Project Team

To complete a project of this magnitude it takes more than just know how. It takes passion, curiosity, enthusiasm, and determination to make sure the project is not only completed on time, but also that the paintings themselves are produced as accurately as possible. This means more than just the imagery being reproduced correctly. The preparation, color, and paint application are just as important to creating a final product that is truly created to the highest level of accuracy possible with the information available. Rick and Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio have put together a team of ten individuals who will be responsible for the completion of the paintings and sharing their knowledge and skills on the subject with students and volunteers from all over the world, with the majority of them coming from the United States and Poland. The team was selected for their variety in skill sets and experience with Handshouse Studio. So meet the team!

Rick Brown
is President of Handshouse Studio, Inc., and, since 1983, professor of sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art. He received a Master of Architecture in 1987 from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a Master of Fine Arts from Washington University School of Fine Arts, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Massachusetts Artists Foundation Finalists Grant for Sculpture, Massachusetts Artists Foundation Finalists Grant for Environmental Design, the National Endowment for the Arts Funding for Sculpture Installation (Decordova Museum Lincoln, Mass.), a Ford Foundation Grant, and the Goldsmith Award, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, Tenn.
His professional activities generally involve doing, then teaching and lecturing about what he has learned. For example, after participating in the research of ancient Egyptian methods for raising an obelisk along with his partner, Laura, they both developed the design of scale models and a plan for a team of volunteers to successfully raise a huge granite obelisk in Chelmsford, Mass. This successful project was made into a PBS documentary. He and Laura lectured and toured the country demonstrating those models at the Boston Museum of Science, the Children's Museum of Manhattan, the University of Puget Sound, and Oberlin College.

Laura Brown
is Rick Brown's partner in every sense of that word, as well as an educator, sculptor, artist, & builder in her own right. With degrees in Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art & the University of Massachusetts, Laura was a member of the 3D Department at Mass Art from 1996 to 2002. During that time, she served as Curator for an outdoor sculpture exhibition for the City of Boston's ParkARTS program located in twelve parks throughout the city and the Boston Common for First Night 2000. She has traveled & lectured extensively on her wide variety of interests. Among her skills are exhibition design & installation, architectural design & building, woodworking, foundry, welding, earth technology, concrete, paper making & photography.

Marie Brown
Jason Bashaw
 I grew up on the north shore of Massachusetts in Byfield. This past spring I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a focus in sculpture. It was at Mass Art that I met Rick and Laura Brown and got involved with Handshouse studios. With Handshouse I’ve worked on the reconstruction of a traditional polish bell tower, the building of the Gwozdziec Roof structure and painting the Gwozdziec ceiling. I am a woodworker, ceramicist and a painter.

                                    Rashin Fahandej

Nick Farnham
I'm originally from Vermont. I graduated from MassArt in 2009 in Sculpture. I am currently the project coordinator/ mentoring artist in the Sculpture department at Artists for Humanity, a non-profit in Boston that employs at risk youth with jobs in the arts.
I've been involved with Handshouse since 2006 when I first took the Historic Wall Painting class. In 2007 I traveled to Poland with Handshouse to document churches of the same era as Gwozdzeic and learn timber framing in the Czech Republic. Since then I've helped construct a scale model of the synagogue, attended related workshops and T.A.ed a 2 week painting workshop at Oberlin college in OH. I am excited and honored to be here helping make this happen. 

Krista Lima
I'm a 2008 MassArt Alum from the Sculpture department originally from Dartmouth, Massachusetts and I've been involved in this project for 5 years. I was first introduced to this project through the Bimah reconstruction class during my sophomore year. I was hooked by my interest in history, espeically that of WWII, and the chance to recreate a piece of art that had been destroyed with such thoughtlessness. I then took part in the painting classes and other Handshouse projects throughout the rest of my undergraduate education and continued after my graduation as a teaching assistant for one of the final painting classes. I was also fortunate enough to travel to Poland with Rick, Laura, and a group of fellow students during the summer of 2007 to help research wooden architecture and wall paintings of the same time period as the Gwozdiec Synagogue, as well as help out at a timber framing site in the Czech Republic. This summer I have had the chance to not only be at leader on the painting team but was also able to participate in the last session of the timber framing portion in Sanok, Poland earlier in the summer. I am extremely excited and looking forward to all we will accomplish during the last part of this summer. When I'm not making history here in Poland you can find me in the mountains of northern New Hampshire working as a snowboard instructor.

Jason Loik
Through HandsHouse Studio I've helped build a verity of historical wooden objects. Many of those are through the synagogue projects I started working on 8 years ago. I've helped recreate a life-size replica of the Gwozdziec bimah, a 5 foot model of the Zabludow Synagogue, and I worked as a teaching assistant for the ceiling painting class. I've also traveled to Poland to research and document sacred wooden structures from the 17th century. In school my concentration was figurative sculpture in both my MFA from The University of Washington and my BFA from Massachusetts College of Art & Design. In my day to day life I am a full time toy sculptor. I create the original prototypes for children's action figures. I also have 1 dog, 2 cats and 5 fish.

 Cailigh MacDonald
Im currently a student at MassArt going into my last year. I am Double Majoring in Sculpture & Industrial Design. I first got involved with the Browns and Handshouse in 2008 when I took a Rick's section of a beginning woodworking class. After that I traveled with the Browns to Poland & Ukraine in the summer of 2009 to document 17th century wooden churches and architecture. Since then I have participated in several Handshouse projects including shingling the Gwozdziec Synagogue Model, both semesters of the Bell Tower Project, & was an instructor for a painting workshop held at the University of Georgia this Spring. I was first exposed to the painting project in High School through the High School Project. When I am not working on a Handshouse project I mainly work with metals, but really, I love it all. I love learning and am excited & very grateful to be able to share this experience.

Case Randall
Case Randall graduated from MassArt's sculpture department in 2006. She became involved with the Gwozdziec Synagogue project six years ago as part of the first Lost Historic Wall Painting class. She later co-taught a winter session course at Oberlin College on the subject. Case currently is employed as a conservation technician with a focus in bronze sculpture, and as a jeweler. She maintains a sculpture studio in Somerville, MA.

Ariel Rosenblum
Ariel Rosenblum is a feltmaker and arts educator. She graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in 2010 a double major in Art Education and Fibers. Ariel first became involved in the Gwozdziec Synagogue Replication project in 2007 when she took the Lost Historic Wall painting course. In 2009 she traveled to Poland and Ukraine to study polychrome paintings in wooden churches. Ariel currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and teaches in several elementary and middle schools. 

Emily White