Ah Haa School for the Arts


Our Mission

The Ah Haa School for the Arts is a dynamic art school in Telluride, Colorado dedicated to inspiring all people to discover, nurture, and celebrate creativity. The Ah Haa School offers year-round classes, workshops, art trips and retreats, open studios, lectures, Family Days, exhibitions and special events in Telluride. We offer an amazing variety of classes and workshops in painting, ceramics, textile arts, sculpture, stained glass, photography, acting, writing, cooking, wellness and dance. The School is home to the prestigious American Academy of Bookbinding, which runs multiple programs throughout the spring and fall. Our Visiting Artist Program brings renowned artists and students from around the country to Telluride, Colorado. Beginners and skilled artists alike come through our doors to learn something new, refine a skill, or revive a forgotten art. We offer beginning to advanced classes that last from a half-day to six weeks. Our teachers are local as well as nationally known artists with many years of teaching experience.

Our History

Founded in 1991 by visionary bookmaker, writer and teacher Daniel Tucker, the Ah Haa School for the Arts is a place of inspiration. In launching the school, Tucker sought to offer something meaningful and long lasting to the community of Telluride. He wanted to offer budding and serious artists alike tools in a variety of media, teach skills and awaken passion that they would carry with them through their lives. For 30 years, the Ah Haa School has become the community center for arts and culture in Telluride and the surrounding Colorado communities. At the Ah Haa School, we believe that every person harbors an artistic ability and that everyone benefits from discovering and nurturing that creativity.

Board of Directors

The Ah Haa School Board of Directors is comprised of exceptional individuals who share a passion for the arts and a desire to see one of Telluride’s oldest institutions continue to succeed. They bring their vision and expertise to the school, helping in numerous ways, from hands-on help in setting up a gallery exhibit, to practical advice on building maintenance or finance, and fundraising. We also rely on the support of our generous Trustees.


Lisa Hogan – Board President

Lisa Hogan joined the Ah Haa board in 2015 and has served on the building and capital campaign committees, the development committee and was most recently engaged with the executive search process for the school.

Lisa has over three decades of non-profit leadership in volunteerism, board service, fundraising and community engagement. She is a graduate of Geneva College, studied Globalization and Development at LSE and holds an MA in Technology in Education from the University of Michigan Global Program. Her primary focus has been in areas of community youth education and the arts.

Lisa has been a part of the Telluride community for the last 25 years. She and her husband divide their time between Colorado and a working hay farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. She is co-owner and manager of the Phaeton Gallery and Carriage Works Studios, a newly formed organization which serves working artists in the Charlottesville area.


Richard Cornelius – Immediate Past President

Richard was a Senior Executive with Accenture, a global management consulting and technology services company. He retired from Accenture in 2006 after a 15 year career.  Prior to Accenture, he worked in financial services industry. He has a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from UCLA. Richard and his wife Lynn have been visiting Telluride since the late 80’s and have been living here full-time since 2004.  Richard is pursuing his passion in travel, environmental and life style photography.


Beth McLaughlin – Board Vice President

Beth McLaughlin is a small business entrepreneur dedicated to revitalizing her town and promoting beauty and opportunity for artists and art collectors. McLaughlin grew up in a family food business and has never known a time when she didn’t have a “job.” Early in her career, she developed the international sales division for her family’s food business in Oklahoma. Throughout this time, she formed many relationships in Mexico and was encouraged to form her own national food distribution company. McLaughlin successfully owned and operated Advance Food de Mexico, based in Mexico City, for 15 years.

In the past five years, McLaughlin has been involved in revitalization efforts in Kerrville, Texas, specifically bringing businesses back to the historical downtown area of Kerrville. McLaughlin has owned various retail establishments in the downtown Kerrville area, but has found her passion in representing and promoting artists thru her art gallery, Slate Gray Gallery, formed in 2012. Slate Gray Gallery currently represents over 40 artists and promotes their work in both its location in Kerrville and Telluride, Colorado.

McLaughlin is also very active in the communities in which she lives. She previously served on the board and as President of the non-profit organization Keep Austin Beautiful. Currently, McLaughlin stays involved in the Kerrville community through her foundation, the McLaughlin Doty Foundation, formed in 2010. Over the last seven years, the foundation has supported the local non-profits in the community in various ways as well as provided scholarships to high school seniors. The foundation gives approximately $300,000 in scholarships every year, and currently has 46 students receiving scholarships.

In her free time, McLaughlin can be found enjoying the great outdoors and live music.

Randy Cain – Treasurer

Randy Cain is a former Vice Chair and Southwest Regional Managing Partner for EY. In his 36-plus years with EY, he served high profile clients through mergers, IPOs, acquisitions, divestitures, and across numerous industries including energy, financial services, insurance, mining, manufacturing, and telecommunications. He served as the senior advisory partner for AT&T, Phillips66, USAA, Freeport-McMoRan, McDermott and Western Union. A CPA in Texas, Randy is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Texas Society of CPAs.

Randy’s philanthropic involvement includes his role as Chairman of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the American Heart Association North Texas Division, Junior Achievement of South Texas, and the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl. Randy and and his wife Jyl have three daughters.

David Barmak – Secretary

David is a partner at a large national law firm. He advises businesses and executives on a broad range of issues in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, with a particular focus on employment and HR issues.

David has been coming to Telluride for more than 20 years, and he and his wife Denise have transitioned to spending a good part of each year here at their home in Mountain Village.

Amy Boebel

Amy first discovered Telluride on a trip to ice climb in Ouray, CO.  Attracted by the people, the art, and the beauty of the location, she settled in town full time in 2008.  Now, as a part-time resident of Telluride, she comes to town as often as she can to hike, play and make art at The Ah Haa School. The rest of her time is in Baltimore.  While there she enjoys playing with her granddaughters, working as a wire metal sculptor and fabric creator/manipulator and as a volunteer for several organizations.

A former nonprofit manager and consultant, Amy spent many years working for various organizations including as the Managing Director of the Maryland Ballet, as a co-creator of online book managing service and as a Development Officer at the San Francisco Zoo.  She also spent several years consulting in various cities to create public private partnerships for their zoos and aquariums. Currently she serves on the Steering Committee for the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, is a Trustee for the Maryland/DC Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and on the Board of the Irvine Nature Center. While Amy does not ice climb much anymore, she enjoys hiking, adventure travel and new experiences.

Ana Bowling

Ana Bowling has been a resident of Telluride since 2009 when she relocated from NYC.  Ana is active in the Telluride non-profit community.  In addition to serving on the Ah Haa School Board of Directors, Ana serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the San Miguel Resource Center and a mentor and board member of One to One Mentoring. Bowling believes that volunteering is at the very core of being human.

Ana Bowling is a highly competent and accomplished real estate professional in the Telluride region. Possessing over 25 years of extensive experience in a variety of roles across consumer luxury markets, Ana is an astute specialist in sophisticated brands. Bowling’s passion for giving and the arts began at a very young age through exposure to the arts and giving, while growing up in Miami, Florida.

nick-farkouh-ah-haa-photo-1Nick Farkouh

Prior to a full time move to Telluride in 2013, Nick Farkouh and his wife Caroline called Breckenridge home for more than twenty years, where Nick most recently served as founder and principal shareholder of Base Building Solutions, a construction management and design based general contractor with municipal and commercial construction at its core. He holds a BSE in structural engineering, with a dual degree in Architecture from Princeton University, and like most of those who choose to live at altitude, attempts daily to feed his addictions to skiing, cycling, kayaking and nearly all outdoor pursuits.

Jessica Gennari

Jessica Gennari is a certified K-12 Art teacher, Spanish teacher, Licensed Professional School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor.  She currently works for the Telluride School District as the 4th-8th grade Art teacher and operates a local private practice as an Art Therapist.

Jessica previously has coordinated large-scale grants for the Telluride School District and Gunnison Valley School District. She is dedicated to the integration of community programming in schools.

Her passion for community engagement and arts education began when she worked for the Harwood Museum in Taos, NM where she participated in “pop-up” art programming in diverse low-income neighborhoods.   She is inspired by the expansive opportunities in making art accessible for all, including access to advanced learning in the Arts.  She is committed to the Telluride community, where uniquely high-caliber educational resources, such as the Ah Haa School for the Arts, are available and valued.

Her personal interests include painting, skiing, hiking, and camping often with her daughter and friends in the­­­ beautiful surroundings of Telluride.

kathy_greene_4cKathy Green

Kathy Green and her late husband, Chuck Kroger, moved to Telluride in 1979. They became very involved in the Telluride community and started Bone Construction. Kathy has served on the Telluride Planning and Zoning Commission since 1983 plus many other town boards, task forces and other non-profit boards. Ah Haa and Daniel Tucker brought art back into Kathy’s life in 1991. Soon Kathy was teaching fabric dying classes for the school. Since closing Bone
Construction in 2018, Kathy has focused on art, teaching art, and property management for community good.

Julie Rolfs

Julie is passionate about education and any school that promotes creativity, growth and learning through experiential education. She has been coming to Telluride since the early 80s and moved with her husband and four energetic boys to Telluride full time in 2009. These days, she splits her time between Telluride and Wisconsin. Julie remembers her first painting class at the Ah Haa School for the Arts where she immediately felt at home and inspired.

Julie has served on a number of boards largely focusing on land conservation, as well as serving in several leadership capacities with different schools. Julie has worked in the areas of fundraising; her favorite role is organizing events and “friend raisers”. She has always had a passion for the natural world; she is a Master Gardener who cultivates extensive gardens in Wisconsin. In Colorado she spends time hiking, skiing, taking classes at Ah Haa, and embracing all that Telluride has to offer.


Trustees are also an essential part of the Ah Haa family, learn more about becoming a Trustee.


Our Staff


Martin Wollesen, Executive Director

Martin (Marty) Wollesen is a believer in the power of imagination and that creativity is core to the human spirit. A life-long learner, he brings over 25 years of innovative leadership in the arts and arts education having lead several multi-disciplinary performing arts organizations through significant expansion. As the Executive Director of Ah Haa School for the Arts, his wide-ranging curiosity and commitment to community engagement creates experiences for everyone to learn something new and share something meaningful about themselves. Marty has lived in New Mexico, Washington DC, California, Singapore, Philippines, Egypt, Portugal.

Tara Carter, Ceramics Program Director

Tara comes to us from Columbus, OH, where she received her BA in Ceramics, Sculpture, and Photography at Otterbein University. She later added a Printmaking concentration to the mix during post-graduate studies in Art Education. Tara continued her studies at Otterbein and earned a Master of Business Administration while serving as the Graduate Assistant Coach of the women’s soccer team. During this time, she taught summer art classes at the local rec center and the Columbus Arts Festival and also launched her own sports photography and ceramics businesses in Columbus. After graduating, Tara continued to coach and teach summer art classes while working as a Project Manager and then Account Manager for a retail decor manufacturing company, gtc Artists With Machines. She made the move to Telluride in October of 2016 to pursue her passions of the arts and the outdoors and, in her words, has been living the dream ever since.

Malarie Clark, Marketing & Communications Director

Malarie came to Telluride 10 years ago from her home state of North Carolina. She holds degrees in Photography and Art History from East Carolina University. She found her passion for supporting artists after working in emerging galleries across the Southeast. Malarie is proud of her 13 years in the fine arts world, creating community, curating and directing at Telluride Gallery. After launching an art advisory business, her focus shifted to helping artists hone their marketing output to better share their own compelling stories. She loves time spent in the Appalachians and San Juans, especially big mountain snowboarding with her husband and shooting 35mm film.

summer-photoKris Kwasniewski, Exhibitions Manager

Originally from New Jersey, Kris received her BA from Colorado College before moving to Dublin, Ireland to complete her graduate work.  While in Dublin, Kris worked for Xena Productions Bespoke Weddings and Special Events and later free-lanced in interior signage and design for local businesses.  In 2010, Kris moved to Rhode Island, where she became the Program Coordinator for the Creative Arts Council at Brown University.  Eager to return to the mountains, Kris moved to Telluride in 2015 where she spends her time facilitating art and wrestling bears.

Hannah Kiermayr, Youth & Teen Programs Manager

As an educator, mentor, provider, and leader, Hannah has worked with young people of all ages in a multitude of environments and settings. With personal identity, the human experience, and the processes of the world around as touchstones, the balance of learning; exploration; expression; and social-emotional development have been pivotal in the transformative and experiential learning opportunities that she has helped to provide. Finding art at the intersection of these philosophies, Hannah has found her connection to plein air-landscape watercolor painting on her hikes and backpacking trips, hand-making earth and botanical pigments for her paints, pen & ink forest drawings, and ceramics.

Christin Marcos, Rentals & Special Events Manager

is an event producer, organizer, and arts administrator. She holds a BA in Art History and Sculpture from DePaul University in Chicago. After many years in the city’s non-profit arts community, she uprooted to Park City, Utah to produce venues at the Sundance Film Festival. This led to an extensive career producing film and music festivals across the country, ultimately setting in Telluride. She has over 10 years of experience as a gallerist, consultant, and artist liaison in the fine art, non-profit, and entertainment industries. In her role as a producer, she plans events and programs focusing on supporting the missions of arts and culture within the Telluride community. Using a collaborative approach to working with artists, clients, businesses, and organizations alike, she allows creativity to permeate every part of the event process.

Summer-2012-Ella-and-Cecelia-0171Jess Newens, Culinary Program Director

Jessica Newens grew up in Boulder, CO and received her BA in English from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. She’s been in the Telluride region since 1992, where she has held multiple jobs, including a several-year stint as Programs Coordinator for the Ah Haa School back in the 1990s. During her years away from Ah Haa, Jessica founded Tomboy Soap Company and worked as an editor and writer for The Watch Newspapers. She raises her two daughters Fiorella and Cecelia, in neighboring Norwood. Jessica returns to the Ah Haa with great enthusiasm as she rekindles old friendships and reignites her interest in art.

Kelley Potter, Front Desk & Registration Assistant

started college in the 80s as an art major but wound up graduating UCLA with a degree in psychology and went on to law school. When she moved to Telluride with her family in 2004, she took her first art class since college at Ah Haa school for the Arts. The class rekindled her inspiration and she’s been a huge fan ever since.  After almost 30 years in the legal profession, she followed her heart and joined the team at Ah Haa in the front office full time in January of 2022. She is thrilled to be part of the Ah Haa team helping others find their creative inspiration.

Rachel Williams, Registration & Retail Manager

Before moving to Telluride, Rachel lived in San Francisco and Washington DC where she worked in clinical research with a specialty in oncology. She studied Geography in college in Northern California with a focus on Geographical Information Systems, often making weekend trips to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, where she developed her love of outdoor recreation. Rachel and her husband live in the mountains of Japan during the winter where they own and operate a custom bootfitting shop and ski powder. She is incredibly grateful to live in the Telluride region and have meaningful work at the Ah Haa.

Natalie Wirsing, Visual Arts Program Director

was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where she grew up enjoying the beaches of Lake Michigan, playing the violin, and riding the train into Chicago for weekend art classes. In 2017, she was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Arts Management from Indiana University Bloomington – a unique and individualized degree that blends arts marketing, finance, nonprofit management, and studio art practice. After years of professional and self-exploratory visual arts practice, she found a seamless career path forward as an arts administrator and educator. As the Visual Arts Program Director, she showcases her passion for encouraging people to find and hone their creativity.


Jan Newell, Bookkeeper

Jan became interested in bookkeeping during her years as office manager for a local non-profit organization when she first moved to Telluride. She became a Certified Bookkeeper in 2010 and started a bookkeeping business in 2011.  Specializing in non-profit organizations, Jan combines computer and spreadsheet skills in her consulting services Jan spent four years active duty in the United States Army after high school and four years in the Reserves during college. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received he Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems. After College, Jan worked as a database programmer in Washington DC for a company providing education forums nationwide. She moved to Telluride with her family in 2005.

Chip Schilling, Managing Director, American Academy of Bookbinding

Wilber “Chip” Schilling has worked as a book artist since 1992, under the imprint of Indulgence Press. His work is collected and exhibited internationally. His work is featured in the many publications including Masters: Book Arts, Major works by leading Artists (Sterling Publishing) and Volumes 1 & 2, book art object (Codex Foundation). Schilling earned a BA in history and photography from Clark University (Worchester, MA) and an MFA in book arts and printmaking from The University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA). Schilling currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. He taught as a full-time lecturer at Columbia College Chicago in the graduate program of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department. He is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA.


aab2The Stone Building

Ah Haa’s younger sister, the American Academy of Bookbinding was founded in 1993. The Stone Building on North Willow Street, a historic building as well, serves as the Academy’s beautiful home. Built in 1900 and constructed of native stone and indigenous red limestone mortar, it was first used as a livery stable and assay office, and then used by old Step-and-a-Half Adams, the local undertaker, for his trade. Renovated in 2000, the facility consists of a well lit, 1,400 square foot bookbinding studio and a comfortable student lounge, where books and videos are available for further study. Students have access to the studio and lounge 24 hours a day. View Map.

Ah Haa’s New Home

Ah Haa School for the Arts new home is at the Silver Jack Building (155 W Pacific Ave) in downtown’s Arts District. Telluride’s new arts hub is a 10,000 square-foot, purpose-built community center with enhanced studios and thoughtfully designed classrooms that will spark expanded opportunities for participation, including:

Ceramics Studio

Great for creatives of all levels of skill and interest, our new state-of-the-art studio is equipped with ten pottery wheels and accompanying hand building tables, a glazing room and a kiln room.

Culinary Classroom

Ah Haa’s Culinary Arts experiences will take place in our new and intimate teaching kitchen with a view. Our diverse offerings for all ages embrace the creative act of cooking and the exploration of food’s inextricable connection to culture, history, land and celebration.

Transformation Studio

Ah Haa is committed to innovation and experimentation in art and our talented painting instructors create an open and collaborative learning environment across a wide range of styles and disciplines. The Transformation Studio in honor of Robert Weatherford is a place of exploration and discovery that allows you to find yourself.

Daniel Tucker Gallery

Honoring the vision and questing curiosity of Ah Haa’s founder, Daniel Tucker, our new exhibition space explores the power of imagination and the creative impulse that is core to the human spirit. The Daniel Tucker Gallery will be a place of experimentation, exploration and celebration of the artistic spirit through a thought-provoking series of exhibitions, installations, artist talks and interactive experiences.

The Possibilities Room

The Possibilities Room is Ah Haa’s active, light-filled creative space for young people and is the focal point for a host of diverse and exciting experiences designed to sustain the joy of discovery. “Anything is Possible” Our talented and experienced instructors encourage artistic growth through age-appropriate classes and workshops in a variety of art forms with a focus on process and experimentation that builds confidence and resilience. The Possibilities Room is dedicated to Peace and Good Works in honor of Barbie and Gary.

Michael Ruterbories Library & Lounge

Ah Haa’s cozy Library & Lounge on the second floor is the place to browse, borrow and find a place of belonging on your artistic and creative journey. Our ever expanding library provides books and resources that will extend and supplement your classroom experience through research and reading.

Curiosity Shop

Art is boundless and creative possibilities are endless at Ah Haa School for the Arts. Our spacious and bright mixed media room in honor of Kathy Green is equipped to accommodate a variety of popular classes that allow your creativity to span across, between and beyond artistic boundaries.

The X Room

The X Room is where anything can happen and everything does. This is our most flexible space that allows us to respond and adapt to new possibilities and the evolving interests of our artists, instructors and creative community of learners.

The Launchpad

At the heart of art is community. Our rooftop classroom and community space in honor of Judy Kohin and Midnite Scholtes is a place of gathering and learning. The Launchpad is a versatile space for classes, workshops, and creative conversations.

Silver Jack Sky Deck

Under the inspiring beauty of Telluride’s majestic mountains, the Silver Jack Sky Deck in honor of Lisa B. Hogan Family is the ultimate “plein air” experience for celebrations and events. Make your special moments memorable on the Silver Jack Deck.

To rent The Launchpad and the Silver Jack Sky Deck please see our rentals page.