Carolyn Laidley Arn, Chair
Carolyn Laidley Arn is a retired interior designer and a senior professional in commercial real estate in Toronto, Canada. She grew up in The Thousand Islands, painted as a teenager and always had something creative going on. After building a successful business career, she felt that there was a part of her missing. In 2016, through her daughter Stephanie, also an artist, she saw the benefits and how practicing art could bring peace, relieve stress and improve mental health and she wanted ‘in’.
Carolyn has many years of experience with the Artists’ Network, most recently as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. She was instrumental in working with the City of Toronto to secure a subsidized permanent home in Leslieville for Artists’ Network. Carolyn was the President of Toronto CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) in 2007, is a lifetime member of ARIDO (Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) and member of the Federation of Canadian Artists.
Jamie MacLean, Treasurer
It took a 30+ year career in engineering and management to discover what I really wanted to do. Be an artist. In 2005 at 55 I made the switch to fulltime landscape artist (and freedom 55) with my first show – the Riverdale Art Walk. Since then I have participated in well over 100 art shows, presently work with 6 galleries, am an ex chair of the Board of the Artists Network and am now an active member of that board. Highlights include 4 time “top ten seller” at the McMichael Volunteers Autumn art sale, 2 time winner of the People’s Choice award at the TWAC/CNE juried art show, winner of the Jurors award at the Little Art Show.
Kareen Hague, Secretary, Co-Director Leslie Grove Gallery
Kareen loves to paint. All you need to do is start talking to her about painting and you can feel her passion. She believes everyone should have art in their lives. A painting in your home should bring you joy.
Kareen finds inspiration from the textured colourful backgrounds that she paints. Her initial love of abstracts evolved into combining abstract with realism. She now paints her signature colourful birch trees and other abstracted realism in the form of florals, land and waterscapes.
Kareen has 2 full time passions, Sweaters and Art. As Design Director for Parkhurst Knitwear, she designs and oversees the development of knit fabric, sweaters and accessories for the multiple clothing lines the company produces for Spring and Fall each year. This has been a lifelong passion that gives an incredible complement to the art that she produces. Her life shouts creativity. When she is not working with the colourful yarns for new sweater designs, she is working with her colourful paint pallet.
She believes this passionately!
Kate Taylor, Immediate Past Chair
Kate Taylor is an abstract artist born in Cambridge, England, and now works out of her studio in Toronto, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western University where she was taught painting by the internationally-renowned artist, Paterson Ewen. She is represented by galleries in Canada, the US and UK and has her work in corporate and private collections around the world.
Kate spent the past 12 years in leadership positions at the Artists’ Network – the last 10 as Chair. She is also Co-Founder of Creative Adventures Events, designed for non-artists to explore their creativity; Past President of Kaleidoscope Marketing, specializing in financial services and technology; Past Chair of the Canadian Advertising Museum; Past President of the American Marketing Association and previously on the Executive of the North Toronto Group of Artists.
Agnes Bellegris, Director
Professionally, Agnes lives in the Public Relations and Conference Planning spheres. She also dabbles in fundraising. Agnes holds an MBA from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC.
Rekindling her love of painting almost 15 years ago, today Agnes is an emerging artist who splits her time between Hamilton and Prince Edward County, Ontario. Her love of painting and making has been a constant in her life since childhood. Landscapes, animals, and florals fuel Agnes’ creative spirit, and she has a particular affinity to phthalo blue.
Join Agnes on her visual journey, where brush and canvas become a conduit for exploring the wonders of our world, reminding us of its irreplaceable value and the urgent need for its preservation. To learn more about Agnes and her creative journey, visit her website at www.artwithagnes.com
Barbara Hopper, Director
While Barb has spent her professional life helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses by building stronger financial & operational capabilities, she’s always had a passion for visual art. Having taken acrylic painting, life drawing and limestone carving classes in the past, she’s hoping to learn, and improve her skills, from the experts at the Artists’ Network.
Christie Baker, Director
Christie Baker is a contemporary artist from Toronto, Ontario, best-known for her atmospheric landscapes. Growing up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, followed by 20 years on the west coast of Canada just steps away from the Pacific Ocean, and currently residing in beautiful Ontario, her paintings are inspired by the Canadian landscape and memories of distant people, places and events.
In 2019, a move from Vancouver to Toronto provided the change that ignited her art practice. She continuously explores mediums and techniques through workshops at The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Dundas Valley School of Art, MoMA, and the Federation of Canadian Artists, and she is currently completing a post-secondary certificate in Art and Design at OCAD University. Christie shows her work from her studio in the Annex district of Toronto, and at juried art shows and galleries throughout Canada and the United States. She is proud to have pieces in private and corporate collections throughout North America.
Carol-Ann Michaelson, Director
As the daughter of an artist and an engineer, I had the perfect set of influences to become an artist. From my mom, I inherited the love of envisioning and creating. From my dad, I learned how to embrace the challenge of problem solving and the construction of a new design. I spent the first few years of my adult life as a teacher before returning to school to study art in my twenties. Since then, I have worked full time, as an artist, making and teaching art.
I have always been a maker of objects, but in the last decade I have devoted myself to painting. I am loving this current exploration of gestural abstraction thoroughly, as I did when I worked in three dimensions. I work with oil paint and cold wax medium exploring the nuances and energy created through the use of mark making, layering and texture. My goal is to create atmospheric pieces that can be enjoyed from far, but also invite the viewer to come closer to examine the intimate details in the work.
Throughout my career, I have explored many media and methods to express my ideas. I create work that evokes a timeless beauty which comes from a place deep within my imagination. It is distilled from life, from the many cultures that I have travelled to, from my love of reading and from my time spent in my garden and in nature. My work has been exhibited internationally. I am in many books and collections and have received many awards over the years, for which I feel thankful and honoured. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to spend my life doing these things that I love so much.
Cat Marchese, Director Marketing
An ardent creative, passionate drummer, inventive photographer and entrepreneur, Cat left the throes of corporate land and began her own award-winning marketing business in 2012 with certifications in Direct Marketing and Business Analysis.
As a drummer, she’s toured the U.S., Canada and Europe and continues to beat the skins with a variety of local acts.
Citybonez™, Cat’s artistic photographic trademark is galvanized by her reverence for historical bricks and other found historical materials. Her high-resolution limited edition works continue to be appreciated and acquired by real estate agents, architects, interior designers and art curators.
Her taco terrier aka chihuahua / toy fox terrier mix named Monte keeps her on toes and teeth when she’s not working, creating or trying to catch a few z’s.
Gail Fularski, Director
I am a retired Visual Arts teacher with over 43 years teaching painting, drawing and art history. I have extensive knowledge of varied media. My preferred medium is acrylics, working in an abstract style and my paintings have been exhibited at galleries and fundraisers. I am a creative thinker but I am also very organized, with strong interpersonal skills, active listening skills and I am a problem solver and decision maker. I look forward to being a part of the Artists’ Network.
Lisa Litowitz, Co-Director Leslie Grove Gallery
Lisa Litowitz is a second career emerging artist, based in Toronto.
She used to be a retail fashion buyer who travelled the world – but then all of that disappeared! She had always wanted to pursue her passion for art – so she pivoted her way into becoming a full time artist!
Her art education began in high school and university, and she continued to take courses at AGO, HSAD, and Project Art for many years. She still takes workshops and artist residencies to develop her own unique style!
She is represented by Cloud Gallery, Kefiartgallery.com , and exhibits in group and solo shows consistently. She shows in juried Art Fairs such as the Artist Project and Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, Riverdale Artwalk, and Rosedale Art Fair.
She also sits on the Board of Directors at the Artist Network, where she is Director of the Leslie Grove Gallery! Giving back to the community is an important priority for her!
Patrizia Brasch, Director
With a thought to the precarious balance between humanity and the environment, Patrizia’s mixed-media mosaics focus on upcycling – taking what we consider unusable and/or worthless and transforming it into something useful and worthy.
Combining different types of glass, ceramics, and precious or semi-precious stones with corroded construction materials, her mosaics blend the ugly with the beautiful, thereby giving the “useless” materials a new purpose and presence.
Patrizia has a Minor in Fine Art from Concordia University, is a founding organizer of the Ontario Mosaic Artists group exhibitions, and a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.
Stephanie McLean, Director Communications
Stephanie McLean reveals, highlights, and relishes the creative energy of her subjects on canvas.
Until 2020, Stephanie gave her painting a secondary role. Graduating with a BFA in Music from Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) in 1995, she knows that any form of creative and artistic expression is harnessed from the same force. Primarily, Stephanie had been a performing artist in theatre and as a jazz singer (with her eponymous jazz band), and had professionally designed books, posters, and presentations for corporations. Through her experiences on stages and in boardrooms, Stephanie witnessed how people in all walks of life express their creative impulses.
Sue Mackay, Director
I am an abstract artist working and living in Toronto, Ontario. As an emerging artist, I am now embarking on my second career. With a passion for painting that spans over 25 years, art has been an integral part of my life since my school days. My interest in art has led me to attend countless art galleries and exhibitions, constantly dreaming about the beauty of art.
I studied art at OCAD, where I was fortunate enough to participate in the OCAD Florence program. Since then, I have continued to expand my artistic knowledge and skills through self-teaching, drawing inspiration from art galleries, exhibitions, and the world around me.
My professional background is in marketing, and I have spent much of my free time travelling and exploring the world. Today, I draw on these experiences and memories to create inspiration for my artwork. Currently, my paintings can be found in private collections throughout Canada and the United States.
Susan Viner, Director
Volunteering with the Artist Network is a bit of a full circle moment for Susan.
Her first job after graduating from York University with a BFA in Visual Arts was at a non-profit gallery where she assisted with everything from the hanging, marketing material preparation and signage for gallery shows; to artist relationships and grant writing for funding.
She then spent most of her career in corporate marketing and communications on both sides of the table – in-house and external agency – leading creative teams, providing creative direction and project management from concept to delivery across all mediums and channels.
Working with the gallery committee and on the 2022 Artist Network’s Art in the Park outdoor pop-up art shows has been such a rewarding experience and something Susan needed after retiring from the Corporate world.
She looks forward to the challenge and inspiration of being a Board member with the organization.