Laura is responsible for leading the artistic and business development at VAA. Laura has been working in the Fine Arts sector since 2012 and is a founder of the VAA. Presently, Director of the Visual Art Open Prize and Chester Arts Fair, Laura has a wealth of experience in managing relationships with artists and understanding their needs. Laura has an extensive network including arts organisations, galleries, publishers and commercial partners. Laura has helped hundreds of artists figure out how to thrive at all stages of their fine art careers. Prior to working in the arts industry, Laura was a solicitor specialising in Employment Law for over 15 years.
Shirley-Ann is a founder at VAA and responsible marketing communications and online training at VAA. She has over 20 years’ experience in Marketing & Distribution, with full Chartership at CIM and holds an MA Marketing. She is experienced in digital content and live communications across the UK and internationally. Her background in Arts marketing and partnerships leads her commitment to ensuring that artists can develop the essential business skills to succeed. Shirley-Ann has worked in senior positions for a wide range of organisations, including the University of South Wales, British Airways and Black Mango Art.
Content Creator & Writer
Nadine Smith is responsible for writing and creating content at the VAA. Nadine has previous experience generating content in commercial and creative environments. She has a First Class degree in English Literature and Fine Art from the University of Chester. In her own practice, Nadine explores oil painting, illustration, and photography.
Karen van Hoey-Smith
Karen is an Artist Manager, Fine Art Auctioneer and Consultant Expert with a Degree in Fine Art Evaluation, previously working as a Gallery Manager for Blue Dot Art & Whitewall Galleries – in addition to this was she was also a partner of White Rose Publishing. With a successful history working as an Art Broker, having sold pieces for the likes of Banksy, Karen found that she was representing and helping Artists on a regular basis achieve more sales and reaching their goals. Now she has joined forces with The VAA as our Artists Mentor.
Marketing & Events Coordinator
Susie is responsible for managing and monitoring the company’s Social media strategy in order to increase our brand awareness. Susie has a 1st class degree in Event Management and over 10 year experience in the event industry. She is also currently studying CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Digital Marketing.
Art Membership Administration Assistant
Originally from South Africa and now based in Chester; Louise followed her passion for art early on, attending Art School for 4 years and going on to achieve a degree in education. Louise brings over 6 years’ experience in the art industry, from art auctions all over the world to working with one of the largest publishers in the UK with Whitewall Galleries. Louise has helped clients from all walks of life get happily involved in collecting artwork, from not only the likes of Picasso and Miro, but also exciting up-and-comers at all stages in their art careers.
Art Membership Administration Assistant
Sam Cordery assists in the management of the company’s membership administration activities (registrations, invoicing, and general queries). Sam has a Masters degree in fine art from Manchester Metropolitan University and a First Class degree in Fine Art from the University of Chester. In her own practice, Sam creates photorealistic oil paintings that explore the relationship between painting and photography. Sam also has many years’ experience working in administration, customer service, and sales.
Junior Graphic Designer
Joined us as an intern in June 2020 and is part of our team responsible for designing brochures, marketing adverts and branded documents
Final Year student at Loughborough University studying Graphic Communication and Illustration
In her own practice Rachel enjoys incorporating acrylic paints and inks to design backgrounds and layered patterns for her graphic design and illustration material.