Empowering teenage girls through mentoring and the arts
Since 1997, Arts In Reach has provided teenage girls in the Greater Seacoast of New Hampshire a platform to develop both their creative freedom and power of voice in a positive, supportive setting. Our vision is to build a community in which all young women are respected, supported, and enriched throughout their teenage years. Through innovative teaching and mentoring techniques, our young women thrive as they express their own authentic identities.
Frequently Asked Questions about AIR
What is Arts in Reach?
Arts in Reach (AIR) is an organization dedicated to empowering girls through the arts. We provide several programs throughout the year that are designed to unleash their creativity while building their confidence, compassion, and communication skills.
How long has Arts in Reach been around?
Arts in Reach was founded in 1997 by UNH art history graduates Kristin Forselius and Amanda Tappan as a summer day camp that focused on visual arts and art history. Learn more about the history of Arts in Reach in the “Our History” section on this page.
What types of programs does Arts in Reach offer?
AIR offers several visual and performance arts options throughout the year so that each teen can discover her own unique talents and abilities as she explores her artist within. Learn more about the programs at Arts in Reach here.
What is the age limit for participants?
Arts in Reach programs are currently for teenagers from 13-18 years of age.
What is the cost?
Since its founding in 1997, the programs at Arts in Reach are free of costs to participants and transportation from schools to program sites can often be arranged. For more information please call (603) 433-4278 or email us at [email protected]
How do you sign up for one of the programs?
To participate in any of the programs you can apply online, download and mail the application, or ask your school guidance counselor for the form. The completed form must be signed by your parent or guardian. Learn more about how to sign up for an AIR program here.
Does Arts in Reach provide transportation?
Transportation from schools to program sites can often be arranged. For more information please call (603) 433-4278 or email us at [email protected]
Do you offer programming during school break?
Yes. We have programs for both February and April breaks. Learn more about Arts in Reach programs here.
We Support These Platforms
The teenage years are formative, life-changing, and confusing. Girls are transitioning from childhood to womanhood. It’s a time where friends matter and expressing yourself is paramount.
Our goal is to empower girls to be confident in themselves and their abilities; to feel like they are worthy, special, and important every day; to build resiliency to face life’s challenges; and to make healthy and positive life choices. We do this through group mentoring with a focus on group dynamics as girls learn to relate to one another, communicate effectively, and treat one another with respect. Small ratios of instructors to participants also allow us to give each girl individualized attention.
Art inspires! Art is incredible for everyone and especially for teenagers, who are in a period of their lives in which they need to express who they are. Art provides a safe outlet for teens to take risks, speak up, and be recognized for their unique talents. We provide meaningful experiences led by professional artists.
AIR’s fourth platform is our greater community, including the girls, their families, our partners, and our supporters. Our goal is to build a community that is more supportive of all young women and one that sustains AIR in its important mission.
- Help girls develop positive self-images, enabling them to feel confident about who they are and the life choices they make
- Provide girls with a nurturing and safe environment where they can thrive
- Present quality educational programming after-school and during unsupervised school vacations
- Integrate youth into the community
- Inspire young women to excel by connecting them with strong and healthy role models
- Provide access to the arts for girls who otherwise would not have the opportunity
- Develop the ability to be reflective and to set life goals
- Increase literacy and critical thinking skills
- Develop strong resistance skills to help our young women avoid risky behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse, as well as teen pregnancy
- Build strong relationships and conflict resolution skills
- Gain knowledge and understanding of the arts and cultural expression
- Identify local art resources and be inspired by local artists
- Volunteer in service to community to demonstrate the potential of youth
Arts In Reach was established in 1997 by UNH art history graduates Kristin Forselius and Amanda Tappan as a summer day camp that focused on visual arts and art history. Both Kristin and Amanda wanted to serve girls from low- to moderate-income families because they felt strongly that the arts should be accessible to all. They began developing Arts In Reach three months before the summer vacation and hit the pavement hard to fundraise. Liberty Mutual signed on as the first corporate sponsor and remains today as AIR’s longest continuing corporate sponsor. With their support and that of friends and family, during that first summer, Amanda and Kristin raised almost $2,000, enough to buy art supplies, pay for weekly field trips, and rent a space.
By July 1, there were nine girls, ages 12-14, on the roster and six weeks of programming planned, including outdoor painting on the Isles of Shoals, a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and several workshops led by volunteer artists. The program was free to participants, as is continued today.
That first summer camp immediately became popular and quickly sparked the interest of local schools and other families in need. The initial program not only raised participants’ cultural awareness, but to everyone’s surprise, it also made the girls feel stronger about their identity and what they could accomplish. Their family and peer relationships improved, and they had a renewed interest in school. These unexpected results became the basis for AIR’s mentoring approach, using the arts as the platform for success.
Today, Arts In Reach today offers 8 annual programs in dance, theater, songwriting, singing, visual arts and creative writing. AIR balances positive youth development and artistic goals, values the process of creating art over the product, and commits to making programs accessible to lower income youth by charging no fees and assisting in transportation.
Mary-Jo (MJ) Monusky Executive Director
University of New Hampshire, B.S., Business Administration
As a former partner in an arts-based business and one of the founding members of Art Esprit, an organization of visual and literary artists, MJ understands the uplifting and transformative power of the arts. She began her career in New York City as an accessory buyer for retail department stores, later working as a wholesale jewelry salesperson selling to regional and national chains. After 16 years, MJ returned to New Hampshire to take over part of her dad’s convenience store business. She, along with two partners, also started up artstream LLC, a business which offers art classes for children and adults, graphic and web design services, and contemporary artwork. MJ’s community volunteer experience includes the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce – board member and treasurer; Rochester Economic Development Commission – member; Art Esprit – treasurer; Community Organization for Rochester Enhancement (now Rochester Main Street) – president; and the Strafford County Homeless Shelter – shelter volunteer. MJ and her husband, Pete, along with their big dog named Daisy, live in Portsmouth and Hebron.
First Theater Experience: Seeing “Brigadoon” as a child at the Rochester Opera House
Favorite Ice Cream: #1 Rum Raisin and Runner Up- Maple Walnut
Rebecca Romanoski Program Director
University of New Hampshire, M.Ed. Secondary Education, BA English Teaching
Becca grew up in Southern NH and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with young women in her own community. During her graduate program, Becca gained experience teaching middle and high school level English, while focusing her research on the integration of visual arts into the language arts curriculum. After completing her studies at UNH, Becca served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the New Outlook Teen Center in Exeter, NH, where she worked with the center’s Young Women’s Adventure Group and coordinated service learning opportunities for teens. Becca served again as an AmeriCorps VISTA for AIR for two years, and has since become our program director extrodinaire!
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Grapenut
Favorite Harry Potter Character: Professor McGonagall
Melaney Brown Program Manager
University of New Hampshire, BA Psychology
Melaney grew up in a small town in Connecticut and traveled to New Hampshire for college. In 2017, Melaney Graduated with a bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire. During her time at UNH Melaney worked at multiple non-profit organizations including YourStory International and On Belay. When she isn’t working at Arts In Reach you can most likely find her hiking with friends and family or playing with her chihuahua Libby :). Melaney is excited to be staying at AIR after completing her VISTA year and taking on the role as Program Manager.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Soft Serve Black Raspberry
Favorite Food: Pad Thai
Cantey Smith Program Development AmeriCorps VISTA
The New School for Liberal Arts, BA Anthropology
Cantey Smith grew up in New Castle and attended high school at Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy in Dover. She moved to New Hampshire from New Orleans with her family when she was six years old. Cantey believes experiencing this big cultural change at a young age inspired her to study human culture, relationships, and life cycles. She graduated from The New School for Liberal Arts in 2016 with a BA in Anthropology. Cantey has interned as a show host and co-op organizer with Radio Free Brooklyn; wrote for a student-led online newspaper; she was President of The New School Zine Publishing Collective, and made her own collaborative volume of zines. Cantey loves to sing and play guitar, practice audio production and record her own music; she also produced an ethnographic podcast for her Senior Thesis. Cantey is so excited to be serving with AIR as an Americorps VISTA in her home state in the artistic community she grew up in.
Favorite Winnie The Pooh Character: Piglet
Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream: Rocky Road
Shannon Napier Business Development AmeriCorps VISTA
Kenyon College, BA Anthropology
Shannon grew up in western Massachusetts, attended college in Ohio, and has resided in southern Maine for the past year. While at Kenyon College, she majored in Anthropology and also took numerous classes in studio art. Shannon spent half of her junior year in Galway, Ireland, where she had the opportunity to study Irish music, dance, and culture. She has volunteer experience as a classroom aid at an elementary school and as a produce distributor at a food bank. In her free time, Shannon enjoys drawing portraits (she is working on a series of one hundred faces!) and playing volleyball by the ocean. She is looking forward to an exciting year of service at Arts In Reach!
Favorite Smells: Campfires and Clean Laundry
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food
Catherine Stewart Theatre Director
Catherine, a native of Scotland, emigrated to the US in 2012 and soon settled in the Seacoast of NH. Catherine is a writer and director for both theatre and film, making work that aims to ignite social and political change. She has maintained teaching and facilitation as part of her creative practice for the past six years working with all age and ability groups in educational institutions, community settings and with non-profit arts organisations. She is part of the Teaching Artist Roster for New Hampshire, and specialises in cross-curricular learning that utilises the arts. Catherine co-owns a media production company, Film Unbound, with her husband Michael, creating fiction, documentary and promotional work for clients. She is currently in production for their first feature documentary about the American Public Education System. She is a regular contributor to numerous media outlets including writing for the Doing Good blog for Stay Work Play NH, and she is the creator of the Females in Film article series on NewEnglandFilm.com.
Catherine’s spare time is often filled by her passion for advocacy, volunteering for organizations such as Slow Food Seacoast and RESULTS, but you might also find her cooking, knitting or planning her next travel adventure. You can follow Catherine on Twitter: @MakeCreateMore
Cara Cabral Lead Visual Artist
Cara Cabral is a mixed media artist living in Madbury, NH. Prior to teaching, Cara did exhibition preparation for the UNH Museum of Art and worked as a studio assistant at a painting conservation studio in Maine. While Cara thoroughly enjoyed her work with art objects, she felt it lacked interpersonal connection. She yearned to refocus the care and attention she had for inanimate objects, toward human beings. She first volunteered for Arts in Reach in Summer 2014 and her connection to the organization and its aims was immediate. Cara frequented a similar youth arts nonprofit as a teenager, and credits that experience with helping her though adolescent distresses. She enjoys providing the AIR teens with memorable projects and field trips that they may not otherwise experience. Cara holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the University of New Hampshire. For her senior thesis she built large scale installations symbolic of her interior life and transmuted those installations to a two-dimensional surface. She was awarded the UNH Museum of Art Fellowship in 2011. When Cara’s not in her studio building and painting from diorama sculptures, she can be found running her picture framing business, serving on the Wrong Brain Board of Directors, buying/selling antiques, and immersing herself in the beauty of the New Hampshire landscape.
Sam Paolini Lead Visual Artist
Sam Paolini is a visual artist, illustrator, printmaker, clothing designer, community organizer, curator, publisher, and teacher living in Dover, New Hampshire. They have been a professional artist since dropping out of Massachusetts College of Art in 2008. In March 2010 they founded Wrong Brain, a zine featuring the art and writing of local creatives. Wrong Brain has since expanded to 9 zines, 3 audio compilations, annual alternative art fairs, gallery shows, poetry readings, and other multimedia art events. From 2010-2013, Sam directed the curatorial committee of 30 Under 30, a locally renowned annual art exhibition featuring the Seacoast’s best emerging artists. They have been teaching art at the non-profit art center Main Street Art in Newfields, NH since 2011. In 2012, the children’s book Dream Detectives: Something Funny About the Cake was published, featuring 30 pages of illustrations by Sam. They are resident artist for rock band People Skills, and have also worked for Dean Ween and Tera Melos. Sam’s work can be viewed online at www.sampaolini.com.
Rachel Pantazis Lead Vocal Instructor
Rachel Pantazis is a voice coach, freelance marketing manager, and professional performer from Portsmouth, NH. After attending Plymouth State University for a degree in English, Rachel moved to Portsmouth to pursue private music education at the Seacoast Academy of Music in North Hampton. She has performed recently at such locations as The Seacoast Repertory Theatre, Patrick Dorow Productions, The Firehouse Center for the Arts, The Ogunquit Playhouse, The Court Street Theatre, and she will add The Hackmatack Playhouse to her list this summer playing Vi Petty in their July production of The Buddy Holly Story. Rachel believes in a healthy mind and body as the building blocks for successful singing technique and strives to build her singers up with confidence and scientific knowledge of their instrument. Rachel is lucky enough to live in downtown Portsmouth with her constantly supportive partner in crime and fellow performer, Andrew Burton Kelley.
Roxanne O’Connor SongWorks 2015 Lead Musician
University of New Hampshire, Bachelor of Music, Music Education
Roxanne grew up in a household that fostered a love of music (you might see her dad out and about, performing with his blues band or playing for the AiR girls). As a high school senior project, she started a choir for non-singers. Passing her love of music onto her self-named “non musical” peers was such a powerful experience that she changed her college major from performance to education. Roxanne graduated from the UNH in 2009 and has been working in the school system in some form or another since then. She is currently the music teacher at Bow Elementary School, as well as the director of both the Junior and Senior Choirs at Lee Church Congregational. When she isn’t making music, Roxanne enjoys watching football with her husband Dan, snowboarding, and playing with her adorable pug, Gronk. She is thankful for the opportunity to work with the AiR girls – it refreshed her love of music and reminded her why she decided on this career path.
Favorite Ice Cream: Cookies n’ Cream
Favorite Animal: Owl
Stephanie Lanzenby Theatre Director
Stephanie received a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and Performing Arts from Emerson College in Boston, MA and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from The New School for Social Research, New York, NY. Stephanie is a curriculum based Theater Workshop Teacher with the City of Portsmouth and created a workshop to fulfill a need in our educational system for increased learning through the arts. All three elementary schools in the Portsmouth school district take part in the workshops. As the Assistant Director of Education with Patrick Dorow Productions, Stephanie co-directed and developed the summer camp program, culminating in performances of two musicals, as well as co-created the after-school program for ages five through thirteen. Since 2011, Stephanie has been the After-School Enrichment Theater Teacher for the City of Portsmouth and is the Director and Creator of the Dondero Drama Club.
Larissa Fogg Dance Choreographer
Larissa has been studying dance for 15 years, with the last four years spent in advanced classes in Boston. Her favorite styles are hip hop, contemporary, and jazz. She attended master classes and dance intensives with lots of well-known professionals in Boston, NYC, London, and Buenos Aires. She currently performs with a professional dance company out of Boston (Boston Community Dance Project) and was a summer intern with them for two years. Prior to that, she performed with Boston Youth Moves (a pre-professional company) for three years as well as with many local dance schools. Larissa has been teaching dance classes for the past four years. She was hired as the dance teacher/choreographer for Arts In Reach in 2015 for their after school program and vacation camp. She also teaches hip hop at the Kittery Community Center as well as private and semi-private classes. She has a strong grasp of the history and culture of hip hop. Larissa is passionate about dance and loves to share her enthusiasm and talent with dance students of all ages.
Anna Nuttall Visual Artist
Anna has her B.S. in Art Education from Plymouth State University and is currently working to complete her M.Ed in Integrated Arts. Always enjoying teaching and working with children, Anna pursued a career that melded the two most meaningful areas of her life together: art and education. She loves living and working in Portsmouth and has a particular passion for in developing opportunities for area youth to develop meaningful relationships with local charities, organizations and individual artists through partnership-based arts projects and programs. Over the past 15 years she has served on the Board of Art-Speak, and as visual arts instructor at Little Harbour Elementary School in Portsmouth, Chair of the Department of Visual Arts for the Portsmouth Public Schools, Director of Visual Arts Education at PMAC. She currently teaches visual arts at Portsmouth Middle School.
Natalie Safley Theatre Director
Natalie has been a consumer of the Arts since her mother put her in a drama class when she was 14 years old. At that moment her life changed forever! Natalie holds a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Stage Management and a MA in Theatre Education both from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Additionally, she acquired a MA in Directing from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. Life has taken her on many adventures however teaching and directing theatre have been at the heart of everything for the last nineteen years. She has taught theatre in high schools in Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and is currently the Theatre Director at Freeport High School in Freeport, Maine. Additional teaching endeavors include: Assistant Professor, Northern Virginia Community College, Adjunct Professor Southern New Hampshire University and Adjunct Professor NHTI, Concord’s Community College. She resides in Portsmouth, NH with her husband and two small children where they try to spend as much time as possible outside.
Sarah Duclos Dance Choreographer
Sarah Duclos is a freelance New England based choreographer and dance educator who holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Theatre and Dance from the University of New Hampshire. As a young dancer, Duclos worked directly with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange during their two year residency leading up to The Shipyard Project – sparking a lifelong interest in site-specific, community-based dance work. While studying at UNH, Duclos founded Neoteric Dance Collaborative (NEO) a multi-disciplinary dance company with a mission to stop dance from disappearing in rural and suburban communities by building community through the art of dance. NEO has performed Duclos’ choreography on stages in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and at City Center in New York City. Duclos has worked as a freelance performer and choreographer, for both theatre and concert dance, and as a dance educator, notably working as a master teaching artist for Boston Ballet’s Education and Community Initiatives, a faculty member at Phillips Exeter Academy’s department of Theater and Dance – where she served as Interim Director of Dance during the 2015-2016 academic year and internationally as a dance facilitator at the Abhainn Ri Festival of Participation and Inclusion in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. She specializes in teaching classical ballet (Vaganova method), choreography and composition, dance history and Giordano jazz technique. Duclos was appointed to the juried New Hampshire Arts in Education Roster in 2016 and continues to produce, direct and teach with Neoteric Dance Collaborative. http://www.vimeo.com/
Ree Katrak Visual Artist
Ree Katrak was born in San Francisco, California. Ree works primarily in the medium of print making, but thinks of herself as a painter who uses the press as another tool, akin to a brush or palette knife. Her work life was in the field of graphic design and now devotes herself entirely to her own artistic work. She has had solo shows on both coasts as well as group shows in Maine and New Hampshire. She sits on the Board of the New Hampshire Art Association and is a member of the Ogunquit Art Association. She has had the pleasure of participating in the Arts in Reach program as an instructor and guide for the last two years. Examples of her work may be seen on reehallkatrak.com
Elissa Margolin SongWorks Musician
Elissa Margolin is a singer-songwriter from Portsmouth, NH. With 18 years of classical piano training and a passion for the acoustic guitar, Elissa blends these instruments and her lyrics with the talents of many area musicians. EDGE Magazine and the Seacoast Media Group awarded Elissa the Spotlight Award for “Best Singer-Songwriter” in 2015 and most recently named her latest CD with her band, River Sister, one of the best releases in 2017. Elissa has been a guest artist for AIR’s arts intensive 2013, SongWorks 2014, 2015 and 2016 and is the past president of the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center. You can find Elissa performing around the region with River Sister and at home practicing her cello.
Andrea Szirbick SongWorks Musician
Andrea describes her music as “folk with a twist.” This Dover-based singer songwriter frolics through country, pop, bluegrass, and rock, her lifting vocals offering up naked-hearted, sultry, sometimes downright silly lyrics that reveal with glassy vulnerability her path through life and love. Her original compositions feature guitar, ukulele, piano, or banjo, often accompanied by at least one member of her band “Andrea’s Spectacles.” Andrea has released two albums in two years – I am here (2011) and who i am (2012), and was recently nominated for three Spotlight Awards, including Songwriter of the Year. She has worked with AIR in past summers as well, and occasionally keeps us all smiling with her ukulele tunes at AIR events!
Christine Petrucci Songworks Musician
Christine received a B.M.Ed. from Lowell Sate College, piano major and M.M. from the University of Lowell. She has taught both elementary and secondary music in Chelmsford, MA public schools. Ms. Pertucci has also been a professional accompanist, music director, and arranger for soloists, dance companies and performing vocal groups since age 12. During her high-school years she played bass guitar, keyboard, trumpet, and performed vocals in an all-girls rock band, “The Empires,” who toured throughout New England as opening acts for major headliners such as “Cream” and “Vanilla Fudge.” In 2001, Ms. Petrucci founded Seacoast Academy of Music in North Hampton, NH where she remains its director and continues to teach piano.
Joe Young SongWorks Small Group Musician
In a world where glitter and glam is imposed on the masses liberally and frequently, it’s comforting to have some semblance of “real” to cut through all the capricious noise. New Hampshire native, Joe Young is that element of real. He is the guide – lending all those who take the care to listen – to legitimate six-string, word-spun accord. From standard pop-folk, to soul searching ballads, and a smattering of inquisitive rambling Americana, Young plays music that takes you on a journey. The destination of which is of no real importance, so long as you’ve got your ears and mind open. Since his first experience plucking notes on his acoustic guitar at age 14 to present day, Young has taken a progressive approach to crafting genuine full-bodied tunes that get better and better by the day.
Katie Madden Dance Instructor/Choreographer
Katie first began her dancing career at the age of three, and has been dancing both competitively and recreationally ever since. She attended the University of New Hampshire from 2008 through 2012 where she received a degree in Communication with minors in Spanish and Dance. Katie was also a member of the UNH Dance Company all four years. During her time at UNH she studied a variety of styles and techniques, including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and aerial dance. Upon graduating from UNH, Katie moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She is currently working as a speech-language pathologist at an elementary school and teaching dance classes on the side. Katie has worked at the TheatreWorks program as the dance instructor and choreographer for the past three summers, and she couldn’t be more thrilled to work with the AIR girls again this year!
Kathy Fink Voice Intensive Accompanist
Kathy Fink has been seen at many area theaters as both pianist and musical director. She is pleased to be a part of the Arts In Reach family! She teaches all levels & styles of piano in her home studio and at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC). Kathy co-leads the Fourth Street Jazz Choir, serves as choral instructor at the Cocheco Academy of the Arts (CATA), and is the Director of Music for St Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Dover. She has a BA in piano performance & MA in music history from UNH. Her accompanying career began at the age of 9 for the 4thgrade chorus in Leeds, England. She accompanied first full-length musical at age 15. Kathy has worked at Prescott Park Arts Festival, the Rochester Opera House, the Rep, The Bell Center, Hackmatack Playhouse, the Palace Theatre, Garrison Players, Governor’s Inn, Players Ring,& more! You may recognize her from the local band Crossfire, which she played in from 1979-1988. Kathy lives in Dover with her husband Greg, and her beagle Cookie who offers moral support!
Katie Gall Voice Instructor
Voice teacher and performer, Katie Gall, moved back to the seacoast area after performing and teaching in NYC for the last 10 years. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Steinhardt School at New York University in Vocal Performance as well as a post-Master’s degree in Vocal Pedagogy. Most notably, Katie has taught at New York University, Mayo Performing Arts Center, and Highbridge Voices in NYC, and through the Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth. Additionally, Katie is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and believes in a whole body and mind approach to healthy performance. Most recently Katie has been seen in “The Hunchback of Norte Dame” at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre and at the Rochester Opera House in “Happy Days: The Musical”!
Board of Directors
Glicka Kaplan President
Glicka Kaplan joined the AIR Board of Directors in April 2011. Glicka is an active Seacoast community member and is a former teacher of the deaf for the Portsmouth School system. She also helped initiate art enrichment programs at Portsmouth Dondero School through the PTO. Glicka’s board experience includes the Children’s’ Museum of Portsmouth, where she served on both the special interest committee as part of a Capital Campaign and the Road Race committee. She was also a Board Member of the Portsmouth Public Library. In addition, Glicka held executive positions on boards for the Dover Temple Israel and The Birchtree Center, a school helping youth with Autism. She brings a wealth of fundraising experience to the Board as well as connections in the arts community and interest in positive youth development.
Emmett Soldati Vice President
After earning his master’s at the London School of Economics, Emmett returned to his home state of New Hampshire to establish himself as a serial entrepreneur. Using crowd-sourcing technologies, he opened Teatotaller, a tea-house and venue in historic Somersworth, and later worked with other area-natives to open Leaven, a craft beer bar and sourdough bread bakery.
His most recent role has included technology start ups. As Chief Product Officer of Weather Analytics, he brings together a team of developers, designers, and data scientists to continually push the bounds of new business intelligence solutions. Emmett has spearheaded gathering of user requirements and design of nine decision-support applications for the insurance and U.S. Intelligence Community. He also is leading design and delivery of five smartphone and tablet application for parametric insurance programs.
As a serial entrepreneur in the granite state – from tea houses and gastro pubs, to green tech and incubators, his passion for innovation has contributed to the economic and cultural revitalization of his home city, Somersworth. He has sat on multiple boards, including an arts nonprofit, and the board of governors for York University. He was named one of New Hampshire’s top Upstarts by NH Business Magazine at the age of 25, for his continued engagement in ventures large and small – and ones that cut across consumer and business enterprises –as well as having founded the Makers and Shakers organization, which promotes and celebrates entrepreneurs in semi-rural areas.
Emmett earned his Master of Science from the London School of Economics and his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from York University, in Toronto, Ontario.
Leslie A. Martin Secretary
Leslie’s appreciation for Arts in Reach (AIR) began more than nine years ago. Both of her daughters had social and emotional issues when reaching middle school. The illness and death of the girls’ father compounded the family pressures. Participating in the AIR programs provided a safety net and opened opportunities for social learning and exposure to the arts. Now both daughters are flourishing in college. Leslie credits the AIR program with growth in self-esteem and important family healing.
Leslie joined the Board in 2016. She is committed to promoting the gifts of AIR participation to other teens and families. Her career background includes marketing and project management in both profit and not-for-profit organizations. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carleton College and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Karen Pollard Treasurer
Karen Pollard is a Certified Economic Developer and has practiced in New York, Minnesota, and New Hampshire bringing quality commercial and industrial development projects to communities of all sizes. Her portfolio of successful projects includes the recent attraction of aerospace firms Safran Engineered Composites and Albany International, and regional shopping centers by the Wilder Company and Waterstone Retail, and establishment of a 925 acre Tax Increment Financing District to incentivize further retail growth in Rochester, New Hampshire. Along with many other responsibilities, she is on the Advisory Board for Great Bay Community College, is recognized as a U.S. Small Business Administration District Champion and serves on the Education and Certification Committee for the International Economic Development Council. She is a graduate of Shopping Center University and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. Ms. Pollard lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with her husband Les and bulldog Lord Stanley, and is employed by the City of Rochester as Economic Development Manager.
Judith Rubenstein learned of AIR in 2012. Quickly inspired by its vision and mission, she joined the board later that year. The personal resonance with AIR runs deep—In her own teen years, music and singing were anchors during difficult times. She also has two daughters, now grown, and relates strongly to girls’ needs for acceptance and empowerment. Judith is a senior manager at Measured Progress, a not-for-profit educational assessment firm in Dover, NH. A communications and publishing leader, she brings to the AIR board her years of management experience, including extensive hiring, mentoring, and coaching.
As Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for the Comcast’s Greater Boston Region, Jacqueline is responsible for the planning and execution of diversity and inclusion efforts across the region’s footprint, which consists of approximately 5,000 employees and 1.9 million customers across eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. With more than 20 years of experience, Jackie previously served as Vice President of Retail Stores for Comcast’s Greater Boston Region, where she led a frontline workforce at Xfinity Stores and Comcast Service Centers. Her responsibilities include leading a retail strategy across 63 locations in three states, guiding and developing a high-performing team of 220 employees, in addition to creating a culture of engagement and accountability.
Jackie grew up in Watertown, MA and graduated from Fitchburg State College. She holds a BS in Science & Communications with a specialty in Photography. She has also been recognized for special awards including: Most Influential Minority In Cable (2008 & 2009 & 2011), Girls Inc. of Manchester Finalist for Women of Achievement award and a recent graduate of the Betsy Magness Leadership program. Jackie is the mother of two children adopted from Guinea, West Africa, daughter Kindi and son Saliou. She resides in Portsmouth, NH with her wife Laurel Dunn.
Susan Gold is a career sales & marketing professional, and a strong advocate for networking to build relationships and connect people. In her spare time Susan is an artist, painting, drawing, creating fabric art and quilts or just exploring new media. She believes that everyone is an artist in their own way and often helps others find their creative courage. Dedicated to community service, Susan is a member of the Portsmouth Rotary Club and participates in fundraising for many local charities. She has been involved with Arts in Reach since 2014, assisting with the first Tablescapes event. Susan lives in Portsmouth with her husband Alan, her son Sean and the family cat, “Sam-kitty”. She has a daughter and two beautiful granddaughters who also reside in NH.
Katyanne Zink joined the AIR Board of Directors in March of 2018. Growing up in Somersworth, NH Katyanne participated in AIR programing from 1997 – 2004 and knows firsthand the value AIR provides young women. Katyanne credits AIR for finding her inner strength and self-worth at a very vulnerable age through art. Without the foundation AIR built, she would not be where she is today.
Katyanne earned her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and her Master of Science in Nursing Informatics from Walden University. She obtained her board certification in Nursing Informatics by the American Nurse Credentialing Center. During her college years, Katyanne planned and led teams on volunteer projects, including traveling to Washington, D.C where she volunteered in homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Katyanne has also volunteered as an Alumni advocate for TRiO programs at a state and national level. Within this role, she advocated for equal opportunities for access to post-secondary education to the Senate Budget Committee’s 2013 Hearing on the Impact of Budget Decisions on Families and Communities in Washington, D.C.
Katyanne is currently employed as a Clinical Informatics Nurse at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH. In her role, she leads implementation of clinical systems and provides support and education related to the technologies used by clinical staff. In 2016, Katyanne moved back to her hometown of Somersworth, NH with her husband, daughter, and family dog. She is grateful to be able to give back to the program that gave her so much.
Virginia Skevington joined the AIR Board in March 2018. As AIR’s former Executive Director, Virginia brings insight to the internal workings of the organization. Virginia works as Manager of Operations at Charter Oak Capital Management, Portsmouth acting as Director of Human Resources and supporting the long-term execution of the firm’s strategic goals.
Virginia brings diverse experience from the nonprofit, private and government sectors. Previously, Virginia ran two arts nonprofit agencies on the Seacoast, creating Art Connects NH, a partnership of the New Hampshire Institute of Art and New Hampshire Art Association. Before moving to New Hampshire’s Seacoast, she attended graduate school in Roanoke, Virginia and worked as a Washington lobbyist in energy and telecom for several years. She holds her Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Tech.
Virginia is a native of Washington, DC. She resides in Newfields, New Hampshire with her husband John, and their four-year old son, Britton and two-year-old daughter, Charlotte.
Derek moved back to his home state of New Hampshire with his family at the age of 15 and has been an active and engaged member of the Seacoast Community ever since. In 2016, he worked as a Songworks Mentor for Arts In Reach and has continued to be a part of the program every year. He feels moved and inspired to be part of this community and relishes the opportunity to help other young songwriters express themselves. He has worked in the field of Social Work for over a decade and his values are rooted in his profession. After graduating with degrees in Social Work from UNH in 2012, Derek went on to become a Licensed Therapist at Seacoast Mental Health and has worked there for over five years with adults who experience mental illness. In addition to his day job, he is a lifelong musician and poet and records and performs indie rock music with his band Pangea Pop which includes his good friends and father on lead guitar.
Derek attributes his passion for being of service to others and creative expression to the values of his parents and the family he is in. When he was young he often felt like he didn’t fit in and now as an adult, he is more confident and tries to use his gift as an extroverted networker to facilitate bringing people together with the important value of inclusion: that everyone has a place at the table. In college, he was a community organizer and activist for environmental and social justice, being a member of the Peace and Justice League, The Student Environmental Action Coalition, as well as The Friends of Forest Park. He is still an involved member of The Waysmeet Center, an inclusive community center in Durham that provides services and hosts events for UNH students and Seacoast community members. He is currently a member of the D.I.Y. creative collective Sue’s Space, based in the lower Rollinsford mills where he helps with the production and booking of music, theater and comedy shows.
Anne Richter Arnold
A writer, journalist and marketing consultant, Anne first became involved with AIR as a member of the Marketing Committee and joined the AIR board in September 2018. One of the things she enjoys most about having relocated to the Seacoast from Woodstock, Vermont, are the opportunities to be active in the community. She is a member of the Leadership Seacoast Class of 2017 and Portsmouth Rotary, Vice President of the Rye Historical Society, an alternate on the Rye Heritage Commission, a member of the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle, and on the Advisory Board of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. She recently cofounded the Imagination Library at the Seacoast Community School and is in the process of expanding this early literacy program throughout Portsmouth.
Anne graduated from Barnard College and went on to complete her master’s in international business/marketing at Columbia University. She is a freelance writer for various publications, media liaison for the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, and assists numerous businesses and nonprofits with their marketing and public relations needs.
A wife and blended family mom of five, Anne lives in Rye along with two cats, two dogs, 20 chickens and a goat.