Board of Directors and Bios
Board of Directors Meeting with Recent Drexel Co-ops, Spring 2022
ELISSA TOPOL, Chair
Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Elissa Topol, Chair of CraftNOW Philadelphia, has been on The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show for over 20 years. Topol holds a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania and New York Medical College with a Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University. As a Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner, she has held numerous staff and leadership positions in the community and overseas, including Villanova University’s College of Nursing Faculty. Topol has served on other community boards including Main Line Senior Care Alliance Chair, Literary Council of Norristown, and Main Line Hospice and Home Care Network. She is a juror for the Wilderness Workshop Artist in Residency Program in Carbondale, Colorado. When not in Philadelphia, she enjoys spending time with her family in Colorado hiking, biking, and skiing.
JOSIE BURRI, Vice Chair
Director of Development, The Shipley School
Josie Burri is Director of Development for The Shipley School, a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. She previously served in similar roles for the University of the Arts, The Wistar Institute, and Opera Philadelphia. Burri is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and a past President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter. She graduated from Drexel University with a Master of Science degree in Arts Administration and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance, summa cum laude, from Temple University.
DAVID SELTZER, Co-Founder and Treasurer
Principal and Co-Founder of Mercator Advisors
David Seltzer is a Principal and co-founder of Mercator Advisors, a Philadelphia-based financial advisory firm that provides consulting services to governmental, corporate, and non-profit organizations sponsoring major transportation projects and programs. Seltzer has 40 years of experience in the fields of public and project finance, working in both the governmental and private sectors. Seltzer has been involved in numerous civic activities in Philadelphia. In addition to co-founding CraftNOW Philadelphia in 2014, he served as chair of the board of Philadelphia Gas Works, the nation’s largest municipally-owned gas utility, from 2008 until 2016, currently chairs the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative and serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Union soccer club, and Starfinder Foundation, a nonprofit organization that uses soccer for social change. Seltzer holds a BA in Urban Studies from Trinity College, Hartford and an MBA from The Wharton School.
CLARA HOLLANDER, Co-Founder and Secretary
Clara Hollander, co-founder and secretary of CraftNOW, has been an enthusiastic collector, advocate, and supporter of craft and its community for the past 40 years. As a corporate art consultant and member of the prestigious Association of Professional Art Advisers, Clara has been servicing clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to private collectors since 1983. Clara has been a board member of the Delaware Art Museum, Delaware College of Art and Design, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Gershman Y. She served as chairman of the Director’s Circle of the Delaware Art Museum, Chairman of the Council of Jewish Women Art Show for Southern New Jersey, Chairman of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Clara has curated numerous exhibitions and lectured widely on various topics, including “The Art of Collecting,” “The Contemporary Art and Craft Movement,” and “Contemporary Handmade Furniture.”
Trustee, University of the Arts
Patricia Fowler holds volunteer leadership positions at several non-profit educational organizations, including University of the Arts, The Center for Art in Wood, the Women’s Leadership Council at Brown University, where she received a BA in Political Science, the Benchmark Elementary School in Media, Pa., and the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pa. She also served as co-chair for the University of the Arts’ 2016 Art Unleashed Exhibition & Sale. Fowler, who earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law, previously practiced estate and trusts, land use, and residential real estate law at Cummings & Lockwood in Stamford, Conn., as well as at her own firm. She is a member of the Furniture Society with a collection of mid-century modern and American studio furniture.
Attorney, Duane Morris LLP
Eric Hague is an attorney in the Private Client Services Group of the Philadelphia law firm of Duane Morris LLP, where his practice focuses on wealth transfer and tax planning and estate and trust administration for clients in the Mid-Atlantic area and advising nonprofit entities. Currently he serves on the tax committee of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received his BFA in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College. Prior to practicing law, he worked in book publishing.
Executive Director, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Frances Hoover is the Executive Director of Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse in East Fairmount Park. Prior to joining Smith, she led the Office of Institutional Advancement at The Philadelphia School, a leading independent school in Center City Philadelphia. Frances has also held positions in marketing and finance in the entertainment, financial services, and consumer packaged goods industries. She has a B.S. in accounting from Florida A&M University, an MBA in marketing and finance from Columbia University, and a certificate in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Frances also serves on the board of Chester Charter Scholars Academy.
Executive Director Emeritus, The Museum for Art in Wood
Albert LeCoff is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit The Museum for Art in Wood located in Old City Philadelphia. As a trained wood turner, LeCoff lives his passion and his commitment to promoting art made from wood. Over 40 years, LeCoff has organized more than 20 symposia, 50 exhibitions and 20 publications that document wood sculpture. Recent exhibitions and publications include Wood, Revisited; Masters of Craft: Philadelphia’s American Craft Council Fellows; Bartram’s Boxes Remix; Turning to Art in Wood: A Creative Journey; and Connections: International Turning Exchange: 1995-2005. The Center’s annual international residency program, the Windgate ITE International Residency Program, showcases veteran and emerging talent.
Director of School of Art, Design and Art History, Professor of Art, James Madison University
Mi-Kyoung Lee was Director of the Craft and Material Studies Program since 2016, and Professor of Fibers/Textiles since 2003 at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She received her BFA from Dong-A University in Korea, and earned two master’s degrees; an MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from University of the Arts; and an MFA in Fibers from Cranbrook Academy of Arts. Lee has participated in numerous solo exhibitions, lectures as well as curatorial, publishing, theater, and collaborative projects with notable venues like the Arizona Art Museum, Cranbrook Museum of Art, Reading Public Museum, Painted Bride Art Center, SOFA in New York and Chicago, Busan Metropolitan Museum, Espace de Tisserands, International Fiber Art Fair in Seoul, Beijing International Fiber Biennale, and the 8th Beijing International Visual Art Biennale. Lee has served as a Foreign Expert from the School of Art and Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, and as an Advisory Board member for the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia since 2019.
Executive Director, The Clay Studio
Jennifer D. Martin was named Executive Director of The Clay Studio by its Board and Executive Committee in March 2018. Martin brings years of strategic know-how, comprehensive industry knowledge, and invaluable perspective to this role, having served as the Studio’s Vice President for six years, and the Director of Education and Operations prior to that. Since first joining The Clay Studio in 2007 as its Senior Studio Technician, Martin has worked closely with the organization’s leadership and its Building and Business committee to strategically manage operations, direct projects and programs, and inspire internal and external teams. Martin received a BFA from Georgia Southern University in 1997, before earning her MFA in Ceramics at Georgia State University in 2000.
Artistic Director, The Museum for Art in Wood
Jennifer-Navva Milliken is the Artistic Director for The Museum for Art in Wood. Prior to her arrival at the Museum, she served as an embedded staff member in international art museums, an independent curator, and the founder of a cross-disciplinary art space. Her exhibitions have been presented in museums, art fairs, galleries, and unconventional spaces, and her writings have been published in exhibition catalogues, anthologies, and books that investigate and critique the intersecting fields of art, craft, and design. Her curatorial approach was honed during her work at renowned arts institutions, among them The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and Seattle’s noted Bellevue Arts Museum. Milliken studied at Western Washington University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Deputy Commissioner of Programs, Philadelphia Parks & Recreations
Bill joined Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in 1993. He began his career at Parks & Rec as a summer camp counselor at Houston Playground. He progressed through the ranks from facility supervisor to Director of Strategic Development to his current role as Deputy Commissioner of the Program Division. In his current role, Bill oversees over 350 staff at more than City 150 recreation centers, in addition to dozens of swimming pools, 6 older adult centers, 5 ice-skating rinks, and 3 environmental centers. Bill oversees Parks & Rec’s Food Program, which provides over 1 million meals annually to children over the summer and after school. He is also responsible for the Work Ready program, which provides summer jobs to more than 1,400 young people each year.
Director of Design, City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild Initiative
Michelle Shuman is the Director of Design of the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild Initiative. Rebuild is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. She previously worked as an architectural designer before serving as a project manager with the city’s Capital Projects Division. She has a BS in Architecture from the University of Virginia and Masters of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government.
Executive Director, Wharton Esherick Museum
Julie Siglin is the Executive Director of the Wharton Esherick Museum where she leads the organization’s preservation efforts and explores new ways to continue the dialogue between Esherick’s creative legacy and contemporary artists and audiences. Julie got her start at the Brandywine River Museum, then directed the program of a cultural accessibility organization, and has held roles with several other arts and nonprofit organizations. She studied Arts Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Retired Partner, Alexander, Wollman & Stark
Paul S. Stark has over 40 years of experience in healthcare management, consulting, and executive search. Stark was a founding partner in the firm of Alexander, Wollman & Stark, specializing in Physician Executive and Healthcare Executive search and consulting in academic medical centers. Stark is an enthusiastic supporter and collector of contemporary art and craft and has served on the boards of Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Maine, the Abington Arts Center and Cheltenham Center for the Arts. He has also served on the boards of Jewish Family and Children Services and Family Planning Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Stark is a graduate of Cornell College and holds a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Director of Marketing, JLL
Vanessa Stella is the Director of Marketing for JLL in the Philadelphia market. With over a decade of experience in marketing for the built environment, Vanessa excels at developing creative campaigns, targeted messaging, and branding strategies for projects that shape spaces, places, and communities. Prior to joining JLL, Vanessa led marketing strategy for the renowned architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, focusing on business development and public relations for national and international design projects. Vanessa earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a concentration in Design from Philadelphia University, and has also completed coursework in Design Thinking and Innovation through the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
Independent Curator and Consultant
Emily is the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at the Wharton Esherick Museum. She maintains an independent curatorial and consulting practice and is currently Guest Curator at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum for the 2021 Renwick Invitational. She is adjunct faculty at Tyler School of Art and Architecture and speaks regularly on topics related to craft, design, and museum practice. Zilber was the first Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she served from 2010-2018, and has also held positions as Assistant Curator at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum and Editor of Metalsmith and Metalsmith Tech. Zilber serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Craft in Asheville, NC, and is on the Collections Committee of The Center for Art in Wood.
Executive Director, CraftNOW Philadelphia
Emily Edelstein is a lifelong student of craft. She has varied hands-on experience, including boatbuilding and blacksmithing, but her personal focus is fiber arts. Emily studied at the John C. Campbell Folk School and the Penland School of Crafts. She holds a BA in Global Studies from Penn State University, and a MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, where her thesis explored the role of craftspeople within the modern American art world. Emily previously served as the Interim Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.