Barbara Koz Paley

Founder and CEO

Barbara Paley spots trends, invests early, and creates connections among seemingly disparate emerging and established asset classes.

As a connector, she amplifies investments and the expanding community in her intersecting circles.

In 1992, the real estate and Art worlds had virtually collapsed. Though times were difficult, Barbara Koz Paley saw a revolutionary opportunity to marry her experience in real estate, Fine Art, and Finance. Art Assets was the result.

Barbara’s journey began after multiple trips to Europe and Asia, as well as living and traveling in Africa. When she returned to New York City in the late 1960s, she founded Kozmopolitan Gallery, which represented prominent European Artists and was a fresh force in the international Art world for over a decade.

All her life, Barbara has been a patron of the Arts. She initiated a decade-long public Art program of sculptures woven throughout the 122 acres of Manhattan State Hospital on Ward’s Island, which was honored by the Municipal Art Society. She also curated several sculpture programs for the Public Art Fund at the 59th Street Plaza and Central Park.

In the early 1970s, SoHo was becoming the new creative destination, and Artists were moving downtown. Art and Happenings were everywhere. Barbara followed her Artists, purchased 142 Greene Street in SoHo, and hired the young Robert A. M. Stern as her architect.

As an early investor in SoHo, followed by the West Village and Brooklyn, Barbara’s properties targeted creative professionals and helped catalyze neighborhood change. In the 1980s, she founded Realty Advisory Services, a fund to buy value-added properties with the backing of pension funds and high net-worth individuals. It was not merely a financial play—she realized the value of real estate assets in creating an experience and environment for the tenant and visitor.

By 1992, the time was ripe for the creation of a new blend of Art and Real Estate: Art Assets was born.


Boston University B.S., Social Psychology and Fine Arts
Real Estate Advanced Courses at Columbia University and Harvard University


New Frontier Data Advisory Board, since 2017
MAS Board of Directors, since 2015
Floating Tower Board of Directors, since 2013
ULI/WLI Steering Committee, since 2011

Association of Real Estate Women / Co-Founder, 1978
Brooklyn Philharmonic / Board of Directors Executive Committee, 2004-2010
Central Woman’s Focus / Co-Founder, 1987
Columbia Business School, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship. Awarded their first Distinguished Mentor Award.
Council of Foreign Relations / US Foreign Policy and Women Advisory Board, 2003-2008
Eldridge Street Project / Board Member, 1989
Fellow of the Forum + Institute for Urban Design
Harvard University Real Estate Academic Initiative / SERT Council Graduate School of Design
Real Estate Academic Initiative / Program Chair, 2004; and 2005 Alumni Conference
Storefront Artists Project, Pittsfield, MA
Taubman Center for State and Local Government / Advisory Board, 1989-1996
Urban Land Institute New York / District Council Management Committee and Sponsorship Chair
Women’s Leadership Board / Co-founder, 1993-2004



Jia Jia

Creative Director

In addition to having one of the coolest names around, Jia Jia has an innate ability for identifying opportunities to marry art and real estate. Her deep understanding of contemporary art practices, combined with her experience working in the built environment, gives her a unique ability to translate our Clients’ ideas into reality.

Before joining Art Assets, Jia worked with Peter Moore Projects, a respected New York real estate development firm. She also led the Business Development for Asia at Kevin Kennon Architect, a New York-based architecture firm, where she successfully facilitated the closing of projects in China.

Jia was born and raised in Shanghai. She moved to the United States in 1998. Since then, she’s lived in Idaho, California, and New York. Jia enjoys exploring different cultures, analyzing the way we interact with space and each other. She takes photos of her travels, and her photography has been featured in Palais Porcia, Vienna, Austria; Peres Center for Peace, Tel Aviv, Israel; and Shrin Gallery, Austrian Embassy, Tehran, Iran.

She has been a Young Leader at Urban Land Institute since 2012, a Fellow of the Forum for Urban Design since 2014, and, most recently, a committee member of Committee of Urban Entrepreneurship (CUE) organized by the Municipal Art Society (MAS). She also studies Conceptual Photography with Silvio Wolf, using philosophy and literature to approach the way we see photography. Jia attended University of California, Santa Barbara.


Leah Hansen-Montalbano

Director of Communications

With a background in art and journalism, Leah combines a love and knowledge of visual art with the written word to provide the online and written “face” of Art Assets.

Before joining Art Assets, Leah worked as an editor at Graphis, a graphic design and publishing firm known for its excellence in design and visual imagery. She also served as an editor and writer for online food magazine, where she successfully doubled the monthly readership.

Leah has a BA in English and Art from SUNY Binghamton, and an MA in Arts Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Her writing has been published in RT Book Reviews magazine, zingmagazine, the Graphis design annuals, and more. She also volunteers as Associate Editor with Pronto Comics, a non-profit comic book publisher based in New York City, and has served as editor for numerous individual projects, including the book Landmarks of New York 5th Edition, the online magazine In*Tandem, which highlights the work of young artists, and others.


Barbara Arvanitis

Art Handler

Barbara Arvanitis is one of the best art handlers in the market. She and her team perform Art Assets’ art pickup, delivery, installation, and de-installation, as part of Art Assets’ Turnkey Services. Barbara got her start in 1981 as a sales representative for Hostess cakes, later upgrading to delivering wedding cakes and other confectionary art, and finally making the switch to art handling and installation.