Trolley Barn Gallery

The Art Effect’s curatorial training program at the Trolley Barn Gallery is composed of youth who make high level exhibition curation decisions and are mentored by experts in the field. The Youth Curatorial Team takes place over two semester-long sessions in the Fall and the Spring. Youth earn a stipend as the leaders of international juried exhibitions at the Trolley Barn Gallery, and are responsible for every aspect of exhibition curation, including theme generation, artwork selection, art handling, exhibition installation, and interpretation. The Youth Curatorial Team works closely with curators from across the country in a series of after school sessions, weekend workshops, and a variety of gallery and community events. Youth learn about project management, develop public speaking skills through gallery presentations and artist talks, and establish professional connections with international artists, curators, and arts professionals to bring impressive exhibitions of high-caliber artwork to Poughkeepsie.

Sessions run in the Spring (January-May) and Fall (September – December). Applications for the Trolley Barn Gallery Squad are accepted in November (for the Spring) and August (for the Fall).


Trolley Barn Gallery Squad program trains youth as leaders who catalyze the community through the arts and re-energize downtown Poughkeepsie. Together alongside established art professionals, youth present impactful exhibitions that engage the wider community and acquaint youth with all aspects of the curatorial process including; Museum & Gallery Administration; Project Management; Art Exhibition Curation & Interpretation; Art Handling; Exhibition Design & Installation; Public Speaking; Virtual Exhibition Design; Workshops with curators, artists, and museum professionals.

Guest Curators and Partners

Trolley Barn Gallery Team youth work with professional curators from galleries across the county including;


After laying vacant for many years, The Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn in 2015 found itself in the middle of a transformative wave rushing across the City, breathing a new life of art into the area. Re-activating the iconic Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn through an innovative approach to youth empowerment through the arts gave The Art Effect a unique opportunity to put youth in the driver seat of this incredible space. 

In January of 2019, The Art Effect welcomed the community for it’s first ever Art After Dark exhibition at The Trolley Barn Gallery. The first true youth-led exhibition took place September 2020 with Teen Visions and finally in 2021, as a pilot youth museum studies program, The Trolley Barn Gallery launched its new international juried exhibition series inviting youth to take a leading role in the planning of Home Sick and future exhibition, empowering them to engage community members and visitors in transformative arts experiences that they curate. 

In March of 2021, bringing together the largest arts organization with the oldest arts

organization in Dutchess County, Barrett Art Center affiliated with The Art Effect. The affiliation opened doors of new opportunities, a higher level of expertise, and maintained the knowledge, direction, and engagement that Barrett brings to the community through The Art Effect’s new curatorial initiative. Learn more about the affiliation HERE.
The first cohorts of youth in the curatorial program established connections with curators from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College; the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Teachers and Program Staff

Joanna Frang is the Trolley Barn Gallery Director and has served arts and cultural nonprofits at a variety of curatorial, education, and management levels, including museum exhibitions, education, collections management and American history and art history. A native of Michigan, Frang earned her B.A. from Haverford College and holds a Masters of Arts from the University of Delaware and the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture as a Lois F. McNeil Fellow.  She completed her doctoral work in American Civilization at Brandeis University as a Rose and Irving Crown Fellow, with a focus on the built environment and the cultural worlds of American Grand Tourists in the Early Republic. She has been funded as a residential Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum & the National Portrait Gallery by the Terra Foundation for America Art, with additional residential fellowship appointments in the U.S. and Great Britain from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies and the Samuel Kress Foundation.  Frang has served in a variety of leadership roles at the Thomas Cole National Historic SiteIS183 Art School of the BerkshiresThe Mount (Edith Wharton Restoration), and Historic New England

Gigi (Gabrielle) Grace is a multidisciplinary visual artist from upstate New York. She graduated from State University at New Paltz with a Bachelors of Fine Art, in 2018, and has been in 30+ shows in the New York area and internationally, since graduating. In 2019, Gigi had the opportunity to be a part of an artist residency in Nanchang, China, sponsored by the Hua Quan Village and Long Island University professor, Seung Lee. She has a love for curation and art museum culture, working as a museum educator at Skidmore college, with the Tang Teaching Museum, post graduation. She then moved back to Ulster County, to work in Poughkeepsie, NY through the Empire Program. Through The Art Effect, Gigi has had the opportunity to teach k-12 art, direct a digital youth hub with MADLab students, and instruct Art Institute programs. She is currently the Trolley Barn Gallery Exhibitions and Communications assistant, and hopes to bring a unique and creative perspective to the Trolley Barn Youth Curatorial team she helps lead. In her free time she enjoys illustrating, digital collage, playing music, and teaching Hatha yoga.

This program is partially funded by monies received from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Youth Arts Empowerment Zone Liaison

Youth Arts Empowerment Zone

The Youth Arts Empowerment Zone (YAEZ) along Main Street in Poughkeepsie, NY  is a long-term initiative to establish a youth-led arts district with The Art Effect as the anchor arts institution. This initiative is a roadmap for place-keeping through the arts. Currently, the YAEZ is bringing arts-based engagement to the local community through the PKX festival, publics events, workforce development programs, and community workshops.

YAEZ Liaison

YAEZ Liaisons are part of The Art Effect’s curatorial training programs at the Trolley Barn Gallery. YAEZ Liaisons focus on the impact of the community in and around the Trolley Barn Gallery. Each year, youth plan and implement community events, including workshops, art activities, and an annual arts festival. Youth employees earn a stipend as they learn the tactics of creative placemaking, marketing, outreach, event planning, and more. YAEZ Liaisons are equipped with skills in community organizing, festival planning, civic engagement, and arts-advocacy through leading outreach workshops with local artists and community organizations and conducting presentations to stakeholders and government officials.

Become a YAEZ Liaison

Youth ages 15+ interested in becoming a YAEZ Liaison can apply online. Sessions run in the Spring (February -June) and Fall (September – December). Application periods for each session open in November (for the Spring) and June (for the Fall). Applications are accepted in May for a limited number of full-time summer positions (in which youth can earn minimum wage).The group meets weekly in two hour research and mentoring sessions in the spring and fall. Members also lead monthly community outreach activities and attend a variety of public meetings as both presenters and participants. Click HERE to see upcoming events.

Summer Employment

During the summer,  youth work full-time between both of The Art Effect’s curatorial training programs (Trolley Barn Curatorial Team & YAEZ Liaisons) at the Trolley Barn Gallery. Youth make high-level exhibition curation decisions about upcoming juried exhibitions while being mentored by experts in the field, and work within the community to foster the youth-led arts district along Main Street, YAEZ.


PKX Youth Committee works with community partners, and the curatorial advisory committee across the county including; 

Program Staff

Jaime Ransome, Trolley Barn Gallery Manager was born and raised in Rhinebeck NY and graduated from Syracuse University in May of 2022 after receiving her MFA in Museum Studies and her BFA in Film. She specializes in feminist and BIPOC art history and film theory. She attended Children’s Media Project (The Art Effect’s former Spark Studios program) and is now happy to be returning to Poughkeepsie to pass on her knowledge to The Art Effect Youth.

Destiny Kearney, Trolley Barn Fellow is a New York based artist who graduated from Bowdoin College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies, Art History, and Visual Arts. After entering her first technical art classes during her sophomore year of college, she encountered a teaching style that excluded Black people. The gap in her artistic training led her to pursue the study of race in arts education. During Kearney’s time within Bowdoin’s Visual Arts program, she continued to learn from and rebel against that pedagogy. Taking the skills she acquired through self-teaching she continues to focus on depictions of Blackness in art. Over the past year, Kearney has used painting, photography, and collage to explore her Black and Indigenous identity, with a focus on land, lineage, and language. Her works address the hypervisibility, visibility, and invisibility of her racial and cultural identities. Bowdoin College Awarded her with The Richard P. Martel Jr. Memorial Prize in Visual Arts which is awarded to the students who, in the judgment of the Visual Arts Faculty at Bowdoin are deemed to have produced the most creative, perceptive, proficient, and visually appealing art works exhibited at the college during this academic year. Embarking on her post-grad journey, Kearney joins the Art Effect team as the Trolley Barn Fellow. She will be with us for the next two years as a member of the first cohort of Lead for Poughkeepsie Fellows, a branch of the Lead for America program.