Common Ground

Al Held Foundation & River Valley Arts Collective

Featuring Alyson Baker, Daniel Belasco, Olga Dekalo, Gabriela Salazar, and Jessica Holmes


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

River Valley Arts Collective Founder Alyson Baker, Executive Director of the Al Held Foundation Daniel Belasco, curator Olga Dekalo, and artist Gabriela Salazar join Rail ArTonic Editor Jessica Holmes for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Louis Block.

In this talk

Read more about the Al Held Foundation and the River Valley Arts Collective.

Gabriela Salazar: Holding Patterns is on view through October 10, 2021.

Alyson Baker

Photo of Alyson Baker by Christopher Baker.
Photo by Christopher Baker.
Before establishing River Valley Arts Collective in 2018, Alyson Baker was the executive director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Prior to her position at The Aldrich, she served for over eleven years as Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park. Alyson was Director of Pat Hearn Gallery (1987–1992), an Associate Director of Gagosian Gallery (1992–1997), Curatorial Assistant in the Contemporary Art Department at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and Assistant to the 1999 Carnegie International exhibition (1998–2000). Alyson is a co-founder and former President of the Long Island City Cultural Alliance. She recently served as Vice President for Programs on the national board of ArtTable. Born in Newport, Rhode Island, she graduated magna cum laude from Brown University.

Daniel Belasco

Photograph of Daniel Belasco.
Art historian Daniel Belasco is Executive Director of the Al Held Foundation. A specialist in postwar and contemporary art, he has published essays and curated exhibitions on the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Bradley Walker Tomlin, Mary Reid Kelley, and many more. He previously served as Henry J. Leir Associate Curator of The Jewish Museum and Curator of Exhibitions and Programs at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. In 2010 Belasco co-curated (with Sarah Lewis) The Dissolve: SITE Santa Fe’s Eighth International Biennial. He holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

Olga Dekalo

Photograph of Olga Dekalo by Darcie Abbatiello.
Photo by Darcie Abbatiello.
Curator and educator Olga Dekalo is based in Germantown, New York. Formerly, she was Associate Curator at the University Art Museum at University at Albany. From 2016 to 2018 she was Assistant Curator at the Katonah Museum of Art in Westchester, New York, where she curated and co-curated LandEscape: New Visions of the Landscape from Early 20th and 21st Centuries (2019), Object Out Loud: Arman and Nick Cave, and Affecting Images: Photography’s Pursuit of Intimacy (2017). From 2013 to 2016 she was Curatorial Associate at the non-for-profit, alternative space PARTICIPANT INC, and was involved in organizing the first New York retrospective of Greer Lankton (2014) and presented rarely seen work and ephemera by Martin Wong (2016).

Gabriela Salazar

Photograph of Gabriela Salazar.
Photo by Antonia Rosselló.
Born in New York City to architects from Puerto Rico, artist Gabriela Salazar examines the relationship of the built environment and material histories to our sense of self and place. She has had solo exhibitions at NURTUREart, The Bronx River Arts Center, among many others. On October 10, 2021, Salazar’s commissioned work Low Relief for High Water will be presented in Washington Square Park (NYC) by The Climate Museum (postponed from 2020). Salazar currently has a solo show curated by Olga Dekalo with River Valley Arts Collective at the Al Held Foundation, in Boiceville, NY.

Jessica Holmes

Jessica Holmes
Writer, editor, and critic Jessica Holmes’s writing features regularly in BOMB, Hyperallergic, and The Brooklyn Rail, where she also edits the ArTonic column. Other bylines include Vanity Fair Spain, The Magazine Antiques, and The Woman’s Art Journal. Recent exhibition catalogue contributions include Judith Braun: My Pleasure (Opalka Gallery, Russell Sage College), Ellsworth Ausby: Somewhere in Space, Paintings from the 1960s and 1970s (Eric Firestone Gallery) and Markus Linnenbrink: THEREARESPACESTHATBREATHE (Museum of New Art, Portsmouth). Previously she served as Editor-in-Chief of the arts publication Degree Critical. For nearly two decades, she worked for the Calder Foundation, including 6 years as its Deputy Director.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Anya Bernstein reading.

Anya Bernstein

A portrait of Anya Bernstein
Writer and performer Anya Bernstein is a based in New York City. She is currently an Events Assistant at the Brooklyn Rail.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.