a Correction Officer he pursues his BS degree in Behavioral Science. After twenty-five years of serving in the department of correction, he picked up his paint brushes and started to pursued his creative passion as a full-time artist. His painting “The Gathering” was displayed and sold on the westside of New York City, by Art on the Ave NYC, which is a community-based initiative that supports local artists. You can also fine his painting “Home Coming @ Heaven’s Gate” during their fall exhibit. His creative painting ‘Evolution” was digitally displayed by ARTHOUSE.NYC a digital art gallery in Soho New York. He was a participating artist in the Harlem-Eat-up in 2018. Some of his paintings was displayed at several restaurant in the tristate area of New York, such as, Cheri’s, Harlem, NYC. or Brothers Fish -N – Chips, Ossining NY. He has recently been appointed to the art committee at The Bethany Arts Community in Ossining NY. His art studio is also located at The Bethany Art Community. “I paint to express my moral and political views and influence by my surroundings.”
I have been singing all my life but over the past decade started stepping out more and more onto center stage as a lead singer. I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the Ossining music scene performing with my jazz quartet at Jazz at the Lodge and presenting my Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon show with the amazing Peter Calo and John Lissauer at the Westchester Collaborative Theater, as well as performing here at BAC. My more recent passion has been iPhone photography. I’ve always loved all things nature and started there, taking photos of leaves and trees and skyscapes but then, through walks around my neighborhood, I started becoming increasingly drawn to the beauty of the details of scenes right outside my door from cracks in the sidewalk to dew-covered flower petals. Using my phone camera allows me to capture these discoveries wherever they catch my attention. I just recently taught a class here at Bethany showing students that they too can look for beauty in the details and share their unique perspectives.
Jan Smith Castronuovo
I began drawing at an early age and never stopped enjoying the simplicity of pencil on paper. I grew up in the southern United States, an African American female in the late 1950s -1970s, just below the Mason-Dixon line on an historically Black college (HBCU) campus where both of my parents worked. My love of drawing eventually led to my majoring in Fine Art in college at another HBCU, Florida A&M University- FAMU (where I began my 1st wood sculpture). I received a fellowship to pursue an MS degree in Industrial Technology, minoring in Graphic Production at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville which led to a stint at IBM, as a Marketing Representative in Milwaukee, WI. Discontent with the corporate world and missing my art, eventually led to a fellowship for an MFA in printmaking & graphic design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (where I developed a new technique called woodcut collage). Since then, my work has been exhibited and is in private collections in the U.S.
In North Carolina I worked as a Medical Artist at Duke University Medical Center making computer graphics slides. Then in CT, I was a typesetter at Clarion Marketing & Communications while new artwork continued to come through. Around this time, a spiritual awakening had begun within me. Through meditation, working with Guru Madeleine, a Master Teacher of metaphysics, I became more aware of my purpose in life and learned the importance of self-discipline. She opened me to telepathy, which allowed me to discover more of who I am in connection to Divine Mind. It is because of her teachings, guidance, energy and love over the years that I am the artist that I have become today, listening and following my inner teacher in order to grow along the path to self-mastery. My following my heart and doing what I love, led me to the discovery of a connection to a universal, spiritual love which we all share in common. It is the common thread linking all humanity. This is what is represented in my artwork.
At this point, I began my own book design business helping people to self-publish by illustrating, typesetting and preparing their manuscripts for printing, and soon after that married. It was also around this time, as a new mother, that I started carving large wood sculpture again for the 1st time since college. Balancing being a stay-at-home mom (1st) and being an artist (2nd) was quite a challenge but ultimately the best decision we could have made for our now family of four.
In 2015, HWTA was born when I became the owner of Heart Within the Art, LLC featuring Afrocentric Fine Art Original Works for exhibition and sale, along with book publishing and other related art products and services – www.heart-within-the-art-llc.org. Most recently I have begun new works of mixed media collage incorporating text and imagery from digital photography collaged with painting on paper or canvas. My artistic process is therefore aligned with a higher purpose. It is a spiritual process, not an egoic one. As a Seeker of Truth, my desire is to rise above the ego and to allow higher thought to permeate my being in order to bring forward higher awarenesses, and artworks that have the potential to heal. I give thanks, honor, and the utmost respect for the Work my beloved Master Teacher, Guru Madeleine, has brought through to assist me in becoming a true artist under God, continually learning and growing in Love capacity.
Mary Ellis is an abstract expressionist painter. She received her BFA degree in the 60’s from Pratt Institute where she was fortunate to study under Alex Katz, Richard Lindner, Mercedes Matter and Robert Mallory. For over 40 years Mary has been internationally recognized for her Pop Art icons that appear on thousands of gift, souvenir, and regional products. She is a graphic artist as well as an abstract painter.
Mary works intuitively with no conscious plan or intent in portraying recognizable imagery. Her mission is to express her heart while bypassing her mind. She refers to her paintings as “an adventure into the present moment.”
She gradually builds layers, to construct a complicated deep surface history that she is continuously altering. By adding and removing marks, textures, and colors, she allows the past to show through and enhance the present. We are the sum of all our experiences, her paintings tell that story every time.
She hopes the viewer will join her process, set thought aside, and be open to allowing their senses to take in and enjoy her work on a purely emotional and visceral level.
Dagny Emiliani’s paintings are an expression of elemental passions, informed by her ongoing love of fashion, gardening, color trends, and world travel. Her more recent works in oil, acrylic, and digital illustration tap into the world of dreams. Images come to her right at the point before sleep, leaving reality and entering the world of dreams. She makes close observations of brush strokes to add life to her paintings, as well as using powerful symbolism, sophisticated color palettes, and iconic shapes.
Born and raised in Panama, Dagny moved to Santa Barbara, California to attend high school. After graduating college with a Graphic Arts degree in Los Angeles, she achieved success as an Art Director and Creative Design consultant for over twenty years in New York. Her experience designing and illustrating with advertising agencies and fashion companies were invaluable in the development of her signature Fine Arts style.
In 2018, a Tuscan painting sojourn renewed her love of the Fine Arts. She returned to sketching and painting full time, working from her studio at the Bethany Arts Community. She is currently working on an immigration series incorporating imagery of caravans, symbolic motifs, as well as shocking elements of viral photojournalism. She resides with her husband, and their dog Grizzly, in Westchester County.
Follow Dagny on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dagnyemiliani/
Lori Ganz is an oil painter and ceramics maker. Lori’s work often begins with the creation of ceramic objects of abstract shapes or absurd characters. She then repurposes these ceramics as setups for her still life oil paintings. The abstract sculptures are primarily used to explore form and composition through shapes and light. The character ceramics take on new life through their appearance in her still life shadow box. Lori’s earlier works focused on infusing inanimate objects with a psychological narrative; however, her recent paintings incorporate more elaborate and intricate backgrounds, adding increased depth to her work, literally and figuratively. For certain paintings, she extends the narrative of her characters beyond the visual sphere, through accompanying poetry or prose. Oscillating from maker to observer, Lori’s recursive process is the golden thread connecting her iterations and contemplations across various media, resulting in both playful and sometimes profound explorations of generative meaning. Lori lives in Croton on Hudson, NY with her family, and currently has an art studio in the Ossining Bethany Arts Community.
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/loriganz/?hl=en
Website – https://www.ganz.studio
Chloe M. Giroux is a freelance illustrator, cartoonist, printmaker, and children’s book illustrator. Born and raised in New York, she received her BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Since then, she has been working editorially with a variety of clients including Slate Magazine, Fatherly, The Spruce, The Balance, Top Cow Comics, and Image Comics. Pre-pandemic, you could often find her silkscreening in the printshop or see her selling her wares at crowded comics conventions all over the country. She is currently working on her portfolio to apply to grad school in the fall, hoping to pursue a career in children’s book illustration.
Inspired by the fusion of art and technology, John “Twyg” Hyde makes sculpture and costumed characters that explore the union of creepy looks with a friendly soul. His work asks us to consider if what we habitually see as unsettling can also be kind. In the late 1990’s John began his explorations with early versions of 3D digital art, then in 2016 he rekindled his endeavors by creating 3D printed fine art and costuming. It is never too late to begin a new discipline, and driven by that ethic John has been learning with his hands how to blend his technological skills with traditional artistic modalities. John fashions forms and faces that provoke us to pause, and ponder each character’s counterpoint. John resides just outside of NYC with his wife and two cats; when not making art he can be found working in IT.
Follow John on Instagram and Facebook @johntwyghydeart
Toy Theater Puppet piece “Star Waltz” by Andrew Irons. Installation at Bethany Arts Community in Ossining, NY.
Dr. Jill Kiefer is an art historian and teaching artist. She has developed and implemented comprehensive academic and lifelong learning programs at prestigious institutions in the USA and abroad. She was a member of the graduate faculty of the Humanities Dept. of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, and also taught for Pasadena City College, Glendale College, the Palos Verdes Art Center and the University of New Mexico. She has received several “Best Faculty” awards and was a Federal Title V Grant Recipient four times for her work in Hybrid Learning. Jill is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and the Dean of Warnborough College’s online graduate programs in Cultural Art History, Fine Arts, and Media Studies. She also teaches art history and studio art for several lifelong learning programs in Westchester, including the Bethany Arts Community and Cedar Lane Arts Center. Jill is a Past President of the Ossining Arts Council, and the Director of the Canterbury Arts Conference (CArtsCon), an international, annual event held each summer in the United Kingdom. A published writer and artist, Jill has an impressive and extensive resume. To learn more about her, please visit www.whataboutart.org
I am a New York traditional artist based out of Westchester. My primary focus is figure studies with contemporary color theory. My work has been a range of murals, still life, landscape, pencil drawings, and sculpture with a foundation of realism. I tend to adapt and try to be creative with different surfaces. I like to use texture with color to create a realistic feel to my work. Over the years, I’ve had work sold throughout the country.
Follow Peter on Instagram and Facebook @peter_leeds_studio
I grew up in Cincinnati going to the art museum with my dad and developing photos in his darkroom. I should have gone to art school but instead I studied literature- which I also love. After a year of traveling I settled in Vermont working as a waitress and a librarian and taking whatever art classes were available. 30 years later I moved to Ossining with James who had been my college sweetheart, worked, traveled a bunch, retired, and now I’m finally doing what I always wanted to do – make art full time. I create colorful energetic mixed media abstracts with some representational work thrown in. I’m shocked and thrilled that some people like what I do enough to buy it and hang it on the walls but even if they didn’t I’d still be in love with making it. When not making art I’m often at home playing my accordion (badly).
I started my painting journey on Jan 15th, 2019 here at Bethany Arts Community. My creative journey started, however, in 1969 acting in my first play. No matter the discipline, I believe it’s all about cultivating a beginner’s mindset while sharpening one’s skills with consistent practice. Patience and a willingness to play and be playful, without a fear of failure, is essential, too.
You can view my art here (and other things)
About me, my book and my business
Exhibit: Artists in the Time of Covid: Paralyzed and Prolific
Artists around the globe are experiencing a new relationship with their art. For some, Covid and quarantine has meant creative paralysis and studio displacement. Others have found space in their lives for new artistic journeys in the absence of everyday distractions. Some have been inspired by an appreciation of the ordinary, while others have escaped and gained solace in just creating. Come see the captivating work generated by our Bethany Arts Community studio artists during this strange time of Covid. Curated by Bonnie Bradley, Bethany Arts Community Associate Director.
On display July 7 – Aug 11, 2021
Show Opening: July 7
Reception: Jul 23 @ 6pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Artists: Anne Carpenter, Dagny Emiliani, Lori Ganz, John Hyde, Jill Kiefer, Cherie Lee, Peter Leeds, Regina Luersen, Sharon Rowe