Leadership

Staff

Ursula Morgan, Executive Director

ursula@woodstockguild.org

Ursula Morgan is an arts advocate with broad art historical knowledge, a focus on Modern and Contemporary Art, and specialization in the art of the Hudson Valley. Currently Executive Director at Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Morgan’s extensive work in the museum field includes curatorial projects, program development, and fundraising activities for private art galleries, not-for-profit art institutions and art museum’s including Barrett Art Center, Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, Locust Grove Estate, Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, and the Neuberger at SUNY Purchase. She holds a MA in Museum Studies from Marist-Italy, BA in Art History from Bard College, and is a graduate of Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art in NYC majoring in fine art.

Rich Conti​, Ceramics Program Director

ceramics@woodstockguild.org

Rich Conti is a well-known ceramics artist and educator who has been a teacher and champion for ceramics since the early 1990s. Since 1996, Rich has been the Director of the Ceramics Program at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, where he built and equipped the studio, started regular community classes, a ceramic residency program, and private clay studios for the community. Though pottery had long been part of Byrdcliffe’s program, it wasn’t until Rich arrived that a gas-fired kiln was established, and ceramics classes once more took place at Byrdcliffe. Born in Kingston, NY, Rich studied at Pratt Institute and received his BFA from Alfred University.

At Byrdcliffe, he has taught wheel throwing and hand building to over 600 students each year from beginners to advanced students, and he has invited nationally and internationally known ceramics artists to Woodstock to teach classes and give lectures. He has also exhibited his ceramics and taught workshops across the country, and his work has appeared in many publications, including American Craft magazine. His work is firmly grounded in objects for daily use, combining simple aesthetics with the mandates of functionality. Rich was born in Kingston, New York, where he had a studio and informal gallery in midtown before relocating to Woodstock. This is Rich’s 25th year anniversary at Byrdcliffe.

Jen Dragon, Exhibitions Director

jen@woodstockguild.org

Jen Dragon has been involved with art, artists and the arts community for over 35 years as a curator, gallerist, art writer, exhibitions strategist, art advisor, artist’s agent, digital marketing specialist and non-profit arts organization board member. Ms. Dragon has exhibited over 250 artists, curated and installed more than 100 exhibitions, and has participated in numerous community-based arts programs including events associated with Walkway Over the Hudson, International Sculpture Day and Kaatsbaan Cultural Park. After attending Sarah Lawrence College (1979-81), Jen graduated from Purchase College (BFA 1984) and attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, Perugia Italy on a 1988-89 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Fellowship for Graduate Studies Abroad. Once a long-time resident of Chichester, NY, Ms. Dragon now lives in Highwoods near Woodstock, NY.

Gabriella Kirby, Operations and Administration Manager

info@woodstockguild.org

Gabriella is originally from northern New Jersey and has been coming up to the Catskills since she was a little kid. The Hudson Valley, and specifically Woodstock, made a strong impact on her during her growing up years, igniting a passion for art, nature, and community. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and then took off on a spontaneous cross country road trip with her now husband to visit as many National Parks as they could.

Her first large-scale art public commission, “An Unearthening,” is an earthwork created at North Mountain Park Nature Center in Ashland, Oregon, and is paired with an environmental art education program developed to serve schools and at-risk youth groups. She spent the last dozen years in Portland, Oregon, working with many design based, fast growing startups and participating in solo and group exhibits on throughout the Hudson Valley, in Portland, NYC, Los Angeles, and London. She’s excited to now call upstate NY home and is thrilled to join the historic Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.

 

Megan Daly, Shop Manager

shopbyrdcliffe@woodstockguild.org

Megan Daly has been a resident of Woodstock since 1976, raising two kids and working part-time for her husband. She is a ceramicist with extensive experience in retail craft shows up and down the East Coast. From 2000 to 2010 she worked as Crafts Coordinator and manager of the Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery for the Catskill Mountain Foundation in Hunter. She co-produced the Mountain Culture Festival for the CMF from 2001 to 2007. Megan is very happy to be contributing to the life of the Byrdcliffe community.

Board Of Directors

Katerina Barry

Katerina Barry is a video producer and currently heads up the internal video department at the global law firm White & Case. She received her B.A. in Art History and Painting from Columbia University and spent her early 20s as a portrait painter and running the expat nonprofit Kilometer Zero out of several art squats in Paris. She is British and initially fell in love with the Hudson Valley because it reminded her of the part of rural England where she spent her early childhood. She bought an old farmhouse outside Wallkill in 2016 and currently splits her time between there and Brooklyn. Katerina has served on the Development Committee of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild since 2021. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Artist Cemetery.

Byron Bell

Byron Bell has been an architect primarily for non-profit organizations for more than 50 years. He has served on the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Exhibition Committee and on Facilities Committees of several other institutions. Throughout his extensive career, he has found the time to serve on several non-profit boards: Third Street Music School, New York Society Library, Van Alen Institute, St. Gaudens Memorial, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Grolier, Blue Hill Troupe, Clarion, and Music Society, among others. Byron and his wife Susan live in Woodstock three seasons out of the year and enjoy all the area’s cultural activities.

 

The Bells have been contributors to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild for many years and have hosted numerous events including house tours and dinners, and have hosted many Artists-in-Residence. For 45 years the Bells have traveled throughout the world and created an extraordinary craft and material culture collection, all catalogued and documented. Pieces from the collection have been exhibited throughout the country. Byron enjoys creating watercolors, pottery, and playing the piano.

Stephen Bergkamp

Program Committee Chair
Stephen Bergkamp has been an active member of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Programs Committee and the Byrdcliffe Music Sub-Committee since 2018. He was born and raised in the bucolic Catskill Mountain hamlet of Lew Beach, NY, to a social worker father and artist mother.

A lifelong musician, Stephen has been performing and recording music in the Woodstock area for over a decade. He played Division I baseball at Pace University and holds a BA degree in Sociology. He lived abroad in Honduras and Italy where he taught English and traveled for several years prior to purchasing a home in Woodstock.

Locally, Stephen worked in the mental health field for Family of Woodstock, Inc. and Mental Health Association in Ulster County as a social worker for children with emotional disturbances. After 9 years of service in the mental health field, he spent 4 years working for the online marketplace, Etsy; a venue for artists and makers to buy and sell handmade or vintage items. Stephen is currently active in the real estate industry and is the owner of Catskill Mountain Home Inspections. He and his wife, Michelle are raising their two children at their home in Woodstock.

Kerrie Buitrago

Director Emeritus

Kerrie Buitrago is Emerita Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.  She came to Woodstock in 1995 as a resident of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild and stayed at the Forge for 5 years.  She served on the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild for over 10 years and co-curated the exhibition Drawing Sound with her son, Oscar, and artist Melinda Stickney-Gibson.  She was formerly on the Board of Directors of several art organizations, including the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the Sculpture Committee for Park Avenue.  She is currently an advisor to the Brian Wall Foundation and a member of Art Table and the Century Club.  Kerrie is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Bologna Center in Italy and SAIS at Johns Hopkins.  Now recently retired, Kerrie looks forward to continued involvement with the arts in Woodstock and the Hudson Valley and enjoys playing the piano, listening to a wide variety of music and taking classes in music studies at both Juilliard and Bard.

Henry T. Ford

Director Emeritus and Byrdcliffe Historian

Henry T. Ford, Director Emeritus and Byrdcliffe Historian, is a native New Yorker and Woodstock resident with multi-generational ties to the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley. He has served on the Board of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild for many years, during which he has held the positions of Chairman, President and Vice President; he was also Chair of the Property Committee and, in 2017, was Chair of the Advisory Committee. In addition, he has co-curated exhibitions at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, including Zulma Steele, Artist/Craftswoman and Arriving at Byrdcliffe. As Byrdcliffe Historian, Henry has given talks about Byrdcliffe history at numerous events and during tours of the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony for the Artists in Residence Program and the general public; he has also given presentations to the Ulster County Historical Society, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farm and the Milwaukee Museum of Fine Arts. Henry’s passion for the region and the arts extends to his support of WAAM, the Historical Society of Woodstock and The Maverick. His mission is to expand Byrdcliffe’s legacy and its artistic influence to a greater audience.

Sam Freed, Vice President

The discovery in the early 90’s that the property where Sam now resides in Woodstock was once the residence and studio of original Woodstock artist Henry Lee McFee sparked his interest in the history and importance of the Byrdcliffe Colony and the Guild that promotes and protects it.

He has since restored that house and filled it with a collection of early Woodstock artists that stands to honor the history of the Colony. Sam is mostly retired having had a successful career as an actor doing stage and all other media. During his active career he served on both the National and Local Boards of Screen Actors Guild where he additionally acted as New York President and National Vice President. He chaired and served on numerous Committees as a result of that service including contract negotiating Committees.

He is a sitting Trustee of the Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, a charitable fund that serves to benefit the theatrical community. He is currently a member of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Board and a member of the Guild Property Committee where he can direct his knowledge and experience to the further restoration of the buildings of the Colony. He is also a supporting member of WAAM.

Holly George-Warren

Holly George-Warren is a two-time Grammy nominee and the award-winning author or co-author of 18 books, including the collaboration with Dolly Parton, Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones (a NYT best-seller for 11 weeks). Among her other books are Janis: Her Life and Music, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: The First 25 Years; A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton; and Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry, as well as the co-writes How the West Was Worn and Rock in Fashion (with John Varvatos). Her children’s books include The Cowgirl Way, Honky-Tonk Heroes & Hillbilly Angels: The Pioneers of Country & Western Music, and Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Founders of Rock & Roll. George-Warren has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Oprah DailyThe (London) Times Literary Supplement, Time.com. Oxford American, Texas Monthly, and MOJO, among others. She has served as a producer on several documentary films, including Nashville 2.0Muscle Shoals, and Hitmakers. She teaches at the State University of New York-New Paltz and NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Douglas C. James

President Emeritus
Doug James, a life-long jazz drummer, owned Woodstock Recording Studio and was the host of WDST’s Sunday ‘Sounds of Jazz’ for nine years during the 1980s and 1990s. He was the head of a public relations office in New York in the 1960s and early 1970s. He renovated and dedicated the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts and the James Gallery in 1996, and was instrumental in forming the Byrdcliffe Permanent Collection.

He has served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Acquisition Committee of the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, and the Woodstock Memorial Society board. A Wisconsin native, he received a degree in American Studies from Princeton University. Doug has lived in Woodstock since 1969, and became a member of the Byrdcliffe Board in 1980. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to Byrdcliffe, Doug has been voted a permanent board member.

Garry Kvistad

Chairman Emeritus
Garry Kvistad is the founder and CEO of Woodstock Percussion, Inc., makers and distributors of Woodstock Chimes® and musical instruments for children sold worldwide. As a professional musician, Garry has been performing and recording with the ensemble Steve Reich and Musicians since 1980. Garry won a Grammy award for the 1998 recording of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians.

He tours and records as a member of NEXUS, the internationally-renown, Canadian-based chamber music ensemble. Garry served as Chairman of the Byrdcliffe Board of Directors (board member for 20 years) where a building was named in his honor in 2008 and holds the title of Chairman Emeritus.

Garry is also on the advisory board of the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice and is the creator/Executive Director of the Drum Boogie Festival, held in 2009 and 2011 in Kingston, and 2013, 2015 and 2017 in Woodstock.

Katharine L. McKenna, President

Property Committee Chair
K.L. McKenna has a Masters Degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. She started off her art career as a photographer, with her photographs of the 1970s reflecting an ongoing interest in portraits, street life, and landscape. Her sense of composition carries through the different mediums.

Her inspiration for western scenes comes from childhood summers spent in Wyoming and Colorado with her paleontologist father prospecting for fossils and dinosaurs. As a 13 year-old in 1969, Katherine ran the Grand Canyon Colorado River in wooden cataract boats where she was awed by red canyons, buttes, and the blue skies of Arizona.

In addition to being a painter, K.L. McKenna has worked on a wide variety of interesting design projects over the years. She is currently designing interactive color with custom printed fabric for quilts using a variation of the Amish traditional “Diamond in the Square” geometric design.

Catherine McNeal, Treasurer

Development Committee Chair
Catherine McNeal has extensive experience in strategic marketing and oversight of large corporate fashion retailers. She has held Senior Vice President/General Merchandise Manager positions in the fashion industry and has many years of merchandising and design expertise.

She lives in Woodstock and in 2014 established her own business to serve the local area in home staging, interior design and home renovation. Additionally, Catherine has made a lifelong commitment to being involved with the community and has served on boards and volunteered for many non-profit organizations throughout her career. She joined the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild in 2018, currently chairing the development committee and member of the Property Committee.

Karen K. Peters

Karen K. Peters fell in love with Woodstock in the 1970’s, relocated from NYC to the Hudson Valley, engaged in the private practice of law and taught gender discrimination and the law, civil rights and civil liberties and criminal law at SUNY New Paltz. In 1983 Karen became the first woman elected to the Ulster County Family Court and in 1992 after another hotly contested election Judge Peters became the first woman Supreme Court Judge in the 28 counties of the Third Judicial Department.

 

In 1994 Governor Mario Cuomo appointed her to serve on the Appellate Division of the Third Department and in 2012 upon appointment by Governor Andrew Cuomo she became the first woman Presiding Justice of the department. Justice Peters retired from the bench in 2017. She is of counsel to the Litigation and Business Disputes Practice in the New York Office of Epstein, Becker Green and presently Chairs the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, The Commission on Parental Representation and the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Attorney Well-Being.

 

Justice Peters is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for her commitment to the advancement of Judicial Diversity, lawyer and judicial wellness and the legal needs of parents and children. An avid supporter of the arts and a passionate potter, Karen returns to the Board of Byrdcliffe with a renewed commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of the arts in the Hudson Valley.

Ed Sanders

Edward Sanders is a poet, historian and composer with a degree in ancient Greek from New York University. His recently published book, illustrated by Rick Veitch, is “Broken Glory, the Final Years of Robert F. Kennedy,” published by Arcade Publishers. A paperback edition, with an update chapter, will be published in 2021.

 

His Glyphic History, “A Life of Charles Olson in Text and Glyphs,” has very recently been published by Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil. His manifesto, “Investigative Poetry,” has inspired several book-length biographies in verse, including Chekhov, a Biography in Verse, and The Poetry & Life of Allen Ginsberg. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in verse, an American Book Award for his collected poems, a 2012 PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Prize, and other awards for his writing.

 

He is completing a biography of Alf Evers, and is a volunteer assistant at the Alf Evers Archive. Sanders was the founder of the satiric folk/rock group, The Fugs, which has released many albums and CDs during its 55-year history. He has lived in Woodstock with his wife, the essayist and painter Miriam Sanders, for over 40 years, and both are active in environmental and other social issues.

Tani Sapirstein, Secretary

Nominating & Governance Committee Chair
Tani E. Sapirstein is an attorney practicing in Springfield, Massachusetts with her husband Jonathan. She concentrates her practice in civil litigation with an emphasis on employment discrimination matters. She served as a hearing officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, and is on the Advisory Board to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

Tani has a B.A. in History and English from Brown University and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Tani and Jon purchased their home in Woodstock in 2011 because of the hiking, restaurants and of course, the arts.

Charles Sheek

Winning an audition for a summer job in 1974 at a themed adventure park in Western North Carolina has led to a virtual life-in-the-theater for Charles Sheek. He holds a BA in English literature from UNC Charlotte and studied Dance on scholarship at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

His professional dancing career included performance opportunities in New York and across the United States; including a sold-out Broadway engagement with Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th Century. Retirement from dancing in the 1980s led to a successful career of more than 35 years working in all aspects of editorial, communications, marketing, press, program production, and public relations for three major American performing arts institutions: The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center Festival, and Juilliard School. Sheek’s life-long interest in functional pottery now finds him working from his home ceramic studio in Kerhonkson, NY and studying at Byrdcliffe’s Ceramic Studio with master potter Rich Conti.

Abigail Sturges, Vice President

Abigail Sturges grew up in New York City and spent summers in Woodstock. She majored in Classics at Vassar before studying in Italy for a year. Working in New York City provided Abigail the opportunity to collaborate with graphic designer Massimo Vignelli for over twenty years on architectural publications, while she has owned her own design firm for 45 years.

 

Abigail has been the Art Director for Architecture magazine; designed illustrated books for major publishers such as Rizzoli and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; designed exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art, the Research Institute for the Study of Man, and the Dvorak Society. Her volunteer work includes graphic design for private foundations and colleges and event planning.

 

She has also served on the New York State Council of the Arts’ Architecture, Design and Exhibition panel. Abigail and her husband, architect Daniel Perry, live at Byrdcliffe near the Theater; and Daniel restored their house to its original arts and crafts design.

Lester Walker

Director Emeritus, Historical Preservation
Les Walker is an architect with an office in Woodstock, and is the author of eight books related to architecture, including Tiny Houses and American Shelter. He received a B.A. in Architecture from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. in Architecture from Yale University. He was an adjunct professor of Architecture at the City College of New York for 20 years. His primary interest in Byrdcliffe is the preservation of the historic Byrdcliffe Art Colony buildings. Les moved to Woodstock in 1970, and has served on the Byrdcliffe board for many years, first joining in 1983.

Sylvia Leonard Wolf

Sylvia Leonard Wolf, a native New Yorker, now full-time Bearsville, NY resident, has been immersed in music and art her entire life. Since 1978, Sylvia has been an independent, certified art appraiser for individuals, corporations, museums, and the IRS. She served on the Appraisers Association of America’s Board of Directors for 25 years, and of those years as Board president from 1990 to 1992. She actively participates in Woodstock’s arts organizations and has served on the Board of Directors at Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild since 2014. Sylvia was the Exhibition Committee chair and co-curator of a landmark exhibition, “Byrdcliffe’s Legacy.” At the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, she was a trustee/board member from 2004 to 2014 and is currently a member of the Permanent Collection committee. At SUNY New Paltz’s Dorsky Museum, she serves on the program and advisory committees. She is also a member of ArtTable and the Dali Authentication Committee and teaches Fine Art Appraising at NYU. Sylvia is passionate about following the art market, gardening, tennis, and playing with Nelly, her rescued dog.