Brian Smith is a visual artist sculpting queer approaches to ecology. He has shown in a growing list of national, and select international art sites. He was raised in Vermont, got a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, and later his Masters from Maine College of Art & Design, next door to SPACE. He now feels rooted to the Maine rocky coastline after making this place his home.
Smith has a robust studio practice in Westbrook, where he works in metal, foam, wood, epoxies, and photography/photographs. His work hybridizes sculpture and image in an ever-evolving quest for the perfect marriage of the two. It’s an exciting challenge!
Michael Cormier-O’Leary is a tireless collaborator. As drummer for the Philadelphia-based alt-country band Friendship, for luminary guitarist/songwriter/improviser Wendy Einsenberg, and for the mystifying indie musician Abi Reimold, he has played many hundreds of shows since 2009 and has criss-crossed the country extensively. He is a multi-instrumentalist who releases song music under his name (most recently 2021’s More Light!!) and is the primary composer/bandleader for the instrumental collective Hour. Founder of Dear Life Records, Cormier-O’Leary has shown a commitment to championing music by indescribable songwriters, experimentalists and improvisers. The current roster includes Kath Bloom, Karl Blau, Nat Baldwin, Joanna Mattrey, Natalie Jane Hill, MJ Lenderman and more. He lives in Biddeford with his wife, dog, and cat.
Bobby is an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher in the Portland area. He is the sound engineer for Community Voices for Change, a talk show hosted at WMPG every Thursday night from 7:30 – 8:00 PM focusing on progressive voices in the community. He is also DJ BC at WMPG and hosts Joynoise every Sunday night from 7 – 9 PM, where he plays mixes of electronic and indie music (think Burial, Angelica Garcia, and Sufjan Stevens). He collects vinyl, dabbles in film photography, strives to see more live shows, loves meeting new people, and needs to walk his dogs more often.
Cameron (he,him, his) is an organizer, educator, poet, stand up comedian, writer, and probably a bunch of other stuff he can’t remember. Currently living in Biddeford, Cameron was formerly based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For over a decade, Cameron has been researching, writing, and engaging in performances that examine the intersection of race, pop culture, trauma, and speculative fiction. He identifies ideologically as an Afrofuturist.
Before moving to Maine, Cameron worked as sexual health educator with Planned Parenthood, as well as proudly serving as the Vice President of Black Lives Matter Oklahoma City. Additionally, Cameron served on the board of Freedom Oklahoma, the first LGBTQIA2S advocacy organization in the state, as well as on the ACLU of Oklahoma’s Board of Directors.
Outside of his career in community organizing, Cameron has a long history of spoken word performance. He was named one of the Blue Whale Comedy Festival’s “Comics to Watch” in 2017, opening for comedians such as Beth Stelling and Byron Bowers. Cameron also competed with Red Dirt Poetry in the National Poetry Slam Competition two years in a row, and has taught an independent poetry writing class with the Ralph Ellison Foundation.
Cameron firmly believes in community-led, intersectional, and radial approaches to social justice advocacy. In his spare time, Cameron enjoys cooking, overanalyzing tv shows from the mid 2000s, and reading comic books.
Molly Geiger joined the SPACE event staff in 2022. She got her BA in Anthropology from Bard College and has developed a career in nonprofit management over the past 15 years. When not working at SPACE, she manages membership for the Maine Island Trail Association and teaches yoga and fitness at Hustle and Flow Studio. Molly is a lover of nature, music, dance, and new experiences.
Shaun Sutkus is an audio engineer, artist, and musician. He has been touring since 2008, sometimes with his own projects Perfect Pussy, vitimin, & Pretengineer; and other times helping others with theirs: Arca, Battles, Empath, Julian Casablancas, Toots & the Maytals. Shaun lives in Portland with his wife Tori and their 2 cats Fritz and Nico. In his spare time Shaun loves to cook, play hockey, and explore.
Luna began her relationship with SPACE in 2017 as a Kindling Fund intern, and remained on the visual arts team as a preparator (power tools aficionado) for a few years until transitioning to her current post on the event staff. She is now a graduate student at USM studying Clinical Counseling, and for fun she co-hosts Portland’s favorite vaudevillian showcase, The Great Open Mic, and sings in the folk trio Frontways Cupid.
Bobbie is an artist living and working in Portland, Maine. Her drawings and paintings explore intimate moments of self reflection, home space, and finding beauty amidst pain. She currently works at SPACE Gallery as Event Staff, at Creative Portland as Communications Coordinator, and cares for as many dogs as possible in the Gardiner area.
Sierra D’Amours (they/them) has been working as a sound engineer at SPACE since 2017. During daytime hours they work as the Spawn Librarian at a mushroom spawn production company. They also are very stoked about making music, working with clay, and going on long hikes.
Camille (they/them) does a lot of different stuff, including working on SPACE’s event staff! They write zines and a blog called THE DEAL WITH CAMILLE, are the program coordinator at the Camden International Film Festival, and produced the experimental radio zine THE ANGLERFISH. They’re an alum of the SALT Institute for Doc Studies and the Rochester Institute of Technology. They love Krautrock, swimming, and reading. Ginger is their favorite Spice Girl.
Jamal Cooley, from Portsmouth NH, considers himself an advocate for art. He is also known as “Malz The Gather” for his reputation of organizing successful events and benefit shows in the Seacoast NH community. He is also a photographer, documenting precious moments of the underground music scene. He hosted the hip hop events Book n Bar(s) at Portsmouth Book and Bar and The Underground Upstairs at The Press Room. He was the founder of the civic hip-hop group, Kingdom, who were able to help benefit at risk youth and sober programs in addition to a few local Somersworth schools.
Peter’s first night in Portland, back in October 2006, was spent at SPACE, where Wolf Eyes melted his face and destroyed his ears. He remarkably still had enough hearing to join the event staff as a sound engineer in August 2010. He joined the staff upstairs in the office as music programmer in 2014. As a drummer, he has played more than 600 shows across North America, Europe, and Asia over the the past decade, with bands such as Family Planning, Mehetable, Woodpainting, Villages of Spaces, Names Divine, Ora Cogan, Lina Tullgren, Jacob Augustine, Lisa/Liza, Lady Lamb, The Casco Bay Tummlers, and many more. He runs a small record label, Pretty Purgatory. His favorite color is purple.
Jocelyn (she/they) is a queer artist, performer, and writer. Originally from Downeast Maine, land belonging to the Passamaquoddy Tribe, Jocelyn loves to travel and has been to many different places that have stirred her soul. Jocelyn received her B.A. in Art and Humanities from the University of Southern Maine, and her M.A. in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts where she now teaches as an adjunct professor. Jocelyn wrote and performed a piece titled The Unkindest Cut which was in PortFringe 2019 and they author/manage the website Getting to Know Jane Doe. Jocelyn also serves on the South Portland City Council, representing District 1, and raises awareness and advocates for changes in policy that enhances social justice initiatives, particularly race and gender equality. She lives in South Portland with her fiance Connor and their 3 fur babies Quila (doggo), and Meri and Pippen (kitties).
Kelsey Halliday Johnson (she/they) is an organizational strategist, eco-feminist, writer, and artist from Philadelphia, living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Prior to SPACE, Kelsey worked in curatorial and advancement capacities for the Michener Art Museum, Vox Populi Gallery, Locks Gallery, independent curator Marianne Bernstein, and her own independent multi-site curatorial projects; as well as gaining significant administrative experience at Blind Spot Magazine, the Penn Museum, and WPRB 103.3FM. Kelsey proudly worked retail and photo lab jobs for many years. She is a graduate of Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Wesleyan University, and has taught at a range of colleges and universities as well as Interlochen Arts Academy. Johnson’s research projects have explored the aesthetics and rhetoric of fascism, the intersection of art and technology, activist artists, and experimental performance theory. Some thoughts by Kelsey on the future of the art field can be found in the Common Field “Field Perspectives” with Title Magazine.
When not reading books or getting outside, Kelsey is passionate about volunteering for queer, reproductive, and environmental justice, in addition to serving on the Executive Committee of Sierra Club Maine, the Collections Committee of the Portland Museum of Art, and the Cultural Steering Committee for the City of Portland.
Jonathan is a musician, artist, parent, punk, friend, and lifelong Mainer. They love creating and collecting equally, with an ever growing hard drive full of beats and a basement full of toys and instruments. Jonathan has spent the last several years at Bomb Diggity Arts, collaborating with disabled artists on gallery art, short film, music, animation, puppetry, and cable access television. Prior to that they ran an adorable karaoke night, created a podcast for Archie Comics, and played in an award winning children’s music band. Their hero is Pippi Longstocking and their favorite thing is Christmas.
Carolyn Wachnicki is a habitual non-profit employee that also identifies as a graphic designer, painter, athlete, music aficionado, documentary photographer, educator, and now, Design + Exhibition Manager. Carolyn comes to SPACE from The Long Now Foundation, an organization in San Francisco established to inspire long-term thinking.
New to Portland, but not New England, Carolyn was raised in the Mount Washington Valley. There, amongst people that wore many hats (literally and figuratively), she learned early the virtues of being a generalist. This led her to study liberal arts at Wesleyan University with the intention of also playing Division III ice hockey. However, she quickly traded in her goalie gear for a paintbrush and double-majored in Studio Arts and Art History (with an unofficial minor in community radio–WESU 88.1FM).
After college Carolyn set out on her hero’s journey, stomping the trails as AMC ‘hut croo’ before heading to NYC for a curatorial internship at the Whitney’s Altria Space (RIP–’the corporation giveth and taketh away’). After putting in her 10,000 hours on freelance exhibition and collateral design, Carolyn joined the New Museum as their first female in-house graphic designer. The New Museum’s proximity to the lower east side inspired her to moonlight as a documentary concert photographer (note: she did not sleep much those years).
Carolyn climbed out of her creative rabbit hole briefly to work as a packaging designer for beverage companies and as an album art print production specialist for record labels (whilst slowly migrating west to California). After taking a brief sabbatical to write and illustrate a children’s book (Olin The Greyhound), Carolyn rejoined the non-profit world at the Museum of Sonoma County–just in time to celebrate the 40th year anniversary of Christo & Jeanne Claude’s Running Fence.
Carolyn’s curatorial interests at present are found at the intersection of monuments, sites, and memories. She is particularly drawn to work that activates historic spaces and landscapes in new and transformative ways.
Quinn Farwell is a musician, electrical engineer, and sound engineer born and raised in Maine. They spend their free time taking pictures of their cat and plays drums, guitar, or bass between 6 bands or so.
Julia Whyel is an archivist, media producer and visual artist. She came to Portland, Maine for a three month detour and ten years later, here she still is. Julia oversees digital and print archival management, exhibition installation, the SPACE internship program, in-house production and serves as the staff-board liason. Julia is a Salt Institute alum, she holds a BA in Media Studies from University of Southern Maine and an MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University. She loves Christmas slightly more than Jonathan does.
Board of Directors
Christian Adame (he/him) is an arts administrator with 19 years of diverse experience in museums. As a queer, multiracial educator, he works to elevate and integrate marginalized perspectives within institutional space through collaborative programming, interpretation, and teaching. He has held positions at the California State Archives, The California Museum of Women, History, and the Arts, the Crocker Art Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum. In Arizona, he helped establish arts space Megaphone and co-founded the community collective Cut + Paste. Currently, he is the Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Community Collaboration at the Portland Museum of Art. He has received awards and fellowships from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), The Getty Leadership Institute, The Teaching Institute in Museum Education, and the American Alliance of Museums. He earned his B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Davis.
Cindy Han (she/her) has been connected with SPACE since she moved to Maine in 2009. In her role as a board member of the Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine (CAFAM) she collaborated with SPACE on our film programming. As a member of a very artistic family, SPACE has been something she has shared with her children as they grew up in the area. Cindy is also a familiar name to listeners of Maine Public Radio as she’s a producer on the program Maine Calling.
Amy Parker (she/her) is the Executive Design Director and co-founder at Woods Creative. Amy runs Woods’ Portland, Maine studio where she leads creative strategy, ideation, and digital design to make communication solutions, digital products, and visual languages for brands. Amy is an active participant in both the Portland (teaching at Maine College of Art & Design) and Boston design communities (The Vice President of AIGA Boston’s board) and hopes to bring more joy, meaningful connections, and beautiful design to help us all feel seen and considered. She lives with integrity, high expectations, compassion, and humor. She has been a helper at SPACE in more ways than we can count from years of volunteering at events and exhibitions and extending her branding and design-savvy to SPACE’s Marketing Committee since 2020.
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in Business Administration, Oliver Watson represents the recent overflow of Boston’s startup tech community into Southern Maine. Born in CT and raised in the greater Boston area, Watson now works as part of a new health-tech business venture started by his brother in a former mill building in Westbrook. zFlo is a software and systems distributor primarily working with European healthcare focused companies, and Hawkin Dynamics is their new venture that develops metrics based fitness devices and software for sports medicine and physical therapy applications. Watson is a young arts collector in Portland and has actively supported and advocated for the growing community of experimental young contemporaries in the greater Portland area. Oliver is serving his first term on SPACE’s board, ending in spring of 2022.
Local to Farmington, Maine, Desi Van Til studied English Literature at Princeton University, enjoyed a post-graduate cinema-intensive fellowship in Paris, then moved to Los Angeles to work as a producer. She learned the ropes assisting her mentor Greg Silverman at Revolution Studios and Warner Brothers. She went on to spend five years as VP of Development for Donna Roth and Susan Arnold at Roth/Arnold Productions where she associate-produced 13 Going on 30, and the Judd Apatow-produced comedy Drillbit Taylor. Van Til adapted and produced the short film Last Night, starring Frances McDormand, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Tumbledown was her first feature, a love letter to her hometown, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and is available on most streaming outlets.
Van Til just adapted Julie Orringer’s celebrated novel The Invisible Bridge for Wiip as a limited series pilot, and is working on a Portland-based play. She currently serves as Chair of SPACE’s marketing committee and is completing her second term in Spring of 2022.
Rachel Gloria Adams is a textile designer and painter living in Portland, ME. Inspired greatly by her beloved state of Maine and the beautiful chaos her two daughters bring, Adams has developed a vibrant, graphic pattern-based visual language filled with references to the natural world. An ongoing project and business venture TACHEE utilizes this imagery she developed through painting as textile prints. Rachel is currently developing a body of work that depicts her experience as a black mother and artist through a series of paintings and quilts.
Oronde Cruger is the program coordinator for Speak About It, a Maine-based nonprofit organization that brings consent and sexual assault prevention education to high schools and colleges through dynamic performances and programs. Originally from Florida, Cruger is a graduate of Bowdoin College, majoring in neuroscience and pre-med. He has been involved with Speak About It since its creation at Bowdoin and worked as a program educator for two years, traveling around the country, eagerly spreading the gospel of sexy consent. Previously, he has worked as an Admissions Officer at Bowdoin, at Mercy Hospital in Portland, on SPACE’s event staff, and is the proud co-founder of Heart of Hospitality. In addition to SPACE, Cruger currently serves as a board member of the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine. View his TEDxDirigo talk on Modern Masculinity here. Cruger is currently serving in his first term on SPACE’s board through spring of 2023, and was elected to Secretary in 2022.
Chris Stiegler is the Program Chair of MFA in Studio Art at Maine College of Art & Design, an art historian, and curator who founded the projects Town Hall Meeting and The Institute for American Art. Town Hall Meeting was a collaborative effort that produced symposiums, museum tours, and lectures. Stiegler serves as museum director for The Institute for American Art, a curatorial project that situates works of art and objects of culture within a residential setting. The museum shows a single work of art at a time to foster prolonged engagement with the audience, accompanied by associated film screenings, public readings, and other events. As a teacher he has focused on historiography, criticism of the contemporary, and 20th century art history. He holds BAs in art history and printmaking from the University of Delaware and a Master of Modern Art in connoisseurship, market history, from Christie’s Education. Chris is serving his first term ending in spring of 2023, and was elected to the Vice President role in 2022.
Emily Drain Bruce is the Vice President of Creative at L.L. Bean. She has held various roles within marketing in her 10 plus years there, an extension of her previous decade of experience leading digital marketing and e-commerce efforts within the Estée Lauder Companies in New York and at several innovative start ups.
Bruce came to board leadership through her visionary volunteerism as chair of the SPACE Marketing Committee. She helped lead organizational visioning on SPACE’s brand and mission, has shored up our nonprofit business model, and developed a survey method to better understand our audience and marketing of SPACE’s cultural offerings.
Her volunteerism with alternative nonprofit visual arts spaces has deep ties to her own creative passions and family. She majored in fine arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder with a focus on ceramic sculpture and photography. She currently serves on the board of Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Emily was elected board president in fall of 2019 and has served three terms on SPACE’s board.