Monica Leap – Founder, Chief Mudslinger
The Story: From our family to your family.
I have been throwing on the pottery wheel since 2003, and have not stopped since then. I have a BFA in Ceramic Arts from Syracuse University, with a minor in Entrepreneurship and hold a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. I’ve attended workshops, classes, and have worked at art centers around the country, and spent a year as a winter resident at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.
I like pottery, dancing, music, traveling, new experiences and sharing new experiences with other people. (That’s what Studio 550 is all about!)
Studio 550 is the realization of my family’s dream. My parents fled a war-stricken communist Cambodia in the 1980s. They started their lives over, with no money, no language comprehension, and a son not even a year old, in hopes of a better life for their children. As a first generation American, I’ve grown up with a desire to build communities in hopes that people would not feel the need to leave. As a studio potter and dancer, art has become the way I create community.
I can never thank my parents enough for giving me the opportunity to bring Studio 550 to life. If it were not for their courage and sacrifice, I would not be here. With that said, thank you for taking time out of your busy life to become a part of this community. I hope the Studio gives you a chance to play like a kid again, and it gives you a chance to realize that you are a wonderfully creative individual.
See you in the studio!
Sarah Nieman – Organizer of all things
I’m Sarah, a graduate of the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and a lover of life.
I am currently located near Concord, NH. I love to travel; Iceland is my favorite place and some day I hope to end up in Portland, OR. On a typical Friday night I can be found watching Netflix, maybe baking some oreo stuffed cookies or making oven baked fries. I love to laugh and smile. I create a lot in my spare time and even started a bath product business. I’m a total dog and baby person and love all cute things. I drink tea over coffee and am the pickiest eater you will ever meet. I will also do anything to make you happy. I love love. Photographing small, casual, homemade weddings are my absolute favorite. Learn more on my website.
Nabeela Washington – Marketing Maverick
From The South to New England, NaBeela is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham & holds a BA in Visual Advertising. She is a proud small business owner and enjoys helping other businesses and non-profits succeed by crafting unique branding and marketing strategies. When she’s not immersed in the community, counting characters, or trying to figure out what inspires others, you can find her binge-watching advertisements, exploring The Greater Boston & New Hampshire area, cooking Southern staples, painting, writing poetry, or taking photographs.
Becky Smith – Studio Assistant
Becky is a graduate of the NHIA with a BFA in Ceramics. She loves cats, pottery, Game of Thrones, and is currently on a mission towards a trash-free lifestyle.
Katherine Karas – Front Desk Operations & Kids Classes
Kate obtained a bachelors degree from Miami University in Art Education (ages 3-12). She has taught in Boston, the NH Seacoast, and at a Montessori school in Manchester. Just prior to coming to Studio 550, she her and partner opened up a tattoo shop on Elm St. She enjoys yoga, making art, seeing live music, cooking, her dog, and travel. She looks forward to working with your family teaching children’s art classes and helping out at the front desk!