Dewey Nichols

President

Dewey Nichols (he/him) is an accomplished architect with over 30 years of experience working on Commercial, Residential and Retail Architecture and Interior Design Projects. A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University and a licensed architect since 1990, Dewey began his private architectural practice in 2002, opening Nichols Design Group in Boston. Dewey’s passion for exploring his client’s needs, aspirations and values, creates unique architectural brands for each corporation or individual. Expertise in understanding the impact of architectural psychology, zoning and code, site design, form, function and materials, all contribute to proven success in his projects. Dewey’s responsive and sensible approach to the design and construction process, develops creative solutions that assure excellent design results, fitting his client’s values and needs as well as critical budgets and schedules.

Joelle Tomb

Co-Vice President

Joelle Tomb (she/her) was born in Lebanon in a family of artists. She grew up in her father’s art school, welcoming students, setting up and washing brushes. She did not have a formal arts education but art runs in her blood. When she moved to Boston, she quickly discovered the vibrant art community. She became involved with various arts organizations; as an honorary board member at ARCK and as a docent at the Institute of Contemporary Art. She has organized a number of public art projects; including “I am, We Are”; “Walls that speak” and the “Webster Court ‘Project’”. She helped in launching the Artist in Residence Program at Central Café. More recently, she joined the community of artists at the New Art Center. Joelle has been an advocate for the arts all her life.

Laura Sauter

Co-Vice President

Laura (she/her) is a Boston-based designer and branding expert. Her studio, AgencyBEL, helps companies launch and grow by creating their identities, logos, websites, and social media. Laura is an award-winning leader in the field of graphics and marketing. She’s known for coining the concept of “Conscious Brands”, helping her clients succeed through a focus on being responsive and responsible to their customers and communities. She has created notable designs and marketing for both small businesses and large corporations, working with founders and executives to help launch new companies, create new brands, and refresh existing identities.

She taught design for over 11 years and served on the Boston chapter board of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA).  Notably, Laura led AIGA’s partnership with Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) museum on a series of lectures and conferences. She is a popular speaker on issues of design, design thinking and how to live a designed life.

Before starting AgencyBEL, Laura worked at Town and Country and House Beautiful magazines in New York. She was the Creative Director of Borders Books and led the environmental Graphic Design efforts at Gensler, a global interiors architectural firm.

Laura is passionate about yoga, sustainability, photography and kickboxing. She has two daughters and lives in Milton, MA.

Robin Hicks

Secretary

Dr. Robin Hicks (she/her) practices medicine at Framingham Pediatrics. As a college student at Duke University she studied biology and art. She attended art school for one year during this time. While mostly working for the past 20+ years, she returned to painting and drawing a few years ago. She has been a dedicated student at the New Art Center for over 3 years, taking a variety of classes. In her spare time Robin paints, draws, and studies Portuguese. She is also an avid reader.

Maria Bunker

Treasurer

Maria Bunker is a CPA at Livingston & Haynes in Wellesley MA.  She has been a partner at the firm for many years and started her career there after graduating from Emmanuel College in Boston.  Maria also has a Masters in Accounting from Bentley College.  

“After my husband and I adopted our sons, Xander and Geovonni, we became very interested in making sure that they are immersed in cultural activities and the arts. Therefore, we want to do our part to support organizations like New Art that involve children in the arts. I’m excited about New Art’s future and am happy to help the Center achieve its goals as a member of the Board.”

Aimee Anderson

A lover of modern art and a self-trained designer, Aimee (she/her) runs Aimee Anderson Design, an interior design and renovation consulting business. Her bespoke designs have been featured in many publications, including Modern Luxury, Rise, Coastal Design, and The Boston Globe. Aimee earned an MBA from Babson College and did her undergraduate work at Stonehill College.  

Before starting her design and renovation business, Aimee held various leadership level marketing roles in Boston-area start-ups for 16 years. She contributed to the success of several companies including m-Qube, SnapMyLife, IdeaLab, and The Grommet. 

Aimee resides in Newton with her husband and three children and believes “Everyone should have access to the arts!” Outside of  her design work, Aimee enjoys time boating in Maine, gardening, and yoga.

Lindsay Bentis

Lindsay Bentis is an Interior Designer, running a residential business, Thread Interiors, in Newton since 2006. Originally from Los Angeles, Lindsay arrived in Boston to attend the School of Fine Arts at Boston University, followed by a masters in painting at American University. After working on both coasts as a Visual Merchandiser, Stylist and Professor of Art, Interior Design seemed like a natural progression. Her work has been featured in Dwell, Boston Home Magazine, and The Boston Globe. In 2016 she was named Best of Boston For Family Friendly Interior Designer and received a Wayfair Trade Tastemaker Award. 

Lindsay has enjoyed the New Art Center for years as her three children have attended classes and camps. She is very excited to become immersed in helping the the New Art Center grow and develop deeper roots within the community.

Jessica Black

A strategic and creative thinker with proven business and leadership skills, Jess Rivkin Black (she/her) has over 20 years expertise in event strategy, marketing, product, and content development.

In her role as the director of programming for the Conferences for Women (CFW), the largest network of women’s conferences in the United States, Jess works as an advocate for women and equity. Over the last decade, she has worked with thousands of speakers and experts to empower, inspire and foster the advancement of women in all aspects of work and in life. She also is a producer of the Women Amplified Podcast, featuring conversations with top Conference speakers and real women sharing real-world advice about issues that matter to working women today.

Jess has also founded two small businesses, Whimsical Wishes and Sweet Sisters, which allowed her to blend her entrepreneurial spirit and love for the arts.

She has held various positIons within the community – serving as PTO President, Chair of the Peirce Playground Project, and volunteering at Cradles to Crayons. She received a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from Clark University, lives in Newton, and is the mother of three.

Stephanie Boggs

As an art enthusiast, Stephanie makes a point to adorn her home and private-practice orthopaedic physical therapy office with work from artists with whom she has a personal connection. “I’ve got art all on my walls from my kids, students, counterparts, friends, and professionals I meet along the way. I’m a lover of art even though I’m not an artist.”  

A long-time member of the New Art community, Stephanie’s three children have all enjoyed classes at the Center. She is eager to demonstrate her dedication and commitment to the program as a member of the Board in efforts to expand the growth of the organization.

Viviana Bozon

In addition to being a fan of photography and former competitive swimmer, Dr. Viviana Bozon works with immunogenetics in cancer patients with a focus on developing drugs to stabilize cancer as a disease in order to provide a better quality of life for patients. “One of my true passions in life is simply to make people feel better.”

Coming to the United States over 20 years ago from Bogota, Colombia, Viviana lives in Newton with her family who are the “light and joy” of her life.

“The New Art Center’s mission of creating community and making real connections through art touched my heart and my soul. I relate to this mission and I’m excited to be a part of the community’s transformation and growth.”

Ken Calhoun

As Program Chair for Art and Graphic Design at Lasell University, Ken Calhoun (he/him) experiences first-hand the unique role art plays in our communities. “Art has the power to unite, to lift, to edify and  illuminate—to stir empathy and invite hope. Art is not a luxury; it’s a  necessity.” 

“I want to help the New Art Center as it strives to widen the circle, functioning as a kind of cultural campfire, providing light and warmth by bringing disparate communities together around an art-induced awareness of our common human qualities and principles. As a person of color, as an artist and educator, I can provide those who look like me, those who experience life adjacent to the dominant cultural narrative, an aspect of familiarity and evidence of belonging in a social space where they are not only welcome, but are much needed.” 

“I believe in the Center’s mission and I can think of no better way to support it, and the communities it seeks to serve, than by being directly involved.”

Susan Chapman

Susan Chapman (she/her) joined The Village Bank in May of 2019 as Assistant Vice President and Business Development Officer. In her role at the Bank, she works to build and strengthen relationships with new and existing customers.  Having worked most of her professional career in Lowell, Sue has found Newton to be a refreshing change and is looking forward to work with The New Art Center.  Sue has always been involved with and championed the causes of the local nonprofits.  The Arts are a special passion of hers as she was an Art major at St. Michael’s College.  Today her creative energies are directed to her gardening and baking.  Sue is the mother of four adult children and continues to reside in Lowell.

Nickki Dawes

Nickki Dawes – Nickki is an Associate Professor in the psychology department at Lasell University. She also serves as the Director of the Center for Community-Based Learning.

Nickki has over a decade of experience researching how experiences in after-school or out-of-school programs promote positive outcomes for children and adolescents. Nickki has published numerous peer-reviewed journals and book chapters related to her research. She is also an active contributor to her field and currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Adolescent Research. She served on the Advisory Board of Current Issues in Out-of-School Time Book Series. Current interests include school-community partnerships that promote transformative educational experiences for students from underserved communities.

Nickki graduated from Jackson State University with a BS in psychology (magna cum laude). She went on to earn her PhD in clinical/community psychology from the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. After completing her clinical internship at the APA accredited Institute for Juvenile Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois –Chicago, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Prevention Research Center within the Psychology Department at Arizona State University.

Nickki resides in Newton with her two sons and husband.

Nicola Day

Nicola Day (she/her) opened Hipstitch, a sewing and fiber studio located in West Newton, ten years ago when her daughter wanted to learn to sew and there was nowhere in Newton for her to get instruction. Hipstitch now has additional locations in Brookline and Wellesley. 

Landing on Nantucket from the UK 30 years ago, Nicola met her husband and settled in Newton to raise her family. She has designed pocket bags which have sold nationwide and is also the owner of a property management company on Nantucket.

“I’m the oldest of 14 children and have always sewed and loved creativity since I was a young girl. I fully support New Art’s mission and feel I can help bring my knowledge of running a profitable creative business to the New Art Center.”

Alison Meyer Hong

Alison Meyer Hong is a native of Newton where she currently resides with her husband and two teenage sons. She is passionate about community service and has coordinated service programs as well as volunteered extensively including at Breakthrough Greater Boston, Birthday Wishes, About Fresh and the Newton Food Pantry. She served on the Board for Wondermore and on the Corporation for Beacon Academy. Her professional background is in college admissions and college counseling in a variety of settings.
In addition to volunteering, she manages The Young Authors Foundation, a small educational foundation that provides grants to nonprofits that supports literacy and arts programs for students in underserved communities. She looks forward to contributing to the Board of the New Art Center through her commitment to service and desire to make the arts more accessible to a broader community.

Michael Kaufman

Michael Kaufman is a Senior Project Manager with over thirty years of professional practice in design, project management, owner representation and real estate development. His experience includes housing, institutional and commercial projects in new construction, renovation and re-use. Clients rely on Mr. Kaufman for his team leadership and management skills, cross-disciplinary knowledge and ability to bring out the best in his professional colleagues. As an architect and owner’s representative, his responsibilities have included institutional, commercial, educational, medical, and residential projects.

Prior to joining DHK, Mr. Kaufman founded and ran a project management practice for over twenty years, and worked for several real estate development companies and architecture firms in the Boston area.

Yvette Leeson

Yvette Leeson, a self-proclaimed foodie and seasoned communications professional, has held many positions over the last 20 years within the human services, finance, magazine publishing, digital marketing, and biotechnology industries. Currently she is a Regulatory Operations Manager at Vericel Corporation and manages both clinical and commercial dossiers for advanced cell therapies for sports medicine and severe burn care.

Yvette was raised in Newton but was born in NYC and enjoyed many years in her thirties working in the city for Goldman Sachs, Bon Appétit magazine, Condé Nast Publications and eMusic.com. Before hitting the Big Apple she worked in Boston as a Creative Director for State Street Corporation. She enjoys traveling with family and friends and experiencing new and unique ethnic culinary delights.

An avid photographer since age seven when her dad taught her how to use a Pentax camera, Yvette still loves photography, especially capturing portraits of friends and family. Yvette loved her glass fusing and Shibori classes at the New Art Center and was thrilled to further connect with the arts community as a member of the Board of Governors. She currently lives in Belmont with her baseball-loving teenager who tests her stamina every day asking for a puppy.

Marcia Neiberg

Marcia Neiberg the Executive Director for Start-up and Planning for Partners Ambulatory Care, a new organization that is starting with Partners Healthcare. Marcia is passionate about art and specifically making sure that Newton continues to have a vibrant community-based program at the New Art Center. Marcia grew up in Newton, attending Mason Rice and Newton North before moving onto undergrad at the GWU and later to graduate school for an MBA at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University. Marcia lives in Newton with her husband, who is an artist, and her two boys who enjoy classes at the New Art Center.

Annie Newman

Raised and educated in Chicago, Annie (she/her) was surrounded by creative people, cultural activities, and a dynamic visual landscape. She pursued an undergraduate degree in art history, a masters of architecture degree, and ultimately, a two-decade career in design. Annie also did strategic communications work for the development office at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

Today, Annie is committed to making and promoting art. She regularly enrolls in art classes, exhibits, and plays an active role in community art organizations. “As a novice painter, I understand firsthand the role institutions like the New Art Center play for  emerging artists.”

Annie has been collaborating on public art projects in Wellesley for nearly a decade through the Public Art Committee, the Art in the Park Steering Committee, and during Covid, co-founded Art Wellesley, an organization committed to promoting the arts in the community. 

Gayatri Pradhan

Gayatri Pradhan (she/her) has over 15 years of brand development and strategy experience, both at Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, and has launched several products that are seen on retail shelves globally. She has deep experience in understanding consumer needs and developing solutions to meet those needs. Currently, she enjoys mentoring young entrepreneurs both on a formal basis through programs like M.I.T.’s IDEAS initiative, as well as on an informal basis through professional networks. 

Gayatri is an avid photographer and uses her lens to translate her love for understanding people, their stories and narratives, into images that capture the diversity of culture and peoples all around our world. She is a strong believer in the value that arts education and appreciation adds, regardless of whether an individual is a formally trained artist, or a self-taught hobbyist.  

Gayatri holds a B.S. from The Institute of Chemical Technology (Mumbai, India), an M.S. from The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), and an M.B.A. from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Business.

Kim Spencer

Kim Spencer

Back on the Board of Governors after a short break, Kim Spencer is a member of the Design Team at Ab Initio in Lexington, MA, and also has her own business making and selling unique, hand-crafted bags under the label “Carry On”. She previously had a 30- year career as the Director of Marketing Production at Talbots and received her BS in Studio Art & Art Education (combined) from Skidmore College. Throughout the years Kim has volunteered and worked for the Movement Voter Project, the Pan Florida Bicycle Challenge, the Gravure Association of America, and sat on the Board of the Claflin School Studios, Newton. She also participates in Newton Open Studios and Sign of the Dover Artists Cooperative.

Mai Uchida

Mai Uchida (she/her), MD is a child psychiatrist, the Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Child Depression Program, and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Mai is a committed advocate for mental health and scientific literacy, and has articulated her thoughts in a number of international publications and major TV networks, including the International Herald Tribune, Asahi Shimbun, Buzzfeed, Boston Globe, ABC News, NHK, Nippon TV, TBS, and others on topics ranging from suicide prevention and informed consent to the experience of being a Japanese female physician in America. 

She received her MD from Hokkaido University School of Medicine in Japan, and completed her adult psychiatry residency training at Yale and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at MGH. Outside of her profession, she loves performing flamenco, creating collages and portraits, as well as singing to her three sons with her husband, cellist, Jacques Lee Wood. Her family is also known for their creative handmade Halloween costumes!

I have always surrounded myself with various mediums of art, and also taken part in leading the community organizing efforts. I appreciate the fact that these two elements stand at the core of New Art’s mission.”

Sami Wakim

Sami Wakim (he/him), born and raised in Beirut (Lebanon), is the founder and editor of Street Art United States (streetartunitedstates.com), a platform dedicated to street art culture, where he engages more than 200,000 followers world wide on social media.  He has interviewed hundreds of artists and documented their work, making it possible for these artists to share their imagery and ideas with a wider community.  Street Art United States’ mission is to support street artists in instilling a sense of hope and history through creative expression. Sami manages a group of like-minded bloggers and activists voicing their opinions, through Street art, on current events, such as poverty, injustice, racism, Homophobia, corruption, gentrification and consumerism… Sami has also organized a couple of street art murals in the Boston area and has hosted local and international artists who have contributed to the flourishing street art community in the city.

Mira Genser Woods

With almost 30 years of marketing experience, Mira (she/her) runs operations at MG Communications, which is a full service boutique agency focused on strategic marketing communications, corporate positioning, public relations, event management, and content development. 

As the founder of MG Communications, Mira has done award-winning work for Fortune 50 to early stage venture capital-backed companies. 

Away from the office Mira enjoys skiing, golfing, adventure travel, and collecting modern contemporary art. She serves as an active member on various non-profit boards, and is a founding member of SheGives, a Boston-based philanthropic foundation. Mira has also served on many other boards and regional organizations such as Hebrew SeniorLife, Best Buddies, and her alma mater University of Vermont. 

Mira is married with 2 children and she remains active in both of her daughters’ school activities and fundraising efforts. Both her parents were involved in the art world and she grew up going to modern contemporary art auctions in New York for Christie’s and Sotheby’s. She now enjoys discovering new artists and visiting galleries wherever she travels.