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Our Mission

The mission of the Florence Art School is to provide resources for instruction, exhibition and experience in the fine arts and heritage crafts for Ashe County and the region.

We strive to support our mission and vision through:

    • Offering education in all media of the fine arts
    • Preserving the cultural heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains through offering workshops and demonstrations in the heritage crafts
    • Engaging underserved youths and adults with meaningful arts experiences through our Outreach Programs
    • Promoting and preserving the Florence Thomas legacy
    • Providing exhibition space
    • Fostering an environment for creative thought and artistic expression.

Florence Board of Directors

Executive Board

  • Doug Munroe, Board President
  • Diane La Bonte, Vice President
  • Karen Hall, Treasurer
  • Pat Beaver, Secretary
  • Ed Perzel, Emeritus Director
  • Melba Miller, Emeritus Director


  • Joanie Bell, Emeritus Director
  • William “Bill” Berry
  • Susan Caudill
  • Michelle Handler
  • Carol Kirby
  • Leila Spriggs
  • Jennifer Gardiner Wilson
  • Stephen Shoemaker, Emeritus Director


  • Kathleen Janowiak, Executive Director
  • Joni Ray, Gallery Director
  • Ann Newberry, Administration

The Florence Thomas Art School is a 501c3 nonprofit.  The Art School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational, admission or scholarship policies and other school-administered programs. Florence Art School is handicap accessible.