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Genuine Art 2023

Day, Night, and Candlelight
Artwork Inspired by Denmark

Friday, April 21, 2023
7 PM

Day, Night, and Candlelight

At Madison Montessori, we believe that Genuine Art is not just an important aspect of our school culture, but an integral part of our mission, as we are constantly reminded of the value that a Montessori education brings to our lives and those of our children. By supporting our scholarship program, Genuine Art has enabled many children to benefit from this unique educational experience. Additionally, it provides an avenue for artistic expression that is unparalleled in our community.

Join us on Friday, April 21, 2023, in Fellowship Hall at the Presbyterian Church of Madison, to view our art gallery, where we'll showcase the extraordinary pieces that reflect our theme for this year, "Day, Night, and Candlelight," as well as our country of study, Denmark. These works of art are a collaborative effort between our talented students and renowned artists, and we're excited to share them with you.

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About the Artists

Meg Anderson
3-6 PM Class

A Madison local, Meg Anderson is a lover of art in its many forms. She particularly enjoys working with clay, pencil, paint, and photography. When she isn't busy creating, she loves to be absorbed in her "happy place"—nature. Her work is innovative and interesting. Meg also shares her craft with others by teaching classes at Madison Mud.

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Jeff Benton

Having lived in Madison all his life, Jeff continues to be a vibrant community member. Jeff has always had a passion for woodworking and enjoys creating in his home workshop. He is the proud grandfather of 2 MMS students: Wesley (3-6 AM) and Addy (Pre-3, 2-day class).

Sarah Blank
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3-6 AM Class

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 Kindergarten.

Josie Dakers-Brathwaite
3-6 AM Class

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 also teaches felting in local after-school programs, as well as adult workshops.

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 Center of Contemporary Art, a local gallery. This is Josie’s second year lending her talents to Genuine Art.

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Colleen James
Pre-3 Class

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, and she is currently the featured resident artist at Walnut Street Kitchen 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.

Gretchen Radzik
3-6 AM Class

Gretchen has a background in textile design and printmaking. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles from Rhode Island School of Design and received her Master's in Art Education from the Pratt Institute before becoming an art teacher in New York City. Her daughter, Beau, is in the 3-6 AM class.

Joni Rose

Joni is the owner and founder of Joni Rose Fine Art. Joni creates oil and watercolor paintings with subject matter including landscapes, flowers, and an India theme (based on her travels there). Joni's paintings have been displayed in galleries across the country, including numerous shows in New York City. Renowned for their healing qualities, several of Joni's paintings have been acquired by the Harmony Pavilion Medical Arts Building in Atlantic City, NJ. The aim of Joni's work is to convey an experience of timelessness through color. Colors, in connection with forms, such as landscapes, can have transforming effects on people.


Joni has a new online gallery/store and just finished her first children's book that she wrote and illustrated. She is the mother of 3 grown men and grandmother to 2 little ones. 

Rossana Stevenson
3-6 AM and 3-6 PM Classes

Rossana and her husband Bill are parents of Matias and Joaquin, former MMS students. The Stevensons love Genuine Art, and this is their twelfth year participating! Genuine Art is a special part of the MMS experience, as the creativity of the children and the wonderful work that is produced inspires them to participate. As they work with the children, it never ceases to amaze them how artistic curiosity and creativity can be harnessed to create art at a very young age.

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Shirly Wu
3-6 PM Class

Shirly is a partner of Myosotis in downtown Madison, an open art studio whose mission is to help people of all skill levels unlock their creativity and experience the joy of making art in a peaceful, judgment-free environment.


While Shirly is the Chief Accounting Officer of a media tech company, art has been her passion since childhood, and she's been developing her skills over the years through professional training. Being an artist herself, Shirly is able to share her love of free, creative expression through a variety of mediums.

Laura Yost
All Classes

Laura is a distinguished photographer based out of New York City. She comes from a family of artists and is a proud graduate of Minnesota State University, where she majored in Theatre and Photography.


Laura specializes in custom photography—newborn and baby, maternity, and family—as well as actor and professional headshots. Her style is modern, contemporary, sophisticated, and timeless. Laura endeavors to capture her clients’ personalities and spirit with her artistry.


Her work can be found in numerous publications, including Vogue, Time, the New York Post, and Forbes. When not in the studio or traveling to meet her clients, Laura loves the outdoors–exploring New York City or heading into nature–as well as spending time with her family.

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2023 Gallery

Select an image below to see more information about the piece

Behind the Scenes

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A Message From the Head of School

Genuine Art has been a significant part of the Madison Montessori School since the inception of the program 25  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 and families 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 planning to attend the adult and student events. Everything you do influences the outcome of this program and is most sincerely appreciated.


As with every fundraising event, there are many people behind the scenes, and Genuine Art’s are exceptional. In recognition of their numerous texts, emails, meetings, conversations, and road trips, the following people are due our gratitude and applause. 

Co-chairs of Genuine Art & Silent Auction

Kim Ross and Alexandra Vazquez

Co-chairs of the Adult Event

Anar Shah and Brittney Jordan

Co-chairs of the Children's Event

April Lodato, Gretchen Radzik,
Kathy Reid, and Ana De Leon


Sara Post


Magali Darling

Art Advisor

Bob MacDonald

Invitation Design

Kim Ross


Peter Lewin


Jen Jardim

It's essential to minimize the costs associated with Genuine Art in order to maximize net proceeds for our scholarship fund. We wish to express our gratitude to those who have made special contributions toward this goal.

On behalf of MMS and the children we serve, I'm filled with immeasurable gratitude for the support we receive from our school and extended community. Thank you!

Laura Arzeno

Head of School

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Scholarships at MMS

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 that offers scholarships to families of 3 and 4 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, Lokah, will be added to Ben’s fund.

The Kleinheider family established a scholarship fund in memory of LaVerne Kleinheider, 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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