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Museum of Friends

Visit MOF to discover the Art History of Southern Colorado. The first museum of Counter Culture Art in the US presents socially engaged programs to the community and visitors from Colorado. MOF is housed in the Historic Roof and Dick Building built over 100 years ago and is currently restoring it.

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Evan Ksander, Audio Visual Media Director
Start Date: 2019

Evan Ksander has worked with MoF since the fall of 2019 on videography, recording, photography and web programming as a volunteer with the Fox Theatre to help with the GALA Fundraiser to "Save the Roof and Dick Building" Phase 2. Currently, he is a part-time staff member and coordinated with volunteer Valarie Abney to launch the virtual audio/visual tour on MoF's website. He is working on documenting the permanent collection to interface it with the collections' management tool "Collectrium." Evan is a Walsenburg native with a deep love for technology. He was homeschooled from a young age, and attended MoF's children's art classes with his sister. He also developed a love for video games. Despite his love for games, his parents didn't own any gaming-level hardware, so Evan built his own computer. Numerous RAM sticks and graphics cards later, it was clear that engineering was the primary path for Evan. He has worked with the Fox Theatre since 2016, managing the stage and projection booth.

Claudia Trujillo, Curatorial Assistant
Start Date: 2020

Claudia is a Native Walsenburgian. She began working at MoF as a volunteer and really enjoyed the atmosphere. Claudia has extremely good people skills, office skills and very interested in learning about museum work. Just in the few weeks she has been with us she has helped immeasurably and has become an integral part of the team.

Jane St. Lifer, Special Projects Coordinator
Start Date: 2015

Jane St. Lifer has a BFA from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY and an MA from New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ. She and Maria met as undergrad students at Syracuse University in the Art History Department. Jane began working with MoF as the Special Projects Coordinator in 2015 to help produce a Western Art Sale to raise money for MoF. This was held in November 2019 and was very successful. She coordinates art donations from living artists and from collections going through the de-accession process. She arranged the donations from contemporary artists: Monroe Hodder; Liz Whitney Quisgard; Janet Fish's; and Alice Neel's collections.

Currently Jane is working with Evan Ksander to complete the permanent collection data base in the collection management tool "Collectrium."

Jane started her career in the late 1970s, in Western American Art with Trailside Galleries in Jackson, WY and later the Scottsdale, AZ location. She returned to New York City to work with 20th century prints and ran the LeRoy Neiman department at the Hammer Galleries. In the mid-1980s, she became involved in the Impressionist market at Gallery Urban, New York, NY and Tokyo, Japan. In 1988 she established her firm in her hometown of Summit, NJ and then moved to the Financial District in Lower Manhattan. In 2008, she was the Production Coordinator for the Will Barnet Catalogue Raisonnè of Prints, 1931-2005.

She is a member of the American Society of Appraisers, International Foundation of Art Research, Auctioneers Association Inc, National Arts Club.

Michelle Tschetter, Graphic Arts and Web Designer
Start Date: 2019

Michelle began as a volunteer for the November GALA Fundraiser in 2019. She is currently working part-time in marketing, advertising, website development / maintenance and social media marketing for MoF. Michelle is the owner, art director, designer and coordinator with Zooma Design, which has been based in Colorado for over 20 years. Michelle's background in advertising and web development agencies
was crafted over several years in South Dakota and Colorado, serving several businesses, medical and non-profit clients.

Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger, Executive Director
Start Date: 2018

Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger has a BA in Art History from Syracuse University, an MS in Art Education, and an MFA both from CUNY at Queens College. She co-founded the Museum of Friends in 2007, and began planning it from 2005. Her current position is Executive Director. Currently she is focused as Director of the Capital Campaign Project., Development and Public Education. She is a seasoned museum professional, having begun her career in 1987 at the Queens Museum in the Education department. Her previous position was with the Research Department of City University as the Chief Curator of Collections for the Italian American Museum in New York. In the recent past she was the Curator of Education and Curator of the Art Mobile for the University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie. As a child she attended the Brooklyn Museum Children's Art Atelier when her life long love of the arts began and she discovered how the experience of art and architecture could transform one's life. Maria enjoys sharing the art experience with young people no matter what their income, skill, or educational background. As an art and museum educator she has been involved with "Learning to Read Through the Arts," "Accessible Arts." "Discipline Based Art Education and the Getty Model," The Kauffman Foundation and the Council of Michigan Foundation's K-12 Education in Philanthropy Project "Teaching Voluntary Action for the Common Good." Today, Maria uses methods that are modeled from these best practices and learned teaching skills to focus on STEAM.
In Walsenburg, and for MOF she continues to advocate for responsible community planning, equity for increased educational opportunities. In 2014, she served on the steering committee for the CRC's Rural Philanthropy Days. During those meetings she discovered the power of Historic Preservation and how to leverage the importance of the Roof and Dick Buidling to the local community and economic development with History Colorado. "Made in Walsenburg - Art, Thrift and Gift" Shop was designed around that same period with RPD meeting discussions and as a direct response to audience evaluations and focus groups' wishes to show case their craft and art work while creating jobs in the creative industries. The shop helps raise funds for the Museum's annual operating budget.

Carl Brendt Berger, President of the Board of Director
Start Date: 2007

Brendt Berger has a BFA in Fine Arts, from the University of Hawaii. He is a practicing artist, printmaker and arts educator. He co-founded the Museum of Friends in 2007, and began planning it from 2005. His current role is CEO, Curator and Publicity and Media Relations Director. For the last three years he has focused his attention to the historic preservation of the "Roof and Dick" building and currently the capital campaign. He has a background in community organizing and grass roots arts organizations. Before moving to Colorado he served as a community activist in Red Hook, Brooklyn. There, he was in vanguard with artists who helped to develop and have a positive economic effect on that Brooklyn, neighborhood through the arts. He helped found the Sun Spot, in Eastport Maine in 1970. In 1976, as the co-founder of the Organization of Independent Artists, he helped to place art by contemporary artists in Federal buildings in New York and Washington, D.C., thereby helping to give them opportunities. His work with the Museum of Friends centers on strengthening the community of Walsenburg, and giving hope to families and youth who have made the Museum a part of their lives. The new "Art Thrift and Gift Shop" is the result of answering the need for economic opportunities that did not exist for artists and youth interested in alternate ways of making a living, i.e. the arts or entrepreneurship. Brendt is also overseeing the capital improvement plan as he has worked in the building renovation field throughout his long career.


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Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.