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What Do We Want To Become?
Forum Facilitator

Eric Booth

Arts Consultant; Co-founder and Engagemnet Director, Community Engaagement Lab

Eric is widely referred to as one of the nation’s best teachers of creativity, and the father of the teaching artist profession. In 2015 he was awarded the nation's highest honor for an arts educator (the Arts Education Leadership Award by Americans For The Arts), and was named one of the 25 most important people in the U.S. arts. He is the founder and co-designer of the International Teaching Artist Conferences, the recipient of the first honorary doctorate in teaching artistry (New England Conservatory), and was the keynote speaker at UNESCO's first world arts education conference.

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Arts Centers Forum

Carol Fairbank

Executive Director, Wonder Arts, Greensboro

Carol joined WonderArts in September 2017 as Business Manager before taking on the role of Interim Executive Director in August 2019, and Executive Director in January 2020. Prior to that, she spent two decades working in business operations and management, with a focus on corporate culture, innovation, and employee experience.

Jody Fried

Executive Director, Catamount Arts, St. Johnsbury

In addition to his role at Catamount Arts and as chair of the Vermont Creative Network, Jody is director of the Snelling Leadership Institute, serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, and is the past President of both the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism association.

Danny Lichtenfeld

Executive Director, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center

In his role at BMAC, Danny manages contemporary art exhibitions and 50–60 cultural and educational events each year. These include artist talks, workshops, performances, film screenings, studio tours, and an eclectic assortment of events aimed at serving families who do not necessarily see themselves as contemporary art museum-goers.

Doreen Kraft

Executive Director, Burlington City Arts

For the last 25 years, Doreen has led BCA as it has created galleries and studios, developed art classes and summer camps, curated art in public spaces, won and distributed grants, and organized citywide events such as Festival of Fools and Highlight, and Burlington's New Year's Eve celebration. 

Steve MacQueen

Artistic Director, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

At the Flynn, Steve leads the programming of world-class artists in jazz, dance, roots music, family entertainment, theater, world music, and more. Prior to joining the Flynn in 2012, he was director of the 7 Days of Opening Nights Performing Arts Festival at Florida State University in Tallahassee, and also served as director of the Porter Center for the Performing Arts in Brevard, NC.

Hope Sullivan

Executive Director, Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe

Hope has an extensive background in fundraising, program development, finance, marketing and advertising at Barrington Stage Company, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Sharpe Partners, and Second Stage Theatre. She holds a BS from Ithaca College and a MFA from Columbia University.

Alita Wilson

Executive Director, Pentangle Arts, Woodstock

Since 1974, Pentangle Arts brought cultural experiences to the Woodstock, Pomfret, Barnard, Reading and Bridgewater communities. Their events and productions are attended by 12,000 residents and visitors each year. Pentangle presents one of the oldest arts education programs in the state, which enriches the lives of thousands of students of all ages through performances, artist residencies, camps and after school programs.

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Performing Arts Groups Forum

Christal Brown

Mother, Artist, Educator, Disciple and Coach, Middlebury

Christal is the Founder of the dance company INSPIRIT, Project: BECOMING, the creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dance, the current  Chair of Dance at Middlebury College and the CVO of Steps and Stages Coaching. Brown grew up in a small eastern North Carolina town where she frequently accompanied her mother to NAACP, Black Caucus, and community-board meetings. This early exposure to social movements and communal responsibility has no doubt influenced Brown’s work both on and off stage.

Susanna Gellert

Executive Artistic Director, Weston Playhouse Theatre

Susanna is a director, artistic producer, and teacher. Prior to joining Weston, she was Associate Producer and Director of the Studio at New York’s acclaimed Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA). Prior to joining TFANA, she was Artistic Producer and Resident Director at Center Stage in Baltimore where she developed the theater’s ground breaking Third Space Initiative.

Irene Green

Managing Director, Northern Stage, White River Junction

Irene has been a part of the Northern Stage leadership for the past seven years and became the Managing Director in November 2018. She brings to the table a background of professional expertise in rural community building through the arts, leadership training, sales and marketing for nonprofit events, and artistic experience as an actor and teaching artist. 

Kathleen Keenan

Lost Nation Theater, Producing Artistic Director and Resident Composer

Kathleen has been working with Lost Nation Theater as an actor-director-educator-manager since 1989. Favorite roles at LNT include “Mrs. Lovett” in Sweeney Todd, “Patsy” in Always Patsy Cline, Shirley Valentine, and Belle of Amherst. She loves directing quick-change comedy, and she directed LNT’s original dance-theater adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s LYDDIE. Prior to LNT, Ms. Keenan worked Off-Off Broadway at Lincoln Center, and was a showcased singer-songwriter at Folk-City.

Evan Premo

Co-Artistic Director, Scrag Mountain Music, Marshfield

Scrag Mountain Music is dedicated to presenting innovative, interactive, and affordable performances of chamber music. Evan, a double bassist and composer, is also a member of New York City-based chamber music collective DeCoda with which he performs in residencies around the world. He is artistic director and founder of “Beethoven and Banjos,” a residency that brings together folk and classical musicians for cross-genre concerts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

Amy Riley

Director of Education & Founding Director of Vermont Stage Youth Company, Burlington

Amy directed and taught at FlynnArts for the past six plus years, was the Producing Artistic Director of the Flynn Youth Theater Company for the past three, and has performed locally with Vermont Stage, Stealing from Work, and Vermont Young Playwrights, among others. She led arts integration work for many area schools as well as teaching and directing for middle and high school theater programs.

Sasha Vaut

Director of Philanthropy, Vermont Symphony

Sasha’s experience includes securing sponsorships from local businesses and national brands, and cultivating relationships with individual donors. Her past work included fund development, event management, and advocacy with the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, and Urban Medical.

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Artists/Teaching Artists Forum

Russ Bennett

Sculptor, Scene Designer and Instigator, Moretown

Russ is the founder and owner of NorthLand Visual Design & Construction, in Waitsfield, VT.  He is a designer, builder, sculptor, social activist, and planner within his community and for major music festivals. His work as a sculptor and scene designer can be found in installations at Camp Meade in Middlesex, as well as for Phish, Bonnaroo, Boston Calling and Outside Lands. Russ is presently on the board of Vermont Business for Social Responsibility and has served as Director of Jaycees, Affordable Housing Coalition and the Walking Path Commission. 

Ashley Hensel-Browning

Dancer and Teaching Artist, Weathersfield

Ashley is a dance educator, community artist, and choreographer. She has received multiple grants for her work in public schools and community sites and is a Juried Teaching Artist through the Vermont Arts Council. Projects include teacher trainings, school residencies, dance in libraries, restorative justice and correctional facilities programs. She teaches at the Dance Factory and received her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.A. from Hampshire College.

Will Kasso Condry

Visual Artist and Teaching Artist, Brandon

Kasso is a renowned visual artist, graffiti scholar, and educator. He is a visionary artist whose lived experiences, cultural heritage, spirituality, and the world’s social issues inform the subject of his murals, paintings, and illustrations. Kasso is well known for his bold use of colors, expressive abstracts, polymorphic imagery, and Afrofuturistic style. For over 20 years, his work has centered on using mural arts as a vehicle for community-building, activism, beautification, and healing. Kasso previously served as the Alexander Twilight Artist-in-Residence at Middlebury College where he completed extensive mural and portrait art at the Anderson Freeman Resource Center in 2017.

Erin Maile O'Keefe

Movement Artist and Teaching Artist, Brattleboro

As an educator, trainer and movement artist, Erin has developed kinesthetic, multigenerational curricula that facilitate group inclusion, connection, co-authorship and empathy. Her background in dance, theater and architecture has made the crafting of temporal spaces and community activities at the core of her  work. She holds a Master Certificate in Creative Placemaking, and is the founder of the The Human Connection Project, and co-founder of the Tiny House Fest Vermont.

Matthew Perry

Visual Artist, Teaching Artist and Executive Director, Vermont Arts Exchange, North Bennington

Matthew oversees VAE’s year-round arts education programs, exhibitions and performances such as the Basement Music Series. He has facilitated several mentoring and training programs for artists and presented at many conferences on community arts as well as integrating arts into health care settings and schools. His work through VAE has been recognized with awards locally and nationally.

Gowri Savoor, Fellow

Visual Artist and Teaching Artist, Barre

Gowri is visual teaching artist whose practice includes sculpture, drawing and the Indian art of Rangoli. She is the founder of A River of Light, an organization committed to bringing art to the community through participatory art events, parades and installations. She is a Senior Teaching Artist with the CEL, has been a teaching artist for over 17 years with experience in arts integration and community building, and continues to exhibit both nationally and internationally.

Vera Longtoe Sheehan

Fiber Artist and Teaching Artist

Vera Longtoe Sheehan is a fiber artist, educator, and Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association where she leads the education team in the development of curriculum and educational programs. Her thesis research focused on Abenaki continuity of culture and led to the development of the Abenaki Arts & Education Center, and MALS from SUNY: Empire State College.

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