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Faculty and Staff

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Director, Art Faculty, Founder

For the majority of Emily's childhood she grew up in Haverhill Massachusetts. She then moved to New York City and studied fine arts. She received an associates in arts from Fashion Institute of Technology and received a bachelor of fine arts from the School of Visual Arts. Her undergraduate focuses were painting, sculpture, art history and art therapy. 

Emily then earned a masters of education in special education, a masters of education in visual arts, a postgraduate degree in applied behavioral analysis with a focus in autism and a doctorate in education with a focus in administration and leadership.

Emily was a special educator for over a decade as well as a program coordinator. Emily uses a multi-sensory approach based on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory and Applied Behavioral Analysis in her instruction. She was recognized for her teaching and was awarded "Special Education Art Educator of the Year" by the National Arts and Education Association. Emily's doctoral studies focused on assessment in the arts. She is a researcher and publish author.

Emily is currently the director of Shoe Town Art Center. She was inspired to open Shoe Town Art Center in 2010. Since then Shoe Town Art Center has become a place for ALL people to feel welcome. Emily’s experience and advanced education allows her to work comfortably with her students. 



Expressive Arts Coordinator

Colby Patrie grew up in the Haverhill area and currently resides here. Many of his past experiences shaped him into being the artist he is now, such as having a younger brother diagnosed with autism and many struggles he had in school. Colby found that he was able to cope with his struggles by expressing himself through art.

Currently Colby studies art and is now pursuing a degree in clinical therapy with a focus in expressive arts. Colby is a practicing artist that excels many forms of art such as drawing, painting, and sculpture. Colby is also a Public Speaker and advocate for Greater Boston PFLAG.  He expresses this advocacy through his drawings and paintings and hopes to inspire the world with his art.

Colby is a great person to work with, he does his best to work with each student as an individual to help them find their voice through art. 



Studio Assistant/ Homeschoolers Program Assistant/ Pottery Ceramics

CJ started as a student here at Shoe Town Arts when he was 14 years old.  As he developed his skills as an artist he became interested in teaching as well. CJ excels in many areas in the arts (including music). CJ is currently focusing on his professional artwork in the area of pottery and ceramics.



Art Educator

Eric was born in Los Angeles to a family that excelled in making one’s passions a career. 

Moving to Haverhill at an early age he developed his own love for Art and Music. In time he decided to hone his craft and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts, his concentration being in digital media and painting.

After College he taught at a Music School. During this time he also attended Berklee College of Music but never stopped working on digital works and painting. 

Looking for the right moment to pursue that side of his career he found Shoe Town Art Center and the rest is history.



Art Educator

Denise grew up in New Jersey but has lived in Massachusetts since 1992.  At an early age she learned pastels and oils.  She went on obtain her Bachelor of Fine Art from Montclair State University. Her studies included art history, figure drawing and design. During this time, she spent 3 years as a resident assistant supporting peers in a variety of capacities while living on campus.

Based on her experiences during college, it’s no surprise she wound-up in the staffing world.  She has worked in an employment/counseling capacity the last 23 years.  She started Iconstaff with her husband Vito in 1998, where she guided digital professionals while building creative and marketing teams for numerous successful Boston area technology companies.  All while continuing her own art as in entrepreneur (Designs by Denise). Earlier this year, she made the decision to follow her passion and finally pursue her art education career full time.

At Shoe Town, she is assisting the homeschooler program and will also offer various evening pop-up classes in ceramics, wall art, decoupage and other mediums.



Art Educator

Julia is new to Shoe Town Art Center. She graduated with a degree in art education from UMASS Lowell. Julia has much experience working with children and loves expressive art such as painting and ceramics.

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Therapy dog

Chewy is our resident art therapy dog. Originally he was rescued as a puppy in 2014. You will find him around the studio usually in the arms of a student or sitting on a lap. He is friendly, kind and makes everyone happy. Often the kids will make costumes for him and dress him up. He is a professionally trained and registered Emotional Support Dog.

Team: Team
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