Kenneth Wampler, M.A., M.S.W., Founder and Executive Director
Ken founded The Alpha Workshops in 1995, after a decade working with the AIDS Resource Center helping to develop the nation’s first housing program for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. In the ten years prior to that he was a decorative painter, working with interior design firms; Parish-Hadley, Georgina Fairholme, and Renny Saltzman; fashion designer Mary McFadden; and theater companies, among them the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. The 1997 recipient of the Diego Lopez AIDS Service Award, NYC Chapter, National Association of Social Workers, Ken holds an M.S.W. from the Hunter College School of Social Work, an MA in acting and directing from the University of Pittsburgh, and a certificate in acting from The Drama Studio, London. As Executive Director, Ken oversees all of Alpha’s operations, including training and employment, administration, funding, sales and marketing, business management, and board development.
Randi Barr, M.A., School Administrator
Randi is a decorative arts professional of 20+ years, having run her own decorative painting business and whose work has been seen in the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House. She is a graduate of the Masters Program in the History of the Decorative Arts at New York City’s Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts. She was Founder and Director of DesignRebuild, an event-driven not-for profit using interior design to help revitalize lower Manhattan after 2001. Randi is responsible of administration of the school’s programs, as well as intake and placement.
Carla E. Reyes, M.A., Decorative Arts Instructor
Carla is a professional fine artist, decorative artisan, and art educator, with 15 years of experience in the field. She received her MA in Art Education from CUNY City College of New York, and her BFA in Restoration and Fine Arts from SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC. She has worked on a wide range of artistic projects including painting sets for off-Broadway and regional theaters, and designing and installing decorative wall finishes and murals for residential and commercial interiors. She is also a gallery-represented painter and mixed-media artist. In addition to her artistic work, she has taught fine and decorative arts to students and colleagues ranging in age and skill level, in a variety of settings including public schools, community centers, grant-funded workshops, healthcare facilities, museums, galleries, vocational programs, and artisan studios.
Barry Axtell, Senior Artist/Project Manager – Wallpaper Studio
After 25 years of working in decorative art and scenic design for film, television and theatre, Barry, a three-time Emmy Award nominee for art direction, joined Alpha in 2002. In addition to creating designs for Alpha’s collection of hand-painted, stamped, and stenciled wallpapers, he manages the production and fulfillment of all wallpaper orders. His theater credits include the sets for Off Broadway’s Nunsense, as well nearly a decade of design for Guiding Light, the longest running drama in television and radio history. Barry holds a B.F.A. in Theatrical Design from Northern Arizona University.
Edward Farrell, Project Manager/Trainer
Edward joined Alpha in 1999 after 13 years of professional experience in New York City fine art and restoration studios. As assistant to renowned artist Richard Haas, he spent four years building architectural models, drawing and painting maquettes, and executing and installing exterior and interior murals. He has gilded contemporary sculptures for exhibition in museums and galleries around the world and restored frames, sculptures, furniture, antiquities, and art objects for collectors, dealers, auction houses, and galleries in New York City. At Alpha, he oversees finishes and gilding on surfaces, furniture, and lamps as well as Alpha’s Design/Build projects. Ed holds a B.A. in Studio Art from Brown University.
Russell Van Peterson, Project Manager/Trainer
Employed at the Alpha design studio since 1996, Russell manages Alpha’s off-site commissions for custom work and large-scale interior treatments. With 25 years of work in the decorative arts as a free-lance decorative artist with private and commercial clients, Russell has also worked as a decorative artist for General Patina and Morningstar Studios, a custom wallpaper studio. In the mid 1980s he was Assistant Art and Display Director at Fiorucci, where he painted and installed murals and silk-screened and hand-painted store windows. His specialties include faux finishes, Venetian plastering, and decorative wall treatments. He holds B.A.s in Fine Arts from Westminster College and University of Utah.