Vanessa LeighRaised in a household that encouraged creative freedom of all types, Vanessa was destined to create. She started to paint from the time she could sit, and her mother still has finger paintings she did at 6 months old (until someone buys them on Etsy!). She finds it incredibly therapeutic to illustrate the world through her eyes with paint and a brush, and she loves sharing this passion with her students.
Vanessa attended the New Hampshire Institute of Art with a major in Painting. She is also an established actress, having starred in several independent films (e.g., “Joy and the Apocalypse”) and national commercials (e.g., for Dunkin Donuts, Intel). As Lead Instructor, Vanessa is in a unique position to combine her love for art with her communications talents to inspire everyone to find their inner Muse.
Amanda HeislerArt has always played a huge role in Amanda’s life, and in college she discovered her passion to teach and experience art with others. She believes art is not represented by final product alone, but also by the creative process and environment in which we create. To explore and express oneself is exhilarating, and Amanda loves the opportunity to assist others with this experience.
Amanda grew up on a New Hampshire farm where she spent much of her time painting scenic surroundings (when not building impressive outdoor forts). She graduated from Franklin Pierce University with a BFA in painting. She has since taught various subjects concurrent with pursuing a Masters in Art Education. Amanda’s art experience and strong teaching background allow her a great combination to help everyone get the best out of their Muse experience!
Adam KarolianAdam credits his mother—a high school art teacher—with introducing him to art and leading him down a creative path. He took art lessons from childhood to high school, taking many family trips to various museums along the way. In his upbringing, he was exposed to a gamut of visual art and music, during which he developed a fascination with the likes of Van Gogh and Edward Hopper.
Adam’s collegiate pursuits culminated with a degree in Communication Arts from the University of New Hampshire. He also took several courses at the New Hampshire Institute of Art to further satisfy his artistic passions. More recently, he has led guided Segway tours of Manchester and commissioned several art works. Adam’s unique blend of communications and artistic experience makes him a great asset to Muse Paintbar.
Caitlin WidenerSince elementary school and even before, Caitlin has always been into art. Art class always seemed to follow a more stressful class segment like math or science, and it provided an opportunity to relax and create something meaningful. In high school, Caitlin was lucky enough to have some AMAZING art teachers (including Adam's mother!). And, in part, due to Mrs. Karolian’s inspiration, Caitlin decided to follow her passion and pursue a degree in art.
Caitlin attended Old Dominion University in Virginia where she expanded her creative branches further and created some of her best works. She then took a year to travel in Australia where she observed and appreciated art forms from other cultures. Caitlin recently returned to the U.S. where she is now able to get others involved in art at Muse. The true beauty of art is that ANYONE can express themselves … just like Caitlin first did in her elementary school classes!
Nicole LaponiusArt has always been a true passion for Nicole. It is her escape as well as her meditation. She grew up as an only child of an artist and was raised to pursue her creative talents. Beginning at a very young age, she entertained herself by making pocketbooks and fake money from mixed media, and would turn her bedroom into a consignment shop for her mom to purchase her latest fashions.
As an adult Nicole attended Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Ma where she earned a BFA with a concentration in illustration. She loves to tell stories with her paintings and capture the essence of one’s spirit in her charcoal portraits. Her paintings are inspired by Henri Matisse and Stewart Davis. When she is not teaching at Muse, she can be found painting murals in Beverly or giving public talks to troubled teens.
Nicole was most recently a behavioral therapist for children who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Here she learned how to combine her love for children, and passion for art , to help these nonverbal children communicate. Here at Muse, Nicole has found her calling. “I still can’t believe I get paid to go to work today”, she says. It’s not a “job” when you’re doing what you love!
Kristy EllsworthWith a love of all things art related, Kristy dabbles in many creative outlets. She loves to make clothes for herself and her two young daughters, Reagan and Sam. Kristy loves to shop at thrift stores and refashion her finds into something fabulous. Inspired by Old Hollywood Divas, Kristy brings a flair for the dramatic to all areas of her life (much to the dismay of her very patient husband Cale).
Attending art school at Gibbs College in Boston, Kristy discovered a love for graphic novels and urban art. Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and David Catrow are among the artists that she most admires. Teaching has always been near and dear to Kristy’s heart. Her 2 younger brothers are very glad that Kristy has real students now and they no longer have to be her guinea pigs =) Kristy loves working with children and finds it exciting to see how they interpret art and are not confined to the “rules” of the creative process. “It’s all sunshine and butterflies” is the motto that Kristy has adopted and hopes that her cheery optimism is contagious.
Heather BrownA creative eye and a passion for art has lead Heather to become the artist she is. With an interest in abstract, she enjoys the works of Georgia O’Keefe and Jackson Pollack. Heather’s love for painting developed at a young age as she watched her parents paint on various objects such as decorative ceramics, mugs, wood, & glass. You name it, they painted it!
Heather is a self-taught artist and loves exploring new ways to approach her paintings. With two young boys at home she always expresses how important it is to explore their creativeness. She enjoys sharing her love for art with them. With a positive attitude and a passion to work with people, Heather is a tremendous asset to the Muse team.