People

 

OSU Urban Arts Space relies on the strengths of a variety of people, ranging from dedicated staff to high school interns, from special projects staff to OSU student assistants, from graduate fellows to volunteers, all contributing to a diverse learning laboratory and a wonderfully vibrant arts space. Meet some of the people that make Urban Arts Space possible.

Staff


Valarie Williams

Valarie Williams
Director


contact: 614.292.4063

114 University Hall
230 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH  43210

Valarie Williams serves as Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities, Executive Director of The Arts Initiative at The Ohio State University, Director of Urban Arts Space, and is a Professor of Dance. She received her BFA from The Juilliard School, her MFA and PhD from Texas Woman's University, and is a Certified Professional Notator and Teacher. She studied at the Paris Opera Summer Study in Evian les Bains, France; toured with Lincoln Center Institute Touring Programs for four years serving as dance captain; and performed with The Dallas Opera and Sharir Dance in Austin, Texas. She has set works on the national dance companies of Peru and Ecuador, Repertory Dance Theater, and the Jakarta International School in Indonesia, as well as Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Emory University, and University of Texas at Austin. Valarie has directed works from scores by Taylor, Humphrey, Momix, Sokolow, Morris, and Petipa and has received grants from National Endowment for the Arts to restage, notate, and design content for CD-ROMs/DVD-Videos. Valarie also received the first of The Ohio State University's Multidisciplinary Arts and Humanities Awards with ACCAD and Near Eastern Languages to design a prototype and work on a digital library interface for documented dance works using notation, video, and motion capture. In 2009 she was selected as a fellow in the OSU-CIC Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Academic Leadership Program and selected as a Rising Star Fellow at the International Council of Fine Arts Deans (ICFAD). At Ohio State she teaches repertory from score, ballet technique, grant writing, and Labanotation. 

 

Merijn van der Heijden

Merijn van der Heijden
Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Practice

Contact: 614.292.5184 | VanDerHeijden.1@osu.edu

Merijn van der Heijden grew up in Tilburg, the Netherlands where she received her BFA degree (Sculpture and Textiles) from the Academy of Fine Arts and Art Education; she received her MFA degree (Media Arts) from The Ohio State University. Merijn was awarded a national MFA juried award upon completion of her MFA which resulted in a solo exhibition in New York; she has presented her own work across the United States and in the Netherlands. Merijn served as the director of the Denison University Art Gallery prior to accepting a position of assistant professor in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida where she taught sculpture, installation art, performance and video art. Ms. van der Heijden moved back to Ohio and The Ohio State University in 2004 where she has worked as the assistant dean and director of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program for the last six years. During this time she helped oversee multiple new initiatives and changes affecting the honors program as well as continued to teach studio art courses for The Ohio State University.

 

Matthew Yde

Matthew Yde
Staffing Coordinator for Arts Initiative

Contact: 614.292.4437 | yde.1@buckeyemail.osu.edu

Matthew graduated from The Ohio State University in 2011 with a PhD in Theatre History, Literature, and Criticism, and was a 2010 recipient of the prestigious Presidential Fellowship. He has published articles in Modern Drama and The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, contributed a chapter to the book Godly Heretics: Essays on Alternative Christianity in Literature and Popular Culture (McFarland 2013), and is the author of the book Bernard Shaw and Totalitarianism: Longing for Utopia (Palgrave Macmillan 2013).  Besides a scholar and teacher, Matthew is also an actor and director and co-founded the acclaimed Theo Ubique Theatre Company in Chicago, where he was associate artistic director from 1997-2004.  At Theo Ubique he played leading roles in such plays as Les Liaisons dangereuses, Betrayal, The Devil’s Disciple, The Lady’s Not for Burning, and Crime on Goat Island, among others. Matthew also appeared on other Chicago stages, including the internationally renowned Steppenwolf Theatre, and toured the country with the National Players Classical Touring Company.

 

Christopher Gose

Christopher Gose
Deputy Director of Facilities and Programming

Contact: 614.292.4437 | gose.4@osu.edu

Chris Gose has worked as a Lecturer and Lab Instructional Supervisor for the Department of Art and the Department of Design.  He received his B.F.A., emphasis sculpture, from Virginia Commonwealth University and his M.F.A., emphasis sculpture, at The Ohio State University.  He has worked closely with artists such as Malcolm Cochran, Mia Westerlund-Rosen, and others.  He has had a number of solo and group exhibitions.  In addition to being the recipient of a number of grants, he was also awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from The Ohio Arts Council.  

 

Jeremy Stone
Senior Exhibitions Preparator

Jeremy Stone is a recent Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from The Ohio State University with a focus in printmaking as well as photography. He is currently enrolled in the continuing education program at OSU where he continues to make work that examines human perception as it is formed through the collection and recollection of visual information. He received multiple grants and scholarships through the university and his work has been exhibited in several galleries in the Columbus area. He volunteers his time at ROYGBIV gallery, a local non-profit gallery located in the Short North where he helps with day-to-day tasks. He intends to return to graduate school in the future.

 

Justin Luna
Exhibitions Preparator

Justin Luna recently joined the Space Cadets as an on-call Exhibitions Preparator. One day, Luna, Scott Neal and Jeremy Stone will start a reality show called "The Install." Luna graduated in the Spring 2009 Ohio State Bachelor of Fine Arts class with the sharpest Photography undergrads to roam Haskett Hall (R.I.P.). He served as the Gallery Director of the ROY G BIV Gallery for Emerging Artists (roygbivgallery.org) from 2009 – 2011. He still serves ROY on the Curatorial Committee and as a Gallery volunteer. Luna's recent artwork focuses on the creation and tangibility of memory on color film.

 

Kelly McNicholas   

Communications Coordinator and Design Lead

Kelly graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Science Visual Communication Design with the hopes of a long future in Graphic Design.  Her favorite aspects of design are its ability to be unconsciously appreciated and the strangely complex world of typography.  Kelly also spends a portion of her creative bank making art; her mediums of choice are collage and ink and her favorite kind of art is street art. 

 

 

Student Assistants

Student Assistants are undergraduate and graduate students at The Ohio State University who are responsible for operating the gallery and serving as docents for visitors. Each Student Assistant is responsible for a unique administrative project. Students are expected to coordinate with the Accessibility Coordinator to maintain a working knowledge of all accessibility best practices for exhibitions and ensure they are followed. Part of following a best practices model includes working with artists to gather items for touch, audio and visual description tours. In addition to accessibility, sustainability is built into our philosophy and students work with the Operations Assistant to adhere to current policies.

 

James Allenson

James Allanson
Design

James is a ambitious young designer, majoring in Visual Communication Design at The Ohio State University. James has always had a talent in the visual arts and decided to pursue design as a career at a young age. His artistic inspirations include graffiti and street art as well as user interface design and typography. In his free time James enjoys outdoors activities such as rock climbing, cycling, and board sports. He also enjoys long walks on the beach and getting caught in the rain. 

Our Design Assistant is assigned projects varying from the development of t-shirts, brochures, signage, etc.  Responsible for understanding OSU and Space brand and logo use policies, developing concepts, gathering feedback, tweaking current designs, creating finished, polished products.  Experience with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign required.  Portfolio reviewrequired.  Visual Communications Design major preferred.

 

   Bonnie Babb-Cheshul
   Design

Bonnie is an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University studying Visual Communications Design though she is really an artist at heart. She also works as head designer and soon to be co-head editor of Scarlette Magazine, Ohio State's fashion magazine. She loves cats first and foremost though this is closely followed by a great appreciation for the arts, and she hopes to become more involved in the art community over time and aspires to work for a magazine or as an illustrator. 

 

 

Tarah

Tarah Muhammad
Operations  

Tarah Muhammad is a fourth-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, double majoring in Marketing and Real Estate and pursuing a minor in City and Regional Planning. She is a founding member of a latina-based multicultural sorority on Ohio State's campus, Sigma Lambda Gamma, which she is actively involved in various events and committees. Analytical, witty, and an admirer of art, Tarah hopes to sharpen her creativity while adding value in the Operations Assistant role at UAS.  In her free time, you can find Tarah reading about international current events, researching creative marketing techniques, or brainstorming socially sustainable business ideas. 

 

Callie Bookman

Callie Bookman
Photography

Callie Bookman is an undergraduate in photography at Ohio State. She spent several years both Wright State University and Columbus State Community College studying theatre, design, classics, and whatever else struck her fancy until she realized photography is her true passion. As a Columbus native, she especially enjoys trying to make this very familiar city new and exciting through the lens of her camera. Recently, she has been expanding her horizons to work more in video, mostly filming the performances of magicians for a local production company. Callie is also the vice president of the Secular Student Alliance at Ohio State, where her main goal is to help create a community in which nonreligious students have a safe place to meet and interact with other like-minded individuals on campus.

 

Image of Leah DiVito by Ada Matusiewicz

Leah DiVito
Events

Leah is a second year from the Cleveland area studying Chinese and Art at The Ohio State University. Her other academic interests include environmental awareness, international development, and religious studies. She hopes to one day find an exciting career that allows her to combine her enthusiasm for Chinese language and culture and her love of the arts, and hopes to live in China in the near future. Outside of her studies, Leah is a dog person who enjoys cooking vegetarian meals, listening to NPR, singing and seeing live music. She is lucky to have many talented and creative friends and family members that inspire her to follow where her heart and mind take her in life, wherever that may be.

 

Ada

Ada Matusiewicz
Photography

Ada is a second year at The Ohio State University studying Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS), though if you ask her, she will tell you she is majoring in getting an education. Ada hopes to pursue a career in photojournalism after college and work at improving health and environmental policies in developing communities. She believes in the honest and influential power of photo and videography to spread awareness and shed light on often unseen realities, and especially enjoys capturing the energies and vulnerability of live performances and music. Ada enjoys wide open spaces, friendship and all things new. She is incredibly grateful to be a part of the enriching and colorful community of art at the Urban Arts Space. Her photos can be viewed here: http://ahundredeyes.tumblr.com/.

 

Shannon Reilly

Shannon Reilly
Exhibitions

Is an undergraduate at the Ohio State University studying Art History. Shannon has had experience with the Urban Arts Space as an intern during the summer of 2011 accomplishing preparatory work. Once she transferred to Ohio State from Columbus College of Art & Design, she became a staff member of the exhibition team. The exhibition team consists of curating, installation, signage, and strike. In the summer you can find her working at The Cox Fine Arts Center located on the Columbus Fair grounds in preparation for the Ohio State Fair. The most satisfying and rewarding aspect of preparatory work is interacting with each artist. Shannon is grateful to be working with such an amazing collective team that inspires her to further her career within the arts. 

 

Cali Sanker

Cali Sanker
Education

Cali is an undergraduate at The Ohio State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Art Education with a minor in Disability Studies. She enjoys listening to loud, live music, enjoying an excessive amount of espresso on her porch and cooking vegetarian/vegan cuisine for her friends and family. She is an avid recycler and will continue to make the Space as sustainable and green as possible.

 

 

   Mark LeRose
  Education

Mark is an undergraduate in Ohio State’s Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy, working toward a bachelor of art education. He hopes to encourage others to make art and utilize their creativity as well as continue to pursue his own artistic interests. In his free time, he enjoys writing music, making art, and being in nature.

 

 

  Chanel Walker 
  Communications

  

 

 

 

 

Michelle

Michelle Vieira
Tours

Michelle Vieira is an undergrad studying Painting and Drawing at Ohio State. She is an aspiring children’s book illustrator who specializes in mixed media pieces that link the medium to the meaning she is trying to portray. Michelle is an Arts Scholar who serves around the community and wants to learn all different aspects of the art world. She has participated in the Arts Scholars exhibition before and is thrilled to teach, set up, and tear down exhibitions at the Urban Arts Space. In her spare time, she is constantly drawing new characters, everything around her, and illustrations for Hoys Toys, a local toy company. 

 

Emily Biesemeier

Emily Biesemeier
Education Assistant

Emily is an undergraduate at The Ohio State University studying art education with a minor in art history. She has a strong desire for museum work and plans on pursuing it as a career in the future. Emily plans to bring her passion for art history and experience from world travel to the space. She is also currently a docent at the Wexner Center for the Arts and enjoys talking about art with a wide variety of audiences, so join one of her tours! Recently, Emily interned with the Cleveland Museum of Art in an interactive space called Gallery One. When she's not at a local thrift store hunting for treasure or throwing down some dance moves, you can probably find her nestled in her bed watching Netflix.

 

Emily Biesemeier

 Adam Trick
Communications 

Adam is an undergraduate at The Ohio State University studying Arts Management and Dance. He has a tremendous passion for the arts, and has put that passion to use performing throughout his young adult life. He loves how art presents others with the opportunity to express who they truly are, as well as create something outside themselves. He hopes to one day share his love for the arts by becoming the administrator of an arts company or institution. Outside of work and his studies, Adam enjoys playing board games or watching movies with friends. He is also an avid fan of television shows such as Game of Thrones, Once Upon A Time, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards. Adam is excited to be a part of the Urban Arts Space team, and looks forward to all the new adventures to come. 


 Catherine Elicson                                                                                                                                                                                       Video

Catherine Elicson is an undergraduate Film Studies student at Ohio State University. She has interned at the Cohen Film Collection in Columbus and volunteered at the Cleveland International Film Festival. After beginning college as a Computer Science major, Catherine realized her true interests lay in film and the arts. She enjoys experimental video art and films about existentialism. In her free time Catherine enjoys eating grapefruit, talking to her friends, and listening to Fleetwood Mac.  

 

 

 Sohayla Pagano
Tours Graduate Assistant 

Sohayla studied as a Graduate Student at OSU in the Department of Arts Administration, Education, and Policy studying Art Education with a specialization in Museum Education and Administration.  Originally from Pennsylvania, Sohayla enjoys experiencing all that the Columbus and Ohio arts scenes have to offer. Sohayla worked as a graduate assistant at the Urban Arts Space in addition to working as a student docent at the Wexner Center for the Arts and a graduate teaching associate. In her free time, Sohayla enjoys reading novels, traveling, and exploring Columbus.

 

 Dan Jian
 
Graduate Assistant

Dan was born and raised in China, where she acquired a traditional artistic foundation with a particularly naturalistic focus. After receiving her B.F.A. in Painting from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia, she devoted a year to painting in her Bethlehem studio, furthering the maturation of her work.  Dan's objective has been to develop a direct, concentrated visual language that represents concretely the overlap of a moment’s apprehension and its subsequent manifestation on the canvas.  Right now, she is a first-year graduate student majoring in Painting and Drawing at The Ohio State University.

Lillianna Marie
Graduate Assistant

Lillianna Marie is a first-year MFA candidate at The Ohio State University, where she is thrilled to have the opportunity to help support the Urban Arts Space. Her photographs and digital videos explore multi-variable relationships, and the intersections of science and art. Prior to Columbus, Lilli lived in Connecticut, Hawai’i, Illinois, Indiana, Italy and Senegal.

 

Alana Thomas

Alana Thomas
Exhibitiions Graduate Assistant

Alana Thomas is currently a graduate student at OSU working in the painting department to receive her MFA. Born in Nashville,TN and raised in Bowling Green, KY, she received her BFA from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. Her work explores the power in materials that she accumulates and manipulates. Finding ways to blur the boundaries between the body. She creates paintings and sculptures using these materials through her associations of formlessness.

 


For more information, visit our People Archive showcasing former staff members. Or read our Meeting Minutes from our staff meetings.