We are thrilled to welcome three new team members whose many strengths and experiences will support ArtYard’s mission as an incubator for creative expression and catalyst for collaborations that reveal the transformational power of art. We are excited to announce Jessica Hough as ArtYard’s first Deputy Director and Ngena Hohn as Assistant to the Executive Director. In addition, Alexandre Arrechea joins us as our newest Board member.

Jessica will start as Deputy Director as soon as she moves with her family to the Frenchtown area from Los Angeles, where she has worked the last five years as a consultant for museums, historic sites, and civic organizations on a variety of exhibitions, interpretive projects, and strategic planning initiatives, many with a social justice focus.

Jessica brings over 25 years of leadership experience in non-profit arts institutions and as a curator of both art and history exhibitions. Previously, she served as Director of Exhibitions at the California Historical Society where she initiated the multi-platform project ¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals under Siege, and created a dynamic exhibition program that dramatically increased visitorship. She has also held positions at the Hammer Museum, the Mills College Art Museum, and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

As Deputy Director, Jessica will be responsible for providing oversight and management of the ArtYard’s finance function and ensuring alignment of all programmatic activities with the organization’s goals and values. In this newly created role, she will work closely with the Executive Director, Board, and Staff to develop and implement a strategic plan to guide the next three to five years and support an inclusive culture.

Ngena comes to ArtYard with a deep passion for community building through education and art. Ngena is a New Jersey native and has worked in arts administration, midwifery, and as an educator. She most recently was Community Engagement Associate at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, where she worked to expand its community outreach and partnerships and broaden its engagement opportunities for Morristown’s diverse community. Prior to that, she worked as a doula and office administrator for a midwifery practice.

As Assistant to the Executive Director at ArtYard, Ngena will support ArtYard Executive Director Jill Kearney and act as a researcher and creative sounding board in bringing to fruition ArtYard’s diverse programming, exhibitions, concerts, film series, residency programs, and workshops.

ArtYard’s Board in December appointed Alexandre Arrechea as its newest member. Alexandre is a contemporary Cuban artist whose work continues to move, surprise, and deliver the type of optimism that sometimes only art can provide. Alexandre’s mode of working site-specifically makes him explore the ideological and philosophical legacy of the surrounding context to create a more engaging interaction with the audience.

Alexandre in 2022 celebrated 20 years as a solo artist through the exhibition Landscape and Hierarchies, which opened at ArtYard in the fall of 2022. A summer residency there offered Arrechea the time to reflect, experiment, and create work. During that period, he became fascinated by Frenchtown and the Delaware River, creating works employing water from the Delaware River and drawings capturing moments in the community’s life.

Arrechea is widely recognized for Nolimits (2013), a monumental project composed of 10 sculptures inspired by iconic buildings in New York City and erected along Park Avenue, and Katrina Chairs (2016), erected at the Coachella Music Festival, Palm Springs, California. In December 2020, he created Dreaming with Lions, an immersive rotunda resembling an enormous forum-like library installed at Faena Miami Beach. A monolithic work that serves as a living monument to the sheer force of the human spirit. In 2022, Arrechea’s Orange Functional, a sculpture with orange branches 20 feet high that seems to blossom into 25 functional basketball hoops, opened at Art Omi, which commissioned the work.

Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization toward a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure the nonprofit has adequate resources to advance its mission.