Meet Our Staff
Amy Davis Navardauskas
Amy is an established artist in Northwest Indiana and previously served on the leadership team of Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, where she served as the marketing director for 10 years. She brings nearly 15 years of marketing and fundraising experience to the role.
Board President Julia Holmaas states, “During this time of growth and transformation, there is no better person to lead the Art Barn than Amy. She is a proven leader with the skills and vision to continue Art Barn’s 40-year history of providing art education and promoting the arts in the Region.”
Ashley has a passion for the art community and has spent the last five years in various art organizations. While completing her undergraduate degree from Andrews University in Visual Art Education she taught at art museums and summer camps. After completing her degree she taught high school art for two years. She then began pursing her Master of Arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in Creative Buisness Leadership. While completing her masters degree she worked as an Events Assistant at Saugatuck Center for the Arts and as a freelance Art Director. She lives in Niles, MI with her husband, Daniel, and dog, Tukk.
Liz is a native of suburban Chicago and relocated to Northwest Indiana 6 years ago. Her studies include an emphasis in Psychology from UCCS in Colorado Springs, Colorado and an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology from Fox College in Tinley Park, Illinois.
After her career in the veterinary field as a Vet Tech she started in the office management area and most recently spent a little over 3 years as the Executive Assistant for the Mayor of Michigan City. In her free time she is an avid reader, and loves being outdoors hiking, fishing, or spending time with her two dogs Remy and Bear at the beach. Liz resides in Chesterton with her fiance` and daughter.
Board President, Program Director, Instructor
Before becoming an instructor Julia benefited from being at many Art Barn workshops and classes over the years. Painting in both watercolor and oil, Holmaas has won numerous awards for her work.
Julia’s goal as a teacher to help others learn the basics of painting – using line, color and shape to capture a three dimensional reality in a two dimensional space.
She is a member of the Area Artists Association, the Chesterton Art Center, and the Southern Shore Art Association of Michigan City. She is active in the Duneland Plein Air Painters and teaches seminars for the Michigan City Art League.
Office Manager, Children’s Program Director, Instructor, Board Member
Sharon began at the Art Barn in 1998 as an art model and assistant to founder Jan Sullivan.
In 2013 she began teaching the older children’s art classes and annual summer camps. Her varied career has led to certification in several fields, and she brings this knowledge to her teaching.
In autumn of 2016 Sharon became a resident at the Art Barn and joined the Board of Directors. Along with instructing, she is currently office manager, children’s program director, and festival coordinator for the Art Blitz.
Instructor Gail Woolever has been a potter for over 45 years. Her art depicts the love she has for the flowers, fields and friends of her life on the farm and the travels she has enjoyed. After a career of 35 years at Kankakee Valley School Corporation, teaching is still her passion.
She currently works from her studios on the farm in Wheatfield where she lives with her husband Steve and a myriad of critters. Her art work is executed in her home studio using clay– as well as oils, watercolor, pastel, glass, pysanka eggs, pencil, colored pencil and collage. Her favorite media to use is whatever she is working on at the time.
Mary Ann Pals
Mary Ann Pals is a pastel and charcoal artist and celebrated instructor who received her BA from Northwestern College, IA. She enjoys creating lifelike scenes that depict the natural beauty she sees around her. Her work has been exhibited locally, nationally, internationally, and at art fairs. She is a member of two nationally recognized pastel societies and has received numerous honors and awards for her work.
Suzie’s studies include the American Academy of Fine Art in Chicago, Valparaiso University, and several workshops with renowned artists including Richard Schmid, Albert Handell, William Hook, and Arnie Westerman. She has taught children and adult classes, including life drawing, for over a decade.
Maintenance, Groundskeeping, Animal Caretaker
For nearly two decades, Francis has been tireless in his devotion to the Art Barn grounds and its many animal residents. Francis plants our sunflowers and vegetable garden, making sure everything blooms at just the right time. He can be seen all times of day in any weather tending to the property both indoors and out.
Alice is an artist and designer with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from PNC. She has worked extensively in local community theater teaching and directing children in acting, music, and expression. Alice enjoys working with children helping them open their minds to the limitless possibilities of personal expression through art. Alice lives with her husband and three children in Michigan City, Indiana.
Adult Watercolor Instructor
Lisa is a self-taught artist who enjoys drawing and painting whether it be indoors in her home studio or at Open Studio at the Art Barn which she became a member of the Board of Directors in January, 2019, or plein air with the Duneland Plein Air Painters. Her work has sold domestically and internationally from commissioned sales. She has several years experience working in school systems educating adults and children.
Children and Teen Ceramic Instructor
Betsy graduated with high distinction from Herron School of Art and Design in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio ceramics and a minor in art history. Aside from ceramics, she also enjoys working in other media, including pysanky ( Ukrainian dyed eggs), paper mache, and woodcut printmaking. She was formerly a teaching assistant in Alburquerque Public Schools in New Mexico. Since returning to her home town of Valparaiso, she has been starting and raising her family of three children with her husband.
Ashley has spent the last 11 years teaching art to all different grade levels, from Kindergarten to 12th Grade – from Marengo Illinois, to Kankakee Valley, and now Hebron Elementary. She has worked and taught in all mediums, and encourages students to do the same. “I have a passion and love for teaching art and look forward to sharing that with the Art Barn community.”
Samantha is a Michigan City native finishing her degree in ceramics at Southern Illinois University. She has taught Summer art and clay classes for the past 3 years. She has worked with children at Michiana Day Camp and also teaches for Dunes Summer Theater and serves on the Dunes Arts Foundation board.