Janet Dorsey, Co-President
Real Estate Agent – Branch Manager
Community Affiliations: Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors (VCCAR); California Association of Realtors, Board Member; National Association of Realtors; VCCAR Professional Standards Committee

Virginia Furmanski, Co-President
Artist – Art Therapist/Educator Retired
Community Affiliations: Ink Spots, American Art Therapy Association, The American Association Gerontologist

Yvette Franklin, Secretary
Management Analyst, Dept. of the Navy, Retired
Artist/Ceramist
Community Affiliations: Past President of Ventura, County Potters’ Guild; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Museum of Ventura County; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; American Ceramics Society, Southern CA; Ojai Art Center

Mary Ellen Herrera, Treasurer
Quint Payroll and Employee Services
Community Affiliations: Meditation Mount; Holy Cross School; Nourish America Foundation

 

Richard Franklin
Hospital Architect, Retired
Artist/Ceramist
Community Affiliations: American Institute of Architects; Ventura County Potters’ Guild; Ojai Art Center; Ojai Studio Artists

Martin Furmanski, MD
Pathologist, Retired
Community Affiliations: Sponsor, 643 Project Space; American Medical Association

Roxie Ray
Artist/Painter
Community Affiliations: Founding Member and
Artist in Residence, Studio Channel Islands Art Center Board Member; Carnegie Art Museum; Museum of Ventura County; Past President and Associate Member of Meadowlarks philanthropic organization; Charter Member of CSUCI Presidents Circle; California Art Club; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Buenaventura Art Association; Santa Paula Art Museum

Michael Rohde
Bio Chemist, Retired
Artist/Weaver
Community Affiliations: Board Member Studio Channel Islands; Board Member, Textile Council of the Fowler Museum, UCLA; Co-director American Tapestry Alliance; Textile Art Council DeYoung Museum; Textile Society of America; American Crafts Council; Ventura County Handweavers and Spinners Guild; Santa Barbara Fiber Art Guild; Southern California Handweavers Guild, Los Angles; California Fibers, Oceanside; Designing Weavers, Manhattan Beach
Board of Directors & Staff – 2018 continued

Sandy Seekins
Real Estate Agent
Community Affiliations:
Tom & Sandy 805 Radio Show; Food Share Marketing & Media; Harley Davidson Events & Media; Reagan Library Media; Chumash Casino Media; Meadowlark Service League of Camarillo; Board of Director of VCCAR; Professional Development Chair; Casa Barranca Winery, Ojai Sommelier & Tasting Room

Jorge Zambrano
Investment Advisor
Community Affiliations: New West Symphony Board Member

Gerald Zwers
Past President
Artist, Owner Northwind Studios & Public Art Services
Community Affiliations: Ventura Film Society; Ventura County Medical Center; The Coastal Community Cancer Center; Santa Paula Society of the Arts; Santa Clara Valley Hospice; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County; Santa Paula Museum; Ventura Hillsides Conservancy; Ventura County Arts Commission; United Way; Food Share; Buenaventura Art Assoc.; Ventura Botanical Gardens; California Lutheran University TRAC; Carnegie Art Museum.

CONTACT

Focus on the Masters Archive & Library
505 Poli Street, Suite 310, Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805.653.2501
Email Us

CONTACT

Focus on the Masters Archive & Library
505 Poli Street, Suite 310, Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805.653.2501
Email Us

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Donna Granata

Donna Granata

Founder and Executive Director

Donna Granata is the Founder and Executive Director of Focus on the Masters (FOTM), a highly respected non-profit educational program documenting contemporary artists. Founded in 1994, the goal of FOTM is to demonstrate the importance of the arts to society by bringing highly accomplished artists to the forefront of the community. The program presents its research to a broad public through photographic exhibitions, the Artist Spotlight Series, a video-taped interview series, Learning To See educational outreach to schools and youth centers. Focus on the Masters has been the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of its outstanding contributions to arts education including the 2005 inaugural Ventura Mayor’s Art Award – Arts Educator and the 2007 Ventura County Arts Council Art Star Award. Focus on the Masters is recognized as one of the leading arts organizations in the state of California.

In addition to her ongoing lecture series for Focus on the Masters, Donna teaches classes for the Road Scholar Elderhostel International including an Introduction to the J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Roman Villa. Special lectures trace the careers of photographer LIFE Horace Bristol and painter John Nava, creator of the tapestries commissioned for the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, CA. In addition, she has lectured for the journalism department at UCLA on the ethics of photography. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2005 by Elderhostel International.  Among her most recent awards is the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts from the City of Ojai, CA.

An accomplished artist in her own right, Donna Granata is an internationally published and award winning painter turned photographer.  Her photographs have been displayed across the United States.  Selected works from her FOTM portrait series are housed in the Smithsonian's Archive of American Artists; in the photographic Collection of the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York and other public institutions that house the personal archives of the artists documented.

Donna received a Bachelor’s of Art Degree and Honorary Masters of Science Degree from the Brooks Institute of Photography where she was an adjunct professor in the Portrait Department. She received a Master’s Degree in Arts Journalism from USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, graduating with honor. Granata is listed in Marquis Who’s Who of American Women.

Aimee French

Aimee French

LTS Education Director

Aimee French is a lifelong artist whose earliest memories are of being fascinated by shapes, edges and textures. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from The Ohio State University. Having explored and worked in a wide range of mediums, a painterly quality marks much of her work, even when using the hardest materials. It is process oriented, and symbolism is often used. After many years of painting on silk and with oil, her current mediums are assemblage, felted wool and encaustic.
Aimee joined Focus on the Masters as the Learning to See Outreach Education Director in January 2011. Her extensive arts education experience includes class instruction, program development and management serving populations from all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and learning levels.
Her experience in museum education, certification as a Social/Emotional Arts Facilitator and 7 years working in humane education has given her a broad insight into the importance of how and what we learn manifests in a student’s life. Her goal is to nurture inspiration and trust in one’s unique creative voice. See Aimee’s latest works at www.facebook.com/TheBouStudio/.

Christine Beirne

Christine Beirne

Office Manager

Chris has been volunteering for FOTM off and on for the last 27 years. She was the marketing director for a horticultural firm and then, once she earned her B.A. in Studio Art, she became the marketing director for Buenaventura Art Association. After a few years, she was offered the position of Executive Director and utilized her management, artistic and computer skills to grow fundraising and membership. She is currently an Ojai Studio Artist and is on the board as well. When Chris isn't working on the computer, she's painting. You can view her work at www.ChristineBeirne.com.

Jessica Diaz

Jessica Diaz

Learning To See Artist Faculty

Jessica Diaz is an artist currently attending California State University of Channel Islands majoring in art with an emphasis in animation. Narratives and story are her favorite aids to the arts, which are reflected in the of personality and character story of her work. She also works with the Santa Paula Art Museum as the current Assistant Art Educator. Growing up in Santa Paula, she acquired influence from the life of agriculture and a California setting. Her introduction into arts education came alongside her interest in museum culture, wanting to know the process of the artist's work and their exhibitions in museums. She has taught in classrooms through Artist In Residency programs with elementary students, led school tours ranging from k-12 grades, and taught children’s art classes through the Cole Creativity Center.

Gabriel Islas

Gabriel Islas

Learning To See Artist Faculty

Gabriel Islas grew up in the coastal city of Oxnard, California. He obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting from Academy of Art University, San Francisco. After graduating, he moved back to his roots in Ventura County where he teaches oil painting courses for adults, teen art programs and workshops for kids through VITA Art Center, The Santa Paula Art Museum and the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. Gabriel is a member of the California Art Club and has exhibited at the Santa Paula Art Museum’s ‘12th Annual Art About Agriculture’, the CAC virtual exhibit ‘Welcome toCalifornia’, and a dual-solo show at the Conejo Valley Art Museum. His current work expresses the drama of the Southern Californian atmosphere across the local landscape. Gabriel joined the Learning To See team in 2021. Visit his webpage at gabrielislasart.com.

Jamie (Jem) Morris

Jamie (Jem) Morris

Learning To See Artist Faculty

Born and raised in Artesia, California, Jem Morris moved to San Francisco to study at the Academy of Art University. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in oil painting.  Throughout her collegiate career, Jem developed a fixation on the art of expression, particularly through traditional illustration, imaginative realism, and abstraction. She won 1st place at the Academy of Art University’s Spring show in the Undergraduate Abstraction category. In November 2019, Jem moved back to Southern California to pursue a full time career in art, eventually moving to Ventura to teach at various locations including Vita Art Center, Cole Creativity Center, and the Oxnard Performing Art Center.  Visit Jem at instagram.com/jemfinearts.

Elizabeth Souza

Elizabeth Souza

Learning To See Artist Faculty

Elizabeth Souza life’s path has given her the opportunity to work in many artistic genres. She is a painter, fiber artist, craft teacher, published writer, and dancer. Her work is influenced by her diverse cultural background as an immigrant from the Netherlands of mixed ancestory. She holds a BA in Art with an emphasis in painting from California State University Channel Islands, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree from California State University Northridge.  Visit her webpage at www.elizartist.com.

Jo Ellen Lee, PhD

Jo Ellen Lee, PhD

Volunteer Office Staff: Executive Assistant

Data Entry, Statistical Analysis
Master Beader, Expert in Medical Genetics, Ret.
Email: JoEllen@FocusOnTheMasters.com

Gale Willhite

Gale Willhite

Volunteer Office Staff: Archive Administration

Paralegal, Ret.

Fran Stewart

Fran Stewart

Volunteer Office Staff: Archive Administration

Accountant, Ret.

Laurie Peterson

Graphic Designer

Peterson Graphics
Community Affiliations: Museum of Ventura County; Ventura County Agriculture Museum

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation