Women in the Arts Dinner 2016

Roger Smith champions individuality and artistry, so what better setting is there for a PechaKucha Night for women in the arts? Hosted by Danika Druttman, Roger Smith’s curator of art programming and cultural events, along with contemporary art curator Bridget Donlon, the group of 15 leading ladies gathered in the hotel’s penthouse to share a work of art, as well as its personal significance in their lives. Here is that artwork.

Ryan Massey

Partner at Massey Lyuben Gallery

My image is a painting by Eric Helvie, titled Pipe Smoker (Cyclops). It is an oil on canvas and part of the artist’s solo show, NOOL. I chose this painting because in a way it represents one of the main reasons I opened Massey Lyuben Gallery: to connect emerging artists with new collectors and support the growth of their art careers. Eric is one of the first painters I started working with, and the relationship we (the gallery) have with this artist is the exemplar relationship I strive to have with each of our artists, one of trust, support and inspiration.


Bridget Donlon

Curator and Assistant Manager of Arts & Design at the MTA

I chose Manet’s Déjeuner Sur L’herbe for a few reasons. Like many, impressionism was a “gateway drug” for me into art. I work with contemporary art, but find myself thinking of Manet often—his own historical references and what his painting says of his own time. Art can always be contemporary.


Danika Druttman

Curator of Art Programming and Cultural Events at Roger Smith

Growing up in Sydney, we had a neighbor, Rappy. He was a dear friend of my mother. Rappy’s real name was Stanislav Rapotec, and he was an abstract expressionist painter who came to Australia after the war having fled Eastern Europe. He was the first artist I ever knew, and his was the first studio I ever spent time in. This was the first pairing I owned—he painted it for me for my 9th birthday.

Just before my family and I moved back to London, I went on a school trip to Canberra. In the entrance of the National Gallery of Australia was a huge painting that looked familiar. I recognized the construction, the stroke, the colors—it reminded me of my sun. Indeed, it was also by Rappy. At that moment I began to recognize the significance of my sun, and saw the beginning of my relationship with art unfold though this initial and early introduction by Rappy.


Venetia Sacret Young

Artist, Interiors and Decorative Arts

This image is an original artwork by Zoe Keramea, which was commissioned by the director of the Drawing Center after seeing a board game that my siblings and I had created together at my father’s house. When I first started to meditate on what I could possibly choose for this evening I was confounded. I have always been making things. I honestly can’t imagine doing something not creative. Part of that is borne out of the environment qne 5h3 people I grew up with, creative and bizarre individuals who were constantly churning out things, stories, objects. But more than that, it was the daily practice of having ideas, listening to them or choosing to disregard them, then experimenting, developing ideas, and seeking cooperation and review from my peers. Continuing on to the making—making improvements and modifications, doing different versions of the same thing, and so on. I am in a creative field because this is where this education has lead me.


Rebecca Pristoop


In his compositional paintings, Mondrian manages to show us everything that art can do. From the simple tools of the primary colors, white, black, the horizontal and vertical, an artist has the means to express and represent  the physical, imagined and emotional worlds. All possibilities can be produced from these tools—diagonals, colors, depth, optics, feeling—the directional and colors expressed in this painting provided avenues for endless expansion.


Elizabeth Thompson

Gallery Manager, Anita Rogers Gallery

I first came across Illuminated Manuscripts as an English Major at Vassar. I think this was the first time art stopped me wholly in my tracks—the incredible detail (there is a masterpiece in the middle of that first letter!) and the composition. It communicates. And I think that is the point of art. To pick up where words stop. It’s a language that captures things words absolutely can not- and as a writer, that was an incredible revelation for me. I switched majors shortly thereafter (art history!) and have been in the art world ever since.


Tara Foster

Assistant Manager of Arts & Design at the NY State MTA

This site, while no longer in existence, has informed a great deal of my personal and professional pursuits, from first encountering this living museum in the mid-90’s while a teenage art student, to deepening my own thinking on participatory, artist-led processes and the aesthetics of the street “5 pointz”  as a real and imaginary site led to my graduate scholarship and pursuing a career in public and community based arts.


Maria Kozak


The summer after senior year I answered an ad in the paper with the word “art” in it. The job was going around businesses/offices/people on the street, hawking “leftover” prints of artists like Picasso, Van Gogh and Dali. At one point I came across the Old Guitar Player. I kind of shunned it. Years later at the Chicago Institute I saw it in person and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I bought the poster and have been obsessed with Picasso ever since.


Sarah Kurz


I came across this painting as an undergraduate. To this day it continues to inspire and influence my work in three fundamental ways: There is beauty and life in darkness and death. To edit. This painting was part of a larger painting that Manet split in two to make two separate paintings. Cropping. A close and intimate portrayal of the figure that is removed from time and place.


Rachel Wolff

Writer and Filmmaker

This image of Trisha Brown’s Roof Piece from 1971 has followed me over the years. I first learned about Brown’s work in college and was attracted to it immediately because of my history as a dancer and my long held insistence that I belonged in New York. I wrote about Brown and others like her as an art writer in New York and when I decided to finally try my hand at fiction (which sounds cheesy I know but was something I had always feared and always wanted to do) I found myself looking at this image again, it was this piece that inspired the first short story I had ever written in earnest. It made me realize that my past can inform my present as far as writing is concerned, and holds a special place in my heart for that.


Katie Sharrar

Senior Account Manager at LEITZES&CO

One of my earliest memories of art was being read the book Linnea in Monet’s Garden. I am originally from Philadelphia where this painting lives. It was one of the first opportunities I had to see Monet’s work in person, having often reading about it in stories.


Jenna Snyder-Phillips

Painter and Designer

I love the blue nude cutouts by Matisse, and all of his cutouts of the palms/plants. I saw his show at MoMA and was super inspired by the graphic, whimsical quality. I like painting figurative and appreciate the humor in his work “it’s not that serious”.


Donna Kang

Head Designer and Co-founder at Timo Weiland

Fixing a dropped hem two minutes before the models have to walk. I chose this picture because I thought it best represented what a designer and self entrepreneur is. Fashion is glamorous to others and work for us, however work is my life, which makes these crazy moments before a show so exhilarating. It is when I feel the most alive.


Amanda Portman

This is not as much about creative inspiration as much as it is about finding the piece within, that I need, prior to embarking on a creative journey. This piece is what I see in my mind when I imagine the ultimate calm. The calm of the barren plain and the energy Christina seems to have as she strains toward the farmhouse.



Roger Smith is an idea.

Midtown Manhattan