Kimberly Popolizio (Owner/Instructor)
My name is Kimberly Popolizio. I am married to my husband Robert and I am a mom of two children ages 14 and 10. My career started as a New York City public school art teacher. For fifteen years I worked with many children in crisis in some of the most underserved communities. My passion for teaching and for helping children led me to discover amazing ways to reach those that have had to face too much in their young lives. Inspired from Eastern Philosophies, I implemented the use of meditation in my lessons to spark mindfulness and self-awareness.
After moving to the Hudson Valley, I continued my efforts working with children and families in crisis. I organized volunteer opportunities with children to strengthen their self-worth and social awareness and worked one on one to build life skills and coping strategies.
I am trained in trauma, crisis avoidance management, family and community support services and building resilience in children. I have obtained a Masters Degree and a NYS certification in art for grades K-12. I am fingerprinted through DCJS in New York State.
As a parent and teacher, I feel I have an incredible responsibility to answer the call of providing much needed social and emotional learning to our youth of today. I will provide a non-clinical environment that will allow children to disconnect from stress and express inner thoughts using creativity.
This will result in children obtaining valuable tools to self-regulate, increase self-awareness, feel empowered, grow and EVOLVE! I look forward to seeing you in the studio.
Charlotte Semmes (Instructor)
Charlotte Semmes, originally from Maryland has been crafting and creating for as long as she can remember. She received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Skidmore College in upstate New York with a concentration in Textiles and Painting and a minor in Anthropology. A cross-country trip following her college graduation landed her in San Francisco where she worked for 7 years in the design industry-Textiles, Apparel, Graphics and Accessory Design. During those years she made time to travel and volunteer with children in visual arts. In 2010, her spirit of adventure brought her to Kathmandu, Nepal, where she worked with Tibetan refugee children using art as a way to bear witness to their experience and nurture their physical and psychological well-being through a UK organization called Art Refuge. This life-changing experience pulled her heart in a new direction and is what eventually brought her to pursue her K-12 teaching credential in Art. Feeling though that it was important to further develop herself as a working artist she first pursued her MFA in Textiles and Design at UC Davis in 2011, where she received a full teaching fellowship in their newly established research-driven Design MFA program.
Charlotte believes having her own creative practice is essential to inspire creativity in others, and it is one of her life goals to find a balance between the two passions. After graduating from her MFA program at Davis she did a one-year teaching credential program at Sacramento State selectively joining the linked learning cohort, where she worked collaboratively with other teachers to create integrated projects across multiple subject areas. She trained during her teaching credentail at a Waldorf-inspired high school with a linked learning pathway focused on social and environmental justice in Sacramento and eventually settled in the Lake Tahoe Area where she was the Upper School Art teacher at small expeditionary learning school, Adjunct Art professors at Sierra College, a teaching artist in the public schools and through a community makerspace.
Since moving to Hudson, NY two years ago she has dabbled in the realm of interior design, but is looking forwared to returning to her passion of exploring the transformative power of art with the community at i2Evolve. After these many experiences she is excited to be partnering with a studio that values mindfulness in the creative process, and looks at art making as a way of exploring one’s inner and outer world.
Kevin Rifenburg (Instructor)
Kevin Rifenburg studied painting at Pennsylvania Academy of fine Arts and Bard College, and received his Masters of Fine Art degree from Lesley University College of Art and Design. He has thirty years of experience working in the Human Services field, assisting children with severe emotional disabilities and trauma. Mr. Rifenburg teaches an expressive arts program at Astor Services for Children & Families and will begin an adjunct position in the art department at Suny Dutchess, beginning in the fall, 2022.
His desire to create comes from within, as he was inspired by the things he grew up watching and listening too. He’s a nostalgic kind of guy who loves history. The colorful and amazing personalities that once played America’s past-time, jazz music, John Wayne westerns , fly fishing, as well as the surrounding splendor of the Hudson Valley are the inspiration, driving his work and finding there way into one of his paintings.
As a figurative painter what I capture and express is my personality, my taste, and experiences. I believe people will always remain excited to witness art that represents the various moods of man, specifically the values and emotions associated with his interactions and relationships in society. In this complicated world, the ability to give and derive passion is limited. As a result the act of painting becomes a profound necessity, where I look to share, connect and touch those able to view my work.
We may leave our homes, work office, and even artist studio and make our way around this chaotic world, and yet somehow the things we witness and experience inevitably play a role in shaping our lives. As an artist, those visual snapshots come back to the studio where anything can transpire, happen, and be created. The world, as I see it, cannot change in an instant by art, but its purposeful and organic spread into the active part of our brains lives to tell the story.