The Bridge Ahead InitiativeRead more
Ashley grew up going to museums, so she knows the importance of exposure to art on young minds and enjoys working with the Art Bridges team and museum partners to promote “access for all.” She loves all the works in the Art Bridges collection, but her favorite is Grandmother Gestating Father and the Washita River Runs Ribbon-Like by Kiowa-Caddo artist, T.C. Cannon. She enjoys spending time at home reading with her husband, Ryan, and their fur kids JJ, Donner, and Lefty. Most of Ashley’s bucket list is travel related, but she recently crossed “swimming with manatees” off that list.
Program & Education Manager
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Brittany enjoys working with the collaborative and supportive Art Bridges team. She loves to visit historic house museums and finds the connections between the former residents of the home and the objects they acquired fascinating. Her favorite work in the Art Bridges collection is I Refuse to Be Invisible by Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Brittany loves to travel and hopes to visit every continent on the planet (she’s already checked South America, Europe and Australia off the list). When she’s not at work, you can find her playing board games with her family and friends or experimenting in the kitchen to create the perfect weekend brunch.
Web Content Manager
Colin grew up in San Jose, California, playing drums, collecting music and working in record stores (he owned one full time for eight years). His interest in art began through a passion for collecting records and the album artwork of everyone from Derek Riggs to Reid Miles. His favorite work in the Art Bridges collection is Joseph Stella’s Tree of My Life. Colin and his wife, Kat, have two sons, Grant and Will. Outside of work, he enjoys watching his son play baseball, listening to music, family vacations, and building computers.
Traveling Exhibitions Specialist
Desiree grew up in rural southern Missouri, where there wasn’t much access to museums or other cultural centers. That’s part of why Art Bridges’ mission to expand access to American art means so much to her. She’s always loved art: making it and studying it. Desiree believes art can be a powerful catalyst in starting conversations and making change happen, and values working with the Art Bridges team to try to make a positive impact on the world. Her favorite work in the Art Bridges collection is Sonic Border by Guillermo Galindo. Outside of work, Desiree enjoys making things, whether that’s a new food or a cozy space in her home. She’s also interested in yoga, nature, and astrology.
Desiree (Desi) Garnier
Desi is from El Dorado, Arkansas, where she began her love of art and photography through her mother’s documentary lens. As a mother, art educator, artist and former tiny-town resident, she is dedicated to the Art Bridges mission of expanding access to art for everyone. It’s no surprise that one artist Desi most admires is Ruth Asawa. Some of her favorite works from the Art Bridges Collection are the Stuart Davis and Keith Haring. Desi shares her life with four children, two cats and Abe, the best dog ever. She is a huge fan of live music and loves traveling, attempted gardening, and cooking elaborate meals for her family. She is currently learning the Ukulele.
Traveling Exhibitions Manager
Jamie hails from Kansas City, Missouri, where she fell in love with the Nelson-Atkins museum and its “magical” sculpture garden. An anthropologist by training, she cares deeply about issues of access and inclusivity. She and her husband Carl have two young children and a 125 pound gentle-giant malamute dog. Jamie likes to scuba dive, snorkel, sail, cycle, run, and learn hip hop dance choreography via YouTube videos. She’s also a voracious reader and is currently working her way through all of Agatha Christie’s books.
Jennifer De Martino
Head of Collections Management, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Jennifer’s educational background is in history. She believes that history comes off the page through art and artifacts and chose a museum path because she wanted to help preserve those objects. She was part of the team that opened Crystal Bridges in 2011, and is proud to be working with the Art Bridges team, removing barriers to sharing great art. She’s always interested in Italian American artists and cites the “stunning, complex” work by Joseph Stella, Tree of My Life, as her favorite in the Art Bridges collection. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys reading, cooking, and playing with her kids.
Joshua is from Athens, Georgia. An artist who works in mixed media, his art history expertise is American magical realists of the mid-20th century. At Art Bridges, he enjoys exploring the rich and diverse voices of American artists and helping others to do the same. His favorite work in the collection is Sanford Robinson Gifford’s Twilight in the Adirondacks. Joshua has two quarter horses, Playboy and Ricky Bobby, and a donkey named Buddy. He enjoys reading and traveling and hopes to someday see Beyoncé from really good seats.
Kristi Beckwith Dane
Program Officer & Manager of Administration
Kristi is from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The daughter of teacher parents, Kristi remembers summers spent driving around the U.S., stopping at every large and small museum, historic house, landmark, and historical marker. She believes that art, cultural knowledge and experiences are for everyone, and are a powerful conduit for understanding, unlocking emotion, and expressing humanity. One of her favorite works in the Art Bridges collection is Brenda P by Barkley L. Hendricks. Kristi lives with her spouse, toddler, cats Daphne and Munchkin, and dog Reginald. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, traveling, nature, and vegetable gardening. She is a fledgling basket weaver and is currently learning her native Caddo language.
Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Art Initiatives at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Margi Conrads is from the Washington, D.C. area, and fell in love with art and art history in college. Art Bridges’ mission is near and dear to her because it expands access to art and helps institutions reach their aspirational goals. She says picking a favorite from the Art Bridges collection is like picking a favorite child, but these days she’s inspired by Judy Chicago’s Big Blue Pink and Glenn Ligon’s Untitled (I Am Somebody). Margi moonlights as a yoga teacher and enjoys hiking, biking, reading, traveling, and music.
Mary is from Detroit, Michigan, and will forever love and appreciate the Detroit Institute of Arts in her home state. A former first grade teacher, she found fulfillment in work that focuses on the education of others. She believes art has the capacity to do the same for people by provoking introspection and awareness of others simultaneously, and is excited to work for an organization that pursues such a mission. Mary enjoys cooking, entertaining, reading, traveling, trying new restaurants, and being outdoors in whatever way she can.
Megan grew up in Searcy, Arkansas, and came to art through a passion for Greek and Egyptian art and history. That quickly became a desire to foster interest and appreciation in others through working in art and museums. She is excited to help make incredible works of art and exhibitions available to many who may never have had access to them. Megan loves all the works in the Art Bridges collection, but she particularly enjoys Moving Stillness: Mount Rainier, 1979 by Bill Viola. Megan recently returned to Arkansas after six years as the curator and registrar at the Alexandria Museum of Art in Louisiana. When she’s not working, Megan likes to bake new desserts, read, and travel.
Chief Executive Officer
Paul launched his career as a curator at the New-York Historical Society before moving to Christie’s to become its director of American art and eventually, deputy chairman. As leader of the Art Bridges team Paul is excited to be working with such talented people who are so committed to what they do. Paul loves American art and culture; growing up he was always fascinated by architecture and all types of paintings, drawings, and sculpture. He believes wholeheartedly in the transformational power of art to change lives, as it did his, and he’s dedicated to advancing Art Bridges’ mission so the same thing can happen for others. His favorite work in the Art Bridges collection is Alphabets by Jasper Johns. In his spare time Paul and his partner Pepe work in their garden which includes lots of native plants and an apple orchard.
Shelly Roman is from Chicago and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area. One of her favorite local arts organizations is the de Young museum, with its outstanding collection, special exhibitions, and sculpture garden. Her work with the Terra Foundation for American Art (which started in 1996) brought her to Art Bridges, where she enjoys being part of a dynamic effort to increase access to art nationwide. Untitled (Black and White Variation of “Pochade”) by Stuart Davis is her current favorite in the Art Bridges collection. Outside of work, Shelly enjoys taking road trips with her family, which always include stops at local museums and coffee houses.
Chief Financial Officer
Tracy was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. A proud graduate of Little Rock Central High and the University of Arkansas, she loves the Ozarks and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She loved visiting Arkansas Arts Center as a child and has fond memories of browsing the galleries with her mom and sharing chicken salad plates in the café. Tracy loves launching new projects like Art Bridges – seeing a vision come to life and the lives impacted by that vision. She lives with her husband Jeff, and enjoys hiking, biking, reading, and yoga and hopes to someday take her boys to Europe.
Collections Assistant, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art
Whitney is from Bentonville, Arkansas. She believes art makes the world accessible, and is proud to work with a foundation that provides that access across the country. Growing up, she didn’t have access to a museum, and enjoys helping kids (like herself) who want to see all the art and beauty in the world but don’t have the ability or privilege to travel to do so. Her favorite work in the collection is Edward Steichen’s In Exaltation of Flowers. Her current office mate and golden retriever’s name is Barklay.