Staff

RiverArts' staff is responsible for activities, events, and programs and for the day to day operations that keep the organization humming. Staff members are always happy to hear from you, so please email or call with your questions, comments, and suggestions. Most staff members work half-time or less, so your patience while awaiting a response is appreciated.


Sue Wilson, Gallery and Gift Shop Director

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Sue loves to spend time with her large family and close friends. She and her husband love to seek out places they've never explored, always opting to take the road less traveled. She enjoys reading almost anything, including fiction, books about history and especially biographies, and loves learning new things. Sue says:- "I love RiverArts because the creativity, ingenuity and motivation of the artistic community inspires me."

At RiverArts, Sue directs the daily gallery and the gift shop operations, works with volunteer committees on event and exhibit planning, supervises the front desk, and offers warm welcome and helpful encouragement to members, artists, and visitors alike.

Sue usually works Wednesdays through Sundays, and on drop-off, pick-up, and event days.

Ann Farley, ArtsAlive! Director

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Ann was a RiverArts member-artist long before she joined the staff. What she loves about RiverArts is "the possibilities:- there is so much talent and joy, so many wonderful ideas and so many energetic people throughout the non-profits, businesses and citizens of Kent County. There's nothing we can't do if we work together."

As ArtsAlive! Director Ann dreams up new ways to keep the community connected, reaching out to a diverse group of artists and thinkers to teach and attend hands-on classes and inspire conversations through our weekly salons. She also creates new opportunities for engaging with the arts through art kits and events, daily challenges, curated art offerings and collaborative community projects.

Ann usually works on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Chris Neiman, Clay Studio Manager

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Chris enjoys making functional pottery for himself and his business, and spends spare time enjoying outdoor activities with his wife. His hobbies include building/repairing computers and digital design projects. One of his favorite parts of RiverArts is "KidSPOT cultivating artistic expression!"

Chris was a longtime Clay Studio potter and joined the RiverArts staff January 2021, becoming the go-to guy for the RiverArts Clay Studio Community. He makes the studio accessible to potters, keeps the space and equipment clean and running smoothly, plans events and classes, and spreads the word about the beauty and fun and artistry of all things ceramics.

Sarah Lyle, KidSPOT Coordinator

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Sarah was involved with the arts community in Chestertown in various capacities for years before RiverArts became an entity, including as part of Chester River Artworks, one of RiverArts' legacy organizations. When KidSPOT was looking for someone to run things and she had availability, her background in art education and working with young children made it a no-brainer. Sarah says "KidSPOT at RiverArts is a beautiful concept: We make creative exploration available to children for free and I love that I get to play there too."

As KidSPOT Coordinator, Sarah creates and organizes Saturday activities and handouts, community outreach at events, and KidSPOT social media. 

Inez Santori, Administrative Coordinator

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Inez is an emerging artist and a renaissance woman who moved to the US about seven years ago after a career in education. She and her husband Paul Santori, who is a painter and a musician, are also the proprietors of Tish Fine Arts Plus, a welcome addition to the downtown Chestertown arts landscape, drawing even more arts-loving visitors to the area. Inez loves that RiverArts is "a safe, friendly and encouraging place for an emerging artist."

Inez keeps the RiverArts data under control, coordinates member and volunteer communications, and has her finger on the pulse of the organization's trends, needs, and systems. She also takes on projects as needed, including the 2021 Paint the Town Plus.

Board Members

RiverArts Board members have fiduciary responsibility for RiverArts, are responsible for ensuring legal compliance, and set the mission, vision, and values which guide the organization. Each member is a volunteer and brings a unique set of skills and experiences to the Board, as well as a passion for RiverArts.

password protected Board portal

Meghan Efland

Meghan Efland has served as the Secretary, Vice President and is currently the President of the Board. She has been a RiverArts member for 8 years, and that all started with a beginner wheel pottery class. Meghan is the Director of Supply Chain at Paul Reed Smith Guitars and is the Ward 4 Town Councilperson for Chestertown. Meghan lives in Chestertown with her partner Marc Quigley and they are avid supporters of the arts and the Chestertown community.

Sara Clarke-De Reza

Sara Clarke-De Reza is an Assistant Professor of Education at Washington College in Chestertown, MD and Vice-President of the RiverArts Board. She teaches courses in the social and cultural foundations of American education, and directs the Museum, Field, and Community Education minor.

Her research explores collaborative design for learning at the intersections of schools and informal learning environments, such as museums, art galleries, and science centers. De Reza's current work looks at the perceived value of collaborative design efforts geared towards object digitization and virtual tour development in small community-curated museums. She is working on projects on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and in central Belize, that bring together college students, technologists, community educators, historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and museum professionals to build meaningful, accessible, low-cost and user-friendly digital museum experiences. 

De Reza is also the owner of Clarke Collaborative Consulting, an educational consulting company specializing in program development, assessment, and evaluation for community non-profit organizations. 

She completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of New Hampshire in 2017; she also holds degrees in child development/special education, and psychology and gender and sexuality studies. Before entering the academy, she worked for 7 years as a curriculum designer and principal at a therapeutic boarding school in Windsor, New Hampshire.

Sarah Shut

Sarah resides in Rock Hall, Maryland with her husband and five children. and serves as Treasurer on the Board of RiverArts. Previously, Sarah served on the Board of Trustees of the Kent County Public Library. Prior to becoming a CFP® and RICP® professional, Sarah worked as a market manager for a natural fiber ingredient manufacturer traveling nationally to develop business in the food, filtration and industrial market segments.

She loves the visual arts and is committed to building community. She is an investment advisor and financial planner who started off as a struggling grant-writer for a non-profit arts organization that helped emerging visual artists establish viable careers. She has a Master of Arts in English from Washington College, an undergraduate degree from Arcadia University and completed a graduate certificate program in family financial planning through Iowa State University. She has lived in England, Austria, and Philadelphia, but has lived in Rock Hall for 26 years because, as she says "I couldn't imagine a more wonderful place to live".

Natalie Donoso

Natalie is the Youth Services Director for the Kent County Public Library. A graduate of the University of Florida, she earned her Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from Florida State University and began her library career working for the University of Florida library system. She previously served as a children's librarian for the Marion County Public Library system prior to moving to Kent County. She is a passionate advocate of access for all and is devoted to providing quality enrichment opportunities for the youth of Kent County through the library's various programs. In her spare time, she is focused on the arts through her work with RiverArts as Secretary and with the Garfield Center for the Arts.

Pam White

Drawn to the quiet beauty and waters of Kent County, as well as the vigorous art and cultural energy of Chestertown, Pam White moved to Chestertown in 2013 when she retired from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Art has long been an important part of her life. She received degrees in Studio Art and History, and an M.A. in Medieval Studies. She worked as an editor at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, producing scholarly journals, exhibition catalogues, and other printed matter. At Pyramid Atlantic, Hyattsville, she worked as an editor and as an assistant in the papermaking studios. Later, she worked as a grants administrator at the University of Maryland.

The Immediate Past President of the Board, retirement has allowed her to volunteer and to focus on her love of clay as an active participant of the RiverArts Clay Studio.

Raven Bishop

Raven Bishop is a technologist and arts educator who believes in promoting creativity and connection as central components of the collaboration process in working with students, teachers, artists and stakeholders in any community. An artist in her own right, Raven's creative work explores expression in a variety of forms, from augmented and virtual reality to sculptural ephemera. Raven has been involved with RiverArts in a variety of ways including serving on the KidSPOT Advisory Committee, curating exhibits, teaching classes and serving a previous term on the RiverArts Board. She is excited to begin this new term on the board of an organization she cares deeply about.

Patricia Gilkison

Patricia Gilkison retired from a career in the arts spanning 30 years. She started as an Assistant Curator at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, then went on to spend 25 years at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. As Associate Manager of Special Exhibitions and Gallery Installations at The Met, she coordinated the planning, budgets, installation, and financial management for over 60 exhibitions every year. As a visitor to Chestertown she was attracted to the vibrant arts community and decided to relocate here. She looks forward to continuing her work with the artists and organizations supporting the arts on the eastern shore.

Kyle Hackett

Kyle Hackett is a Visual Artist based in Harrisonburg, VA where he is an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at James Madison University. Hackett earned his MFA from the LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art, and his BFA in Fine Arts as a McNair Scholar from the University of Delaware. 

Hackett has received numerous honors and awards, including DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship and Grant, Civil Society Institute Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center Residency, The Ruth Katzman Scholarship at The League Residency, Best in Show at the 2014 Bethesda Painting Awards Exhibition, and Best in Show at the Regional Juried Biennial at Rehoboth Arts League. He was a semifinalist in the 2016 and 2019 BP Portrait Award (London), honorable mention in the 2019 Art Olympia International Open Art Competition (Tokyo) and finalist in the 2020 Prisma Art Prize 5th Edition (Rome) and finalist in the 2021 11th Biennial Alexander Rutsch Award for Painting.

Hackett’s work has been published in New American Paintings, the Washington Post, and distinguished as "Ten Memorable Paintings of 2014" in the Huffington Post. He received A Mayoral Salute for his solo exhibition and artist talk at Baltimore City Hall Gallery, "Rate of Contingency". Hackett’s work is represented by Goya Contemporary Gallery (Baltimore, MD) and notably collected by Ethan Cohen Gallery (New York), Wangechi Mutu Studio, University Museums at University of Delaware, University of Maryland, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Trawick Foundation.

Anne Highfield-Clark

A public school educator for 31 years, Anne Highfield-Clark was named the 2016-17 Cecil County Teacher of the Year as well as the 2015 Gilder Lehrman Institute History Teacher of the Year for Maryland. Her lifelong advocacy for elementary school children has shaped her vision for a more equitable and inclusive society where the arts unite us. Active with the KidSpot team, Anne is helping to grow a more vibrant community of support for our youngest artists as they play, create, and explore.  She also enjoys teaching smart phone photography classes for RiverArts.

Shelly Holland

Shelly Holland is an Accountant with years of experience in Governmental and Tax accounting. Shelly childhood mission was to be a “volunteer”. That came true. Shelly serves on the Board of Directors of CoLaborer’s International and Community Helping Hands. Shelly is a member of the Millington Lions Club, Town Council Member in Millington, and a lifetime Girl Scout. Shelly believes it is important to give back to your community and help others. Shelly enjoys traveling with her family and spoiling her grandson, Liam.

Kate Livie

Kate Livie is a professional Chesapeake educator, writer and historian. An Eastern Shore native, Kate is passionate about the Chesapeake Bay’s culture and landscape. Kate has written extensively about regional travel, history, environment and foodways for publications from Wooden Boat to Baltimore Magazine to Edible Delmarva. Her 2015 book, "Chesapeake Oysters: The Bay’s Foundation and Future," won the Maryland Historical Society’s Marion Brewington prize for Maritime History. Formerly the Director of Education and Associate Curator at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, she is currently part of the humanities faculty at the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, where she teaches courses about the Bay's environment, arts, economy, traditions and culture. Kate lives with her husband, Ben, in her hometown of Chestertown, Maryland, on a little wooded marsh along Morgan Creek.

Vanna Ramirez

Vanna Ramirez is a first-generation American artist of Salvadoran-Taiwanese descent with a passion for clay. She holds a BS in studio art from Skidmore College, and has attended the 53rd annual clay conference of NCECA as a Multicultural Fellow, a residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center, and workshops at Penland School of Craft and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. She currently works as an assistant woodworker while she continues her clay journeys from home in Chestertown, MD. Vanna has taught classes for RiverArts in a variety of artistic mediums and gets rave reviews for her knowledge, skill, and kindness.

Marilee Taussig

Marilee Taussig has worn two hats nearly all her life. Trained in psychology and art, she has made her living leading, coaching and helping people to thrive on change. She has also always drawn and painted.

After a decade of corporate work, writing and leading workshops on leadership and diversity, Marilee spent many years building travel programs for independent travelers in Europe, working for her parents' award-winning travel business. and then started her own. Her firm specializes in helping people with independent travel. She has lived many years in Europe and in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in the US. From those experiences, she gained the depth of the experience of the ‘outsider’ or the ‘one among many’. This led her to a lifelong devotion to social justice that seeks to help all people build empathy capacity for others with different life experiences. 

In 2017, upon her husband’s retirement, they moved to their small cabin on the water on the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland. She lives there with her husband and two dogs, and id occasionally joined by her adult daughter. In addition to her travel work, she began to focus on her lifelong avocation as a painter, and has taught painting at Academy Art Museum, RiverArts Gallery, Heron Point of Chestertown, and the Center for Creative Arts in Delaware. She has had solo shows, and works in numerous juried shows over the years, both regionally, nationally and internationally, including the Rittenhouse, Rehobeth Art League, and Woodmere Art Museum. You can see her paintings at marileetaussig.com. 

Her love of creativity, and her own adjustment to an empty nest, downsizing, and other challenges of the second half of life led her to write a “picture book for grownups” about finding your happiest possible path in the years after 50, called "Old Enough: Making the Years Between 50 and 80 the Best of Your Life".

For more information regarding any of this, email the author at marileetaussig@gmail.com

William Trainor

William Trainor was born and raised in Washington DC, attended Gonzaga High School, followed by Georgetown University and Georgetown University School of Medicine. He then was a postgraduate at Georgetown, DC General and in George Washington programs. He lived in Chicago for 12 years working at Cook County Hospital. William has been in Chestertown since 2001 as the pulmonologist and sleep physician at Kent and QA's Hospital. Additionally, he enjoys taking photographs and sailing.