Meet Our Faculty

Patricia Navarino, Executive Program Director, Instructor

Patricia (Pat) Navarino is the Founder and Director of Renaissance Art Center, in Great Barrington, MA, and Millburn, New Jersey which features her successful “one on one” mentoring techniques for teaching fine arts. Pat developed this approach, developed over many years running her previous school, Renaissance in Learning, the private art school that she founded in Millburn, Short Hills, New Jersey. Pat has taught, influenced and mentored students in the visual arts, not only developing their technical and artistic skills but also sharing her knowledge of fine art as an academic discipline. She helps her students to create exceptional art portfolios and has guided many of them to college scholarships in leading arts programs at Cornell University, Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Savannah College of Art and Design, to name a few. As the Visual Arts and Dance Supervisor in the Millburn Township School system, Patricia implemented a two-year College Board Studio Art Advanced Placement course, a Middle College program in the Visual Arts associated with Fairleigh Dickenson University, and a sequential Dance Program. Patricia, a watercolorist, has hosted one-woman shows of her work. She was one of nine finalists in the country selected to attend the Bank Street College/Parsons School of Design Master of Science Degree Leadership Program. She is a Curriculum and Instruction Consultant who has designed and helped to implement visual arts and dance curricula for a number of institutions, including the Professional Teacher Mentoring Programs at Kean University, Saint Mary’s Elementary School, Lee, MA, and the Connecticut State Department of Education. Patricia is an active member of The National Art Educators Association and The Massachusetts Art Educators Association. In 2008, Pat received The Award of Excellence by the Art Educators of New Jersey for her continued influence and leadership in the visual arts.
See more about Pat HERE.

Scott Bartzsch, Instructor

Scott Bartzsch is a self-taught artist who has been painting, drawing, designing, and airbrushing for over twenty-five years. His specialty of customizing sneakers came as the result of a series of corrective spine surgeries which forced him to work smaller during recovery. He has combined his love of shoes, airbrush art, and painting to bring a unique artistic touch to each pair of shoes he paints. Read more about Scott and his incredible journey HERE.
Read more about Scott and see samples of his work HERE.

Margaret Buchte, Instructor

Margaret Buchte has been painting and drawing with passion and joy for over twenty years. She teaches all media, including oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, as well as drawing in charcoal and pencil. In addition to teaching all ages at Renaissance, Margaret also teaches the Assisted Living Residents at Noble Horizons in Salisbury, CT. Prior to teaching at Renaissance, Margaret taught drawing and painting in all media at Gould Farm in Monterey and Berkshire South Community Center in Great Barrington. She is always striving to capture the essence and beauty of a scene under dramatic light onto her canvas.
Read more about Margaret HERE.

Denise Dufault, Instructor

Denise Dufault joined the team here at Renaissance Arts Center in Fall 2015 with a wide variety of offerings. Growing up in Houston, Texas, she competed in gymnastics all over the country and finished sixth in the state of Texas at age thirteen. She has a strong background in fitness, including personal training and group instruction. She has worked in various fitness centers throughout Great Barrington and currently teaches Cardio fitness classes at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.
See more from Denise HERE.

Lisa Giddens, Instructor

Liana (Lisa) Giddens is from Pinar del Río, Cuba. At the age of twelve, she and her family moved to Havana, Cuba, where she graduated from the polytechnic institute Pablo de la Torriente Brau with a BA in Arts and Crafts. In her free time, she studied many other subjects to enrich her knowledge and personal interests, including: Photography, Video Editing, Public Relations, Social Communication in the ACCS academic, Writing, Linguistics, Drawing, Cosmetology, Design, and Music. As a singer and composer, she has traveled around the world and explored many cultures. In 2008, she created a fashion group called “PlanB” dedicated to rescuing vintage clothing, and giving it a modern concept by re-sewing, restoring, and reusing the old pieces. In 2009, the PlanB collection was exhibited in the art gallery La Madriguera in Havana.
Read more about Lisa and her work at Renaissance HERE.

Kateri Kosek, Instructor

Kateri Kosek writes for The Berkshire Edge, the Winsted Journal, and the Poughkeepsie Journal, including a regular column on birding. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, where she graduated from Vassar College with a degree in English. Her poetry and personal essays, which lean toward environmentally-conscious, place-oriented writing inspired by the natural world, have appeared in Orion, Creative Nonfiction, Terrain.org, South Dakota Review, Crab Orchard Review, and other journals. Kateri teaches English and writing at Marist College and Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and mentors creative writing students in the MFA program at Western Connecticut State University, where she received her MFA in the genre of creative nonfiction. Last summer she was the recipient of a writing residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska. She lives in Sheffield.
Read some of Kateri’s published works HERE.

Geoff Kudlick, Instructor

Geoff Kudlick is a freelance commercial photographer who has created images for companies both large and small. As an early adapter to digital technology, he is adept at creating both with the camera and the computer. He continues to be focused on the study and practice of visual art and works with strong color and abstract design. His ability to craft an image with great precision and lighting has improved the visual look for many company’s marketing materials. He has worked on a wide range of creative photography projects, specializing in fashion merchandise. He has also served as creative director for an advertising agency where he designed ads, website visual concepts, catalogs, flyers, and trade show materials.
Read more about Geoff HERE.

Melanie Najarian, Instructor

.Melanie Najarian has been teaching dance in the Greater Boston area since graduating college in 2002. She holds a B.A. in Music from Clark University, where she danced with, choreographed for, and co-directed the Variant Dance Troupe. Following her passion for teaching dance, she earned her A.A. in Dance from Dean College. At Dean, she took classes in all styles of dance as well as pedagogy, choreography, and creative movement for children. She has since then danced with the SRO Players of Lowell and participated in Boston Ballet’s Adult Summer Dance Program. Before moving to the Berkshires, Melanie was the General Manager of Dance This Way, a full-service dancewear store in Concord, MA. She also co-choreographed the annual musicals at RJ Grey Junior High School in Acton, which included the junior versions of Guys and Dolls, Honk, Willy Wonka, Once On This Island, and Bye Bye Birdie. Prior to college, Melanie studied at the former Belmont School of Ballet.
Read more about Melanie HERE.

Anna O’Donnell, Instructor

Anna O’Donnell is an artist and teacher. She graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2006 and spent some time studying at the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2014 she received a Master of Art and Teaching degree from Rhode Island School of Art and Design. Anna’s studio practice is varied from illustrative conceptual ideas, portraiture, icons, signs and advertisements, to landscapes and murals. While the medium of choice is acrylic and canvas, she has experience with oil paints, watercolor, gouache, pen and ink, molding and casting, graphite, charcoal, oil pastel, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign programs. Anna wants to make art that inspires and uplifts. Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “Beauty will save the world,” and having some part of that is Anna’s motivation in creating communicable, accessible art. She is presently living and working in the Berkshires, Massachusetts. Her work can be seen at www.annagreenesmith.com and in private collections, certain Boston establishments, Shrines and churches in Massachusetts, on a Greek island and Caribbean isalnd, in a few Romanian schools, the Starving Artist in Keene, NH, and the Boston Children’s Floating Hospital. Renaissance is thrilled to welcome Anna, who will be teaching some exciting Workshops that will be announced soon, and beginning at the end of February 2017!

Bob Watkins, Instructor

As an eleven year-old child in a visit to the Metropolitan Museum, Bob Watkins was impressed by the Rembrandt portraits and the way the eyes seemed to follow him! This became the basis of his fascination with art. Bob majored in Advertising Art and Design in his first two years of college. He then transferred to RIT to study photography and became a graphic artist and photographer. He then decided to pursue the life of a craftsman and became a successful potter. After seventeen years as a successful potter, Bob progressed from painting floral and landscape motifs on porcelain to oils on canvas. Bob’s landscapes capture the effects of fading light. He is especially drawn to dawn and twilight, the elusive times when the light is washed over the landscape – where his objective is to capture the glow which is intrinsic but never definable when seen. When he paints on location it’s usually to make color studies, which are used as a reference for future paintings.
Read more about Bob HERE.

Robin Yuran, Instructor

Robin Yuran grew up in Norfolk, Connecticut. In the course of her many careers, she has been a librarian, language/visual arts teacher, artist, poet, columnist, coppersmith, jeweler, garden designer and nightclub singer. She holds a B.A. with a concentration in literature from Charter Oak State College where she graduated with honors for outstanding achievement. Robin pursued her M.L.S. at Southern Connecticut State University and also has an M.F.A. from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Robin lives with her husband Kerry, daughter Castle, and three cats Jade, Lily, and Silver, in a nut brown cottage at the edge of a forest. Her hobbies include writing, painting, reading, cooking, gardening, bird whispering, and bread baking.
Read more about Robin HERE.