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Leadership Fellows Hastac Scholars Researchers Support


William R. Keaton Jr. Professor of English
Director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy

Jay Clayton has been the director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy since 2012. Under his direction the center’s mission has focused on public policy research on the arts and on fostering creativity across disciplines.

Professor Clayton is the author or 3 books and written more than 35 articles, with his published scholarship ranging from Romantic poetry and the Victorian novel to contemporary American literature, film and digital media, science and literature, and medicine, health, and society.

As Curb’s Director, his oversight of all center activities ensures that the center is engaging in work to fulfill its guiding mission.

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Associate Director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy

Alexandre Frenette joined the center in 2018 as its Associate Director and leads all Arts & Public Policy work for Curb.

His research explores intersecting interests in work and occupations, culture, education, and social inequality to study how artists launch and sustain careers in cultural and creative industries. His published work has touched on the rewards and challenges of a record industry career, internships in arts-related fields, creative placemaking, and the role academia plays in preparing arts and design students for sustainable careers after graduation.

In addition to his teaching and associate director responsibilities, Professor Frenette partners with the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) at Indiana University to examine arts graduates outcome data, which has culminated in a series of SNAAP reports and data briefs.

Assistant Director, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy

Wilna Julmiste Taylor is an experienced arts administrator who joined the center in 2019 as its Assistant Director, focusing on the Creative Campus initiative.

Ms. Taylor oversees all aspects of the Curb Scholars Program in Creative Enterprise and Public Leadership, which provides selected undergraduate students with year-long programming designed to foster broad creative competencies through the integration of entrepreneurship and public engagement on campus and beyond.

She also leads the Creative Campus Initiative, which seeks to support faculty, students, staff and members of the Nashville community through opportunities to engage in creative practice. This includes bringing artists, entrepreneurs, and emerging creatives on campus, working with Metro Arts on the Racial Equity and Arts Leadership (REAL) program, and supporting innovative projects and collaborations through the center’s Creative Catalyst awards.

In addition to her role as an arts administrator, Ms. Taylor (ACG’ 13) is also a writer and actor. She is interested in the relationships between social justice and the arts and highlighting her Haitian heritage. Her work has been produced at venues such as the Manhattan Repertory Theatre, the National Black Theater Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Ms. Taylor has also been published in the 25th-anniversary volume of the Caribbean Writer where she was noted as an “emerging Haitian-American voice”.

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Curb Research Fellow

Director, Music Cognition Lab
Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

Dr. Gordon is the Principal Investigator for two NIH and one NSF grants, including the prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. She  and a career development award, and co-founded the Program for Music, Mind & Science at Vanderbilt. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has designated the Program for Music, Mind and Society at Vanderbilt as a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab for its focus on the arts, health and socio-emotional well-being in families of children with and without autism spectrum disorder.

She is also the director of the Music Cognition Lab, which has offices and research observation space at the center. The lab is focused on the relationship between music, language, and social development. Lab members come from diverse areas across campus, including neuroscience, psychology, education, audiology, speech-language pathology, medicine, music, and engineering.  They employ a variety of behavioral and physiological methods, including electroencephalography, eye-tracking, speech analysis, neuroimaging, genetics, behavioral coding, and various standardized and experimental assessment measures in their work.

Curb Research Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

Director, Music Cognition Lab

Dr. Lense joined the Curb Center as a research fellow in 2016. She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Lense leads the Music, Social Engagement, and Development (M-SED) workgroup at the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab.  Her research and clinical work focuses on infants, children, and adults with or at-risk for developmental disabilities, with a particular emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome.  Her lab explores  the development of rhythmic entertainment in the first years of life, relationships between rhythm and social communication/engagement, musical engagement experiences in individuals with and without developmental disorders, and relationships between music and sensory processing.

In addition, Dr. Lense serves as the Principal Investigator for National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) grant where her group is exploring how infants and young children respond to the ways parents sing or talk to them. In particular, they will consider infants who are at a higher risk of developing autism because they have an older sibling on the spectrum.

Gillian Gualtieri, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Gillian Gualtieri works closely with Dr. Alexandre Frenette on arts and public policy research as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Curb. A sociologist, Dr. Gualtieri’s research is situated at the intersection of culture, creative work, art, organizations, and inequality. Currently, she is working on projects in two elite and everyday sites of creative work, cultural production, and consumption–American fine dining and genre fiction (especially romantic fiction).

2021-2022 Curb Creative Writing Fellow

Rebecca Kantor is an MFA student in fiction from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2013, where she studied creative writing, psychology, and film. After graduation, Rebecca worked as a verbal tutor in her hometown, then taught English to high school students in Madrid, Spain, for two years. She has served as fiction editor for Nashville Review

While she is at Curb, Ms. Kantor will assist Ms. Taylor with all Curb Scholar programming, lead the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Survivors Writing Workshop Series, and work on short story collection.

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2020-2021 Hastac Scholar
Sociology Ph.D. Candidate

Ashley Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Sociology, an Andrew W. Mellon Graduate fellow, and a 2020-2021 HASTAC Scholar affiliated with the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy. Ashley Kim’s research centers around gender, race, and medicine through the lens of reproduction. Her current project draws on ethnographic data of online communities centered around technological products for conception to examine how fertility health is being understood today. She has joined a team of scholars analyzing how culture influences attitudes towards genetics and is particularly excited to use a lens of gender and race to bring new perspectives to various projects.

2020-2021 Hastac Scholar
4+1 Master’s Program, History of Art

In partnership with the 2020-2021 HASTAC Scholars Program, Tita is excited to align herself with the team at the Curb Center and their interdisciplinary approach to stimulating difficult yet necessary conversations surrounding the contemporary social issues of justice and equity. Currently, she is working alongside Brent Szklaruk (videographer) to produce a video exhibition featuring art objects from Form of Reform: Art from Death Row, the Curb Center current art installation. Because of the show’s forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the goal of this video exhibition to transmit the conversations prompted by Form of Reform into the digital space, those which reflect upon the efficacy and ethicality of Tennessee’s death row practices within the national context of America’s prison-industrial complex.

Tita is expected to receive a Master’s in History of Art from Vanderbilt in May 2021, where she previously graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in May 2020, majoring in History of Art and minoring in Sociology. Her interests as a digital humanities scholar are predicated upon feminist and critical race theory, and involve the application of multi-modal sensoriality and materiality to new-media, art historical, and monument studies.

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Meagan Rainock

Sociology Ph.D. Candidate

Meagan Rainock is a PhD student in the sociology department. Her research interests encompass medical sociology, criminology, race/ethnicity, and social change. She is part of a research team led by Professor Dan Cornfield and Professor Alexandre Frenette, examining the impact of community context on the efficacy of arts agencies’ organizational practices towards facilitating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in arts policy-making.

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Administrative Manager

Ms. Kane oversees all administrative tasks related to Curb’s mission, provides project management expertise to Public Policy Scholars and Creative Catalyst awardees, and works with the local community to curate Curb’s annual fine art exhibitions.

After earning her BS in Design from Drexel University Ms. Kane worked in the Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles creative communities before arriving in Nashville. She is a graphic artist, writer, and painter who enjoys working with creatives of all ages to explore how creative expression can be used to effect change for the greater good, and how art itself is changing in the digital age.

Program Coordinator

Christine Farwell graduated with a BM in Music Business at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She assists Wilna Taylor with all aspects of the Curb Scholars programming, is responsible for all  event and project-related purchasing, and serves as the center’s Social Media coordinator.

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