James Romaine | President
Dr. James Romaine is a Manhattan based art historian. He is an Associate Professor and chair of the department of art history at Nyack College. He has an undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, an MA in art history from the University of South Carolina (thesis: A Modern Devotion: The Faith and Art of Vincent van Gogh), and a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (dissertation: Constructing a Beloved Community: The Methodological Development of Tim Rollins and K.O.S.).
Rachel Smith | Vice President
Dr. Rachel Hostetter Smith holds the Gilkison Chair in Art History at Taylor University. She worked in book publishing for many years and was a member of the graduate faculty of the School of Comparative Arts at Ohio University prior to joining the faculty of Taylor University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome on two occasions, a participant in NEH Summer Seminars on Medieval Art in Paris and York, and has taught in Orvieto, Italy and in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The recipient of the Best Article of the Year Award from the journal Explorations in Renaissance Culture, Dr. Smith publishes on a wide range of topics in the arts including art, architecture, literature and film. Currently she is serving as project director and curator of Charis: Boundary Crossings—Neighbors Strangers Family Friends, an international traveling exhibition of work by fourteen Asian and North American artists based upon a joint seminar held in Indonesia in 2008. Smith is now developing a follow-up project with the Nagel Institute of Calvin College with China or South Africa as potential venues. Smith is the 2009-2010 recipient of the Franklin W. and Joan M. Forman Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award.
Ronald R. Bernier | Secretary
Dr. Ronald R. Bernier, is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. He recently received a master's degree in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and holds an MBA from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire's Executive Program. He also earned a Ph.D. and a MA in Art History & Theory from Essex University, England and earned a BA in Art History from Vassar College.
Dr. Bernier is the author of numerous exhibition catalogues and scholarly essays, including, "The Economy of Salvation: Narrative and Liminality in Rembrandt's Death of the Virgin (Religion and the Arts, 2005), the book Monument, Moment, and Memory: Monet's Cathedral in Fin-de-Siècle France (Bucknell University Press, 2007) and author/editor of Beyond Belief: Theoaesthetics or Just Old-Time Religion? a collection of essays on Religion and Contemporary Art, released by Wipf & Stock Press in June 2010. From 2001-2008 he was the director of the Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University, PA, where he also served as Adjunct Faculty, in Art History, Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
Caroline Bacon | Treasurer
Caroline Bacon is an Independent Scholar researching and writing about Christian Iconography. Following her retirement from international investment banking work at a prominent Wall Street firm and as a financial communications consultant, she attended Yale Divinity School where she received a master's degree in art and religion. She grew up in Michigan and has her B.A. from the University of Michigan and she also has an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Her serious interest in Christian art began when she started collecting Russian icons in the early 1990s. Her major area of study is the iconography of western medieval art. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome and a student at Rare Books courses on illuminated manuscripts in both New York and London. She is a member of the Medieval Academy of America, The College Art Association, The International Center for Medieval Art, the Society of Biblical Literature and Phi Beta Kappa. She has served on the vestry of Christ and St. Stephen's church in Manhattan, the Board of Musica Sacra, and is presently on the board of the American Trust for the British Library.
Dr. Joyce Carol Polistena holds the rank of Professor of Art History at Pratt Institute. She earned her M. Phil. and Ph.D. in art history from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She is the author of The Religious Paintings of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863): the Initiator of the Style of Modern Religious Art (2008), as well as essays and reviews that appear in le Bulletin de la Société des Amis du Musée Nationale Eugène Delacroix, Religion and the Arts, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Material Religion, The Van Gogh Museum Journal, Italian Americans and the Arts and Culture, and Methodological Studies of Christianity in the History of Art (2013).
Dr. Polistena's area of research is 19th to early 20th Century Art, with a focus on the Romantic period and Eugène Delacroix. Additionally, she writes on a range of topics, including Nineteenth-Century Pious Prints, The Image of Mary of the Miraculous Medal, Frank Stella and Joseph Stella, films of Frank Capra, and contemporary artists Hijo (Duckja) Nam and Deshawn Dumas. Dr. Polistena has presented papers at CAA, SECAC, PAFA, ASCHA, MOBIA, NEPCA and she is co-organizer of the upcoming ASCHA symposium, Le Sang Sacré: Conflicting Associations in French Art.
Dr. Linda Stratford received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York, Stony Brook with emphasis on Art and Society. She writes on identity politics in late French modernism and is currently completing a manuscript exploring the French art world in the post World War II period. Artists into Frenchmen: The Quarrel over Expressionist Abstraction in France, explores the aesthetic call to order in the postwar era. The manuscript stems from her research in art and national identity in modern France and a research fellowship awarded by the Hans Hartung Foundation, Antibes, France.
As a historian of art and society Dr. Stratford's interests include the means by which artistic initiatives come to be viewed as belonging, or not belonging within the framework of a community. The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion have led her to question contemporary understanding of art as secular and to a large extent autonomous from religious purposes and understanding. At Asbury University she was appointed Lilly Scholar in 2005, supporting her secondary interest in art and theology with emphasis on the vocation of the artist.