MASSCreative Welcomes New Board Chair, Seven New Board Members

Boston Arts & Culture Chief Kara Elliott-Ortega Ascends to Leadership Role 

Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chair

BOSTON, September 21, 2021—MASSCreative is pleased to announce the election of Kara Elliott-Ortega as Board Chair and the appointment of seven new members to its

Board of Directors. Elliott-Ortega, who serves as Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston, replaces Stephen D. Immerman, who stepped down to become Immediate Past Chair. 

Elliott-Ortega is an urban planner and cultural organizer focusing on the role of arts and creativity in community building and government. As the Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston, she oversees the Arts and Culture cabinet. This includes the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, which supports Boston’s diverse artists, organizations, and cultural ecosystem to create a vibrant city where all of Boston’s communities can express creativity and agency. She has served on the MASSCreative Board of Directors since 2019. 

“I’m excited to lead the MASSCreative Board as the Commonwealth’s creative sector recovers from the crushing financial blows of the pandemic. More than ever, artists and cherished arts and cultural organizations need robust advocacy and organizing leadership to ensure their needs and economic contributions are considered in discussions about allocating state and federal pandemic recovery funding,” Elliott-Ortega said. “MASSCreative has been preparing for such an effort since 2012. Thanks to the leadership of my predecessor Stephen Immerman and Executive Director Emily Ruddock, this organization is well-prepared to ensure that arts and culture in Massachusetts is accessible to all—including in our schools—and that our creative workforce is respected and supported.” 

MASSCreative is governed by a 22-member board of directors. In addition to Elliott-Ortega’s move to a leadership position, Harold Steward, executive director and cultural strategist of The Theater Offensive, was elected to serve as Board Clerk. Justin Kang, co-founder and general partner at Visible Hands, and Wayne Kennard, CEO and Co-Founder of Network315, Inc., will remain in their positions as Vice Chair and Treasurer, respectively. 


MASSCreative Officers (Clockwise): Justin Kang, Vice Chair; Wayne Kennard, Treasurer; Harold Steward, Clerk

Founding Board Member Jonathan Rappaport, executive director of Arts|Learning, Natick, will step down from the board, as will Vice Chair Sara Stackhouse, founder of Stackhouse Creative, who joined the board within a year of MASSCreative’s founding. 

“This is the Board we need to meet this pivotal moment,” said MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock. “Our new cohort of board members is experienced, diverse, deeply connected to their communities, youth-focused, and politically savvy. They not only complement the skills and experiences of our remaining board members, they’re poised to build on the visionary leadership of Jonathan and Sara, who helped build MASSCreative into the powerful organization it now is.” 

The newest members of the MASSCreative Board are: 

Jo-Ann W. Davis, JD, EdM, is a retired senior vice president and chief administrative
officer of Baystate Health, Inc. Prior to her work at Baystate Health, Davis was an attorney in private practice with a focus on human resources, employment and labor relations matters.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Art History from Wheaton College, a Master of Education from Harvard University, and a Juris Doctor from Western New England University School of Law. Davis has served on the board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) since 2018; she currently chairs the MCC Grants Committee. 


Rodrigo Guerrero is project manager of Boston BEAM at New England Conservatory, which creates professional pathways for students from groups historically excluded from classical music. He previously served as Creative Youth Development Program Manager for MCC, providing technical assistance and direct consultation to help programs across the commonwealth strengthen the growing field of practice. In his native Venezuela, where he lived until 2015, Guerrero was part of the international musical and educational phenomenon El Sistema, helping arts organizations on five continents to connect governments and grassroots movements to the philosophy of El Sistema founder Jose Antonio Abreu. 

Yinette Guzman is the design and placemaking project manager at North Shore Community Development Corporation, curating and managing new and existing murals at the Punto Urban Art Museum (PUAM). An arts advocate who is passionate about community engagement, Guzman is working to build a deeply connected art museum that both represents the community and is community made. She previously developed 3Dimensional architectural models for Safdie Architects in Somerville for more than 10 years. An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, Guzman holds a BFA in Architecture from Massachusetts College of Art & Design. 

Andréa (Drea) Hudson is the founder and CEO of creative agency Booger Money and a senior marketing manager of global events for HubSpot. With more than 10 years of strategic marketing and branding experience for brands such as Livenation, Google, the Institute of Contemporary Art and more, Hudson has long been committed to finding ways to uplift artists of all types. This includes developing music centric series, spearheading art residency programs, and creating compelling campaigns that place music and art at the center of the experience. 



Christine McCarthy has served as CEO of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the largest presenter of Cape Cod art by national, regional and international artists, since 2001. Previously, she worked in numerous New England galleries and museums, including the Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery at Providence College; the Yale University Art Gallery, The Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY; and Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. McCarthy holds a B.A. from Providence College and an M.A. from Syracuse University. She was an adjunct professor at Boston University’s Metropolitan College, and taught Managing a Visual Arts Organization for 12 years. 

Jessica Vilas Novas is the director of the Lawrence Free Public Library, where she oversees the operations of two branches. Novas has focused her leadership on re-envisioning the Library as a community hub for arts, culture, and life-long learning. Previously, Novas led an intergenerational community writing group, drawing dozens of area residents to weekly meetings. She serves as board president of Elevated Thought, a Lawrence youth development and social justice nonprofit and is currently leading development of the Lawrence Arts Collective. Jessica earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Northeastern University, an M.Ed in Community Engagement from Merrimack College and a master’s in Library Science from Simmons University. 

Marinell Rousmaniere is president and CEO of EdVestors. Marinell has been a key leader in her 12 years with EdVestors, most recently serving as senior vice president for strategic initiatives where she oversaw BPS Arts Expansion and launched EdVestors’ newest strategic initiative in career and technical education. She previously served as executive director of MYTOWN, a creative youth development organization connecting teens to Boston’s diverse history, and worked as a senior staff member in former Mayor Menino’s mayoral initiative on out-of-school time. A graduate of Connecticut College, Marinell also holds an MBA in public and nonprofit management from Boston University.


About MASSCreative

MASSCreative works with artists, cultural councils, arts organizations and the broader creative community to build a Commonwealth where arts and creativity are an expected, recognized, and valued part of everyday life. Working with our coalition of 400 arts and cultural organizations and artists from across the Commonwealth, MASSCreative uses public education and awareness, grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and other civic and political engagement to ensure that arts, culture, and creativity are considered when important policy and political decisions get made at the state and local level.

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in News and Views 2021-09-21 16:43:40 -0400

Community Impact

The Drama Studio is one of a handful of youth theatres in the United States that offers quality, range, and depth in its acting training programs. For Springfield-area youth, the Studio's conservatory program offers an unusual opportunity for training that prepares its graduates (all of whom are college bound) to...