Team & Board

We are a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with passion.

Lissie Stewart, M. Ed.

Founder, Executive Director

Lissie’s background is in art education, where she worked for ten years as a teaching artist in NOLA public schools. She is a TeachNOLA Master Teacher and oversaw the Talented Visual Arts Department and Advanced Placement Studio Art program, while working in room 208 at Edna Karr.
After leaving the classroom to raise her first child, she obtained her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and works with students as a State Certified Evaluator of Talented Art. She advocates for the arts and the environment through running the Galvez Garden and daily operations at the Incubator. She is a certified Louisiana Master Gardener and certified Permaculturist (Oregon State University). She’s currently excited about facilitating youth programming and focusing on her artist invitationals and Summer Residency at the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

Eric Smith, Rev.

Vice President

Eric Is a highly accomplished Information Technologist, Educator, and Program Planner with extensive contributions to academic excellence and educational growth of schools across the state of Louisiana. He has demonstrated proven ability and professional training and development, educational program planning and execution, policy planning and implementation and the use of effective communication and dealing and relating with adult learners. Currently he works for the City of New Orleans.

Annie Phoenix, Ph.D.


Executive Director, Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans

Dr. Phoenix specializes in supporting social justice organizations to identify needs, design programs and secure funding. Before joining JSRI, she was the founder and lead consultant at Rosewater Advisors, where she offered partnership support, training, coaching and fundraising services. She previously served as co-founder and development director of Operation Restoration, a non-profit organization that supports currently and formerly incarcerated women. She led efforts to establish a College in Prison program in partnership with Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement, and she is an experienced advocate who has written and helped pass multiple laws in Louisiana.

Jesse Stewart, J.D./M.A.


Career Clerk to the Hon. Brian A. Jackson, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana

Jesse earned his law degree at the University of Virginia, where he was a Law and Public Service scholar and served on the Virginia Law Review and the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law. At UVA, Jesse founded and directed the School of Law’s Alternative Spring Break pro bono program, partnering hundreds of law student volunteers with government and non-profit legal services providers, including the Orleans Public Defenders. When he graduated law school, Jesse was awarded the Herbert L. Kramer/Herbert Bangel Community Service Award (presented to the student who has contributed the most to the law school community) and the Mary Claiborne and Roy H. Ritter Prize (presented to students exemplifying the qualities of honor, character and integrity).

His commitment to providing pro bono services and expanding legal representation for the broader Louisiana community is genuine and substantial, earning him the Louisiana Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division Pro Bono Award in 2018.

Before law school, Jesse worked at the New York City Council Education Committee, and taught first grade in Newark, New Jersey through the Teach For America program.

Anna K. Lemnitzer, MFA

We’re delighted to announce our premiere Artist-in-Resident has decided to support our mission by joining the board in 2023. Her experience will be an invaluable addition to the organization.

Anna K. Lemnitzer earned an MFA in Art from The University of Montana, School of Art in 2012, and a BFA in Art Education emphasis Sculpture from The University of Arizona, School of Art in 2005. She is currently an assistant professor of art and design at West Texas A&M University.

Lemnitzer’s studio practice is grounded in playful exploration, fluidity of meaning, and multifaceted layers of the human experience. As a non-linear artist, Lemnitzer considers her work both a mirror and framework in the cultivation of imagination, understanding, and ability. Her process intertwines digital and traditional studio approaches and materiality.

NOLA Artist Incubator is an equal opportunity organization and will not allow discrimination based upon age, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, national origin, disability, race, size, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, or any other status prohibited by applicable law.

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