2017-2018 Panelists

Dance:

Kaitlin Bresee
Susan Cohen
Brian Crabtree
Marsha Parrilla
Margot Parsons

Kaitlin Bresee
Kaitlin Bresee, originally from Knoxville TN, has been an enthusiastic actress and director from a young age: beginnging with her family productions in the basement to rigorous theatre arts training and practice throughout high school. All the while, her passion for social justice and change has been equally strong. She spent much of her time in high school supporting fundraising efforts for international and national health causes.

Once she moved to Boston to attend Boston University, she maintained her dual passions -- while she studied international relations, travelling to countries such as Uganda and Switzerland to develop a stronger understanding of health systems abroad, she continued to take classes at the BU college of fine arts. She developed her acting skills through their rigorous elective acting program all the while taking additional classes in directing and ensemble performance. Her free time was spent acting in Boston University Stage Troupe's student theatre productions, improvising with the on campus improv group Liquid Fun, and running events for the BU's spoken word poetry group.

During her time at Boston University School of Public Health, she finally was able to merge these two passions -- working to integrate media and performing arts into many of her assigned projects. She focused on developing interventions that used media arts interventions, such as websites and PSAs, to promote health. She was excited to begin her practicum placement at MetaMovements Latin Dance Company in 2013, where she was honored to work with Anara Frank - learning her innovative approaches to community arts programming. Since working at the company, she has developed her skill as an arts instructor while working with the MM Staff to develop an innovative curriculum that fuses theatre arts and latin dance, music, & culture. She has also worked to develop her skills in entrepreneurship, fundraising, and grant writing for much of the company's programming.

Susan Cohen
Susan Cohen is an arts administrator who served as director of the Council for the Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1996 - 2016. A dedicated and resourceful leader, she is a trustee of the Massachusetts State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and a founding member of Arts Administrators in Higher Education. She also is a former board president of the Mobius Artists Group. Over the span of her career, she has organized and led a dozen exclusive excursions, bringing groups of up to fifty people to cities around the world to experience "behind-the-scenes" tours of arts and culture. In addition to travel planning, she ran the MIT arts grant program, which awarded $150,000 annually in support of all types of projects and endeavors. She received her BA in Art History from Richmond, the American International University in London and credits the arts community at MIT with sparking her passionate interest in contemporary visual art. 

Brian Crabtree
Brian Crabtree has been dancing and making dances for over thirty years in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and his hometown of Portland, Maine. For eight years in Portland, he was a member of Ram Island Dance, a repertory company under the direction of Daniel McCusker. He performed in works by Doug Varone, Maida Withers, Lucinda Childs, and Yvonne Rainer, in addition to dances by Mr. McCusker. He also created several works for the company while maintaining his own ensemble, Random Moves. His teachers have included June Finch, Viola Farber, Dan Wagoner, Margaret Jenkins, and  Margaret Craske. Since moving to Boston in 1994, his work has been commissioned or produced by Dance Umbrella, Boston Center for the Arts, Ram Island Dance, Across the Ages, Dance Complex, and This That Productions. He has received grant support from Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cambridge Arts Council, and Dance in the Fells. He currently has a role in Crabtree Carabetta Collective, formed with his long term dancing partner, Audra Carabetta.

Marsha Parrilla 
Award-winning choreographer Marsha Parrilla is the founding Artistic Director of Danza Orgánica. Born and raised in San Juan- Puerto Rico, she moved to NYC where she pursued a Master's degree in Dance Education from New York University. Parrilla is a Luminary Artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. She is a proud recipient of several grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Boston Foundation- among others. Most recently, Parrilla was awarded a Creative Development Residency at Jacob's Pillow, and a Brother Thomas Fellowship Award by the Boston Foundation. Parrilla was recently featured at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Inside/Out Festival, and was invited to perform with the Skeleton Architecture collective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
Marsha has taught Dance in NYC and Boston Public Schools, Boston University, the State University of New York in Stony Brook, the Roxbury Community College, and Green Street Studios. She is the founder of the Dance Research Online Forum- a site dedicated to free and progressive dance education, and is an active member of the Boston Dance Alliance Board of Directors, and the National Dance Education Association.

Margot Parsons 
Margot Parsons is Artistic Director of DanceVisions, Inc., a nonprofit contemporary ballet company, now in its 36th year. Parsons had a 10-year career as a professional dancer in NYC before moving to Boston with her family. In her desire to bring together dancers and choreographers from the New England Area she co-produced for 7 years the highly acclaimed Dance on the Top Floor and for 9 years Dancers at the Robsham. Through her work as a choreographer, artistic director, and teacher, she is committed to the power of dance to transform lives.  She currently is an instructor of ballet at Boston University, Boston College, The Dance Complex, taught for thirteen years at Harvard University, and along with being a private instructor in ballet she is a substitute teacher in many schools including Boston Ballet and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre.  She has presented evening long performances of her choreography, has set her work on companies in NYC and Boston, and has been a part of many shared performances in Boston and Cambridge.

Visual Arts, Film & Video:

Boriana Kantcheva
Connie Saems
Vera Ingrid Grant
Calvin A. Lindsay, Jr.
Sidney Monroe

Boriana Kantcheva
Boriana Kantcheva, originally from Bulgaria, has lived and worked in the Boston area for over 18 years. She has received a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University joint degree program. She has worked as an assistant teacher at the Carpenter Center for Visual and Environmental Studies where she has received several Harvard University Certificates of Distinction in Teaching awards. She currently holds a position as a gallery coordinator at Chandler Gallery in Cambridge. Boriana is a member of Bromfield Gallery and her work can also be seen at 13 Forest Gallery. See more of Boriana’s work on her Instagram page @boriana_kantcheva.

Connie Saems
Connie Saems has supported several arts related projects in the public schools in Cambridge and in Arlington specifically focused on the development of ceramic self-portraits that represent the spirit of the person.  In each location, the tiles were permanently installed in the schools.  She has also organized after-school Mandarin language classes for elementary students and their caregivers.
For five years Connie worked for the Office of the Arts, Harvard University, as a teaching assistant.  She also participated as a ceramic artist in this program for over twenty years.  Connie has taught at the Boston Center for the Arts and more recently she has been a docent at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art.
Currently, she is a full-time studio artist, using mixed media, preparing for shows within the USA.  Connie received her B.A. at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

For over twenty years Connie has lived in Cambridge, where she raised her daughter, who went to the Cambridge Public Schools.  They have found Cambridge a dynamic, enthusiastic, and creative community to live.  

Vera Ingrid Grant 
Vera Ingrid Grant is the director of the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art at the Hutchins Center, Harvard University (2012—present). She most recently curated Harlem: Found Ways (Summer 2017); THE WOVEN ARC (Summer 2016); and the Art of Jazz: NOTES (Spring 2016) at the Cooper Gallery; and The Persuasions of Montford at the Boston Center for the Arts (Spring 2015). Her curatorial approach leverages theories of visual culture to create an immersive exhibition experience charged with object driven dialogues.  Grant is a Fulbright Scholar (University of Hamburg, Germany), has an MA in Modern European History from Stanford University, and was a fellow (2015-16) at the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL). Grant was previously executive director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University (2008-2012); Spring 2012 Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow ("Fused Encounters:" Transnational Race in the U.S. Occupation Zone in Germany, 1918–1923); and Associate Director of African and African American Studies, Stanford University (2001-2007). Recent publications include: Harlem: Found Ways – Mobilizing Aesthetics (Summer 2017; The Cooper Gallery Catalogs, distributed by HUP); Art of Jazz: FORM/PERFORMANCE/NOTES as editor; and author of: “An UNEXPECTED TRIO ENSEMBLE” and “On NOTES: A CONVERSATION” (Spring 2017; The Cooper Gallery Catalogs, distributed by HUP); Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy, as editor; and author of: “E2: Extraction/Exhibition Dynamics” (January 2015; The Cooper Gallery Catalogs, distributed by HUP); “Visual Culture and the Occupation of the Rhineland,” The Image of the Black in Western Art, Vol. 5, The Twentieth Century, (Harvard University Press, February 2014); and “White Shame/Black Agency: Race as a Weapon in Post-World War I Diplomacy” in African Americans in American Foreign Policy, (University of Illinois Press, February 2014); and a review of Tina M. Campt’s Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe published at caa.reviews (2013).

Calvin A. Lindsay, Jr. 
Calvin A. Lindsay, Jr., Producer/Director & Founder of Centurion Filmworks, began his career at WGBH-TV, Boston’s Public Broadcasting Station affiliate. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning Series Producer for Say Brother, one of public television’s longest running local series. His credits include myriad projects ranging from political coverage to documentary and dramatic treatments. Lindsay conceived the award-winning documentary series Reflections. The Reflections series chronicled the lives, seminal moments and motivations of a number of artists, and cultural innovators including Judith Jamison, James Earl Jones, the Nicholas Brothers and Henry Hampton. Masterworks… another award-winning series  featured some of the most notable musicians working in the jazz genre. Among the performers who graced the Masterworks… stage included Nancy Wilson, Stanley Turrentine, Ron Carter, Roy Haynes, James Moody and Nnenna Freelon. He wrote, co-produced and directed The Devil’s Music: 1920’s Jazz, a one-hour film for the PBS series Culture Shock, which examined the often- controversial relationship between art, morality and society. The New York Times hailed the project as “ lively and thoughtful…a true film.” Lindsay’s most current project is REBEL, a documentary feature about a woman soldier of the American Civil War, that had a national PBS release; and Empty Kitchen Chairs, a feature-length co-production with Stage Praise Productions that presents a coming-of-age story about love and friendship, betrayal and redemption. His work has been recognized by the National Black Programming Consortium, The Association of Massachusetts Broadcasters, The New York Festivals, the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences, The Denver Jazz on Film Festival Series and the International Documentary Association. One of his film interviews has been republished and featured in the Michael Eric Dyson Reader (Basic Civitas Books, 2004) under the title The Great Next: Jazz Origins & The Anatomy of Improvisation. Lindsay is also one of the filmmakers featured in the book Struggles for Representation: African American Documentary Film and Video (Indiana University Press, 1999).

Sidney Monroe
Sidney joins the stellar The Theater Offensive staff as the Youth Programs Manager. His introduction to TTO came through a chance encounter at the 2012 Creating Change conference. As an Arkansas native, Sidney taught Theatre & Speech Communications at Episcopal Collegiate School and worked for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. His current work merges Applied Drama & Theatre techniques with LGBTQA youth ensembles. One of his favorite workshops to teach is Hip-Hop Theatre because of the fusion between multidisciplinary arts and culture. In his spare time, he enjoys the occasional jazz dance class or seasonal ale. Sidney holds a BA in International Relations from Hendrix College and a MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth & Communities from The University of Texas at Austin. Sidney’s spirit animal is the elephant.

Music:

Olufolakemi Alalade
Deena Anderson
Ken Field
Maria Finkelmeier
Christine Lamas Weinberg

Olufolakemi Alalade
'Folakemi Alalade is a Cambridge resident and an advocate for arts in the community. She serves as a member of the Cambridge Arts Advisory Board. 'Folakemi is the founder of MatriArts, Inc., an international, nongovernmental organization that fosters African women’s arts (or matriarts), as well as parallels within other cultures, and promotes their socio-economic value. MatriArts's goal is to enable artists to develop sustainable micro-enterprises around these matriarts, through which they can generate income and combat issues that adversely affect them.

Deena Anderson
Deena Anderson is originally from New York City; she attended the HS of Music & Art where she studied piano & voice. She was also an accompanist for various voice classes. She also appeared in the major motion picture Fame as a piano class student and is also on the soundtrack.

After high school she attended Berklee College of Music. She didn’t graduate like so many Berklee students at that time, opportunity came knocking and she left to pursue a career as a pianist and vocalist.

Through the years she's performed with many local Boston bands and appears on many recordings including jingles and industrials. She worked with Denis Leary on his annual charity event, Comics Come Home.

She’s also worked on local TV commercials and film (The Crucible) and TV series (Against the Law) as a stand-in. She also did some print work for Bill Rodgers running shorts that appeared in runners magazine, BlueCross/Blue Shield ad and on a poster for the Boston anti-littering campaign.

Deena currently works at Office for the Arts at Harvard University as an arts administrator/producer/events coordinator for 14 years.

She has worked with and continues to work various festivals including the Cambridge River Festival, Arts First Festival, NY Winter Jazz Festival, Cambridge Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival.

Ken Field
Ken Field (www.kenfield.org) is a saxophonist, flautist, and composer.  Since 1988 he has been a member of the internationally acclaimed electronic modern music ensemble Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, with whom he has recorded eight CDs.  He leads the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, an experimental & improvisational brass band, and performs with the community-based Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band.  Since 2015 he has annually led a pick-up band of unafiliated musicians at the HONK!Oz Festival in Wollongong, NSW, Australia.  His solo releases document his work for layered saxophones and his soundtracks for dance and film.  Field was named a 2017 Finalist in Music Composition by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  He is an Applied Microphone Technology Endorser and a Vandoren Performing Artist.  He hosts The New Edge, a weekly radio program on WMBR in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is former Chair of the Cambridge Bicycle Committee, a member of the HONK! Festival Organizing Committee, and on the Boards of JazzBoston and Tutoring Plus of Cambridge.

Maria Finkelmeier
Maria Finkelmeier is a percussion performer, composer, educator, and arts entrepreneur. She is the founder and director of Kadence Arts, a Boston-based non-profit organization and co-founder of Masary Studios, a sound, light, and performance collective. Along with her performance and leadership activities, she teaches as Northeastern University, and is the former program manager of the Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department at New England Conservatory. Prior to rooting in New England, Maria spent three years in Northern Sweden at the Piteå Institution for Music and Media as an artist in residence. 

Maria has taken contemporary percussion performance from concert halls throughout the US and Europe with orchestras and chamber ensembles, to unexpected spaces such as Fenway Park’s Green Monster, the Tree Hotel in Harads, Sweden, Boston Center for the Arts’ historic Cyclorama, and the Frost Ice Bar for ArtWeek. Her solo project, #improvadayLIVE, combines video, classical marimba, social media, and electronics into a multi-sensory experience. She is Yamaha Performing Artist, and additionally endorses Grover Pro Percussion, Vic Firth, and Remo. She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (MM, Arts Leadership Certificate, and Performer's Certificate) and The Ohio State University (BM).

Christine Lamas Weinberg
Christine is a consultant in philanthropic initiatives and development.  She has over a decade of experience working with foundations, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions in the area.  Her area of expertise is in grantmaking, project management, and donor engagement strategies.  She is currently working in the donor relations department at Harvard University focusing on stewardship projects.

Previously, Christine worked with the New England Foundation for the Arts, Philanthropic Advisors, LLC., and the Barr Foundation, where she managed a portfolio of projects in arts education, cultural diversity, public art, and international affairs.  She has participated in numerous proposal review panels in the region, and has moderated meetings with grantees.  

Before moving to Cambridge in 2002, Christine worked in marketing and special events for Arthur Andersen and Mobil Oil Corporation in Lima, Peru.  Besides serving as a liaison between the clients and the company, her responsibilities included creating and implementing marketing strategies, organizing events, and promoting corporate responsibility.

Christine holds a bachelor's degree in Communications and Journalism from the University of Lima, Peru and a master's in Arts Administration from Boston University. 


Theatre, Literature & Multidisciplinary:

Charles Coe
David Daniel
Lina Maria Giraldo
Victoria George
Andrea Zuñiga

Charles Coe

Poet and writer Charles Coe is author of two books of poetry: All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents and Picnic on the Moon, both published by Leapfrog Press. He is author of Spin Cycles, a novella published by Gemma Media. His essay Hill of Dreams, about his travels through the Soviet Union in 1988, appears in Inspired Journeys: Travels with the Muse (University of Wisconsin Press 2016). Peach Pie, a short film by filmmaker Roberto Mighty based on his poem Fortress, is currently showing in film festivals nationwide.
Charles is the winner of a fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He was selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a “Boston Literary Light for 2014.” He in the second year of a three-year term as an Artist Fellow for the St. Botolph Club, an organization that supports arts and the humanities in Greater Boston. He has also been chosen as an Artist-in-Residence for the city of Boston for 2017.

David Daniel
David Daniel’s Seven-Star Bird, won the Larry Levis Prize for the best first or second book of its year and is available from Graywolf Press. Writing about that book, Harold Bloom calls Daniel “an authentic heir of Hart Crane”, and Tom Sleigh writes, “Daniel is one of the purest and most powerful lyric poets of his generation.”  Many of the poems from his forthcoming book, Ornaments—Pitt Poetry Series, Fall 2017-- have been featured in The American Poetry Review, Connotation: An Online Artifact, and  Memorius  He was Poetry Editor of Ploughshares for more than a decade, and he is the founder and producer of WAMFEST: The Words and Music Festival, which has brought together many of the most celebrated artists in the world—from writers to singers to choreographers to visual artists to movie makers, including Bruce Springsteen, Jonathan Demme, Rosanne Cash, C.D. Wright, Talib Kweli, and John Doe-- for unique performances and conversations.  In 2014, Daniel was awarded a Poetry Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  He teaches in the undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and he’s been part of the core faculty of Bennington College’s Writing Seminars.  He’s lived in Cambridge for thirty years and has been on the Advisory Board of the Cambridge Arts Council for the last several.

Lina Maria Giraldo 
Lina Maria Giraldo is a Colombian born, Boston-based artist focusing on Interactive Storytelling towards social change, with a diverse background ranging from digital educational tools, public art, screen based installations and computer-generated work. She explores the questions of identity as an immigrant, the impact of Mankind on our surroundings, and is constantly experimenting different ways of collective storytelling. As she explains, “For over 15 years my work has been focused on creating messages where I depict the fragility of our environment, immigration concerns and community equality.”

Victoria George 

Victoria George is the Audience Lab Director at ArtsBoston where she oversees a data-driven, marketing-focused, cohort-based learning initiative that seeks to address issues of audience diversification in greater Boston. Victoria’s work around equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts also led her to create the Network for Arts Administrators of Color (NAAC Boston). Prior to joining ArtsBoston in May 2015, Victoria worked as an undergraduate admission officer recruiting students of color and students from other underrepresented communities for Tufts University and Wellesley College. Victoria is also an actor in the greater Boston area and received her B.A. in English and Theatre Studies from Wellesley College. 

Andrea Zuñiga
Andrea Zuñiga serves as the Director of Visual and Performing Arts for Cambridge Public School District, K-12. Prior to her new role, she designed and administrated new initiatives at the UCLA department of Theater. She has 10 years of pan-arts education administration focusing mainly on working with under-served communities and K-12 public programming. In her professional experience, she has focused on community arts work, program design, professional development, youth advocacy, budget management, and advocacy for social justice, inclusion, and diversity in the arts. Artistically, Ms. Zuñiga began her training in theater directing, producing, playwriting, and performance art. She performs Latin American and international folk music as a vocalist. She also developed and presents on the history of political music, and music for social change. Ms. Zuñiga has a passion for arts education administration, and is excited, and grateful, to work with the Cambridge community.