staff | our staff and board of directors


> >

 

STAFF

Will K. Wilkins - Executive Director [email]

Amanda Baker - Assistant to the Director [email]
Julie Barnofski - Development Coordinator [email]
Pedro Bermúdez - Communications Coordinator [email]
Taryn Bunger
- Communications Manager [email]
Lindsey Fyfe - Education Coordinator [email]
Valerie Garlick - Visual Arts Manager [email]
Barbara Hocker - Controller [email]
Jean Paul Leblanc - Business Manager [email]
Jess Martel - Front of House Manager [email]

John Morrison - Director of Film Programming [email]

CAFÉ AND CINEMA STAFF

Namulen Bayarsaihan - Café
Ra Biek - Café
Adam Russell - Café
Rachel Ruberbauer - Café


Diana Rosen - Projectionist
Ian Ally-Seals - Projectionist

Ana Altiery - Housekeeping

BOARD

Hank Schwartz - Chair
Jim Bridgeman - Vice-Chair
Ileen Swerdloff - Secretary
Carol A. Fitzgerald - Treasurer
John F. Byrnes
Audrey Conrad
Deborah Goffe
Sharon Churchill
Mark Schreier

- top -


Will K. Wilkins

Executive Director

Will K. Wilkins is Executive Director of Real Art Ways, one of the United States’ leading contemporary multi-disciplinary organizations, in Hartford, Connecticut. Real Art Ways supports artistic innovation, and connects artists and community. Programs include visual arts, theater, music, spoken word, and film and video.

Mr. Wilkins has overseen the $1.8 million development of the Real Art Ways Arts Center, a place for art, ideas and social interaction, which includes a comfortable cinema (35mm, 16mm and video; also used for live arts), three beautifully renovated gallery spaces, a video room, the Loading Dock Lounge, and the Real Room.

Among the highlights of Mr. Wilkins' tenure has been a series of commissioned artist’s projects, many in public settings and involving community participation, including projects by Mel Chin, Mark Dion, Lillian Hsu-Flanders, Ellen Driscoll, Pepón Osorio, Karin Giusti, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Carl Pope, Jr., Rachel Berwick, James Luna, Josely Carvalho, Liz Miller, Nikki S. Lee, Verandah Porche, and Group Material.

Mr. Wilkins is an innovator at linking contemporary art and ideas with community. In recent years, Real Art Ways has sponsored a design competition, with neighborhood residents as jurors, for neighborhood gateways; has commissioned three major artist’s residencies with the neighborhood senior center; and has been a key participant in an inclusive neighborhood planning process, resulting in a redesign of the central commercial district.

During Mr. Wilkins' tenure, Real Art Ways has been a strong supporter of artists’ rights and freedom of expression, and has received support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Wilkins has served on grant review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts International, the Wallace Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Ct. Commission on the Arts, and the McKnight Foundation. Prior to joining Real Art Ways in 1990, Mr. Wilkins worked at Central Park Summerstage and WBAI in New York.

- top -


 

baker

Amanda Baker

Assistant to the Director

In addition to her work with Real Art Ways, Amanda Baker is the President and Executive Director of janus, a flute/viola/harp performing arts trio of which she is the flutist. The trio has presented concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Aspen Music Festival and many other notable institutions nationally. From 2001-2002, she was also the Principal Flutist of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in Guangzhou, China.

Amanda is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard in which she supported the Coast Guard Band in musicianship and management. As the Tour Marketing Coordinator for the band, she spear-headed the 55-member ensemble’s first tour in Japan as well as coordinated the band’s national tours.

Amanda is a foodophile and enjoys new experiences at fabulous restaurants as well as experimenting in her own kitchen. She enjoys hiking, gardening and reading. She has a BA and MA in Music from Northwestern University and Yale University respectively, and is currently completing her studies toward a Master’s of Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

- top -


 

barnofski

Julie Barnofski

Development Coordinator

Julie Barnofski returned to her home state of Connecticut after several years of teaching at universities in Texas and Pennsylvania. Upon leaving a professorship at Marywood University, Julie joined Real Art Ways with the goal to develop funding to provide creative and educational opportunities to a broader audience. She holds a B.A. in English and Studio Art from Marist College and achieved both her M.F.A. in Photography and M.A. in Art History from the University of North Texas.

Her artwork focuses on themes of loss, relationships, connections and disconnection, and domestic space. Although she's a fine art photographer at heart, she also has special interests in handmade book projects, drawing, and fibers. When not working, Julie can be found knitting obsessively, experimenting with new recipes and techniques in her kitchen (most of which suit her pescetarian diet), or spending time with her boyfriend and two constantly-shedding dogs.

- top -


 

bermudez

Pedro Bermudez

Communications Coordinator

Pedro Bermúdez returned to the east coast after working in film in Los Angeles. Through his production outfit Revisionist, he has directed award-winning commercials and short-films. His latest documentary project focuses on the Bhutanese refugee community in Hartford. Pedro received his MFA from the American Film Institute where he was a recipient of the Petrie Award for excellence and the Board of Trustees Scholarship.

- top -

 
   

bunger

Taryn Bunger

Communications Manager

Taryn was born and raised in Central New York, attending Syracuse University to earn a BA in English and Textual Studies. She remained in CNY for one year after graduation to pursue her passion for social justice work in the nonprofit sector.

To further realize her goals of working in nonprofit communications, Taryn left Central New York to earn her MA in Public Communication from American University's SOC in Washington, DC. Now settled in Hartford, Taryn comes to Real Art Ways excited to implement her skills and education in a creative, inspiring environment.

Outside of RAW, Taryn loves the outdoors, live music, exploring Connecticut and cheering for the Syracuse Orange.

- top -


 

fyfe

Lindsey Fyfe

Education Coordinator

Lindsey Fyfe is an artist and educator from Glastonbury, CT. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Skidmore College, where she majored in Studio Art & Spanish and apprenticed at the Tang Museum. Her first formative experience in urban community education was teaching in the Temple-Beaudry neighborhood of Los Angeles, via a year with AmeriCorps. Further investing in service through education and the arts, she remained in Los Angeles working for a civil rights advocacy firm and exhibiting throughout the region.

Sponsored by a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, Lindsey completed a Master of Arts in Painting in 2010 from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where the physical and cultural terrain of the region guided her body of abstract work. Locally, Lindsey has worked as an educator at the Connecticut River Academy high school in East Hartford. Certified in TESOL, Lindsey has taught English to Speakers of Other Languages with the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford.

Outside of Real Art Ways, Lindsey enjoys exploring her home state by road, trail and river. She enjoys oil painting, photography, throwing pots, and singing folk and bluegrass music with The Connecticut River Ramblers and other rogue musicians.

- top -


 
valerie-garlick

Valerie Garlick

Visual Arts Manager

Valerie Garlick is a visual artist, curator, and writer who works in photography, video, and performance. Her art and curatorial projects focus primarily on gender, sexuality, and the intersection of the body with technology. Her work has been the subject of national and international exhibitions, screenings, publications, and lectures. Recent projects have been exhibited at HERE Arts Center, Participant Inc., the Elizabeth Foundation, and Soho20, as well as the Vox Feminae Video Festival in Zagreb, Hotch Potch in Oslo, the Kurye International Video Festival, Istanbul, and Shau Fenster, Berlin. She holds both an MA in Art History, and an MFA in Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut.

Before joining Real Art Ways as the Visual Arts Manager, Valerie oversaw media archives and commercial operations in the Chelsea gallery district in New York City, implemented the design and production for emerging and established artists' projects abroad, and was a resident artist with the Chashama Studio Art Program and the School of Visual Arts. Valerie has worked on local and community arts projects at the La Lutta Project Space in Brooklyn, the Brick+Mortar International Video Art Festival in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and the Windham Area Arts Collaborative in Willimantic, CT. She has taught undergraduate studio art classes in new media and writing, and curates regularly for Vector Artist Journal, an experimental, multi-media arts publication based in New York City.

- top -


Barbara Hocker

Controller

Born in Norwalk, Connecticut Barbara Hocker studied Fibers and Printmaking at Syracuse University and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her mixed media work fuses the material sensibilities of fiber with computer manipulated photo based prints and abstract monotypes to create works on paper, panels, and sculpture. She has exhibited extensively in the Boston and Hartford areas and currently resides in Coventry, CT with her own personal Muse (otherwise known as her husband Tim) and two very spoiled cats.

To support her artistic habit she has held a variety of real jobs including jewelry buyer for the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum Shop, Star Wars Exhibition store manager and buyer for the Museum of Science, Boston, fabric store manager, art supply warehouse order picker, audio services technician, and bookkeeping for college bookstores, cake bakers, jewelry makers, museums, and engineers. She has 10 years retail management experience and 8 years small business management and accounting experience.

Barbara's Website

- top -

 
   

Jean Paul Leblanc

Business Manager

Jean-Paul attended Coventry High School and is a graduate of Bryant (College) University. He has been involved with Real Art Ways since about 1992, beginning as an event volunteer. Jean-Paul became an employee in the café selling movie tickets and refreshments once the movie theater shortly after it opened in 1996.

After about 18 months Jean-Paul moved to the office as a bookkeeper and now serves as Business Manager. He is the RAW “phantom” employee as his working hours are usually Monday and Friday evenings as well as special events. He has participated in most aspects of Real Art Ways over the years, serving as a stage hand, set up crew member, sound assistant, cleanup crew member, café sales person, etc.

He has been employed as the Director of Business/Finance at LEARN, a Regional Educational Service Center in Old Lyme, since 1994. He oversees an agency budget of approximately $22,200,000 which is comprised of more than 100 individual program budgets. Prior to his employment at LEARN, Jean-Paul was employed as an accountant at the Capital Regional Education Council in Hartford.

- top -


Jess Martel

Front of House Manager

Jess grew up in Tolland, CT, with a tremendous love and appreciation for art and music.  As a kid she spent countless nights sitting by the radio, drawing and waiting for the DJ to play her request.

That love of music and art led Jess to Real Art Ways when she moved to the Hartford area, and over the years she has formed friendships with many people at RAW. Jess initially came to work in the café as a favor to LB Muñoz, the former Vibe Manager and has found a home among the staff and many of the regular patrons.  Jess left for a short while but after a year away, she’s glad to be back and looking forward to putting her own spin on the Front of House Manager position.

Jess has diverse interests, and studied biology at ECSU and film at UHART.  To stay well rounded, she also got an AS in general studies from MCC where she studied mostly art and foreign languages.  She enjoys hanging out with her long haired Chihuahua (Remy), driving her Mini Cooper (which she named Lou Reed), and making everything from homemade jam and salsa to Odd Ball costumes. 

Jess is thrilled to be re-joining the team at Real Art Ways and looks forward to new experiences a more great memories!

- top -


John Morrison

Director of Film Programming

John Morrison started the Amherst Film Cooperative in 1972, which showed the first continuing program of foreign films in the Connecticut Valley. He also became the Valley Advocate’s first film critic in the premiere issue of 1973. In 1976 he co-founded the Pleasant St. Theater in Northampton, the first art theater in the area; in 1986 he co-founded Pleasant Street Video, which has been called the best video store in New England; and in 1988 he co-founded Tower Theaters in South Hadley, a commercial theater initially funded by Mt. Holyoke College. He was a City Councilor for 8 years in Northampton, MA and Chair of the City Property Committee. He was a co-founder of both the New England Film Festival and the Northampton Film Festival.

Since 1995, Morrison has been the Director of Film Programming for Real Art Ways. He created Real Art Ways’ International Family Film Festival, now in its 9th year, as well as many smaller festivals. Real Art Ways’ Cinema has won the “Best of Hartford” award since 1996.

He moved to San Francisco in 1999 to take the position of Outreach and Education Director for the California Film Institute and as the Children’s Film programmer for CFI and the internationally acclaimed Mill Valley Film Festival. He continues to direct film programs for RAW, often finding ways for CFI and Real Art Ways to do joint programs.

- top -


 
   
 
 

 

John Byrnes

Board of Trustees

John is the President and CEO of RC Knox and Company.  He is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Greater Hartford YMCA.  He also serves on the boards of the Bushnell, the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford and Duncaster.   He is a corporator of Hartford Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and the Hospital for Special Care and a member of the Hartford Rotary Club.   John received his  B.A. from Clark University and his J.D. from Western New England School of Law.

- top -


Audrey Conrad

Board of Trustees

A familiar face in the crowd at RAW for more years than she cares to admit to, Audrey is a long time supporter of RAW as well as The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective and Our True Colors where she has volunteered and made presentations. Formerly Executive Director of The Connecticut Outreach Society (a Transgender support and social group), she speaks to high school and college students about gender issues and her life experiences.

Audrey was born and raised in the Chicago area. After graduating from Northeastern Illinois State University, she taught in City of Chicago public schools for five years prior to pursuing a career restoring, caring for and writing about historic railroad equipment. She compares her work to “being a zookeeper for dinosaurs”.

Her spare time is divided between visiting museums and galleries, exploring industrial archeological sites, hiking and dancing. She is honored (and flattered) to be a member of the RAW Board.

- top -


 

Harold (Hank) Schwartz

Chair, Board of Trustees

Hank is the Psychiatrist-in-Chief at the Institute of Living, Vice-President of Behavioral Health at Hartford Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He has served on numerous other national, regional and local boards but rates his time on the RAW Board as personally most meaningful.

Hank grew up in New York City and moved to West Hartford in 1989 for a position at Hartford Hospital. In his life before medicine he was focused on the arts, particularly theater, television and film. "I always considered myself an arts person who was kind of surprised to wind up in medicine," he reports. "I have always loved my career in psychiatry but, in some important way, I feel I have come home with my connection to RAW. Real Art Ways is a phenomenal organization and I couldn't be prouder to be part of it."

- top -


Ileen Swerdloff

Board of Trustees

Ileen is the managing partner of the West Hartford law firm of Swerdloff & Swerdloff where she practices family law with her husband/partner. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo and her law degree from Western New England School of Law.

She is passionate about the arts. An inveterate traveler, she visits museums and galleries throughout the world. She believes a connection to the arts is as important to well being as is exercise and a healthy diet.

Ileen also serves on the Board of Hartford Stage, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and Greater Hartford Legal Aid. In addition, she is an Elector at the Wadsworth Atheneum of Art.


- top -