LESLIE ROBERTS-BELKNER | Owner/Teaching Artist
As a lifelong artist, I am often dismayed by others who feel they "cannot" draw or paint! I believe everyone has creativity within themselves, and along with that, an ability and a desire to express it. I knew that starting an art bar would be the perfect way for me to test my theory by sharing art, and it's profound effects on humanity, with a wide audience.
As a Museum Teacher at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, I was trained to lead gallery tours using Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a discussion based method of looking at art whereby museum visitors contribute observations and ideas on works of art, while respecting and learning from the perspectives of others visitors.
I've worked in a variety of mediums including oil and acrylic paint, oil pastel as well as digital mediums. In 2000, I founded a graphic design studio, drawing upon my years as an in-house designer for various companies in Boston including Student Advantage and Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company). But alas, my most proud masterpieces are my two wonderful boys, Ian, 11 and Noah, 8, along with my husband Rob.
REBECCA LEHRHOFF | Studio Manager, Teaching Artist
To me art is an experience. It is my goal, may it be through visual art or performing arts, that the participants walk away feeling like they experienced something special. That’s why I love working at Paint Corner; it’s my job to guide a group through the shared experience of creating art. It’s collaboration between the teaching artist and the class to build that experience together.
As the studio manager I’m the one that will help you plan your private event, answer your questions, select the paintings for the event calendar and a whole bunch of other things. I also have a lot of fun creating new paintings for us to teach!
I received my undergraduate degree in theater from Skidmore College and my MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University, where I was able to fuse my loves of performance and visual art. When I’m not at Paint Corner you can find me performing in and designing the sets for the local theater scene!
ALYSSA VIRGIN | Teaching Assistant
While currently residing on Martha's Vineyard working in the hospitality and tourism industry, I've always kept the love of visual arts in my back pocket. Ever since I was a child I was drawn to colors, textures, compositions, and being able to create something with your mind and hands to express yourself. While other sectors of the world are defined or categorized into black and white, to me, art gives you that freedom to directly express whatever your soul is feeling at that time and release inhibitions. I was fortunate enough to connect with Leslie this past Spring on the Vineyard, which reignited my enthusiasm for painting. Being a part of the Paint Corner Art Bar team connects my two passions, connecting with people and connecting with the canvas.
ESTIE MARTIN | Teaching Artist
I am a Boston-area native and recent graduate from Brandeis University, where I studied Painting and Anthropology. In addition to being part of the Paint Corner team, I also work in a day program for adults with developmental disabilities, where I try to emphasize art programming as an essential tool in developing independent living and expressive skills. I believe that painting is a full-body experience, and is all about the personal energy each person brings to their canvas. I love teaching at Paint Corner because we get to help you provide a voice to those secret parts of yourselves only accessible through art and we have so much fun guiding you through that process!
MAIYA THORNTON-HODGE | Teaching Artist
In hindsight my artist identity seemed inevitable; my mother is an artist and my hometown strongly encouraged creativity and individuality. Before I became part an artist community and identified as such, I found myself in a community of people passionate about challenging systematic injustices relating to the politics of identity. My experience with activism and social justice became a catalyst and perspective to work, live, and create behind. I hope to resonate with silenced voices, by illuminating history and theory, with goals of dialogue, understanding, solidarity, power, and pride at its core.
During my years at Skidmore College I exclusively studied the visual arts and its histories. My independent study in Art Therapy acquainted me with ideologies around the cerebral responses to aesthetic stimuli, as well as emotional associations and cognitive tendencies to attribute meaning and symbolism.
In my current work I am trying to “relax” in concept and focus on exploring the therapeutic outcomes of balancing aesthetics. This perspective aligns with the spirit of Paint Corner Art Bar because it leads me to see the uniqueness of each person’s painting and the individual balance that can be achieved within it. There is a true beauty to seeing the vast differences in paintings that come out of classes at Paint Corner, and that is what it is so amazing about the experience! Try something new, be inspired by a painting community, and spark the creativity inside you.
KRISTOPHER CERE | Teaching Artist