(Last Updated On: April 21, 2017)

JoAnne Vernon

Sawtooth School for Visual Art is pleased to announce that two new funds have been established to honor the leadership and legacy of JoAnne Vernon, the School’s former Executive Director who stepped down at the end of last year due to health reasons.

  • The JoAnne Vernon Scholarship Fund for the Sawtooth School for Visual Art was established by Lorraine Fassett in her daughter’s name. This fund will provide need-based scholarships for children and adults to ensure that the lack of financial resources is not an obstacle to accessing Sawtooth’s visual art programs.
  • The JoAnne Vernon/Sawtooth School for Visual Art Endowment, maintained at the Winston-Salem Foundation, will enhance the School’s stability and create an ongoing source of future income as the endowment grows.

A frequent visitor to the City of Arts and Innovation from her Annapolis, MD home, Ms. Fassett was inspired by what she saw at Sawtooth and by daughter’s passion and efforts to break down barriers to visual art instruction. “From the beginning, JoAnne wholeheartedly championed Sawtooth’s mission and sought to expand the wonder of making art to those who might not  be able to have this experience due to lack of resources,” Fassett said. “I have been so blessed to have JoAnne for a daughter,” she added. “I saw through her eyes as well as my own the vibrancy of the work done at Sawtooth. It’s become a special place for me as well.”

Creating an endowment for the School has been an objective for Sawtooth’s Board of Directors for a while, according to Board Chair Elizabeth Repetti. “It’s a really sound way for non-profit organizations to plan and build resources for the future,” she said, adding that many philanthropists and donors favor endowments for planned giving. “As we discussed how to honor JoAnne for the incredible job she’s done in shaping Sawtooth and making it a tremendous resource for the entire community, this just seemed to be the perfect timing and an ideal way to pay homage to her.”

Additional information on these funds can be found on Sawtooth’s website at

Sawtooth School for Visual Art is the Piedmont Triad’s premier community visual art school, providing art education to artists and art lovers of all ages and skill levels.  A funded member of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, Sawtooth School is located in the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts at 251 N. Spruce Street in downtown Winston-Salem.  Additional information about the Sawtooth School can be found on-line at, or by calling (336) 723-7395.