DIRECTOR & Co-Founder
Elizabeth Easton is the Director of the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL), a non-profit organization she co-founded with Agnes Gund in 2007 to train museum curators in the fundamentals of management and leadership. Now in its sixteenth year and with almost 400 alumni around the world, CCL continues to provide curators with the tools necessary to assume and succeed in leadership positions.
She previously served as the first elected president of the Association for Art Museum Curators from 2003-2006, and as chair of the Department of European Paintings and Sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum from 1999-2007. Easton earned her Ph.D. at Yale University, writing her dissertation on Edouard Vuillard's interiors of the 1890s.
She is the recipient of the Wilbur Cross Medal—the highest honor accorded to alumni of Yale University’s Graduate School—and in 2008 was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government. She is a trustee of MASS MoCA and the Alliance of HBCU Museums and Galleries, and has served on the boards of the Town School, the Spence School, Studio in a School, and the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR). She is on the Visiting Committee of the Department of Paintings Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the advisory boards of a number of other cultural institutions.
Finance & operations manager
Caitlin Palmer joined the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2021. As the Finance & Operations Manager, she leads CCL's financial and operational functions to ensure organizational effectiveness and growth. She also serves as liaison to CCL staff, stakeholders, and Board of Trustees, overseeing the full scope of the organization’s stewardship of all institutional partners, donors, funders, and stakeholders. Prior to her role with CCL, Palmer was the Curatorial Administrative Coordinator for the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. During her time at ICA, she assisted on the notable exhibitionsRee Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison,Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It, the Colored People Time series, and the Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation Retrospective. Active as a volunteer Nonprofit Consultant, Palmer has also contributed her expertise in incorporation and structuring, development strategy and stewardship, and leadership models to organizations including Art for Philadelphia and Ulises Co.
Palmer holds an M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership with a concentration in the Arts & Culture sector from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. Her practicum focused on grant writing and management. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University where she majored in the Science in Society program with concentrations in American & Latin American History and Neuroscience, and minored in International Relations. Her senior thesis in printmaking, temporal states, received High Honors in general scholarship and is included in the Wesleyan University permanent collection.
Emma Payne joined the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2019. As Programs Manager she leads program planning and delivery, working with alumni, staff, and stakeholders to develop and carry out the full scope of the organization’s programming and communications. Prior to her role with CCL, she completed her M.A. in Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market from Christie’s Education where she received the Award for Academic Excellence. Her Master’s thesis focused on the role of the American South and the dynamics of power in the photographs of Sally Mann.
Payne graduated from Washington and Lee University with a B.A. in Art History and a minor in Museum Studies. She spent a semester studying international relations and art history at IES in Paris and subsequently completed a thesis on Olafur Eliasson’s 2016 installation at the Château of Versailles. Throughout undergraduate and graduate school, Payne held internships at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, the Staniar Gallery, and The FLAG Art Foundation. While at the Staniar Gallery, she assisted in organizing Decade: Staniar Gallery’s 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Modern Art Goes Pop: Selections from W&L’s University Collection, and elin O’Hara slavick: Illuminated Artifacts.
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT & OFFICE COORDINATOR
Grace Oller joined the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2023. As the Executive Assistant and Office Coordinator she serves as the key administrative support to Elizabeth Easton in her capacity as Director and Co-Founder of CCL, facilitating day-to-day operations within the organization as well as the initiation of long-term initiatives. Prior to joining CCL, Oller served as a Curatorial Research Assistant at the Columbus Museum of Art, assisting with the exhibition Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Robinson’s House and Journals. She has also served as a contributing writer for the Grey Art Gallery in partnership with the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation and as Co-Editor in Chief of the IFAcontemporary online publication.
Oller holds an MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU in Art History where she studied Modern and Contemporary Art, Institutional Critique, and labor theory. She was awarded an honorary distinction for her thesis on the political and economic implications of the performances of artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles. She received her B.F.A from the Columbus College of Art & Design where she majored in Fine Arts and minored in Creative Writing and the History of Art & Visual Culture. Her art historical thesis examined systemic structures in American art museums using case studies and personal experience to support her research.
Christa Clarke joined the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2022. As Senior Advisor, she guides research and development of programs and new initiatives to ensure CCL remains progressive, relevant and responsive, while also expanding and diversifying its network. In addition to her work with CCL, she is an independent curator and museum consultant, most recently for the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smith College Museum of Art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and Williams College Museum of Art. Previously, Clarke was Senior Curator at the Newark Museum of Art where she instituted its Arts of Global Africa department in 2013, a first among museums, and pioneered its collecting of modern and contemporary arts of Africa.
Clarke has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University, and the Clark Art Institute and recent teaching appointments at NYU Abu Dhabi, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Her publications include Representing Africa in American Art Museums (2011, co-edited with Kathleen Berzock), the award-winning African Art at the Barnes Foundation (2015), Arts of Global Africa: The Newark Museum Collection (2018) and The Activist Collector: Lida Clanton Broner’s 1938 Journey from Newark to South Africa (2023). Clarke was a 2012 CCL Fellow and, from 2017 to 2019, served as board president of the Association of Art Museum Curators, of which she is now a lifetime trustee. She received her B.A. from University of Virginia and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.
CCL is a member of ArtsPool, an administrative cooperative that provides nonprofit financial management, workforce administration, and compliance support to membership collective of 25+ New York based cultural organizations. Learn more at artspool.co
Development Consultant & grant Specialist
Lili Rusing manages all aspects of CCL's grant strategy and writing. Lili is a development consultant who helps nonprofit organizations raisecritical funds to support their missions, specializing in fundraising for the arts, humanities, education, libraries, and archives. Learn more at lilirusing.com
In 2023, CCL partnered with the Villa Albertine to deliver the "Museum Series," bring together 24 women museum directors from premier cultural institutions in France and the US for timely conversations on how museums must reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of the present, fostering dialogue and debate on the future of museums and promoting a new generation of leaders. a new French institution for arts and ideas in the United States, builds on the bold and innovative programs that have been the hallmark of the French cultural network abroad for more than a century. Created by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and supported by the French Ministry of Culture, Villa Albertine actively supports the endeavors of French cultural actors across the country through a bold and nimble program, in close collaboration with leading American cultural organizations. Learn more at villa-albertine.org
CCL partners with Columbia Business School to design custom curricula and provide core instructional components for all programs.
Faculty Advisor, Columbia Business School
PHILLIP HETTLEMAN PROFESSOR OF BUSINESS, COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL
Professor Brockner is a leading authority on a variety of psychological issues in the workplace, including change management (e.g., the effects of layoffs on the productivity and morale of survivors), leadership, decision-making, the role of the self, and cross-cultural differences in work behavior. He has published three books (one on decision making in “sunk cost” situations, one on the causes and consequences of employees’ self esteem, and one on the role of justice in the workplace). In addition, he has published more than 100 articles and book chapters in a variety of prestigious outlets, including Administrative Science Quarterly, the Harvard Business Review, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology to name a few. Joel Brockner earned a B.A. in psychology from SUNY-Stony Brook in 1972, and a Ph.D. in social/personality psychology from TuftsUniversity in 1977. Since that time, he has taught at Middlebury College, SUNY College at Brockport, Tufts University, and the University of Arizona prior to joining the faculty at Columbia Business School in 1984.
He has served (or is currently serving) on the Editorial Board of numerous journals in the fields of management and psychology including the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He also is frequently called on to review for the National Science Foundation. Professor Brockner is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, and he is also a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division of Industrial and Organizational Psychology).
Joel is the former Chairman of the Management Division at Columbia Business School, and he also is the Faculty Director of several highly regarded executive education program at Columbia Business School, including High Impact Leadership, Leadership Essentials, China CEO, and the Social Enterprise offering, The Developing Leaders Program. In addition, he has served as an expert witness, and he has consulted to a variety of organizations (including Association of Art Museum Curators, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips, Eastman Kodak, IXIS Capital Markets, MBNA, Pfizer, State Farm Insurance, Southern New England Telephone, and Stratus Technologies) about the planning and implementation of significant organizational change, leadership development, decision making, and negotiation behavior.