Jill Leary is a practicing artist and a New York State certified arts education teacher. She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, with a concentration in Ceramics, and a Bachelor’s of Art Education from Syracuse University, as well as a Master’s of Fine Arts. For 11 years, Jill worked as an elementary art teacher for the Brewster Central School District. She also inspired students after school through the district’s Enrichment Creative Arts Program, which hosted exhibitions of students’ work at the Katonah Museum of Art.
After leaving the school system, Jill focused her creativity on charity work and fundraising. Seven years ago she developed a successful charity fundraiser “Crafts for a Cure.” This fun-filled “carnival” of art projects for kids raised more than $100,000 for childhood cancer research and Jill has been honored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for her incredible work. Jill also created “Healing Hugs Happy Hearts,” a non-profit program that collects more than 1,000 handmade Valentine’s for hospital patients. The cards are made by local schools and workshops and handed out to nearby hospitals on Valentine’s Day. This program has been duplicated by other cities and school districts to great success. For five years, Jill also volunteered as the chairperson and designer of Mahopac’s Fulmar Road Elementary School yearbook, where she utilized both her art and organizational skills. Her interest in volunteer work and fundraising continues through Railyard Arts Studio.
Jill is a skilled artist who enjoys working along side of other creative people in a variety of media. She 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.
Elizabeth Barksdale is a practicing artist with an emphasis in sculpture and photography. She has both a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an Master’s of Fine Arts from Georgia Southern University at Statesboro. Her thesis was in outdoor cast metal sculpture with preliminary work in welding and cast bronze figurative works. She has taught for several types of organizations including businesses, colleges, universities, and museums, in addition to her own private teaching. Her public works began with the Birmingham Museum of Arts mural outreach program involving local children in the beautification of their own communities. In the New York area, Elizabeth has worked with local groups, municipalities, and organizations, such as Historic Hudson Valley to create temporary outdoor sculptures open to the public. She has been on both sides of grant writing, being a grant recipient many times and having served twice as the grant coordinator for county and state grant programs. Elizabeth lives locally where she enjoys time with her family and sharing the beauty of art with others.