Staff & Board


Joanna Pinsky
Founder/Artistic Director
Joanna develops our tours, workshops, and programs for youth, the elderly and special needs groups. As an artist, she has exhibited her shaped paintings and works on paper nationally and internationally in solo and group shows. A member of National Women In the Arts, she is represented by Perimeter Gallery in Chicago. Joanna has a BFA from Cornell University where she studied painting and art history. 
View Joanna’s art:

Ellen Kamerling
Founder/Travel Director
Ellen develops Art Encounter’s travel programs from her residence in Sedona, Arizona. Her mixed media artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout the country and has recently been shown at the Sedona Art Museum, Phoenix Artlink, and the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Ellen has a BA from Roosevelt University and a background in education and art therapy.

Caryn Berman
Managing Director
Caryn joined Art Encounter’s staff in 2008 and is responsible for the financial management of the organization. She also acts as board liaison, oversees marketing, membership and volunteers, and assists with program development and special events.  Caryn has a BS from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Donna Bliss
Director of Development and Communications
Donna joined Art Encounter in March 2016 as our first Director of Development and Communications.  She comes to Art Encounter most recently from the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport, where she served as the Vice President of Creative Development since 2009. Prior, she held the position of Director of Development at the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation for six years, and has built her own successful company Bliss Event Concepts which specializes in special events production.

Lea Pinsky

Director of Outreach and Community Programs
Lea joined  Art Encounter’s staff in August 2015. She has been a teaching artist with the organization since 2002 and has worked in the field of arts education program management in Chicago since 1999. She is also an artist and has been leading public art mural projects with her husband Dustin Harris since 2005, including Rogers Park Mile of Murals and now Art Encounter’s Evanston Mural Arts Program. Lea oversees Art Encounter’s outreach programs in schools, senior centers, and in the community at large, as well as co-manages EMAP projects.

Dustin Harris
Evanston Mural Arts Program 
Dustin joined Art Encounter in 2017 with the launch of our new public art initiative Evanston Mural Arts Program. Dustin is a painter and sculptor as well as a working deejay most weekends. He has been painting murals with Lea Pinsky since 2005 and co-managing the Mile of Murals in Rogers Park since 2010. He oversees artist selection and site managment for EMAP murals, and works with Lea on all aspects of community engagement.

Sydney Pacha
Operations Coordinator
Sydney Pacha joined Art Encounter in 2018. She supports the Art Encounter team with membership, program, marketing and other administrative and development functions. Sydney completed her Master’s in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago in May 2018. A native of Chicago’s western suburbs, Sydney holds a BA in Art History and Anthropology from North Central College. She comes from a background of working primarily with Chicago-land based non-profits such as Chicago Art Deco Society, The Wabash Arts Corridor, and the Elmhurst Art Museum.

Board of Directors


Gale Goldstick Cohen

Elizabeth Whiting
Vice- President

Charles Harper


Carol Cohen
Lisa Degliantoni
Susan Gaud
Marsha Goldstein
Wendy Kleper
Leslie Luning
Bonnie McGrath
Irving Miller
Margery Nieder
Terry Shewfelt
Mary Summerville
Janis Todd
Peter Vale