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Staff and Board
Union Project Staff
Jeffrey Dorsey, Executive Director
Jeffrey’s expertise in arts-based community development and non-profit management has spanned nearly two decades across various sectors in and around Pittsburgh. His background includes working as an artist, performer, arts-educator, arts manager, and economic development strategist. He has helped shape some of Pittsburgh’s most progressive community building initiatives including managing the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, co-founding the East End Partnership of Pittsburgh, directing the Friendship Development Associates, and chairing the expansion of the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh.
Committed to helping people create positive change in their lives and communities, Jeffrey’s work focuses on connecting people to essential resources, knowledge, and partners in order to empower and build a more equitable community. Through his professional career and personal endeavors, Jeffrey has impacted his own community by inspiring others to live more simple and meaningful lives, create more livable and sustainable neighborhoods, and work toward social renewal.
Jeffrey credits his deep interest in community to his own family, remembering his parents who could “talk to anyone about anything, loved hosting gatherings, and were experts at making people feel comfortable.” Jeffrey balances his work life with enjoying time playing with his wife and two children, spending time outdoors, practicing meditation, playing soccer, renovating his old house and making art.
Michelle Clesse, Director of Engagement
Michelle Clesse has lived in five different states, but fell in love with Pittsburgh’s hefty winters, arts organizations, library system, and friendly neighbors. With over ten years of experience as a visual artist, arts educator, and arts manager; Michelle values communication and knowledge-sharing as essential ties strengthening and binding a community together. She is excited to contribute her skills to Union Project.
Michelle received her Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and her MFA in Ceramics and Sculpture from Washington State University.
In her spare time, Michelle makes things out of clay, reads stories, and makes lots of lists. She has a great fondness and appreciation for alliteration, rabbits, eating really good food that other people cook, post-its, and excel spreadsheets.
Milo Berezin, Arts Education Coordinator
Milo Berezin grew up in a small town in Alaska, where he spent most of his summers in the woods chasing bugs and most of his winters sheltered from the snow constructing extravagant sculptures out of collected junk. The son of a potter, he discovered at an early age the joy inherent in making and building, and he loves sharing that sense of power and accomplishment with young learners. Milo studied sculpture and printmaking at Carnegie Mellon University and later went on to earn his MAT and PK-12 art education certification from Chatham University.
Since moving to Pittsburgh in 2004, he has worked with kids all over the city, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Children's Museum, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and the YMCA. He was drawn to Union Project's mission of building community through the arts and is eager to strengthen and expand the organization's educational programming and resources.
In his free time, Milo can still be found chasing backyard insects, playing board games, dancing the Lindy Hop, or spread out in the studio making prints on his press.
Stephanie Sun, Marketing and CRM Consultant
Stephanie Sun has been with Union Project since last October through a Marketing and CRM internship and is now working as the Marketing and CRM Project Consultant. Stephanie grew up in Taiwan and has always been fond of making things with her hands. This interest drove her to study Jewelry and Metalsmithing at Rhode Island School of Design and later went on to earn her MA in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University to merge the making and business sides of the arts. She was drawn to Union Project's mission and vision of using the arts to bridge gaps between communities, including connecting the artists to the communities, and is excited to be part of the action.
In her free time, she likes to go grocery shopping, cook or bake, and lounge on the sofa with her food and a book.
Jaclyn Harris, Ceramics Studio Coordinator and Teaching Artist
Jaclyn Harris began pursuing ceramics along with a glass art education at the Pittsburgh Glass Center in 2008. In 2011, Jaclyn moved to Baltimore, Maryland and began working for Venetian glass artist Anthony Corradetti as an assistant for 2 years. By 2015 she received a Bachelors of Fine Art in ceramics at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she studied casting, printmaking processes, and atmospheric firings. After returning to Pittsburgh, she became a studio technician apprentice at the non-profit organization, the Pittsburgh Glass Center where her practice continues. After completing her technical training, she joined her second non-profit at the Union Project where she currently supports twenty ceramic artists as Ceramic Studio Coordinator.
Along with working between two non-profits, Jaclyn currently blends her craft background of glass and ceramic techniques to develop burnouts and sculptural work.
Raiona Gaydos, Community Program Coordinator
Raiona was born in Pittsburgh and raised in New York City. She started working with arts not-for-profit organizations very early on, when her parents founded the Museum of Sound Recording in their Gowanus loft in 1991. Today, she continues to be drawn to socially-driven work in the arts.
She received her BA in history and visual art from the New School in 2011. Raiona has also spent time working in art spaces and studying in schools in France. She has been back in Pittsburgh since 2012, helping to develop arts and literary programming around the city, including the Annual Pittsburgh Zine Fair and the Feminist Zine Fest of Pittsburgh. Her entry into social justice was her work with rape crisis centers, gender-based violence, and intersectional feminism. This led Raiona to learn about community accountability models and principles, and how they can be applied to different situations.
Raiona is thrilled to continue building inclusive community programming at Union Project. When she's not at UP, she can be found slinging treats at a Biddle's Escape and designing clothing.
Rebecca McNeil is the shared chief financial officer (CFO) of the Arts Finance Cohort, a group of five Pittsburgh-based arts organizations.
Rebecca has always been interested in how financial information translates across disciplines and now gets to see it first-hand everyday! She is excited to work with such a diverse group of organizations and help strengthen the arts community in Pittsburgh.
Before joining the Arts Finance Cohort, Rebecca was the Director of Finance at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The Arts Finance Cohort members include New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh Glass Center, PICT Classic Theatre, Society for Contemporary Craft, and Union Project.
Erika Johnson, Interim Office Manager
Tim Poellnitz first found out about Union Project from a friend eight years ago and has since been an invaluable member of the UP Staff. In his spare time, he likes playing football, basketball, and cooking with his family. Tim is happy to have been present to see the many changes that have happened to Union Project through the years, most recently the finished stained glass windows and the newly renovated Great Hall. What Tim has come to value most about his job are the people he works with and the fact that he is helping the community every day.
Union Project Board
Michael Smith (Co-Chair)
Corey Lev (Treasurer)
Felipe Palomo (Secretray)
+ Leadership Pittsburgh On-Board Members (a special one-year learning term)