Meet the Team
Tara Barnett, Executive Director
Tara currently holds the position of Executive Director at Canvas Studio Art and oversees the day-to-day operations as well as the strategic vision for the art studio. Tara also teaches the majority of the classes at Canvas from Art Start all the way up to Advanced Drawing & Painting and Portfolio Building.
Tara is an accomplished visual artist and art educator who worked as a public school art teacher for several years before joining Canvas full-time. As a teacher, she has pioneered a next-level visual arts curriculum and educational model that has helped her students flourish in the creative arts. Tara received her BFA in Illustration from Parsons the New School for Design, and a Masters in Education from Monmouth University. In her free time Tara enjoys hiking, the beach and painting.
Amy holds a BFA in painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts and an EdM in Elementary Education. She has been an art educator at the middle school level for 10 years, and is a Nationally Board Certified art teacher for adolescents through young adults. Amy’s work consists primarily of oil and acrylic paintings that reflect a satirical response to the world around her. She works with appropriated images and juxtaposing deliberately under-developed images with more formal work. Educationally, Amy encourages students to be expressive and reflective. Her respect for students and their work gives them the confidence to share those personal reflections at the same time they are learning formal elements and principles in class.
Claudia is a Colombian born artist, who has an affinity for drawing and painting. She earned a BFA from Monmouth University and shortly after started teaching the Studio Art majors at Red Bank Regional’s Visual and Performing Arts academy. Claudia is also the instructor for the school’s AP Studio Art and IB Visual Arts classes as well as the Set Designer for the school’s theater company. She currently lives in Rumson with her two children and loving husband Michael.
Colleen earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Art Education with a minor in Psychology from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) & currently teaches at Dugan Elementary in Marlboro. Colleen’s work consists mainly of paintings that explore and challenge the boundaries of the traditional canvas. Her goal as an art educator is to inspire each child to discover and uncover the artist within himself or herself. Using history, math, and literature to gain a deeper understanding, she creates projects that teach the elements and principles in an exciting way.
Lauren holds a BS from Boston College, and was classically trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She studied oils for seven years with master painter John Philip Osborne. Since 2008, she has been teaching oil painting using the prismatic palette method while painting in plein air competitions throughout the US. Top awards include Best of Show at Paint Annapolis, Plein Air Vermont, and Havre de Grace Plein Air, and Artist’s Choice from Mountain Maryland Plein Air. The artist’s work has appeared in national painting magazines, and is available through the McBride Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland. Lauren and her husband of 25 years, Chris, raised their two daughters in Fair Haven.
“Doodle Dude” has been rocking the art education scene in New Jersey for over thirty years. He doesn’t just teach he entertains! His exciting energy engages children in an interactive program exploring cartooning, art and illustration. His in-depth understanding and appreciation for the current cartoon industry make his assemblies and classes extremely relatable to children of all ages.
Holly Suzanne Rader
Suzanne began her fine arts career as a classically trained portrait painter. Evolving in recent years into a sculptor and mixed media artist, her work touches on the fashion world with her drips of color, life-size paper dress sculptures and mixed media collage paintings. She is an MFA graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design. She began teaching art to children when she was 15 years old and now teaches art technique, life drawing, painting, sculpture, art history and fashion design to children and teens. She currently lives and works in her “beach bungalow” studio with her son Jackson.
Kate Okeson is a book artist and high school art educator in Central NJ. She has been making art informed by her rural upbringing, contextualized by a literal and figurative location that calls to attention narrative and landscape. Many works begin at the place of the subjective experience of the seer. Her work is primarily concentrated within books arts, words and text, the book as construct, and print — be it hand or machine printed. Her most recent project, belles lettres, more deeply investigates writing for oneself, to oneself, as an act of opposition and resistance.
Kristen holds a BA from Montclair University, and is a high school art teacher in Rumson. She is a working artist whose primary media is paint and printmaking. Her most recent shows were Healing Power of Art I and II at the Guild of Creative Art in Shrewsbury, and a solo show at Good Question Gallery in Pennsylvania. She is loving mom to two sons and a daughter and wife to Bill. Kristen sits on the Executive Board of Lin’s Linens Inc., a non-profit organization for women in treatment for cancer.
Sophia is an avid jewelry designer working in Rumson, NJ. While studying at Fashion Institute of Technology, Sophia cultivated a passion for jewelry and fashion. Sophia carefully chooses unique raw materials based on their colors, shapes and textures. These become her “painter’s palette” as she creates vibrant, one on a kind pieces of jewelry that are reflective of her own personality. Sophia has been creating jewelry since 1983 and for the last seven years has generously shared her skills and talents through teaching adults and teens.
Robert Zupko has a BFA in Graphic Design with a specialization in Illustration from The College of New Jersey, and holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Montclair State University. Robert feels that being an artist is simply about how we each uniquely perceive the world within and around us. He believes our habits of thought can be challenged through creating art, and our experiences enhanced. An ‘artist’s mind’ or ‘eye’ can be cultivated and developed in anyone by learning a variety of techniques and media, and through close, mindful observation.
Zachary is a ceramic artist and art educator who resides in Monmouth County, NJ with his wife, son, dogs, and kittens. His hand built sculptures focus on themes from life in and around coastal NJ. He frequently uses alternative firing methods as a way to explore the chance occurrences of color.