Matthew Wilson, Executive Director
Hired as MASSCreative’s first Executive Director in March of 2012, Matt directs the advocacy campaigns and organizational development for the organization. For 30 years, he has run campaigns and organized volunteers and communities for the public interest on a local, state, national level.
In 2011, Wilson directed environmentalist and social entrepreneur Bob Massie’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. Previously he coordinated Health Care for All’s campaign to monitor the takeover of the nonprofit Caritas Hospitals by a for profit private equity firm.
As the National Director of the field staff for MoveOn.org from 2005-2006, Matt helped develop and implement the strategy behind MoveOn.org’s successful 2006 Call for Change, which recruited and trained more than 100,000 volunteers in 60 swing Congressional and Senate districts.
As the Founder and Director of Toxics Action Center from 1989 to 2005, Wilson assisted more than 300 neighborhood groups address toxic pollution issues in their communities. He grew the organization from one staffer working in Massachusetts to a New England-wide organization with 11 staff.
Wilson graduated from Dartmouth College in 1983 and also earned a Masters of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2008.
Andre Green, Political Director
Andre joined MASSCreative as the organization’s first Political Director in September 2016 to help build a strong campaign platform, forge better relationships at the State House and in City Halls, build partnerships with civic and political leaders, and to work with the organization’s political team to lead its campaign work. Andre brings 15 years of experience in education, operations, technology, data analysis and advocacy. At YouthBuild USA he developed strategies for outreach connecting 500 program staff and 10,000 students and alumni with Federal Representation. In addition to advocacy efforts at a federal level, he has consulted with state organizations on coalition building to develop comprehensive, cross-issue solutions to problems such as family homelessness. In addition to his work for MASSCreative, Andre serves as an elected official, representing Somerville's 4th Ward on the School Committee. Andre is a graduate of Bard College at Simon's Rock, where he studied Politics and Psychology.
Tracie Konopinski, Senior Campaign Organizer
Hired as MASSCreative's first Organizer in May of 2013, Tracie works with MASSCreative’s Leadership Council to unify the creative sector and build a grassroots movement for arts, culture, and creativity in Massachusetts. With this network of arts leaders and supporters, Tracie advocates for increasing public investment in the creative sector, to ensure all youth have access to quality arts education programs, and to make sure both our elected officials and the public are talking about how arts and culture help to build vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities across Massachusetts. Prior to joining the MASSCreative team, Tracie worked for six years on voter registration, affordable higher education, and environmental campaigns in western Massachusetts and Maine. As a community organizer, Tracie facilitated trainings on organizing and leadership development with hundreds of activists.
Tracie graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2005, where she studied business, communication, and dance.
Merissa Magdael-Lauron, Digital Organizer
As Digital Organizer and Operations Manager, Merissa develops and implements digital strategy and curated social media content to support MASSCreative’s statewide grassroots advocacy campaigns. In addition to running social media campaigns, Merissa manages office operations, and supports the organization’s campaign organizing efforts.
Growing up in California, Merissa has always been a huge activist and advocate for the arts, public education, and social justice issues. She has campaigned and canvassed for many political elections and causes. Merissa’s main passion is music. You can listen to her playing trombone on three-time Grammy Award-winner Terri Lyne Carrington’s album: The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul.
Merissa graduated from Berklee College of Music in May 2016 with a B.M. in Professional Music with a concentration in Film Scoring. While on campus, Merissa was a member of The Glory Project (The Black Lives Matter Movement), BUGLE (official student-run LGBTQ club), and the Women’s Film Initiative.
Sara Stackhouse (Board Chair) is the Chair of Theater, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, former executive producer at Actors’ Shakespeare Project (ASP) where she has produced 40 productions and helped develop ASP's extensive youth, education and community programs. Sara oversees operations, strategic direction, and fundraising for the company and received the 2010 Margaret Stewart Lindsay "Inspiration Award" for leadership. Prior to her work with ASP, she was the Supervising Producer of four seasons of INSIDE This Old House for the A&E television network. In the 1990's, Sara was Project Manager for cellist Yo-Yo Ma for nearly six years, where her work ranged from educational projects to scripting and staging to collaborations with artists such as Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor, Bobby McFerrin, Mark Morris, Toni Morrison, Torvill & Dean, Atom Egoyan and others. She served as Associate Producer on eight films, including Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired by Bach, which received international awards including several Emmys. She was the first Director of Education for NPR's From the Top where she designed curriculum, trained teachers, and created a national Make Your Own Radio Program and a Cultural Ambassador Program for teenage artists. As a freelancer, Sara produced A Taste of Chanukah for PBS, PRI, and Rounder Records in 1998 and was the Executive Producer of the MIT Media Lab's Toy Symphony, an international project run by Tod Machover and featuring violinist Joshua Bell. She served for many years as a consultant to The Berkshire Institute for Theology and the Arts and is currently Chair of the Board of Tremendous Hearts, and organization serving orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa.
Stephen D. Immerman, Ed.D., was appointed president of Montserrat College of Art in November 2009, following a successful 30 year-career at MIT, where he served in senior capacities in a variety of departments involving student life, operations, construction management, fundraising, and others. He holds a Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Certificates in Leadership from MIT and in Management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, a Master of Science and Education from the University of New York, Albany, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York, Potsdam. An involved community leader, he was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in summer of 2015 to the board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He is co-president of Beverly Main Streets, vice president of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, and on the boards of the Salem Athenaeum, the Essex National Heritage Commission, the Massachusetts Creative Network Commission, the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design and is the former Chair of the Potsdam College Foundation, State University of New York.
Obehi Janice is an actress, writer and comedian with two first names. Her work explores the power of voice in identity, politics, cultural exchange, and testimony. Her plays have been developed or seen at Company One, Boston Center for the Arts, Sleeping Weazel, Interim Writers, Our Voices Festival, Boston One-Minute Play Festival, Boston Theater Marathon, Berkshire Fringe Festival, MPAACT, ImprovBoston, GAN-e-meed Theatre Project, and 119 Gallery. Obehi has been featured on Bustle, WBUR, DigBoston, For Harriet, and The Boston Globe. Her comedic short, BLACK GIRL YOGA, won the Reel 13/Afropunk Film Competition (WNET/New York Public Media). She can be seen on stage, film and TV and heard on video games, radio and commercials as a voice actress. The Improper Bostonian named her "Boston's Best Actress" in 2014. Obehi, a native of Lowell, Massachusetts, is a graduate of Georgetown University and currently resides in Boston.
Tony Maroulis (Treasurer) is the director of community relations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also the co-director of the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council since its launch in 2010. Tony started his career in arts administration in the mid-90s, working in various positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before moving to Amherst, MA with his family in 2002. Prior to his work with the Chamber, he had stints with the Emily Dickinson Museum, as project coordinator of the Museums10 project, and as co-founder and director of wünderarts, a commercial art gallery for contemporary and conceptual art in Amherst. Tony is a 2009 BusinessWest Forty Under 40 winner and an alumnus of Leadership Pioneer Valley’s 2011-12 inaugural class. He serves on the boards of The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Amherst Media, the Friends of the UMass Fine Arts Center, and as chair of the Pelham Cultural Council in addition to numerous town and regional boards and committees.
Richard G. Maloney is Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the Arts Administration graduate program at Boston University where he teaches classes in performing arts management, fundraising, and cultural policy. As a professional musician, he plays lute, lavta, guitar, and hand percussion with Boston area early music ensembles. As an arts administrator, he previously served as general manager of the internationally acclaimed early music ensemble the Boston Camerata, and worked for the Boston Early Music Festival and New England Conservatory. He holds undergraduate degrees in history and music, a Graduate Diploma in lute performance, a master’s degree in Arts Administration, and a doctorate in Law and Public Policy. Dr. Maloney’s research examines local cultural economic development polices to better understand how they are implemented and to ascertain the impact they have on their respective communities. Most recently, his research appeared in “Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development,” an edited volume published by the Brookings Institute.
José Mateo (Vice Chair) Cuban-born, José is founder and artistic director of José Mateo Ballet Theatre, one of America’s leading producers of new ballets, and the area’s most innovative school for quality ballet training. For over 25 years José Mateo Ballet Theatre's highly acclaimed Company has presented repertory work representing Mateo’s artistic achievement in choreography. The School offers an innovative model for a high-quality academy with a humanistic approach to ballet training that fosters diversity and inclusion. José is also widely respected for his civic contribution as innovator of community programs that broaden the reach of ballet and make dance an effective community building force. He is the originator of Dance for World Community (DWC), a project that builds local and global networks to expand the role of dance in communities locally and beyond. José is the producing director of the project’s Annual Festival that demonstrates “the power of dance to create social change”. The DWC Festival presents more than 50 local performance groups, provides free classes in diverse dance forms and features numerous social service agencies doing advocacy around diverse civic, environmental and social issues.
José has served as a Director on the Boards of the Boston Cultural Council, the Cambridge Arts Council, ArtsBoston, Boston Dance Alliance, Dance Umbrella, and the Victoria Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan. He is currently on the Board of Finca Vijia Foundation, Muniz Academy, Homelessness Empowerment Project and serves as the Treasurer of the Cambridge Arts Council Fund, Inc. José has been recognized as the Dr. Michael Shannon Dancer Champion from the Boston Dance Alliance and received the Jorge Hernandez Leadership Award from Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción.
Catherine Peterson (Vice Chair) is Executive Director of ArtsBoston, Boston’s largest arts service organization. Prior to taking the helm of ArtsBoston, Catherine had served in a variety of executive-level positions, including Project Manager for the Worcester Art Museum’s $1.3 million audience development program which was supported by the Wallace Foundation; Vice President at Columbia Artists Management, where she managed the careers of 25 opera singers including Arleen Auger, Olaf Baer, Robert Lloyd and Mignon Dunn; and, Artistic Administrator for The Cleveland Orchestra. Earlier in her career the English National Opera recruited Catherine to launch the first opera merchandise store in Great Britain. A skilled writer, her classical music criticism has appeared in The Boston Globe. She is a board member of Chorus America and the Friends of Copley Square. Born in Berkeley, California, Catherine graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College.
Rus Peotter is a vice president of the WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston and General Manager for WGBY, Springfield; Public Television for Western New England. He and his family moved to western Massachusetts from Maine in 2001. Rus began his career doing TV production in Maine where he conceived or produced many arts programs and projects from live broadcast of the Maine Festival in the 1980s to the award-winning AIDA Project in Springfield in 2003. He serves on many community organizations and Boards including; Old Sturbridge Village, The American Red Cross, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce and The Trustees of Reservations among others. Rus also has a lifetime relationship with the arts and believes deeply that art and culture are not only essential to a full life but also to a successful society.
Jonathan C. Rappaport is Executive Director of Arts|Learning, Natick; and Co-Founder, Faculty, and Director emeritus of the Kodály Music Institute. Formerly he was Head, Conservatory Lab Charter School (Brighton, MA); and Arts Curriculum Liaison, Worcester (MA) Public Schools. He has taught music at all grade levels in public schools in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Rappaport has published 18 choral works and 5 books, and is the recipient of awards from MMEA, AIME, MAAE, and NETC. He helped write the MA Arts Curriculum Framework (1999) and currently is co-chair, Arts Education Advisory Council, MA DESE. Jonathan was appointed by MA governor Deval Patrick to a commission to develop the “Creative Challenge Index” for Massachusetts public schools. He is a composer, educator, author, conductor, pianist, and vocalist. Graduate degrees include a Certificate in Kodály Education from the Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest, Hungary; a Master’s of Music from New England Conservatory, Boston; and studies towards a PhD (ABD) from UMass/Amherst.
Malcolm L. Sherman served as Chairman of Zayre Stores until 1987. Since his retirement from Zayre he has managed several economically troubled companies. As Chief Executive Officer he reorganized Regina Electric Company, Chanel Home Centers, Inc., Morse Shoe Company Ekco Group, Smart Bargains and Casual Corner. He has also served as a director of a number of other companies. He currently is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University. He has been Chairman of the Museum of Science, the Two Ten National Foundation and Tufts Medical Center. He also serves as a trustee of the Auerbach Foundation, The Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Mass Cultural Council.
Troy Siebels serves as Executive Director of The Hanover Theatre, a 2,300-seat world-class performing arts center in downtown Worcester, opened in 2008 following a $32 million dollar historic restoration. The theatre presents more than 140 performances to audiences of more than 170,000 annually, and is a key catalyst to the city’s revitalization. Troy serves as Chairperson of the Worcester Cultural Coalition and the Massachusetts Performing Arts Center Coalition; on the Boards of Directors of Destination Worcester and StageSource; and as a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council
Vanessa Aguirreche Snow is a Boston native, and lifelong participant and advocate of the Boston arts scene. She currently works for the Greater Boston Labor Council. Prior to working in the labor movement, Vanessa was the Manager of Organizing & Policy Initiatives at the Hyde Square Task Force, in which she coordinated their youth organizing and theatre programs. It was through her work at HSTF where she first connected with MASSCreative, through their Create the Vote work around the mayoral election. Since then, she has worked with MASSCreative to engage and develop the advocacy skills of youth from several arts organizations in the Greater Boston area, in building a coalition to increase access to arts education and programming in their schools and neighborhood. Vanessa is also a member of MASSCreative's Leadership Council.
Jason Weeks (Clerk) is the Executive Director for the Cambridge Arts Council (CAC), a public non-profit agency in Cambridge, MA. CAC provides services and direct programming for Cambridge residents and visitors designed to stimulate public awareness of and support for the arts. In his capacity as executive director, Jason works with the CAC Board of Directors, Trustees of the Arts Council’s non-profit corporation, Public Art Commission, city administration, elected officials and full and part-time staff to oversee core agency programming, including: An award-winning Public Art/Percent-for-Art Program, the annual Cambridge River Festival, the CAC Artist Grant Program, Cambridge Open Studios, Summer in the City, Cambridge Poet Populist Program, the CAC Gallery exhibition program and a lively Street Performer Program. In addition to his role at CAC, Jason lectures at schools and universities in the Boston area, serves on boards and advisory committees that carry out work in the arts and culture sector and regularly participates in conferences and symposia to discuss issues, challenges and effective strategies related to the field of arts administration. Prior to his work with CAC, Jason spent 10-years working in the for-profit sector in Boston and as a producer and presenter of music and arts festivals in his home state of North Carolina. Jason has a background in music and theatre and holds Bachelor degrees in Music History and English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, and a Masters degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. Jason and his family currently live in Maynard, MA.
Erin I. Williams is the Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester, MA and the Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the unified voice of the Greater Worcester, MA creative community. The Coalition is a unique public private partnership which shines a spotlight on the creative activity produced in the region and supports economic development through such initiatives as the WOOcard, Worcester Wayfinding program and Creative Confabs. With Erin’s leadership, the Worcester Cultural Coalition was presented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts highest award, as the Creative Economy Catalyst. In July, 2012 Richard Florida named Worcester as one of the top 20 creative cities in the U.S in The Rise of the Creative Class. Erin currently serves on Governor Patrick’s Creative Economy Council and is a board member of Destination Worcester in addition to many local community organization boards. Erin is a firm believer that creativity sparks the economy and builds community.