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Yvonne Allen

Regional Groups Committee

Yvonne Allen is a mosaic artist from Scottsdale, Arizona. She has been a SAMA member since 2007. After volunteering to coordinate the Mesa conference volunteers, she was recognized for her work by being selected as SAMA's first Volunteer of the Year. She soon after joined the Board and served until 2013. In addition to mosaics, Yvonne works in clay as a hand builder and tile maker. She shares her passion for mosaics, tile making and the creative process with her local community by teaching workshops in the Phoenix area.

Erin Bliss

Conference Welcoming Committee Chair

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Erin is a mosaic hobbyist who's been interested in the art form since the early 70s but didn't seriously try her hand at it until she attended a continuing education class at the Massachusetts College of Art in the late '90s. From there she went to Ravenna and has taken classes around the country. She continues learning and supporting the art by participating on the SAMA Board of Trustees.

Pat Bryant

Treasurer

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Pat started making mosaics about 2006 when she was given a kit as a gift. She stumbled onto the SAMA website while searching the internet for inspiration. The upcoming conference in San Diego was just around the corner and she decided to join SAMA and attend the 2009 conference. She's been hooked ever since and has only missed one conference since joining. Currently serving as treasurer, Pat is pleased to be able to contribute to the organization and thoroughly enjoys interaction with all the members. She and her husband, Curt, have lived in Big Bear Lake, CA for 21 years and have 3 children and 7 grandchildren spread out from California to North Carolina/Virginia to Scotland.

Judy Walton Davis

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Judy Walton Davis is a resident of Palm Beach Gardens ,Florida. She took her first mosaic class when living in Panama, Republic of Panama in 2003. She has taken classes from a vast array of teachers in the United States, Tunisia, Greece, France, Turkey and courses from the Orsoni Mosaic School in Venice, Italy and the Perdomo School in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Judy has been selected in juried shows in Massachusetts and Connecticut and twice for Mosaic Art International. She is a very loyal fan of The Society of American Mosaic Artists since 2003 and she became a board member in 2016.

Deb

Board Member at Large

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Deb Durant originally hales fr Marblehead, MA, but has made the San Francisco bay area her home for the past 20 years. She began her professional career as a hospitality interior designer, pursuing jewelry making on the side. In 2000 she built a design studio in North Berkeley, CA, and began making jewelry full-time, as well as taking side projects in interiors & related design disciplines. She has participated in numerous gallery shows over the past 25 years - including at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, MA, which she’s delighted to be revisiting during the upcoming Boston 2018 SAMA conference - and more recently embarked on a yearlong art project culminating in a one month exhibition on the subject of LIGHT to celebrate the milestone of turning 50.

Her interest in mosaics was piqued late last year when she took her first micro-mosaic jewelry class in Santa Barbara, CA. This revelation led to joining SAMA, participating in the Detroit Conference, and joining the SAMA board in September 2017 as its newest member. The importance and value of volunteering was instilled in her at an early age by her mom – and she aspires to “always put your good where it will do the most”. (Thanks, Wavy Gravy.) She is energized and excited about the range of possibilities this new opportunity presents for expanding and strengthening the SAMA organization.

This past summer she had the opportunity to travel throughout Italy touring historical mosaics in Venice, Otranto, and Ravenna, and looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for the time honored art form of mosaics and its rich history with the greater SAMA community.

She lives in North Berkeley, CA, with her husband, Matthew, and their daughter, Sadie.

Christopher Forillo

Conference Manager

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I have been honored to be part of SAMA for more than 10 years helping plan the annual conference. Not being an artist myself, I have grown to love and appreciate mosaics and have met the most amazing people along the way. When I am not helping to plan the next conference, I am an avid traveler. I have been fortunate enough to have visited 4 continents and 25 countries. I most recently completed a bucket list item and have visited all 50 US states. Additionally, I am a Swatch Watch collector and typically buy a watch in the places I visit.

Gabriella Grama

Sponsorship Chair

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Gabi has lived in Long Island, New York since her early 20’s. She grew up in Romania during the oppressive years of communism. ‘Otata’, her Italian grandfather, who loved opera and red wine in equal measures, was a glass blower at the small glass factory. Frequent visits to the glass factory, observing the the fascinating process of glass blowing, watching molted glass being shaped into beautiful objects of art, set the stage for her later obsession.
Gabi started as a stained glass artist and worked for 10 years perfecting the craft before discovering mosaics. Gabi finds the art of mosaic fosters creativity with no boundaries. “There is a lot of freedom in mosaics, there are no limits, and the rules are only there to be challenged”. She recently discovered the art of fusing, more glass to be shaped and coerced into finding its perfect spot into mosaic pieces.
Gabi is a mother to a young man and two dogs; she has been running a not-for-profit organization raising funds for underprivileged children in Guatemala since 2013. She loves the ocean, traveling, coffee, and all things mosaics.

Jacki Gran

President, Exhibition Chair

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Jacki Gran is a mosaic artist living in Miami, Fl. She is President of the SAMA Board of Trustees and she has been a SAMA member since 2004. Her art has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the country, most notably The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA and The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Mesa, AZ and she has been a featured artist on HGTV. She was co-owner of Art Effects Party Decorations, planning personal and corporate special events and has spent 35 years volunteering with non-profits including the Zoological Society of South Florida, Miami Children's Hospital Foundation and currently the South Florida Epilepsy Foundation. Jacki is married 35 years to Bernard and they have three grown children. She loves creating and collecting art, cooking, traveling and most of all family and friends.

Libby Hintz

Scholarship Chair, Membership Chair, Executive Committee

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Libby is an artist, a wife, a mother of three, a mother-in-law to one and a grandmother to one sweet little girl. Learning how to create a mosaic opened a channel in her life that she never dreamt could have happened when she took her first mosaic class. Creating has taught her so much about herself and how she walks through life. As a board member Libby continues to document the conference processes and every board's tasks, jobs and responsibilities; is Membership Chair, chairs the Scholarship Committee and and is on the Executive Board of the SAMA Board of Trustees.

Kim Immenhausen Kelly

SAMA Board Of Trustees - Member at Large

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Kim resides in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband and business partner Bill. She has been a member of SAMA since 2011 and was elected to the board in 2017. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management & Business, with a concentration in Marketing and Art; she is certified jointly in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Art by Northwestern University, and the American Society of Appraisers; she has been working full-time for over 25 years as a customer service professional, the last 22 as a business owner of an antique boutique and retail establishment. As such, Kim has extensive experience and talent for identifying people’s needs and presenting appropriate product and services.

Personally she gets pleasure from a lifelong love and study of Fine Decorative Arts, Antiques, and Theatre as she is currently working as an usher at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire IL. She enjoys worldwide travel, walking, hiking and bicycling.

Her fascination and involvement with mosaics began when she took a high school trip to Pompeii and Venice, and a goal of hers has long been to be supportive and work to enhance this ancient art form from the bottom up. Her desire to serve the mosaic community has grown over the years, and as a SAMA board member she feels this is the perfect avenue to help build public interest and knowledge in the mosaic art form. Kim specializes in custom, fine and decorative art, bas-relief and sculptural mosaics which are marketed under the Garden Dwellings’ name. Each piece is one of a kind, as it is in nature.

Nida Khalil

Member at Large

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Nida Khalil is a self-taught mosaic artist with a rich and diverse background of creativity who through trial and error has worked herself into the world of mosaic art and continues to grow as an artist. She was elected onto the Board of Trustees for the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) in April 2013 and by the end of that year, named Membership Director of SAMA.

Nida’s mosaic art pieces have been featured in a private organizational newsletter, “The Saint Clairion” (2011), in the 2010 Edition of the Mosaic Yearbook: Mosaic Art 6, Santiago, Chile Gallery (2012), as an invited featured artist at The Jerusalem Gallery in Washington, DC (2014 & 2016) and most recently featured artist during the 2015 San Francisco QUIT Outside the Frame Film Festival. She has also worked on volunteer mosaic installations for the Chicago Globe Project (2009), Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network (2010), Houston’s Smither Park Mosaic Project (2014), Kentucky’s Gateway Regional Art Mosaic Mural (2014) and Oakland's Urban Mosaic wall in East Oakland (2016). In the past few years, Nida has been experimenting with colors, wording and shapes more reflective of her Middle Eastern culture. She hopes to continue on this road and showcase the beauty of Arab culture through her work.

In addition to Mosaic Art, Nida loves to travel internationally and is almost at her goal of visiting every continent of the world. She has also volunteered with the Refugee Women’s Network, International Rescue Committee, Middle Eastern Children's Alliance, Domestic Violence Shelter, Arab Resource & Organizing Center and ArtForces. Currently she holds board seats with SAMA and the YWCA.

Tami Macala

SAMA Vice President, Chair of Future Exhibitions

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I am a professional mosaic artist and teacher. I started my mosaic art business in 2000 and named it All Cracked Up Mosaics. It quickly grew from small commissions to large scale installations. I enjoy creating large mosaics for homes, businesses and public art. In 2009 I founded the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art. I enjoying teaching all levels of mosaic art to anyone with a creative spirit. The school hosts many visiting artists as well from all over the world. I joined SAMA in 2011 and have loved being a member and even more now being a board member. SAMA is a great community of mosaic artists at all levels. Meeting people from all over the world at the annual summits are great opportunities to network and just be amongst like minded artists.

Shawn Newton

Communications Director, Groutline Editor

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Shawn’s long career in graphic design includes working for clients such as 4H Council, Girls Incorporated, NBC, and HBO. A mosaic artist and SAMA member since 2001, she has participated in MAI exhibitions as well as other national venues. Shawn’s other interests include gardening, working with shelter animals, and she and husband, Vikram (also a SAMA member) are finishing up a decade-long renovation of their CT Greek Revival home.

Donna Post

Nominations Chair, Volunteer Coordinator

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Donna Post is a mosaic artist from Southern California and has been a SAMA member since 2008. Donna began creating mosaics in 2007, using a variety of materials in her work as she continues to develop her art and find her voice in the mosaic art community. Donna’s passion for volunteering, both in her community and at the SAMA conferences, led to becoming the SAMA Volunteer Coordinator in 2010 and becoming a member of the SAMA Board of Trustees in 2011.

Donna also serves as executive minister at her church and is married to her husband of 36 years, Craig. Together they have raised two amazing sons that now have given them the gift of daughters in law, and are now enjoying their first grandchild! Besides mosaicking, she loves to walk, read and travel, especially to London, and spending time with those she loves.

Luis Alberto Rivera

Board Advisor

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Luis Alberto Rivera, was born in the Bronx , New York City en el 1956. He arrives to Puerto Rico at the age of five along with his parents, where he grew and still lives today. Throughout his sensibility and appreciation of the arts, he studies and develops within the mosaic techniques at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico where he studied and eventually became the mosaic instructor for the museum. Architecture as his profession, painter and self taught musician, he shares his vision throughout his trajectory within the mosaic world. After sharing at the museum for three years, Luis Alberto sets out to open his own mosaic workshop where he would share with all to paint with tiles, glass and other materials. Yes, he wanted apprentices to understand the color theory, composition, focal points and light & shadow amongst other art theories within an art piece. Fairly quickly, the Atelier has grown greatly and impacted a large number of folks who still today continue to learn one technique after the other and participate in formal expositions offered by the Atelier for all to share with their families. . Luis Alberto is passionate about mosaics and all it entails and looks forward to what this exciting trip will bring to his life and for those who have already joined in the journey.

Dawnmarie Zimmerman

Executive Director

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For over 17 years, Dawnmarie Zimmerman’s use of stained glass and reclaimed materials has established her as a unique and pioneering spirit among contemporary mosaic artists. Her work has exhibited throughout the US and presented at premiere art festivals and galleries throughout Western PA. She has been a rostered artist with the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and Southern Allegheny Museum of Art’s Artist in Residence Program, conducting residencies in K‐12 schools throughout Western Pennsylvania. She has taught all ages in basic mosaic technique and has written articles and instructional material on working with stained glass and non‐toxic adhesives.

Since 2005, she has served the Society of American Mosaic Artists as Executive Director where she is responsible for strategic guidance to the Board, management of staff and independent contractors and the execution of administration of programs including the American Mosaic Summit, Mosaic Arts International Exhibition, SAMA’s Website, publications and scholarship program.

Additionally, Ms. Zimmerman served on the Board of Directors for Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, PA, in 2015 and is a member of Americans for the Arts and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. She shares her daily explorations of creativity via Instagram where her followers are inspired and motivated to step outside their comfort zone, honor their intuition and find meaningful connections through everyday experiences in developing their authentic visual voices.