Natalie R. Marsh
email: natalie.marsh at vivavirtualartists.org
Natalie R. Marsh, MFA, PhD (She/Her)
Co-founder, Executive Director & Chief Curator
Dr. Natalie R. Marsh has worked for over thirty years in the arts, serving as the founding director and chief curator of multiple exhibition and museum programs at colleges and universities, including Kenyon College’s Gund Gallery (2010-2020), the Denison University Museum (2007-2010), and Columbus College of Art & Design’s Beeler Gallery (2001-2006), in addition to numerous additional positions with other public and private academic museums, commercial galleries, historical collection and house museums and contemporary arts centers.
Natalie has curated over 200 exhibitions, projects, symposia and public programs featuring diverse and international contemporary and historical art, design and material culture for which she has received curatorial, collection, program and sustainability support from major foundations, state and federal agencies, corporations and private individuals. She led the branding and curatorial vision as well as staffing, daily operations, and governance for multiple academic museums and galleries, including the formation of the Gund Gallery as a sole member 501(c)3 and its inaugural board of directors. She evolved a philosophy that led to the annual required curricular visit of approximately 75% of the student body and collaborations with 60% of the faculty when she stepped away from Kenyon ten years later in 2020. She raised over $25M in endowment and collection acquisitions during her tenure, setting the solid foundation for continued growth in service to liberal education.
For the past six years, Natalie has been very active in the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG), for which she currently serves as the Secretary and Chair of the Governance Committee. She is also AAMG’s co-director of the annual conference program which quickly pivoted to a fully virtual format in 2020, continued as such in 2021, and is transforming again as a hybrid conference for 2022 and beyond. In the past year she has collaborated with AAMG’s president in programming a national webinar series bringing together higher education and arts, museum, and cultural leaders. She is an advocate for the diversification of the museum field and mentorship of aspiring cultural workers.
Natalie understands the needs of teachers — in addition to her many years of collaborating with faculty members, including the creation of a faculty seminar series at the Gund Gallery, she has herself taught courses in curatorial and museum studies, senior studio thesis, drawing, 2-D design, surveys in Western, Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian art and architecture history and popular visual culture throughout the past thirty years. She has delivered over 15 invited curatorial talks and chaired panels and presented scholarship at over 25 national and international conferences for art and art history, Asian studies, and religious practice, and museum and curatorial issues and has published on these topics. Natalie completed a BFA in painting with University and School of Art Honors from Illinois Wesleyan University and has a MFA in painting and drawing and a PhD in art history from The Ohio State University. Throughout recent years, she has been asked to lead external reviews of academic museums and consulted with college presidents and administrators, and community leaders, on their current or planned exhibition, cultural, and museum programs.
Scott R. Baker
email: scott.baker at vivavirtualartists.org
Scott R. Baker (He/Him)
Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer
A longtime advocate of the arts and education, Scott is proud to be co-founder of ViVA. He recently completed a nearly decade long tenure at Kenyon College leading the Alumni and Parent Engagement Office where he introduced new digital platforms and greatly diversified their alumni volunteer ranks. He produced major events for the college including the public kickoff for the $300 million Our Path Forward campaign (2018) and the college’s Women at Kenyon: 50 Years of Coeducation Celebration (2019).
Scott graduated from Kenyon with distinction in Drama in 1994 and founded an internet design company, Baker Street Communications in 1996 at the dawn of modern website development. His portfolio included the television show Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures for which he joined the production crew with some frequency on location around the world.
He has served in the past as the Vice President of the board at Toledo Opera where he focused on their digital platforms and marketing efforts. He also performed on stage on many occasions (something he first did as a child in a production of Carmen with Robert Merrill). He has performed the role of Jamie in The Last Five Years (Toledo Rep) and has sung Verdi’s Requiem with an international chorus in Bulgaria. In 2011, he accompanied his college music mentor on a research trip in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa with the goal of bringing new songs passed down by oral tradition back to the U.S.
Scott is particularly proud of his past work with Ohioans for Growth & Equality which went public in 2004 as a voice for equality in Ohio, diametrically opposed to a new discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act.” Although the DOMA eventually became law in Ohio, only to be stricken down later by the U.S. Supreme Court, an activist for equality was born.
Scott lives amongst cornfields on the outskirts of Gambier, Ohio with his husband, Marc and Tibetan terriers, Gracie and Tallulah. He blogs at scottbaker.com.
photo: Joel Bottom
email: alexandra.chamberlain at vivavirtualartists.org
Alexandra Chamberlain (She/Her)
Director of Relationship Management
A first-generation college graduate, Alexandra earned her B.A. in Art History and English Literature from DePauw University in 2013, her M.A. in Arts Administration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2015, and a certificate in Museum Studies from the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University in 2019. Before joining ViVA, Alexandra maintained a consulting practice, most recently serving as the virtual administrator of the Association of Academic Museums & Galleries (AAMG) and their digital platforms, webinar series, and virtual annual conference. Currently, she also maintains a hand in the development and creation of the Putnam County Mural Project, a group that organized and produced the largest mural in the state of Indiana in 2019.
Between 2019-2020, she was the Gallery Director and Instructor at Indiana State University (ISU) where she taught curatorial practices and museum studies courses, as well as managed three gallery spaces throughout the ISU campus. While in this role she single-handedly consulted with her alma mater as interim gallery leadership for DePauw’s Peeler Art Center, where she had previously served as Assistant Director and Curator of Exhibitions and Education between 2016-2019. In this curatorial capacity she had primary responsibility for the development and implementation of educational programming and outreach through the exhibition program and collections, and contributed to teaching museum studies courses and leading university-wide interdisciplinary applications of the gallery’s program.
While living in Georgia, Alexandra was the Exhibitions Director for the Non-Fiction Gallery under Art Rise Savannah. Her research interests include non-profit arts development and marketing, the intersection of object-based learning and visual literacy, and arts advocacy. Within academia, her research focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of Visual Thinking Strategies and the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Framework as a means to cultivate research confidence in undergraduate students.
Born and raised in Jasper, Indiana. Alexandra lives and works in Greencastle, Indiana.
Alasia Destine-DeFreece (She/Her)
Communications & Marketing Intern
A recent graduate from Kenyon College where she earned her B.A. in Modern Languages & Literatures with a focus on Arabic translation in relation to gender studies, Alasia Destine-DeFreece is currently pursuing her interest in galleries and museums. Informed by her interests spanning anti-racism, postcolonialism, and intersectional feminism, her academic and career goals are highly influenced by social justice.
Throughout the duration of her collegiate career, she worked at the Gund Gallery where she held the position of Digital Outreach Associate Leader specializing in video production and editing. Prior to her work on the Digital Outreach Team, she spent a summer co-curating Alumnae: 50 Years, a year-long exhibition highlighting alumnae artists in celebration of Kenyon College’s first class of women. In her first two years at the Gallery, she worked as an Education & Visitor Experience Associate, giving her the opportunity to work with and give tours to groups of all ages. As an intern for the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG), she became well-acquainted with academic art institutions in the midwest, and worked to create a database of contacts in the region.
Alasia currently works as a Guest and Protection Services Associate at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. In addition to becoming well-acquainted with the largely Impressionist private collection, she’s been able to focus on visitor engagement and how the museum setting can be more accessible. She hopes to continue working in the museum and gallery field with the goal of expanding traditional audiences to communities that aren’t typically afforded the privilege of enjoying museum and gallery spaces. She believes that, if used correctly, digital initiatives can bridge this gap and increase accessibility in the art world.
Olivia Spiers (She/Her)
Education & Communications Editorial Intern
Currently earning her Masters in Art Education from the University of Texas at Austin, Olivia has worked as a research assistant for two state-wide projects centered around art teacher resilience during COVID-19 and neurodiversity representation in the classroom. These experiences bled into her thesis research, which focuses on trauma-aware practices in post-COVID museums and highlighting storytelling’s ability to cultivate respect and empathy for others – a deep passion which spans from her years working as a print journalist while earning her B.A. in Art History and Classics from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
During the summer of 2021, Olivia worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. as the National Teacher Programs intern. During this time, she worked with educators around the world during the Gallery’s annual professional development conference for teachers. Olivia was able to design several resources for participants to use throughout the conference, including a digital interactive workbook. Additionally, Olivia was given the opportunity to walk Gallery staff through a trauma-informed art talk, which focused on feelings of forced separation and long-awaited reunion – two themes that span from the looming effects of COVID-19.
Before her time at the National Gallery, Olivia was the Education Fellow at the Blanton Museum of Art, where she assisted in the development of a social-emotional learning (SEL) video series for children. The series features artworks that invite reflection on common human experience such as: courage, loneliness, hope, resilience, self-expression, and empathy. While assisting with the SEL series, Olivia realized the need for art-based SEL programming in light of the pandemic – a sentiment that is reflected in her thesis research.
After working at the Blanton and National Gallery, Olivia developed a strong fascination with the ability art has to guide us through our thoughts and feelings, and the unique ways art can help us slow down to recognize and honor our mental and emotional wounds. From these interests, Olivia developed her M.A. thesis, which centers the abundant need for trauma-aware pedagogy in museums and galleries, as humanity moves into a post-COVID, trauma-filled world.
After graduate school, Olivia will continue to advocate for trauma-aware approaches in museum programming and resource development. As she moves into the professional world, Olivia aims to merge her trauma-informed advocacy with digital initiatives, which she believes can open the door for arts-based healing and transformative experiences for communities that have little or no access to physical art spaces.
Although she resides in Austin, Texas, Olivia was born and raised in a small town located in the Mississippi Delta.