Co-Founders & Board Members

Dave Klein, Co-Founder, Advisor to the Board:
Dave is a glass artist who developed many of the original SGS programs and studios. He received a BA in Education in 1991 and has worked internationally in glass. He continues to work with SGS striving to further enhance educational programs and applications for glass in art, science, and technology.

Board of Directors:
Katherine Nesci, President
Margaret Joplin, Vice President
Gary Gethmann, Treasurer
Margaret Zinser, Secretary
Don Gutzler
Meg Hagyard
Michael Joplin
David Pashkow
Cameron Taylor
Mary Ellen Walker

Tom Philabaum, Co-Founder Advisor to the Board, Adjunct Instructor:
In 1973, Tom received an MA from University of Wisconsin where he studied glass with Harvey Littleton. Once he moved to Tucson, Tom started a glass studio in 1975, earned his MFA from UA in 1983, and helped orchestrate the first Glass Art Society (GAS) conference in Tucson that same year. He was co-chair for the 1997 Tucson GAS conference and received the AZ Artist of the Year award in 1998. In 2000, Tom and Dave Klein co-founded the Sonoran Art Foundation (now SGS). He has served on the Board of GAS, American Craft Council, Tucson Visiting Artists Consortium, and SGS.

Advisors to the Board:
Fritz Dreisbach
Dave Klein, Co-Founder
Tom Philabaum, Co-Founder

SGS Staff



Lynn Davis

Lynn Davis, Executive Director: Lynn Davis holds degrees in Political Science and French Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She brings more than 16 years of nonprofit administration and fine arts management experience to her position, most recently as Director of Arts & Culture for the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Lynn looks forward to building upon SGS’s reputation as a center for arts and arts education and helping create a platform for emerging and professional artists.

Nick Letson

Nick Letson, Associate Director: 
Nick Letson received his BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona in 2010 and studied Literature and Spanish at the Universidad Catolica de Argentina in 2009. As a journalist from 2010-2011, his articles appeared in Caliente, La Estrella, and on the Sunday front page of the Arizona Daily Star. In 2012, Nick worked as a content writer for a Tucson-based online advertising consulting firm. Nick joined SGS in 2013 as its Communications Director. In 2014, Nick was invited to the GAS Conference in Chicago to be a speaker at the At Risk Glass forum. Outside SGS, he is currently the secretary of the board for the Southern Arizona Attraction’s Alliance. Today, Nick’s experience in public relations, story-telling, photography, graphic design, and social media helps advance Sonoran Glass School’s mission to inspire people of all ages to discover the wonder of glass art.

Virgil Jones

Virgil Jones, Administrative Assistant/Hot Shop Assistant:
Virgil was born in Indiana and grew up surrounded by the arts, originally studying dancing and ice skating. He found he was fascinated with the visual arts when he discovered glass as an artistic medium. Virgil first learned glassblowing techniques in the Spring of 2014 at Soverow Glass in Birmingham, Alabama. Since moving to Tucson and studying at Sonoran Glass School, Virgil has excelled as a glassblowing student and now teaches several beginning level classes. He is a regular assistant to intermediate and advanced classes as well as an instructor for Make-Your-Own-Glass-Art Experiences. Virgil has also been an assistant in SGS Visiting Artist Workshops, like Josh DeWall’s Faster, Thinner, Better workshop at Sonoran Glass School in February 2015.


Bronwen Heilman

Bronwen Heilman, Flame Shop Director: 
Since 1996, Bronwen has been working with glass and is an accomplished glass artist.  Her knowledge of flame-working is extensive and thorough and an innovator of style and techniques. Bronwen is exactly what the flame shop needs and we are very excited to include her as part of our family.

“I look forward to building on the schools successes and to work with the amazing Flame Shop instructors to enhance and expand the sense of community in the flame shop and across all disciplines of art glass.” –Heilman

Nan Charif

Nan Charif, Flame Shop Instructor:
Nan’s been a serious glass artist for nine years but became obsessed with glass art after her very first lesson. She started collecting beads and stringing them together 30 years ago, and her desire to create her own intricate beads drew her to making glass beads at a torch. She’s studied under the likes of Margaret Zinser, Bronwen Heilman, and Bandu Dunhum.  Nan is a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers and her work’s been published in glass art publications like Lammaga in Japan and the Flow Glass Art Quarterly here in the states.


Paul Anders-Stout

Paul Anders-Stout, Hot Shop Director:
Paul started working in glass in 1999 at Philabaum Glass Studio. Paul’s fascination with glass was immediate and intense. He benefited greatly from working with Tom, Tom’s team and the artists that Philabaum brought in for shows and demos. While working for Philabaum, Paul earned a Bachelors of Fine Art in sculpture from the University of Arizona, graduating in 2004. Paul did extensive traveling working in studios from Wisconsin to Australia.  His work can be found in private collections from Berlin to New York and Tucson to Seattle.

Jason Marstall

Jason Marstall, Hot Shop Instructor: 
Jason Marstall is a Hot Shop Instructor at SGS and an Assistant and Gaffer at Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio. Born in Tucson, Jason  began blowing glass in 2003 through a cooperative program between SGS and the University of Arizona. Today, he continues to build his repertoire of advanced skills in all glass disciplines.  Some awards and distinctions include the Arizona Designer Craftsman Award for Art in Craft Media (2006); An assistant to Laura Donefer and Jeff Mack for the Corning Museum of Glass Artist in Residency Program and 3rd Place in the 2013 Tucson Glass Festival. Jason’s perpetually evolving style is apparent in his diverse array of work, from studies in blown forms and figurative sculpture to fine Venetian goblets and large carved vessels. His quest for knowledge and technique in glass is an endless endeavor, and his work is often done in series in order to fully investigate, develop, experiment with a particular technique.

Alex Staff

Alexandria Young

Alexandria Young, Hot Shop/Flame Shop Assistant:
Alex has been drawing, painting and sculpting since she was a small child. Alex committed full-time to an artistic career after studying science and engineering at the University of Arizona. Her first class in glassmaking was at the Sonoran Glass School in January of 2015. Since then, she has explored every area of glass art with enthusiasm. Alex’s artistic range also includes metalworking, blacksmithing and bronze sculpture. She has her own flameworking and art studio just a stone’s throw from a burger and beer at Barrio Brewery.

Lexy Scott

Lexy Scott, Hot Shop Assistant:
After making the decision to pursue furnace glassblowing as a career, Lexy Scott packed her bags and moved to Tucson. She since has happily been blowing glass at SGS and is currently working towards her dream of becoming a traveling glassblower. Lexy currently studies Art Therapy at Pima Community College.



Alysa Phiel

Alysa Phiel, Warm Shop Director:
Alysa is a third generation glass artist and has over 20 years of experience in glass, teaching classes and creating custom work for private collections. In 2009, Alysa came to SGS to teach our fusing, mosaics, and stained glass classes. Alysa’s creativity knows no limits, ranging from intricate stained glass projects to Southwest- and ocean-themed mosaics and fused pieces. Her range of knowledge makes her a fantastic instructor for students looking to create any type of glass art in our Warm Shop.

Jane McClarren, Youth Education Coordinator and Warm Shop Instructor:
Jane enrolled in a Beginning Stained Glass class 9 years ago at Creations in Glass, and has expanded her glass work training and experience to include fusing and mosaics.  Jane taught a wide variety of jewelry classes, including beading, wire wrapping and polymer clay as a visiting instructor at SGS and joined the staff as a Warm Shop Instructor in 2012.  In addition to her role of teaching beginning glass classes and Youth Education classes, Jane is responsible for the coordination, scheduling, budgeting and curriculum for the Youth Education program.