Kris Bella, Co-Founder and Board Member of Free Arts NW (She/Her) After assisting youth with severe mental health and drug and alcohol issues for many years, Kris developed a passion for prevention and community mobilization. Her love of art and desire to help others find their passion and purpose in life motivated her to co-found Free Arts NW. Being able to tap into one’s creative self, can bring about a level of change and transformation that may have seemed previously unattainable. Kris has had a love of art from a very young age and was supported by her family to fully embrace her creative outlets. She fully enjoys all visual arts, with a special interest in three-dimensional art creations.>>>>>
Michael Clark (He/Him) – Board Chair
Michael Clark is an artist and licensed art therapist. He was raised in Montana where he developed his passion for the outdoors, drawing, painting, and sculpture. He directed his life by unifying three main areas of interest; community, nature, and creativity. Through this combination he worked in drawing, sculpture and stonework. He also served as an art therapist with teens in recovery, and children coping with physical illness and trauma. He developed a therapeutic outdoor program for children in residential treatment and provided therapy in the public schools. Travel and engagement with a people from a variety of cultures strongly influence his current artwork and focus on community engagement.
Robin Casey (They/Them) – Secretary
Robin is a graphic designer and illustrator with 10 years experience and prioritize non-profit and grassroots clients and local businesses. They have been in non-profit management for just over a year with The Belmont Goats (after 4+ years of volunteering), joining Free Arts NW in late 2018, and taking over as Secretary in early 2020. They create most of FANW’s promotional material and have recently recreated our website. They hold one of our prominent fundraisers called Liquid Lettering, where they teach participants basics of watercolor and brush pen calligraphy. Robin has a B.A. in English and Literature from UNLV, and a B.A. in Graphic Design from Portland State University.
Marie Shier (They/She)- Treasurer
Marie Shier (they/she) is a cultural worker, activist and administrator who moved to Portland in 2017. They have worked in the arts and nonprofit world for their whole career, ranging from programming, event planning, finance and even dipping their toes into fundraising and development at a mental health organization. They absolutely believe in the power of art and its ability to heal and change lives. In 2018, they earned a Master’s Certificate in Arts and Culture Strategy from University of Pennsylvania, and graduated with a B.A. in Art History and Latin American Studies from University of San Francisco in 2012. When not working enthusiastically in the non-profit world, they enjoy traveling, gardening and reading.
Corey Vasquez (He/They) – Board Member
Corey Vasquez has two bachelors degrees in graphic design and arts and letters. He has been working with a non-profit student housing organization as a student services specialist manager for the past 3 years. in this position, he has worked to create a living and learning environment where students can thrive. Growing up as a dis-advantaged youth in various places in the USA, Corey was en-couraged by his family to do art. And with this encouragement
Corey developed a passion for creativity & design. As a past participant in PSU’s friendtorship program, he helped high school students to find their place in art. Now Corey has turned his energy toward helping others to find their creative outlet and is glad that Free Arts NW gives him the opportunity to do so.
Lisa Verling (She/Her) – Board Member
Lisa says “Hi everyone! I am so excited to be a part of the Free Arts NW team. I am an Honors graduate of Portland State’s Child, Youth and Family Studies program. My program focus being in Behavioral Interventions and Gender and Sexuality. Recently, I was accepted into a graduate program for a Masters in Education specializing in Trauma Informed Instruction and Interventions, which has been a long term goal of mine. I have lived in the Centennial district with my two children and our black lab, Bennett, for nine years. In my spare time, you’ll find me hiking Powell Butte, heading off to the beach, or taking our canoe out to Trillium Lake. Every year, we take a week long trip to Smith Rock, Oregon and it might just be my favorite place on earth. Some of my favorite pastimes include game nights, camping, fishing, reading, catching a Blazers game, star gazing and people watching while drinking a Breve Latte. Although, nothing beats a bonfire with the people I adore. Currently, I am working on two children’s books and teaching myself to play the ukulele so, that’s been keeping me busy aside from my work here with Free Arts NW.
Hannah White (She/Her) – Executive Director
Hannah is a Massachusetts native who made Portland her home in 2007. She worked in community mental health for eleven years in various roles, including residential administrator and clinical service coordinator. She earned an MPS in Art Therapy in 2016. In addition to supporting Free Arts NW’s program and volunteer development, she currently works with populations of all ages as a visiting Art Therapist with Earthtones NW. She enjoys vintage arts and crafts books, knitting, collage and upcycled art as well as gardening, cooking and Googling rare medical conditions. You will probably end up seeing pictures of the cats that she and her husband treat like children.