The Society of Bluffton Artists

SOBA Board Members

Marie Burgeson


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.

Marie is starting her 4th year as President and says she is excited to lead us, with lots of help, into our 30th Anniversary of growing from a funky little start up gallery to the well-respected art hub for the Bluffton community that we are now.

Karen Richards

VP/President Elect

Formerly from Southampton, then Warwick NY, Karen Richards moved to Bluffton, SC in 2021. Active in the SOBA community she now produces the monthly newsletter and is VP/President Elect. “Volunteering has allowed me to get to know a very welcoming and talented group of artists”.
With nature as her inspiration, Karen Richards’ paints in a style varying from impressionistic realism to abstraction. Combining her love of nature and concern for the environment with her passion to create, Karen regularly donates a portion of her sales to local and national environmental organizations. 

John Kenney


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.

Jeanne Francisco


Jeanne Francisco and her husband, Bill, recently moved into the Lowcountry via Keuka Lake, NY and Siesta Key, FL. Jeanne got involved with SOBA through the many great classes she took (and still takes) at The SOBA Art School located next door to the gallery. Although she loves dabbling in any creative endeavor, she has focused in on oil painting as the perfect mindful pastime. She serves on the board to help support the efforts and talents of local artists.

Barbara Pecce

Director Art School Operations

Barbara Pecce is a watercolor artist and teacher who has recently moved to South Carolina from Puerto Rico. During the 47 years she and her family lived in San Juan, she was a founding member and long time president of the Asociacion de Acuarelistas de Puerto Rico. She also taught watercolor at the Lisa de Arte in Old San Juan and at the Museo de Arte.
Barbara is now an active member of the Society of Bluffton Artists ( SOBA) and currently volunteers as Education and Workshop Coordinator at the SOBA Art School.

Ann Hyde

Director Marketing and Community Relations

Ann is a native Virginian residing in Bluffton since 2016. Ann’s career was in advertising and marketing, where she worked as a graphic designer, web developer, and programmer. Ann joined SOBA because of the dedicated volunteers and the gallery’s commitment to contribute to this beautiful community. For the past year, Ann has been managing the SOBA website and social media presence. She is also an exhibiting SOBA member.  She believes SOBA’s commitment to the visual arts in Bluffton makes it one of the top galleries in the Lowcountry.

Lin Hilts

Staffing Director

As the staffing Director, 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.

Pat Diemand

Display Director

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.

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