board members

Jane Altman, Founder & Executive Director

Jane has a history of making history.  As an artist she is written in the antique journals as formative artist for Libby Glass Division in Mt Pleasant, Pa.  In the antique world she began a symposium that was later enveloped by the Southern California Collector Conference as a foundation to educate novice buyers on forgeries.  As home and building restoration specialist, she was featured on HGTV for West Coast renovations and gave back to her Pennsylvania hometown by restoring the town’s most prominent blight (on the town’s square).  In the fashion industry she introduced futuristic printing process and helped innovate the technology as needed to be utilized in the fashion industry. Jane has also been a business advisor and influencer for a broad range of industries and school related committees, veterans advocate.  Graduate of Art Institute of Pittsburgh and University of Utah.

Ruth Bisko, Vice-President

Long time member of Westmoreland Federation of Republican Women, holding an MBA, CRNA, BSN. Full time health care professional for 32 years. Graduate of Yough Sr High School. Committed to community growth and sustainability through many years of volunteerism. Ruth’s attraction and passion for the development of River Art Works is seeing the region she lives in
grow to its’ full potential. Because her family is involved in the arts, she is especially attracted to the idea that the growth come through the arts.

Roberta Pfeiffer Altman, Secretary & Legal Counsel

Roberta is most known in the Pittsburgh region as lawyer for Commonwealth in the Department of Labor and Industry and Education Director for the Allegheny Legal Institute. Roberta has also served as a business teacher in high schools, proprietary business schools, and in colleges in PA, WV, TN, and OH.  Her volunteer time includes acting as legal counsel for the Tea Party and Pregnancy Crisis Center. Her work history also includes entrepreneurial endeavors. 


Roberta has agreed to join the River Art Works board because, "I think River Art Works has the ability to help Smithton revitalize as a thriving arts community under Jane’s direction."

Doug Chew, Treasurer

Commissioner Douglas W. Chew joined the River Art Works Board of Directors as Treasurer in December 2019. A Hempfield Area High School and University of Pittsburgh graduate, Doug also worked at the University of Pittsburgh as a faculty member for 26 years.  As educator, Doug wrote grants, taught biochemistry, spearheaded research, and published over 50 peer- reviewed scientific pieces. Doug is most proud of his 1999 Chancellor’s Distinguished Public
Service Award his volunteer work bringing advanced DNA experiments to local high schools.  He served one term as auditor in Hempfield Township and elected twice as Chairman of District 5 of the Westmoreland County Republican Committee.  Doug feels that the arts are what separates humans from the other animals; he brings a strong passion for music and all manner of arts to the Board.

Laura Johnson, Trustee

Laura is widely recognized in the regional community not only as a dedicated volunteer, but as a fitness industry leader.  Laura has been trained extensively in all forms of dance. She is the 2015 dance instructor of the year and a competitive dance champion.  Laura has been, and continues to be, a vital part of many community and regional fundraisers throughout her adult life.

Jonathan Donald, Trustee

QC-QA Technician / Architectural Designer: Donaldson Design & Illustration, Fort Myers, FL

Education: Associates Degree, Art Institute of Pittsburgh Industrial Design

Avocations: Character Performances at a large number of events and conventions

Mohammad Hassibi, Trustee

Retired Engineer: 1962-1975 Plant Engineer, Herbick and Held Printing Company, Pittsburgh

1975- 2016 Chemco Systems LLC Sr. Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Born: Tehran, Iran, Naturalized US citizen

Education: Graduated Tehran University, Mechanical Engineering
Graduated Carnegie Tech University, Pittsburgh PA (now Carnegie Mellon)
Degree in Graphic Arts, Printing Management and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (presently), Stained Glass and Woodworking

Co-founder: Pittsburgh Art in the Park

Avocations: Ceramics, exhibited Three Rivers Arts Festival and taught at Carnegie Museum Adult Education, member SW PA Woodworkers Association

Exhibited:  Three Rivers Arts Festival, Fair in the Park, Pittsburgh
Presently living on 100 acres in Fayette County Pennsylvania

Alice A. Hassibi, Trustee

Retired Art Educator: Art Teacher Brownsville Area School District, Brownsville, PA
Assistant Principal,  Jefferson Morgan School District,  Jefferson, PA

Born: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: Graduated Edinboro State College: Degree in Art Education, Grades K-12.
Masters Degree in School Administration, California University of Pennsylvania

Avocations: Batik and Fiber Arts, mainly quilting, taught Batik at Carnegie Museum Adult Education.

Exhibited at: Three Rivers Arts Festival, Exhibited at Fair in the Park, Pittsburgh
Presently living on 100 acres in Fayette County, PA

board members

Jane Altman
Founder & Executive Director
Ruth Bisko
Jonathan Donald
Laura Johnson
Roberta Pfeiffer Altman
Secretary & Legal Counsel
Doug Chew
Alice A. Hassibi
Mohammad Hassibi

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