Casey Polomaine, Executive Director – Casey (she/her) joined The Barn in 2015 as the Operations Coordinator, then transitioned into the role of Director of Programming & Residencies in 2018, where she specialized in working one-on-one with artists and community partners to develop new and innovative programming. In January 2022 Casey stepped into the role of Executive Director. Casey is the Co-Artistic Director and Founding Partner of Creative License, a theater collective aimed at breaking down the barriers between the artistic world and the general public, and has produced, directed, and acted in dozens of theatrical performances across the Capital Region. Her professional experience includes nearly 20 years in the customer service field in both the retail and banking environments. She attended Nazareth College of Rochester, where she earned her degree in Theatre Arts with a minor in Business Administration.
Christie Rose, Site Director: Christie (she/her) is a local creative, who joined the Albany Barn team as the Site Director in 2022. Christie (also known as Wild Rose Arts) is a visual artist that focuses on experimentation, often incorporating her writing into her multimedia work. Christie has been an active member of the arts community since college, first discovering the barn in 2018. Ever since, she has been dedicated to building relationships with resident artists. Christie graduated from The College of Saint Rose in 2019, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Small Business, and a minor in Photography. When tasked with a semester-long project on crafting a business plan, her end product was almost identical to The Barn. Little did she know, a few months later, she would stumble upon The Barn. A few years after that, be presented with the opportunity to work there. Christie’s passion, enthusiasm, and dedication to the community encourage underrepresented artists to connect with one another to build a more diverse local art scene.
Brennan Austin Peters, Events Coordinator– Brennan is a writer/researcher, and proud promoter of Upstate New York’s creative economy. Her mission: to connect local creatives to the knowledge, experiences, spaces, and opportunities that can help their business and artistry grow. Instagram – @brennlex
*Staff support provided by the New York State Council of the Arts
Board of Directors
Michael Lorka, President –Michael is a current employee of Death Wish Coffee where he serves as a Director of Financial Planning & Analysis. His previous experience included work in the capital region as an investment banking associate with the Schwartz Heslin Group. Michael sourced his appreciation for the arts through his exposure to The Roycroft in East Aurora, NY. Michael is very active in the capital region community, being a member of the Tech Valley Young Professional Network and the Friends of Albany Crew. Michael got involved with the Albany Barn in June of 2018.
Julianna Obie, Vice President- Julianna has a passion for youth development and civic engagement -mentoring for Sponsor a Scholar, facilitating youth empowerment workshops and volunteering for many local organizations and initiatives. She grew up in Schenectady and spent many of her adult years working for Girls Incorporated, giving back to the community that invested in her. Strong ties to Schenectady drives her enthusiasm for being a part of its revitalization efforts, while ensuring it maintains authenticity and provides unique opportunities for urban communities. She graduated from SUNY Albany with her Bachelors in Communication and Rhetoric and is currently working on her Masters in Educational Psychology and Methodology. In her current role as a Community School Site Coordinator she has the ability to create enrichment and educational programs and services that are provided to local families and students. She is confident that Albany Barn and Electric City Barn will continue to provide unique opportunities to expand the world of art in both Albany and Schenectady and empower youth to tap into their artistry
Howard Kibrick, Treasurer – Howard joined Halliday Financial in 2007 and currently serves as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Regional Vice President. Additionally, Howard has trained advisors who are new to the industry or to the company and at times served as a Registered Principal. Howard holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Rutgers University. He holds his Series 7, 24, and 63 securities licenses, as well his New York State Life, Accident, and Health Insurance license. Howard holds the CFP® designation, a highly regarded accomplishment within the Financial Services industry. After beginning his now 20 year plus career in financial services as Financial Advisor at Waddell & Reed, Howard then spent many years with First Niagara Bank and its predecessor banks. Prior to entering the Financial Services industry, Howard began his work as a Certified Social Worker, providing counseling services to individuals and families. He is an active member with the Financial Planning Association of Northeastern NY, as a participant of both the Advocacy and Pro Bono committees. Howard is also the past President of the Business Referral Network Group, and past President of the Cornell Club of the Greater Capital District, where he is currently serving as the Scholarship Co-Chair.
Jessica Hunter, Director–Jessica is a native of the Hamilton Hill neighborhood of Schenectady and an advocate for community arts programs. Growing up in the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, she learned firsthand the benefit of local arts programming. As a dancer and performer with Umoja African Dance and Drumming for over 17 years, she continues to volunteer with the HHAC, where she also teaches needle arts, various crafts, computer art, and computer coding. She joined the board of directors of the HHAC in May of 2015, and joined the Electric City Barn board of directors upon its formation. As a native of the area, she looks to connect the Barns closely with their communities. She also serves on the Capital Region Kwanzaa Coalition. She is a graduate of the IB program at Schenectady High School, and has a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from RPI. She was the second woman of color to receive a graduate degree from MIT’s Nuclear Science and Engineering program in 2014. She is currently an engineer at the Naval Nuclear Laboratory.
Michelle Hines Abram Thibeault, Director: Michelle has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She was Executive Chef for Mood Food, which under her
leadership garnered a spot on New York Magazine’s Top Ten list. After spending a few
years in the kitchen, she was recruited to be the Director of Special Events for RDC & The
Destination Group. She eventually went out on her own and started Innovative Events, a boutique luxury event planning and catering companies in NYC and Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. She was a Trustee Member of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and was recognized for her charitable work for the Jacksonville Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Returning to upstate New York as the Director of Banquet & Convention Services at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, New York . She became the Director of the hotel’s wine program and then transitioned to Food & Beverage Director. In 2009 M.H.A. Thibeault was a Founding Director and served for several years as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the “Albany Chefs’ Food & Wine Festival: Wine &
Dine for the Arts”, who’s mission is to promote and enhance Albany by highlighting and marketing its’ chefs and innovative cuisine and to provide sustainable funding to the downtown arts community. Her numerous charitable endeavors include serving as Executive Director for Dance Crazy, serving on the board of directors for the Stakeholders Foundation, yearly campaigns for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society including being a 2013 Woman of the Year Candidate, LunaFest to benefit Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, founding the Meil Fleur Societé, annual fundraisers for Yono’s Scholarship Foundation and for the Albany Barn.
to date. Additionally, in 2016 David was named the Executive Director of the Capital Region Land Bank. The Land Bank has invested over $9 million to restore neighborhoods by revitalizing vacant and abandoned buildings in Schenectady and Amsterdam, creating high-quality housing and homeownership opportunities as well as new community parks and places. Prior to working in Schenectady, David advocated for better land use policies, transportation equity and smart growth in New York State with Empire State Future and the New York State Transportation Equity Alliance. A native of East Aurora, New York, David received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Union College and Master of Regional Planning from the University of Albany. David spends most of his free time chasing his two young kids.
Christopher Kennedy, Director: Chris has been a lifelong resident of the Capital Region and currently lives in Latham with his wife Lisa and two children, Sophie & Benjamin. Chris has been employed for over 10 years at Capital Bank in Downtown Albany as a Vice President of Commercial Lending specializing in Commercial Real Estate. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the North Albany YMCA and has been active in that role since 2015. He is also Chairperson for the Advisory’s Finance Committee. In 2012 Chris was a graduate of the Capital Region Chambers “Leadership Tech Valley.” As a daytime resident of the City of Albany and advocate for Downtown, Chris has assisted in fundraising on behalf of the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID).
Kazuhiro Ohashi, Director: Kazuhiro (Kazu) was born in New York City. He attended Waldorf schools, both in NYC and in upstate NY. He is the Operations Director at Ohashi International Ltd. an educational lifestyle brand that focuses on self improvement, body movement and Eastern philosophy. Receiving a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design with a minor in marketing from Portland State University Kazu has worked for several marketing and design firms including Zoom Creates, Matthews Brand, Satori, R2C Marketing and numerous freelance clients ranging from art galleries to biofuel companies. An enthusiastic supporter of the arts and artists he has volunteered for Gallery Homeland and collaborated with arts galleries including Pulliman gallery, PDX contemporary art and Publications Studios. A world traveler, Kazu embraces the diversity of our world by learning and embracing new cultures and artistic expressions. Kazu hopes to bring his expertise in design and marketing and his enthusiasm for art to continue the mission of the Albany Barn and the Electric City Barn.
Associate Board Members
- Hon. Helena Heath
- Jon Huther
- James Thomas