Paula Bernstein, Executive Director

Paula Fidurko Bernstein is a life-long Olean resident who lives with her husband and two rescue dogs, Bear and Colt, and rescue cat, Kitty Mouse. She is known for giving her personal involvement, time, talent, and leadership to a variety of community causes and non-profit organizations. For most of her life, Paula has volunteered her time, energy, skills, and talent to the Olean community, she credits her father David Fidurko, who pass in July of 2023 and her mother, Penny Ethridge Fidurko, who passed in December of 2022, for instilling the need to be kind to other and serve your community as you would like them to serve you. Since 2018, Paula has served on the Genesis House of Olean board as Co-Chair of Fundraising Committee and Chair of Public Image/Social Media. She is on the Friends of the Library Board, Olean Music Boosters as Chair of Public Image/Social Media/Vice President of Board and starting the year she is now serving on the board of the Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce. Paula is serving her third year as President of the Rotary Club of Olean and will be president next year as well. Paula is also the Area Govern for Area 15 for Rotary District 7090 as she takes care of district business for the Olean and Ellicottville clubs. Paula is grateful for the opportunity to support the rural communities she loves through the usage of public art and her service with the Tri-County Arts Council. “I hope to be able to build on TCAC’s success and make the organization as inclusive as possible for artists of all genres in all three counties," she said.

Mikel Wintermantel, Executive Director Emeritus

Mikel Wintermantel is a nationally recognized Copley Master artist and unwavering supporter of the regional arts scene. He was also a local businessman in partnership with his brothers at Studio 4 East Screenprinting for over 40 years. He has been an integral part of the Arts Council since its inception. After the Olean Arts Association dissolved in the early 80's, Wintermantel held informal meetings with area artists and musicians in his studio on a monthly basis for years. He is driven to build the Tri-County Arts Council into the thriving, vibrant community of creatives across the southern tier of NYS. His work and CV can be seen here:

Sean Huntington, Exhibitions Coordinator & Media Development

Nemophilist : \Ne*moph"i*list\, n. One who is fond of forest or forest scenery; a haunter of the woods. Sean Huntington grew up in Derrick City Pennsylvania just outside the Allegheny National Forest. Being surrounded by woodlands in an unpopulated area caused an initial lack of social skills but created an intense interest in the natural world. He maintains a studio in Western New York state where he does his best impression of a big and tall version of Bob Ross . Most days Sean can be found there, unless on the road to one of many art festivals around the United States.

Geraldine Nash Smith, Ceramics Studio Director

Geraldine Nash Smith received her BS in Studio Art from Nazareth College of Rochester and her MFA in Ceramics from the School of American Craft at Rochester Institute of Technology. Geraldine has been teaching for over 30 years, ceramics and sculpture have been her main areas of instruction, but she has also taught design, drawing, painting and printmaking. Her students have ranged from kindergarteners to young 78-year olds. Locally, she has taught at Olean JCC, Empire State College, St. Bonaventure University, and Archbishop Walsh/ Southern Tier Schools. She lives in Olean with her husband Michael, they have two adult children, and they have one teenage daughter at home.

Allison Braun, Education Coordinator

Allison Braun is an artist, designer and maker. She has worked closely with many artist estates and has designed props for television, movies and commercials. Her background is in printmaking but she loves to explore different mediums. Community and creativity are very important to her, so she started an organization in 2018 that taught people self-expression through creative thinking. They held many workshops and two festivals. In 2020 she moved to Allegany, NY and is very excited to be working with the Tri-County Arts Council.

Christian Riethmiller, Administrative Assistant and Marketing Coordinator

Christian is a undergraduate student at St. Bonaventure University, where he is studying to get his Bachelors in Business with a major in Finance. Initially from the Washington D.C. area, he moved to Randolph, NY during the latter half of high school. He loves running, a former track athlete in high school and at the college level. Christian also has interests in marketing and advertising, where he is excited to be a member team at the Tri-County Arts Council.

Violet Nolder, Studio Assistance and Front Desk

Violet is currently a student at JCC in Olean. Her major is in Business with a minor in Art. She loves all art mediums but is very passionate about ceramics. In the future, she aspires to be an entrepreneur making and selling her own ceramic works. She is excited to be working and making connections with the Tri County Arts Council.

Sherri Geary, Artisan Market Manager and Front Desk

Sherri Geary began here in November 2021 to support the Tri-County Arts Council mission, interact with and meet regional artists while gaining the opportunity to acquire experience in the area of art and gallery management. She had this to say, “I really enjoy working with the staff at Arts Council, they are sincerely dedicated to the mission of the council and a great group of folks to work with”. Sherri Geary retired in 2021 as Vice President of Project Development, for Erie County Redevelopment Authority with several decades of Economic Development experience in several rural communities. As a painter, she considers herself a life-long learner, working with ideas and materials that speak to her, and her finished compositions reflect her love of life and passion for creating. So, go ahead and give her a warm “hello” from the Tri-County Arts Council community!