Pen + Brush Curators

By creating a curatorial program that includes a wide variety of outside fine art professionals, Pen and Brush works with industry influencers to review work created by women, making selections based solely on merit for public presentation through P+B's exhibitions.  These curators will rotate in and out of the review process so that the pool of selected work will reflect current perspectives and multiple points of view.  We have the honor of working with a diverse group of curators who are willing to contribute their time, expertise, and individual perspective to support Pen and Brush’s mission to advocate for gender parity in the visual arts.

Sara Kay.

Sara Kay, Founder and Principal of Sara Kay Fine Art

Sara Kay is the Founder and Principal of Sara Kay Fine Art. With nearly 20 years of experience and a diverse background, including conservation, museum, auction, gallery and non-profit, Sara is both an industry specialist and visionary. Prior to founding SKFA, Sara was Director of a globally renowned contemporary art gallery, White Cube in London. Formerly, she served as Director of the Fine Art Department at the Jan Krugier Gallery, the exclusive agent for work by Pablo Picasso from the Marina Picasso Estate, and specializing in 19th and 20th century painting, drawing and sculpture.

Previously, Sara served as a Specialist in Old Master Drawings at Christie’s auction house, leading the New York department. She has also held positions at the American Folk Art Museum and Artist’s Talk On Art, New York’s longest running non-profit for critical visual arts dialogue. Sara is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Professional Organization of Women in the Arts, a nationally recognized 501(C)3 that champions professionalism and the advancement of women in the business of fine art. She has lectured extensively on the topic of collecting and the art market and serves as an Adjunct Faculty member at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art’s M.A. Art Business Program offering discourse on the subjects of best business practice and career development.

In 2015, Sara was awarded Parmigiani Fleurier’s Women of Exception award for her professional distinctions and philanthropy. Sara was born and raised in New York and studied Art History, Business, Italian Language and Fresco Conservation.

Rick Kinsel.

Rick Kinsel, Executive Director, The Vilcek Foundation

Rick Alan Kinsel is the Executive Director of The Vilcek Foundation. He has worked to conceptualize and administer the philanthropic programs of the Foundation since the philanthropy’s founding in 2000, first as a member of the Board of Directors and since 2003 as the executive director.

Kinsel brings to the Foundation experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. For Coty Inc. in New York he served as director of cultural affairs, directing all cultural and educational programs for the corporation and its global subsidiaries from 1997 to 2003.

Kinsel’s first task upon joining Coty was to build new corporate art collections for the company’s offices in New York, Paris, London and Moscow. He then went on to oversee a number of other key cultural initiatives, such as the creation of an annual design award; the raising of scholarship dollars to support students at Parsons School of Design in New York; and the forming of an innovative alliance with the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) whereby Coty developed personal care products suited to counter the dry atmosphere of the International Space Station.

Before and during his tenure at Coty, Kinsel provided marketing and management counsel to such organizations as the Greentree Foundation (Mrs. John Hay Whitney Estate) and the Puerta Vallarta Arts Festival in Mexico. Mr. Kinsel has also advised the New York State Attorney General’s Office on various issues related to confiscated art objects.

He began his career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1989. There, as cataloguer in charge of acquisitions, he was responsible for the accessioning of all objects acquired by the museum (more than four thousand objects per year).

During his tenure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he earned an M.A. in the History of the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture from The Bard Graduate Center in New York. He completed undergraduate studies at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio, and The Ohio State University in Columbus. Mr. Kinsel also pursued non-degree coursework in museum studies at the L’Ecole du Louvre in Paris.

Kinsel has served on the board of directors of Sheeba Records, Toronto, and The International Perfume Bottle Association. As a specialist in the decorative arts, he is a member of the International Association of Professional Art Advisors (IAPAA).

Alice Gray Stites.

Alice Gray Stites, 21c Chief Curator and Museum Director

Alice Gray Stites is Museum Director and Chief Curator of 21c Museum Hotels. A multi-venue museum located in Louisville, Cincinnati, Bentonville, Durham, Lexington, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and Kansas City, 21c was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, collectors and preservationists who are committed to expanding the audience for contemporary art. Stitescurates exhibitions, site-specific installations, and a range of cultural programming at all 21c Museum Hotels. 21c also collaborates on arts initiatives with artists and other cultural organizations worldwide, including Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, North Carolina Museum of Art, Speed Art
Museum, Barnes Foundation, Creative Capital Foundation, FotoFocus, Creative Time, and others. Since opening in Louisville in 2006, 21c has presented over 100 exhibitions. Recently, Stites has curated Hybridity: The New Frontier; Aftermath: Witnessing War, Countenancing Compassion; Seeing Now; Wild Card: The Art of Michael Combs; Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity; Albano Alfonso: Self-Portrait as Light; Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art; Labor&Materials, Fallen Fruit: The Practices of Everyday Life; The Future is Female; Truth or Dare: A Reality Show; The SuperNatura; Refuge, and others.

Prior to joining 21c as Chief Curator in 2012, Stites was director of artwithoutwalls, a non-profit,non-collecting public arts organization, and from 1995-2006 was adjunct curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum. Stites has lectured at universities and conferences such as Art Basel Conversations, Leaders in Software and Art, TEDx Stockholm, Moving Image Spotlight, PULSE Perspectives, the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, NewInc at the New Museum, and has served on juries including ArtPrize, PULSE Prize, and Moving Image New York. She has been active on advisory boards at the University of Kentucky’s College of Design and at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, and is an adjunct member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Louisville. Stites graduated magna cum laude from the University of Virginia, and holds an M.A. from Columbia University.

Bina Sarkar Ellias.

Bina Sarkar Ellias, Founder, editor, designer and publisher of International Gallerie

Bina Sarkar Ellias founder-editor, designer and publisher of International Gallerie, the award-winning global arts and ideas journal published from India. Engaged for many years in socio-political and community building issues which she addresses in Gallerie, she received a Fellowship in 2007 from the Asia Leadership Fellow Program and Japan Foundation for research and development of the project: Unity in Diversity: Envisioning Community Building in Asia and Beyond, and the Times Group Yami Women Achiever’s award in 2008. An occasional poet, her poems have appeared in various magazines, anthologies and online poetry sites, besides, her chapbook of poems, The Room has been published by AarkArts, UK.

A writer since the early seventies, she has contributed to major national newspapers such as The Times of India, Indian Express and The Hindu on socio-political issues and the arts in the last forty years. She has been invited to chair discussions at the New Moves Festival in Glasgow as well as speak at other fora in San Francisco, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, London, Glasgow, Tehran, Kabul, Karachi, Lahore, Santiniketan, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. She has curated two group shows: ‘Rain’ at Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai, ‘Kashmir’ at Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai, and one solo, ‘Chinthala Jagdish’ at Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai. She has curated’ “Transitions”, an international virtual event of visual, literary and performing arts for Pen+Brush, New York.

She has edited, Fifty Years of Contemporary Indian Art, 1997, for the Mohile Parikh Centre for Visual Arts, Mumbai, 1997. She has designed artist Jehangir Sabavala’s catalogue for the 2002 show in Mumbai, Delhi and New York, artist Rekha Rodwittiya’s catalogue, 2003 and recently, her book in 2007, for shows in New York, Crossing Generations: diverge, the fortieth anniversary catalogue for Gallery Chemould, Mumbai, 2004, and a book on artist Tyeb Mehta, Svaraj by Ramchandra Gandhi, She has designed, edited and published an art book, Chinthala Jagdish:Unmasked, 2004, and The Curious World of Chinthala Jagdish, 2008, a book of poems, Rain for Indian poet Sudeep Sen, 2005, Ayesha Taleyarkhan’s book of photographs:, Bombay Mumbai, 2005, American photographer, Waswo X. Waswo’s book, India Poems: The Photographs and his recent catalogue, A Studio in Rajasthan, 2008. She has edited and designed photographer, Leena Kejriwal’s book, Calcutta: Repossessing the City, 2007, and designed artist Surendran Nair’s retrospective book, Itinerant Mythologies, 2008.

Bina Sarkar Ellias lives and works in Mumbai, India.

Grace Aneiza Ali.

Grace Aneiza Ali, Assistant Professor and Provost Faculty Fellow in the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts

Grace Aneiza Ali is an Assistant Professor and Provost Faculty Fellow in the Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and a Curator. Ali’s curatorial research practice centers on socially engaged art practices as well as contemporary art of the Caribbean and its diaspora, with a focus on her homeland Guyana. She is the founder and curator of Guyana Modern, an online platform for contemporary arts and culture of Guyana. Ali is founder and editorial director of OF NOTE Magazine — an award-winning nonprofit arts journalism initiative reporting on the intersection of art and activism. She is the recipient of the following awards and fellowships: NYU Provost Faculty Fellowship, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Grant, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, NYU Henry M. MacCracken Fellowship. She was named a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper’ and serves on the Board of Trustees for Images and Voices of Hope, committed to using journalism to create meaningful, positive change. Ali was born in Guyana and immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was fourteen years old.

Vida Sabbaghi.

Vida Sabbaghi, Founder and Executive Director of COPE NYC

Vida Sabbaghi is the founder and executive director of COPE NYC (Creative Opportunities Promoting Equality) whose mission is to bridge communities through art and design. COPE NYC promotes social relations for all ages and abilities through community art projects, fashion shows, art exhibits, conferences, and round table discussions. Under COPE NYC, Vida partners with Queens Museum and Corona Park to create innovative projects in which the academic intersects with the experiential. She works with K to 12 and postsecondary students, as well as those on the spectrum, and seniors. Vida also teaches graduate art students at Brooklyn College.

Sabbaghi writes articles for art and education publications. She and Dr. Alice J. Wexler co-edited Bridging Communities through Socially Engaged Art, published by Routledge. She is a consultant for NYC galleries and she has curated shows at local, national, and international venues. Vida first curated Overlap: Life Tapestries at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, and later at HUB Robeson Gallery at Penn State. Overlap is having its third iteration at Pen + Brush in Manhattan. Other venues for Vida’s exhibits include Skylight Gallery, Queens Museum, Port Authority NYC; Adelson Galleries, Boston, and shows in Soulangh Cultural Park, Taiwan, and Berlin, Germany. Vida designs programming, including workshops and discussions, to accompany the exhibits. As a result of COPE NYC’s projects in Berlin, Vida was appointed co-director of the New York Meets Berlin exchange. She expanded COPE NYC’s vision with her Brooklyn Artists in Residence projects that culminate in group exhibitions. These artists in residence include art students and faculty from Pratt, Adelphi, and Columbia, and Brooklyn College graduate art students. She also manages A.I.R. projects in Soulangh Cultural Park in Taiwan, and is launching an A.I.R. project connected to a Berlin gallery.

Vida completed two years of Industrial Design in addition to earning her Bachelor Degree in Theory, Criticism, and History of Art, Design, and Architecture at Pratt Institute. She earned her Master’s Degree in Art & Design Education at Pratt Institute, and graduated with distinction. She is the recipient of The Pratt Circle Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and the Certificate of Excellence Award for Outstanding Merit in Graduate Art Education. Sabbaghi was recognized in 2017 by AHRC NYC for her work with Queens Museum ArtAccess. She was named 2016 Art Advocate of the Year by NYCATA/UFT, and in the same year, she received the USSEA Edwin Ziegfeld Service Award.

Over the last decade a number of extraordinary professionals contributed their insight and vision to our programs. Their work ignited our imagination and helped shape the 2014 relaunch of Pen and Brush.

Past Curators