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The Alumni Association of the New York Academy of Art (AANYAA) is a volunteer-led organization that works to support and enrich the alumni community of the New York Academy of Art. The AANYAA promotes the work, news, and events of Academy alumni, coordinates community activities, and provides a forum in which to exchange ideas.The AANYAA Cabinet and Advisory Board encourage fellow alumni to contribute their time and resources to build a stronger community for the mutual benefit of all alumni in their professional endeavors. 

Elections for AANYAA Cabinet Officers are held biennially in June*; the Cabinet votes in the Advisors at any time throughout the year. Are you interested in becoming an Advisor or an Officer? Let us know!



PRESIDENT   Lisa Lebofsky, MFA 2006

Lisa is a nomadic plein air painter. She paints the susceptibility of nature, correlating it with human vulnerabilities. Lisa travels to areas around the globe that are subject to the impacts of climate change, to learn from the landscape and its inhabitants. In addition to solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, she is the recipient of several awards and residencies. She is currently based in New York City as Director of DFN Projects while continuing to explore and paint.

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VICE PRESIDENT   Michelle Doll, MFA 2006

Born in Canton, Ohio, Michelle received her BFA from Kent State University. She is an adjunct professor at the New Jersey City University while also teaching private lessons. She has taught numerous workshops in cities such as Rome, Oslo and New York. In 2019 she received a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Among other awards, Michelle received the Prince of Wales / Forbes Foundation Travel Grant in 2006, was granted Artist in Residence at Eden Rock on St. Barth’s in 2008 and received The Bennett Prize Honorable Mention in 2018. Michelle currently lives and works in Hoboken, NJ.


SECRETARY   Charis J Carmichael Braun, MFA 2008


Charis grew up in New Ulm, MN. As an arts admin, Charis has managed two galleries in New York City, worked for the New York Academy of Art, the Art Students League of New York (at their artist residency program The League Residency at Vyt), and Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. As a painter, she received grant from the Huntington Arts Council for her Beekeeper Portrait Project in 2020, and was chosen as a Sing For Hope Piano Artist in 2016. She also teaches Art History at Farmingdale State College NY, and Bethany Lutheran College, MN. Charis lives on Long Island, NY with her husband, cats, and never-ending delusions of completing her ever-growing to-do lists.


TREASURER   Eric Price, MFA 2019 

Eric is a Stephen and Palmina Pace Foundation, Inc. board member and served on the the Advisory Board of the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA. Prior to becoming a full time painter, Price held executive management and marketing positions in book publishing. Price lives in New York City and Provincetown, MA with his husband. Eric is represented by the Greg Salvatori Gallery in Provincetown, MA.

* The next election for President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer offices will be held in June 2025.



ALUM-AT-LARGE   Melanie Vote, MFA 1998  


Specific to this role:

The Alum-At-Large participates and offers floating support to the Cabinet’s execution of initiatives. Visibility at AANYAA events.

Key features of both positions:

A desire to serve the Alumni community

Must be able to attend bi-monthly meetings via zoom

Must have a positive attitude and work well with others. 

Serves as “parliamentarian” in meetings to preserve clarity and efficiency in discussion and progress initiatives.

Has the same voting rights and privileges as all cabinet members.


This is a volunteer position. 


ALUM-AT-LARGE   Stefania Salles Bruins, MFA 2023  

Specific to this role:

The Continuity Officer works directly with the Secretary to accurately record, organize, and express an accurate archive of all AANYAA activities.

Key features of both positions:

A desire to serve the Alumni community

Must be able to attend bi-monthly meetings via zoom

Must have a positive attitude and work well with others. 

Serves as “parliamentarian” in meetings to preserve clarity and efficiency in discussion and progress initiatives.

Has the same voting rights and privileges as all cabinet members.


This is a volunteer position. 

* The next election for Alum-At-Large and Continuity Officer will be held in June 2026. The two year terms of the Alum-At-Large and Continuity Officer positions overlap two consecutive Cabinets to offer continuity and growth in meeting alumni needs and programming.


The Advisory Board for the Alumni Association of the New York Academy of Art is a team of volunteer alumni who donate their time to support the endeavors of the AANYAA. What differentiates the Advisory Board from the AANYAA Cabinet is that the aforementioned Cabinet, not the alumni community at large, votes these volunteers into their Advisory position.


The Advisory Board members may choose the duration of their terms within the Cabinet's 2-year term, as well as the amount of time they choose to volunteer per week. Each Advisory Board member must donate one hour per week at minimum and must attend at least one AANYAA meeting per month to hold their title.


While the nature and rigor of the Advisory Board members’ duties may also vary depending on the needs of the Cabinet, one quality remains consistent: their passion for voluntary support for the Cabinet, and, in turn, their fellow alums through the AANYAA.

If you would like to be a part of the AANYAA Advisory Board, let us know!

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James Xavier Barbour, MFA 2000 

James is an American painter and sculptor of Spanish/Portuguese/Irish heritages. He is the founder of The Decorus Atelier of Figurative Art, Brooklyn. He has taught for 23 years as an instructor at the Academy of Art University, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, while conducting regular art workshops and seminars. He has been a finalist in the ARC Salon Competition, and has won numerous awards, and featured in various publications, and film. His work can be found in many private and public collections around the world and on exhibition in various art museums and galleries internationally.

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Julia Chen, MFA 2010

Julia is an artist and a teacher.  She has been teaching painting and drawing since 2012.  She holds an MFA degree from New York Academy of Art and MM from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Julia received her bachelor's degree in finance and information systems from Stern School of Business.  She is currently serving on the executive board of Stillmeadow School Parent Faculty Organization, where her duties include preparing budgets and financial reports, as well as organizing and assisting fundraisers, volunteers and events.  She resides in Stamford, CT with her husband and grade-school daughter.  

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Helena La Rota López, MFA 2019

Helena is a multidisciplinary artist from Bogotá, Colombia, and co-founder of the Latinx of the NYAA association. She experiments with historical visual art techniques and somatic research, creating performative installations that feature her musical and choreographic compositions. She has been awarded the Cuttyhunk Island Artist’s Residency, the Woodward Spring Guest Residency, and the Kraczyna Studio Summer Printmaking Residency; her work has been exhibited in the US and Italy, and she was interviewed by STIRworld magazine and Paradice Palase. Helena currently works at her studio in Ridgewood and teaches painting at Montclair State University.

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Elizabeth Misitano, MFA 2011 

After graduating NYAA in 2011, Elizabeth worked as a registrar and gallery manager of Eli Klein Gallery in NYC, where she was the project manager for Liu Bolin’s collaborations with Bon Jovi, and with Annie Leibovitz for Moncler. In 2016, she worked for LaPlaca Cohen as general administrator and project manager for their Culture Track initiative. Since their closing, she is working as a data analyst and project coordinator of strategic visioning projects for arts and culture organizations. Elizabeth keeps up an art practice from a studio in her Long Island home, which she shares with her husband, two kids, two cats, and a 500-square foot vegetable garden.

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Jennifer Flexner Reinhardt, MFA 1997

Jenny is a multidisciplinary artist. Her art explores modern culture and the complexities, joy and pathos of human relationships. Jenny holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Michigan and an MFA from The New York Academy of Art. She is dedicated to her studio practice in Orange, New Jersey, where she creates art aiming to reflect the psychological gymnastics required to navigate contemporary society.


Elena Rodz, MFA 2011 

Elena is an art collector and painter living and working in
Corpus Christi, TX.  Heavily influenced by early film narrative
techniques, her paintings consist of realistic landscapes and
phantasmagorical multi-figure scenes. She eschews metaphor and meaning. In August 2023, she started working in outreach at Del Mar College Art & Drama Department. She has one partner, two cats, and two dogs, and together they can throw one helluva cocktail party.


Robert Dale Williams, MFA 2004

Following graduation from the Academy in 2004, Robert furthered his studies under Odd Nerdrum in Norway.  Williams builds bodies of work on themes of universal human rights and humanity's connection to nature, with work appearing in publications "The Nerdrum School" and "Kitsch: More Than Art". He was a semi-finalist in the Art Renewal Center 15th Annual International Salon.  A member of the CE Faculty at  NYAA, Robert instructs drawing, painting, anatomy, and design courses at six art institutions and has guest lectured at Susquehanna Museum of Art and Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.  Featured in collections worldwide, Williams has exhibited in Pennsylvania, New York, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Norway.

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Arielle Tesoriero, MFA 2022


Arielle is a painter and sculptor from the rural Eastern Shore of Maryland. Tesoriero currently lives and works in New York City. In 2022, Tesoriero was awarded the Kylemore Abbey Artist Residency through the New York Academy of Art and was also selected as a finalist for the New American Paintings Emerging Artist Grant. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, The Untitled Magazine, and Create Magazine, among others. Tesoriero's work has been exhibited across the east coast of America, and internationally. 


We are proud of the passion our friends and colleagues have dedicated to their fellow Academy Alums over the years, and are grateful they worked to make our world a little better.  

Presidents Emeriti:

Tabitha Whitley, Cory Dixon, Charis Carmichael Braun, Debra Goertz, Bruce Wallace, Patricia P Anderson, Marlies Ihmels-Herget 

Vice Presidents Emeriti: 
Carlos Bautista, Bonnie DeWitt, Renee Bovenzi

Secretaries Emeriti:
Lisa Lebofsky, Elizabeth Misitano, Mara Kujil 

Treasurers Emeriti: 
Zachary Lank,
Carrie-Ann Bracco, Christopher Law, Barbara Israel Bortniker

Previous Officers and Advisors: 
Jim D'Andrea, Carrie-Ann Bracco, Charis Carmichael Braun, John Carruthers, Luigi Cicala, Chris O'Connor, Bonnie DeWitt, Michelle Doll, Brooks Frederick, Margarita Friedman, Isabelle Garbani, Michael Gibson, Debra Goertz, Seth Ruggles Hiler, Paula Holland, Theresa Kasun, Glen Kessler, ​Mara Rokach Kujil, Lisa Lebofsky, Breanna Cee Martins, Tun Myaing, Christopher Porter, Eric Price Lauren Amalia Redding, Elena Rodz, Robert Sebastiano, Patrizia Vignola, Jacque White, Jeffrey Wood, Ros Winner Sterling

Alumni Liaison at NYAA:

Michael Smith, Lauren Anders, Heidi Elbers, Charis Carmichael Braun

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