Kathleen Gilrain is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of Smack Mellon. She oversees all aspects of program, planning, and organizational development. Since joining the organization in 2000 she has presented the work of over 800 artists in 58 solo exhibitions, 33 group exhibitions and special projects. Kathleen launched the Artist Studio Program soon after her arrival at the organization in 2000. The program provides rent-free studio space, a $5000 fellowship and professional development opportunities for six artists each year. The Artist Studio Program has supported 94 artists since its inception. Throughout her tenure at Smack Mellon the Walentas Family and Two Trees Management have donated space for Smack Mellon’s programs, currently, a spectacular building at 92 Plymouth Street on the Brooklyn waterfront.
In 2007 and 2008 Kathleen expanded Smack Mellon’s programming to include two arts education programs, Art Ready, a mentorship program, and Summer Art Intensive. Each year, Art Ready serves a minimum of twenty underserved high school students interested in pursuing careers in arts by exposing them through an integrated series of weekly activities to every aspect of the field. The goal of the program is to provide these young artists with the tools to make an informed decision about their own future in the arts.
Kathleen Gilrain was the Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park from 1995 to 2000 where she presented exhibitions of large-scale projects by emerging, mid career and renowned artists. During her tenure at Socrates Sculpture Park, Kathleen worked closely with the New York City Council, the Queens Borough President and the Parks Department to dedicate Socrates as a permanent NYC parkland and embarked on a capital campaign to improve the infrastructure and the program facilities.
Kathleen is an artist and has exhibited internationally. She received a BFA from The Cooper Union, NYC and an MFA from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst.