Grace Institute Staff

Ashley Smith
Executive Director

Ashley discovered Grace Art Camp as an artist, designer, teacher, and parent in 2005; unable to resist Grace’s collaborative and happy spirit, she joined as a teaching artist a year later which fortuitously and excitingly culminated into her current role as Executive Director since 2015. Trained in the theatre arts, stage design (MFA, Northwester University) and with a penchant for textiles, the human body, and proficient in a variety of media, Ashley’s inspiration is found in the community of others. Her work is often rooted in the stories, history, culture, and creative process that connect us all. Local residencies and teaching venues include Portland’s Teatro Milagro, PCC Sylvania’s Theatre Arts program, and Vancouver School of Arts & Academics.  And finally, the thread that keeps this all together for her — the practice of yoga and mindfulness and its kinship with the creative process.

 

Linda McQuery
Business Manager

Linda joined Grace Institute in 2007, and with a lifetime of bookkeeping and business management experience, is delighted to have helped expand Grace Art Camp’s program from serving 900 campers in five weeks to 1200 campers over seven weeks by 2015.  Linda, an original Oregonian, attended Jefferson High School in Portland, holds a B.S. in Textiles and a minor in Business and Art from Oregon State University, in addition to playing violin with the Portland All-City Youth Orchestra. An avid and experienced sports mom and grandmother, 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, as well as enjoys her grandchildren’s sporting events. In her free time, Linda creates unique works of art – she quilts with the same precision and care she keeps the books with.

 

Mariann Koop-McMahon
Operations Manager & Registrar

Raised in a family of artists, Mariann’s lifelong love of stories, myth, legends, folktales, and fairytales found an outlet at Art Camp in 1998 as a parent. Soon after, she became part of the administrative team that grew Art Camp to 1200 campers spanning seven weeks. Holding a B.A. in Communications and History from the University of Portland, Mariann’s career has been predominately supported non-profits through grant writing, fundraising, public relations through graphic design and communications. Other experiences include those of Junior Great Books Leader at Oregon Episcopal School, and as an award-winning watercolor painter exhibiting with Watercolor Society of Oregon and Oregon Society of Artists.  Passionate social justice and art, Mariann can be found weekly at her quilting group, making quilts for women and families in local domestic violence shelters. A third generation Oregon native, Mariann and her husband reside in a house near urban woods alongside neighboring owls.