Board of Trustees
Robinson Holloway serves as chair on the boards of two arts organizations – the Jersey City Arts Council and the New York branch of the Association of Women Art Dealers. She is also a founding board member of Positive Impact Development, Inc – a non-profit, community-based real estate development company, and serves on the board of the Village Neighborhood Association.
Holloway also owns Village West Gallery in downtown Jersey City. Village West is a philanthropic, non-commercial gallery, created to showcase and support artists. Group shows there have drawn artists from around the world, but with special consideration for the creative community in and around Jersey City.
Prior to shifting her concentration to the arts, Holloway’s career was in sports journalism, working at Sports Illustrated and at ABC Sports and ESPN. She and her husband have lived in Jersey City since 2013.
Heather Warfel Sandler
Heather Warfel Sandler holds a B.A. in Modern Dance from Point Park University. She is a member of Dance NJ and the National Dance Education Organization. She has taught extensively and performed professionally all along the east coast. Ms. Warfel served as an Adjunct Professor of Dance at NJCU for 10 years, and has taught workshops in the Jersey City public schools for both students and teachers. In 2000 she founded the Dance Program at County Prep High School, where she is the director and lead instructor. She is responsible for writing curriculum for the dance courses and her program has gained recognition from many arts education organizations at both the county and state level. At County Prep, Ms. Warfel designed the 140 seat black box theater for which she is supervisor, and serves as the liaison for the Performing Arts Department as well as the Hudson County Teen Arts Alliance. She also created and moderates the County Prep Artist Collective, which is a club for creative students of various disciplines to explore and collaborate.
Ms. Warfel has lived in Jersey City for over 20 years. She has been involved at various times as teacher, volunteer, visual artist, coordinator, and performer with the JC Artist Studio Tour, JC Fridays, Cathedral Arts Festival, Nimbus Dance Works, Art House Productions, Morris Canal CDC, Yogashunya, NJCU, St. Peters College, and Jersey City / Hudson County Public Schools.
Marlene O'Haire Sandkamp
Marlene O'Haire Sandkamp received a B.A. in Theatre from the University Of Maryland and made her way to NYC to pursue her career in acting. Along the way she became a proud member of the Actors Equity Association & SAG AFTRA having performed in theatre, touring shows, commercials, industrials, voiceovers, television and films.
Fifteen years ago Marlene moved to Jersey City and almost immediately became actively involved in her community. She has served on the board and as President of the Van Vorst Park Association for 5 years, and for the past 12 years has been co-director with her husband of the Films in Van Vorst program.
Charles Kessler earned a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. in Art History from UCLA. While working toward a Ph.d, he taught Art History at UCLA, California State University at Northridge, and California State College at Los Angeles; wrote for art magazines, including Art in America and Arts Magazine; and curated exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York. During that time he started painting and eventually gave up Art History in favor of making art. Since then he has exhibited on the East and West Coasts and in Japan and has been awarded a National Endowment Fellowship and New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship.
Kessler has been an active member of the Jersey City arts community since moving there from Venice, California, in 1982. He began the Jersey City Artists' Studio Tour in 1990 and co-founded the Cathedral Arts Festival and Pro Arts, an organization of professionals in the visual arts. In 1995 he became involved with promoting and planning the Powerhouse Arts District, an art and entertainment district envisioned for ten blocks of historic warehouses in Downtown Jersey City. From 2009 through July 2016 he was the publisher and primary writer for his popular art blog, LeftBankArtBlog.com.
Mary J. Sansait
Mary J. Sansait (MJ) is a Jersey City born and raised artist entrepreneur and proud mother of two. Growing up in a single mother household with a love for music, she was inspired to pursue a professional journey that would combine community upliftment and the arts.
As Program Director of the Community Business Academy (CBA) at Rising Tide Capital, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that assists entrepreneurs and small business owners, Mary has worked in the Jersey City community helping people to find their path for over 8 years now.
She is an accomplished singer-songwriter, recording artist, and uses her talents to engage other creatives in the community. She has produced showcases and performed as M. Josephine alongside various underground heavy weights such as M1 of Dead Prez, Silent Knight, Rugged N Raw, John Robinson, and The Band Called FUSE to name a few.
She is founder and president of Inspired Artist Movement, which produces an annual conference for creative professionals to learn, network and empower one another.
Alvin Pettit has been a resident of Jersey City, NJ since 1991. Since year 2000, Alvin has also been heavily involved in community improvement within the Bergen-Lafayette area of Jersey City. He was one of the founding members of the Monticello Neighborhood Association (aka Jackson Hill/Main Street); and was also the former president of the Astor Place neighborhood Association. Currently he is president of the Bergen Hill Neighborhood Association, and serves on the boards of the JC City Arts Public Advisory Board and the JC Artist Certification Board.
In 2013 Alvin was appointed as director of the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center in Jersey City, with the mission of rebranding the Center as a cultural epicenter for the surrounding community. Since then, he has been instrumental in using the Center to bring art, culture, wellness, and educational programming to the Greenville area of Jersey City, which otherwise has had very little access to these sort of activities. He adamantly believes in the importance expanding creative outlets to communities that the art world has historically ignored; and the importance of minority artist having equal representation within mainstream platforms.
Baltimore, Maryland native and Jersey City based fine artist, Pettit has also established himself as a professional fine arts painter and sculptor over the last 20 years. He was heavily influenced by a long line of historical African American artistic masters such as Jacob Lawrence, and Barkley L. Hendricks; as well as European artist such as Auguste Rodin, Gustav Klimt. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, his home was filled with paintings by his father and grandfather who painted as a hobby in their early years; this, combined with the fact that his family was also heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s, lead Alvin to recognize the importance of using art as a tool for social awareness.