Staff

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Marty Wollesen

Executive Director
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Chip Schilling

American Academy of Bookbinding Managing Director
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Tara Carter

Ceramics Program Director
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Malarie Clark

Director of Marketing & Communications
Marty's Bio

Martin (Marty) Wollesen is a believer in the power of imagination and that creativity is core to the human spirit. A life-long learner, he brings over 25 years of innovative leadership in the arts and arts education having lead several multi-disciplinary performing arts organizations through significant expansion. As the Executive Director of Ah Haa School for the Arts, his wide-ranging curiosity and commitment to community engagement creates experiences for everyone to learn something new and share something meaningful about themselves. Marty has lived in New Mexico, Washington DC, California, Singapore, Philippines, Egypt, Portugal.

Chip's Bio

Wilber “Chip” Schilling has worked as a book artist since 1992, under the imprint of Indulgence Press. His work is collected and exhibited internationally. His work is featured in the many publications including Masters: Book Arts, Major works by leading Artists (Sterling Publishing) and Volumes 1 & 2, book art object (Codex Foundation). Schilling earned a BA in history and photography from Clark University (Worchester, MA) and an MFA in book arts and printmaking from The University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA). Schilling currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. He taught as a full-time lecturer at Columbia College Chicago in the graduate program of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department. He is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA.

Tara's Bio

Tara comes to us from Columbus, OH, where she received her BA in Ceramics, Sculpture, and Photography at Otterbein University. She later added a Printmaking concentration to the mix during post-graduate studies in Art Education. Tara continued her studies at Otterbein and earned a Master of Business Administration while serving as the Graduate Assistant Coach of the women’s soccer team. During this time, she taught summer art classes at the local rec center and the Columbus Arts Festival and also launched her own sports photography and ceramics businesses in Columbus. After graduating, Tara continued to coach and teach summer art classes while working as a Project Manager and then Account Manager for a retail decor manufacturing company, gtc Artists With Machines. She made the move to Telluride in October of 2016 to pursue her passions of the arts and the outdoors and, in her words, has been living the dream ever since.

Malarie's Bio

Malarie came to Telluride 10 years ago from her home state of North Carolina. She holds degrees in Photography and Art History from East Carolina University. She found her passion for supporting artists after working in emerging galleries across the Southeast. Malarie is proud of her 13 years in the fine arts world, creating community, curating and directing at Telluride Gallery. After launching an art advisory business, her focus shifted to helping artists hone their marketing output to better share their own compelling stories. She loves time spent in the Appalachians and San Juans, especially big mountain snowboarding and shooting 35mm film.

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Kris Kwasniewski

Exhibitions Manager
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Christin Marcos

Rentals & Special Events Manager
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Jess Newens

Culinary Program Director
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Kelley Potter

Front Desk & Registration Assistant
Kris' Bio

Originally from New Jersey, Kris received her BA from Colorado College before moving to Dublin, Ireland to complete her graduate work.  While in Dublin, Kris worked for Xena Productions Bespoke Weddings and Special Events and later free-lanced in interior signage and design for local businesses.  In 2010, Kris moved to Rhode Island, where she became the Program Coordinator for the Creative Arts Council at Brown University.  Eager to return to the mountains, Kris moved to Telluride in 2015 where she spends her time facilitating art and wrestling bears.

Christin's Bio

Christin is an event producer, organizer, and arts administrator. She holds a BA in Art History and Sculpture from DePaul University in Chicago. After many years in the city’s non-profit arts community, she uprooted to Park City, Utah to produce venues at the Sundance Film Festival. This led to an extensive career producing film and music festivals across the country, ultimately setting in Telluride. She has over 10 years of experience as a gallerist, consultant, and artist liaison in the fine art, non-profit, and entertainment industries. In her role as a producer, she plans events and programs focusing on supporting the missions of arts and culture within the Telluride community. Using a collaborative approach to working with artists, clients, businesses, and organizations alike, she allows creativity to permeate every part of the event process.

Jess' Bio

Jess Newens grew up in Boulder, CO and received her BA in English from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. She’s been in the Telluride region since 1992, where she has held multiple jobs, including a several-year stint as Programs Coordinator for the Ah Haa School back in the 1990s. During her years away from Ah Haa, Jess founded Tomboy Soap Company and worked as an editor and writer for The Watch Newspapers. Immersed in cooking since childhood, Jess's culinary inspiration and knowledge came from her mom, Janis. She has two daughters, Fiorella and Cecelia, whom she hopes will learn to love the culinary arts just as much as she does. 

Kelley's Bio

Started college in the 80s as an art major but wound up graduating UCLA with a degree in psychology and went on to law school. When she moved to Telluride with her family in 2004, she took her first art class since college at Ah Haa school for the Arts. The class rekindled her inspiration and she’s been a huge fan ever since. After almost 30 years in the legal profession, she followed her heart and joined the team at Ah Haa in the front office full time in January of 2022. She is thrilled to be part of the Ah Haa team helping others find their creative inspiration.

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Caroline Schnetzler

Manager, After School Programs & Summer Camps
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Rachel Williams

Registration & Retail Manager
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Natalie Wirsing

Visual Arts Program Director
Caroline's Bio

Left-handed, right-brained. Caroline grew up in the city of Chicago, but fell in love with Telluride the first moment she arrived, for a summer visit. Three months later, Caroline was calling Telluride her home. And now, her muse.

Caroline started painting in high school, and her resulting love and passion for self-expression led her to pursue a degree - and now a career in the arts. After graduating with a BFA in Graphic Design, from The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Caroline has navigated through diverse professional practices in Design, Video Production, and Art Education. As Manager of After School Programs & Summer Camps, Caroline is most passionate about designing programs that allow young creatives to explore their innate creativity and artistic spirit.

Rachel's Bio

Before moving to Telluride, Rachel lived in San Francisco and Washington DC where she worked in clinical research with a specialty in oncology. She studied Geography in college in Northern California with a focus on Geographical Information Systems, often making weekend trips to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, where she developed her love of outdoor recreation. Rachel and her husband live in the mountains of Japan during the winter where they own and operate a custom bootfitting shop and ski powder. She is incredibly grateful to live in the Telluride region and have meaningful work at the Ah Haa.

Natalie's Bio

Natalie was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where she grew up enjoying the beaches of Lake Michigan, playing the violin, and riding the train into Chicago for weekend art classes. In 2017, she was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Arts Management from Indiana University Bloomington – a unique and individualized degree that blends arts marketing, finance, nonprofit management, and studio art practice. After years of professional and self-exploratory visual arts practice, she found a seamless career path forward as an arts administrator and educator. As the Visual Arts Program Director, she showcases her passion for encouraging people to find and hone their creativity.

Instructor Spotlight

Jacey DePriest

Jacey DePriest

Ceramics
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Tony Finocchio

Jewelry
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Kathy Green

Textile Arts
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Krista Montalvo

Culinary
Jacey's Bio

A Colorado native, Jacey DePriest finds peace by living in the mountains and through getting her hands dirty. She has a love for things handmade and the process that goes into creating. She started to share her passion for ceramics and other mediums teaching both adults and children’s classes at Ah Haa in 2004, where she continues to teach today.

Tony's Bio

Tony’s MetalRock Designs studio specializes in handcrafted silver and mixed metal jewelry designed for the free spirited by the free spirited. He is represented at Slate Gray Gallery and Picaya in Telluride, Ortega’s on the Plaza and Karen Melfi Collection in Santa Fe, and Creative Framing Art Gallery in Louisville, CO. Tony began teaching for the Ah Haa School in 2018. That same year he was commissioned by the Telluride Arts District to create a specific piece for a fundraiser for their Transfer Warehouse project.

Kathy's Bio

Kathy Green began silk dyeing in 1990 during one of Ah Haa’s very first classes. That class, taught by Rita Bernstein, left an indelible mark on her. Kathy’s keen interest and talent for silk dyeing led her to become an instructor, and in turn, she has inspired many of the area’s silk-dying obsessed. Scarves and silk prayer flags created by Kathy and her students can be found in local galleries, shops, and bazaars.

Krista's Bio

Krista Montalvo is a Nutritionist Chef who has been in the culinary world since she was 16 ranging from catering, serving, cooking, events and teaching cooking classes. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a BS in Food Science and during the pandemic, she received her certification in Plant-Based Nutrition and is currently finishing her Graduate Nutrition Certification from Colorado State University. Krista makes a big effort to include something green into her diet daily. Her philosophy is to be plant focused with little bits of meat.  Instead of asking, “What will I do with this chicken?” she wants clients to start asking, “What will I do with this butternut squash?” Make the main vegetable the star of the meal.

 
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