Board

Marty Pottenger (she/her/hers)
Board President
Executive & Artistic Director, Art At Work

Marty Pottenger is a theater artist, playwright, activist, and pioneer of arts-based civic dialogues. She is the founder of Art At Work, a national initiative that puts creativity to work strengthening city governments’ ability to meet challenges of inequity, partisanship, and climate emergency. Marty received an OBIE award for City Water Tunnel #3, a performance and five-year community art project celebrating the building of the largest public works project in the Western Hemisphere, and has been both a MacDowell Fellow and a Headlands Fellow. Her plays have toured the United States and Europe since 1975, including: #PhillySavesEarth (Painted Bride); ABUNDANCE: America & Money (NYC, Philadelphia, Seattle, Burlington, Houston, Providence, Chicago); City Water Tunnel #3 (Obie-award, Judith Anderson Theatre, NYC & ICA, London); Radio Calls (Portland, ME); home land security (Portland, ME); and All The Way Home (Portland, ME). Marty is currently at work on MAINEUSA – a tragic musical comedy about the history of Maine from the Ice Age til now. As told by a cast of 100 community performers and a life-size Right Whale puppet, MAINEUSA will inspire Mainers to come together with a fierce determination to combat climate destruction.

Katy Taylor (she/her/hers)
Board Secretary

Katy Taylor is a longtime supporter of Art At Work, lending her expertise on impact and evaluation design. Her many decades in social justice advocacy includes as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of International Affairs at the New School; as the Director of Program Support at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Adult Education, designing a nationally-respected Reentry Education Curriculum for College and Community Fellowship; and as Director of Leadership and Capacity Building at Literacy Partners, a NY-based nonprofit that strengthens families through a two generation approach to education. Additionally, Katy has served in the Mayor’s Office of Human Capital Development for the City of New York; as a Senior Policy Advisor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and as a Deputy Director of the HIV/AIDS Division of the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

Bev Dacey (she/her/hers)
Board Treasurer

Bev Dacey has served on Art At Work’s Board of Directos since 2009. Previously, Dacey was the bookkeeper for Art At Work, the Finance Director for the Center for Cultural Exchange (2000 – 2006), and the Controller for Wooster Academy in Wooster, MA (1995 – 2000). Since 2007, she has worked and volunteered at AddVerb Productions, Art At Work, and several other local nonprofits.

Lisa Bulthuis (she/her/hers)
Nurse Practitioner, Maine Medical Partners

Lisa Bulthuis has been a citizen of Maine since moving to Portland in the mid-90’s. Originally from Wisconsin, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University, majoring in theater/drama and German. After working in major regional theaters in the Midwest including Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Minnesota Opera, she pursued a career as a nurse practitioner, studying at University of Southern Maine. Although she did a medical mission to perform cervical cancer screening in rural Nicaragua, she was able to practice global health in Lewiston, working at the Family Medicine Residency Program and the school-based health center where she co-advised the Gay-Straight Alliance. Previous board work includes SAFE Maine (Safe Abortions For Everyone), Lyric Music Theater, and Portland Players. Passionate about technical theater, Lisa has worked on productions at Portland Players, Lyric Music Theater, Cast Aside Productions, and Opera Maine. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the well-loved Portland Players in South Portland, Maine.

Lee Chisholm (he/him/his)
Teacher, Friends School of Portland

Lee Chisholm teaches math, science, and social studies in grades seven and eight. Lee joined FSP in 2008 with 13 years of experience in Waldorf education. Prior to his calling to teach, Lee was an attorney for 14 years, practicing in Portland. Lee and his wife, Sukie Rice, a member of Durham Friends Meeting, were co-founding parents of Merriconeag Waldorf School (now Maine Coast Waldorf School). Lee has a BA from Harvard, a JD from University of Maine School of Law, and a Waldorf Teaching Certificate from Antioch New England. A longtime core member of 350Maine.org, Lee has played key leadership roles in organizing rallies, marches, environmental arts projects, strategic planning, local, regional and national outreach. 

Vera Francis, Passamaquoddy (she/her/hers)
Educator & Environmental Activist

Vera J. Francis is a Native American educator, environmental activist, and community planner for the Passamaquoddy people. She resides in Perry, Maine within the Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point Reservation (Sipayik). She is the Community Planner and Economic Development Director at the Passamaquoddy Reservation at Pleasant Point. In her efforts to focus on many of the critical environmental issues that relate to the Passamaquoddy people and in the way that she lives she is a true “keeper of the earth.” As an activist, educator, and environmentalist, Vera has worked tirelessly to restore the health of Passamaquoddy Bay. She worked for many years to keep LNG out of the area and established the non-profit group N’tutlankeyutmonen N’kihtaqmikon which means “We are taking care of our land.” In 2010, Vera was recognized with the People’s Choice Award by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. She also was the recipient of the 2013 Dixon Schoodic Scholar Award, and the 2010 Maine Women Leaders: Social Activist Award (Maine Democrats); and the 2009 Community Leadership: Environmental Justice Award (Maine Sierra Club). Honoring and protecting the natural resources for use by future generations has been intrinsic to the Passamaquoddy people. Vera has taken an active role in the work of the Schoodic River Keepers. She is also a Wabanaki traditional storyteller. 

Azadeh Khalili (she/her/hers)
Principal Consultant, Khalili Consulting

Azadeh Khalili is a mother, activist, human rights advocate, and leading figure in promoting progressive social change and feminism. Azadeh first became involved in human rights after moving from Iran to New York City as a student. As a woman of color, she advocates for a worldview that treasures every human being, and for a perspective that believes in the goodness, smarts, and creativity of all humans. She believes that oppression had a start date and it will have an end date. 

Her unwavering vision for a world without oppression and her passion for social change and liberation motivated her to study Feminism and Political Economy at the New School for Social Research and to pursue a Master’s in Public Health at Columbia University. She has become a leader of social reform through her extensive professional work in human rights NGOs and at senior levels of New York City government. 

As the Founding Executive Director of New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity, Azadeh played a key role in promoting policies and laws that supported women’s economic empowerment, elimination of violence against women, and access to health care and reproductive rights. Azadeh serves on the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY. 

Partnering with UN Women and other international organizations, Azadeh seeks to create a global sisterhood where women are no longer divided based on class, color, sexual orientation, or ethnicity but are empowered to collectively shape and transform international policy to promote women’s liberation.

Joe Lambert (he/him/his)
Executive Director, StoryCenter

Born and raised in Texas, Joe has been active in the Bay Area arts community for the last 25 years as an arts activist, producer, administrator, teacher, writer, and director. In 1986, he co-founded Life On The Water, a successful nonprofit production company that served San Francisco’s diverse communities. Almost ten years later, with then-wife Nina Mullen and colleague Dana Atchley, Joe founded StoryCenter (formerly the Center for Digital Storytelling). Joe has produced over 500 shows, ranging from theatrical runs and single performances, to citywide festivals and digital story screenings. Prior to his career in the arts, he was trained as a community organizer and assisted in numerous local, statewide, and national public policy campaigns on issues of social justice and economic equity. BA, Theater and Political Science, University of California at Berkeley.

Alvan Colón Lespier (he/him/his)
Artistic Director, Pregones Theater

Alvan Colón Lespier is a seasoned theater director, playwright, and producer, and the cherished mentor to multiple generations of artists and arts advocates across all disciplines. As Associate Artistic Director of Pregones/PRTT, he plays a key role in the development of the company’s acting and music ensemble, creative methodology, and original repertory. With formidable creative credentials, depth of knowledge in technical areas, and relationships of import in the field, he is chief ambassador of the company’s Presenting program and captain of its acclaimed theater facilities in The Bronx and Manhattan. Merit distinctions include a Ford Foundation Visionaries Fellowship and the LP21 Maestro Award. He serves on the board of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York.

Robbie McCauley (she/her/hers)
Performer & Playwright

Robbie McCauley, recipient of the IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Award for Solo Performance and selected as a 2012 United States Artists Ford Foundation Fellow, has been an active presence in the American avant-garde theatre for several decades. She directed a critically successful Roxbury Repertory Theater production of “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. She received an OBIE Award and a Bessie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance for her play, Sally’s Rape.

She is widely anthologized including Extreme ExposureMoon Marked and Touched by Sun, and Performance and Cultural Politics, edited respectively by Jo Bonney, Sydne Mahone, and Elin Diamond. One of the early cast members of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf on Broadway, Robbie went on to write and perform regularly in cities across the country and abroad.

Striving to facilitate dialogues on race between local whites and blacks, she created the Primary Sources series in Mississippi, Boston and Los Angeles produced by The Arts Company. In 1998, her “Buffalo Project” is highlighted as one of “The 51 (or So) Greatest Avant-Garde Moments” by The Village Voice, a roster including work by artists such as Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, and John Cage.

Robbie McCauley is Professor Emerita of Emerson College Department of Performing Arts and was the 2014 Monan Professor in Theatre Arts at Boston College.

Diane Ragsdale (she/her/hers)
Director of Cultural Leadership, Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity

Diane Ragsdale is an Assistant Professor of Arts Management and Entrepreneurship in the College of Performing Arts and serves as Program Director for the MA program. She is also currently a doctoral candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam (in the Netherlands), where she lectured 2011-2015 in the cultural economics and sociology of the arts programs.

Alongside her post at the New School Diane is the director of the Cultural Leadership Program at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada. She is also adjunct faculty at Yale University’s Theatre Management Program. In addition to lecturing (in both academic and professional settings) Diane provides a range of advising, research, and education services to the arts and culture sector (in the US and abroad); is a frequent provocateur or interlocutor at arts conferences and symposia around the world; and has contributed articles to various trade publications and blogs over the past decade.

From 2004 – 2010, Diane was a program officer for theater and dance at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in NYC; and, before that, she served as managing director of the contemporary performing arts center On the Boards (Seattle) and executive director of an eclectic music festival in the small resort town of Sandpoint, Idaho. She also held part-time stints at a handful of other US music, arts, and film festivals (Sundance, Seattle International Film Festival, WOMAD USA, and Bumbershoot). Early in her career Diane trained and worked as a theatermaker.

Diane divides her time between the USA (New York) and the Netherlands, where her husband is based.