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Earth, Wind & Fire



APRIL 22, 2022, 7-9PM

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Genuine Art is an integral part of our school culture and mission. Now more than ever, we are aware of the value that a Madison Montessori education plays in our lives and the lives of our children. Not only does Genuine Art fund our scholarship program, which has allowed countless children the benefits of a Montessori education, but it also provides a unique artistic experience for all the children. Our community will have the opportunity to be together in Fellowship Hall for our traditional art gallery experience. The extraordinary art pieces which reflect our theme “Earth, Wind, and Fire”, this year’s country of study, Argentina, and our learning intention “Perseverance” are a collaboration between artists and students.

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Please click on the Virtual Bid button below and select an image to view more details on each piece

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Sarah Blank
3-6 AM Class 1
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A painter and paper mâché artist based in Madison, Sarah is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and earned a master’s degree in art education from Montclair State University. She enjoys painting and creating 3D pieces from recycled materials inspired by objects from the past. Her work is influenced by antiques and found objects, nature and gardening. Sarah and her husband Dan are current MMS parents; their son Eli is in Jane and Palvi's class.

An abstract artist from Mendham, Karen’s work has been exhibited by Art House Productions at its Very Affordable Art Show in Jersey City, and the Mendham Township Public Library art gallery. Working primarily in the method of acrylic paint pouring, Karen enjoys the technical aspects of her work, as well as the ability to experiment with manipulating the materials to arrive at unexpected results.

Karen Catron
3-6 PM
Josie Dakers-Brathwaite
3-6 AM Class 1 and Class 2

Josie is a fiber artist specializing in textiles, felt and quilt art. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Josie started quilting as a creative outlet in 2004, after a career in the apparel industry. In 2014, she became the creative director of her own label, Josie’s Colourful Journey, to showcase her quilts, felt and cloth art dolls. She's also a teacher based in Maplewood.

Josie’s stitch work is detailed and elaborate and expresses her love for experimenting with colors and patterns. She approaches her craft with precision and enthusiasm, drawing inspiration from nature, colors and elements of everyday life. Her work has been displayed in felting art and quilt shows and recently the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts. In 2019, she participated in the 25 Million Stitches project with a global community of stitchers from 48 states and 30 countries expressing solidarity and support for refugees.

A painter and mixed-media artist focused on both figurative and abstract subjects, Colleen has a dual degree in Fine Arts and English from Georgetown University and an MBA from Stanford University. Colleen also studied painting and drawing at the University of Paris, the Art Students League in New York, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. In September 2019, her paintings were part of a dual exhibition called (dis)ORDER at Academy Square Galleries in Montclair. In addition to her artistic pursuits, she has had a successful career in marketing at Knoll, the iconic mid-century modern furniture company. She lives in Montclair with her husband Graham and children Harry and Vivian.

Colleen James
Pre-3 Classes
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Ashli Kinner
All classes

Ashli Kinner is a maternity, family, and newborn photographer. Her photography focuses on the genuine relationships between parents and their children, using natural light and natural feelings to capture family memories. In addition to photography, Ashli enjoys fiber arts, such as knitting (especially lace) and spinning yarn. She has four children of her own, three of whom attend MMS in Dawn and Palvi's and Jill and Laura's classes.

Susan is an abstract painter based on the Jersey Shore. She paints full time in her recently converted garage studio overlooking her neighbor’s horse farm. Her paintings are constantly evolving, but are always inspired by nature, her love of surfing and her own personal life. Susan used to work as a graphic designer but now uses those skills and applies them to the canvas. The painterly quality of her work is evident in her exploration of color and movement through multiple layers. Susan is a mother of two young boys and one energetic Jack Russell Terrier.

Susan LaConti
Ricardo Roig
3-6 PM

Ricardo Roig is a professional fine artist working in various media from oil painting, drawing, collage and murals to his own novel technique for creating hand cut artwork, a process he developed while working towards his bachelor of fine arts in painting and printmaking from Kean University. Ricardo draws inspiration from his love for his community. Currently, Roig is experimenting with his new medium of collage, hand cut print and painting on various surfaces of paper, canvas and panels.

Roig has shown his work at the Hoboken Historical Museum, The Other Art Fair in Brooklyn, Central Booking in NYC, and Art Market and Design Art Fair in Bridgehampton. His murals have been placed with W Hotel Hoboken, Canopy by Hilton Hotels in Jersey City, Amazon, the Town of Westfield, the City of Hoboken and the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Hoboken. He exhibits his work in his own Roig Collection Art Gallery in the W Hotel Hoboken and at Roig Collection in Westfield. A humanist to the core, Roig’s gratitude knows no bounds and is reflected in hismost prized roles in life: husband and father.

A painter in oil and watercolor, Joni has been a painter all her life. The aim of her work is to use the extraordinary energy of color to deepen our interconnection with life itself. She applies color to forms, particularly landscapes, for their transformative and healing effects. Joni’s paintings have been displayed in galleries across the country, including numerous shows in New York City, and is owned in private collections around the world. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art from American University. Joni teaches art in her studio, Joni Rose Fine Art in Chatham, and is the mother of three grown men.

Joni Rose
Rossana Stevenson
3-6 AM Class 2

Rossana and Bill are parents of Matias and Joaquin, former MMS students. This is their tenth year participating with Genuine Art and loving it. Genuine Art is a special part of the MMS experience. The creativity of the children and the wonderful work that is produced inspires them to participate. As they work with the children, it does not cease to amaze them how artistic curiosity and creativity can be harnessed to create art at a very young age.

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Genuine Art has been a significant part of the Madison Montessori School since the inception of the program 24 years ago.  We had no idea at the time just how successful it would be in so many ways—such as how our community keeps growing as we meet new artists, and supporters, and how we get to team up with wonderful, kind and generous people who volunteer their time, talent and services.  Parent volunteers awe and inspire us with their dedication to the program and its purposes—to give our children an authentic art experience and to raise money for our scholarship fund. 


All of us get to enjoy the processes and collaborations of Genuine Art.  Volunteers, teachers and artists see the children getting their hands, minds and spirits into the art project introduced to them.  When the children, together with their parents, see the finished work on display in the gallery, the feeling of happiness and pride leaves a lasting impression on everyone. 


There are important elements that make Genuine Art possible and one is parent participation.  We acknowledge and thank all of our parents for their support—whether it came in the form of ‘seed’ money to offset the art costs, ideas and 

suggestions, volunteering during the art sessions, stuffing envelopes, or attending the art show.  Everything you do influences the outcome of this program and is most sincerely appreciated.

As with every fundraising event, there needs the behind the scenes ‘movers and shakers’…and Genuine Art’s are exceptional.  In recognition of their numerous texts, emails, Zoom calls, conversations, and road trips, the following people are due our gratitude and applause:

Co-chairs of Genuine Art & Silent Auction

Nicole Coughlin and Kim Ross

Co-chairs of the Adult Event

Priya Voleti and Pia Singh

Co-chairs of the Children's Event

April Lodato and Devi Bhola

Website and Online Catalog

Jason Kinner


Jeffrey Kong

Art Advisor

Bob MacDonald

Volunteer Coordinator

Amy Dernier

Invitation Design

Kimberly Ross


Peter Lewin

Keeping Genuine Art costs to a minimum is essential to increase net proceeds for our scholarship fund. We want to gratefully acknowledge those who have contributed in special ways.

The support of our school and extended community fills me with immeasurable gratitude on behalf of MMS and the children it serves.

Laura Arzeno

Head of School

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Our Scholarship awards are made possible not only through the proceeds of this silent auction, but also voluntary donations from our families, our extended community, and the generous support from additional funds, specifically the Benjamin Robert Wieler Scholarship Fund and the LaVerne Kleinheider Memorial Fund.  We also partner with Preschool Advantage, a non-profit organization who offer scholarships to families of three and four year olds with limited funds in Morris and Somerset counties.

The MMS Scholarship Fund has supported qualifying families with tuition assistance allowing children the benefit of a Madison Montessori education. Not only does Genuine Art fund our scholarship program, which has allowed countless children the benefits of a Montessori education, but it also provides a unique artistic experience for all the children

Susan and Stephen Wieler established a fund in memory of their son, Ben, who was one of our students. The proceeds from the sale of the piece created by Colleen James, Wind, will be added to Ben’s fund.

The Kleinheider family established a scholarship fund in memory of LaVerne Kleinheider who was one of the first parents to enroll a child in our school when we opened our doors in 1981. Justin Kleinheider shared, “What my father and I would like to do is to provide the opportunity of MMS to someone who would otherwise not be able to attend. I know in my heart that my mother believed in education and that MMS was the crucial first step to my success.”

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