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MEET OUR Teaching Artists

George Apotsos

George Apotsos is a painter, ceramicist, sculptor and installation artist. He has created community art projects for the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Mural Arts, the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging and the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia. He has shown his work through out the Mid-Atlantic region including the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Of Greek heritage, he was born in 1961 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and graduate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia College of Art in 1985.

Jessica Barnum

Jessica grew up in Doylestown, PA and began her art career at a young age drawing and painting horses. She studied at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Art where she received her bachelors in fine arts with a focus on oil painting. During her time at PAFA Jessica took several animal drawing classes and spent much of her time drawing at the Philadelphia Zoo. She continued to intertwine her love of animals and art as she began to focus much of her work around horses. After moving to New York in 2014 Jessica continued her education at Brooklyn College where she received her Masters Degree in Art Education. Passing on her love of art to new generations, Jessica taught high school art in Queens for 7 years. 

She recently moved back to Bucks County where she will continue her work as an artist and educator. You can see more of her work on Instagram @arrowdogco or at www.Jessica-Barnum.squarespace.com

Jim Bongartz  

James Bongartz began his passion for art during formal childhood lessons at the Carnegie Institute and continuing at Carnegie-Mellon University following a BSEd in art education from Edinboro State University of Pennsylvania. He has painted for over thirty years, exhibiting in galleries and juried shows throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Many of his works are in private collections. Most paintings are responses and interpretation from his own photography. Mastering the use of color and brushwork as a form of processing imagery and evoking experiences are current inspirations. James is a member of Art+10, a Princeton based artist group and AOY. A portfolio of Jim's paintings and further details about current and past exhibits can be seen on his website: jamesbongartz.com.

Renee Pelletier Egan

Renee Pelletier Egan is an award winning artist and a founding member of the Artists of Yardley who recently retired from the New Jersey public school system where she taught art to Middle School and High School students for 18 years. Renee’s dedication to her students helped propel them toward success throughout the years, wherein; they won many awards in both county and state competitions.

During Renee’s early career at an ad agency in New York City, she worked as an art director for print ads and TV commercials. She was educated at the Paier School of Art in CT and the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Later on Renee went back to school and earned a degree in Art Education from The College of New Jersey.

Renee continues to show her paintings throughout Bucks County and eastern coast venues. Currently, she has several private students and teaches Teen Drawing and Painting at AOY Art Center on Thursday evenings.  www.eganpaint.com

Anne Gannon  


Anne was educated at the Traphagen School of Fashion, NYC and at the School of Visual Arts, NYC. Early on, she worked as an Illustrator for Well Being magazine in San Diego, then at Hammacher Schlemmer in NYC, where her drawings were published weekly in The New York Times and in the Wall Street Journal. She also designed licensing artwork for Merrill Lynch and other Wall Street firms. In 2003, Anne started teaching art classes while beginning a new career as a surrealist and an abstract painter. Recently she has had much success with her Encaustic work. Anne has been with the AOY since their inception in 2004, serving on the board and in various other areas of the organization. An award-winning artist, Anne’s work has been shown locally, in east coast states and abroad."

Dorothy Hoeschen 

Dorothy Hoeschen grew up in Marietta, GA, and in grammar school always seemed to be the  one the teacher assigned to do the bulletin board. She did her first painting at age 11 and much  later attended Georgia State University where she received her Bachelor of Visual Arts. 

She has always exhibited a strong affinity for landscape, though still life and portraiture also  figured in to her subject matter. Dorothy has received quite a few awards and her works have  made their way into a number of corporate collections, as well as many private ones. 

In 2011 Dorothy decided to try “plein air” painting; painting in the open air. It opened a door to  new possibilities and she enthusiastically promotes plein air’s ability to increase artists’ skills,  knowledge, and abilities. In addition to her plein air work she continues her studio work and  enjoys exhibiting in galleries and participating in plein air shows. 

Dorothy’s latest works can be seen on instagram at @dhoeschenart. 

Lisa Kennedy

After attending the School of Visual Arts in NYC, Lisa worked in advertising creating newsletters and other printed material. There she stayed for most of her adult life working for local companies and freelancing.  To continue her fine art skills Lisa found a small atelier run by John Murdoch. John is an American painter, portraitist and teacher.  John became Lisa’s teacher and mentor at the Bucks County Classical Arts Center in New Hope PA. There Lisa’s training focused first on drawing, then grisaille painting. She moved on to limited color and, finally, full color painting applied to realism in art.  Since her training, Lisa has exhibited at the Ellarslie, Artsbridge, New Hope Arts, Phillips Mills, Salmagundi in NYC and the Philadelphia Sketch Club and has won several awards. Her work hangs in homes and businesses across the United States.  Lisa teaches students young and old privately, at AOY Patterson Farm and the Bucks County Classical Arts Center.   Follow her on Instagram: Drawingtidbits and Lisa_kennedy_art & Facebook: Lisa Kennedy artwork .

Nelly Kouzmina 

Fiber Artist & Instructor, Feltinelli LLC, Member of International Association of Feltmakers IFA,U.K, Member of Northeast Guild of Feltmakers, U.S. and Member of Surface Design Association, U.S. I am a self taught fiber artist working with natural fibers and dyes creating variety of pieces from wall art to wearable art exploring the broad possibilities of felt making. All of my work is original and one of a kind. It is my passion, hobby and love. I share my knowledge and experience with students of all age groups. I participate in various juried art shows in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. http://feltinelli.blogspot.com, email: feltinelli@gmail.com .

Ilya Lerner

Ilya Lerner was born in Moscow, Russia in 1966. He emigrated in 1989 and currently lives in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. He holds Master of Fine Arts degree from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Lerner's artwork has been subject of more than twenty solo shows, including a major retrospective at the Roberson Museum in Binghamton, New York in 2005, and has been featured in more than fifty group exhibitions.  He won grants and awards from Vasari Classic Oil Paints, New York Foundation for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Art, Arts Council of Houston, Oil Painters of America and El Paso Museum of Art.  Lerner was artist-in-residence at Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain, Mill Atelier Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Buffalo River National Park, Arkansas and fellow at the Vermont Studio Center.  He taught at Holy Family University, Alvernia University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Oregon State University, Lee College and Chautauqua Institution School of Art.  Lerner's paintings are included in collections of the El Paso Museum of Art, Fundacion Valparaiso, National Park Service, President George W. Bush, South Side Bank and Morgan Stanley, among others.  https://www.lernerart.com/ 

Elaine Morales

Elaine Morales has over 10 years of teaching experience in various local art centers and has been teaching at AOY since 2014. Her most popular class at AOY has been Saturday Morning Cartoons & Comicbooks where students create their own comics and characters based on original stories. Elaine is a graphic designer and UX/UI designer by trade and has always been fascinated by the tech world. She also enjoys building 2d animation characters, painting and drawing in her free time.

As a mother of two, an artist, and an educator; she finds teaching art classes to children is not only important to their social and emotional developmental stages, but has also proven to be a uniquely rewarding experience full of natural curiosity. Elaine enjoys cultivating the imagination in her students as their ideas grow into creative learning opportunities in her classroom. Samples of her work can be found at http://elainemorales2d.weebly.com

Andie Olson

Andie Olson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA. She has 15 years of experience teaching art to students of all ages and skill sets. She has taught in a traditional K-12 setting, as well as private and small group classes. In addition to instructing classes, she had also served a Program Manager at an art center in Phoenix, AZ. In this position she managed all aspects pf the educational department, including educational programming, instructor management and class registrations. Andie is a professional artist with many exhibitions under her belt. While living in Phoenix, she exhibited her work frequently and was majorly involved in the art community. Having moved back to PA recently, she has exhibited her work at the Artists of Yardley Art Center, as well as Cerulean Arts in Philadelphia, PA. andieolson.com

Amy Preston

Exploring the history of painting, architecture and sculpture has been an integral part of my life since my first visit to Walter’s Art Gallery with my mother at the age of eight.  I was awestruck by the Egyptian mummified cat, Marie Antoinette’s spectacular writing desk, the delicacy of the bejeweled Faberge Easter Egg and so much more.  As an art history major at the University of Maryland, I took more than the required courses pairing each with English literature and history classes that mirrored the period and culture.  It is a pleasure sharing this information with people of all backgrounds, ages and experiences.  Having taught AP art history to high school students, adult Italian language classes, and adult education classes, I am often struck by the enriching experiences we have in common.  Teaching at AOY has been a wonderful opportunity to promote art and to prepare travelers for the wonders they may see.  I look forward to continuing my relationship with such a dynamic and enthusiastic community.

Elena Ruocco Bachrach

For over twenty years, Elena served in a variety of executive and senior level roles in the arts, arts administration, and higher education spaces. In 2022 Elena founded Writing Art offering writing and editing services for individual artists and art cultural institutions. In addition to working with private clients, Elena offers workshops based in the mission of Writing Art. For additional details, students can visit www.writingart.net and  https://www.linkedin.com/in/elenaruoccobachrach/.

Ginger Smith

Ginger Smith is a professional photographer and experienced educator who has lived in Yardley since 2013. Having studied fine art photography in Nashville and art history in Boston, she brings more than twenty years experience in the arts and education to her instruction. She is a digital photo editing and retouching pro, routinely leveraging Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to deliver high-resolution, unforgettable photographs to clients. As a yoga practitioner, Ginger has a grounding presence and firmly believes in meeting each student where they are. Currently, she teaches Photography & Design (focusing on digital imaging applications using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop) to middle school students at Newtown Friends School. She also teaches Hatha yoga locally and leads a yoga and wellness program for employees at Wegmans in Princeton. You can learn more about Ginger and explore her portfolio at gingersmithstudio.com.

Robert Sussna, AIA

Architect, Photographer, Artist

Robert received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University, and then settled in Princeton where he founded an award winning architectural firm and completed many architectural projects for institutions and corporations throughout the Middle Atlantic States. He was awarded a New Jersey Arts Commission Grant to photograph across the country in 1970, which resulted in the publication of a book of his large-format work.

Upon retirement from practice in 2020 he became interested in watercolor painting on a vacation to Italy. Building on his fine arts instruction, and study with master painters he dedicated himself full time to this challenging medium. His paintings have been shown in dozens of competitive international and regional exhibitions earning many awards along the way.

He has shared his methodical manner of teaching as an adjunct professor at the College of New Jersey, and at Columbia Graduate School of Education, and the Community School of New Hope/Solebury. He has gained Signature Memberships in the following organizations: Garden State Watercolor Society, Philadelphia Watercolor Society, North East Watercolor Society and New Jersey Watercolor Society.

Jill Tressel

Jill studied studio art while an undergraduate student at Muhlenberg College, PA. She focused continuing studies on her preferred medium: watercolor. A thirty year resident of Bucks County, PA, she earned an MAT from the College of New Jersey. After a teaching career in public schools, Jill became a member of Artists of Yardley by way of a thoughtful retirement gift from her children. She studied with AOY’s teaching artists and mentors, Anne Gannon and Jo Ann Osnoe. She recently participated in PAFA’s Master Class with watercolorist, Eileen Goodman. Jill is an Open Studio artist at AOY. She enjoys painting with a talented group of members and shows her work locally. Jill teaches “Exploring Watercolor Painting” for beginning students. She hopes to encourage others to explore this lovely transparent medium.




  AOY Art Center

  949 Mirror Lake Road

  Yardley, PA 19067

  215-493-1205


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