2020-2021 Panelists

Grant Panelists FY21


Ashleigh Gordon
Described as a “charismatic and captivating performer,” Ashleigh Gordon has performed with Grammy-award winning Boston Modern Orchestra Project, A Far Cry string ensemble and Chineke! Orchestra. Ashleigh is co-founder, Artistic/Executive Director and violist of Castle of our Skins, a Boston-based concert and educational series devoted to celebrating Black Artistry through music. In recognition of her work, she has been featured in the Boston Globe, and was awarded the 2016 Charles Walton Diversity Advocate Award from the American Federation of Musicians. She is a 2019 Brother Thomas Fellow, a nominee for the 2020 "Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities,” and named one of WBUR’s “ARTery 25”, twenty-five millennials of color impacting Boston’s arts and culture scene. www.violashe.com

Christopher Hope
Chris Hope, CTS is the co-founder and executive director of The Loop Lab, a non-profit dedicated to empowering young adults of color to enter careers in the media arts industry in Greater Boston. Hope received his B.A. from Tufts University, and a Master's at Harvard Divinity School. He now serves on the board of advisors for the George Washington University School of Business in D.C., for the My Brother's Keeper Task Force in Cambridge, and on the community board of Lesley College of Art + Design. He is also an alumnus of the Creative Community Fellowship with the National Arts Strategies and has previously served on board of the South By Southwest festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

Pauline Kaba
Hello my name is Pauline Kaba and I’m currently an undergraduate at UMass Boston University, I’m studying psychology and focusing on using the skills I gain for restorative justice. My biggest goal is to help others and especially black people who have been displaced by the American government system. Currently, I’m working with Dorchester Art Project to produce a series based in telling artist’s stories and following their progression and steps towards mastering their artsy. Being adopted, I’ve learned some wonderful lessons about equality, social responsibility, and restorative justice that I’d like to add into the conversation of art being used to heal through. I hope I can add an open mindset, provide my knowledge on systems of oppression, and gain more insight from others. I’m 23 years old, very open to new people and learning from their knowledge, community is everything.

Isaiah Wooden
Isaiah Matthew Wooden, PhD is a director-dramaturg, critic, and assistant professor of theater arts at Brandeis University. He has staged new and canonical works in both the U.S. and abroad, including plays by Eisa Davis, Charles L. Mee, Lynn Nottage, Nilaja Sun, and Mary Zimmerman. Recent dramaturgy projects include: Ifa Bayeza’s The Till Trilogy, Nambi E. Kelley’s Native Son, and Psalmayene 24’s Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son at Mosaic Theater Company. Wooden publishes widely on contemporary African American art and drama – from the plays of Lydia Diamond, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Robert O’Hara to the performance work of Derrick Adams, Jefferson Pinder, and Adrian Piper. He is currently at work on a monograph that explores the interplay of race and time in contemporary Black expressive culture and co-edited the book Tarell Alvin McCraney: Theater, Performance, and Collaboration (Northwestern UP, 2020).

Karen Young
Karen Young is a cultural organizer, artist, and educator living in Boston, MA. Karen combines taiko and creativity with community organizing strategies to elevate issues of power, identity, and marginalization. As a 2018 Boston Artist in Residence, she used the arts to bolster the voice of elders concerned about street safety from BCYF Grove Hall Senior Center in Dorchester. She is a Live Arts Boston awardee, the founding director of The Genki Spark, co-founder of the Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival, and is a 2019-2021 Boston Foundation Neighborhood Fellow. As an advisory group member of the Radical Imagination for Racial Justice regranting program and a 2019-2012 Boston Neighborhood Fellow, Karen remains committed to preserving and growing a diverse arts ecosystem in Boston.



Jimena Bermejo
Jimena Bermejo, born in Mexico City, holds an MFA in Studio for Interrelated Media from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory. Jimena has performed with Spencer/Colton, Marcus Schulkind, Lorraine Chapman The Company, Caitlin Corbett Dance Company, and as a guest dancer with David Parker and The Bang Group, amongst others.She has shown her nationally and internationally including at the Cathedral Festival in Belfast, UK, Teatro Dallas International Festival in TX, Le Lieu in Quebec, Judson Church, NY, Mobius Gallery, Green Street Studios, and The Dance Complex in Cambridge. She has also shown at the ArtBeat and SomDance Festivals in Somerville. Jimena is a member of Mobius Artists Group and the Director of the dance program at the College of the Holy Cross. She also teaches movement at Berklee College of Music and is currently doing a residency with students at Boston Arts Academy in Boston.

Jazzmin Bonner
Jazzmin Bonner is a local arts manager, from the greater Boston area. She holds many positions within the arts scene including Company Manager at the Huntington Theatre Company, Managing Director at Fresh Ink Theater Company. She sits on the boards for Dunamis and the Lyric Stage Company of Boston.

Kate Bresee
Kate Bresee is the Managing Director for Dance in the Schools. She also works with museum administration at Historic Newton and is a dance educator at Boston University, Dancing Arts Center, Newton Community Education. Prior to moving to the Boston area, Kate was based in Oslo, Norway for twenty years. Her professional career as a contemporary dancer, choreographer and educator took her throughout Scandinavia, Europe, the Netherlands, to St. Petersburg, Russia, the Winter Olympics, and the Kennedy Center in the USA. After dancing with Høvik Ballet, Kate founded and directed Bresee Dansekompani, for which she received many prestigious grants and choreographic commissions including the 1000th anniversary celebration for the City of Oslo. Her choreography is represented in the Norwegian Dance Archives. Kate worked with CODA, the Contemporary International Dance Festival in Oslo though 2015. She earned her B.A. from Bennington College with advanced studies in London and NYC.

Lily Owyang
Lily Owyang, now retired, has forty plus years of experience in the arts from solo performances to arts reviewer, and in higher education, from faculty to administrator. She has served on many arts review panels including the Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities, and on national institutional accreditation teams. She holds degrees from the Juilliard School, Boston University, and lives in Cambridge.

Omar Robinson
Omar Robinson is an award-winning actor and fight choreographer. His credits include Trinity Repertory Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Dorset Theatre Festival, Actors' Shakespeare Project, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Lyric Stage Company, Central Square Theater, and Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Omar is a member of Theatre Espresso, a social justice focused educational theatre company that performs throughout New England, and a Resident Acting Company member of Actors' Shakespeare Project. He received a BA in Acting and Television/Video Production from Emerson College.


Jinyi Duan
Jinyi Duan is a multidisciplinary artist with experience in fine arts, music, and dance. They received their B.A. in Violin Music Performance at UCSD in 2016, and have performed with the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra and UCSD Chamber Orchestra, teaching privately for 6 years. In dance, they specialize in House and Krump of the Street and Club dance forms, traveling and competing in multiple events, finalizing in San Diego Night Market and OVRDRV dance competition. They have taught classes in studios, colleges, and private classes across the nation, and co-founded a grassroots non-profit called The Flavor Continues with a passion in serving the community. They find freedom in often utilizing multiple disciplines, and enjoy experimenting with their art through multiple medias. In their other life, they are an aspiring medical school student currently working at the Broad Institute.

Arlene Elkins
A Jill of all trades, Arlene is a dancer and maker with a background in film, marketing, and exhibit media design. She has worked on exhibits for the Smithsonian, the Seacoast Science Center, the Virginia Historical Society, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and many others. When a number of dancers in her community moved from Boston to pursue their artistic careers, Arlene decided to become an art administrator in order to make the Boston area more artist-friendly. As a graduate of Boston University’s art administration masters program, she has studied affordable artist housing, community arts, cultural equity, and artists’ rights. She has worked with the Somerville Arts Council and currently works for Opus Affair. She also co-produces Cafe Raqs, a monthly dance showcase at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville.

Heather Kapplow
Heather Kapplow (www.heatherkapplow.com) is a self-trained conceptual artist based in the United States. Kapplow creates participatory experiences that elicit unexpected intimacies using objects, alternative interpretations of existing environments, installation, performance, writing, audio and video. Kapplow's work has received government and private grants, and has been commissioned for galleries, film and performance festivals in the US and internationally.

Adria Katz
Adria Katz is an artist and administrator in the Boston area. She currently works at the Multicultural Arts Center and Now + There, two arts non-profits whose missions relate to access, equity and representation in the arts. She likes to match creativity with analysis when problem-solving. She's excited to be on the panel with everyone!

Jason Slavick
Jason Slavick is a director/writer who founded the Liars And Believers after directing in Boston for a decade. Originally from a little farm town in New Jersey, Jason has been in Cambridge for… a long while. Though his training was directing Shakespeare, Jason got hooked by the magic of puppetry, dance, masks, music, and the joy of physical bodies moving in space. Aside from making theatre, he’s constantly cooking, so every LAB company dinner is an adventure. Jason loves playing with other people and skirting just along the edge of trouble. And deep down he’s actually a dog – a lab (no pun intended).


Sarah Bob
Pianist Sarah Bob is an active soloist and chamber musician noted for her charismatic performances, colorful playing and diverse programming. She is founding director of the New Gallery Concert Series, a series that combines new music and new visual art along with their creators. The goal, her strong suit, is to introduce music in a loving, inclusive, and intoxicating way. Inspired by current events, she is also the creator of The Nasty Cooperative: numerous dialogue driven artistic events created to build community and help raise funds for organizations in need. She is an original member of Radius Ensemble and Primary Duo and has received international acclaim for most recent album, …nobody move… Commissions and Premieres for the New Gallery Concert Series. Sarah holds degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music and the New England Conservatory, maintains her own private studio, and teaches “The Power of Art” as faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.

Ken Field
Ken Field is a saxophonist, flautist, and composer. He leads the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, an experimental & improvisational brass band, and is a longtime member of the electronic modern music ensemble Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. 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 has performed in North America, Europe, Asia, & Australia, and has been awarded residency fellowship grants at MacDowell Colony (NH), Ucross Foundation (Wyoming), Fundación Valparaíso (Spain), and Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida). Field composed & produced soundtracks for many of the animated films by his late wife, Karen Aqua. His music is heard regularly on Sesame Street. He is the host of WMBR Radio’s “The New Edge”, President of the Board of Tutoring Plus of Cambridge, Member of the HONK! Festival Organizing Committee, President of the Board of JazzBoston, and former chair of the Cambridge Bicycle Committee. kenfield.org

Beatrice Greene
Beatrice Greene is a Jamaica Plain-based writer, composer, and pianist. She has been a featured poet at poetry festivals nationwide. In 2009 Greene led a concert of her works and two jazz trios. Greene composed and performed Spirit Warriors, a piano composition commissioned by the United Nations Women’s Reporting Network (WUNRN) in 2005. Her music and writing highlights social justice, spirituality, nature, and science. She holds degrees from Howard University, the College of Wooster and Berklee College of Music.

Richard Logothetis
Richard is a composer and conductor originally from Houston, Texas. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Composition from Tulane University in New Orleans. While living in New Orleans, he developed a unique musical style blending the myriad traditions of the city, from Dixieland Jazz and Classical Opera to the raucous sounds of the city’s marching bands. He worked as a performer and teacher, and conducted several local community orchestras. As a culmination of this work, he founded and led his own group, Ensemble 504 Chamber Orchestra. Richard is now the Managing Director of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra.

Ingrid Schorr
Ingrid Schorr is a longtime resident of Cambridge and the director of Arts Engagement at Brandeis University. She has a master's in Arts in Education (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and is particularly interested in how people develop identity and perspective-taking through the arts.

Visual Art:

Craig Bailey, Perspective Photography
𠊋orn in Jamaica, New York, and a longtime resident of Boston's South End neighborhood, Craig Bailey has worked as an astute documentarian, his creative sensibilities serving media outlets, periodicals, non-profit organizations, universities, and, of course, himself.

Diane Charyk Norris
Diane Charyk Norris is a visual artist at Miller Street Studios focusing on painting and printmaking and has been a Cambridge resident for over 30 years. She is a strong advocate for collaboration and expanding the role of the arts across the city in schools, after school programs, neighborhoods, and public events. She currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Cambridge Arts Council (current Chair), Chandler Gallery at Maud Morgan Arts, and Fayerweather Street School. While her children attended Cambridge Public Schools, Ms. Norris was Co-Chair of the Haggerty School Arts Council, served on the Board of Friends of Haggerty, and was the Parent Liaison for the launch of the Cambridge Creativity Commons. She also has over 20 years of professional experience as an architect in design, planning, renovation, and interiors of cultural buildings. She is a Principal of Norris & Norris Associates and was an Associate at Ann Beha Architects, and a Project Architect at Cambridge Seven Associates.

Juan Omar Rodriguez
Juan Omar Rodriguez (he/him/his) is an art historian and curator based in Cambridge, MA. He recently finished a curatorial fellowship at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Juan Omar has also worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he co-organized the inaugural show for a juried biennial exhibition series of graduates from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, and at the Tufts University Art Galleries. He earned an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from Tufts University in 2019 and a B.A. in Neuroscience from Oberlin College.

Cory Shea
My name is Cory Munro Shea,(she/her/hers). I graduated Umass Amherst in 2009 with a BFA in digital imaging. Since then I’ve exhibited my artwork across New England in galleries, pop up exhibitions and public art installations. In 2016 I polished my nonprofit education with a Masters degree from Boston University in Art Administration. January of 2018 I became the Director of the Maud Morgan Arts located in Cambridge MA. Maud Morgan Arts is a non profit art center that focuses on art related programming for participants of all ages. When I'm not at work, or making art; I enjoy spending time with my family, buying plants (and hoarding vintage goodies) and hanging with my little wild dog Bruin. Lately I've been making dried floral arrangements and ceramic projects. Because in this pandemic, I need some low pressure creative projects! To see more of my own artwork, visit my website coryshea.com

Cynthia Woo
𠊌ynthia Woo has been the inaugural Pao Arts Center Director since Jan 2017. Cynthia holds a Master’s in Art History from Tufts University with a certificate in Museum Studies. Before coming to the Center, a program collaboration between Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) and Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC), Cynthia worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Center for the Arts, and LynnArts Inc.


Fabio J. Fernández
Fabio J. Fernández is a Boston-based artist, arts advocate, educator, and curator. He is the former Executive Director of the Society of Arts + Crafts in Boston where he led the organization through a pivotal time in its long and venerable history. He also served as the Exhibitions Director at the Society and as Associate Curator at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Fernández has planned and executed national exhibitions that presented fresh explorations into the conceptual, technical and material approaches of contemporary makers. Fernández is a notable advocate in the craft community. He is an Adjunct Professor at Massachusetts College of Art + Design and serves as a Trustee of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. He has been a visiting critic at universities around the world and has served as a juror on numerous grant panels. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Emma Leavitt
Emma Leavitt is Co-Director of Brain Arts Organization, Gallery Director at Dorchester Art Project, and curator at 1369 Coffeehouse, platforms she uses to empower others and facilitate community-building arts experiences. She is also an independent artist herself under the name Solei Arts.


Cedric Douglas
Cedric Douglas is an artist and designer who integrates graffiti ideology into design and advertising. His work is inspired by everyday life idioms and the subculture of guerilla, or street art. He uses this approach to express his social views on the world. One of his many public art projects, Douglas is the Creative Director of The Up Truck, a mobile arts lab created to engage residents of Uphams Corner in Dorchester, MA. Douglas has been an artist-in-residence at Northeastern University and Emerson College.

Jennifer Frutchy
Jennifer Frutchy worked for Progressive Chairman, Peter Lewis for more than twenty five years as his advisor on philanthropy, speech writer, press liaison, and manager of many special projects. Since 2006 she has also worked for Toby Devan Lewis, overseeing the Toby Fund, which primarily focuses on supporting emerging artists and cutting edge work in the visual arts. From 1986- 1990, she was an assistant Vice President at Progressive Corporation, based in Cleveland, Ohio, where she oversaw its corporate giving program, ran its annual United Way Campaign, and conducted a planning and viability study for a corporate headquarters relocation. Before joining Progressive she worked in Corporate Contributions at SOHIO, overseeing its grant making in higher education, and at The Cleveland Foundation. Prior to that, she taught art and dance at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont from 1976-1980 and worked in Admissions for the Tisch Graduate School of Business at New York University. She served as Chair of the Advisory Committee of the List Center for Visual Arts at MIT from 1998-2008, and headed the board of the Publick Theatre of Boston from 2004-2008. She holds a B.A. from Colby College and an M.ED from Harvard University.

Leah Hamilton French
Leah Hamilton French is an artist, educator, and writer living in Cambridge, MA. She is passionate about arts education and its power to transform lives, enrich other subjects, and teach empathy and innovation. She began her career as a public-school teacher and a creative writing teaching artist, before transitioning into the art world as a museum educator at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and later as gallery manager at the New Art Center in Newton. Currently, she manages school residency programs for the arts-learning non-profit Young Audiences of Massachusetts. Hamilton French earned her BA from Wellesley College, in Social-Cultural Anthropology and French Cultural Studies. She is currently working towards her MA in Theatre Education & Applied Theatre at Emerson College. In her spare time, she is a freelance writer for Artscope Magazine. Born and raised in Cambridgeport, she is passionate about supporting the arts in her community.

Xian Ho
Xian was born and raised in New York City and has been a Cambridge resident since 2013. She was selected as one of seven artists to participate in the 2018 Community Supported Art Program and has had work exhibited at the Cambridge Community Television studio and the Cambridge Public Library. More recently, her work was featured in the Cambridge Art Association’s 2020 Emerging Artists Exhibition. Xian received her BA and PhD in Psychology at New York University where she studied human visual perception of materials and 3d texture (i.e., gloss, roughness), which has influenced the technique and process she uses to create her pieces. Xian is the Senior Director of Research Strategy at a small Cambridge-based B Corps organization that develops software used by frontline health workers in low-resourced settings around the world and serves as a principal investigator on several NIH grant-funded health technology innovation research projects in the US. She currently lives in Cambridge with her two daughters and their dog.

Lolly Lincoln
Lolly Lincoln, Graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, BFA(Studio for Interrelated Media); MSAE. Visual Arts teacher, Fletcher Maynard Academy in the Port since 2000. Previously, Visual Arts teacher for special education students, The Italian Home for Children, Boston. Massachusetts Special Education Art Teacher of the Year, 2012. Boston Symphony Orchestra Creative Arts teacher, Days in Arts at Tanglewood. Visual Arts teacher, Cambridge Dept. of Human Services Community School at FMA, Arts in the Park, and Home Visitor Program. 30+ year Cambridgeport resident; parent of three CPS students.