Grace Institute Staff

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Artists and counselors vary from week to week, and year to year. They come from all over Portland, from all sorts of backgrounds and enjoy sharing their passion for art and community with children.


Ashley Smith, Executive Director
Ashley brings over 25 years of experience as a professional visual artist, stage designer, collaborator, and educator to her role at Grace Institute. Trained in the Theatre Arts and versed in a variety of media, she finds inspiration in stories while embracing cultural awareness through artistic expression and how this creative process builds community.

Ashley has designed theatrical productions locally and nationally. Local Guest Artist Residencies and teaching venues include Portland Community College at Sylvania, Vancouver School of Arts & Academics,  several local Montessori schools,  as well as with several organizations for fostered and homeless youth, including  teaching yoga and mindfulness to at-risk teens. Yoga and art come together in an illustrated instructional yoga series for at-risk youths and their teachers.

Ashley has a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Design Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Applied Design from Northwestern University, Illinois and the University of California at Davis, respectively. Her training includes a year of apprenticeship at the Industrial Textile Design Program at University of Leeds in England.

Linda McQuery, Business Manager

Linda joined Grace Memorial Episcopal Church and Grace Institute in 2007 as Business Manager.  She was part of the team that worked to expand Grace Art Camp’s program from serving 900 campers in five weeks to 1200 campers over seven weeks. She is especially delighted that this expansion has allowed more families and campers to experience Grace Art camp. Linda tried to retire after the 2011 Grace Art Camp but was convinced to help with the camp one more year, and this seems to be repeating every year. . . .

Having run the family business, Linda has a lifetime of bookkeeping and business management experience working as an independent business accounting systems analyst for over 50 Eugene, Oregon companies, training personnel to use new accounting computer systems, while simultaneously working as the Business Manager at Bethesda Lutheran Church.

Linda, a born and raised Oregonian, attended Jefferson High School in Portland, holds a B.S. in Textiles with a minor in Business and Art from Oregon State University.  She has played violin with the Portland All-City Youth Orchestra. An avid and experienced “sports mom,” Linda has served as PTA treasurer, graded papers and tutored math and went through the chairs of the Eastern Star serving on its state level youth committee. She and her husband, Warren, have two grown boys and four grandchildren. In her “free time,” enjoys her grandchildren’s sporting events and quilts with the same precision and care she keeps the books with.

Mariann Koop-McMahon, Operations Manager/Registrar
Mariann’s lifelong interest in stories, myth, legends, folktales,  and fairytales – both ancient and modern – found an outlet at Oregon Episcopal School where she trained as a Junior Great Books leader and consequently, as a guest artist in numerous classrooms. Mariann began her work with Grace Memorial in communications and data management in 1998, which eventually led to her passionate involvement with Grace Institute and Grace Art Camp.

An award-winning watercolor painter (Watercolor Society of Oregon and the Oregon Society of Artists), Mariann exhibited frequently from the 1970s until 1990. More recently, she makes time for quilting and leads a quilting group at Grace Memorial making quilts for a domestic violence shelter (Bradley Angle House) as well as the annual art quilt for Bradley Angle House’s principal fundraiser.

A third generation Oregon native, Mariann Koop-McMahon was raised in a family of artists and artisans, and  enjoys pursuing the fine arts as a painter and the practical application of the arts via graphic design, communications, and public relations.  She holds a B.A. in Communications and History from the University of Portland. Her career experiences have mostly been in the non-profit sector, including  Emanuel Hospital, Oregon Episcopal School, grant writing and fundraising, and  as executive director for a local non-profit dedicated to verifying independent science research in supporting responsible environmental policy development.

Mariann Koop-McMahon and her husband reside in a house located in urban woods with owls in the backyard.  She has two adult children: one an artist and one an event organizer.