The Violette de Mazia Foundation currently has six instructors teaching at various locations and reaching a diverse student body. The Foundation instructors are selected based on their mastery of the objective method as well as their ability to transform and adapt that mastery into stimulating, challenging, and informative educational lessons.

Executive Staff

Executive Director

Ross Mitchell started his career as a painter and studied at the Barnes Foundation with Violette de Mazia and Harry Serfarbi. Mr. Mitchell also served as the president of the 152 year old Philadelphia Sketch Club, the oldest artist's club in the country.  Mr. Mitchell previously served Executive Director of Historic Laurel Hill Cemetery and the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia where he repositioned the cemetery as a heritage tourism destination. Among his accomplishments there were the founding of the Gravediggers’ Ball fundraiser, creating unique programming, a major re-branding initiative including a guerrilla marketing campaign, and the development of the Urban Mourning Project, a program addressing gun violence.

For seven years he was the Gallery Director at the Barnes Foundation in Merion Station where he led the fourteen million dollar renovation of the gallery, including the de-installation, storage and re-installation of the entire Barnes collection. His duties included managing administration, departmental finances, conservation and security. Among his accomplishments were the implementation of a collection management system, the upgrading of environmental controls and electronic security to state-of-the-art systems, and he oversaw the professionalization of security personnel.

Mr. Mitchell was also Senior Associate for Viart Corporation, a Manhattan based art-consulting firm whose main clients included Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Teachers Insurance. The firm managed the corporate art collections and purchased art at auction.

He is actively involved in historic preservation efforts in the region, and served as a commissioner on the Lower Merion Historical Commission and as Vice President of the Lower Merion Historical Society. In addition to his studies at the Barnes Foundation, Mr. Mitchell has a degree in organizational management from Eastern University. He was formerly a board member of the Violette de Mazia Foundation before becoming the foundation’s first executive director.

Executive Assistant

Leslie Fishel has been an Executive Assistant for the Violette de Mazia Foundation since 2008. Prior to working for the Foundation, Leslie worked for four years as a Human Resource Manager and Executive Assistant for American Hospital Service Group, a company that staffs military base hospitals. Leslie’s experience also includes her work as a Public Relations Manager for a large department store chain, as well as serving as a Corporate Trainer.


Education Department 

Director of Education

We are pleased to announce the appointment of William Perthes as the Violette de Mazia Foundation’s new Director of Education. We look forward to an exciting new phase of growth under Bill's leadership of the education program.

As an undergraduate at Temple University Bill studied music for several years before completing a B.A. in Philosophy. He received his M.A. from Villanova University where he explored the aesthetic and analytical theories of John Dewey and Albert Barnes for his Masters project. He is currently again at Temple completing a Ph.D. in Art History. He has contributed to several publications focusing his research on the work of New York School painter Robert Motherwell.

Bill began work at the Foundation as a Senior Instructor before becoming the Assistant Director of Education. In his years with the Foundation he has taught classes in a variety of settings including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Barnes Foundation, Graterford Prison, West Chester University, and at the La Salle University Art Museum. Bill is a member of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, the American Society for Aesthetics and the College Art Association.

Director of Education Emeritus

Marilyn Bauman began her study of the objective method in 1976 when she enrolled in Violette de Mazia’s first-year class at The Barnes Foundation. Her teacher for the second-year class, Angelo Pinto, introduced her to the Traditions of Art. She then joined the seminar, also led by de Mazia. During her 10 years in the seminar, she presented many lectures. Two of these talks were published in Vistas: “Informed Perception: A Personal View,” and “Born Again!”

Prior to Marilyn’s arrival at the foundation in 2000, and after receiving a master’s degree in English, Marilyn taught for twenty-five years in the writing programs of several universities, including sixteen years at the University of Delaware. In 1991, she was named executive director of the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education (DIAE), an aesthetic education program for Delaware teachers and their students based on John Dewey’s educational theories and modeled on the Lincoln Center Institute in New York City.

Marilyn has written articles about art and artists for Delaware Today magazine, the Wilmington News Journal, and Vistas (a journal of The Barnes Foundation). Her book, Edward L. Loper, Sr., The Prophet of Color: A Disciple’s Reflections, was published in 1999. Rhonda Graham, a reporter for The News Journal, calls the book the “first and most comprehensive biography of Edward Loper.” Marilyn has also been exhibiting her oil paintings regularly for more than twenty years in regional, solo, and group shows. Her work is in many private and public collections, including Wilmington Trust Bank, MBNA, the Division of Libraries Art Collection of the State of Delaware, and the Blount Collection of American Art.



Christine has received a Ph.D from Boston College, an M.Ed. from The University of Louisville, and a B.A. from St. Louis University; in addition to her Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Certificate. Christine began her time at the Violette de Mazia Foundation by studying under the instruction of Marilyn Bauman and William Perthes from 2001 to 2005. Christine also studied at Chicago Art Institute, Boston Museum School and Ontario College of Art. Christine is an award-winning artist who exhibits both internationally and regionally,.



Deborah Krupp began her study in the Barnes method of art appreciation in 2001. She has studied at the Barnes Foundation continuously since then. In 2004, she became a docent at the Barnes and continues to conduct tours for the public there to this day. In September 2007, Deborah sought to deepen her understanding of “the method” by studying with the de Mazia Foundation. She is now teaching for them. Her formal education and career was as a psychologist. She received her Ph.D. in 1978 from Temple University where she studied psycho-educational processes, group dynamics, and clinical psychology. Dr. Krupp was a clinical psychologist in private practice until 2005.


David Nolan is a Delaware artist who works primarily in oils and has studied with Delaware area artists, Edward L. Loper, Sr., Marilyn Bauman, and Al Staszesky. David graduated from the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia, PA, and continued his education at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He learned the objective method for the aesthetic appreciation of art as a student in the Violette de Mazia Foundation class “Informed Perception” held at the Delaware Art Museum. He then furthered his studies at The Barnes Foundation in Merion, PA, in “The Traditions” class with Harry Sefarbi. Currently, he works as a graphic designer. He has taught for the Violette de Mazia Foundation for three years, teaching “Informed Perception to 6th graders and “The Traditions” to 11th graders at the Cab Calloway School of the Arts. He has also taught at the Ferris School for Boys through Delaware Theatre Company's Across Arts Curriculum.


Patty Papatheodore is a teaching artist. She completed a BA in Human Services from Chestnut Hill College and continued her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. For the past several years, Patty has studied with senior educators Marilyn Bauman and William Perthes, as well as gifted faculty members. Patty is a fine artist working largely with fiber and ceramics. She is listed in the directory of Pennsylvania Artists in Education. Her residency work with the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership (PAEP) involves the fostering of educational improvement through participation in the creative process in schools, community settings and arts organizations. Patty has worked with The Philadelphia Free Library, The Woodmere Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Patty also taught Act 48 teaching workshops for Philadelphia School District art teachers. Additionally, for the past eleven years, Patty has taught painting, drawing, printmaking and ceramics at the Main Line Art Center in Haverford, PA. Her extensive teaching experience extends to under served communities.