2020-2021 Programs

Karen Bell 
“Clowning Around with Science"
November 11, 2020

Karen Bell, Outreach Education Manager/Clown, teaches in Sarasota and Manatee County schools. Not Circus or Theater, but Science! Using Arts Integration as the method, Karen blends the art of circus with physical science and engineering to successfully teach students in all learning styles.            


Karen Bell has had a 33-year career as a Professional Circus clown.  She is the only female clown with a solo ring on Ringling Bros. Circus. As a ‘Producing’ Clown for Ringling, Karen created material to perform for herself and other clowns on the show.


Karen has toured the world clowning with Ringing and the Department of Defense. In 2005, Ms. Bell moved to Florida to work as Outreach and Education Manager for The Circus Arts Conservatory and has been instrumental in expanding the Humor Therapy outreach program, to include “Memories…Lost and Found” a program to aid dementia and late stage Alzheimer patients.


Additionally, she is responsible for the design, development and implementation of The CAC’s Education Program. Along with her partner, Robin Eurich, Karen has presented at the National Science Teacher Association’s STEM conference for two years in a row. Karen coaches clowns, characters and ringmasters for the Sailor Circus Academy. Her other responsibilities include grant writing, promotion, and performance.

Susan Kutno
"The Beauty of Glass"
January 13, 2021

Susan began working with stained glass about 35 years ago. After four years she contracted lead poisoning and had to stop working with the lead, giving up her business, shows and commissions. You can imagine her flipping out! At that time, in the '80s, there were no other techniques in glass that a home hobbyist could do besides stained glass. You could do glass blowing, but you had to apprentice at a glass factory practically forever. There were no hot shops around like there are today and with a growing family and living in suburbia, Karen wasn't about to go off to learn glass blowing.

Then she heard about a new technique called fusing and slumping. Now, 35 years later, and she has never looked back. Today Susan is the author of Everything You Wanted to Know About Fusing and Had No One to Ask. It was awarded the New Glass Review by Corning. Susan’s firm is also the largest manufacture of slump molds in the U.S.A.

Susan will discuss her journey as a glass artist and the techniques she teaches at her studio in Sarasota. She also has an exciting gallery SZQ in Sarasota where you can view and purchase her exquisite designs.

Mark Mathes 
"Ready to Help You Tell Your Story in Your Voice, Words, Images"
February 10, 2021

Mark Mathes, a storyteller with a lifetime in journalism as an editor, publisher, writer and digital strategist, is an independent book editor and publisher in Sarasota where he has edited and published 40 books since 2015. Mark began his newspaper career at age 11 at his father’s newspaper, The Daily Star in Hammond, Louisiana, one of the first offset newspapers in the world and a consistent award winner. He was managing editor of the financial news service, Money Show.com in Sarasota from 2017-2019. 

Mark also served as a board member of the Florida Press Association. He is credited with creating and publishing the largest group of independent community newspapers in Tampa Bay.  And Mr. Mathes has held national publishing positions such as being editor of international syndication at the Tribune in Chicago; Pelican Publishing Co., New Orleans; The New York Times Company, Senior Editor; Biloxi-Gulfport Sun-Herald Sunday editor and chief editorial writer.

Locally, Mark is active in publishing groups including Sarasota Fiction Writers, ABC Writers, Sarasota Authors Connection, Florida Authors and Publishers Association, Florida Writers Association, Wordier Than Thou, and Tennessee Williams’ New Orleans Literary Festival, where he has volunteered for 11 years.

Mark will discuss how he takes a rough manuscript and helps the writer prepare it for the marketplace. He will review how he edits books, works as a copywriter, a ghostwriter, technical writer and content strategist.

Karen Chandler
"Vintage Pop"
April 14, 2021

Karen has been painting for over 25 years. Over time she has added in computer, acrylic and photography. Now it all blends together to create images that touch an emotional cord.

She has been affiliated with the NASA Space Art Program and the United States Air Force Art Program since 1990. Karen’s work is currently hanging at the Pentagon and the National Aviation Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. She has exhibited throughout the country in New York, Washington D.C., Florida, Massachusetts, and California. Ms. Chandler’s work is in several private collections as well as in the permanent collection in the Union League in New York City.

Since 1989 Karen has been a member of the Society of Illustrators in New York City. Her illustrations have appeared regularly in most major publications, including Simon and Schuster, Bantam, Random House among many others. You’ll also find her work on the covers of several popular authors’ books such as R.L. Stein, Agatha Christie and Victoria Thompson’s New York based historical series.

 “I call my work ’Vintage Pop.’ It is full of color and fun. The point of my work is to bring happiness to people who live with it.” Karen will share with us her art journey.”



Sarasota Magazine May-June 2020 issue