People

DVDL  is a networked agency led by David van der Leer. Depending on each project’s needs, we bring together a steady group of experienced professionals for forecasting, research, concept development, project management,  space programming, editorial, and graphic design work.

David van der Leer Principal

David van der Leer, is a forecaster, educator, moderator, researcher, strategist, and writer. David’s passion is reinventing the institutions and public spaces of yesterday—and dreaming up the most inspirational institutions of tomorrow—through excellent design and interdisciplinary programs. David founded DVDL in 2018 after having worked and consulted with institutions, government agencies, corporations, and individuals for 15 years.

Learn more about David’s background, collaborations, and recognitions here.

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Sarah Malaika Managing Director

Sarah Malaika is a project manager and educator who leads the management of projects at DVDL focusing on content direction, client relations and operations. Sarah comes to DVDL after working in museum program planning & implementation, partnerships, as well as community engagement with diverse & global constituencies at Open Society Foundations, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the U.S. Census Bureau. Sarah received an M.A. in Middle Eastern and Museum Studies from New York University and studied Anthropology and French Literature at The University of Arizona.

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Sally Szwed Director, Arts And Culture

Sally Szwed is an arts organizer and advocate who has held leadership roles in cultural institutions across New York City. Prior to joining DVDL she served as Director of Artist Initiatives at Eyebeam where she supported and amplified the work of hundreds of artists who critically engaged with technology and its impact on society. Previously, she was the director of the Creative Time Summit, an international convening on the intersection of art and politics that engaged a global community of socially engaged practitioners working across fields. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University and an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts.

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Maria Budtz Sorensen Project Manager, Insights and Strategy

Maria Budtz Sorensen is an urban sociologist and analyst who manages projects with DVDL, focusing on activation of urban spaces through programming, culture, and arts. Maria works to build equity into institutions and processes through a deep understanding of client, user, and community needs. Before coming to DVDL, she worked at AIA New York facilitating public programs on architecture and design. Maria holds an M.A. in Sociology from Copenhagen University and studied Urban Affairs at Queens College, CUNY.

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Jimmy Nunn Jr. Project Coordinator

Jimmy Nunn Jr. is an artist, arts organizer, and project coordinator. Prior to joining DVDL, he worked with institutions such as Old Sturbridge Village and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums. Jimmy holds a B.A. in Studio Art from Birmingham Southern College and an M.A. in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.

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Gisela Levy Project Coordinator

Gisela Levy is a project coordinator and researcher working in global arts management. Before joining DVDL, she held positions in fine arts and cultural institutions across New York, such as The Metropolitan Museum and New Village Press. Gisela holds a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures and an MIA in Social and Urban Policy from Columbia University SIPA. 

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Yvette Y. Lee Associate - Business Strategy

Yvette  Y. Lee is an art historian, curator, and senior non-profit executive who brings over 25 years of experience collaborating with museums, foundations, galleries, artists, corporate sponsors, donors, and boards to DVDL’s client projects. She has worked with numerous artists and institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, American Federation of Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Skystone Foundation (James Turrell, Roden Crater) as well as Faou Foundation (Mariko Mori).

Jon Maass Associate - Space Planning & Programming

Jon Maass is a New York State-based architect, builder and museum professional who brings an expert knowledge of space planning, project management, and space programming to the DVDL  network.  He has programmed and/or directed projects at the Toledo Museum of Art with SANAA, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. with Steven Holl, and the Museum of Modern Art and the experimental theater group, TR Warsawa in Warsaw, Poland, both designed by Thomas Phifer.

Jana Čulek  Associate - Research & Visioning

Jana Čulek is an architect, urbanist, and researcher. She is the founder of Studio Fabula, a Delft based architectural and urban design practice. She holds an MS from the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb (HR), and a post-master’s degree from the Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design (NL). Since 2018 she is part of the Methods of Analysis and Imagination chair at TU Delft where she is teaching and working on her PhD, examining utopias as a critical method in architecture and literature.

Alexandra Fanelli Associate - Research & Visioning

Alexandra is an Italian museum educator and researcher who envisions new ways of living the museum experience. Whether in research or project coordination work for our clients, Alexandra seeks out innovative ways to expand access to museums and to empower individuals through creative learning. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the Fashion Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University.

Dan Muro Associate - Research & Visioning

Dan is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and researcher. He received his B.A. in cultural anthropology from Wesleyan University in 2017, with a focus on development studies and experimental ethnography. He has since worked for cultural and political organizations across New York City such as Van Alen Institute, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.

Greg Barton Associate - Research & Visioning

Greg Barton is a researcher and curator focused on spatial politics. He holds a MS in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia University GSAPP and has worked on projects for/with a number of artists, architects, activists, and nonprofit institutions, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Storefront for Art and Architecture. His texts have appeared in various places, most recently in The Museum is Not Enough (CCA/Sternberg Press).

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