Artist Mentor and Community Outreach
Steph Neary was raised in Wadsworth, Ohio and has since studied Graphic Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Since then Neary has spent a decade(plus) working with fundamental Pittsburgh establishments. Neary identifies as a self-taught artist, working as an art educator, sign painter, community organizer, illustrator, editor, and costume designer.
Neary creates drawings, tapestries and sculpture about nature and humanity inspired by traditional folk art motifs and peppered with a search for contemporary wisdom. Honoring the voices of unsung crafts people with techniques and messages a machine world is prone to overlook.
Artist Mentor and Curator
Sam Berner is a ceramic artist and painter that dabbles in video and performance art. He got his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Penn State in 2009 and his Master of Fine Arts from University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2013. Sam grew up in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, moving to Pittsburgh in 2013.
Creative Arts Manager
Benjy Blanco was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh in Studio Arts and English Criticism, summa cum laude, and an MFA from California College of the Arts in Fine Arts, with focuses in Film and Design. Benjy is the manager of VaultArt Studio, a progressive gallery in the Penn Avenue Arts District that provides studio space, exhibition opportunities, and professional development to self-taught artists. Prior to that, Benjy worked as an Associate Producer for the San Francisco-based production company 13th Gen, and is credited on films such as The G-Word: a Documentary about Giftedness (in production), The Watermelon Woman 20th Anniversary Remaster (2016), and Desert Migration (2015). As a practicing artist, Benjy investigates the mechanics behind toys and puppets. He currently lives in a cabin in Pittsburgh with his dog, Judy Chidoggo.