Art Connects Staff and Board of Directors
Stuart Anthony was the Associate Director of Exit Art for 13 years. He guided the organization’s expansion to a multi-media art center that produced and presented exhibitions, artist projects, performances, and media programs. Stuart was responsible for the project planning and development for over 50 exhibitions, media programs, and installations in all mediums. He also directed and executed Exit Art’s fundraising efforts, and originated their traveling exhibition program.
After leaving Exit Art, Stuart was the Director of Sales at The Displayers, a design/build firm. With The Displayers, he developed exhibit environments for such New York institutions as The Jewish Museum, The New York City Police Museum, New-York Historical Society, New York Transit Museum, The Municipal Art Society, and The Museum of Modern Art. Under his direction, The Displayers expanded to produce editions and fabrication projects for many notable artists.
Prior to joining Exit Art, Stuart was the Assistant Director of the Monique Knowlton Gallery. He began his career as an assistant to the archivist at Franklin Furnace Archive. Stuart received a B.A. in Art and Art History from Colgate University. He was an Undergraduate Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, and interned at Anthology Film Archives.
He presently lives in Chelsea with his partner, Will Rogers, an urban activist.
Director of Programs
Rebecca Pristoop is a New York based curator and art historian. Her interests lie with contemporary art that engages politics or cuts through the limitations of traditional media; she also revels in uncovering unknown artists and giving them their proper recognition.
Since 2004 Rebecca has been organizing exhibitions and connecting with artists and communities in museums, schools, and non-profit galleries. She is particularly sensitive to negotiating space and mediating artistic intent in relation to institutional needs. A recent example of this is the 2015-16 exhibition Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life, which was presented throughout the campus of The Jewish Theological Seminary, NY. Rebecca has worked on and curated exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, The Jewish Museum, The Tang Teaching Museum, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, and even her own home.
She received an MA in Art History from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and a BA in Art History and Dance from Skidmore College.
Community Affairs Volunteer
Will is an urban and civic activist involved with local, city, state, and national agendas. He has worked in progressive liberal election campaigns of officials at all levels. He is the founder of the 200 West 16th Street Block Association, a board member of CHEKPEDS, a member of the Chelsea Coalition of Block Associations, and a regular contributor to Manhattan Community Boards #2 & 4. He has been a planner and participant with: Greater Gansevoort Improvement Project, NYC AIDS Memorial, NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, The Municipal Art Society’s Road to Resilience conference series, NYC’s Next Great Waterfront Park Urban Design Charrette, among many other civic projects aimed at making our communities more livable and sustainable. He is an advocate on issues that give NYC diversity in culture, intelligent preservation and planning, and responsible urban infrastructure policies. Will is a graduate of the SUNY Maritime College. He has had careers in the Merchant Marine, professional yacht-racing, and urban horticulture.
David W. Bloom
David joined the Board in 2014. His firm, David Bloom & Co., works with clients in critical areas of human resources with a focus on talent management. Prior to founding his firm, David was Senior Vice President and Global Competency Practice Leader at the Empower Group. Before his consulting career, David served as Vice Dean for Executive Education at the Wharton School and Director of Admissions for the MBA program at Penn.
A graduate of Brown University, David was the recipient of a Watson Fellowship for post-collegiate independent travel and study abroad. David has long been active in minority educational and employment programs and is a co-founder of the LEAD Program in Business and a former member of the Graduate Management Admission Council’s National Minority Task Force. He was formerly the Director of Admission for A Better Chance Inc. and later spearheaded efforts to secure private school scholarships for Bosnian Muslim refugees. He has served on the Boards of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, Trotman Ltd, and the Brown University Alumni Association.
Over the years, David has worked closely with a number of not-for-profit and public sector clients including Planned Parenthood NYC, the Horace Mann School, the New York Police Department, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, Tougaloo College and the Eugene Oregon Water Board.
David’s passions include Gettysburg, fountain pens, reading and writing, squash and his persevering love of the Boston Red Sox.
Karen Fitzgerald’s work has been widely exhibited in the United States. The Queens Museum of Art, Islip Art Museum, Rahr-West Museum, Madison Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, the University of Arizona – Tucson and the United Nations in NY have featured her work. A recipient of two grants from the Queens Community Arts Fund, she has also received funds from the Greenwall Foundation and the Women’s Studio Workshop. Her work is in the Spencer Collection of the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Union Gas collection, the Rienhart Collection of Germany, the Museum of New Art in Detroit and many other public and private collections.
For 25 years she has been a teaching artist and continues to provide consultations for a wide range of institutions on a variety of educational issues. She has taught at St. John’s University, Iona College and worked as education director for the Queens Symphony Orchestra. In 1985 she earned an MFA from Hunter College, and a M.Ed. from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1990.
Karen’s work can be seen here. She lives with her husband and family in Woodside, New York; her studio is in Northern Long Island City.
Melissa Garza is a proud native of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. She is General Counsel of Westwood One, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cumulus Media, where she manages and oversees all legal matters related to the network radio syndicator. Prior to joining Westwood One, Melissa was a corporate associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, where she practiced from 1998-2005. She also worked as an analyst at Bear, Stearns & Co. in its Media & Entertainment group prior to attending Columbia Law School from where she earned her J.D. While at Columbia, she was an Articles Editor on the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts.
Melissa has a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and resides in Lower Manhattan with her longtime partner Robert. She also serves on the Board of Manhattan Legal Services.
Founder and Vice-President of the Board of Directors
Jamie Johnson is the founder of Art Connects New York and continues to work as an officer and board member supporting the activities of the organization. Beyond Art Connects New York, Jamie’s work with artists includes curatorial, registrar and art handling as well as support in artist estate preparation and planning. Jamie is an accomplished craftsperson, producing and selling jewelry of uncommon design and non-traditional, usually recycled materials.
A strategy consultant to small organizations, Jamie has helped for-profit and not-for-profit organizations develop solutions for addressing today’s rapidly changing business environment. Previously, Jamie was a vice president of R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company where she oversaw new product and service development, designed processes to speed offerings to market, and was a member of the unit’s strategic planning team.
Jamie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The American University and has extensive training in strategic planning and organization effectiveness.
Clare Peeters is Vice President and Managing Director, Corporate Development, for Axel Johnson Inc., a family-run direct investment company. She is involved with evaluating new investment opportunities and providing strategic and operational support to existing portfolio companies as well as guiding the group’s corporate development team. Prior to joining Axel Johnson, Clare worked on the business side of the consumer trade book publishing industry for 12 years, first for Random House Inc. and Random House UK and subsequently for The Perseus Books Group, in a variety of corporate development, business development, and operating capacities.
Clare has a long-standing interest in art history and art museums, and she initially encountered ArtConnects New York in the context of a consulting engagement. Clare joined the board in 2013.
Anne R. Teicher
Secretary, Co-Chair Advisory Committee
Anne R. Teicher, a retired attorney and nonprofit executive, served as Chief Executive Officer of the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter (NCS) for the past 15 years. In a career dedicated to serving people who were homeless or low-income, she worked as a Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office on Homelessness and SRO Housing, and, as director of the Eastside SRO Legal Services Project of MFY Legal Services. Anne was awarded a Revson Fellowship on the Future of the New York City at Columbia University. She served on the Board of Directors of the Supportive Housing Network of New York and Homeless Services United.
Anne is currently a consultant to the Beck Institute on Religion and Poverty at Fordham School of Social Work and a Certified Life Coach. She also serves as President of the Board of Todd Mountain Theater Project in Arkville, New York, and as Secretary of the board of Art Connects in New York City.
Co-Chair Advisory Committee
New York City-based artist Jose Arenas creates works that explore dual identities, cultural ritual, displacement, and the memoryscapes of a transnational childhood. His experience navigating two worlds along with its complex process of migration, integration and cultural memory inform his work and remain a source of creative exploration. Arenas received a bachelors degree in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute (1995), and a fine art masters from University of CA, Davis (2000). His work has been exhibited throughout the US, cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and New York City. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Yace Gallery, New York, Nancy Margolis, New York, and Scope Miami, with Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art. Arenas is adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design, Art Media and Technology, and teaches drawing Imaging and 3-D Space materiality.
Advisory Committee Member
Lisa Breslow is a New York City-based artist. She has exhibited extensively, and her works are in numerous private and public collections. She is represented by Kathryn Markel Fine Arts. Lisa was a contributing artist to Art Connects’ first curated placement in 2007.
Advisory Committee Member
Dr. Christopher John Godfrey is a clinical health psychologist who studies community health and health disparities among New York City’s diverse community settings. He is a professor of psychology at Pace University where he recently co-directed the Office of Multicultural Affairs and currently directs the Center for Urban Health and Education Research. A seasoned public health program developer, Dr. Godfrey has built and evaluated community health programs for urban families, at-risk youth, older adults and LGBT populations. He maintains a small clinical and behavioral health research consulting practice.
Advisory Committee Member
Kimberly Marrero is an independent art advisor and curator based in New York City. She has organized many high profile public exhibitions working directly with celebrated artists and art institutions worldwide. Ms. Marrero manages various private art collections for her clients located throughout the United States and has also enjoyed a longtime affiliation with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York, as a Sackler Arts Educator. Her passion for sharing arts and education has established her many associations with a number of Arts & Educational foundations and charitable youth organizations.
Advisory Committee Member
Valerie Simon, LCSW, PAT, is a psychotherapist and creative arts therapist. She received a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Film/Television Production, an MSW from NYU School of Social Work, and is a Certified Psychodramatist. Valerie has worked in a variety of psychological and social work settings in NYC including hospitals, addictions facilities, public schools, and mental health clinics. Valerie provided services to those affected by September 11th through Project Liberty, and she also aided Gulf Coast musicians after Hurricane Katrina through her work at the Jazz Foundation of America. Valerie has a private practice in Columbus Circle called The Inner Stage, specializing in trauma and addiction resolution. She works with individuals, couples, and groups, and she runs open psychodrama workshops, trainings, and intensives. Valerie also has created series of experiential retreats in Tuscany, Italy called Restart-Retreats. www.valeriesimon.net