Saratoga Arts - Arts Center | Arts Council

Board of Directors

   Susanne Simpson
Vice President
   Brad Wagner
   Greg Grieco
   Kendra Schieber

Harry Bucciferro
Anne Curcurito
Chelsey Lester
Julie Lewis
Ava Marco
John Onderdonk
Takeyce Walter


Staff and Board

Saratoga Arts Staff: 



Joel earned a BA in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and his MA and PhD in English from UC Irvine, and in a previous life he taught at Texas Tech and Syracuse Universities, received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and was an Ahmanson-Getty Fellow of the UCLA Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Culture, and published 17 articles, book chapters, and reviews on topics in early modern British culture and contemporary critical theory.  He left academia in 2002 to focus on community non-profit work and relocate to the Saratoga area; soon after he settled here he drove past the Arts Center and said to himself “that’s where I want to work.”  In 2003 was hired as Saratoga Arts’ Associate Director, and in January 2007 he was appointed its  Executive Director following the retirement of its founding Director, Dee Sarno.

Joel has served on grant selection panels for the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Arts and Business Council of New York; he has been on the Board of Directors of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association and the New York Multi-Arts Center Consortium, and on various planning committees for SaratogaArtsFest and the MOHU Festival. Joel is currently on the steering committee of Arts NYS, a coalition of the Executive Directors of New York's community arts centers and councils that provides the arts community opportunities to discuss arts funding in the New York State Budget with elected officials; he also serves on the Saratoga Springs Arts Commission.

The multi-arts spectrum served by Saratoga Arts suits Joel's eclectic tastes, but underground experimental music is his passion, and he’s often tracking that down in basements, bike shops, galleries and theaters across the Capital Region. Occasionally he gets outside too, and has made a number of treks in the Himalayan mountains and villages of Kashmir and the western Tibetan plateau.



Arriving with six years of experience in arts education program development and evaluation at The Hyde Collection, and The Albany Institute of History and Art, Tanya accepted the position of Education Coordinator at Saratoga Arts in 2005, was named our Education Director in 2008, and in 2012 became Saratoga Arts’ Associate Director.

Tanya has a BFA in Art History from U Albany, and a Masters degree in Arts Administration and Museum Education from Skidmore College. In 2009, Tanya was awarded an Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Scholarship to attend the Arts in Sustainable Communities annual convention.  She has been an Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award Panelist, as well as an exhibition juror and guest speaker for many local and regional arts organizations.  Since 2011, Tanya has worked with the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council's Latino Advocacy Program.  Tanya currently sits on the steering committee for the Saratoga County EOC’s Latino Advocacy Program’s Estamos Aqui fundraiser, the community advisory board for the Hudson River Mill Museum and is on the Board of Directors for the Adirondack Folk School. Tanya also served on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Saratoga, Warren & Washington Counties.



Emma holds a BFA in Studio Art with concentrations in painting and drawing, and focuses in Museum Studies and Art History from SUNY Plattsburgh. She is a working mixed media artist and has exhibited in multiple galleries across the Northeast. Prior to joining Saratoga Arts as a permanent staff member in 2016, she taught art lessons to children, worked at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, and both co-curated and guest curated several exhibitions at Saratoga Arts. As an artist with roots in the region, she is passionate about the importance of providing exhibition opportunities to regional and emerging artists and is thrilled to be able to do so as Exhibitions Director at Saratoga Arts. In her free time, Emma continues to teach private art lessons to kids, is an avid traveler and gardner, and has spent extensive time working on organic farms in both New Zealand and Italy. Her home and studio are located in Troy, New York.



Sharon has a deep affection for the arts. Through her early years she studied the clarinet and voice, more intensely studying voice with Mezzo-soprano, Frances Pallozzi Wittmann. Upon entering college, Sharon received a freshman vocal scholarship and enjoyed performing in advanced-level college Chamber and A cappella choral groups while obtaining her BFA in Studio Art at SUNY Oswego and M.S.Ed. at Sage Graduate School.

Prior to joining Saratoga Arts in 2011, Sharon was the Program Director at the NYS Alliance for Arts Education managing Poetry Out Loud - NYS, NYS Council on the Arts-funded Arts-in-Education Grant Program for Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Fulton, and Montgomery Counties, and with funding from the U.S. Dept. of Education and the Department of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, coordinated statewide arts education residencies and professional development workshops focusing on the arts and disabilities.

She has sat on numerous state and national arts committees, including NYSCA grant selection panels, the Evidence of Student-Teacher Learning Database Planning Committee at the Empire State Office of Partnership Support & Research, a former department of the Metropolitan Opera Guild in Lincoln Center, and the National Affiliate Council for the Department of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition to administering Saratoga Arts’ Community Arts Grants Program, Sharon has been teaching in the College Experience Program, a program for students with developmental disabilities, at the College of Saint Rose, since 2009.



Amy comes to the Saratoga Arts Center with a breadth of artistic and educational experience. She has done everything from working for a documentary video production company to running a traditional printmaking business, and even was awarded a year long residency in ceramics. Amy supports the arts by having directed a film festival for several years and having served as an educational assistant at the nationally renowned Arrowmont School of Art and Craft. Most recently, Amy was an artistic assistant to 3-D artist Beth Cavener, for her New York City Solo show “The Other.” As an artist, she has shown work both locally and in Montana and even had an animation she worked on air during the Super Bowl.  When she isn’t at work, you can find Amy freelancing as a graphic designer, hiking in the Adirondacks, or getting her hands dirty in some clay. 



Alix holds an English degree from Skidmore College and a Masters of Arts from New York University, a perfect combination for her work as a producer of First Night Saratoga and development coordinator for Saratoga Arts.  Before joining the Saratoga Arts team as a fulltime staff member in 2016, Alix served as the founding artistic director of the Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT) in Cambridge, NY.  Alix continues to be a freelance producer and contractor for many smallscale musical events around the region, and in her freetime she serves as an alumni admissions counselor at Skidmore College.  She lives in White Creek, NY with her husband, daughter and German Shepherd. 




Prior to retiring to Saratoga Springs, Mary attended Art Students’ League of New York (1985-1993), exhibited drawings and paintings in solo and group shows in NYC and worked as a Gallery Assistant in a small, privately-owned art gallery in SoHo, a drafter, a CADD Coordinator in the very, early days of computer graphics, and a Nanny.  She believes that all Art is a process of self-discovery and communication and as such is vitally important to a community’s well-being, and therefore she joined Saratoga Arts and began volunteering at The Arts Center in 2009. She joined the staff in 2013, when thanks to her commitment the Arts Center Gallery was able to remain open on both Saturdays and Sundays in the summer. Her work has since grown to 4 or 5 days a week, when she not only keeps an eye on the gallery and engages visitors in discussions about the local arts scene, but also coordinates Saratoga Arts' First Night and year-round volunteers.



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