Board Members

Anita Durst


Artistic Director 

Anita Durst has been a star, a muse, and a patron of the avant-garde performing arts and emerging arts scene in New York City, since she was 18. She founded chashama in 1995 following the death of her mentor and artistic professor Reza Abdoh. While performing and working in his company, Dar A Luz, she learned the value of unbridled expression and how to value art objectively. In the wake of Reza’s absence she was driven to create a place for artists free of financial and subjective constraints. Anita has worked tirelessly for over 20 years to secure over one million square feet of space in New York City for artists. She believes programs like chashama are the vital building blocks to ensuring cultural capital in New York City. Anita was born in New York City and was the flower child to hippy parents living in New Foundland Canada, Ibiza Spain, and the suburbs of New York City. As a precocious teenager she resisted conventional schooling. Shortly after graduating high school she moved back to New York City to help care for her grandfather. Today, Anita sits on the boards of the Tai Chi Chuan Center and Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. She is a recipient of The Black Alumni of Pratt's "Creative Spirit" Award and a proud mother and loving wife, who ensures her entire family eats healthy, practices mindful movement, and lives in the moment. True to her ability to be in the moment and greatest strength of objective thinking she believes all art to be valuable.

Cindy Scholz



Cindy Scholz is an embodiment of the 21st century luxury lifestyle, as befits a native of this cosmopolitan city. She brings a stunning level of style, vivacity, and global awareness to every interaction with renters, sellers, and buyers. As a constant traveller of the world and a multiple homeowner herself, both in the City and in the Hamptons, Cindy understands all the nuances and points of negotiation involved in real estate and excels at bringing her clients the best results while simultaneously providing a luxurious and entertaining experience during the process. Cindy resides in New York’s vibrant Greenwich Village, and has what many friends and colleagues consider an encyclopedic knowledge of the area’s available properties. Cindy considers it her personal and professional challenge to not just locate apartments for her clients, but rather to introduce them to an area where they feel comfortable and then work tirelessly to find them their new home. When not pampering her overly adored Yorkshire Terrier, Lilly, Cindy volunteers regularly with New York Cares and is an active member of Women in Communications Incorporated.

Jennifer Busch



Jennifer Busch is CEO and lead designer of I.Buss & Allan Uniform Company, a leading supplier of uniforms to the real-estate and hospitality industries. She is the fourth generation of the Busch family to run I. Buss & Allan Uniform Company. She has substantially grown and repositioned her company. She studied writing at NYU and psychology at Hunter College, earning degrees in English and Psychology. Prior to joining the family business, Jennifer worked in the field of psychological research and also flourished in the creative industries. A born and bred New Yorker, Jennifer leads with an innate understanding of New York’s storied history and culture, infusing her work with her love of fashion, music, travel, and art.

Lydia Mak



Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Lydia is almost Canadian. While she stopped saying “pop” after living in the greater NYC area since 2004, you might still catch her saying “Eh” and pining for Buffalo Wings (the real ones) and bleu cheese (not ranch dressing). Since joining chashama in 2010, Lydia has held a range of roles at the organization, from Executive Assistant to Development and Finance Associate to General Manager - providing her with a deep understanding of chashama's mission, capacity, and potential for growth. As General Manager, Lydia oversaw chashama's office, human resources, finances, and internal and external policies, and provided supervision and support in development, event and project management. Lydia left chashama in 2016 to join The Durst Organization as their Office Services Coordinator, and continues to support chashama as a member of the Board of Directors. Lydia holds a dual-BA in Art History and Business Management from SUNY Stony Brook, an Associate's Degree in Merchandising and Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology, speaks ein bisschen Deutsch, and also serves as Treasurer on the Coney Island USA Board of Directors.

Tatiana Nizguretsky



Tatiana Nizguretsky is the Managing Director of Property Management at HFZ Capital Group. She holds a B.S. in Accounting from Queens College and a Certificate in Philanthropy and Fundraising from NYU.

Nancy Packes



Ms. Packes practiced trial and appellate law primarily in the Federal Courts in New York. Ms. Packes was President of Feathered Nest, one of Manhattan's largest rental companies, with approximately 70 people engaged exclusively in residential rentals. Ms. Packes specialized the work of Feathered Nest to residential rentals and created a referral system with real estate colleagues in both the sale and commercial markets. Feathered Nest's creation of its referral system facilitated the distribution of information for the benefit of both industry professionals and consumers in the absence of a multiple listing system. Ms. Packes sold Feathered Nest in 1998 to the owners of Brown Harris Stevens who subsequently also acquired the Halstead Property Company. Currently, Ms. Packes' work is devoted primarily to consultation services to developers concerning all aspects of the Manhattan residential market, including but not limited to overall value creation, site acquisition, the planning of mixes and apartment sizes, floorplan layouts, interior finishes, building amenities, and marketing strategy. Ms. Packes has been twice elected Chairperson of the Ethics Committee and twice elected co-chairperson of the Rental Committee of the Residential Division of the Real Estate Board of New York. She has served as one of seven members of the Board of Directors of the Residential Division of the Real Estate Board of New York. Ms. Packes has a B.A. from University of Chicago and a J.D. from New York University of Law.

Gavin Steinberg



Gavin Steinberg is the founding principal of GDS Holdings LLC, a real estate investment and development company. GDS Holdings focuses on New York City multifamily investments. In addition, GDS Holdings is developing single-family homes in Park City, Utah. Previously, Mr. Steinberg was the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer of Newcastle Realty Services, an owner-operator and developer of residential real estate in New York City. Mr. Steinberg has a B.A. from The University Wisconsin and an MBA from the Honors Program at Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business.

Richard P. Rubinstein


Board of Directors Emeritus 

Richard P. Rubinstein Richard P. Rubinstein is currently chief cook and bottle washer at New Amsterdam Entertainment. He has been profitably blending art and commerce as a NYC based producer of Feature Films, Miniseries and Syndicated TV Series since 1973. Along the way he took his prior production company public and at various times was a subsidiary of Spelling Entertainment, Blockbuster and Viacom. Mr. Rubinstein holds an MBA from Columbia University and is known for his willingness to give new directors, writers and actors a chance to prove themselves.

Philip Wharton



Phil Wharton serves as Executive Vice President for Residential Development at RXR Realty. Phil joined RXR in December 2014 and oversees the residential development activities at RXR. Prior to joining RXR, Phil had worked at Brookfield Property Group as Senior Vice President for Development. In this role, Mr. Wharton oversaw all strategic initiatives pertaining to Brookfield’s 10-million-square-foot U.S. development pipeline, including the Manhattan West project on Manhattan's West Side. Prior to that, Phil worked at AvalonBay Communities, a $10 billion equity cap real estate investment trust specializing in luxury multifamily development projects across the United States. In a senior role at AvalonBay for eight years, Mr. Wharton sourced and executed multifamily projects in the boroughs of New York City and Westchester. Prior to joining AvalonBay, Mr. Wharton held senior roles at LCOR, Lend Lease and Lincoln Property Company, working extensively on major office and residential development projects. Mr. Wharton holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

chashama nurtures artists by transforming unused property into work and presentation space.

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