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North Shore Community College

Arts in April

Arts in April is an annual celebration of arts and culture organized by the Arts and Culture Committee at NSCC. Faculty and staff host arts-related events on the Danvers and Lynn campuses and the college exhibits the art work of faculty, staff, and students. Events are free and open to the public. Stop by for a visit to the library on either campus to view the artistic efforts of NSCC faculty, staff, and students!


Elissa Al-Chokhachy
Healthcare Counselor, Health Services
Years with NSCC: 16 years    |    Talent: Author

In addition to helping NSCC students, Elissa is passionate about her work with hospice, which began in 1991. Elissa teaches a Life After Life graduate seminar at Hood College in Frederick, MD, works as a hospice nurse with Merrimack Valley Hospice and is an award-winning author. Her first two books, The Angel with the Golden Glow and How Can I Help, Papa? are beautifully illustrated children’s books to help children and their families with loss and grief. Her most recent books, Miraculous Moments: True Stories Affirming That Life Goes On and Our Children Live On: Miraculous Moments for the Bereaved offer comfort and hope through numerous testimonials of nearing death awareness, after death communication and near death experiences. All of Elissa’s books are available in our NSCC libraries.


Kristalyn Burns
Adjunct Faculty for Computer Sciences
Years with NSCC: 1.5 years    |    Talent: Martial Artist

In addition to being a visual artist/ graphic designer –Kristalyn is an alum of NSCC’s Digital Graphic Design program - she is also a martial artist. She has a 3rd degree black belt in Ryuchi Karate, and a 1st degree black belt in Shaolin Kempo in addition to holding dozens of titles for forms and weapons, including 5 national titles on the NASKA and NBL circuits. She is currently retired from competition, but teaches youth classes at her local YMCA.


Carl Carlsen
Emeritus Professor of English
Years with NSCC: 37 years, retired in 2011    |    Talent: Author, Poet

Emeritus Professor of English Carl Carlsen taught at NSCC from 1974 through 2011 and is the author of Brickyard Stories: A Lynn Neighborhood and its Traditions [1985], poems and prose poems based on oral histories he collected and published by the college to accompany the opening of the McGee Building in Lynn. He is also the creator of The Poetry of Places in Essex County, www.poetryofplaces.org, a website sponsored by the college that features poetry from three centuries about specific places in the college's service area accompanied by histories, legends, poet's biographies, photographs, postcards and paintings.


James Chisholm
Professor, Cultural Arts
Years with NSCC: 17 years    |    Talent: Painter

Jim is a watercolor master, an action painter who works en plein air onsite in all seasons. “I paint and draw every day – most of the time outdoors, whenever and wherever.” His paintings are in the collection of Harvard University’s Grossman Library, North Shore Community College, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Jim exhibits regularly in the Greater Boston area and has recently had several exhibitions at the Agora Gallery in New York City.


Steven Chisholm
Associate Professor, Health & Human Services
Years with NSCC: 12 years    |    Talent: Photographer

Steve has been teaching addiction related coursework at NSCC for over 10 years, and coordinating the Drug & Alcohol Programs for 2 years. His 30-year love affair with photography became his first college achievement and first career path prior to the study of philosophy and psychology. “I find that engaging in any creative process is a practical way to foster appreciation for that which is around us. There is more to it than meets the eye! “


Jacqui DeLorenzo
Academic Counselor, Student Support & Advising
Years with NSCC: 38 years, retired in 2011    |    Talent: Author

Jacqui worked full-time at North Shore Community College for 38 years beginning in the Financial Aid office and ending in the Student Support and Advising Center. She continues to work part- time in the Student Support & Advising Center as well as in the Enrollment Office . Jacqui has kept journals since she was ten-years-old, writing about how she felt during and after life dealt her a life lesson. It wasn’t the event that she wrote about but rather the effect it had on her. From losing a loved one, being bullied as a child, surviving cancer and an eating disorder, it was a survival strategy that kept her going. She decided to share her life's journey by writing A Thread of Hope and Straight From My Heart so that others would not feel alone when they could relate to her story.


Sandy Fuhs
Program Coordinator, Graphic Arts
Years with NSCC: 11 years    |    Talent: Woodworking

“Since high school, I have loved woodworking. Everything about it. The design of furniture, the textures, smell as you're working the wood into shape, accomplishment of taking a rough piece of lumber and transforming it into a piece of usable art. My favorite woods to work with are cherry and a burly maple.”


Jean Hodgin
Professor Emerita of English
Years with NSCC: 34 years, retiring in 2003    |    Talent: Author, Poet

Jean has been asked many times, "When did you start writing poetry?" Her reply, “The answer goes back many years when at age seven, after watching bees fly in and out of daffodil blossoms, these words came to mind: "The daffodils are telephones/The bumble bees are buzzers/And when you hear them start to ring/You know that soon it must be spring." Needless to say, it's all been up hill from there! And so, where else but in academe can a person follow Robert Frost's concept: "My object in living is to unite/My avocation and my vocation"?

Prospect and Retrospect
What happens when professors leave
Our classroom harbors to explore
Retirement options and receive
New realms awaiting through that door?
For some, we may be volunteers
While others have our books to write,
Or help grandchildren scrub their ears,
Or travel to a foreign site.
But on what ever tack we make,
Our ship sails on with rich’s store—
Those memories which we shall take;
That world we knew at our North Shore.


Julianne Howland
Staff Assistant, Student Affairs
Years with NSCC: 31 years    |    Talent: Actress, Singer

Julie has always enjoyed music and in the late 80’s through the 90’s, participated and performed with NSCC’s Performing Arts Council (musicals/plays – Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Jesus Christ Superstar & Godspell, to name a few). She has been a member of the Blue Moon Band since August of 2011 as one of the lead singers.

Blue Moon Band performing "Unchain My Heart."


Aaron Keebaugh
Adjunct Faculty, Cultural Arts/History
Years with NSCC: 3.5 years    |    Talent: Musician, Music Critic

By day, Aaron Keebaugh is a history and music professor, as well as a competitive bagpiper; by night, he is a classical music critic in Boston. Aaron's love of music began early - he started piano lessons at age 7 and trumpet lessons soon after. He continued to develop his art after high school, taking trumpet and composition classes in college. It was in graduate school - where he studied music history - that he had the opportunity to take bagpiping lessons from prominent teachers, including the late Roddy MacDonald. After graduate school, he began writing music criticism for the Boston Classical Review, for whom he has written articles on artists ranging from Yo-Yo Ma and Bryn Terfel to the BSO and Chameleon Arts Ensemble. You can read his reviews at http://www.bostonclassicalreview.com.


Cari Jo Keebaugh
Associate Professor of English
Years with NSCC: 4 years    |    Talent: Actress, Dancer, Musician

Cari has loved the performing arts for as long as she can remember. She has danced in recitals since she was three years old, and has been acting (primarily in stage productions for children) for 17 years. Cari declared, “I love hearing the audience react to the action onstage and to bring them into a story, a new world, that I am helping to bring alive! Here at NSCC, it is a true honor and pleasure to perform with all the talented people who participate in the Performing Arts Council!” Cari is also a member of the competitive North Shore Pipe Band as a tenor drummer. States Cari, “Scottish music has a flavor all its own, and there's nothing quite like a competition day at a Highland Games. If you've never been to one, I highly recommend it - and don't leave without trying a Deep-Fried Mars Bar (or, if you're brave, some haggis)!”


John Koza
Library Coordinator of Technical Services & Automated Systems
Years with NSCC: 17 years    |    Talent: Musician, Conductor

John Koza is the music director of the Salem Philharmonic Orchestra. The SPO has for over 100 years provided a series of free symphony orchestra concerts during January of each year. Mr. Koza began his career with the orchestra in 1976 as a clarinetist. Born and raised in Salem and now residing in Beverly, Mr. Koza received his Bachelor of Music degree in music education and music theory & composition from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and is a freelance musician performing throughout the Boston area. He has at various times played for most of the orchestras and choruses on the North Shore. In addition, he currently serves as assistant conductor of the Salem Philharmonic Youth Orchestra at Salem State University, under the direction SPO conductor emeritus Alan Hawryluk.


Patricia Lavoie
Instructional Technology Assistant, Academic Technology
Years with NSCC: 25 years    |    Talent: Quilter

Pat has been a quilter since she was a teenager living in northern Maine and loves it! She is shown, 2nd from left, presenting a quilt she made, called “Underground Railroad”, to retired faculty member, Minnette Lall, far left, during a Black History celebration.


Bob Murphy
EDP Systems Analyst III, Information Systems
Years with NSCC: 16 years    |    Talent: Photographer

Bob has been taking photos for about 15 years. “I’m not a great technical photographer; I just like capturing images that please me. When I shoot, I look to capture color, texture and details that are often overlooked. I enjoy using photo-editing software programs to enhance and transform the pictures, sometimes to something completely different than the original shot.”


George Neunaber
Engineer, Facilities
Years with NSCC: 16 years    |    Talent: Painter

A couple of years ago George resumed one of his favorite hobbies, painting. “I work in acrylics and do land and seascapes. [I’m]currently working on a street scene, Pleasant Street in Newburyport. I find painting is a relaxing pastime and the pictures make nice presents for friends and family.”


Margaret “Peg” Raciti
Adjunct Instructor, Graphic Arts
Years with NSCC: 4 months    |    Talent: Photographer

Peg, a professional photographer, is a very new adjunct instructor (just started in January!) in the Graphic Arts Department, teaching Intro to Photography. Peg states, “I have been a photographer all my life. My first camera was a 110 instamatic, and those grainy photos still mean so much to me. Current technology is amazing and makes the process easier, but it still comes down to the image. Will it be interesting or beautiful? Will I communicate a point of view? Will it make someone smile? Beyond my own work, I simply love all photographs. Every photo I view is truly a window to the person behind the camera. I am so very happy that I get to share this passion for photography with students at NSCC.”


John J. Ronan
Emeritus Professor of English
Years with NSCC: 30 years, retired in 2003    |    Talent: Poet, Playwright, Movie Producer, Journalist

John J. Ronan is a poet, playwright, movie producer, and journalist. He has received national honors for his poetry and was named a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for 1999-2000. In 2009 John published a new book of poems, Marrowbone Lane. He is also a former poet laureate of Gloucester, MA, and remains committed to the importance of civic poetry. (On John's regard for Gloucester, see his op-ed pieces from the Boston Herald.) Also a playwright, his works include The Yeats Game and The Tease of Eden. A pioneer in electronic publishing, in 2002 he introduced Damned If I Dotage, a humorous e-book on the trials of turning 50. John is also the founder of the media production company American Storyboard, a teacher of film, an award-winning children's author, and host of the TV talk show The Writer's Block with John Ronan which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in the 2014-15 season.


Ralph Tufo
Retired Professor/Former Chair, Communications Skills
Years with NSCC: 15 years, retired in 2013    |    Talent: Musician, Poet, Songwriter, Playwright

Ralph has been a professional musician for over 35 years. He plays piano and Cajun accordions, keyboards, and concertina as well as sings in his band the Squeezebox Stompers which tours throughout New England. He has released 10 recordings and received four Boston Music Awards. In addition, he has written over 50 songs, an extensive collection of poetry, and a musical about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which was performed at NSCC in 2009.


Anita Turner
Retired Director of NSCC’s Center for Alternative Studies
Years with NSCC: 29 years, retired in 2002    |    Talent: Botanical Watercolor Painter

Anita P. Turner worked at NSCC for nearly 29 years and retired in 2002. She became the first Director of the Center for Alternative Studies in 1976 after working for the Division of Continuing Education for 3 years. In 2011, she completed a Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration at Wellesley College. Signing her work as AP Turner, Turner specializes in botanical watercolor paintings and photographic images of flowers placed on blank greeting cards. Turner has conducted custom designed watercolor workshops for nonprofits and public agencies since 2005. She has especially enjoyed over 8 years with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, ParkArts Program.

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