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Board + Staff

Board of Trustees

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Lois Russell

President

Lois is a contemporary basketmaker whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in private collections including the Kamm Collection. Her work has been featured in 500 Baskets and Fiber Art Now and was the Category Winner in the 2016 Excellence in Fiber Awards.

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Two of her pieces are included in Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in American. In addition to her studio work, Lois has taught basketry at Haystack, Arrowmont, Snow Farm, and North Country Studio Workshops. Lois has juried and curated basketry exhibitions and served as the President of the National Basketry Organization for three years.

Lois has been an exhibitor at the Society’s CraftBoston several times and received the SA+C’s Award of Excellence in 2015.

Before becoming a studio artist, Lois was a journalist writing primarily about education for national publications including the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, and the San Jose Mercury. In the 1980s, she served as an advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education on a number of national education reports. She has written for national craft magazines about fiber art and basketry.

Lois has a long history of civic involvement. She was board president of Young Audiences of Massachusetts and served two terms on the Lexington, Massachusetts, School Committee. She was the non-scientist member of the Internal Review Board at Children’s Hospital Boston for over 20 years and served four terms at Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. Lois was on the board of CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) and joined the board of Penland School of Craft in 2017.

With degrees from Simmons College and Stanford University, Lois has taught writing at the secondary and university levels. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Gary Roberts

Vice President, Chair of Strategic Planning, Chair of DEI

Gary has a long career in higher education administration and is an active volunteer for several arts and cultural organizations in the Boston area. He currently works at the MIT Sloan School of Management as Director of Faculty and Research Services, where he develops strategy for and oversees a broad array of operational and resource planning functions that support administrative excellence, faculty engagement and development, and research capacity for the school.

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Prior to joining MIT, he worked at Tufts University as Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, and before then, held a number of positions at Harvard University over thirteen years, including Assistant Dean for Centers in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Associate Secretary of the University in the Office of the Governing Boards.

As a volunteer, Gary has served as the chair of the Medford Arts Council since 2014 and helped lead this municipal commission to become honored as the 2016 Local Cultural Council of the Year for Massachusetts in recognition of its dedication to community arts and culture. In addition to his responsibilities as Council Chair, he is an advocate for bringing public art and creative placemaking to the city, and actively encourages greater connectivity among the many stakeholders in the local arts and culture community. Gary also serves on the Leadership Council for MASSCreative, a statewide non-profit advocacy organization.

Gary earned a Ph.D. in English literature and languages from Brandeis University, where he specialized in modern and contemporary poetry. He is an active poet and translator of poetry. Gary’s lifelong interest in the visual arts is matched by a deep enthusiasm for many craft media, especially contemporary ceramics.

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Polly Allen

Treasurer

Polly left the corporate world in 1998 after a successful career in the apparel industry specializing in product development, merchandising, and design. Since her “retirement,” she has made a second career of volunteering her graphic design and financial skills to many craft organizations.

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She is currently Treasurer of the Society of Arts & Crafts and serves on the Boards of North Country Studio Workshops and Snow Farm. Past board positions include the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+), the Penland School of Craft, the National Basketry Organization (NBO), and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.

Polly has taught several Fiber workshops including, Pastepaper, Boxmaking, Paper Basketweaving, and Floor Cloths. Polly describes herself as an “arts advocate” dedicated to helping sustain the careers of craft artists, many of whom have their work in her private ceramics, fiber, and wood colelction. Polly lives in Boston, MA.

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Paulette Werger

Board of Trustees

Paulette is a metalsmith living in New Hampshire. Her work has been exhibited widely, including with the Chazen Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery of Craft, the Fuller Craft Museum, and at Society of Arts + Crafts. Paulette has received numerous awards and permanent collections, including the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, and the AVA Gallery and Art Center.

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Paulette received her B.S. in painting and sculpture from the College of Saint Rose and Skidmore College in NY, and her M.F.A. in Art Metal from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Paulette exhibits and sells her work both nationally and internationally and teaches workshops in jewelry making and metalsmithing techniques.

She is a founding member of Metalpeople Studio in Madison, WI. Her current studio, Metalpeople East, is located in Lebanon, NH. She serves on the Boards of Trustees for the Society of Arts + Crafts in Boston, MA, and for the Alliance for the Visual Arts in Lebanon, NH.

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Efharis (Effie) Alepedis

Board of Trustees

Effie is a contemporary jeweler who received her Bachelor of Education and teaching certification K-12 from Tufts University, and her Master of Fine Arts from The Rhode Island School of Design. She lives in Boston and has a studio in her home where she makes jewelry that she exhibits in the United States and internationally.

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She became a board member in 2014 and is currently serving her second consecutive term.  She has been involved with a number of committees, such as CraftsBoston, the Education Committee, and the Retail/Marketing committee.

Effie has exhibited her jewelry at the Society of Arts + Crafts and her work has been acquired by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.  She has juried work for an exhibition held at the Society of International Jewelry Artists at Alchimia, a jewelry school in Florence, Italy.

Effie has been actively making and collecting contemporary jewelry for over 22 years and is a member of The Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and The American Craft Council (ACC).

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Jennifer (Jenne) Rayburn Billings

Past President

Jenne is a goldsmith, enamelist, and interior designer based in Melrose, MA. She has a BA from the University of Washington and a MS from the University of Massachusetts. Prior to starting her metal art and jewelry business Jennifer worked in Boston as an Interior Designer at Gensler, where she led the Regional and Boston Workplace Practice Area and the Regional and Boston Project Management Committees and was the Boston Office Workplace Studio Director.

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Jennifer served as a Senior Designer in the Boston Office, on the Design Steering Committee, and on the Sustainable Design Task Force. In the field of Interior Design, Jennifer was on the Board of the International Interior Design Association, serving as Boston City Center Director, Chair of the Business Leaders Breakfast, Vice President and President, and on the Board of Directors of the Boston Architectural College. She is an interior design educator and has been an adjunct faculty instructor, thesis advisor, and review juror for interior design studios at Endicott College, the Boston Architectural College, the Suffolk School of Art and Design, the Wentworth Institute of Technology, and the University of Massachusetts.

Currently, Jennifer serves as a consultant on corporate and residential interior design projects. Jennifer is a member artist of the Fort Point Arts Community and Metalwerx. She is married to Josh Billings and has two teenage sons, Max and Ari. She has been making and collecting contemporary jewelry for over 22 years.

She is a member of The Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and The American Craft Council (ACC).

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Lorraine Bressler

Board of Trustees

Lorraine is a passionate collector of fine craft, with an emphasis on contemporary ceramics and glass. She is a member of many Boston and New York museums, and enthusiastically attends shows and galleries in the New England and New York region.

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Much of her time is spent at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she has volunteered for the past 25 years as a Gallery Instructor, working with students of all ages and as an adult guide. In addition, she serves on the American, Asian, and Contemporary visiting committee, and is an advisor at both the MFA and The Fuller Craft Museum.

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Ellen-Deane Cummins

Board of Trustees

Ellen-Deane lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, and has been a summer resident on Lake George, in the town of Bolton Landing, for over 35 years. She was a Boston area resident for 23 years. Ellen-Deane is an avid collector of fine art and contemporary craft.  She also has a passionate interest in classical music.

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Ellen-Deane has been an active member of many non-profit organizations in New York City, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, and upstate New York. She has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Society of Arts + Crafts for over 20 years and became an Honorary Life Trustee in 2014. Ellen-Deane is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hyde Collection, a historic home and fine art museum in Glens Falls, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Union College Concert Series in Schenectady, and an immediate past member of the Board of Directors of the Saratoga Chamber Players.

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Jeannine Falino

Board of Trustees

Jeannine is an independent curator working at the intersection of craft, design, and art in American culture. A sampling of her recent exhibitions include Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design and What Would Mrs. Webb Do? A Founder’s Vision (Museum of Arts and Design, 2011 and 2014), Edge of the Sublime: Enamels by Jamie Bennett (Fuller Craft Museum, 2008).

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She was co-curator of Gilded New York: Design, Fashion & Society (Museum of the City of New York, 2013) and Artistic Luxury: Fabergé – Tiffany – Lalique (Cleveland Museum of Art, 2008). She curated New York Silver, Then and Now (Museum of the City of New York)in a dialogue between contemporary artists and the historic silver collection of MCNY (2017). Her upcoming exhibition is Betty Cooke, The Line and the Circle, on the legendary Baltimore jeweler. The exhibition will open at the Walters Museum of Art.

Jeannine’s interest in the Society of Arts + Crafts stems from her years as the Peter and Carolyn Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She also contributed an essay for the exhibition Inspiring Reform, Boston’s Arts and Crafts Movement (Davis Museum and Cultural Center, 1997) and is an authority on the arts and crafts era in Boston.

Jeannine teaches the history of American ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design and the history of American Craft at Parsons, The New School. She serves on the steering committee of the New York Silver Society and the Friends of American Art at Yale.

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Lynne Francis-Lunn

Board of Trustees

Lynne is an accomplished artist and successful business manager with the ability to creatively connect these communities. Most recently, she was the Director of Merchandising and the Director of Licensing and Product Development at the Peabody Essex Museum.  She coordinated activities and served as liaison to major donors, volunteers, and the museum’s Fashion Visiting Committee. She is a past president of the New England Chapter of the Museum Store Association.

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Exhibitions and awards that have been sponsored by the National Basketry Organization include 2019 Tradition and Innovation in Basketry 10, 2017 All Things Considered 9, Basketry in the 21st Century, 2015, All Things Considered VIII, and 2020 Members in Print II.  She received a Certificate of Excellence by the National Basketry Organization, awarded by Lloyd E. Herman, Founding Director of the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian for her entry in All Things Considered 9.

Lynne received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Textile Design from the University of Massachusetts and studied sculptural weaving at MASS College of Art.

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Beverly Gomes

Board of Trustees

Beverly has been a maker of craft objects since she was a child. She became a collector while still in college. She initially went to Pratt Institute to study design but abandoned the field in favor of psychology. With a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, she served as a research psychologist at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and New England Medical Center/Tufts Medical School.

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Subsequently, she earned an MBA from Babson College and joined Fidelity Investments, where she led numerous initiatives in technology, finance, and strategic planning. She collects craft at every opportunity and take classes in craft techniques for relaxation.

Beverly began working with SA+C as a CraftBoston intern in 2009, and joined the Board of Trustees in 2014.  She has created fiber sculpture artwork and has exhibited her pieces in juried shows. In addition, she has been a docent at the Fuller Craft Museum, an organizer of artist open studios in her community of Lexington, and an organizer of exhibits with fiber artists. She continues to be an avid collector.

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Miguel Gómez‐Ibáñez

Board of Trustees

Miguel is President Emeritus of North Bennet Street School, the first graduate of the school to have served as its President. During his tenure, the school has established partnerships with numerous cultural and educational institutions in the Boston area and, in September 2013, completed a $28 million development project that moved the school from its home of 132 years on North Bennet Street to a new facility on North Street in Boston’s North End, bringing all eight professional training programs under one roof for the first time in a decade.

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Miguel successfully combined a career practicing architecture with his North Bennet Street School training as a cabinet maker to become a nationally recognized designer and maker of studio furniture. His work has been featured in numerous journals including House and Garden, Good Housekeeping, American Craft, and Fine Woodworking, and has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country. He has contributed articles and essays on furniture and design to a number of books and magazines, including Fine Wood Working, Woodworker’s Journal, and Furniture Studio. He is a past president of The Furniture Society and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and the American Craft Council.

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Amy Nguyen

Board of Trustees

Amy’s life work is at the intersection of mind, body, and material. She brings together line, shape, color, form, and pattern into her fine and functional textile art with firsthand knowledge of the capacity of natural materials and curiosity of the human body. She integrates movement and stillness, creating layers of sensory experience for those who come into contact with her clothing and surroundings.

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Honoring age-old tradition along with sharing human experience and vision is integral to Amy’s work. She has studied with textile masters Yoshiko Wada, Akemi Cohn, Kiranada Sterling Benjamin, Catharine Ellis, and chemist Joy Boutrup, and brings these roots together with an understanding of mindfulness and body movement. Years before her current artistic practice, after initially pursuing a degree in marine biology, Amy connected with the colors and patterns of nature and obtained her degree in studio art. She went on to take formative classes at Penland School of Crafts and Arrowmont School of Arts + Crafts in shibori, katazome, and roketsuzome with these textile masters. Her creative path continually aligned with her mind/body practice and coalesced after traveling to Japan. Amy inquires deeply and finds discovery through her daily studio and mind/body practices.

In 2005, Amy began exhibiting her textile art and has received awards from the American Craft Council, American Craft Exposition, CraftBoston, Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show, and the Smithsonian Craft Show.  Amy has guest-lectured and led workshops at many institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts.

She lives and works from her studio in the historic arts community of Fort Point, Boston with her husband Ky and their dog Kuma.

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Family Portrait in Chilmark MA, 2013

Judith H. Obermayer

Board of Trustees

Judith  is a former consultant to small high technology companies in the areas of strategic planning, financial management, and the commercialization of new technology. For many years she was associated with Moleculon Research Corp. (an R & D company in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields) as an officer, a director, and as a director of Moleculon, Inc., a public spinoff, later sold to an Australian company.

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She is a former Chair of the Enterprise Forum of Cambridge and served on the Board of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation. For many years she was a board member and treasurer of Bend the Arc: a Jewish Partnership for Justice, a national social justice organization that works toward a fair, just, and compassionate America. Currently a member of the Launchpad Venture Group, she is particularly interested in funding women owned and women led businesses. In addition to SAC, she is a member of Social Venture Partners, a philanthropic organization that provides both money and professional volunteer assistance and a director and past chair of the board of Jewish Vocational Service in Boston.

Her interest in collecting began with a piece of glass by John Lewis she purchased in the mid 70’s and has now expanded beyond glass but that is her particular interest.

She holds a BS degree from Carnegie-Mellon and a PhD in mathematics from Harvard University.  She has three grown children and five grandchildren.

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Arthur Pressman

Board of Trustees

Arthur  and his wife Deborah moved from Philadelphia to Massachusetts in 1997.  He became a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP in Boston in 2003, having previously been a partner at Buchanan Ingersoll PC, in Pennsylvania.  Before that, he had his own firm of 20 lawyers in Philadelphia for 25 years.

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His legal career has included teaching law since 2006, first at Babson College and then at Boston University. His wife and he currently split their time between their homes in East Dennis and South Natick.

His hobbies include gardening, reading, writing, and charitable work, including Board Chair of South Coastal Counties Legal Services, which provides free legal services to the poor.

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Jo Stealey

Board of Trustees

Jo is an artist, teacher, and curator. Additionally, she has a PhD in Art Education. She spent more than 35 years at the University of Missouri. During her tenure at MU she was head of the fiber program prior to leading the Art Department and finally, becoming the founding Director of the School of  Visual Studies, until fall 2019 when she retired.

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Prior to her employment at MU, she was the founding director for two Craft Centers in Columbia, MO and St. Louis, MO. Her service to her community includes the board for the National Basketry Association, where she coordinated exhibitions for the organization as well as other local and regional not-for-profit arts committees. She is known for her detailed multi-media work using textiles and handmade paper. Her work is exhibited widely and appears in many private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. She is a contributing author for textile journals, teaches workshops across the country; lectures on contemporary American basketry as well as curates and juries exhibitions. Most recently she was the co-curator and co-editor for the traveling exhibition and catalogue, Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America.

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Staff

Brigitte Martin, Executive Director
director@societyofcrafts.org

Karina Burston, Deputy Director
deputydirector@societyofcrafts.org

Jean Seestadt, CraftBoston Manager
craftboston@societyofcrafts.org

Zoe Langosy, Marketing, Graphic Design
marketing3@societyofcrafts.org

Julian K. Jarboe, Marketing, Development
marketing2@societyofcrafts.org

Molly Burroughs, Administrative Assistant
adminassistant1@societyofcrafts.org

Joan Ciolino, Bookkeeper
bookkeeper@societyofcrafts.org

Martin Gredinger, CFO
consultingcfo@societyofcrafts.org