Get to Know the Dedicated Instructors and Staff at Kitsap Art Center

Kitsap Art Center

Cassy Farrell

My passion for art has led me on amazing adventures all over the world, teaching students of all ages not only painting and drawing skills, but how to find enjoyment in all media. I earned my BFA in Illustration from Montserrat College of Art in Boston, MA. While I enjoy all media and am constantly exploring new techniques, I would call myself an Impressionist, with my passion being the human form. I love studying human anatomy and figuring drawing, finding inspiration in the works of Odilon Redon, whose use of color and imagination I find inspirational. Being a military family, I was fortunate enough to spend several years in Naples, Italy where I developed and curated an art program for elementary and middle school students from several countries. It was here I found my passion for teaching and upon our retirement in Kitsap County I connected with Kitsap Art and the rest is history!

Mary Kunish

Mary is a lifelong Kitsap County resident who has become a valued member of the Kitsap Art Center office team. She holds a B.S in Environmental Engineering from Montana Tech of the University of Montana and spent several years working as a Naval Architect at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She has always had a strong passion for art, taking classes in all types of media while actively pursing her love of volunteer work. Mary spent seven years on the Board of Trustees at Silverwood School and is an enthusiastic supporter of her teenage daughter’s percussion and athletic talents. She loves supporting institutions that provide unique learning opportunities to the community.
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Donna Letterese

Donna Letterese is a cartoonist, botanical illustrator, and educator. Originally from New York, Donna also earned her B.A. there, graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. During a six-month program studying abroad at Goldsmith's College, University of London, a professor opened her up to the world of alternative comics and illustration. She has been reading, looking at, and creating them herself, ever since. She moved to the West Coast after finishing undergrad. Donna has taught cartooning at art centers, afterschool programs, and libraries in Los Angeles beginning in 2010, while also working on freelance art, articles, and commissioned art pieces. She has had comics published in a few anthologies, and shown work in group and juried exhibitions, as well as zine fairs and comic cons, throughout California, in Portland, OR, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and upcoming in Bainbridge Island, WA. Her bi-lingual handmade “card-toons” have been carried in Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art, and she belongs to SCBWI, the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California, and the Pacific Northwest Botanical Artists Guild. She completed her MFA in Illustration at California State University at Fullerton in January 2022, after having done the first half of her degree in person, and the other half remotely from Washington as of March 2020. 2020 was also when she transitioned to teaching workshops on Zoom. Exploring the forests and beaches of Kitsap County and Washington State affected her art a great deal, giving her comfort when more isolation was being practiced. She is now really excited to be getting to meet people and become involved in the wonderful artistic community here. Donna is really happy about getting to continue teaching virtually, as well as again in person. During her free time, she loves sketching, exploring, and going to places like museums, gardens, coffee shops, zoos, and aquariums. She loves animals (koalas especially), and is also a huge fan of telling “punny” jokes.
Kitsap Art Center

Kirsten Judkins

Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved art.  As a kid, I was always making clothes for my dolls, drawing thousands of pictures, and using up all the markers. The thing I always loved about fine art was figuring out composition, color theory and creating a mood or vibe and that translated into my current job as a graphic designer. Getting to do design as well as teach fine art classes for the past five years combined all my favorite things into one - getting to meet people, help them find their art style or what suits their business, and I get to do art! What’s better than that?  As a teacher, I love not only getting to teach skills that translate to so many areas of life, but getting to help each student find their style. I want everyone to be able to have a firm grasp on what makes their art unique to help them be able to grow in their art and feel passionate about it!

Leslie Kiesler

Leslie Kiesler is a classically trained artist originally from Atlanta, Georgia. With a lifelong passion for traditional art, she moved to Seattle in 2016 and pursued a four year atelier training at the Gage Academy of Art under the tutelage of Juliette Aristides. With a strong foundation in academic drawing and painting, she seeks to carry on the time tested traditions of traditional art making with anyone willing to learn. Her work primarily focuses on the beauty of the diversity of the human figure and narrative still life seeking to tell stories and connect to the artistic spirit of others. Leslie is a recent transplant to the Kitsap Peninsula and can often be found plein air painting in many of the extraordinary landscapes she is so grateful to call home.
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Kimberly Snider

I am first a mom, then a teacher, and then an artist. My husband and I have two boys and live in beautiful Seabeck, Washington which offers endless artistic inspiration. I have taught Special Education in the Central Kitsap School Dstrict for 14 years and 3rd grade for 4 years. I am a formally trained teacher with a Master’s Degree in Education and a self-taught artist. I love every kind of art, but especially mixed media and watercolor. My passion is sharing the feeling of getting creative with others, kids and grownups as well! I have morphed my training and self-taught skills to be a teacher of art and I love every minute of it! On my free time I enjoy beach combing, kayaking, reading, and most of all, playing art!

Kristy Gumpert

Office Manager
Kristy joined the Kitsap Art Center team in 2017 as an office assistant, bringing with her a background in print journalism and small art studio management. With a BA in Communication Studies from Sonoma State University, she spent the beginning of her career as a newspaper reporter and page designer for a variety of publications in Northern California. She moved to the Kitsap Peninsula in 2005 for her husband Robert’s naval career.  She was introduced to Kitsap Art Center by her son’s preschool teacher, who suggested art lessons to develop his fine motor skills. David is now in his 11th year as a Kitsap Art student with plans to pursue a career in an art-related field. Kristy is an avid crocheter, pattern designer and mosaic enthusiast. She can often be found working on several projects at once with her motto being: “Never forget to see the value in the small and seemingly insignificant pieces. You’d be surprised how beautiful and strong they are when worked together as a whole.”