Public Art Team Members

Sharon Matt Atkins

Since joining the staff of the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2009, Sharon Matt Atkins has held the roles of Managing Curator of Exhibitions and, now, Director of Curatorial Affairs. At the Brooklyn Museum, she most recently organized Iggy Pop Life Class by Jeremy Deller (2016), Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) (2015) and FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds (2015). In 2014, she organized Swoon: Submerged Motherlands, as well as the Brooklyn presentation of Ai Wei Wei: According to What?. In 2012, she co-organized GO: a community-curated open studio project with Shelley Bernstein. She has also coordinated exhibitions devoted to Andy Warhol and Norman Rockwell, and has facilitated numerous other special exhibitions. Before her move to Brooklyn, Atkins was the Assistant Curator at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire, since 2004. There, she was responsible for modern and contemporary art, and organized exhibitions from the collection as well as traveling loan shows. Previously, she held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. Atkins received an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, where she also taught art history and writing courses.  Sharon began to serve on the Public Art Team of the MDA April, 2017.

Jeanne Coogan

Jeanne Coogan is currently a Computer Systems Manager for the City of New York. She has developed technical documentation, instructional design, eLearning, and instructor led training for firms in the financial services, military consulting, computer training, real estate, and pharmaceutical distribution sectors. She is also a Life Member of the Art Students League of New York, where she works primarily in printmaking. Her prints are in the permanent collections of the ASL and the New York Public Library Print Room, as well as private collections in NY and NJ. Her work was recently in a group show at the Old Print Shop, New York City and Frontline Arts, Branchburg, NJ. Jeanne has been a resident of Metuchen for 27 years. Jeanne began to serve on the Public Art Team of the MDA January, 2019.

Eileen Doyle

Eileen is a scientist with 20 years experience in molecular biology, biochemistry and pharmacy. She balances work with art, and has been working with ceramics for the past year and a half. Her previous outreach activities included education and grant writing, and she looks forward to putting her passions to work in Metuchen. Eileen began to serve on the Public Art Team January, 2019.

Cody Grabbe

Cody Grabbe is a classically trained clarinetist and saxophonist, having attended the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. As a performer, he has played with several orchestras throughout the Midwest including the Detroit and Columbus symphonies. In 2018 he started a new role at the Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University, overseeing and creating a new fine arts program for the college.  Cody serves on the Public Art Team as the liaison to the Metuchen Arts Council, beginning January, 2019.

Laura Griffith

Griffith is the Associate Director of the Association for Public Art (aPA), a position she has held since 1990. She has served as a reviewer for the Heritage Preservation and Smithsonian Institution’s Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS!) Treatment and Achievement award programs, Peer Review Panelist for the NJ State Council on the Arts, Steering Committee for the College Art Association’s Public Art Dialogue, and is currently a member of the Conservation Advisory Committee for the City of Philadelphia and is the co-founder and facilitator of the Philadelphia Public Art Forum. Prior to her current position at the aPA, she was the Coordinator of the Alfred Stieglitz Center at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Curator of Children’s Programs at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She served as a member of the Metuchen Development Commission from 1997 – 2017.   Laura began to serve on the Public Art Team of the MDA April, 2017.

Beryl Koblin

Beryl has lived in Metuchen, NJ for 30 years and is a fiber artist and retired HIV researcher.  For weaving, she uses found materials and a wide variety of fibers.  She also weaves and knits practical items for the home with an eye for their aesthetic as well as functional value.  She has shown her work at the Metuchen Junebug ArtFest/MetFest, Highland Park Arts in the Park event, Metuchen Eat, Drink & Buy Art event, multiple galleries in Metuchen and the National Arts Program at Rutgers NJ Medical School.  She is a member of Jockey Hollow Weavers Guild.  She is a member of the Metuchen Farmers Market Board of Directors and participates in Metuchen’s NJ Fiberworks. Beryl began to serve on the Public Art Team of the MDA, January, 2019.

Lorraine LeSter

Lorraine is now retired from a 37 year career with the NJ Division on Civil Rights, where she was Manager of the Special Investigations Unit.  She has lived in Metuchen since September 2001, and is thrilled to be a part of the changes in Metuchen.  Lorraine began to serve on the Public Art Team of the MDA January, 2019

Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella (Team Leader, 2019)

A resident of Metuchen for 25 years, Linda has worked and taught as a full-time artist in both formal classroom settings as well as from her studio, Earthsongs.  In addition to her work in ceramics, primarily wall-sculpture and permanently installed large scale ceramic murals, she has been passionate about making the arts a vibrant part of the community. To that end, she was the originator of Metuchen’s “Mystical, Magical Junebug Artfest,” a month-long celebration of the arts that continued from 2007-2018.  Additionally, she  established several community galleries:  the Gallery of the Edison Arts Society, The Rotunda Gallery in Metuchen’s Borough Hall, and Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s.  Connected to both her work as a ceramist and her interest in having the arts enliven the community, at the request of the Metuchen Arts Council, in 2017, she completed a four-panel mural project, “Mud Making Magic” that invited over 300 people of every age and ability to help create the permanent, outdoor ceramic art work, “The Seasons.” For more information about Linda’s work, visit  Linda began to serve on the Public Art Team of the MDA April, 2017.

Grant Funding has been provided by Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a division of Department of State.