Members of the Westbeth Corporation Board of DirectorsJoe Versace
Joe is a vice president and senior advisor in the New York office of AB Bernstein, where his practice includes: not-for-profit institutions and endowments; executive, corporate and pension plans; family trusts and partnerships; as well as individual investment management advisory services. In addition, Mr. Versace is an assistant professor on the faculty of Columbia University’s Graduate School of International and Public Policy Mr. Versace currently serves as Treasurer for Eyebeam, a not-for-profit collaborative arts and technology studio, and has been active with many business, youth and social service organizations as a board member and volunteer including: ABNY, The Alliance for the Arts, Children for Children, The Gordon Parks Foundation, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City Department of Education, One Laptop per Child, Pencil and The Partnership for New York City. Esther Robinson
Esther has worked on behalf of America’s artists for over 20 years as a: foundation program officer, television and film producer/director, technology entrepreneur and arts activist. From 1999-2006, she was Director of Film/Video/Performing Arts at the Creative Capital Foundation and one of the principal architects of their innovative grant-making system. Since 2006, her non-profit ArtHome has provided financial-training and asset-building programming to artists and organizations nationally, funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity/Ford Foundation, ArtPlace, and the NEA. Since 2015 she has been Co-Executive Director of NYC nonprofit ArtBuilt (www.artbuilt.org), where ArtHome’s asset building programs continue alongside space-based initiatives including a 56,000 sq. ft. affordable arts and arts-business studio complex in South Brooklyn and an innovative mobile studio residency program in NYC parks/public plazas. Robinson is also an award-winning filmmaker/producer. Her critically acclaimed directorial debut A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory took top prizes at the Berlin, Tribeca and Chicago film festivals. It is currently scheduled to be re-released theatrically in 2019. As a producer and executive producer her recent titles include (among others): the Academy Award Nominated film Strong Island by Yance Ford, and Memories of a Penitent Heart by Cecilia Aldarondo which premiered in the 2017 season of the PBS series. Additionally, She is an active board member of Women Make Movies, a recipient of Fractured Atlas’ 2014 Arts Entrepreneurship Award and a mom to Otis age 5. Alina Lundry
Treasurer (elected 2019)
Alina is a partner and founding member of Highline Stages, with over 25 years of experience in the photography-film studio and event industries. A graduate of L.I.U., C.W. Post, with a B.S. in Accounting, she began her auditing career as a Certified Public Accountant in NYC.
Prior to founding Highline Stages, Alina served as C.F.O. and C.O.O. of Industria Superstudio, where she spent 16 years leading the company’s operations: studio management, advertising and editorial photography production, event planning, catering and restaurant management. In 2010, she teamed with her industry colleagues to create the Meatpacking District’s Highline Stages, envisioning a place that would support the creative work of artists across several industries.
In 2015 Alina was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council of the New York Academy of Art (NYAA), and in 2016 became a member of the Board of Trustees.
Alina’s past philanthropic activities have included a two decade involvement with the Elizabeth Glazier Pediatric AIDS Foundation as Photography Captain, the Sponsoring of rookie mushers in the 1000 mile Iditarod Race, biking across Alaska to raise money and awareness for an AIDS vaccine, and the Sponsoring of emerging artists and alumni of the NYAA. Alina’s passions extend to the extreme outdoors, whether it is remote travel or remote travel for a cause.George Cominskie
George is the VP of John Turner Photo, working in the photography field for the past two decades. George previously served on the Westbeth Board from 1989 to 1994 and 2002 to 2004. He was Vice-Chair of the Board from 1990 to 1994. Mr. Cominiskie served on the Westbeth Artists Residents Council for 21 years, 17 of them as President of WARC. He has been the executive producer of WARC’s WestFest Dance Festival and the PEN Literary Quest for the last 8 years. He also serves on an advisory committee of The Whitney Museum of American Art and has been a Wednesday morning volunteer at God’s Love We Deliver for the past 21 years. He lives at Westbeth with his husband John Turner. Susan Binet
Susan is a registered nurse and a trained first responder in the New York City Medical Reserve Corps. In that capacity, she assists some of the elderly residents at Westbeth. Prior to 1970, when Susan moved to Westbeth, she had a background in theatre and dance in Ohio. She appeared in productions at the Kettering Oakwood Theatre and the Dayton Theatre Guild and on local television in dance performances. Early on at Westbeth, she served on the board under the leadership of Joan Kaplan. She participated in the “Women’s Collective,” a literary and performing arts venue and performed in “Global Groove,” a creation of video pioneer and artist Nam June Paik. She executed costumes for a dance company and fabrications for a visual artist’s presentation. Currently the corporation’s secretary, she has devoted many years of service to Westbeth, including a stint as president of the Westbeth Artists-Residents Council. Samantha “Sam” Vincent
Sam is a film producer with One Race Films working on successful franchises such as THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, XXX, and RIDDICK. Since 2001, she has also produced video games, television programming, as well as digital and social media projects for the company.
Previously, Vincent worked in the non-profit sector, building educational programs for low income students in NYC at the Fresh Air Fund through the Educational Alliance. Vincent has a Masters in Educational Policy from Harvard University. Her experience in growing up at Westbeth informs her presence on the Board and her efforts to advance Westbeth’s mission of art, community, and affordable housing. Anisha Steephen
Anisha is a Community Development Officer at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the nation’s largest Community Development Financial Institutions. Anisha leads originations and underwriting of economic development real estate projects driven by mission-driven organizations throughout New York City. Her career is focused in successful public-private partnerships that support investments and asset building in low-wealth communities. Previously, she was in the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs and at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Anisha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Columbia University and a M.C.R.P. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a co-author of the book Cities and the Politics of Difference: Multiculturalism and Diversity in Urban Planning (2015). Judd Levy
From 2006-2011 Judd served under three governors as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the State of New York Mortgage Agency and the New York Housing Finance Agency. For the past 15 years he has served as the pro-bono advisor to Habitat and assisted in securitizations that have provided over $200 million for more than 270 local Habitat affiliates throughout the United States. He also served as an advisor to Habitat on an international micro-lending program for small business. Mr. Levy is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Enterprise Community Investment. Donald S.Sutton
Don is a private consultant in marketing and licensing to artists in music and theater. He is formerly Assistant Dean for External Affairs of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University where he served as a personal advisor to one of the state’s most respected economic forecasters, after a year as Director of Development at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information. Don has worked extensively in development and non-profit management for more than 20 years directing museum campaigns in marketing public affairs and/or chief development officer for New York’s Museum of Arts & Design, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Columbia University/Teachers College Campaign and the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. He followed posts with theNew York State Council on the Arts with assignments as Executive Producer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Foundation Managing Director of the Dance Theater of Harlem. Don spent 10 years, ultimately as Vice President for Economic Development, at New York’s Empire State Development Corp where he served as project manager for the re-development of Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater and the 125th St. National Black Theater. Don received a BA in History and Speech/Communications from Elmhurst College, IL, the Master of Fine Arts in Stage Direction from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC and the Master of Business Administration from Fordham University Graduate School of Business at Lincoln Center. Adam Davidson
Adam is an economics journalist. He writes the On Money column for the NY Times Magazine and is the co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money. Davidson’s work explaining economic and financial news to the general public has won many major awards including the Peabody, Dupont-Columbia, and Polk. Davidson grew up in Westbeth, where he lived from 1972 to 1988. His father, Jack Davidson, is an actor who still lives in the building. Davidson now lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Jen Banbury, and their son. Christina Maile
Christina is a printmaker and painter. As a landscape architect, she was the Deputy Director for Construction for the NYC Dept of Parks. As a playwright, she co-founded the Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective – one of the first feminist theater groups in the USA. Their work has been included in the archives of the New York Historical Society. Her landscape design work has appeared in Garden Design Magazine, and Landscape Architecture Magazine. In 2013 she received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and a Joan Mitchell Studio Grant for painting and printmaking. Her work, which explores her Dayak and West Indian heritage, has been featured at the International Print Center in New York City, included in the Feminist Artists Collection at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY, and in many private collections. In 2017 she co-won the Miriam Chaikin Foundation Writing Award. www.christinamaile.com.
Alan S. Kleiman
Boardmember (elected 2019)
Alan is a real estate and finance attorney and published poet
He has a broad-based real estate practice in leasing, financing, construction and sale transactions in the New York metropolitan area including many of the Chelsea galleries, as well as working with landlords and tenants to resolve disputes.
He serves as Board chair and counsel for the Elizabeth Foundation – a 90 artist nonresidential studio and performance project space. He has published a book of poetry (Grand Slam) and more than 100 poems in various publications, and was a featured poet at the Virginia Museum of the Arts.
Boardmember (elected 2019)
Aya is an architect and founding principal of al-ao, a collaborative design studio working at the intersection of architecture, research and social advocacy. Her areas of professional and academic expertise focus both on creative infrastructure, specifically artist studios and residential architecture. Her practice, al-ao have worked on relevant projects such as ARTBuilt, the 56,000 sq. ft. facility of artist studios at the Brooklyn Army Terminal; Re-Create Arts and Athletics performance and recording space; Partisan Recording studio; Public Record studio; Meerkat Media collaborative studio; Base design studio; Woodside Queens community kitchen and the re-visioning of Carver Theater in New Orleans. She has active partnerships in the Philippines and New York City, with a mission of giving access to design services to empower people from underserved communities. She is a recipient of numerous design awards such as Columbia University’s Percival and Naomi Goodman Fellowship for social work in architecture. Aya is a professor at Parsons School of Design and has taught at Columbia University and the Cooper Hewitt.
Elsie McCabe Thompson
Boardmember (elected 2019)
Elsie is president of the NYC Mission Society – an anti-poverty organization that supports education and youth development programs in 12 locations throughout the city. For 15 years she was President/CEO of the Museum of African Art in which she oversaw the amassing of 5 parcels of land as well as the rezoning, planning, design, value- engineering, fundraising (some $75 million), financing and construction of a new building located at on the top of Museum Mile (Fifth Avenue) at 110th Street. She is an inaugural recipient of the Ford Foundation’s Visionaries Award for pioneering transformative social change. She previously served as Mayor David Dinkins Chief of Staff and was a litigator for Sherman & Sterling. She is currently on the boards of the NYS Council on the Arts, the National Recreation Foundation, and the National Parks of NY Harbor Conservancy and is on the steering committee for the Association for a Better New York. Her husband is a former NYC Comptroller and is Chair of the Board of CUNY.
Roger is a mixed-media visual artist using watercolor, collage and photography. He is currently president of WARC (since 12/2017) and formerly the Admissions Committee Chair (since 4/2011) and an active Westbeth Resident (since 8/2009). He owns and operates EmmettNYC, a creative consultancy for fine art and graphic design/mixed-media. Currently, he is overseeing season-inspired watercolor designs for the Tokyo launch of Red Hook’s own Baked, and is a consulting design director at La Mer.
Domhnaillis Head of Experiments in Arts and Technology (E.A.T.) at Nokia Bell Labs. He graduated with a B. Eng. in Aeronautical Engineering, a Ph. D in fundamental fluid mechanics from the University of Limerick and an Executive M.B.A. from Dublin City University, Ireland. He is passionate about turning research/ideas into reality and exploring the bounds of creativity to push the limits of technology. Glenn Erikson
Glenn is an architect and developer. He designed and developed Venice ArtBlock, a 20-unit live/work project in Venice, CA, and developed Main Street Mews, a 16-unit live/work project in Freeport, N.Y., with Time Equities, Inc. Current work includes managing projects in New York; Trenton, N.J.; Annapolis, Md.; Bristol, Tenn.; Seattle, Wash.; and Berlin, Germany. He is also principal of EF Capital, which owns and manages 240 apartments in upstate New York. Glenn has a bachelor’s degree in architecture, a master’s in real estate and finance, and a doctorate in urban affairs, and has been on architectural teams that have won design awards on six projects. An active fly fisher, he is the conservation director of the International Federation of Fly Fishers, and is a board member of Architecture/Omi and Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn.
Matt was a private consultant to dealers, collectors and foundations, advising on the acquisition and dispersal of Old Master, 19th- and 20th-century art, and assisting on cataloguing, conservation and display matters. Mr. Rutenberg is particularly involved in aiding collectors in placing their works of art in public museums and has worked with many institutions including the National Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Gallery at Vassar College, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art, the Harvard Art Museums, the Norton Art Gallery, the Ringling Museum, the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University, the Fitzwilliam Museum of Cambridge University and the National Gallery of Scotland. He is a graduate of Harvard College, and attended post-graduate classes in historical studies at the Warburg Institute, University of London. In addition to being published in scholarly publications in his field he has also written for The New York Times and The New York Review of Books.