Arts commission members:
Alex is a Materials Science professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from upstate NY, Alex moved to College Park to pursue his Ph.D. in Materials Science in 2009. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the U.S. Naval Research Lab, he returned to UMD in 2019. His research focuses on thin film materials development for solid state batteries using atomic layer deposition, pushing the physical scaling limits of electrochemical systems leading to safer, higher performance batteries. Alex moved to Mt. Rainier in 2016 with his wife Jen and two cats Pickles and Beta. Over the past 10 years Alex been active in the DMV DIY music scene, playing with The Maida Vale, Show Pony, BRNDA, and currently Sneaksbees.
Joe Hicks maintains the appointment of Associate Professor of Fine Art at Marymount University in Arlington, VA. There, he developed and continues to grow the ceramics and 3D design program in the Department of Fine Arts, including the establishment of a ceramics minor in 2016. Joe retains a serious commitment to producing high quality ceramic vessels and functional pottery, and has exclusively focused on experimenting with shino glazes for more than a decade. He participates in exhibitions and craft shows on regional and national levels, leads workshops focusing on his research of carbon trap shino glazes and firing techniques, and enjoys building constructive relationships throughout the artist community.
Valerie graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she majored in painting and drawing. She moved to China to study the Chinese language and Chinese painting. She received a certificate in Chinese painting in 1992. Her art career took her to Hong Kong where she apprenticed with a British company and specialized in the art of mosaics. While in Hong Kong Valerie studied Asian culture and obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1999. Valerie has worked on projects in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, India, and the United States. She currently works in her studio located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Shahin Talishkhan graduated from Azerbaijan State Art College in 1986. Participant in numerous National and International exhibitions and symposia. Shahin has been recipient of the grants from organizations such as the Arts and Humanities Councils of Washington DC and Prince George's County. His paintings are part of public collections in Baku, Azerbaijan and Washington DC, as well as private collections worldwide. Shahin teaches at The Smithsonian Associates and maintains a studio in the Mount Rainier, MD