museum staff photo

Meet the Team

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Ryan Hardesty

Executive Director, Curator of Exhibitions & Collections
509-335-9454 | ryan.hardesty@wsu.edu

Ryan Hardesty is the executive director for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University. He originally joined the museum’s team in 2014 as curator of art and exhibitions and has since organized a range of exhibition projects including Jim Dine: A Life in Printmaking, and more recently, Marie Watt: Companion Species (Underbelly), Jeffry Mitchell: Death of Buddha, and Persona: Portraiture from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer for the Olson Kundig designed museum facility’s ambitious 2018 slate of inaugural exhibitions. Prior to coming to WSU, Hardesty held a twelve-year tenure at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (MAC), Spokane where he planned for 80+ exhibitions. Additional museum experience includes work with the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA), Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) and Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). Hardesty holds fine art degrees from the University of Washington and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He resides in Pullman with his wife and daughter, and maintains an ongoing interest in wandering cities and wild places alike.


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Karey Strong

Deputy Director of Finance and Administration, Associate Director
509-335-6140 | taylork@wsu.edu

Karey Strong is the Deputy Director of Finance and Administration for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University. She has been part of the WSU family for 24-years working in both small and large units within the WSU community. She has enjoyed working with a diverse population internally and externally, and working as a part of a dynamic team is her true passion. In the past, she has specialized in managing administrative operations including strategic financial planning, project management, systems analysis and developing and implementing processes and procedures. Karey served the Human Development department for sixteen years managing budget and financial short- and long-term funding for the department for Teaching, Research and Extension, Graduate Study, M.A. and Ph.D. programs. She enjoys spending time with her family and hilarious dog, as well as gardening and decorating.

Debby Stinson

Marketing & PR Manager
509-335-6282 | debby_stinson@wsu.edu

Debby Stinson joined the museum as a freelance designer in 2005, then became the marketing and public relations manager in 2010. Presently she oversees all aspects of communication, graphic design, web design, advertising, media, and social media marketing. Her career began as an artist and graphic designer, with clients including: Starbucks, Barbie, Hooked on Phonics, Eddie Bauer, and Sun Health. Stinson graduated in 1985 from the Art Institute of Seattle. Her design work has garnered two bronze, two silver and a gold award over the years. In 2009, she was named a Bill Phillips Transformation Champion, has recently served two terms as president of the Colfax Arts Council, and lives in Wenatchee with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys art, meditation, cycling, and the natural world.

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Ann Saberi

Collection Manager
509-432-3335 | amsaberi@wsu.edu

Ann Saberi has been a member of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art team since 2012, and currently serves as Collection Manager. She holds a BA and BFA from Washington State University, and an MA from New York University. At the museum, Ann enjoys working with the permanent collection and helping to install new exhibits, among other things. Born and raised on the Palouse, she loves cooking with her four children, riding her bike, and gardening.

Kristin Becker

Curator of Education & Programs
509-335-2079| kristin.carlson@wsu.edu

Kristin Becker has been the Curator of Education & Programs at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU since April 2022, and served before that as the museum’s Education Coordinator for 1.5 years. Kristin also taught in WSU’s Digital Technology and Culture program from 2010-2021, where she was passionate about using the museum’s exhibitions and collections in her teaching every semester: Now she is eager to help other faculty, students, and community members see the educational potential of the museum. In her museum role, Kristin continues to teach occasional museum-centered courses for the Honors College and the Department of Art. Kristin’s teaching is informed by her training in printmaking, photography, and graphic design. She holds an MFA from Indiana University and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been exhibited at galleries throughout the United States as well as at the International Print Center New York. Her most recent creative challenge is raising two small children, which she attempts with her wonderful husband in Moscow, ID.

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Kira MacPherson

Manager of Development
509-335-4748 | kira.walters@wsu.edu

Kira Walters joined the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art team in 2022 as the Manager of Membership and Development. She loves museums because they present opportunities for learning more about the world, discovering new ideas, and bringing communities together. She holds a BA from Washington State University, and an MA in Museology from University of Washington. Outside of the museum, Kira enjoys restoring vintage furniture, reading, and traveling to new places and small towns.


Visitor Ambassadors & Student Employees

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Shalla Newman

Majors: Fine Arts & Digital Technology and Culture (DTC)
Expected Graduation: 2024

Shalla Newman has been a student ambassador at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art since Fall 2022, and is from Spokane, Washington. Shalla also supports the museum as a marketing and videography intern for the 2023/2024 school year. On top of school and all, they also work at the Daily Evergreen as a digital illustrator. Shalla expects to graduate Summer 2024 from WSU and would like to find a job after college that supports the community using their creative skills, and of course spreads their love for art with others.
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Rachel Svinth

Major: Fine Arts
Expected Graduation: 2024

Rachel Svinth is a Museum Ambassador and passionate artist. Her favorite work includes Folk Art, Marie Watt, and Gaylen Hansen. When she’s not sharing her excitement about art at the museum, you can find her sewing and collecting.
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Roslyn Djang

Majors: Studio Fine Arts & Applied Mathematics
Expected Graduation: 2026

What I love about the Museum: I love working at the museum because I get to share my passion for art with others. I also enjoy learning about the different cultures and histories represented in the Museum’s collection. Every day is a new adventure, and I’m always learning something new. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work at such a special place.
Student, Mary, leaning on the front desk

Mary Chaffee

Majors: Digital Technology and Culture & Fine Art
Expected Graduation: Spring 2024

What I love about the Museum:
I enjoy that the museum provides a safe and welcoming environment for all visitors and employees. As an artist, I enjoy working around all kinds of artwork and finding inspiration from multitudes of different artists.
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Brenda Castro

Major: Digital Technology & Communications, with a minor in Fine Arts
Expected Graduation: 2024

Brenda enjoys working at JSMA , for their thoughtful curation of art, the detail that goes into curating a show and events for the public, as well as working with an incredible team. On her free time you can find her spending time with her family, painting or trying out a new recipe.
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Natalie Moffett

Major: Art History

What I love about the Museum: Seeing people explore new ideas and helping them experience the museum and their community is what I love about working here.
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Parker Stovern

Major: English Education
Expected Graduation: 2026

What I love about the museum: I love the calm atmosphere and all of the passion and creativity that goes into all of the artwork.
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Avien Martinez

Major: Communications in Broadcast News
Expected Graduation: Spring 2025

What I love about the Museum: I love that museums give voice to different cultures and art styles.
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Ursula Delgado

Major: English Language Education with a minor in Japanese, and TEFL Certification
Expected Graduation: 2026

What I love about the Museum: The museum provides a space for the community to enjoy and reflect on some amazing artwork. There’s not a day I’m in the galleries that I don’t spot a new detail. It truly is an amazing place.

Jaylee Pratt

Lily Herr

Sofia Fex

Arabella Sharifova

Amanda Bertoch


Meet the Advisory Council

Ana María Rodriguez-Vivaldi

Chair

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
I believe in the mission of the arts in promoting a better society, and the museum is the venue whereby this mission can be accomplished.

Profession or Past Profession
WSU Faculty member (Dept. of Foreign Languages and Cultures/School of Languages, Cultures, and Race) and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Why is art important to you?
It sustains me.

Sue Gill

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
I enjoy art and have been involved with the museum in some capacity since the mid-1990s when I came to WSU. I began as a member of the “Friends of the Museum” and today am a member of both the JSMA Advisory Board and the Campus Art Committee.

Profession or Past Profession
I was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Accounting at WSU after completing a PhD at Michigan State University in 1994. I am currently an Associate Professor and was the Chair of the Accounting Department from 2011-2020. I am also the Director of the collaborative program between the Carson College of Business and the Honors College (HABILE).

Why is art important to you?
Art brings me joy and opens my eyes to different perspectives. It can be thought provoking, sometimes disturbing, and at the same time beautiful.

Patricia Watkinson

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
It seems natural to continue to be involved with the JSMA, since I spent over 20 fulfilling (and challenging) years there–as curator of education, curator of art, and, for most of the time, as director. The mission of the museum still inspires me and warms my heart.

Profession or Past Profession
In the sixties, pre-WSU, I worked for a London gallery and then for a well-known publisher of contemporary prints. (Coincidentally some of those prints are now in the museum’s collection.) Post-WSU, in the late nineties, I became executive director of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana, and then served as executive director of Pilchuck Glass School, back in Washington state.

Why is art important to you?
Why is art important to me? I think seeing is important to me. “Seeing” as in both looking and understanding. Artists allow me endlessly different and unimaginable (to me) ways of seeing and understanding. Each work of art is a key to a universe beyond my own.

Marcia Garrett (Proud WSU Alum)

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
The museum fills an important role in the life of the university, the town, and the region. I wanted to be part of its efforts to enrich the quality of life on the Palouse and beyond.

Profession or Past Profession
I retired from the university in 2022, after working out of its Seattle office for over two decades, most recently as the Director of Regional Relations. Prior to that I worked in the private sector, government, and politics.

Why is art important to you?
I gravitate to art in all its forms because it intrigues me, it invigorates me, and it makes me happy!

David Knowles

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
I opted to be on the council for several reasons. First the former director and development director contacted me at a football game and asked if I would like to get involved in the funding campaign. Patti and did and spent a couple of years involved with the project. Transitioning to the Advisory council was a normal shift.

The other reason is that I had never traveled this road before. Economics, sports, library were all part of my past WSU agenda. Art was new and it is enjoyable.

Profession or Past Profession
Professor of Economics. Consultant for the Knowles Group.

Why is art important to you?
Art and poetry are the only remnants left when all are gone.

Jennifer Harbour

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
As a community member and educator, I believe strongly in the museum’s mission to be a center of inspiration, learning and engagement for all.

Profession or Past Profession
I have recently served as a K-5 Art/STEM specialist for Pullman Public Schools.  I’m now enrolled in the Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education doctoral program here at WSU to continue my growth and understanding as an art advocate. 

Why is art important to you?
I have always been inspired by art’s ability to help humanity understand and communicate. As an educator, I believe in its transformative power to connect, teach, and heal.

Deb Dzuck

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
Soon after I moved to Pullman in 1995, I was invited to serve on an events committee for the museum. Over the years, I was a member of the Friends Board and collaborated on various projects involving the JSMA. It is easy to say YES when the JSMA team asks!

Profession or Past Profession
I retired in 2018, concluding a 31-year career in University Advancement. During my 23 years at WSU, I represented the WSU Foundation, the College of Liberal Arts, and University-Wide Undergraduate Programs, including the Honors College.

Why is art important to you?
Art stimulates the imagination. It evokes beauty and emotion. Art tells stories that encourage conversations. My appreciation for art—especially regional art—is enhanced as I meet an artist, learn about them, and understand their inspirations.

Jeanne Weiler (Alum ’18)

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
I had the privilege to be able to work at the JSMA and with it’s amazing team of professionals shortly after moving to Pullman. It has been a pleasure to get to remain involved with and committed to our beautiful museum.

Profession or Past Profession
Serve in the Office of the President at WSU focused on system-wide presidential initiatives.

Why is art important to you?
Art connects us all through expression and emotion. Art is a reflection of its creator, and allows the viewer to reflect through their own perspective. Art is present in every experience. Art provides a view to our past and art provides a vision to our future.

Nancy Spitzer

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
I have had a life-long love of art. I have been a Museum of Art supporter since some time in the 70s. I was a member of the original Friends of Art Museum Board where I met and became good friends with the then Museum Director, Patricia Watkinson. So it’s been particularly enjoyable to serve on the Advisory Council with Patricia an now to have the opportunity to get to know Ryan, Karey, Ann, Kristin and Kira and the other Advisory Council members.

Profession or Past Profession
I worked as the Administrative Assistant to the Director & Associate Director of Libraries and the Development Coordinator. I also did some freelance graphic design.

Why is art important to you?
I think it’s fascinating and exciting to see what other people create. It’s all about individuality, creativity, intellect, and passion. Artists tell us about themselves through their art. There is something very satisfying when you get caught up and engage in an exhibition.

Mike Sweney

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
University art museums are a particular passion of mine because of their academic-focused exhibitions and community outreach. This museum is the standard-bearer not only for the WSU campus but for the region, and I’m thrilled to play a small part in advancing its mission.

Profession or Past Profession
Since 2007 I have managed public art projects for the Washington State Arts Commission’s (ArtsWA) public art program and am currently the program manager. Previously, I was a contemporary art gallerist in New York and Seattle, vice-chair for Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art, chair of the Tacoma Arts Commission, and member of the Tacoma Art Museum’s collection committee.

Why is art important to you?
Art has the ability to capture and communicate our shared humanity. It can beautify, delight, challenge, inform, and move you to tears, sometimes all at once.

Barbara Petura

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
IN THE LATE 1980S, I was asked to become active in leadership of original Friends of the Museum of Art/WSU. I did and found many leadership and cultural opportunities at the museum.

Profession or Past Profession
I had a 40 year career in higher Ed PR & communication, 25 of them at WSU. This ranged from writing and editing to strategy and administration

Why is art important to you?
Self expression, inspiration! Color, patterns, beauty, honesty. I was an amateur watercolor painter in younger days.

Jon Follett (Alum of ’10, ’11)

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
My education at WSU prepared me for my career, and I want to give back to enrich the lives of other students.

Profession or Past Profession
I am the President of Walla Walla Foundry. We have 110 employees and build art for contemporary artists all over the world. I routinely work with artists and help them realize their work.

Why is art important to you?
Art is important to me because it encourages us to think about things differently. It is too easy to become complacent and art has the ability to challenge our understanding of our world.

Greg Bell (Alum of ’78)

Why did you choose to be involved with the JSMA?
When I was working on my MFA at WSU, I took my first Museum Studies course, which revealed (partially) the marvels and mysteries of how museums work.  I credit that class as the introduction to my long and checkered career in collecting institutions. 

Profession or Past Profession
From being the kid that could draw cartoons in middle school, to doing fashion display work for Nordstrom, teaching studio art at universities, being a gallery director, overseeing a sprawling county public art collection and being chief curator of one of the most stellar art collections in the world, I have been knee deep in it.

Why is art important to you?
Art defines culture.

Ginger Ewing

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