Founder and Executive Director 


Alyson
Baker



Before establishing River Valley Arts Collective in 2018, Alyson was the executive director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. There, she significantly advanced both the Museum’s mission and its overall operational capacity while overseeing its acclaimed exhibition and education programs; strengthened its reputation as an artist–centric institution; and increased its base of support through highly effective partnerships and fostering a community of committed and enthusiastic patrons. Under her leadership, the Museum was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, undertook an institutional assessment and rebranding campaign, and celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.
        Prior to her position at The Aldrich, she served for over eleven years as Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park, an internationally acclaimed outdoor museum and artist residency program located along the East River in New York City.
        Alyson was Director of Pat Hearn Gallery (1987–1992), an Associate Director of Gagosian Gallery (1992–1997), Curatorial Assistant in the Contemporary Art Department at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Assistant to the 1999 Carnegie International exhibition (1998–2000).
        With over thirty years of experience in the arts, she has worked on more than 300 exhibitions with over 800 artists including both emerging artists and world-renowned figures such as Mark di Suvero, Kiki Smith, Chris Burden, Damien Hirst, Richard Serra and Wendell Castle.
        As a Curator and Project Coordinator, Alyson has authored and edited numerous publications on contemporary art, writing about artists such as Andrea Zittel and topics including public art and artist workspaces. She was the co-editor and a contributing writer for the first major publication about Socrates Sculpture Park – a book that chronicles the Park’s remarkable history of artistic innovation and community engagement.
        She has lectured on subjects such as cultural models for community development, non-profit management, and curatorial practice at institutions across the country including the Museum of Modern Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Brown University, The Noguchi Museum and Cranbrook Academy of Art and has served on juries, panels and committees for such institutions as Yale University School of Architecture, PS1 Center for Contemporary Art, the International Studio and Curatorial Program, the College Art Association, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program.
        Alyson is a co-founder and former President of the Long Island City Cultural Alliance. She was on the Executive Committee of the Guggenheim Museum’s Young Collector’s Council; a charter member of the New York Public Art Network; and served on the community board for Long Island City, Queens, NY and as an ex officio member of New York State Artist Workspace Consortium. She recently served as Vice President for Programs on the national board of ArtTable.
        In 2009, she founded the craft and design fair called Makers Market and, in 2011, she established ‘Folly’—a studio residency and exhibition program for architects at Socrates Sculpture Park in collaboration with The Architectural League of New York.
        Born in Newport, Rhode Island, she graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, and attended classes and summer sessions at the Rhode Island School of Design, earning a dual degree in Art History and Studio Art.



Mark