Featured Alumni Profiles

MA in Visual Arts Administration

Featured Alumni Profiles

Kris Lewis, M.A. Visual Arts Administration '07 alt=

Kris Lewis graduated from the Visual Arts Administration M.A. Program in 2007 and holds a B.A. in Art History from Denison University. In early 2018 Kris was appointed the new Director of Development at the Fowler Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles, where she oversees all fundraising programs. She was previously the Director of Government and Foundation Relations at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for 5 years, and prior to that, held various development positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles; Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

In 2006, Kris participated in the VAA M.A. Program Summer Study Abroad, where she traveled to The Netherlands and Vienna, Austria to learn about arts administration in the European context. In 2015, she was invited to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark to train their director and leadership staff on best practices in American museum fundraising and help develop an infrastructure to raise critical funds that the government was no longer able to support. The study abroad opportunity, without a doubt, prepared her for this experience.

Kris has also been a consultant for the past 8 years, engaged with projects that have included managing an award-winning, large-scale, public art project with artists Cindy Sherman, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, and Louise Lawler; leading workshops for artists on developing their business skills and grant writing; and currently, curating three exhibitions in LA and DC. Kris has also participated in numerous speaking engagements on "museum best practices" in Los Angeles, New York City and abroad.

A recent accomplishment of Kris’ and very much on trend in U.S. museums, was raising nearly $6 million from major foundations, including Ford, Mellon, and Walton, for diversity initiatives at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2017. Kris helped conceptualize a diversity fellowship program and also crafted compelling narratives around the museum’s community initiatives and need for diversification. These important projects will create a long-term pipeline to diversify museum staff, curators, and leadership, which will in turn provide new voices and narratives to museum exhibitions and programs, making them reflective of and relevant to the rapidly changing demographics in Los Angeles.

Julia Lammer, M.A. Visual Arts Administration, ‘14


Julia graduated from the Visual Arts Administration M.A. Program in 2014. She received a B.A. from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC in 2012 where she majored in art history and economics.  After graduating from NYU she worked in the Director’s Office and was Development Assistant at MoMA PS1 where she assisted the director on selected projects and publications and communicated with diverse stakeholders. In this fast-paced environment Julia also wrote grant proposals, coordinated and administered MoMA PS1’s membership programming and managed museum-wide special events. She also assisted Klaus Biesenbach in catalogue essays of MoMA publications such as Bjork and Yoko Ono: One Woman Show. She travelled to Shanghai, China in 2015 as a Curator’s Consultant to Hans Obrist and Klaus Biesenbach for the international project “15 Rooms.”

For a short period of time she worked at the Serpentine Gallery, London, UK as Administrator to the Director and assisted Julia Peyton Jones with the Pavilion Commission project. She left the position to start at the Victoria and Albert Museum to develop and run a young patrons program. The V&A Young Patrons’ Circle launched in September 2016 and it has been very successful.  Concurrently, over the past year, she has been doing curatorial research and writing on a freelance basis.

Julia feels that it has been wonderful to work in diverse museums and cultural institutions and to connect with individuals active in or enthusiastic about the arts. At the moment, she is interested in the different approaches cultural institutions take towards each other and their visions for the future.  “It is amazing how the VAA program enables you to learn from and connect with leading practitioners in the field and actively engage in the cultural landscape of New York City. Alumni of the program work in all areas of the cultural sector in the US and abroad, and it always a treat to meet them even in the most unexpected places.” 

Stephanie LaFroscia, M.A. Visual Arts Administration '08

Stephanie MA received an M.A. in Visual Arts Administration from New York University in 2008 and a BA in Art History, Summa Cum Laude, from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. She is currently a Program Officer at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, working with cultural organizations across the city in all disciplines. She came to DCLA in 2015 after eight years at El Museo del Barrio, NY, a museum celebrating the art and culture of Latin America and Latinos in the United States.  As the Senior Manager of Education and Public Programs at El Museo, she developed a performing arts residency and interdisciplinary programming in the visual, performing, and literary arts, including Action Actual: Performance Art at El Museo and El Barrio’s Freshest, El Museo’s annual b-boy/b-girl competition. LaFroscia served as Collections Coordinator for the Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky Collection, NY, 2007-2010, and has held roles at the Bronx Museum of Art and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

In Fall 2016 she served on a panel for SU-CASA funding through the Brooklyn Arts Council. SU-CASA is a community arts engagement program that places artists and organizations in residence at senior centers across the five boroughs of New York City. Stephanie takes an active role in the larger NYC community and in 2016 spoke on a panel organized by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (The Center) about family planning for LGBTQ families.

She is encouraged to see greater opportunities for artists and arts organizations to develop deeper, more sustained relationships and programming that supports community development, cultural practice, and social justice and expects this to continue as we move into 2017 and organizations and communities respond to changing political landscapes. 

llaria Conti, M.A. Visual Arts Administration `13 

Ilaria graduated in 2013 from the Visual Arts Administration program. Previously, she received a B.A. and an MA in Art History and Curatorial Studies from the University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy. As a contemporary art historian and curator, her interest lies in socially and politically engaged creative practices and on the nexus between institutional infrastructures, curatorship, and public engagement. Since 2017 she serves as Research Curator at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, focusing on Cosmopolis, a new biennial exhibition and platform devoted to research-based art.

Prior to this appointment, she served as Assistant Curator of the 2016 Marrakech Biennale, and as Exhibitions and Programs Director at the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York. She was the 2013-14 Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked on new ways of bridging contemporary art curatorship and education with the presentation of historical collections. During her studies at New York University, she pursued her curatorial training at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi Project, Creative Time, and MoMA, and served as MENA Contemporary Art Researcher to Her Majesty Noor Al Hussein of Jordan.

Among her recent endeavors, she participated in the African Art Forum in Venice (2017) and the Tate Intensive: Making Tomorrow's Art Museum (2016), and was among the jurors of the 2018 The Samuel H. Kress Foundation and AAMC Foundation Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She sits on the ArtTable Programming Committee, and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Curators and the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey.

Ilaria sees intersectional work across curatorship and education as content-development on the one hand, and arts administration as framework-building on the other, as the crucial point through which visual art nonprofits can achieve broader cultural justice, public accessibility, and infrastructural sustainability.

Alina Sumajin, M.A. Visual Arts Administration, '10 

Alina Sumajin graduated from the Visual Arts Administration M.A. Program in 2010 and holds a Bachelor's degree in the History of Art and Journalism from The Ohio State University..  She is co-founder and principal of PAVE Communications & Consulting, which launched in July 2015. With more than seven years of experience in cultural communications, Alina has developed an extensive network of media and professional relationships that bridge the realms of visual and performing arts, design, and architecture. Her company works with for and nonprofit organizations spanning the visual and performing arts, architecture and design, the humanities, and film, and offers a range of services, including institutional analysis and strategic planning; brand development; media relations; digital communications and social media strategy; events management; marketing and advertising consultation; and crisis management and communications. Among their major projects are the inaugural edition of the Honolulu Biennial, which will open on March 8; the renovation and reconstruction of Building 6 on MASS MoCA’s campus, which will add 130,000 square feet of space and feature long-term installations by such artists as Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson, James Turrell, and Louise Bourgeois, among others; and upcoming exhibitions for the Rebuild Foundation in Chicago, which was founded and is led by artist Theaster Gates. 

Prior to founding PAVE with Sascha Freudenheim, Alina most recently served as a Vice President at Resnicow + Associates, the youngest team member to ascend to the position in that firm’s history. While at R+A, she led the institutional campaigns for the Dallas Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, Rubin Museum of Art, and Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, and communications and media relations campaigns for the opening of the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the critically-acclaimed exhibition @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, organized by the FOR-SITE Foundation. She developed and implemented PR strategies and coordinated with international partners for Safdie Architects’ projects across the US, Asia, and India, including the openings of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Khalsa Heritage Centre, Punjab, India, and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Alina has held positions in the publicity departments at Christie’s (New York), NYU Press, Workman Publishing, and the Wexner Center for the Arts.  She serves as a guest lecturer at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, speaking on strategic communications and professional development. 

Lauren Shadford, M.A. Visual Arts Administration, '10

Lauren Shadford, '10 received an M.A. in Visual Arts Administration with a focus on Non-for-Profit management from the Steinhardt School at New York University and a B.A. in Art History from Connecticut College. She is the Executive Director of Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA.) In this role, she works with the Board of Directors and Program Committee to create methods of collaborative research and dialogue to support the long-term preservation of contemporary art. She works with artists, arts professionals, museums, non-profits and artist foundations to achieve this goal through public programs, workshops, an online journal and research initiatives.  

Shadford concurrently runs a consulting practice serving museums, art collectors and non-profit arts organizations; her clients have included Phillips Auction House, Storm King Art Center, Association of Art Museum Curators, and Bank of America. Prior to her independent consulting work, she was the Senior Manager in the Museum Services department at Sotheby’s working with institutions across the United States on projects ranging from deaccessioning, appraisals, and exhibition sponsorships. Lauren is an Executive Committee member of the Contemporaries, a young collectors group at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is also a Board member of The Peggy Society as well as a member of ArtTable.

Manjari Sihare-Sutin, M.A. Visual Arts Administration, '10
Manjari graduated from the Visual Arts Administration M.A. Program in 2012 and holds a graduate degree in Art History from the National Museum Institute, New Delhi. She joined the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Department at Sotheby’s in 2015 and brings a breadth and depth of knowledge to her role acquired over twelve years of experience in the field based on her engagement with a broad gamut of constituents including leading artists and curators, major donors, elected officials and the media. Manjari has worked extensively with a range of both institutions and private collections in India and the United States. Leading public institutions she has served in New Delhi include the Lalit Kala Akademi, Goethe Institut and The Biennale Society as well as Gallery Espace and  Savara Foundation for the Arts. Upon moving to New York in 2010, Manjari became Studio Manager for leading South Asian contemporary artist, Rina Banerjee. She subsequently worked in the New York offices of leading Indian auction house Saffronart, launching and managing their blog and special online projects.  Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Manjari held the position of Curatorial Manager for Queens Museum, New York where she helped plan, implement and present over twenty international art exhibitions including Citizens of the World: Cuba in Queens/Cuban Contemporary Art from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Private Collection (2013); 13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair (2014); After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997 (2015), among others.

Pepi Marchetti Franchi, M.A. Visual Arts Administration, ’96

Pepi Marchetti Franchi is a Director of Gagosian Gallery, a leading contemporary art organization with galleries in New York, Los Angeles, London, Rome, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Hong Kong.  She oversees the Rome operations in conjunction with the development and implementation of the gallery's international exhibition program, including shows by Cy Twombly, Cindy Sherman, Alexander Calder, Takashi Murakami, Richard Serra, Anselm Kiefer, Giuseppe Penone, Ed Ruscha and many others. Pepi proactively cultivates new artistic and business opportunities for the global organization and promotes the visibility of the gallery's artists through an international network of private collectors and museums. Previously, she was Executive Associate in the Director’s Office of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, where she executed national and international strategic projects including the launches of new museums, international exhibition tours and programs. She also served as a liaison between the International Board of Trustees, artists, architects, corporate executives and government officials. She nurtured relationships with major donors and Fortune 500 companies and raised significant funds for the museum. Pepi Marchetti Franchi holds a Master's degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and a Laurea ( B.A.) in Art History from La Sapienza University in Rome.  She was awarded the University of Rome Research Fellowship and the Museum of Fine Arts Barbara Fish Lee Fellowship in Boston, where she was a project research assistant to the curator of American paintings.

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