Introducing the Center’s Newest Staff Members

23 Mar 2022

We’re pleased to have welcomed a half dozen new staff members to the Center in recent months to carry out our grantmaking work supporting Philadelphia’s vibrant cultural communities. In addition to grant program and administrative roles, we’ve established the new Senior Specialist for Community Connection & Audience Participation position, developed out of the Center’s deepening commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion and to emphasizing multiple perspectives, inclusive practices, and community relevance as part of programmatic excellence.

Below, get to know our new staff and the art that moves them.

 

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Zach Blackwood. Photo by Neema Kashi.

Zach Blackwood, he/him
Senior Specialist for Community Connection & Audience Participation

Zach has worked in the Philadelphia cultural sector for more than a decade, spending most of that time at the Kimmel Cultural Campus and FringeArts. In a newly created role at the Center, Zach is applying his experience in artistic collaboration toward identifying opportunities for audiences and artworks that prioritize multiple perspectives and interpersonal connection. A self-described “reformed theater kid,” he is drawn to liveness in art, especially community-oriented or “citizen-controlled” works, and “ideas that place the Now inside of historical context, tracing butterfly effects and unseen taxonomies.”

What work have you found especially moving or resonant during the pandemic?

I think about Michelle Lopez’s sound-based, bike-based intervention Keep Their Heads Ringin’ at least once every few days. During those early days of the pandemic, it felt like a crucial salve to experience art that retained its original intention and form, without pandemic restrictions or sudden pivots to digital.

 

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Jordan Garlic.

Jordan Garlic, she/her
Program Assistant, Pew Fellowships

Jordan comes to the Center after three years working as a coordinator in fine art logistics and several internships at Philadelphia museums and galleries before that. She is most interested in art “farthest from what I’m capable of making myself,” she says, whether it’s a large-scale painting, a sculpture crocheted from yarn, or work that “inspires me to create my own because it is similar but tapped into some creativity I haven’t accessed.”

What work have you found especially moving or resonant during the pandemic?

I’ve come back to the work of Titus Kaphar again and again these past two years since the pandemic began, specifically his collage paintings that remind us that our history does not remain in the past—it is also our present. The ways in which we’ve seen history repeat itself since 2020—the prioritization of capital over the lives of the most marginalized, in more ways than one—illuminate how his work continues to ring true.

 

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Erica Goldstein.

Erica Goldstein, she/her
Program Assistant, Project Grants

Erica is new to the Center and to Philadelphia, relocating for this position with the Performance grants program after recently graduating with degrees in art history and marketing. She’s fond of modern American painting, contemporary sculpture, and “huge, conceptual installations that are a little quirky.”

What work have you found especially moving or resonant during the pandemic?

During early COVID while I was living at home with my family, Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland, was a safe haven for me. Just a short drive away from my house, Glenstone is an outdoor sculpture park, similar to Storm King Art Center in New York or Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey, with huge installations. There is tranquil energy surrounding the grounds that I welcomed during those crazy times mid-2020. Since it's completely free and conducive to social distancing, I found myself there a lot to escape my house in a safe way.

 

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Zoë Greggs.

Zoë Greggs, they/she
Program Assistant, Project Grants

As an assistant in the Center’s Exhibitions & Public Interpretation program, Zoë helps to facilitate the Center’s grantmaking work, supporting program operations and correspondence and scheduling with applicants and grantees. Before joining the Center, they served as community outreach coordinator for Maternity Care Coalition, with positions at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, and Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Zoë earned a BFA from the University of the Arts with a concentration in printmaking and book arts.

 

Alfi Nurdin, she/her
Grants Assistant

With previous roles in other Philadelphia arts and culture organizations, Alfi works with Center grantees to keep their contracts, reporting, and other responsibilities on track. She says she’s drawn to art that “pokes and provokes our perceptions of this reality,” be it a large-scale exhibition, a lowbrow meme, or watching her mother organize her home.

What work have you found especially moving or resonant during the pandemic?

I read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde during the beginning of the pandemic. Both continue to guide me to a deeper understanding of gratitude and love.

 

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Grace Snyder.

Grace Snyder, they/them
Administrative Assistant for Systems & Finance

Grace is a longtime volunteer and consultant in Philadelphia’s arts community and comes to the Center with seven years of administrative experience in a variety of organizations, arts and otherwise. While they are interested in virtually any form of art, they say their “most fervent interest is in drawing.”

What work have you found especially moving or resonant during the pandemic?

In 2021, artist Frances Cordelia Beaver released a phenomenal graphic novel entitled On a Cute One. The graphic novel is reflective, tender, and brave—all things I think we need more of since the pandemic.