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Founder and President

Abigail Gómez is a Latinx visual artist, teaching artist, arts advocate, and the owner of Pretty Girl Painting, a fine art and mural painting business.  She received an MFA in painting from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and a BFA from Virginia Tech.  Abigail teaches art locally through Pretty Girl Painting, the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, Shenandoah University, and Arte Libre VA.  She also facilitates international community mural projects and American travel between the US and Cuba.  


Abigail was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve as a Commissioner on the Virginia Commission for the Arts, representing the 10th Congressional District.  Abigail served as the first Latina Chair of the VCA, and Chair of the VCA’s IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) through June 2021.  Nationally, she is serving on the NASAA Board of Directors, and also serves as Co-Chair for NASAA’s People of Color Affinity Group.  



Vice President

Ellie Williams Tahmaseb is the Marketing & PR Coordinator for NW Works in Winchester, VA.  

A New Jersey native, Ellie joined NW Works in October of 2019. She is graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Ma. During her time at Northeastern, she traveled to Greece to cover the ongoing Syrian Refugee Crisis and the country’s economic strife. After working in production at a television news station in Boston, Ellie eventually left New England for an on-air reporting position at WDVM 25, a television station in Hagerstown, Md., where she worked as a multimedia journalist in the station’s Winchester bureau, serving as a general assignment reporter for the Northern Shenandoah Valley.


Outside of Arte Libre, Ellie volunteers with the Concern Hotline and is part of the Northwestern Prevention Collaborative Strategic Prevention Framework – Partnerships for Success program.




Victoria Zabala was born and raised in Venezuela where she earned her bachelors degree in Elementary Education.  She moved to the United States 21 years ago, and has been living in Winchester Virginia since 2003.  Victoria worked as the manager of an urgent care for 10 years, and she is currently the general manager at AZ Services LLC, a local company that offers bilingual tax services. 


Victoria has been involved in the community for the past 13 years in various capacities.  Along with serving as Treasurer of Arte Libre VA, she also serves as the Outreach Chair at the Winchester Frederick County Democratic Committee.  She also works with various community agencies to help bring awareness to the Latino Community about different topics such as health, education, the political system, and the arts.  


Victoria loves to spend her free time reading about her two favorite topics, politics and social behavior. 




Johanna Hix is a Latinx Cybersecurity Engineer who has lived in the Winchester area for the past 12 years. Her hobbies include painting, participating in film clubs, and running a book club. This is her first foray into non-profit volunteer work. In addition to her love of art, she is half Colombian, so this opportunity to be a part of Arte Libre's mission is very exciting for her.



Board of Directors

La Tasha Do’zia is the Executive Director of Selah Theatre Project in Winchester, VA teaching and reaching over 750 young actors in many venues throughout the Shenandoah Valley.  La Tasha is not a stranger to the stage.  She is an accomplished performer with credits in both Regional and Community Theatre, including the Other Voices Theatre, Theatre of Shenandoah, Sandler Performing Arts Center, the Apollo Civic Theater, Winchester Little Theater, Ohrstrom-Bryant Theater and The Kennedy Center . She has been seen in productions such as Avenue Q (Gary Coleman), The Miracle Worker (Viney), Chicago (Mama Matron Morton), Hairspray (Motormouth), Necessary Targets (J.S. Bach) and From Prison to Stage.  Her directoral credits include Laramie Project, Vagina Monologues, The Colored Museum, Annie Jr., School House Rock, Jr., Around the World in Eight Plays, A Seussariffic Christmas Carol and Steel Magnolias.


La Tasha graduated from the elite Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA before moving to Winchester, VA to further her education at Shenandoah University.  She has completed coursework in voice, theatre, and communications at Shenandoah University.  



Board of Directors

Madelyn Rodriguez is a community advocate and leader who has been heavily involved in the local Latino community for over 25 years.  Her experience includes working with various populations in both the academic and medical sectors.  She obtained her Masters in Human Services in 2015, which is a testimony to and example of doing things in a non-traditional manner and overcoming stereotypical adversity. Mady is a proud Latina working hard to make a difference and be a vessel for others to have opportunities to truly be the best they can be.


Among the many jobs and roles she holds in the community, she is a case manager for infants with disabilities and a medical social worker for the local hospital system.  Her favorite role, however, is being a professor at LFCC and Shenandoah University, as her passion is teaching.  


Mady currently serves as President of the Winchester Education Foundation, Vice President of Arte Libre VA, Co-Advisor to the Opportunity Scholars Board, and board member of the Douglass Park Family Day Foundation, and I’m Just Me Movement.



Board of Directors

Chris Williams is a graphic designer and visual artist based in Winchester VA.  He is the co-founder of ARS Mag (ARS Media SArt Group), a non profit art program and magazine. Chris has a B.A. in visual art and design from Shepherd University in West Virginia. Chris is involved in planing of many art and culture events through out the greater DMV area by way of ARS M.A.G.. The programs expose art and culture in the DMV area, while also giving a platform to local artists.


Chris also serves on the Frederick Douglass Park Family Day board of directors. 



Board of Directors

Kelsey Camacho is an artist in the Winchester area. She is an illustrator, comics creator, and loves to doodle! She has been creating art her whole life, and is excited to help children discover and foster their love for art.



Board of Directors

Mike Faison has been involved or around the Arts spectrum since being born into an artistic family. His father taught him the art of puppetry helping to expand his community outreach.  He has a passion to make sure that Kids of all ages are given the opportunity to find their artistic abilities and expand their world  of imagination.

Mike currently serves as the President of the NAACP Winchester Chapter, among other community leadership roles.  



Board of Directors

Jeffrey Stern has over 39 years of professional experience in the arts, working in theatre, television, feature film, fine art, and radio. Currently, Jeff is the Director of Community Engagement for Sinclair Health Clinic in Winchester, VA. Motivated by a 2018 Cigna Health care detailing the profound impacts of loneliness in our society, Jeffrey’s work at the Clinic allows him to activate his partnership, outreach, and creative skills to pursue innovative care models to enhance the health benefits of interpersonal connection. Since his arrival, the Clinic has doubled its number of new patients and has expanded its community health worker program: providing increased resource support to connect individuals to the community.


Before his work in Winchester, Jeffrey was the Executive Director of the Historic Masonic Theatre Foundation, managing the re-opening and successful operation of the Historic Masonic Theatre and Amphitheatre in Clifton Forge, VA. 

As a community volunteer, Jeff served on the board of Access Virginia,  an organization providing deeper connections to the arts for individuals with disabilities. Jeff has also served on the City of Hampton’s Arts District Steering Committee and as the past- president of the Loudoun Arts Council. He is currently a grant review panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts.



Board of Directors

Once upon a time, deep in the borough of Manhattan, a child was born into this world destined for infamy.  It was a time of post-Vietnam war societies clashing over peace on earth and this piece of earth that spurned the ideals of an Ecuadorean-American prodigal son tossed into the mix that we used to call "The American Dream."  Shouldering the responsibilities of being the first of his family to be born in America, he took it in stride and flexed his artistic might, overcoming the barriers of a highly complex dichotomy of his heritages' belief systems.  In a nutshell, it basically meant listening to his parents ask repeatedly, "Why do you always draw skulls and devils?"  Influenced by the constant flux of Heavy Metal Magazines, comic books, horror movies and the Six Million Dollar Man, Roberto quickly earned out his style and shortly after, destroyed it.  

Roberto C. Rosas has lived in the Shenandoah Valley for 20 years, running a small studio out of his basement called "The Lab Winchester" while being a full time caregiver for his handicapped brother in law.  

Roberto, a native of New York, whose photos of his toy collection represent a childhood nostalgia of 70s pop culture clashing with modern car culture aesthetics.  He works under the influences of Robert Maplethorpe and Ansel Adams and enjoys long walks, alone.


Mike McKechnie

Board of Directors

Mike McKechnie is the President of Mountain View Solar which is a leading local solar and battery installation firm with forty local staff and more than 1,000 renewable energy systems installed in the residential, non-profit, commercial, and public sectors. In 2008, he was awarded with the West Virginia Environmental Council’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award, in 2012 he was awarded the Small Business Administration’s “Entrepreneurial Success of the Year” Award, and in 2018 he was awarded the Small Business Administration’s “West Virginia Minority-Owned Business of the Year Award”.

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