Instructors


Jeanne Allen

Jeanne is a veteran product designer and developer. An honors graduate of Syracuse University with a specialized 5 year degree in Industrial Design, she spent her career in executive posts creating products collaboratively with world class artisans, designers and retailers.  She now continues to pursue her passions as both a studio potter and in her current position as Artisan Shop and Gallery Manager for Railyard Arts Studio. In her spare time, she gives back to the community through mentoring efforts with Nest, an international not-for-profit organization that assists artisans with developing sustainable products.


Kristy Amendola

Crochet has been in Kristy’s life for as long as she can remember. Ever since she was little, she would watch her mother and grandmother create crochet projects without any patterns. Since then, Kristy has learned how to make crochet animals and even creates her own patterns. 

Kristy is the owner of KriscraftingCo where she sells her crochet items, patterns and other makes. Her specialty is creating custom animals for others to enjoy. Kristy participates in local craft fairs around the area in Putnam and Westchester county. 


Kim Carver

After thirty-eight years teaching music and drama to high school students Kim decided to retire and put her creative energy into her love for weaving. It was the Longaberger Basket Company that got her interested in not just the utilitarian use of baskets but even more in the artistic beauty of baskets. She is sure that she owns nearly a hundred Longaberger baskets but after taking one basket workshop realized that she loved weaving baskets. Thus began her self taught journey into creating baskets in all shapes, sizes and colors. Her private business is called Double Weave because she also loves weaving on a traditional floor loom. Although she loved weaving on this loom the prep for each project was daunting and she soon realized that she could not build an ample inventory for her show season craft fairs.
While attending a Renaissance Faire she discovered the unique style of the Triangle Pin Loom and immediately sold her floor loom. With pin looms ranging in size from seven feet to two feet she now creates beautiful shawls, scarves and handbags. She loves teaching at the studio because as the students learn the step by step process they develop an appreciation for the difficulty of basket weaving. Kim says that there is nothing better than to hear the students’ excitement when they realize that their basket looks just as beautiful as the sample basket she has shown them at the start of the class.


Lynn Cukaj ART-BC

Lynn Cukaj is a board certified art therapist and has a master’s degree in Education. She has worked in the field of art therapy for more than 20 years and has been teaching preschool for seven years. Lynn has experience working with all age groups in both community-based programs as well inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings. Her goal is to bring art to every child as a way to express emotions and find their own sense of creativity.  Lynn’s website is creativeexpressionsconsulting.com.


Whittnie Daniels

Whittnie Daniels began her ceramics career on Orcas Island at the age of sixteen under her high school ceramic teacher and mentor. During college, Whittnie was a ceramics instructor at the renowned Orcas Island Pottery Studio on Orcas Island. In 2001 Whittnie was awarded the prestigious National Horatio Alger Scholarship for her writing.  She continued her studies in ceramics and painting at Seattle Pacific University and North Seattle Community College. Whittnie produced and sold her ceramics privately and at shows. She was a member of the Pioneer Square Ceramic Studio space and community. In 2007 Whittnie relocated to NYC to further her studies in painting, drawing, and figurative sculpture. Awarded a scholarship in 2008, Whittnie attended Janus Collaborative School where she worked as a model coordinator and teacher’s assistant. She studied under Kate Lehman, Micheal Grimaldi, Dan Thomson and Steve Perkins. While attending Janus, she furthered her studies in a gross anatomy course in collaboration with Drexel University in Philadelphia for two semesters. Whittnie later taught a life and expressive portrait painting class at Janus. Whittnie taught art to children and teens at The Art Center NYC, The Heschel School NYC, Holy Child in Rye, New York as well as private lessons. In 2017 Whittnie received a three-year apprenticeship from the United Scenic Artists Union 829 where she paints and sculpts for television and film. Some of the projects she has worked on include The IrishmanWestside StoryPose, Godfathers of Harlem, The Joker, and John Wick. Whittnie has studied writing under Susan Tiberghien in addition to taking workshop courses through the International Women’s Writers Guild. In 2020, six of her poems were published in Italian and English in the second volume of Affluenti Anthology, a journal based out of Florence, Italy. Whittnie has shown her work throughout New York City and Seattle Washington. She continues to creatively develop her painting, drawing, ceramics and writing, often fusing them together.


Mireille Duchesne

Mireille was born on the coast of Normandie, Province of France which was so loved by the Impressionists, Monet in particular. As long as she can recollect, she always had a color pencil and then a brush in her hands. Being an artist was not acceptable in her family so beside her formal schooling she took night classes at the Beaux Arts in Rouen, then Paris. As a former wife of a French expatriate, she traveled and lived in Africa where she was exposed not only to different cultures and art but to a nature, colors, smells, and climate so much more brutal than that in Normandie. The raw saturated luxuriant colors had and still have a great influence on her palette. When she moved to the United States of America she took classes at the Pastel Society of America in New York with Richard Pionk and classes in oil at the Art Student League in NY with Richard Pionk, Greg Kreutz, David Leffel and later with Frank Arcuri at his studio in Pennsylvania. She is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America Artist member of Salmagundi Club, NY. She received numerous awards for her pastels and oils, among others at the Pastel Society of America, The Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, Salmagundi, and the American artists professional league.


Kerry Irwin

Kerry Irwin has been an educator for over 20 years. She has taught in museums, community centers and public and private schools. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English, with a minor in Art History from Loyola University in Baltimore, a Master of Arts in Art Education from Manhattanville College and New York State teaching certification in both English and Art. She loves working with children of all ages and teaching elements of art in combination with art history and literacy. At Railyard Art Studio, Kerry teaches elementary kids art classes, workshops, paint nights and summer camps. She lives in Yorktown Heights with her husband, daughter, and 3 fur babies.


Aki Kano

Aki is an award-winning portraitist who received her B.F.A from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as well as a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. After working as a fashion and handbag designer for over 12 years, Aki returned to her love of art in 2014. When she explored different mediums, she found a real connection with watercolor in Frederick Brosen’s class at the Art Students League in Manhattan. As she discovered her love for this medium, her world opened up. Aki has completed many portrait commissions and her work has been widely displayed in prestigious juried shows, museums, and galleries. Her paintings have been featured numerous times in major art magazines such as Fine Art Connoisseur. www.akikano.com


Phoebe Katzin

I have been designing and constructing costumes for modern dance companies for 30 years. I started doing stained glass work about 12 years ago as a way of keeping my creative thoughts going, but not be at my sewing machine. I fell in love with glass and all aspects of creating stained glass. I have studied with a stained glass artist ever since and I have been working with him on projects and repairs for the last 7 years. I have been teaching the copper foil method for 4 years. I love teaching and helping students use their imaginations to create works of art.


Maria Kaprielian

Maria Kaprielian has been painting all of her life, with a passion for the natural world and all it encompasses. Her education includes a BA and DVM degree from Cornell University and a BFA from SUNY Purchase. She enjoys using watercolors in her art because of their luminous and spontaneous nature. Maria wants her students to gain confidence, feel more comfortable, and have fun with this exciting medium. She is willing to help painters of all levels find their unique voice in their work.


Barbra Kelly

My name is Barbra Calder Kelly, I’m 64 years old and have been making art in one form or another since I was a child. In High School I was introduced to clay and a love affair began. I took classes at Westchester Art Workshop in White Plains, NY and began studying under Harriot Ross who trained me on the kick wheel and in hand building. I later moved on to The Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY and studied there with Cory Brown for many years sculpting and hand building. After living in New Rochelle, NY for 28 years we moved to Brewster, NY in 2015. I found The Putnam Arts Council in Mahopac, NY studying under Maaika Hoekstra, Michael Cole and George Davison primarily hand building. I stayed at Putnam Arts Council for a few short years until I met Jill Leary who was planning to open Railyard Arts Studio. I saw the space while it was under construction and couldn’t wait to begin classes there. I have been there for a few years now and I absolutely love it. It is professional, organized and extremely welcoming and friendly. I love hand building, it shows a person’s personality, usually has a story connected to it and is unique in every way. I’ve had a 40+ year love affair with hand Building and I look forward to teaching at Railyard Arts Studio!


Jill Leary

Jill Leary is a practicing artist and a New York State certified arts education teacher. She has both a BFA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramics and a BA in Art Education from Syracuse University. She has also earned her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. Jill worked for the Brewster Central School District for 11 years as an Art Teacher for ages 8 to 13 where in addition to her regular classes, she inspired children in the Enrichment Creative Arts Program which hosted exhibitions for their talented students throughout Brewster and at the Katonah Museum of Art.  Jill loves to knit and crochet, paint with waterbased oil and watercolor, and is a accomplished ceramicist. Currently, she is showing her work in our local community.


Elana Levy

“It is incredibly rewarding to see someone using and enjoying a piece of pottery that I’ve created.” Elana Levy is a local potter whose focus is to create pieces that will bring joy and functionality to people’s daily lives. She creates pottery that is meant to be used and loved for years to come. Each piece is handmade with care and attention to detail from the initial shaping to the final glazing. All the pottery she makes is lead free, dishwasher and microwave safe. Recently she has embarked on a new journey with the support of Railyard Arts Studio, teaching beginning potters and sharing her love of throwing on the wheel. Elana is also a member at Railyard Arts Studio & a NY State certified Reading Specialist, working with Elementary School students & teaching public school for over 35 years!


Tom Loggia

Tom Loggia started making pottery as a young boy growing up on Lake Truesdale in South Salem, New York. Tom was 11 years old when he began fooling around with clay on the wheel and quickly discovered the earthly pleasures of creating pottery. His interest became more serious during his high school years when one of his ceramic pieces was selected to be shown in his school’s “Evening with the Stars” event. This experience encouraged him to continue creating n his free time. As pottery developed into a passion, Tom became more ambitious, building his own kick wheel and a raku kiln. He spent years teaching himself how to master his craft while also learning to synthesize the materials required in the composition of his art. Over the years while being mentored by Jay Lindsay, a well-known local ceramic artist, Tom participated in many ceramic workshops classes with other accomplished ceramic artists. Tom learned many different techniques to developing his own style and is now excited to pass on the knowledge he has learned to other aspiring ceramic artists at all teaching levels.


Dawn Lyons

Dawn Lyons Munoz has always been creating and drawing from an early age, and was always immersing herself in art. From Elementary to high school, she could always be found in one of the art rooms during lunch breaks and after school. It was there where her teachers recognized her artistic ability and encouraged, nurtured and pushed her artistic expression.  Dawn has always wanted to be a potter and learned initially on a kick wheel. Her plan was to be a potter after HS, but her path took her in a different direction into education. Dawn went on to college and holds a degree in Elementary Education (N-6) and a Master’s Degree in Learning Disabilities (N-12). Dawn always incorporated art into her instruction and projects with her students while she was teaching. After teaching, Dawn took many pottery classes with David Hughes where he became her mentor. Dawn has taught both adults and children of all ages and abilities in beginning Pottery and focuses on each individual building upon their strengths. Dawn has experience throwing on the wheel, incorporating hand building with thrown pieces, glazing, and raku pottery. When Dawn is not at Railyard Arts, she can be found at her home studio.


Amy Menasché

Amy Menasché is a public school teacher and practicing artist. She has a B.S. in Studio Art from New York University, where she concentrated on painting and printmaking, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Manhattanville College, where she fell in love with ceramics. She currently teaches high school sculpture, three levels of ceramics, foundation-level studio art, and Advanced Placement 3D design, as well as a studio in crafts class tailored for students with multiple disabilities. In her own practice, she has dabbled in everything from welding to weaving, but always comes back to working with clay.


Jamie Milligan

Jamie has been drawing, painting, and sculpting since before she could walk. At an early age she knew that art would always be her life, which ended up taking her to many interesting and unique places.  Jamie attended NYU where she was one of 35 students selected to be in the Studio Art program.  While attending NYU, she worked for any artist she could find who was willing to let her in on their process.  During the summers she taught painting, drawing, and sculpture at The Huntington School of Fine Arts working with young students to create college portfolios.  After graduating NYU, she was part of a small group of production artists creating lamps, tableware, and home décor.  Her love for teaching lead her to the 92nd Street Y where she taught art classes to amazing young artists in NYC.  After a small break to create two little human beings, she is excited to get back to sharing her love and passion of art with others.


Michelle Mullaly

Michelle Mullaly is a certified K -12 art teacher with both a BS and MS in art education from SUNY New Paltz. The majority of her 31-year career has been spent teaching art to middle and high school students. The focus of her instruction is learning the foundations of drawing, painting and sculpture using a wide variety of media. In addition to teaching in the classroom, she mentors and advises students on portfolio development for college applications. Michelle is also an active participant with the New York State Art Teachers Association and adjudicates for their portfolio review in the spring. She also has vast experience teaching other educators about visual literacy and its integration into the classroom. Michelle is our Teen Art Portfolio Consultant- helping High Schoolers prepare for College admissions with curated one-one-one feedback & direction.


Jess Palmer

Jess Palmer is a studio potter living and working in Port Chester, NY. She received a BFA in Communication Design from SUNY Buffalo. After leaving her full-time career as a Creative Director in advertising Jess discovered a new medium of clay. Jess’s work has been published in the May/June 2019 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated and the September 2018 issue of Ceramics Monthly. She has shown her work in both juried and national invitational exhibitions at; The Clay Studio, PA.; Flower City Arts Center, NY.; Clay Art Center, NY.; Baltimore Clayworks, MD., Companion Gallery, TN, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Fl, Clay Arts Vegas, NV, , Silvermine Arts Center, CT, Saratoga Clay Arts Center, NY.


Lauren Rankel

Lauren taught preschool for 20 years on Long Island with a focus on the integration of STEAM concepts and nature infusion before moving to North Salem.  Her goal when teaching children has always been to encourage creative experiences that build confidence and independence in each learner. She carefully develops an individualized curriculum to strengthen motor skills, support problem solving and critical thinking through supportive experiences for the expression of little learners. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from both Long Island University (BS) and Stonybrook University (MS) where she majored in elementary education with a concentration in mathematics as well as a degree in educational technology.  She was the director of a summer camp for children, and taught professional development classes for teachers on how to integrate STEAM and nature programming into the Pre-K through early elementary curriculum.  She currently teaches at Railyard Arts studio, runs the Little Sprouts Nature group in North Salem and does freelance writing for several publications. She authored the book “We Can All Be Helpers” during the pandemic to help ease children over their fear of masks.  She lives in North Salem with her husband and enjoys visits with her adult children and grandpuppy.


Sarah Miller Totten

After graduating from the State University of New Paltz, NY, Sarah immediately worked as a professional artist and collaborated with teams to create large-scale paintings for public, private and corporate fine art collections nationwide.

Her lifelong love for art and people unified in becoming the director and an art instructor for the Katonah Art Center for 11+ years. She flourished in creating a collaborative realm of teaching and working artists, became a conduit for helping others to find their own creative outlet through art education. Through the years, she constructed ideas for art educational programs, taught art for ages 4 through adult using a variety of media. Using art as a vehicle, she found that her love is in offering supportive, creative guidance in helping others of all ages strengthen their unique persona and to connect within the creative community.