QUEER|ART STAFF & BOARD BIOS
Since its founding in 2009, Queer|Art has actively cultivated a network of support to address the absence of creative mentors who would have emerged from the generation most strongly affected by the ongoing AIDS crisis. By fostering the confident expression of LGBTQ+ artists' perspectives, stories, and identities across disciplines and generations, Queer|Art supports and empowers a population that has been historically suppressed, disenfranchised, and often overlooked by traditional institutional and economic support systems.
In the last year, our staff and board has doubled! Meet the people backstage at Queer|Art, New York City’s home for the creative and professional development of LGBTQ+ artists.
Ira Sachs, Founder and Executive Director
In 2009, inspired by the election of Obama and compelled by an urgent need to address the lack of institutional and economic support for LGBTQ artists in the United States, Ira Sachs (he/him) founded Queer|Art. That year, with filmmaker and co-curator Adam Baran, he established the now long-running monthly screening series Queer|Art|Film, now at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village. In 2011, with Lily Binns, he established Queer|Art|Mentorship, which has since become the core program of Queer|Art’s activity. As Executive Director of the organization, Sachs has spearheaded partnerships with the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and Visual AIDS, plus a major corporate partnership with HBO. Sachs is also an accomplished filmmaker whose work includes the features Little Men, Love is Strange, Keep the Lights On, and Forty Shades of Blue, winner of the 2005 Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize.
Travis Chamberlain, Managing Director
Travis Chamberlain (he/him) brings over a decade of curatorial and managerial experience to Queer|Art. In his previous capacities as the Associate Curator of Performance and Manager of Public Programs at the New Museum (2007-2017) and Artistic Director of Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn (2004-2007), Chamberlain worked closely with local and international artists to produce performances, residencies, and exhibitions that reflect a diverse and vibrant arts community. That work, with its intergenerational focus, continues to compel his interest in the excavation of marginalized cultural histories and the advancement of emerging queer voices. As a curator and arts administrator, Chamberlain has organized local and international partnerships and co-presentations with the Stedelijk Museum, TrouwAmsterdam, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Public Theater, Performance Space 122, Movement Research, French Institute Alliance Française, and PEN America, among others.
Rio Sofia, Programs & Operations Coordinator
Río Sofia joins Queer|Art from her previous role as FringeArt Director at FringeNYC, where she was tasked with developing and organizing yearly exhibitions to serve as the visual arts component of the festival's multimedia programming. Under this role she expanded the reach of the Fringe Festival to include representation by queer and trans artists of color while successfully transforming those exhibitions into a fundraising platform for those communities. She also planned and executed several art and academic events at Cooper Union including panels, lectures, conferences, exhibitions, and performances, notably working on the "Bring Your Own Body" exhibition with Stamatina Gregory, among other projects. During her time as a student at Cooper Union, she successfully lobbied the administration to de-gender all bathrooms on campus, transforming Cooper Union into the first university in the country entirely without gendered bathroom signage. As a social justice fundraiser, she has worked with Audre Lorde Project, Freedom To Live, and GLITS, among other organizations serving LGBTQ+ people.
KT Pe Benito, Programs & Operations Assistant
KT Pe Benito (they/them) is a nonbinary Philipinx interdisciplinary artist, writer, emotional laborer, and activist. Pe Benito brings a strong relationship of NYC queer culture and a working knowledge of LGBTQ+ history and theory to Queer|Art. They previously worked at a neighboring nonprofit organization, Fourth Arts Block, and earned a BFA from The Cooper Union. In these contexts, they have made safer spaces for queer and non-binary people and people of color to exist, to be seen, to be heard, and to connect. As a practicing artist, Pe Benito delves into matters of politicizing their late grandmother's existence and linking daily life to structural marginalization and colonization onto the queer, brown body. Their work is currently on view at the Queens Museum for the Queens International: Volumes biennial exhibition.
Kris Grey, Queer|Art|Mentorship Program Facilitator
Kris Grey is a New York City based gender-queer artist whose cultural work includes curatorial projects, performance, writing, and studio production. Grey earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a Masters Degree in Fine Art from Ohio University. They perform, teach, and exhibit work internationally. Kristingrey.com
Adam Burnett, Development Associate
Adam Burnett (they/them) has worked in development across the non-profit arts sector at these institutions: Exit Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Dixon Place, Queer|Art, Momenta Art, and The Field. He is also a playwright whose work has been presented in New York City at Ars Nova, ART/NY's Gural Theatre, The Brick, The Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, The Duplex, The New Ohio, and The Tank. Adam is the Managing Artistic Director of Buran Theater Company, which they co-founded in 2007, and through which they have produced their theatre works across the United States and abroad.
David Sheingold, Organizational Development Consultant
David Sheingold (he/him) is an independent consultant providing project development, strategic planning, facilitation, and fundraising services. Client list includes: 651 ARTS, A.R.T./New York, ArtsPool, Brooklyn College, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Miami Light Project, ODC Theater, Pew Charitable Trust, Queer|Art, Spaceworks, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The MAP Fund, and Vermont Performance Lab, among others. Sheingold was previously Dance Theater Workshop’s Senior Producer (2004-2007), Director of Community Programs (2002-2004), and Manager of Institutional Giving (1999-2002). He holds a BA in Urban Studies from Vassar College and an MBA in Management and Organizational Behavior from Baruch College.
Adam Baran, Queer|Art|Film Co-Curator
Adam Baran (he/him) is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, writer, curator and event promoter. He is the producer of the upcoming documentary "Circus of Books" and his 2013 short film "Jackpot" won Best Short at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. He is the co-chair of the campaigns committee at The Creative Resistance, an activist group of filmmakers committed to taking back our democracy. He has been the co-curator of Queer|Art|Film since its inception.
Vanessa Haroutunian, Grant Manager (Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant)
Vanessa Haroutunian (she/her) is a multimedia artist, filmmaker, and producer. She received her B.A. in Film & Electronic Arts from Bard College. She recently produced a short film by director Erin Greenwell, entitled OBSOLETE (post-production) and has worked in various production and producing roles on Ira Sachs’s films Frankie (post-production), Little Men (2016), and Love is Strange (2014), as well as Natalia Leite and Alexandra Roxo’s web series Be Here Nowish (2016) and Katherine Bernard’s short film CRUSH (2016). She has been working closely with Miranda July’s project Joanie4Jackie for the past decade, and made a documentary on the subject in 2010 called pure&magicalpussypower, for which she received the Jerome B. Hill Award for Documentary Excellence at Bard College. From 2013-2018 she was Programs Coordinator at Queer|Art, where she currently manages the Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant.
mayfield brooks, Grant Manager (Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant for Queer Women(+) Dance Artists)
mayfield brooks (they/them) improvises while black, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. mayfield is a movement-based performance artist, urban farmer, writer, and wanderer. they studied contemporary dance at the school for new dance (sndo) in amsterdam, moving on centre in Oakland, CA, and holds an MFA in interdisciplinary performance from UC Davis and a masters in performance studies from northwestern university. mayfield is currently a 2017 artist in residence at movement research nyc, was a 2018 WOW/UNY Artist in Residence at Governor's Island, NY, was recently featured in Gathering Place: Black Queer Land(ing) at Gibney, NYC, The Prelude Festival at City University New York with Jaamil Kosoko and a featured performer at MoMA's retrospective of Judson Dance Theater's "The Work is Never Done."
Nelson Santos, Acting President
Nelson Santos (he/him) is an artist, curator, and nonprofit consultant. He is the former Executive Director of Visual AIDS (2000-2017), a non-profit arts organization that utilizes art to fight AIDS and supports artists living with HIV/AIDS. He has worked with hundreds of artists, estates and curators on exhibitions, publications, and various art projects. Santos curated Video Positive, The Bronx Museum, NY; Go Figure, The Center, NY; Robert Blanchon + Stephen Andrews, Miami Dade Art Gallery, FL; Between Ten, Spin Gallery, Toronto; Sight of Constructions, co-curated with Michael Gonzalez, The Center, NY; and The Sparky Project, Schroeder Romero / Winkleman Gallery, NY. While at Visual AIDS he published the artist monograph for Robert Blanchon and the catalogue raisonné Hugh Steers: The Complete Paintings, he also conceived and edited the ongoing series DUETS, which pairs artists, activists, writers, and thinkers in dialogues about their creative practices, HIV, and current social justice issues. Santos received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited his work internationally including shows in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Spain, and Japan.
Bobye List, Secretary
Bobye List (she/her) has been involved in non-profit management for over 30 years. List was Vice President of Education and Youth Employment at the New York City Partnership and Director of their Summer Jobs Program (a public/private sector collaboration). She served as Executive Director of NYC Literacy Volunteers and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. She is currently Executive Director of the Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation. List has served on numerous boards, including The Cahnman Foundation, Fund for Public Schools, Packer Collegiate Institute, and The Brooklyn Public Library Foundation. Her focus has always been, and continues to be, on serving the underserved in this city and this nation through building partnerships, leadership, and strategic ownership. List is a founding Board Member of Queer|Art.
Sue Simon, Treasurer
Sue Simon (she/her) has a background in public health, human rights, and social justice. For 30+ years, she has worked internationally (Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia) and domestically for a variety of NGOs, foundations, and government agencies. She has developed and implemented programs around: HIV prevention and care issues; harm reduction and safer drug use; sex worker rights; and criminal justice reform. Additionally, Simon has worked in the film industry and served on the boards of several arts organizations. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and an undergraduate degree from Tufts University. Simon is a founding Board Member of Queer|Art.
Brad Greenwood (he/him) is a visual artist specializing in painting and collage. He has exhibited in multiple solo shows in New York and a number of group exhibitions in New York and Philadelphia. Greenwood has also worked on the development and management side of the arts, as director of development at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA/P.S.1), where he was charged with bridging the affiliation of MoMa and P.S.1, and as a curator for HERE Arts Center in Manhattan. A graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Greenwood currently resides and works in Washington, Connecticut.
John Oursler (he/him) is a passionate arts fundraiser who currently serves as the Senior Associate Director of Development at Columbia University School of the Arts, helping to increase scholarship and production funds for graduate arts students. Before that, he managed the major gifts program at Film Society of Lincoln Center for four years. As an undergrad, John attended Eugene Lang College at the New School, where he received dual degrees in Gender and Sexuality and Media and Cultural Studies, respectively. He worked as a professional film critic for outlets such as Village Voice, Brooklyn Magazine, Paste, and others, before obtaining his Master's degree from the City College of New York in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management.