Our Mission

Our mission is to use the arts to present a positive message about the LGBTQ community and provide opportunities for artist to contribute fully and openly to the cultural, social, and economic success of South Florida.

We produce programs and events that feature our member artists and promote the development of culturally diverse arts. We collaborate with other organizations in South Florida to maximize the cultural opportunities for our members and offerings for the general public.


Chuck Williams

Board President

Chuck Williams is a small business owner and avid photographer. He was one of the founding members of ArtsUnited back in 1999 and served as Treasurer and then President for more than 10 years. Chuck stepped away from the Board of Directors several years ago, so others would step up and contribute their energies and ideas. He returned last year and is currently active as a director, focusing on collaborations, exhibitions and expanding programming.

Denis Dean

Dennis Dean

Board Vice President

Dennis Dean, has been an ArtsUnited member since 1999 and currently serving as Vice President on the Board of the organization.
He is an award-winning and internationally known photographer. With over 30 published books of his works, he has had countless exhibitions from across the U.S. to the U.K. His photography is a staple of the Florida gay press and has been spotlighted in international magazines. Dennis brings over twenty years experience in creative direction, and fine art brand identity, strategy and development.

Richard Viola

Richard Viola

Board Director

Viola’s photography career has spanned more than 4 decades. While in college he worked part-time photographing children & families. After graduation he shot for several NY studios before opening his own successful portrait & wedding studio in 1987, which he had for 20 years.

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, he has been a Fort Lauderdale resident for 12 years. Most noted for his portrait work, Richard has always had a passion for landscape photography and has won numerous awards for his exquisite photographs. In the two years that Viola has been on the board of ArtsUnited he has helped grow its membership by over 150%.


Joseph Skarzynski

Board Secretary

Joseph Skarzynski moved to Fort Lauderdale eight years ago after retiring as a Chief Medical Officer in the public health system in New York City. In this role he managed the quality of care afforded our patients in two hospitals. This included the oversight of 400 physicians and the assurance of continued communication with the entire healthcare team and the oversight authorities. Subsequently he was recruited by an international oversight commission to share this experience as a physician consultant traveling worldwide to help assure the quality of care administered to patients.

During these travels he saw many fascinating things and found that worldwide we all want peace, health and love. His hope is that art and organizations like ArtsUnited will bring some moments of joy to all of us during these trying times. Personally, he has been doing his part working with the bright colors of alcohol inks in his own works.

Rosaria Vigorito

Board Director

Rosaria is an Italian-American, a lesbian, a retired NY lawyer and law librarian professor, and an ovarian cancer survivor, but her calling is that of an artist. She rediscovered her childhood passion for art as an adult, which she calls her second coming out. She feels indebted to the amazing artists she studied with in NYC, including those from the NY Academy of Figurative Arts, where she received an MFA.

Her works include the female nude, issues of androgyny, sexuality and gender, LGBT matters, and, when doing portraiture, the psychological and spiritual inner workings. Influenced by the masters of the past, in particular Picasso, with his constant reinvention and bold experimentation of media and color, and Egon Schiele, with his raw, emotional and expressive use of the line, Rosaria constantly challenges herself by using and combining different media and techniques to express my themes.

Robert Figueroa-Peggs

Board Director

Born in Cuba, Robert grew up in 1970s Miami. In 1982 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of working in the film industry. After the 1991 AIDS-related death of his domestic partner, he switched careers from the film industry to full time photography. His passions were documenting gay pride events and photographing the nude male body. A few years later he returned to Miami. Being a self-taught photographer presented some challenges, especially after the digital revolution. Robert returned to school, receiving a Photographic Technology degree from Miami Dade College and a B.F.A. in Art from Florida International University in 2014.

Robert now lives in Fort Lauderdale after meeting and falling in love with his husband, Anthony Peggs of Peggs Designs, a home remodeling company.

Ornella Verano

Board Director

Ornella Verano migrated to South Florida when she was 14 years old, dedicating most of her time to academics and eventually obtaining her Doctorate of Pharmacy.  After serving her community for nearly a decade, in May of 2021, Ornella left the medical field to devote herself to the arts full time.

As a self taught artist, much of her recent work reflects the current political, social, and cultural events as seen through her experiences and passion to explore an unheard perspective. She believes art can be therapeutic and, as Picasso once said, it can “wash the dust of daily life off our souls.” This belief drives her to continue to help her community through a different approach, art. Having lived in Fort Lauderdale for over 20 years, she is motivated to continue to serve and contribute to the growth and success of her beloved hometown.

Suzanne Barton

Board Director

Suzanne Barton has been a South Florida professional photographer since 1985. Her Underwater Photographic Fine Art has been commissioned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, with current gallery representation in South Carolina, Ohio, and Florida. Suzanne’s art has been celebrated in 4 solo exhibitions, 71 juried exhibitions, 9 publications and has garnered 11 awards. Her more recent experimentation with acrylics and alcohol inks has led to a new mixed media Mythical Maiden underwater series.

Suzanne brings extensive experience, having served on the Boards of Glam-a-thon and AJC Children’s Foundation. Suzanne also shares her time and talents with Heart Gallery, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Broward County Humane Society, Flashes of Hope, and Symphony of the Americas.

Stay tuned with all of ArtsUnited exhibits, events, call for artists and more!

Sign Up To Our Newsletter