Naomi Beckwith is the Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, focusing on conceptual practices in contemporary art. Her master’s thesis on Adrian Piper and Carrie Mae Weems earned Distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Her exhibitions and work have been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, T Magazine, Uptown, CODE Magazine, and Ebony Magazine where she was recently listed as a Top 100 Leader in Arts and Letters. Beckwith was a fall 2008 grantee of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and was named the 2011 Leader to Watch by ArtTable. In addition to her curatorial work and service to The Laundromat Project, Beckwith has served on several host committees such as RUSH Philanthropic Gold Rush Awards, the BAMart Annual Auction, Triple Canopy and the Art for Africa auction for the Africa Foundation.
Tresell is an extremely passionate and accomplished retail strategist with a degree in Health Promotions and Disease Prevention Studies from the University of Southern California. She has worked in merchandising and planning roles for Ross Inc., Macy’s and the May Company utilizing product and financial analytics to create business solutions, and also serves on the Fashion Deli advisory board. She is an avid supporter of the arts and believes in its transformational ability to change and elevate the landscape of communities.
Stephanie Dinkins, Vice Chair
Stony Brook University
Stephanie Dinkins is a visual artist who uses the power and potential of images to investigate subjectivity and social equity through moving image, community-centered projects and installations. Her work is exhibited internationally and has been featured at renowned and community based venues, including Institute of Contemporary Art Dunaujvaros, Hungary; Herning Kunstmuseum, Denmark; Spellman College Museum of Fine Art; Contemporary Art Museum Houston; Wave Hill, Studio Museum in Harlem; Spedition, Bremen, Germany; and the corner of Putnam Ave and Malcolm X Blvd, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She is an alumna of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MFA), the International Center of Photography, and Syracuse University. She is also Associate Professor of Art at Stony Brook University where she teaches digital and interactive media.
Dr. Erika Faust
Dr. Erika Faust is an orthodontist practicing in midtown Manhattan. She is a graduate of Spelman College and Howard University College of Dentistry. Prior to making a full-time commitment to her dental practice, she served as a part-time attending dentist and clinical instructor at Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center. She is active with Operation Smile, an international charity organization that treats facial deformities in children, and New Yorkers for Children, a charity that assists foster children as they enter college. Her professional affiliations include the American Dental Association, and the American Association of Orthodontists. Dr. Faust is a native New Yorker, is an avid supporter of the arts, and has lent her support to such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, The Fashion Institute of Technology, and the New York Public Library.
Ali Goldstein Norup
Indicium LLC & Independent Consultant
Ali currently is an independent consulting, working with small arts organizations and start-ups works at Indicium, which provides specialty privacy consulting services to small and medium sized organization. She has over 10 years of business development and client relationship management experience. Starting her career in the arts, Ali previously worked for world renowned institutions, including JPMorgan’s Private Bank, New York University, the University of Chicago, and The Armory Show. She has a MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, where she focused on Finance and Strategy, and a degree in non-profit administration from NYU Steinhardt. As someone who built her career on strategically problem-solving for her clients across sectors, Ali is a highly professional and successful leader with a track record of orchestrating large team and project management efforts. She is also an avid sports fan and passionate art lover.
Sophie Henderson, Secretary
Independent Arts Consultant
For more than 20 years, Sophie has worked with non-profit arts organizations on strategic planning, fundraising, board relations and donor cultivation, communications and audience engagement, and organizational management. She worked with Resnicow + Associates (1993-2008), an agency providing integrated communications, marketing, strategic planning, and management consulting services to cultural institutions, corporate sponsors of the arts, and government agencies. Institutional positions include the Museum of Arts and Design (2012-2014) and Creative Capital Foundation (2009-2012) where she led the External Affairs teams and served as part of the senior management teams. Now an independent consultant focusing on support for organizational outreach and operations, she is working on a long-term project with Basilica Hudson; other recent clients include The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Creative Capital Foundation and the Corning Museum of Glass. Sophie received an M.B.A. from NYU’s Stern School of Business (1992, Marketing), and an A.B. from Brown University (1987, History of Art and Architecture). She is a member of ArtTable, a professional organization for Women in Leadership in the Visual Arts, and is also an active studio ceramicist.
Rasu Jilani is an independent curator, cultural producer and social sculptor, who investigates the intersections between art, culture and civic engagement as a means of raising critical consciousness. The main objective of his work is to catalyze interaction between artists, cultural institutions, the local community and the wider public, in order to promote cultural awareness through exhibitions, public programs, and cultural events. Currently Rasu serves as the Director of Cultural Diversity and Strategic Partnerships at NEW INC, The New Museum’s creative entrepreneurship incubator for art, tech and technology. From 2013 through 2016, Jilani worked at MAPP International Productions as the Director of Community Programs.
Julie Simon, Chair
NYC Economic Development Corporation
Julie K. Simon, an Assistant Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, earned a master’s degree in urban planning from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Haverford College. She is a strong supporter of creative placemaking, neighborhood-based approaches to economic development and artists as a catalyst and connector for social change. Prior to NYCEDC, Ms. Simon worked in television programming at HBO and Court TV and for a health care policy consulting firm in Washington, DC.
Independent Curators International
Dexter Wimberly is the Director of Strategic Planning at Independent Curators International (ICI). An accomplished entrepreneur, curator and passionate supporter of the arts, Wimberly has exhibited the work of over 300 artists in the U.S. and internationally. He maintains a critical dialogue with emerging artists throughout the world by way of exhibitions, public programs, and lectures at galleries and institutions such as Mixed Greens Gallery, Driscoll Babcock Galleries, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Brooklyn Historical Society, MoCADA, The Savannah College of Art and Design, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Prior to entering the art world, Wimberly was the co-founder and CEO of the pioneering youth marketing, PR and advertising agency, August Bishop. From 1995 – 2008 Wimberly directed the firm’s acquisition of prestigious clients including Adidas America, The Coca-Cola Company, L’Oreal USA, The Savannah College of Art and Design, Virgin Mobile USA, Sirius XM Radio, and Turner Broadcasting.
Curtis D. Young
Ross Institute for Advanced Study and Innovation in Education
Curtis is a New York-based arts and culture enthusiast with a profound interest in politics and education technology. His passion for politics began at Hampton University, when he served as a White House Intern in the Clinton Administration. He then went on to work with Congressman Bobby Scott, Virginia House of Delegates Member Mamye E. BaCote, and both Al Gore and John Kerry’s Presidential Campaigns. After years in politics, Curtis enrolled in NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service in 2005. This led him abroad where he taught English in France and the West Bank of Palestine, and volunteered for the award winning NGO Tostan International both in Senegal and Guinea, assisting in efforts to end the practice of female genital cutting. He has served on the Advisory Council for American Friends of the Louvre Museum Young Patrons Circle, Young Friends of the Dream Ball (American Cancer Society), Young Ambassadors of Malaria No More, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the Maynor Biggers Artist Fund. Curtis currently works as a Project Director at the Ross Institute for Advanced Study and Innovation in Education.
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Risë Wilson first conceived of The Laundromat Project in 1998-99—envisioning “a space for people to be able to create, not just consume art.” She served on the Board of Directors from incorporation in 2005 through early 2016 and remains a major champion of our work. She is currently the inaugural Director of Philanthropy at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RRF). As a member of the foundation’s senior leadership team, Risë is leading the organization through a new phase of charitable giving—one that builds on the legacy of its founder while remaining relevant to contemporary concerns. To that end, the foundation supports initiatives at the intersection of arts and political issues, particularly those that embody the fearlessness, innovation, and multidisciplinary approach that Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors. RRF is particularly interested in the role of creative problem solving in achieving social change. Ms. Wilson’s sixteen- year tenure in arts and culture includes roles at the Ford Foundation, Parsons: the New School for Design, MoMA, and the International Center for Photography. She holds a BA from Columbia University where she was a Kluge Scholar, and an MA from NYU, where she was a MacCracken Fellow.
The Laundromat Project’s Catalyst Circle is a diverse brain trust of creative, talented, and highly accomplished leaders who share our vision, pledging long-term investment of expertise, ideas, and funds. Our Catalysts are deeply committed to making an impact on their world through our work.
Current Members include:
Petrushka Bazin Larsen & Nicholas Larsen
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Blue Hill NY
The High Line
Dudley Del Balso
Times Square Alliance
Project Row Houses
Museum of Modern Art
Daria Ilunga & Mark Reed
Keegan Fowler Companies
Center for Popular Democracy
Museum of Modern Art
Creative Capital Foundation
Maureen Mahon & Brian Tate
New York University
Annette Mitchell Scott
ABC Television Network
Independent Business Consultant
Vanessa Perez Rosario
Foundational Questions Institute
Andrew Mellon Foundation
Saundra Thomas & Susan Siegel
Abigail & Derek van Straaten
The Children’s Aid Society
Columbia Wanger Asset Management
NYC Human Resources Administration
Ebony Noelle Golden
Cultural Organizing Consultant
Ebony Noelle Golden believes “we are the ones we have been waiting for,” as June Jordan’s prophetic line of poetry continues to remind us. Golden, a Houston, Texas native, works at the intersecting pathways of arts, culture, and education with individuals and organizations pushing for community-powered cultural change. In 2011, Ebony funneled her passion for entrepreneurship, youth development, culture shift, justice, education and the arts into Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC, a cultural arts direct action group based in Harlem. The company is named after her now retired mother, professor and community organizer, Dr. Betty Ann Sims. Ebony Noelle Golden earned a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing-Poetry from American University, and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Alicia Grullón is an artist and Artist Catalyst with The Laundromat Project’s Kelly Street Initiative. A Bronx native, she explores encounters between people and how these encounters are locations where issues of race, class, gender, and activism open up. She creates interdisciplinary, often performative work, that transforms how community and history are experienced. She has been widely-exhibited, having presented work for El Museo del Barrio, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Creative Time, Open Engagement, School of Visual Arts and the Royal College of Art. She holds a BFA from New York University and an MFA from SUNY New Paltz. She is presently serving as the Altman Foundation Fellow at Columbia University’s Wallach Gallery.
Kemi Ilesanmi is the Executive Director of The Laundromat Project. With over 14 years experience in the cultural arena, she is inspired by the immense possibilities for joy and change at the intersection of arts, activism and community. Prior to joining The LP, she was Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation where she supported the work of American artists making adventurous new work. From 1998-2004, she was a visual arts curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While there, she organized several exhibitions, including The Squared Circle: Boxing in Contemporary Art, and ran the visual arts residency program. She is holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University and a BA in Afro-American Studies from Smith College. She is also an alumna of the Coro Leadership New York program.
Development & Communications Coordinator
A native of Southern California, Melissa moved to New York in 2012 to pursue a full-time career in arts and culture. She started her journey in nonprofit arts as a program intern for the Getty Foundation through the Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program. She has also worked with the Fowler and Hammer museums in Los Angeles, the Terra Foundation for American Art in Paris, and Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Center for Oral History, and Graduate School of Business. She received her B.A. from the UCLA with a major in Art History, and minors in French Language & Culture and Film & Digital Media Studies, and also studied photography and cinema when she lived abroad in France. In her spare time, Melissa is engaged in activism, organizing, and advocacy, and has collaborated with groups such as OWS Arts and Labor and Museum Hue.
Emily is a cultural and community organizer, educator, and artist from San Francisco and based in Brooklyn and has spent time living in Chengdu, China. She joins The Laundromat Project as a Center for Neighborhood Leadership apprentice and focuses on supporting community-led decision making and activism. She is also an educator at the Museum of Chinese in America, coordinates a cultural focus group project at the Brooklyn Museum, and collaborates with the BUFU Collective. Inspired by the youth and elder community leaders in Manhattan Chinatown where she volunteers with CAAAV and the Chinatown Tenants Union, Emily is working on a paper cut children’s book about an immigrant community of color’s fight against gentrification and displacement. She holds a BA from Smith College in Art History and Political Science.
Born and raised in Queens, NY, Yvette is an arts administrator, educator and aspiring oral-historian. She is inspired by the arts as a social agent that can build and empower communities as well as bring about transformative justice and healing. She has worked as an organizer with Latino and working class communities with Make The Road NY and New Immigrant Community Empowerment and as a fellow with the Center for Neighborhood Leadership. In addition, she has worked as an arts education assistant at The Noguchi Museum as well as alongside artist Sol Aramendi via Project Luz. She holds a BA from Hunter College in Romance Languages and Political Science where she studied past and present social movements in Latin America. As a daughter of Bolivian immigrants, she is interested in exploring identity based politics, the meaning of “home,” memory, and patriarchy through her art practice.
Director of Programs & Community Engagement
Hatuey Ramos-Fermín is an artist, educator, and curator based in The Bronx. He is the co-founder of meta local collaborative, a Bronx-based artist collective, and Boogie Down Rides, a bicycling and art project celebrating cycling in the Bronx. He has organized projects and made presentations at a security guard training school (in tribute to Fashion Moda), community centers, churches, restaurants, laundromats, as well as galleries and museums. He has mentored young adults at the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and The Bronx Museum of the Arts, where he also served as Curator of Education. Ramos-Fermín has also participated in the Elizabeth Foundation for the Art’s Shift Residency, and The Laundromat Project’s Create Change Public Artist Residency. He received his BA from the University of Puerto Rico and his MFA from St. Joost Art and Design Academy.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Ayesha Williams is an art professional with over a decade of experience working with visual artists, presenting programs, and generating funding for both commercial galleries and nonprofit institutions. From 2010-2016, Ayesha managed Visual Arts at Lincoln Center, a comprehensive program that provides visual art offerings and experiences to Lincoln Center’s audiences and supporters. Prior to joining Lincoln Center, Ayesha was the Director of Kent Gallery. In addition to her professional experience, Ayesha is on the board of The Possibility Project and also serves as a Steering Committee member of the UN Women’s Conference 2016. Ayesha received her Master’s degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
The Laundromat Project works with professional teaching artists, primarily from our three anchor neighborhoods: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Harlem, and Hunts Point.
Maia Cruz Palileo
The Muriel Pollia Foundation