Meet The Team
Catherine Graham is a Hudson Valley native and a graduate of the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Fine Arts & Art History and CUNY Lehman College with an MA in Art Education. “I feel so fortunate to support the Garrison Art Center as it works to increase its powerful impact on the community and help drive its mission to make art accessible to all through education, exhibitions, and community programming,” she says.
BFA Rhode Island School of Design, MFA Suny New Paltz. Taught at the university level for over a decade and started at GAC as an Education Coordinator before being promoted to a full-time position as Education Director. She owns and operates her own jewelry line, Kit Burke-Smith Jewelry. She helped found and currently serves on the board of directors for the Foundation for Beacon Schools. This nonprofit organization supports innovation, enrichment, equity, and expansion of educational opportunities in the Beacon City School District.
Development & Events Manager
Jessica Albert developed her passion for the arts throughout her early education in Newburgh, NY. She is an interdisciplinary artist who combines ceramics and fiber throughout her work. She received her AS in Visual Arts from Dutchess Community College and a BFA in Sculpture with a minor in Art History from SUNY Purchase. Jessica spends most of her free time exploring the Hudson Valley with her 3 dogs.
Kate Cahill has been an active member of the Hudson Valley art world since graduating with an M.A. in Painting from SUNY New Paltz in the late 1980s. She taught art courses at the College of Saint Rose and Russell Sage College in the Albany area. She was an active member of the gallery committee of the Greene County Council for the Arts and exhibited and curated shows there as well as at Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, Woodstock Artist's Association, Albany Center Gallery, and many other venues. After receiving her M.F.A. in Painting from SUNY Albany, she set up a studio in Tribeca and began teaching at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Marketing & Communications Manager
Katrin Reifeiss studied at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. After graduating she moved to NYC where she pursued a career in fashion and later in Press Relations. Kat did not give up on her first love, painting, and became involved in a group called s.u.n.Arts, putting together shows in small galleries in NYC for underrepresented artists in 1999 to 2002. Since 2008 Kat has combined her love of painting with fashion by creating and dyeing her own fabric, specializing in Japanese Shibori, for her self-named line of clothing. Kat taught Shibori at the Textile Arts Center and the Japan Society, both in NYC, and since 2016 has been a Teaching Artist, teaching Shibori, at GAC.
Pottery Studio Manager
Lisa Knaus is a studio potter living and working in Gardiner, NY. She started making pots under the loving guidance of her father, a high school art teacher, and continued her studies at Washington University. She left college to work as an assistant to many production potters. After years of hitting the road to sell her work at craft fairs , she became an instructor at Garrison Art Center, eventually taking over the job of Pottery Studio Manager from Beth Bolgla thirteen years ago.
Katie Chirichillo completed her BFA in Photography from SUNY New Paltz in 2012 and has called the Hudson Valley home ever since. With a decade-plus long career in digital marketing and web content management supporting brands and publications, she is excited to pivot into the Program Assistant role after being a GAC weekend gallery attendant for the last five years. Katie seeks to inspire creativity and change within the local community and is thrilled to join GAC in a greater capacity to do just that. In her free time, Katie loves seeing live music, traveling, cooking, discovering new local businesses and artists, swimming, and being outside in the Hudson Valley.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sean Conway, President
Jennifer Lai, Secretary
Georg Ivanoff, Treasurer
Melissa Small Cooper
Sean studied photography at The American University, filmmaking at FAMU, and historic preservation at Pratt Institute. He is a preservationist, project manager, community advocate, and the co-founder of Conway Hall, a very tiny homewares company. Sean joined the Garrison Art Center as a pottery student in 2021 and became a Board member in 2022. His lifelong love of the arts began roaming Gov. Rockefeller’s Empire State Plaza Art Collection, the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, and the galleries of Woodstock and Provincetown. Sean also serves on the boards of the Cold Spring Film Society and the Cold Spring Farmers’ Market. He has lived in Cold Spring since 2014.
Jennifer retired from IBM as a Master Inventor and Executive Architect after 30 plus years in their Artificial Intelligence and Research division. Now she spends her time with her family and their Rhodesian Ridgeback, hiking in the Hudson Valley, growing her garden and nurturing the right side of her brain at the Garrison Art Center. She has been widely published in technical papers with 56 publications and 26 patents. A respected public speaker with international recognition, Jennifer was invited to speak at universities and conferences all over the world. She has been interviewed by NPR, the Wall Street Journal, ABC News and has appeared on television as part of Animal Planet. She loves the GAC and everything it stands for and is honored to be a board member.
Jan is currently serving her second year as Board of Directors President. Previously she was Co-President and has been an active Board member for 10 years. Professionally she has taught Special Education students. Her last position was in the Putnam Valley Central School District from 1978 until her retirement in 2008. Jan was an active union member and staff developer during her years there. Having taken pottery classes in college at Buffalo State, she had an opportunity after her children were older to take pottery classes at Garrison Art Center. That is how her involvement and love for this special Art Center began.
Jan lives in Garrison with her husband of 47 years, Nick Cucchiarella. They have two children, 4 grandchildren, and a little rescue dog Reggie who gets them out to hike in the beautiful Hudson Valley.
Thomas Huber is an artist, performance artist, and curator, whose work has been shown internationally and throughout the U.S. He has a B.F.A from the School of Visual Arts. He has worked as an art preparator for over 30 years and is currently the head preparator at Magazzino Italian Art Foundation in Cold Spring, NY. Thomas has been on the gallery committee at Garrison Art Center since 2004 and has been a member of the Board since 2008.
Hildreth Potts has been a member of the Garrison Art Center since 2013, working initially in the print studio and later switching to the pottery studio to focus on hand building. Her work is inspired by animal forms, which they find mysterious, comforting, and a great source of inspiration.
Hildreth holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from the National Art School in Sydney, Australia, and has completed Sculpture and Printmaking Certificate courses at East Sydney Technical College. Additionally, they received a Royal Society of the Arts Diploma for ESL from Oxford, England, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in Cambridge, USA. They also trained in Archaeological Illustration at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, USA.
Apart from being a mother of three, Hildreth is a practicing artist and active archaeological illustrator with recent work in Kurdistan, Iraq. She is interested in ethics and the defense of human rights, particularly women's reproductive autonomy, and is fascinated by Byzantine and Romanesque art.
Melissa Small Cooper
Melissa Small Cooper studied studio art, with an emphasis on painting and photography, at Hartwick College. To further hone her skills in painting, Melissa pursued advanced studies at The Academy of Art University, earning her MFA in painting. Melissa shares her passion for the arts through teaching and has served as a public school art teacher for over ten years. She teaches high school but has also taught at the middle and elementary levels. Melissa is primarily a still-life oil painter who spends much of her spare time painting. She shows her work throughout the Hudson Valley and shares her love of art-making, baking, and hiking with her three daughters.