Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art welcomes five new members to Board of Advisors

Lisa Corrin, Ellen Philips Katz Executive Director of the Block Museum of Art, is pleased to announce the appointment of James Belfer, Jessica Bell Brown, Susan Johnson, Morris (Dino) Robinson Jr. and Eden Romick to the museum’s Board of Advisors.

Appointed by the executive director, The Block Museum of Art Board of Advisors serves a crucial role in supporting the museum’s work, including providing guidance on strategic direction, collection development, audience cultivation and educational impact; championing The Block through ambassadorship and philanthropy; and offering mentorship for Northwestern students working with the museum. “I am thrilled to welcome our new advisory board members,” Corrin said. “The Block will benefit greatly from their wealth of expertise across industry, and their rich understanding of the way that art and dialogue can contribute deeply to the life of a university, its students and its community.”

“We are excited to welcome these new members to our Board of Advisors as partners and collaborators in championing the vital work of Northwestern’s art museum,” said Stu Bohart ’89 (’25 P) co-chair of The Block’s Board of Advisors. “James, Jessica, Susan, Dino and Eden are deeply invested in The Block’s role as a campus center of teaching, learning, research and dialogue, and in the role of art to catalyze connections across campus.”

“From film, to art, to philanthropy and local community, these leaders each bring extraordinary perspectives and expertise to the work of the Board of Advisors,” added Co-chair Cheryl Johnson-Odim ’75 MA, ’78 PhD. “Beginning with our recent spring meeting, they already have engaged with the work of The Block, and their contributions will be invaluable as we set a future course for the museum.” 

James Belfer ’09 is the founder and CEO of Cartuna — an award-winning, Brooklyn-based, full-service animation studio. Belfer has executive produced original series and feature films with NBCUniversal, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Fox, Nick Jr., UCP, Facebook Watch, SYFY, Peacock and YouTube Originals. As an independent film producer, Belfer has produced 14 feature films — four animated and 10 live-action. He has premiered work at the Sundance Film Festivals nine times, winning the 2011 Grand Jury Prize for the film Like Crazy and a 2016 Special Jury Prize for the animated documentary NUTS!. His films have also premiered at SXSW, Berlinale (Golden Bear for Best Director), Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. Belfer is a graduate of Northwestern and received his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. Since 2013, Belfer has been an adjunct professor for NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Jessica Bell Brown ’09 is the curator and department head for contemporary art at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Her recent exhibition projects include How Do We Know The World?, Thaddeus Mosley: Forest, Stephanie Syjuco: Vanishing Point (Overlay), and A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, co-organized with the Mississippi Museum of Art. Prior to the BMA, she was the consulting curator at Gracie Mansion Conservancy in New York, where she curated, She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York, 1919–2019 with First Lady Chirlane McCray. Previously, she held roles at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Creative Time. Her writing has been featured in several artist monographs and catalogues, including Janiva Ellis, Thaddeus Mosley, Baldwin Lee, Lubaina Himid and Matthew Angelo Harrison, as well as Flash Art, Artforum, Art Papers, Hyperallergic and The Brooklyn Rail.

Susan Johnson (’25, ’25 P) serves as director of research for Schoelkopf Fine Art Appraisals. Prior to this role, Johnson worked at Menconi + Schoelkopf Fine Art in New York, where she oversaw research and contributed to the creative development of cataloguing projects, publications and exhibitions. Johnson majored in English at Vassar College and holds a master’s degree from the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, where she specialized in late 19th–early 20th century American art. Early career internships at several museums further developed this passion for art, and after graduate school she landed in Sotheby’s American Paintings Department. Johnson is engaged with a variety of arts and cultural institutions, serving on the executive committee of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Board of Trustees, the leadership council of The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, and the advisory board of Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, New Jersey.

Morris (Dino) Robinson Jr. is the production manager at Northwestern University Press. Previously, he served in creative positions in advertising, and later operated Robinson Design. He holds a BA degree in communication design and a minor in African American studies. In 1995, Robinson founded Shorefront, within which he has authored books, facilitated subject-specific speaking engagements and exhibits, and consulted on community-based archiving, organizing and programming. Throughout the last 20 years, Robinson built a growing collection measuring over 500 linear feet, representing the local Black communities on Chicago’s suburban North Shore. The Shorefront Legacy Center houses its collections and library and serves as a space for research initiatives, programming activities and community engagement.

Eden Romick ’90 (’21 P)  After graduating from Northwestern, Romick worked in film and television marketing for 15 years. She currently serves on Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art Collection Council; the board of trustees at Brentwood School, an independent college preparatory school in Los Angeles; and the board of directors of Martis Camp, a residential community in the Sierras. Romick previously served nine years on the board of the Northstar Teams Foundation, which, in cooperation with Northstar’s Ski and Snowboard Team program, provides professional and athlete development. She, along with her husband, support Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Weizmann Institute of Science, LACMA and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

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