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Our Mission

The mission of Florence Thomas 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 Art School Board of Directors

Executive Board

  • Karen Hall, Co-President
  • Michael Howell, Co-President
  • Chilton Rogers, Vice President
  • Pat Beaver, Secretary
  • Lydia de la Cerda, Treasurer


  • Kelly Cameron
  • Michelle Handler
  • Bob Powell
  • Carol Kirby
  • Jennifer Gardiner Wilson
  • Christina Freeman
  • Stephen Shoemaker, Emeritus

Foundation Board of Directors

  • John Cannon, Chairman
  • Eva Ingle, Treasurer
  • Kyle Hall
  • Allen Mathis
  • Tom Efford
  • Alan Briggs


  • Kathleen Janowiak, Executive Director
  • Joni Ray, Gallery Director
  • Leila Spriggs, Administration

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 Thomas Art School is handicap accessible.