Our Crew

The Seafoam Palace was started by a group of artists who have previously worked on projects in Detroit, New York, Jersey City, Buffalo, Kansas City, Barcelona and Berlin. Most of us live in Detroit, working with the local community and artists from all over the world to bring this museum to life. We all look forward to meeting you!

Board of Directors

Julia Solis Creative Director

Julia is the co-founder and Executive Director of Seafoam Palace. She previously founded the creative preservation group Ars Subterranea in Brooklyn and served as an editor of Furnace Press and board member of the two arts organizations Madagascar Institute and Place in History in New York. A writer and photographer, she has authored a book on subterranean New York, “New York Underground: The Anatomy of a City” (Routledge) and one on abandoned theaters, “Stages of Decay” (Prestel). Her work has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, the New York Times, National Geographic Adventure, Village Voice, Outside Magazine and many other national and international publications. She has curated art exhibitions and organized adventure games in abandoned spaces since 1998 and received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts for documenting her explorations.

For Seafoam Palace, she will curate exhibitions, coordinate cabinets of curiosity, oversee publishing and create events to explore modern-day wonders.

Tom Kirsch Apparatus Division

Tom is an accomplished photographer and designer who also engineers found underwater artifacts into shipwreck curiosities.

As a photographer, he specializes in exterior night-time photography and the documentation of historic and lost institutional architecture in both text and images. His work has been featured on PBS's American Experience, in Digital Photographer Magazine and other publications. Tom also has eleven years of experience working as the lead developer at a multimedia agency based in New York. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Long Island University and has lived in Detroit since 2008.

Tom is the web developer for Seafoam Palace, and will contribute to the renovation and exhibition design, and curate nautical ephemera.

Susan Dundon Director of Community Outreach

Intrigued by the large question mark on the door as she trekked around the neighborhood, Susan started as a volunteer with Seafoam Palace in 2013 – offering her grant-writing and business development, and partnerships skills to our team. Through the Detroit Revitalization Fellowship program and while at Reclaim Detroit, Susan worked to preserve architectural elements and old growth wood from Detroit’s abandoned buildings for creative re-use. She is currently a Program Officer with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. Curious about the world around her, Susan has traveled to 42 countries and lived in 7. She also likes visionary art, letterpress, and wine.

Kim Couchot Headmistress of Classroom Shenanigans

Kim Couchot has a BFA in sculpture and has worked for numerous artists, art organizations, and non-profits both professionally and as a volunteer, coordinating special events as well as managing day-to-day operations and logistics. She also has over 10 years experience in corporate events and trade shows and is known for her creative problem-solving and aesthetic abilities. She coordinates workshops and wrangles development and preservation materials for Seafoam Palace.

Paul Parkhill Consulting

Paul is the Executive Director of Spaceworks, a nonprofit created by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs to develop long-term, affordable work space for visual and performing artists in all five boroughs of NYC. Between 1999 and 2012, Paul served as the Director of Planning and Development at the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, a nonprofit that has redeveloped more than 700,000 square feet of space for industrial, artisanal and arts-related businesses. For six years prior to that Paul worked as a housing developer for Common Ground Community, a supportive housing provider. In 1997 Paul co-founded Place in History, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit arts organization that sponsors public art and public history projects about New York City neighborhoods, and in 2004 he co-founded Furnace Press with Julia Solis and Ars Subterranea. Paul holds a BA from Brown University and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Carlos Nielbock Artwork

Carlos is a master blacksmith, accomplished artist and historic preservationist. He learned the metal-crafting trade in his native Germany before moving to Detroit in 1984. Since then he has helped restore the Fox Theatre, Spirit of Detroit statue, Hurlbut Memorial Gate and many other important landmarks of Detroit. He is also active in various community groups with a focus on upcycling discarded materials into power-generating windmills and other environmentally beneficial systems. For Seafoam Palace, as a metal artist and preservation consultant, he concentrates on big ideas and little details.

Shel Kimen Outreach

Shel helps us think about how to engage partners to collaborate on programming, content, and revenue generating activities. 

She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Collision Works, a hybrid profit / non-profit social enterprise in Detroit, designed to connect people through their personal stories. She has been featured in local, national, and international press for her work with Collision Works and speaks regularly on topics such as urban resilience and community-led design. Prior to Collision Works, she led Digital Strategy and Consumer Insights projects for some of the world’s leading brands including Saatchi & Saatchi, JC Penney and The New York Times.

She’s the only one on our team who has sailed the Northwest Passage searching for relics of John Franklin and narwhals.

Undercurrents

Bryan Papciak Film Curator

Bryan is an experimental filmmaker and mixed-media artist whose work combines animation with live-action film and still photography. He began his professional career at Olive Jar Studios, where he worked as a commercial director, animator, cinematographer, and eventually Associate Creative Director. In 2001, along with his friend and long-time collaborator Jeff Sias, Bryan started Handcranked Productions, an independent film/animation company. His work has won awards and screened at film festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Ottawa International Animation Festival, The World Animation Celebration, Dragon*Con, and others. Since 2002, Bryan has been an Adjunct Professor at RISD and a Directing Member of Ars Subterranea in New York.

Bryan, the creator of our Kickstarter video, will integrate his filmmaking expertise into the programming and lead workshops to engage the local community.

Anchors

Christos Pathiakis Photography

Christos graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in film and photography, with an extensive focus on underground and industrial sites. His images are in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York and have been featured on the covers of The New York Times, The Daily News, and Bloomberg Business News.

Maggie Sisco Public Relations

Maggie Sisco lives in Detroit and works in public relations for a small firm in the metro area. Her expertise is in media and content strategy.

Ryan Carmichael Fabrication

Ryan is a functional artist and was one of the lead fabricators on Gon Kirin. In recent years he has specialized in architectural installations around Detroit.

Monica Canilao Artistry

Internationally recognized artist Monica Canilao uses recycled materials to transform forgotten objects into newborn mythology. She has shown solo and with groups in galleries, community spaces and abandoned spaces worldwide. Her work can be seen here and on Instragram.

Contributors

  • Amy Small
  • Aram Polster
  • Chris Hackett
  • Dorothy Trojanowski
  • John Law
  • Larissa Kunynskyj
  • Sarah McMillan
  • Tracy Gilman
  • Vanessa Cronan