ViVA Educators

Get to know our unique team of Educators! Each expert Educator is paired with just one or two ViVA Artists. They develop a deep knowledge of their Artists’ projects, practices, teaching and research, and personal narratives, all of which is reflected in the exhaustive ViVA Artist Packets they create and share as they help our Client-Partners prepare for each virtual talk or class visit. Every ViVA engagement includes consultation time with a ViVA Educator. Strapped for time or just need a little extra help? – they are also available on a billable hourly basis!

Sarah Henderson

Sarah Blais
sarah.blais at vivavirtualartists.org

Sarah Blais
(she/her)

Sarah Blais holds a dual Bachelors degree in Art History and Anthropology from Grinnell College and a Masters degree from Georgetown University in Art History and Museum Studies. Her graduate thesis centered on museum education accessibility with particular emphasis in creative aging education. She earned a Certificate in Arts Business and Contemporary Art from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. 

 

For nearly five years Sarah served as the Director of Outreach and Innovation at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library where she facilitated all public programming and educational collaborations for this unique institution. In 2019, she organized Revolution Starts in the Streets, a community wide collaboration involving 15 organizations, seven public schools, and eight contemporary artists who came together to build a 60 foot Berlin wall replica and spent nine months painting it with protest and revolution themed images in artist-led workshops. The program focused on diversifying arts education and a key student population Sarah engaged in this project were at-risk high school youth. 

 

While maintaining an arts and education consultancy, Sarah recently transitioned to a new role as the Director of Development at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, a community-centered business incubator, arts and culture hub, and a dynamic example of sustainability and resilience; a rain barrel waters the Market’s garden, electric vehicles can charge up for free, and the facility boasts zero-waste (even the “plastic” forks are compostable). Sarah thrives in intersectional collaborations that develop and serve her community and she believes art and artists have a position of leadership in making change happen.

Laurel Brown

Laurel Brown
laurel.brown at vivavirtualartists.org

Laurel Brown
(she/her)

Laurel Brown recently earned her MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in relationships between technology, media, race, and gender, and has written most recently on artist Sondra Perry’s works exploring avatars and digital modeling. She is also the Research and Digital Curatorial Assistant at the Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought in New Orleans where she has contributed to a range of projects including Sandford Biggers: Codeswitch. These Rivers partnerships are part of a special collaboration with the California African American Museum in Los Angeles formed to explore the histories of Black abstraction. Prior to her graduate studies, she had the opportunity to work with a wide range of arts organizations in the Washington, DC area, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where she worked on exhibitions including Manifesto: Art x Agency and Rirkrit Tiravanija: Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Green. She has also held positions at both non-profit and commercial galleries in the DC area, as well as the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She was the recent Art Editor for the literary journal Bat City Review at UT Austin. Laurel received her BA in Art History from Barnard College.

Ciara Ennis

Ciara Ennis
ciara.ennis at vivavirtualartists.org

Ciara Ennis
(she/her)

Ciara Ennis is Director and Curator of Pitzer College Art Galleries, Pitzer College. Her exhibitions explore critical social justice issues and the constructed nature of historical and cultural records. Her recent and upcoming projects include Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend (2021), co-curated with Rebecca McGrew, that examines the history of Black power movements and their intersection with familial histories; Candice Lin: Natural History, A Half-Eaten Portrait, an Unrecognizable Landscape, a Still, Still Life (2020), an exploration of interspecies collaboration and museological procedures; and Cathy Akers, Utopia for Some: Morning Star and Wheelers Ranches Revisited (2019), an historic examination of the utopic and dystopic aspects of intentional communities. Other recent projects include Elana Mann: Instruments of Accountability (2018), connecting seventeenth-century listening devices to contemporary protest tools; and Juan Downey: Radiant Nature (2017), co-curated with Robert Crouch for the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative, which examined the late Chilean artist’s performance work, cybernetic sculptures, and environmental installations from the late 1960s and 1970s. Ciara’s scholarship explores the appropriation of Wunderkammer tactics in contemporary museum and curatorial practice. Recent lectures and essays include The Appropriation of Sixteenth- and Seventeen-Century Wunderkammer Tactics for Rethinking Biennales (CAA, 2020); Polysemy, Hybridity, and Scale in Bettina von Zwehl’s Wunderkammer, BTV Stadtforum, Innsbruck, Austria, 2020; The Subversive Potential of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Emerging Curators Retreat, OTIS College of Art and Design (2019); “Animal Worlds, Storytelling, and the Aesthetics of Wonder,” in X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly (2019); and Juan Downey—Radiant Nature, Independent Curators International, New York (2018). Ciara has an MA in Visual Arts Administration, Curating, and Commissioning Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, and a PhD in Cultural Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies, from Claremont Graduate University. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Ksenya Gurshtein

Ksenya Gurshtein
ksenya.gurshtein at vivavirtualartists.org

Ksenya Gurshtein
(she/her)

Ksenya Gurshtein is a curator, art historian, writer, and translator who lives in Wichita, KS. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan. Her curatorial work has taken place at a range of different institutions: The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles; and the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, where she is currently the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. She has also taught art history at the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia. Her curatorial work is broadly aimed at foregrounding a range of contemporary social justice issues and uplifting historically underrepresented voices. Recent curatorial projects have included Zoe Beloff: Emotions Go to Work, an installation that considered how technology shapes our emotional lives and commodifies our desires; 10 x 10 Ten Women / Ten Prints, an online exhibition of a print portfolio by ten Bay Area artists created to commemorate the passage of the 19th amendment; Alice Aycock in the Studio, a project that shed light on the working process of a pioneering contemporary sculptor; Gordon Parks: I, too, am America, an exhibition that examined Gordon Parks’ deeply empathetic images of children whose lives are affected by racism and poverty; Renée Stout: Ghosts, a project that paired Renée Stout’s research into African diasporic images and practices with Yoruba objects; and Love in the Time of the Anthropocene, a show of works by photographers Terry Evans and Philip Heying and painter A. Mary Kay that highlighted the artists’ examination of the complex interconnectedness of lifeforms on the Kansas prairie. Ksenya’s areas of deepest academic expertise are the histories of global conceptual art and unofficial art in state socialist Eastern Europe. With Sonja Simonyi, she is the co-editor of the forthcoming essay collection Experimental Cinemas in State Socialist Eastern Europe (Amsterdam University Press, 2021). She has also written and published as a critic on a broad array of topics, with  her most recent publications appearing on the website Hyperallergic. A repository of her writing can be found here. In addition to her work, her biggest passions are her family, travel, and local politics. 

Elizabeth Lee - photo - Izzy Lee.png

Izzy Lee
izzy.lee at vivavirtualartists.org

Izzy Lee
(she/her)

Izzy Lee recently completed her graduate studies in modern and contemporary art history at the University of Texas Austin, writing her thesis on the contemporary sound and visual artist, Jennie C. Jones. Prior to pursuing her graduate work, she worked at a number of arts organizations in New York including The Museum of Modern Art, Artsy.net and Local Projects. At MoMA, she worked in the Department of Film, assisting four senior curators to organize exhibitions and programming in the museum’s galleries and theaters. Izzy also co-curated the short film program for the museum’s longest-standing film festival, New Directors/New Films, and wrote for MoMA’s website and blog. Before MoMA, Izzy worked at the online platform and publication, Artsy.net, where she liaised with over fifty modern and contemporary art galleries, as well as launched the company’s art fair partnerships and platform. Her research interests broadly include politically focused art practices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a focus on contemporary diasporic and Latinx visual cultures. Most recently, Izzy co-founded a summer gallery, called Poker Flats, in Williamstown, Mass. where she is co-organizing two month-long group exhibitions in the space. She received her BA in Art History from Williams College. Izzy is a sucker for dogs, live music, hiking in the woods, and reading fiction.

Joshua Lubin-Levy-colorcorrect.jpg

Joshua Lubin-Levy

Joshua Lubin-Levy
(he/him)

Joshua Lubin-Levy is a scholar, dramaturg, and performance curator. His work centers on queer and experimental dance and performance art practices. He is the Senior Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Editor-in-Chief, with mayfield brooks, of the Movement Research Performance Journal; and currently teaches in the Department of Visual Studies, Eugene Lang, The New School. As a curator and dramaturg he has worked closely with non-profit arts organizations throughout the United States, and has held residencies with: Abrons Arts Center (2015–2016); the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Process Space (2015), and through a multi-year collaborative with the Nowegian Theater Academy, York University, Kiel University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2012–2015). Since joining the Whitney Museum in 2016, he has offered both public and private tours, special lectures, and adult education courses on a range of topics related to modern and contemporary art. Joshua received his doctorate with distinction from the Department of Performance Studies, New York University (2020). His writing and editorial work has appeared through Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, Dancing Foxes / Yale University Press, The Queens Museum, BOMB Magazine, Artforum, and under his own imprint LUMPEN (among others). He was Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (2016–2017).

Amanda Potter

Amanda Potter
amanda.potter at vivavirtualartists.org

Amanda Potter
(she/her)

Amanda Potter has served as Curator of Education and Interpretation at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, since 2016. At the Zimmerli, she has worked to increase access and inclusivity at the museum through efforts like eliminating fees for school field trips, adding free family programs, instituting financial aid, and developing new school programs to better serve their home community of New Brunswick, NJ. She also oversaw the creation of Zimmerli at Home to deliver virtual content for a variety of audiences during the museum’s extended closure due to COVID-19. 

 

Prior to the Zimmerli, Amanda spent ten years as the Educator for Public and University Programs at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts. Her experience also includes work at Kidspace at MASS MoCA, Williams College Museum of Art, and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth, as well as internships at the Met and Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has been published in the Archives of American Art Journal. 

 

After receiving her BA in Art History from Dartmouth, Amanda earned her masters from the Graduate Program in the History of Art at Williams College. A native of Glens Falls, New York, she currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter. 

 

Amanda enjoys challenging people's preconceptions about what art is and whom it is for. She writes, “When art makes it into the daily news, it's generally because of an astronomic auction price or a headline-seeking stunt. In movies and television, museums are often shown filled with men in tuxedos and women in gowns. This has all kinds of cascading effects, and leaves many people feeling that art is frivolous, elite, and/or impossible for them to ‘get.’ What I try to help visitors understand, especially those who are new to museums, is that people make art for many different reasons, and likewise, there are lots of ways to respond to it. Not liking a particular work or even a whole style of art is totally valid, but it doesn't mean art isn't for you. I often say when introducing tours that you wouldn't go to a restaurant and expect to like everything on the menu. Art is the same—personal tastes vary so much; look around and explore until you find what you connect with.”

Leslie Rose

Leslie Rose
leslie.rose at vivavirtualartists.org

Leslie Rose
(she/her)

Leslie Rose has extensive experience working in curatorial and educational settings within museums and contemporary art spaces. She has a background in Art History and received her Master’s Degree in African Studies at Yale University. She has in-depth knowledge of global contemporary art, and during her time at Yale, Leslie concentrated on African and African diasporic practices, particularly performance art and museum intervention. She has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of museums and their audiences including the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Leslie has also led public discussions on improving inclusivity and equity within museums, curated exhibitions and programs for academic galleries, and juried contemporary art exhibitions. In addition to her role as Educator with ViVA, Leslie writes for an online contemporary art publication and enjoys painting.

Rachel Reese

Rachel Reese
rachel.reese at vivavirtualartists.org

Rachel Reese
(she/her)

Rachel Reese is Director and Curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), the first ICA in the state of TN. From 2015-2019, Reese served as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA where she organized over 20 special exhibitions, including the recent retrospective and accompanying catalogue for Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades (Telfair Books, 2019). Reese held prior positions at Atlanta Contemporary in Atlanta where she curated Pratfall Tramps (Atlanta Contemporary, 2015) with accompanying catalogue; Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia; and Deitch Projects, Petzel Gallery and Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York. Reese is an alumnus of Independent Curators International; was a former editor of Burnaway magazine in Atlanta, and her writing and artist interviews have appeared in BOMB Daily, Temporary Art Review, TWELV Magazine, and Art Papers; she also published a free newsprint of artists’ writings called Possible Press from 2010–15. Reese has taught at PAFA in Philadelphia and Georgia State University in Atlanta, and currently teaches at UTC in the Department of Art. Reese holds an MFA from City College, CUNY, in New York (2009).

Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye

Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye
jennifer at vivavirtualartists.org

Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye
(she/her)

Prior to starting as the Director of University Relations at the Momental Foundation, Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye was the Curator of Education and Academic Outreach at the Yale Center for British Art. In this role, she facilitated a range of diverse conversations with Yale faculty, students, and community members around difficult topics including race, empire, and colonialism. Her publications and presentations reflect her deep engagement with the more pressing topics facing art history and museum education today. This includes essays on portraits in shared academic spaces, panels on  interdisciplinary cross-pollination between art and science, discussions of individual and institutional blindspots in museums, and research into recovering undervalued voices of laborers in archaeological field work. 

 

On a local level within New Haven (CT), Reynolds-Kaye serves on the Executive Committee of the Yale School of Medicine’s Program for Art in Public Spaces and on the Steering Committee of “Create the Vote” organized by the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. Her interest in expanding artist’s engagement with a more expansive public has led to her new position on the inaugural Educator Team for ViVA – Virtual Visiting Artists.

 

Her latest research investigates the connections between pre-Columbian art and Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a specific focus on casts of pre-Columbian objects. She is also the curator of the exhibition, Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas (February 3-June 18, 2017) at the Yale University Art Gallery. She received her PhD in Art History from the University of Southern California, and specializes in the afterlife of pre-Columbian art in modern and contemporary art.