President of the Board
Vice President of the Board
Treasurer of the Board
Leigh has enjoyed a 40+ year career as an engineer with the past 20 years in executive management positions at two engineering companies. In his last venture, Leigh started a technology based supply chain company which gave birth to a new industry known today as Chemical Management. After leading that company through 10 years of double digit annual growth, he retired in 2012 to focus on glassblowing.
Throughout his career as a chemical engineer, he maintained a passion for the beauty and science of glass. He started glassblowing classes in 1998 at the Urban Glass Institute in New York City and today works out of several glass studios in central North Carolina. Leigh’s interest in glass leans towards transparent glass objects because of their visual depth and gem-like richness of the colors he uses.
A native of Kinston, NC, Michael received his BFA in Sculpture from East Carolina University in 1997. He has worked professionally as a Foundryman and Metalsmith at Carolina Bronze Foundry and Vega Metals. In 2003, he started WallerFoushee Studios with his wife and sculptor Leah Foushee Waller and began working as a full-time artist. In 2010 he partnered with life long friend and artist Kirk Davis to form Carolina Shuckers hand forged oyster knife company. In addition to creating personal work and historical restoration projects, they have created over a dozen public art projects throughout North Carolina- most notably ‘Major’, the over life-size bronze bull pasturing in downtown Durham, NC. They live in Hillsborough, NC with their two children.
Michael has been involved with Liberty Arts since 2001, working closely with the founding members in the development of the George Watts Hill Pavilion for the Arts. After 12 years of working as Liberty Arts Facilities Manager and Artist in Residence, Michael joined the board of directors in 2013 and served as co-administrator of The Bull City Sculpture Show.
As a statistical programmer, Peter Katz works with a team of researchers at Duke University who conduct demographic surveys based in Mexico and Indonesia. Since, moving to Durham in 2007 with his wife Maria Sanchez he has advocated on behalf of neighborhood and community groups that make Durham a more unique and engaging place to live.
He has served as president of the Old North Durham Neighborhood Association, vice president of the Inter-neighborhood Council (a coalition of Durham’s neighborhood and homeowner’s associations whose mission is to promote the quality, stability and vitality of Durham’s residential neighborhoods) and currently serves as chair of the Durham City Housing Appeals Board (which hears appeals on housing and building code condemnation cases). Peter has interests in GIS mapping, computer generated 3-dimensional art, nature photography and is a year-round surfer, paddleboarder, and father to wily preschooler, Lucas Max.
Originally from the DC/Baltimore area, where she worked as a project manager for a large staffing company, Brit McInnis moved to Durham in 2016 to continue pursuing a career in photography, a skill she developed nearly a decade ago which led to her working for two photography studios, in addition to photographing many weddings and boudoir sessions. She now works full time as a real estate photographer and transaction manager, while also maintaining her photography business, BMC Studios.
I believe artists are the cultural conscience of our time!
Originally from New Jersey, Ilene Hadler has happily called Durham home since 2009. She has a marketing degree from George Washington University, and an MBA in Marketing Rutger’s University. Before fleeing the corporate world in her 40’s to pursue her love of photography and fused art glass, Ilene held marketing management positions with several Fortune companies including Standard & Poor’s Corporation, and Johnson & Johnson. Most days you’ll find Ilene either documenting the lives of others with her camera, or in her glass studio making beautiful glasses objects using the techniques of Kiln-form glass making she studied at Corning Glass Studios. She believes artists are the cultural conscious of our time, and wants to do everything in her power to help the arts thrive in Durham!
Ilene has served on several non-profit boards over the years, (everything from dance companies in New York City, to a homeless and battered women’s shelter in Florida). Currently, she is also on the board of The Trinity Park Neighborhood Association.
Charles has lived in Durham since 2007. As a Hospitality Manager, he became enamored with the Durham local movement. In 2016, he joined that movement when he became a Real Estate agent specializing in helping buyers relocating to the Triangle. When Charles is not raising his two daughters with his wife, he spends his time on DIY projects and upcycling furniture.
Aubrey began her career in the restaurant world at the local Dairy Queen when she was 16-years-old. “I can deep fry anything and spin the best blizzards—strawberry with Oreo cookies was my personal favorite.” It wasn’t a glamorous introduction to the culinary world, but that (combined with studying literature in college) was a foreshadowing of her future in food and hospitality.
After spending a year living abroad in France, she came home fluent in French and in love with organ meats and stinky cheese. Her host family initiated her into food and dining as an emotional experience. Living and traveling in Europe also taught her an important lesson--food doesn’t have to be fancy or pretentious to be delicious. Knowing what you like and how to prepare food well is what matters most.
During her restaurant career, Aubrey has worked every station possible from prep chef to dish washer to waiting tables to cooking on the line to creating cocktails to expediting to managing the front of the house. Now a co-owner of Nana's, Bar Virgile and NanaSteak in Durham, her hands-on, intimate knowledge of the food and beverage world, combined with her solid work ethic, made her transition to being a restaurant owner seamless. After 24 years in the industry, she still loves the experience of eating and drinking with friends and family.
Growing up in Durham was an adventure. There was a quality to it that you could not find in any other city. It had a starving artist charm that drew you in and kept you here, no matter how hard the lifestyle could be. This place challenged me to become an artist and represent the growing culture that Durham is quickly creating for itself. After leaving Durham for a few years to attend East Carolina University and acquire my BFA in sculpture it wasn’t hard to make the decision to return to my hometown. Durham has become a beautifully creative city. I was lucky enough to discover Liberty Arts and began my life as a sculptor.
Something that Durham has taught me while growing up is to live as freely as possible, making the most out of life. There is nothing on this planet that lives more openly and without boundaries that the animals that coincide with us. Those creatures that do struggle to maintain that spirit only do so because of the consequences of our pour decisions. My body of work centers on these beautiful animals, those still living wildly, and those that need a little help from the people that can save them. I strive to shed light on these issues and create works of art featuring these beautiful animals that deserve out respect.