Skip to main content

Michael Barraco

Suffolk County Community College A.S. 2005

Hunter College B.F.A. 2013

Purchase College M.F.A. 2016

Michael Barraco is currently the Director of Programs and Education at the Fairfield Museum and History Center where he is responsible for the development, implementation and administration of all Fairfield Museum public programs, expanding the Museum's outreach and building productive community partnerships to promote the Museum as a dynamic regional center for the arts and humanities education. Michael's Previous position as Hudson Valley MOCA's Director of Education allowed for curatorial opportunities working directly with artists of international acclaim such as Kate Gilmore, Tommy Hartung, Cey Adams, Eleanor King, and Loretta Fahrenholz. 

He also maintains an artistic practice making work influenced by natural science, and has recently exhibited at the Arts Westchester Triennial, University of New Mexico, Stamford Museum, Flux Factory, and the Katonah Museum of Art.


Jackie Fischer

Suffolk County Community College, A.S. Visual Arts 2015

Alfred University, B.F.A. Ceramics & Sculpture 2018

Jackie Fischer is currently residing in Berkshire County, Massachusetts working at Sheffield Pottery, one of the top ceramic supply companies in the country. She will be heading to Deer Isle Maine this summer on a full ceramic scholarship, for a two-week workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.


Peter Held

Suffolk County Community College, A.A.

SUNY Brockport, B.S.

Oregon State University, M.A.

In the course of Peter Held’s impressive three-decade career as a museum director and contemporary art curator, he has organized more than 200 exhibitions, including seven national traveling shows. Held is the editor and essayist for 10 books including Infinite Place: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby(2013); Innovation and Change: Ceramics from the ASU Art Museum Collection(2009), and Akio Takamori: Between Clouds of Memory (2005).

He received an A.A. degree from Suffolk Community College, a B.S from SUNY Brockport, and an MA from Oregon State University.  He has received three of the highest accolades possible within the field from the Friends of Contemporary Ceramics; the Smithsonian’s James Renwick Alliance, and the National Council for Education on the Ceramic Arts. 

Held also served as a trustee for the American Craft Council and was a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts (1974-75).

In June 2014, he retired from his position as curator of ceramics, Arizona State University, Ceramics Research Center, and owns an art appraisal and consulting business based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the curator of the Reitz Family Trust, fostering, enhancing, and protecting the creative legacy of the lifework of Don Reitz.


Justin O’Brien

Suffolk County Community College, A.S. SCCC, 2013

Pratt Institute, B.F.A. 2016

Justin Liam O’Brien is an artist living and working in New York City. He is currently making abstract-figurative paintings of queer intimacy that were celebrated in a recent two-person exhibition at Monya Rowe Gallery, NYC. According to Justin, this path in his work began as a response to his introduction to artists like Peter Hujar, David Wojnarowicz, Paul Cadmus; and also as a means of expressing his identity and experience as a gay man. “I was introduced to oil painting and art history at SUNY Suffolk in 2010. Without the direction and mentorship of the faculty there I would not be making the work I am today. I now have a flourishing studio practice in Brooklyn, NY, and I am having my first solo show at Monya Rowe Gallery in October 2019.” Justin was an Artist in Residence at the Trestle Artist Residency from January 2018 – January 2019.  He is also currently working as a 3D Artist for CBRE, NYC.


Noriko Okada

Suffolk County Community College A.S. 2017

Purchase College M.F.A. 2019 (M.A. in Art History in progress, 2020 expected)

Noriko Okada came to SCCC to study Visual Arts and develop a portfolio having already earned a BS in Aesthetics and Art Theory from Doshisha University, Japan.  Noriko completed her A.S. at Suffolk in 2017, winning numerous awards.  She applied directly to graduate programs, was accepted into, and finished the degree requirements for the MFA program at Purchase College in 2019. She will spend a month in the ChaNorth residency program in Pine Plains, NY this summer (2019).

Noriko plans to complete the degree requirements for the MA in Art History (Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism, and Theory) from Purchase College in 2020, where she is currently teaching undergraduate Drawing and Fibers courses.