Reel Grrls Staff
The Executive Director guides the vision and strategic growth of Reel Grrls, manages the professional staff, and leads development and fundraising activities in collaboration with the board and staff. She directs financial and development operations. She plays a critical role in shaping and maintaining the culture and identity of the organization and leads the effort to build and maintain strong relationships between Reel Grrls, its regional, national and international partners.
Before coming to Reel Grrls, Robin served as Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the Frye Art Museum, 2004-2012, where she was a key player in its institutional renovation and its reputation for innovative contemporary art exhibitions. This transformation included a successful petition to the State of Washington for a reinterpretation of the Museum founder’s will, an important legal decision that had an immediate positive impact on the Frye. Exhibitions Held curated for the Frye include The RetroFuturistic Universe of NSK, Heaven is Being a Memory for Others (Dario Robleto), Empire, Degenerate Art Ensemble’s Red Shoes, and Implied Violence: Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why.
As Associate Curator at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, 1999-2004, Held curated such nationally recognized exhibitions as Hershmanlandia: The Art and Film of Lynn Hershman Leeson and Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics—both of which received extensive editorial coverage in the New York Times. The latter was the first art museum exhibition to be registered with the National Institutes of Health, providing a new museum model for the safe exhibition of life forms created by artists.
Held earned her PhD, ABD, in Art History at the University of Washington, where her studies focused on contemporary art and critical theory in new media, feminist philosophy, and theories of embodiment. She earned her BFA, New Genres, from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published and lectured extensively on contemporary art, performance, and experimental media. In 2009, she was a Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellow. She has also received a Goethe Institute Visiting Scholar Travel Award (2009), a Stranger Genius Award (2005) and a Getty Grant Program Curatorial Research Fellowship (2003).
Among the women who inspire Robin are Yoko Ono, Trinh Minh-Ha, Vivienne Westwood, and Haruko Nishimura.
Director of External relations
As Director of External Relations, Betsey Brock oversees communications, marketing, individual giving, and special events for Reel Grrls. She supports existing programs offered by Reel Grrls, while forging community partnerships and providing points of connection and collaboration with other organizations, foundations, and special interest groups.
Before coming to Reel Grrls, Betsey served as Associate Director of Communications and Outreach at the Henry Art Gallery. She formed and served as staff liaison for SHAG (the Student Henry Advisory Group), participated in the creation of its Student Technology Lounge, organized special events, and worked to build community around the museum’s exhibitions and programs. She also launched and sustained the Henry’s various social media platforms, its blog and podcast series, and oversaw the 2006 re-launch of the Henry’s website, expanding the site to showcase the variety of current offerings, while bringing to light the museum’s 85-year exhibition history. Betsey also served on the Board of Trustees for Northwest Film Forum from 2003-2009. Betsey brings to Reel Grrls an open mind and a love for building community around a cause.
Women who inspire Betsey include Amy Pohler, Andrea Fraser, Eileen Myles, and Seattle arts leader Anne Focke.
Contact Betsey at bbrock [at] reelgrrls [dot] org!
Laura Jean Cronin
Lead Producer, Reel Grrls Productions
Before coming to Reel Grrls Laura Jean Cronin was on the set the award winning PBS television show, Biz Kid$ for five season where she filled the role of Production Manager and First Assistant Director. Biz Kid$ was a program on financial literacy for kids and young adults. Laura Jean has also produced numerous community conscious, client driven videos under the banner Pound Pictures. Some of the clients Pound Pictures has served are City of Seattle, Center on Linguistic and Cultural Democracy, Early Childhood Equity Alliance, Artpatch and Independence Guide Dogs.
Cronin earned her PhD, ABD, in Comparative Literature at the University of Washington with a focus on Film Studies and Cultural Criticism. She received her BFA in Printmaking and BA in Italian Literature also from the University of Washington. She has operated Pound Arts, an artist working space with a community darkroom and digital lab, for over 2 decades.
Laura Jean Cronin is an award winning filmmaker in her own right and an accomplished artist. Her short films, Leave It (2002), Free Parking (2006) and One Night (2009), have earned national attention and serve as a canvas for her artistic viewpoint. In 2009, she was chosen as one of four directors to take part in the Seattle International Film Festival’s Fly Film Challenge. Her feature length screenplay, Princess and Buddha, has won honors at the Key West Indie Fest, Telluride Indie Fest, Washington State Screenplay Competition and was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Sundance Screenwriters Lab.
Contact Laura Jean at lcronin [at] reelgrrls [dot] org.
Check out Reel Grrls Productions, and view some of our client videos here.
As Program Coordinator, Bronwyn Lewis coordinates Reel Grrls classes, workshops, and trainings for new and returning youth and mentors. She is also the coordinator of the Adobe Youth Voices program, which allows Reel Grrls to increase its impact by partnering with other Seattle-based youth educators to facilitate media literacy and production skills in their classrooms and after-school programs.
Bronwyn Lewis earned her BA in Spanish and BFA from the from Center for Digital Art and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington in 2010, where her focus was experimental video and mechatronic installation. She has a background in film, event production, making art with kids and applying glitter to faces. Since 2009, she has created multi-media productions as part of Seattle’s neo-burlesque scene, including an evening of feminist performance at the Henry Art Gallery, multiple fundraisers for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and a Game of Thrones-inspired burlesque show. She has created video content for the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas while serving as a Production Assistant for their annual convening and competition. Bronwyn has worked with Seattle-based filmmakers on independent projects, both behind and in front of the camera, and is currently leading a public education video project for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. Bronwyn also works as a teaching artist at the Henry Art Gallery, where she has most recently led a workshop on camouflage from computer vision (CV Dazzle).
Her favorite artists include: Carolee Schneemann, Cindy Sherman and Julie Atlas Muz, all of whom make Bronwyn want to put on a costume and make art with youth.
Bronwyn Lewis holds a white belt in karate. Contact Bronwyn at blewis [at] reelgrrls [dot] org.
ADMINSTRATIVE MANAGER / DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT
Amanda Dessert first came to Reel Grrls in 2012 as a grant-writing intern and fell in love the moment she walked in the door. In the split role of Administrative Manager/Development Assistant, Amanda performs a wide variety of office management and development duties. She handles all the miscellaneous office tasks that inevitably accompany a small nonprofit, and she performs a number of grant writing, grant reporting, and fund development duties. She particularly loves her role at Reel Grrls because it allows her to participate in many different arenas of the organization.
Amanda graduated from the University of Washington Honors Program in 2010 with a double major in Drama and Economics. She has a background in drawing, photography, and theater, and is passionate about arts education. She has recently begun training Jiu Jitsu, which is outside her comfort zone in just about every way but is also a seriously awesome physical and mental challenge.
Some of the women Amanda admires the most are those who consistently make her laugh until she cries, including: Lucille Ball, Kristen Wiig, and her sister, Annabel.
Clyde Petersen is the Technical Director at Reel Grrls. He manages the equipment and assists in teaching. Clyde is a skilled animator with experience in stop-motion, hand-drawn, claymation, paper and object animation. His work has been shown all over the world at film festivals and DIY all-ages venues and he is a member of the Seattle Experimental Animation Team. Clyde grew up in the Riot Grrl mosh pits of Seattle and loves local music, live shows and the Do-It-Yourself ethics of making something with what you have and working together to put on great community events. He is a transgender activist and an enthusiastic member of the Queer community.
In 2001, Clyde graduated from Fairhaven College with a strong understanding of documentary and short film production. He immediately climed into a van with a band and went on tour for 10 years, documenting bands and artists throughout his travels. His music video work includes such artists as Kimya Dawson, Quasi, Laura Veirs, Earth, The Thermals, Deerhoof, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down and Sean Nelson. He currently produces the TV show, Boating with Clyde.
Clyde's heroines include: Kimya Dawson, DavEnd, Wynne Greenwood, Kathleen Hanna and Sadie Benning.