SOBA Board Members
Mary Ann Burgeson (Marie at SOBA) was active in the Art world from a museum perspective while living in the Chicago area. She was on the auxiliary board of the Art Institute of Chicago and a founding member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 1981. After moving here she took painting and drawing classes at SOBA and now exhibits at our gallery. She says the talent and friendliness of the members are what makes leading the board such a pleasure.
Cynthia Van Nus
Art allows us to look at the world around us differently. The relationships between shape, line, color and tone come to life and are constantly changed by light. John Kenney’s oil paintings are about the manipulation of light and geometric shapes. The direction and intensity of light controls image and texture. He finds inspiration in the every day. John’s art is an expression of what he sees and feels, whether as an abstraction or as modern expressionism. To see more, visit his website.
Mary Burrell was the first-place finisher in SOBA’s 26th Annual Judged Show. Her artwork — with its distinctive textures, shading and detail — has been exhibited in restaurants, libraries, galleries, public offices and boutiques.
Mary lived in New York until August 2017, when she moved to Bluffton with her husband, Mark. She is a founding member of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Women Artists, and served on the SOBA board from 2019-2020. Burrell currently teaches children’s classes at SOBA and gives private lessons.
Community Relations Manager
As the community relations manager, Marian Sanders attends and reports on the Old Town Bluffton’s Merchants Association and Bluffton’s Art and Cultural Association and District. In the past, Marian also has served as president of SOBA’s board of directors. As an artist, Marian is an oil painter who is inspired by the Lowcountry — painting landscapes, still life, birds and pets. Her paintings are on exhibit at Brick Wall Gallery in Beaufort SC and in Bluffton SC. Marian studied art with Daniel Edmondson at his studio in Denver, Colorado.
Director SOBA Art School
As the staffing manager, Lin Hilts’ duty is to ensure that the gallery is open to the public every day (except for national holidays). Thanks to the tireless efforts of member artists who display their artwork each month, the SOBA gallery’s exhibit changes regularly — the first Monday of each month or on the first Tuesday if the Monday is a holiday. Our artist members volunteer 3.5 hours on a day of their choosing. Staffing is critical to the success of the gallery to be open for business.
Kim France came to the Lowcountry via Raleigh, NC and Cincinnati, OH. When she arrived, she had never held a paint brush. But, the Bluffton and Hilton Head scenes inspired her to try her hand at oil painting. Primarily self taught, Kim has nurtured her desire to improve artistically through workshops at The Center for Creative Arts which is run by SOBA Gallery and is located next door to the gallery. She serves on the board because she values the exposure that SOBA gives to her art and enjoys the camaraderie of the Bluffton Art community.
Gallery Display Manager
Pat Diemand began her journey as an artist as a young child, guided by her desire and natural ability. She was a member of the Western New York Artists’ Group in Buffalo, NY and the WA Project for the Arts/Corcoran in Washington, DC.
Diemand’s work has appeared in a variety of exhibitions over the years, including the Albright Knox Sales/Rental Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Artful Gifts Exhibition at Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and the Cumberland Valley Artists’ Exhibition in Hagerstown, Md. Locally, her work can be seen at Alexander’s Restaurant in Palmetto Dunes. She also teaches the Summer Art Camp for kids at SOBA.
Mary Ann Ford
Mary Ann Browning Ford is an award-winning artist, who received “Best In Show” at SOBA’s 25th Annual Judged Show. While growing up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio she attended children’s art classes at The Cleveland Museum of Art and years later, the Cleveland Institute of Art and Western Reserve University.
Ford is a member of the National Association of Women Artists, a board member of SOBA and Hilton Head Island Land Trust. Additionally, she’s scenic artist and designer University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Center for the Arts. She also teaches art to seniors at TidePointe and Bayshore assisted senior living communities on Hilton Head Island.