girl power

Women of DUMBO

Here's just a small sample of the women who have helped shape our neighborhood.

Women have shaped Dumbo from the beginning— from Emily Roebling's bridge to Jane Walentas' carousel. Women lead our arts institutions. They run our start ups. They represent us at all levels of government.


62% of the retail-level small businesses in the neighborhood are owned by women, including restaurants, art galleries, retail stores, wellness providers and activity facilitators.

95% of Dumbo cultural institutions and art galleries are run by women.

(not so) Small Business Owners

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Anna Castellani: Owner, Foragers

From the humble beginnings of a small art supply store with an espresso machine in in 2000, Anna Castellani's food businesses have grown to become a recognized brand in DUMBO and across the City. In 2005 she opened her first Foragers Market in Dumbo, with the goal of growing the sustainable food supply chain in Brooklyn. She now has locations in Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn (where she is a Managing Partner at Dekalb Market) and Chelsea.

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Anna Haddad is the owner of ONEYOGAHOUSE, which opened in Dumbo in September 2021. Inspired by community, connection, and the benefits of yoga and meditation practices, ONEYOGAHOUSE is staffed by some of New York's seasoned teachers, expect dynamic vinyasa flow experiences inspired by the Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Katonah lineages.

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Ashley Burson: Owner, Burson and Reynolds

Burson and Reynolds is a home furnishings and gift store. Husband and wife team Ricardo Cid and Ashley Burson work together in curating the shop. Designer and Artist Ricardo hails from Mexico City. Ashley, born and raised in California, spent most of her life in the beautiful resort town of Laguna Beach where she worked with designer Kerry Cassill for eight years.

Burson and Reynolds carries high quality and handmade items. They have a complete line of textiles–including cotton and organic wool bedding,  Turkish bath linens, cloth napkins and table cloths–as well as a range of unique housewares items: hand-painted Polish pottery, Terracotta bakeware, sustainably sourced wooden cutlery and cutting boards, hand made small batch Goats Milk soaps, hand dipped tapered candles, to an array of cast iron picture frames, coat hooks and bottle openers.

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Ayako Kurokawa: Owner and Lead Baker, Burrow

Hanging out behind the glass in an indistinct lobby at 68 Jay St, Ayako Kurokawa has built Burrow, a magical bakery that has become revered by professional chefs and Instagrammers around the globe.

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Cristina Popa Ricketts: Owner, Greenstone Spa

Cristina got her start at the young age of eight, as a competitive power-lifter and boxer in Ukraine. When she moved to the United States at the age of twenty, she tried her hand at other things – modeling, fashion, personal styling – until she discovered massage. She took over Green Stone Spa in 2012, which gave her an opportunity to put her strength in a new way. Green Stone Spa offers treatments that don’t just lessen aches and pains, but address their underlying causes. Read our Q&A with Cristina here.

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Dawn Casale: co-owner, One Girl Cookies

Dawn Casale is the founder and co-owner of One Girl Cookies. She brings a passion and love to all her baked goods, inspired by her mother and grandmother. In recognition of Dawn's contributions to DUMBO, we honored her with a 2019 DUMBO Dozen Award! Read our Q+A with Dawn here.

Darlene Okpo: Owner, Adanne

Darlene is an educator, designer and an avid reader and has been obsessed with books since the first grade. She opened Adanne in May 2021. Adanne is a bookshop that celebrates African-American culture by selling books and other products,including apothecary, tote bags, t-shirts and accessories.

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Dr. Janelle Sunwoo: Internist, Owner, Leaf Medical

Dr. Janelle Sunwoo MD is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. She was one of a very few chosen by the prestigious Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education in New York City; a unique, accelerated medical program that emphasizes the need for primary care physicians in New York. While there, she was exposed to cultural competence and awareness, performed community health assessments, and worked throughout New York City to promote preventive medicine. She was also president of a New York chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association and is a strong advocate for women’s health. A Dumbonian herself, she has been caring for our community at Leaf Medical for over a decade.

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Drew Linden: Co-Owner, New Moon Studio

Drew Linden is a San Diego native who learned to tattoo in Imperial Beach, California under Mike Martin before moving to NYC in 2011. She was been tattooing for 11 years and specializes in clean, illustrative, bold, and intuitive tattooing. Drew has also been microblading for 3 years and is a co-owner of New Moon Studio.

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Elise Rosenberg & Emelie Kihlstrom: Co-owners, Gran Eléctrica

Gran Eléctrica is an authentic Mexican restaurant in the heart of DUMBO. Together, owners Tamer Hamawi, Elise Rosenberg, and Emelie Kihlstrom, offer an authentic and market-driven Mexican menu inspired by travels abroad, particularly traditional Mexican street fare. Creating a new take on regionally-influenced Mexican cuisine, the menu aims to showcase a diversity of dishes from across the country

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Holly Saltzman: President and Founder, Imagine Early Learning Center

Holly Saltzman has been in the field of education for more than 30 years. She earned her BA degree from Skidmore College and her MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.

In 1984 Holly joined Lou Gallousis, an experienced hospital administrator, to develop a new company, to operate employer-sponsored childcare centers. Eventually becoming Vice-President, she supervised all aspects of the business, from curriculum development to marketing and finance. In January 2002, following the passing of Lou Gallousis, Holly started a new company, Imagine Early Learning Centers.

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JY Lee: Owner, Le Chien Bleu

In 2016, JY rescued Jax, the most adorable shiba inu (in her opinion) and her life was changed. This Parsons School of Design grad went from designing women's fashion to designing for Jax and all our furbabies. Le Chien Bleu's mission is to create and design fashionable, practical, premium quality dog clothes for all weather conditions. Their products are made in the USA, and all their fabrics are sourced with style and durability in mind.

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Karen Johnson: Owner, Olympia Wine Bar and 68 Jay Street Bar

Karen Johnson is a triple threat: she is a resident, a business owner, and has served on the Dumbo Improvement District Board as our Community Board 2 representative. She has created 2 separate spaces with distinct DUMBO vibes: 68 Jay Street Bar, which opened in 2004, and Olympia Wine Bar, which opened right next door in 2013.

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Kasia Nikhamina: Owner, Redbeard Bikes

Kasia is the co-founder of Redbeard Bikes. Open since 2012, Redbeard Bikes offers bike fittings and advice on creating a comfortable riding experience. For Kasia, cycling is about discovering and becoming part of the community where you live.

Kimberly Atkinson & Nicole Dumas: Co-owners & Veterinarians, HEAL Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Atkinson has worked in emergency medicine in Texas, Connecticut, and New York; as the medical director of busy hospitals in Bushwick, Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Upper East Side; as chief of staff of a Connecticut hospital; and as a surgery instructor at The University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. During her career, she has focused on improving the lives of companion animals and strengthening the human-animal bond. Dr. Atkinson treats all types of family pets, from the tiniest pocket pet to pot-bellied pigs, believing that all pets deserve the best care possible. She has two wonderful, grown children and a bevy of 4 legged family members, including Maude, a 17-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Genvieve, a 15-year-old labradoodle, Whit, a 15-year-old domestic shorthair cat, Bear, a 6-year-old rottweiler, and Radames, a 1-year-old sphynx.

Dr. Nicole Dumas specializes in exotic animal care and companion animal care, and works closely with animal conservationists rehabilitating and rescuing injured and displaced wildlife. She moved to New York from her native Trinidad and Tobago in 2017, and worked in Staten Island and in Bay Ridge before starting H.E.A.L with Dr.  and Jonathan Alvarado. Dr. Dumas has two adorable critters, a vivacious rescued American Bulldog, named Jake from Statefarm and a cuddly, boisterous hooded rat named Felix Rattus Beans. She also has pets in Trinidad, a Rottweiler named Mitzi and an adopted stray cat named Sir Oliver Nibbles.

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Lauren Bush Lauren: Founder, FEED

Lauren Bush Lauren founded FEED in 2007 after seeing the challenges of childhood hunger while working with the World Food Program. FEED is an impact driven lifestyle brand with an enduring principle at the heart of what we do—that people’s choices of what to buy and wear have the power to change the world. Lauren opened her first ever retail location at Empire Stores in Dumbo in 2017. In 2018, we honored Lauren for her work with a DUMBO Dozen Award.

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Lindsay Stuart: Owner, Glam Expressway

Local Dumbonian Lindsay Stuart is the Founder and CEO of Glam Expressway, a design boutique which evolved from an online retailer into a brick and mortar store right in her neighborhood. In honor of Lindsay's contributions to DUMBO, we honored her with a DUMBO Dozen Award in in 2019. Check out our interview with her here!

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Leslie Affre: Principal, Atrium DUMBO

After being raised in France and working in England, Leslie Affre moved to New York to continue creating great things in the culinary world. Leslie settled in DUMBO to help create of one of the most scenic dining experiences in the neighborhood at Atrium DUMBO.

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Magdalena Levy: Owner, La Catrina Flower Studio

Passionate about her creative and artistic pursuits, Magdalena Levy founded La Catrina Flower Studio in 2016. The studio practically bursts out of its storefront on Plymouth Street, showcasing beautiful floral arrangements.

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Markia Banks: Owner, House of Yoshè

House of Yoshè is a brand that was founded with the aim of creating expression through fashion. We wanted this to be more than a boutique but an experience for women & men  to explore different looks and styles in a place they can call home. Markia Banks opened her doors on Pearl Street in Fall 2021.

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Melissa Joy Manning, Founder, Melissa Joy Manning Jewelry

Melissa Joy Manning has created a socially responsible fine jewelry brand featuring unique, modern designs influenced by her passion for travel, art and culture. The line encompasses multiple collections including one-of-a-kind pieces, signature designs and custom, non-traditional wedding jewelry.

Each piece is handmade to order, in the MJM California or New York studios, by skilled artisans using traditional, time-honored techniques. Manning’s design development is not only meticulous and detail oriented, but her production studio is also certified Green by the State of California.

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Michiko Ono: Owner, Earth Hair Salon

Michiko Ono is the owner of Earth Salon, a salon using organic and eco-friendly products, as well as other healthy alternatives. They want you to look and feel your best, while safeguarding our planet.

Mimi Girma: Founder/Owner/Designer, YESAET

Mimi Girma is founder/owner/designer of Yesaet. Modern luxury, inspired by centuries of ancient African craft, Yesaet's sustainable, made-to-order collection focuses on exquisite textiles, comfort, versatility and timelessness.

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Monica Patel-Cohn: Owner, Two New York

Designer Monica Patel-Cohn launched her collection TWO in 2010 after working under Simon Doonan at Barney’s and at Prada in Milan. Drawing on her Indian and Italian background, Two creates modern and minimalist caftans, tunics and easy dresses from handmade fabrics that embody European and Indian influences. Read our Q&A with Monica here!

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Natalia Jacobs: co-Owner, Two Kids and a Dog

Two Kids and A Dog was born when long-time DUMBO resident Natalia Jacobs wanted to provide residents with a quirky, unique toys and apparel for their kids. Her greatest joy is watching her kids play and learn, and she wanted to share that joy with the world.

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Natasha: Owner, Dumbo Psychic Boutique

The mysterious Natasha is the owner of Dumbo Psychic Boutique. She is a world renowned spiritual healer, psychic reader and advisor, & astrologer with over 30 years in experience. She can Tell your past, present & future with her palm, and tarot card, psychic and full life readings.

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Niki Cheng: Owner, M Collection

As entrepreneurs and owners of Calligaris Brand stores in New York City, Niki and her husband Shaokao Cheng are bringing beautiful and accessible home furnishings to the capital of the world. Niki curates designs that have been described as forward-thinking, affordable, and chic, but it’s more than that: the pieces are smart, sleek, and perfectly suited to New York spaces. Niki is the founder of curated furniture store M Collection.

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Randi Song: Co-owner, Dumbo Station, Upwell + NY Love

Randi has long ties to Dumbo: as a resident; as the owner of Half Pint Citizens (a kids shop on Washington St from 2005 to 2018); as co-owner of the Dumbo Station (the Dumbo Archway’s al fresco bar) and NY Love (where you can find all Dumbo - NY themed products).

Her newest venture, a bar/restaurant called Upwell, will open on Washington and Water Streets in summer 2021. You may also know her as DJ Kai Song’s mom (@djkaisong), who’s been DJ-ing in Dumbo since he was 3-years-old! Randi’s also the woman behind many DUMBO BID +  Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy events.

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Sara B. Neuman: Head Doctor and Owner, Vinegar Hill Vet

Dr. Neuman is the head doctor of the Vinegar Hill Veterinary Group clinic. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. Following graduation, she moved to New York City with her then future husband and colleague, and began practicing in the Lower East Side. Dr. Neuman lives in Brooklyn and decided to open a practice after falling in love with Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO area. Dr. Neuman’s veterinary interests include avian/exotic medicine and small animal medicine and surgery. Dr. Neuman is currently living in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn with her husband, son Zachary, two perfect cats, Anna and Hank, and another cat, Walter.

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Shaw Bernard, Strut Models

Strut Models is a boutique modeling agency in Dumbo committed to providing quality service and offers high caliber talent to their clients. President Shaw Bernard and her agency is committed to diversity, inclusion, and individuality.

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Siobhan Towley, L.M.T.: Owner, Dumbo Wellness

Siobhan's objective as a Massage Therapist and for DUMBO Wellness is to create relaxing, client centered, therapeutic and healing massage treatments to keep N.Y.C.’s inhabitants moving through their daily lives with more balance and less aches and pains.  She has been in practice as an L.M.T. for 15 years and received training at the Swedish Institute in NYC.

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Susanne König: co-founder, powerhouse arena

Originally started as a publishing company in 1996, Powerhouse Arena, Dumbo's only indie bookstore opened their first store in Dumbo in 2006, and sits in the shadow of Manhattan Bridge. Susanne has created a DUMBO favorite for locals, featuring authors readings and events. In 2019 we honored her with a DUMBO Dozen Award. Check out our Q+A with her here.

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Suzan Perez, Art of Faces

Art of Faces, a Black-and-Woman owned boutique inside The Shops at 145 Front Street, specializes in customized masquerade masks and Caribbean carnival pieces, as well as luxe dresses and accessories. Owner/designer Suzan Perez has been an artist in Brooklyn for more than 20 years. | 145 Front Street

Tanya Rynd, Cara Lee Sparry and Laura Taylor: Founders, Superfine

In 2000, three talented artists–Tanya Rynd, Cara Lee Sparry and Laura Taylor–came together to start Superfine. What started as a supper club in a loft–featuring tasting menus paired with music, art installations and guest participation–and which catered to a population whose closest watering hole was a neighborhood away, has become a grassroots community experience in restaurant-form. In recognition of their contribution to DUMBO, we honored them with a 2019 DUMBO Dozen Award. Check out our Q+A with them here!

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Tara Glazier: Owner, Abhaya Yoga

Tara Glazier founded Abhaya Yoga in 2010 with the intention of creating a home for yoga in Brooklyn where people would feel free, safe, and supported. Tara was inspired to create a community-based yoga center with a focus on high-quality education and studentship, and for those really interested in diving into the path of yoga and awakening.

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Thea Grant: co-Owner, Thea Grant Jewelry

Thea Grant combines her love for the old, unusual, interesting, and forgotten at her incredible shop. With a wide range of vintage artifacts and one-of-a-kind, handmade items, her studio sparkles and shines in the heart of DUMBO. In 2018 we honored Thea with a DUMBO Dozen Award. Check out our Q&A with Thea and her partner here.

Thérèse Bruno-Cavallaro: Owner, York Cellars

Thérèse has been a DUMBO resident for 16 years. Her insatiable curiosity about wine began while growing up in Northern California, and later studying and traveling in Italy. When the opportunity arose to turn a passion into an occupation, Thérèse took the leap and opened York Cellars in September 2017. Ever since, she’s been focused on building a neighborhood wine community with friendly vibes, a knowledgeable crew, and uncommon wines and spirits from around the world.

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Yukako Satone: Founder, Loop of the Loom

Yukako studied visual design and worked as a graphic designer in Japan. At the age of 25, Yukako moved to NYC to work as an assistant art director for an advertising agency. In 2005, Yukako became a certified SAORI instructor, and opened a SAORI weaving studio called Loop of the Loom. As a pioneer of SAORI in the US, she has been coaching its method in the local and global community.

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​Yulia Mingazheva: Owner, Soul of Lotus

Yulia Mingazheva is a licensed acupuncturist and licensed massage therapist (LAc, LMT), and owner of Soul of Lotus. She believes in incorporating a variety of healing modalities in her practice to provide comprehensive care for her patients. Her experience as a physical education teacher and dancer also gives her an understanding of body mechanics to treat sports injuries, pain syndromes, and musculoskeletal issues.

Creators and Creatives

Adette C. Contreras, Erica Taylor Haskins & Liz Castelli: Co-founders, Tinsel Experiential Design

Tinsel designs interactive experiences to delight, engage, and inspire. Started a decade ago on a kitchen table in Brooklyn, Tinsel is now a multimillion dollar company serving high-profile clientele from their DUMBO headquarters.

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Carolyn Ramo: Executive Director, Artadia

Focused on creating a national network for artists, Artadia is managed by Carolyn Ramo. Her commitment to accessible, unassuming art has helped Artadia to grow and develop the arts in New York and across the country. In recognition of her work in DUMBO, we honored Carolyn with a DUMBO Dozen Award in 2018. Check out our Q&A with Carolyn here.

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Charlotte Cohen: Executive Director, Brooklyn Arts Council

A third generation Brooklynite, Charlotte Cohen is the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Arts Council. With a passion for creativity, Charlotte is committed to providing access to the arts and creating great public spaces in Brooklyn. In recognition of her commitment to improving public spaces in DUMBO, we honored the Brooklyn Arts Council with a DUMBO Dozen Award in 2014

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Che Chisholm: co-founder, Automatic Studios

Capitalizing on the beautiful and abundant locations for media shoots, Che Chisolm founded Automatic Studios in DUMBO. Automatic Studios is a production company geared towards kids and teens, teaching them about filmmaking, and enabling them to make movies themselves. Check out our Q&A with Che here!

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Dale Kaplan: Artist

Dale Kaplan is a product designer and fine artist. She has been a stalwart of the Dumbo artist scene, working out of her studio in 68 Jay, since 1993! Her clients have included The Brooklyn Museum, Garnet Hill, The Queens Museum, ABC Carpet and Home, Canvas Home as well as fine boutiques in the U.S.A. and Japan.

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DM Wilding: Founder, Creatively Wild Studios

Donna-Mareé Wilding is the founder and CEO of Creatively Wild Art Studio. Better known as “DM,” she brought Creatively Wild to Dumbo a decade ago, and has been running an incredible range of art programming for toddlers to adults in DUMBO and across the City ever since. In recognition of DM's amazing contributions to DUMBO, we honored her with a 2019 Dumbo Dozen Award. Check out our interview with her here!

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Debra Klomp Ching: co-owner, Klompching Gallery

Debra Klomp Ching is the co-founder of the Klompching Gallery, specializing in the exhibition and sale of contemporary fine art photographs. The gallery was launched in DUMBO in October 2007, and quickly established itself as a gallery with an extraordinary roster of artists, from which to purchase some of the best examples of contemporary photography. Since its inception, the gallery has earned a solid reputation for providing informed guidance on the acquisition of contemporary fine art photographs, working with both new and experienced collectors. In 2017, she also co-founded the annual Rhonda Wilson Award for emerging photographers

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Eleanora Kupencow: Artist

Painter/Sculptor Eleanor Kupencow's sculptures have been spotted in New York streets and public plazas for over a decade, notably in DUMBO's Pearl Street Triangle and Old Fulton Plaza, where the FunSeetz have delighted visitors for years. In honor of Eleanor's contributions to DUMBO, we honored her with a Magic Feather Award in 2009.

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Jan Bell: Founder, Americana Music Festival

Producing her first live event in 1999 on the back of a pickup truck in DUMBO, Jan Bell has continued to be a driving force in the DUMBO music scene. She is founder of the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival, which brings folk music to the Dumbo Archway every September. In honor of her contributions to the neighborhood, we honored Jan with a 2016 DUMBO Dozen Award.

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Janet Borden: founder, Gallerist

Janet Borden Inc. is a gallery focused on contemporary photography. Janet moved her gallery to Dumbo in 2017.

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Kathleen Gilrain: Executive Director, Smack Mellon

Kathleen Gilrain is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of Smack Mellon, a non-profit arts organization located in DUMBO since 1996, with a gallery, artist studio program, and arts mentorship program for teens.

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Kim Bourus, Janice Guy & Marina Chao: Higher Pictures Generation

Higher Pictures Generation opened in Dumbo in 2020. An evolution of Kim Bourus’ former gallery on the Upper East Side, Generation brings together art dealer Janice Guy and curator Marina Chao for the Dumbo chapter of this photography-focused contemporary art gallery, with an exhibition program focused on artists’ first shows, both historical and contemporary.

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Laura Roumanos: co-founder, United Photo Industries

Laura Roumanos has been creatively influencing DUMBO for over a decade. After a few years with St. Ann's Warehouse, she co-founded United Photo Industries, which produces photo exhibitions and public projects around the world, including the epic photo experience Photoville, which takes over Dumbo for two weeks every September.

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Lisa Gold: Exectuive Director, Asian American Arts Alliance

The Asian American Arts Alliance has been supporting artists in NYC since 1984 through a diverse slate of programs, adapting to artists’ needs and to the organizational possibilities over the decades. Lisa joined #A4 in 2019, bringing

over two decades of experience in arts management, development, programming, community outreach, and public relations to the Alliance. She has served as the director of public engagement at the  Lisa is recognized as a strong advocate for creative producers and has developed inclusive programming and outreach initiatives throughout her career, spanning leadership roles at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Washington Project for the Arts, the Drawing Center and Socrates Sculpture Park.

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Malika Leiper: Director, Contemporaries

Malika Leiper is a researcher, storyteller, and strategist born and raised in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her career is wide ranging, from an MA in Urban Planning to serving as chef and manager at the James Beard award-winning restaurant, Buvette, in Greenwich Village. Since 2018, she has consulted for non-profits in the realm of arts & cultural development, and historic conservation, as well as developed projects in design & sustainability for the food services industry and the built environment. In October 2020, she launched the storefront studio project Contemporaries, with Stephen Burks, right here on Plymouth Street.

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Marilynn Donini: Director of External Affairs, St. Ann's Warehouse

Working as Director of External Affairs for St. Ann's Warehouse for over a decade, Marilynn has strived to improve DUMBO for everyone interested in the arts. Attending concerts as a youngster in the 1970s inspired her to create a youth programming to help get kids interested in theatre. In recognition of her accomplishments and work in DUMBO, we honored her with at 2019 DUMBO Dozen Award. Read our Q&A with Marilynn here.

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Michele Dopp: Owner, Fabric & Steel Design Studio

Michele Dopp is the founder of Fabric & Steel design studio. Michele has worked in the interior design industry for nearly 20 years. She holds a degree in art history from New York University. Her experience, education and passion for architecture and design inform the aesthetic of the F&S collection.

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Marney Fuller: Owner/Director, Art Workshop Experience

Marney Fuller is the Owner/Director of Art Workshop Experience. She is a painter, sculptor and educator. Marney received a BA from Western Washington University in art and her MFA degree in Painting from Pratt Institute. Her studio has been in DUMBO for over 20 years. She actively shows within the United States.

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Nova Benway: Executive Director, Triangle Arts Association

Nova Benway is Executive Director of Triangle Arts Association, a visual arts residency founded in 1982, providing a life-changing working environment for committed artists through open-ended, studio-based opportunities to experiment and create new work; shared community with other artists that lasts a lifetime; the introduction of curators and other experts to the work at crucial times; cultivation of new and diverse audiences with public programs, such as open studios; and meaningful exposure to and interaction with the surrounding Brooklyn community and the wider world. Benway oversees the residency as well as a public program series of talks, screenings, performances and other events. Triangle is part of the Triangle Network, a global network of artists and visual arts organizations that support professional development and cultural exchange amongst artists, curators and other arts professionals throughout the world.

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Roxana Fabius: Executive Director, A.I.R. Gallery

Roxana Fabius is a curator, and art historian. She is the Executive Director at A.I.R. Gallery, which was founded in 1972 the first female artist cooperative gallery in the United States. In 2019 we honored the gallery, and Roxana, with a Magic Feather Award. Read our Q+A with Roxana here!

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Sandra Levinson: Executive Director, Center for Cuban Studies | Cuban Art Space

Sandra Levinson first went to Cuba in 1969–and fell in love with it instantly. She came back to New York with lots of ideas, which led to the creation of The Center for Cuban Studies in 1972. The Center is dedicated to providing information about contemporary Cuba and contributing to a normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, including an end to the embargo. The Cuban Art Space is an opportunity for Sandy to showcase her incredible collection of works, from textiles and instruments, to art and posters. Read our Q&A with Sandy here!

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Susan Feldman: Artist Director, St. Ann's Warehouse

Susan Feldman is the founding Artistic Director of St. Ann's Warehouse. Under her leadership, St. Ann's Warehouse has become of a preeminent theater companies, not just in New York City, but internationally.

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{In memoriam} Jane Walentas: Creator of Jane's Carousel

David & Jane Walentas, purchased a Carousel at a Youngstown, Ohio auction on October 21, 1984. Over the next three decades, Jane painstakingly hand-restored every piece of what is now Jane's Carousel, an award-winning Brooklyn waterfront icon. In 2016, we honored Jane, David and the Two Trees team with a Magic Feather Award, in recognition of their incredible impact on Dumbo.

Company Leaders

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Dayna Isom Johnson: Trend Expert, Etsy

Dayna Isom Johnson is a Trends Expert at Etsy. She started working at Etsy in the Marketing and PR department few years ago, until she noticed there was a need for trend guides - and she created this data-driven arm of the company. In 2019, in recognition of Dayna's contributions to DUMBO, we awarded her a DUMBO Dozen Award. Check out our Q&A with her here!

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Emily Heyward: co-founder, Red Antler

With all the start-ups and business ventures growing in DUMBO, it's no wonder Emily Heyward saw a golden opportunity to help out. Drawing from her traditional advertising background, she co-founded Red Antler to help new businesses get up and running and help them grow. In honor of Emily's commitment to helping others in the neighborhood, we awarded her a 2016 DUMBO Dozen Award. Check out our Q&A with Emily here.

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Jacqui Williams: Founder, 99 Solutions

Jacqui Williams is the founder of 99 Solutions, a government relations and consulting firm. She celebrates and defends New York's diversity by supporting local businesses and communities. In honor of Jacqui's contributions, we presented her with a DUMBO Dozen award in 2019.

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Jean Adamson: Owner, Vinegar Hill House

Jean moved from Salt Lake City to NYC in the spring of 1997 to attend the French Culinary Institute. After working in New York and Europe, she returned to Brooklyn in 2008 to open Vinegar Hill House. She also operates a Vinegar Hill House outpost in West Elm's Empire Stores location.

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Juni Colon: General Manager, Empire Stores

Juni Colon is the General Manager of Empire Stores. Juni joined the Empire Stores team in 2018. What she loves most about Dumbo are the people that make up the community. She enjoys attending family friendly events with her daughter, Amelia. Born and raised in Queens, NY she’s happy to call Dumbo her second home.

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Kathy Larchian, Co-founder, Pensa

A passion for managing creative firms is the driving spirit behind Kathty Larchian, one of the founders of Pensa. This award-winning product design firm focuses on connecting people and ideas, and responding to the fast-changing environment that we live in today. We honored Pensa with a DUMBO Dozen Award in 2013.

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Karen Auster: Founder and CEO, Auster Agency

Auster Agency Founder and CEO Karen Auster has spent her career crafting brand experiences and launching successful narratives for iconic, distinctive brands known worldwide. As a “Brand Architect” Auster is a transformative business leader, entrepreneur, community advocate as well as a passionate mentor of women. Her award-winning experiential marketing firm has guided the launch and activation of a myriad of local and international brands in and around the greater New York marketplace.

A longtime Brooklyn resident, Auster fervently believes in the pursuit and dedication of service to positively enhance and grow the local community. Frequently speaking on motivational panels, educational forums and the Coro roundtable, she shares her expertise in marketing and inspirational leadership techniques. She has served as an advisor and board member to several organizations including Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Issue Project Room.

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Mimi Hoang: Co-Founding Partner, nARCHITECTS

Mimi co-founded nARCHITECTS with Eric Bunge with a belief in architecture as an agent of positive change, responding to and connecting people with the environment in unexpected ways. Responding to our world in flux while fostering social engagement guides her work. Born in the tropics of Vietnam and trained in Amsterdam and New York City, she brings a global outlook and an obsession with greenery to the firm’s design culture. Mimi teaches graduate design studios as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and previously taught at Yale University. She received her Master in Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and her Bachelor of Science in Art and Design from M.I.T.

Sarah Durham Big Duck
Sarah Durham: Founder & CEO, Big Duck

Sarah is an entrepreneur and creative consultant with a passion for helping nonprofits communicate more effectively so they can advance their missions. She founded Big Duck in 1994 to help nonprofits increase their visibility, raise money, and communicate more effectively. In 2019, she acquired Advomatic, which builds and supports websites for nonprofits. She spends her days guiding these businesses and talking with nonprofit leaders about their communications.

Seungah Jeong
Seungah Jeong, CEO, Mpowerd

Seungah Jeong is CEO of MPOWERD, which develops affordable, solar-powered lighting products for use in camping, parks, or even in your apartment! In recognition of Seungah's contributions to DUMBO, we honored her with a 2019 DUMBO Dozen Award this year. Check out our Q&A with her here!

Vicki Fulop Brooklinen
Vicki Fulop, Founder, Brooklinen

Part of a husband and wife duo that was looking for affordable, quality bedding, Vicki Fulop is co-founder of Brooklinen. Over the past 6 years they have grown into a multi-million dollar company from scratch, all while nestled comfortably in DUMBO's WeWork space!

Community Leaders

Magic Feather Cynthia
Cynthia McKnight, PTA President, Dock Street Middle School

As the PTA President for the Dock Street School, Cynthia McKnight has been an advocate for developing the school's STEAM-focused program. She has also been a tireless champion for all things Dock Street School since it's inception in 2016. In 2019 we honored Cynthia with a Magic Feather Award in recognition of all she has done for DUMBO.

Brooklyn Bridge Parents Katharina Goetz 10
Katharina Goetz, Brooklyn Bridge Parents

DUMBO mother and entrepreneur Katharina Goetz is the force behind the popular Brooklyn family website Brooklyn Bridge Parents. In 2019, in recognition of Katharina's contributions to DUMBO we awarded her a DUMBO Dozen Award. Check out her Q+A here.

Mallory And Melissa
Mallory Kasdan & Melissa Prober, Founders, DUMBO Action Committee,

The Dumbo Action Committee is a community advocacy group for DUMBO residents. Founded by Mallory Kasdan and Melissa Prober, the DAC has grown to include residents from all over DUMBO, and focuses on advocating for safer streets, better schools and other quality of life issues in DUMBO.

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Nancy Webster, Executive Director, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Since 2010 Nancy has been the Executive Director of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and has been a driving force in developing the DUMBO waterfront into a vibrant, active, scenic destination for locals and tourists alike.

Tracy Wilkins Dickerson
Tracy Wilkins-Dickerson: Coach, P.S. 307 Diamonds

Tracy Wilkins-Dickerson is the Coach of the PS307 Diamonds Cheerleading team. For the past 25 years(!), Tracy has been coaching and mentoring young women, teaching them life skills both on and off the field. In recognition of Tracy's enormous contributions to her community and DUMBO, we honored her with a Magic Feather Award in 2019. Check out our Q+A with her here

Politcal Leaders

Jo Anne Simon 5 Portrait
Jo Anne Simon: Assembly Member

A resident of Brooklyn for over 40 years, Jo Anne Simon is the Assembly member for the 52nd District of the New York State Assembly. She serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Tuition Assistance Programs. Assemblywoman Simon is known for her championing of civil rights for the disabled and started a law practice in Downtown Brooklyn that focuses on these issues.

Kirsten Gillibrand Official Portrait 112Th Congress
Kirstin Gillibrand: US Senator

Kirstin Gillibrand has served as New York State Senator since 2009. She previously served as U.S. Representative for New York's 20th congressional district from 2007 to 2009.

Nidia Velasquez Portrait
Nydia Velazquez: Congresswoman

Nydia Velasquez is Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 7th District, and is Chair of the House Small Business Committee. She was the first Hispanic woman to serve on the New York City Council and in 1993 she was the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress, where she was chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus from 2009-2011.


Alexandria Sica Bid Ed
Alexandria Sica

Alexandria has been the longest-standing President of the DUMBO BID, joining the team in 2011. She has helped bring about the transformation of DUMBO to what it is today: a thriving hub for tech and creative people, companies, artists, businesses and more.

Clara Schuhmacher
Clara Inés Schuhmacher

Clara Schuhmacher joined the DUMBO BID in 2015 and currently serves as the Senior Vice President, Programs. In her time at the BID, Clara has overseen the programming of the BID's public spaces, including founding the Live at the Archway performance series in 2015.

Jane Kojima 860X510
Jane Kojima

Jane was the first director of Marketing & Events for the DUMBO BID. In addition to being a founding member of the organization, Jane pioneered the public art program for the BID.

Historic Leaders

Emily Roebling Portrait
Emily Warren Roebling

Born in 1843, Emily Warren Roebling was instrumental to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge. After her husband, Washington Roebling, became too ill to continue as chief engineer of the project, Emily took over most of his duties, overseeing the completion of world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge. Dumbo lore says that she was the first person to walk the Brooklyn Bridge when it opened in 1883, carrying a rooster with her for good luck! Later in her life, she invested her energy into many causes, including the Daughters of the American Revolution and the development of Evelyn College.

Regina Myer: President, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Regina Meyer served as the President of Brooklyn Bridge Park from 2008-2016. Under her leadership, Brooklyn Bridge Park was developed into the vibrant, lush waterfront destination that we know today. In 2017, we honored Regina for her epic accomplishments with a Magic Feather Award.

DUMBO BID Executive Director Alexandria Sica gives us a short Women-of-Dumbo history lesson at our Annual Meeting on February 11, 2019.