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Board of Trustees + Advisors

The Alliance is led by a dedicated Board of Trustees and the guidance of our Honorary Board and Advisory Councils. Board members are selected for their demonstrated commitment to serving artists and advancing the role artists and creativity play in society.

[ Board of Trustees ]  [ Honorary Board ]  [ Advisors ]


Esther Grisham Grimm, Chair | 3Arts (Chicago, IL)
Mario Garcia Durham, Vice-Chair | APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (Washington, DC)
Mark Golden, Treasurer | Golden Artist Colors (New Berlin, NY)
Linda Earle, Secretary | New York Arts Program (New York, NY)
Rob Bailis | Cal Performances (Berkeley, CA)
Elizabeth Chodos | Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Melissa Franklin | The Pew Center for Arts + Heritage (Philadelphia, PA)
Tony Grant | Sustainable Arts Foundation (San Francisco, CA)
Gia Hamilton | Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans, LA)
Brad Kik | Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology (Bellaire, MI)
Melissa Levin | Art Agency, Partners (New York, NY)
Craig T. Peterson | Abrons Arts Center / Henry Street Settlement (New York, NY)
Tamara Ross | The Banff Centre (Banff, AB Canada)
Sanjit Sethi | The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design - George Washington University (Washington, DC)
Sharon Ullman | Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (New York, NY)


Esther Grisham Grimm | Chair
Executive Director, 3Arts

Esther’s career in the arts spans administration, museum education, education, and philanthropy. She is the executive director of 3Arts, a nonprofit service and grantmaking organization dedicated to advocating for women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities. 3Arts offers unrestricted $25,000 awards, project support, professional development, and promotion to artists working in dance, music teaching arts, theater, and visual arts in the Chicago metropolitan area. Prior to joining 3Arts in 2002, Esther was the associate director of Marwen, an organization that provides out-of-school art instruction, college planning, and career development programs to Chicago’s under-served youth in grades 6-12. Before Marwen, she was the assistant director of Museum Education at The Art Institute of Chicago and the docent coordinator at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Esther has worked as a writer, researcher, and editor since 1990, with reviews and features in a variety of magazines, gallery guides, and exhibition catalogues. She also authored six children’s non-fiction, art-activity books focusing on the art of ancient and living cultures. Currently, she is the vice chair of the board of the Alliance of Artists Communities and serves on the boards of Arts Alliance Illinois and The Hypocrites. She is also on the Friends of the Vienna Museum Board of Directors, a member of the Grantmakers in the Arts Individual Artist Support Committee, and is active in the Local Artist Funders Group (a cohort of Chicago funders who support individual artists). 


Mario Garcia Durham | Vice-Chair
President + CEO, APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals

In October 2011, Mario Garcia Durham became the fifth director of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters since its founding in 1957. He comes to APAP from the National Endowment for the Arts where he was Director of Artist Communities and Presenting. At the NEA, Durham was a contributing team member of such programs as An Evening of Poetry hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama, the NEA Opera Honors and he inaugurated the Artist Communities granting program. After holding numerous management positions and serving as artistic director at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 1990s, he founded Yerba Buena Arts & Events in 2000, the producing organization of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The outdoor event offers more than 100 free performances by the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and more for an audience of 100,000 attendees. Durham has previously served on numerous boards including Galeria de la Raza and APAP’s board and executive committee. He is currently a board member of the Alliance of Artist Communities and the National Center for Creative Aging and is board chair of the Performing Arts Alliance.


Mark Golden | Treasurer
President / CEO, Golden Artist Colors

Mark Golden, CEO and Co-founder of Golden Artist Colors, began the company in 1980 with 4 employees, his father Sam Golden, mother Adele and wife Barbara. Originating in a cow barn on his parents’ retirement home in rural Columbus, NY, the company made and delivered custom products for artists in Manhattan. Continuing to make custom paints with 200 Employee Owners in its 100,000-square-foot facility, GOLDEN now sells its product worldwide.

Mark was selected as the 1996 Small Business Person of the Year for NY and recognized by President Bill Clinton for his activities in creating a business exemplifying the spirit of Corporate Citizenship, providing a work environment that values all employees. In 2006, Mark received an award from the American Institute for Conservation, recognizing his contributions to the art conservation field. In 2005, he received the NYFA 2005 Inspiration Award and was honored by the Manufacturers Association of Central New York with a 2005 Wall of Fame Award.  In 2011, Inc. Magazine recognized GOLDEN as one of the top 50 small businesses to work for.  In 2012, GOLDEN was recognized by Americans for the Arts as a top 10 contributor to the arts in the US. In 2014 Mark received an honorary Doctorate from Colgate University for his work in support of the local and international arts community.

In 1997, Mark and his family began The Sam & Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts to honor their parents. Its mission is to be a significant resource for visual artists. Over the next 14 years, the Foundation donated to numerous artists and art organizations. In 2010, the Foundation began constructing the Golden Residence, a 10,000-square-foot living and work space for invited artists.


Linda Earle | Secretary
Executive Director, New York Arts Program

Linda Earle is the Executive Director of the New York Arts Program (NYAP), an off-campus study program for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students in the visual, performing, and media arts, writing, and journalism. Before joining NYAP she served as the Executive Director of Programs for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, one of the nation’s leading organizations for emerging visual artists. She was a senior Program Director at the New York State Council on the Arts where she served in several discipline areas in the performing and visual arts. The Individual Artists Program at NYSCA was founded under her direction in 1984. She has taught media and cultural studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, Hunter College, and Barnard College and has served on numerous grants and commissioning panels and artist advocacy groups. Linda has worked on independent film, theatre, and film and visual arts curatorial projects over the years. As a writer, she has had residencies at Hedgebrook and the Writers Room. She holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University and a BA in Film Culture from Hampshire College. She serves on the Boards of Poets House, Art Matters, Inclusion in the Arts, and the Alliance of Artists Communities.







Rob Bailis
Associate Director, Cal Performances

Rob is a musician, writer, and performing arts curator living in his native San Francisco. A classical clarinetist, he has performed with orchestras, chamber ensembles, and as a recitalist across the U.S., Canada, Asia, and the U.K. From 2003 – 2011, he was Director of ODC Theater. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the theater’s $9 million dollar expansion of its facility. He elevated the theater’s platform from regional to national and international visibility, and received numerous awards in recognition of his presenting, advocacy, and residency programs. In 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle named him “MVP” in dance presenting, describing his curation as, “…smart…instinctive, and infectious.” He has commissioned over 30 new works in a variety of genres, and has served as a panelist / program  / policy consultant for foundations and arts funding organizations including MAP Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital, SF Arts Commission, New England Foundation for the Arts, Chamber Music America, WESTAF, and the Center for Cultural Innovation, among many. A frequent public speaker on arts and culture, he has recently been heard at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, on KPFA’s Against the Grain, and on NPR’s West Coast Live, and has been a speaker and content provider at national conferences such as Dance USA and Association of Performing Arts Presenters. A widely produced lyricist and librettist, Mr. Bailis’ newest piece, Love/Hate, was co-commissioned by American Opera Projects and ODC Theater and premiered in April 2012 as a co-production of ODC and San Francisco Opera. The work has also enjoyed performances in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. In June of 2013, Rob was appointed Associate Director of Cal Performances on the UC Berkeley campus, where he leads the artistic programming team in areas of dance, theater, and world stages, and oversees the fundraising, marketing, education, and publication departments. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and Yale School of Music.


Elizabeth Chodos
Director, Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon

Elizabeth Chodos is Co-Founder of Common Field and Executive & Creative Director of Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency. She is interested in creative and enterprising arts administration projects and practices, and moonlights as a creative writer and independent curator. Elizabeth received a Dual Masters degree from the departments of Art History, Theory and Criticism, and Arts Administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing, from Sarah Lawrence College. She was formerly Executive Director at Threewalls, where she now chairs the Community Cabinet.


Melissa Franklin
Director of Pew Fellowships in the Arts, The Pew Center for Arts + Heritage

Melissa Franklin is the director of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in Philadelphia. She has held this position since 1995 and has been with the program as a senior staff member since its inception in 1991. From 2005-2008, Franklin co-managed the LINC Philadelphia project as part of a national initiative that seeks to improve artists’ living and working conditions. She has served as an advisor to several other foundations on implementing programs to support artists directly. She has served on selection panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Arts Council, St. Louis Contemporary Museum of Art’s Great Rivers Biennial Award, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the Marian Anderson Community and Artist Awards. Melissa was the Advisory Board Chair for Arcadia University Art Gallery and has served on many boards and committees including the City of Philadelphia's 1% for Art Advisory Committee, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Advisory Committee, Vox Populi Gallery Advisory Board among others, and also was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. 

Tony Grant
Executive Director, Sustainable Arts Foundation

Tony comes to the Sustainable Arts Foundation after a long career in the software industry, and his passion for the arts comes from his father, who was a painter and sculptor. Tony and his wife, Caroline, started the Sustainable Arts Foundation to help artists and writers with families pursue creative careers. Not surprisingly, much of their work on the foundation happens late at night after their two boys are sleeping.


Gia Hamilton
Director, Joan Mitchell Center

Gia M. Hamilton, a native of New Orleans, received her Bachelor’s in cultural anthropology with a minor in visual art from New York University and her Master’s in applied anthropology from City University of New York.  For 15 years in New York City, Hamilton worked with non-profit organizations as a Serial Entrepreneur, Program Development Consultant, Community Engagement Organizer and Curator.  Gia spent 6 years working in the corporate sector as a researcher and organizational design consultant with Downey Associates International, supporting financial firms and non-profit organizations like Citigroup, Hearst-Argyle and TIAA-CREF in their restructuring process.  In 2009, Hamilton founded Gris Gris Lab, as a place based incubator and cultural exchange space to ensure that emerging thought-leaders could actualize their interdisciplinary projects through an innovative live- work model in Central City, New Orleans.  Later, Gris Gris Lab built a team of social scientists who began cultural consulting to further support and strengthen the local economies of non-profits and small businesses in New Orleans, Seattle, Haiti, Washington D.C., Detroit and New York City.  Hamilton joined the Joan Mitchell Center in 2011 as a consultant and was appointed Director in July 2013.  She comes to the Joan Mitchell Center with a broad perspective of visual art, operational functions and community development strategies.  At the Center, she acts as a conductor of information between the New York and New Orleans communities as well as a catalyst for change in contemporary art through designing innovative models for artistic and cultural exchanges and expansive public programming in the global arts and creative community. Hamilton is currently on the board of Alliance for Artist Communities and a member of ArtTable, Res Artis, as well as the American Anthropological Association and is a Dr. Norman Francis Leadership Institute 2014 Fellow. 


Brad Kik
Co-Founder + Co-Director, Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology

Brad Kik is the co-founder and co-director of the Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology (formerly Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design - ISLAND), a non-profit organization that connects the lines between art, agriculture and ecology. Brad’s varied background—film study, environmental activism, graphic design, community organizing, traditional music, ecology and permaculture—helps to direct the intention behind Crosshatch’s work in the community. Brad also serves on a number of boards reflecting Crosshatch’s diverse approach to community building: Madroño Ranch, a center for writing, art and the environment, Earthwork Music, a collective of Michigan musicians, and Grass River Natural Area, a 1000+ acre wetland preserve in Antrim County, Michigan, near where Brad calls home. Brad also acts as the chair of the Ecological Residencies Cohort for the Alliance of Artist Communities, and helps convene and present the AAC’s Emerging Programs Institute each year.


Melissa Levin
Vice President of Artists, Estates and Foundations, Art Agency, Partners

Melissa Levin is the Vice President of Artists, Estates and Foundations at Art Agency, Partners. She is responsible for advisory services in strategic planning and long-range visioning around individual artist's estates & foundations, including artist legacy planning, building, and management. Prior to joining Art Agency, Partners, for more than 12 years, Melissa worked at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), where she played a leadership role in the development, administration, and artistic direction of major initiatives such as LMCC's Arts Center at Governors Island, the River To River Festival, and the organization's Artist Residency programs. She has worked closely with artists across all career-stages and disciplines, fostering their careers, and has been committed to innovative and holistic approaches to supporting artists and initiating programs. She also currently serves on the board of the Alliance of Artists Communities. Previously, Melissa has held positions at Andrea Rosen Gallery, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and Artforum International Magazine. She has participated in panel discussions and served on juries at the National Endowment for the Arts, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, Rhode Island School of Design, Baruch College, and Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts; and lectured at the Drew University, University of Oregon in Eugene, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, New York University, and The Cleveland Institute of Art. As an independent curator and writer, Melissa has worked with organizations including Danspace Project, MoMA PS1, NurtureArt, and Real Art Ways among others. Melissa received a BA with honors in Visual Art and Art History from Barnard College.


Craig T. Peterson
Artistic Director - Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Settlement

Craig T. Peterson joined the staff at Abrons in September, 2016. Previously he was the Director of Programs at Gibney Dance, a multi-faceted center for dance and performance development, training and presentation in New York City.  From 2009-2013, Peterson was the Director and Producer of the annual Philly Fringe Festival, a three-week city-wide festival featuring the work of more than 200 performing artists and companies. During this time he also launched and directed the Live Arts Brewery (LAB), a research and development program supporting long-term residencies and engagement activities for local and national artists. For ten years he served on the staff of Dance Theater Workshop, one of America’s preeminent contemporary performing arts institutions based in NYC.  For four years he served as the organization’s Co-Artistic Director.


Tamara Ross
Director, Programming Operations, The Banff Centre

Tamara’s connection with The Banff Centre has spanned her entire life. After working in various departments at The Banff Centre in support of the artist during her teens, Tamara ventured to Vancouver to garner both a Commerce and Education degree from UBC. In Vancouver she was Manager of Artistic Operations with Ballet British Columbia and a high school teacher. In 2005, Tamara went east to complete her MBA at HEC Montreal and returned to Calgary to manage the School of Alberta Ballet before re-joining The Banff Centre in her current role in 2007. She is proud to be contributing to the great things The Banff Centre does and has seen first-hand the transformative effects this special place has for artists, leaders and all who visit it. Tamara has been a founding Board member of Kidd Pivot Performing Arts Society in Vancouver, BC and served for 7 years as Treasurer for the Mountain Haven Cooperative Homes Inc. a low-income housing development in Canmore, Alberta.


Sanjit Sethi
Director, Corcoran School of the Arts and Design - George Washington University

Born in Rochester, New York, Sanjit Sethi received a BFA in 1994 from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, an MFA in 1998 from the University of Georgia, and an MS in advanced visual studies in 2002 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sanjit has taught at numerous academic institutions including the Memphis College of Art, the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, and California College of the Arts.  His work deals with issues of nomadism, identity, the residue of labor, and memory. Sethi has been Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) and previous to that was Director of the Center for Art and Public Life and Barclay Simpson Professor/ Chair of Community Arts at the California College of the Arts.  Sethi is currently Director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University.


Sharon Ullman
Deputy Director, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Sharon Ullman is the first Chief Operating Officer of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, an organization that supports the legacy of the artist’s life and work as well as extensive philanthropy and residency programs. Previously she was Chief Operating Officer for Office for Metropolitan Architecture/NY, founded by Rem Koolhaas, and Director of Administration for 2x4, a global design consultancy that focuses on brand strategy for cultural and commercial clients. She has been a Freelance Producer working in print photography, broadcast television, music videos, and graphic design. Sharon has devoted her nearly twenty-five-year career to providing managerial leadership and financial acumen to advance creative and artistic endeavors and organizations. Born in Ohio, Sharon is a graduate of Kent State University and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her son, Sam.


Ted Berger
Treasurer, The Joan Mitchell Foundation
Executive Director Emeritus, New York Foundation for the Arts (New York, NY)

J. Richard Braugh
Senior VP, UBS Financial (San Jose, CA)

Mary Carswell
Executive Director Emeritus, The MacDowell Colony (New York, NY)

Mel Chin
Artist (Burnsville, NC)

Jhumpa Lahiri
Author (Brooklyn, NY)

Liz Lerman
Choreographer (Takoma Park, MD)

Roger Mandle
Advisor, Qatar Museums Authority (Doha, Qatar)

Clay Rockefeller
Artist; Real estate/community developer  (Providence, RI)

Lowery Stokes Sims
Retired Curator, Museum of Arts + Design (New York, NY)

Mary T. Wolfe, in memoriam
Philanthropist (Perrysburg, OH)