|Volcano Art Center Staff|
Tanya Aynessazian, VAC's Chief Executive Officer, joined the organization in May 2010. She comes to VAC with diverse educational, work, and life experience.
Her early years were spent in Chicago, but her fondest memories are of visiting O'ahu, where her father was born and raised, and the rural hillsides outside of Pittsburgh, where her maternal grandparents planted their roots upon immigrating in the early 1900s.
Tanya graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Iowa, where she studied linguistics, cultural anthropology, and interpersonal, group, and mass communication. Her work experience ranges from marketing and market research, and information and telecommunications technology, to business development and pharmaceutical consulting.
In 2003, Tanya took a class in improv and stand up comedy in Chicago, which led her to Los Angeles where she took Judy Carter's Comedy Workshop in 2004, and eventually to additional training and experience in voice work, songwriting and recording, and stage performance. Around this same time, Tanya embarked on a conscious spiritual path, one that led her (and her young family) from "Chicagoland and Corporate America" to the Nine Gates Mystery School and soon thereafter to Pahoa, Hawai'i.
She is currently writing her first book, a guide to modern-day spiritual empowerment aimed at young adults and everyone else experiencing or desiring deeply personal transformation. Tanya is actively involved in health care reform and is the board chair of Bay Clinic, Inc., East Hawaii's Federally-Qualified Community Health Center.
Jane Buchholz is VAC's Accounting Manager. She was born and raised in a small, rural, farm town in Iowa and moved in 1981 to the Big Island, where she raised her family and worked at a strawberry farm. She took numerous night classes for accounting and business at Universtiy of Hawai'i at Hilo.
In 1988, she began working for the Volcano Art Center, first as a secretary, then as an administrative assistant, and later as the bookkeeper. Today, she holds the critical role of Accounting Manager.
Jane lives in Fern Forest with her husband and next door to her daughter's family, and is the proud grandmother of two. The owner of J&J Nursery, she is an avid gardener who sells her herbs, vegetables, and plants at Volcano area stores.
Sarah Duckworth Ferreira, Communication and Membership
Julene Jones, Visitor Services and Reception
Emily Catey is VAC's Gallery Manager. New to the Volcano community in 2009, she comes with years of experience coordinating groups, art programs, and exhibits.
From 2004 to 2009, Emily resided on O'ahu where her involvement with various civic, business, and state organizations helped revitalize Chinatown as Honolulu's Arts District. She served as both president (2008) and vice-president (2007 and 2009) of the Hale'iwa Arts Festival, enhancing public awareness, education, and appreciation for the arts.
With a B.F.A. from Ohio State University, Emily's formal education in fine art paved the way for Emily Catey Photography, LLC, which she ran successfully in Hale'iwa until moving to Hawai'i Island in 2009. Emily's educational programming is rooted in the philosophy that cultivating, sustaining, and celebrating the arts is essential to a vibrant community.
Emily joined VAC in 2009 as Program Director. Her philosophy is that cultivating, sustaining, and celebrating the arts is essential to a vibrant community has paved the way for her recent position as VAC's gallery manager. "Every day offers new experiences and opportunities to learn while expanding on our unique location and culture, sharing these with visitors and of course the artists themselves is what I find most rewarding", states Emily.
Ashley Allen was born and raised in Southern California. Ashley fell in love with Hawai‘i while working for a travel agency. In 2002 she made the big move to Maui and later in 2007 to the Island of Hawai‘i. Although not an artist herself she deeply admires those who create art and began working with and supporting Hawai‘i's local artist in 2005. Volcano Art Center is the fourth gallery she has had the pleasure to work with. "I love that VAC sees a bigger picture and supports the community as a non-profit arts and education center, " says Ashley. "I am constantly amazed by the talent that is brought in everyday and am thrilled to be part of the aloha our customers receive daily." Referred to as "The Packologist" or "The Master Packer" her specialty is to ship everything home safe and secure packed with love and care. Ashley is VAC Gallery's Shipping & Inventory Specialist.
Angelina Applegate has worked at Volcano Art Center Gallery for many years. She enjoys working with the variety of artists that are inspired by Kilauea volcano, the rain forest and the elevations in between. It is great to be a part of a team that has some vision, and to greet and meet people and families that visit regularly or come back after being away from Hawai`i. These inspired people consider Volcano part of their lives and memories - we are part of their 'ohana, and it is so nice they make us a part of their lives. There is something for everybody here - Angie will always be able to help yo find a treasure from our Gallery to take home. Angie truly embodies the spirit of Aloha.
Shelby Smith grew up in Northern Colorado, and then moved to Lawrence Kansas for undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Design Ceramics in 2000. He then had the oppertunity to Apprentice for ceramic sculptor Jun Kaneko at his Omaha NE. studio for 2 years. Shelby then took off for a backpacking trip through Europe to see in-person all he had been researching in school. Upon returning, Shelby went to San Jose State University for an MFA in Spatial Art, 2006. Shelby was hired after graduating as the Ceramics and Glass Technician at SJSU, and taught part-time, leaving in 2011 to move to the Big Island and set up a clay and glass art studio with his Wife, Blue Cinder Studio, outside of Keaau, HI. Shelby works both in the Volcano Gallery and the New Rainforest Gallery at Niaulani.
Andrea Todone is originally from the state of Minnesota. In 1997 she headed west to Seattle, then to Portland, Oregon before moving to OceanView with her husband in 2007. Although not an artist herself, she is greatly inspired by surrealism, realism and sculpture. Andrea joined the VAC Gallery Staff in 2011. She states "It's difficult to say what I like best about working at VAC, the art is outstanding..., but then again the people are sweet and wonderful too." A visit to VAC gallery always results in a huge welcoming smile and Aloha from Andrea, as she is pretty sweet herself.
CULTURAL & ARTS EDUCATION
Julie Callahan joined VAC inJuly 2011. She has been dancing hula since childhood and has been with Halau Hula Kalehuaki`ekiaikai`u since 1996. Julie has been involved in different venues of television production with the University of Hawai`i, Kapi`olani Community College. Her video projects have included subjects like Hawaiian mythology, Hawaiian Studies, Japanese literature and other educational programs. Her production background has cultivated an organized and versatile project managerment style that focuses on creating a memberable experience for all involved. Julie has been a recipient of a Pacific Islanders in Communication scholarship and `Olele Community Television's Video Recognition Award for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Programming. She has experience in sales representation and product development with sevearl creative businesses on Oahu and Maui. Julie now oversees VAC's hula and Hawaiian cultural programs.
oversees VAC's Native Rain Forest Restoration and Education project, initially and currently funded in part by the County of Hawaii and Hawaii Tourism Authority's Natural Resource Program. She holds an AS in Tropical Forest Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management from Hawaii Community College, which required 500 hours of internships with multiple agencies and conservations projects. Before joining VAC, she worked for the USDA-NRCS collecting vegetation data and creating digital soil maps of East Timor and Hawaii Island. Thus, she came to VAC equipped with hands-on experience with plant identification, interpretation, propagation, forest surveying/monitoring, map-making, restoration of native species, and control and eradication of invasives-- skills that have been further developed by working closely with VAC's former Forest Consultant, Tim Tunison. Since 2007, she coordinates our free weekly guided Niaulani Nature Walks, works with school and community groups for service learning projects, applies for and administers grants which support the Forest Department and the Rain Forest Restoration and Education project, and works with other VAC staff and community organizations to integrate art into conservation, restoration and protection of our precious natural resources.