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Staff

Deb Dormody, Deputy Director

Deb DormodyDeb Dormody has a high level of skill in both the operational practices of successful organizations, as well as an expertise in mission-driven programming. As Deputy Director, Deb manages the organization’s residency consortium grantmaking programs, produces the Alliance’s annual conference and Emerging Program Institute, and develops strategy for programs and research projects providing services to members working in the field of artist residencies. Prior to joining the Alliance, Deb was the Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Providence. She acted as the liaison to the city’s arts and cultural community, providing consultation and advocacy for non-profit organizations, as well as artist management, technical support and coordination of city services for events and films, all while intent on making government more streamlined and transparent. She administered a grantmaking program aimed at enriching Providence’s neighborhoods through the performing arts. Deb also provided policy and strategy input for city projects related to ordinances, zoning, public space use and planning. As Program Director for Greater Kennedy Plaza, Providence’s placemaking initiative for transforming the downtown core, she launched a series of programs aimed at creating a positive, safe, and flourishing environment for residents and visitors alike, forging strong partnerships with private and public stakeholders.

For 8 years, Deb was a co-owner at Craftland, Providence’s multi-functional shop housing a craft school and artists’ gallery showcasing fine art and craft from local and national independent artists. Additionally, Deb founded If’n Books + Marks in 2000 and continues exhibit her handmade blank journals and artist books in galleries around the country. She is featured in the film documentary and companion book Handmade Nation by Faythe Levine. Deb is originally from Bristol, CT, where annually there is a festival dedicated to the Chrysanthemum. She has a BA in Creative Arts from Bradford College in Massachusetts, and serves on the board of the Dirt Palace Public Projects in Providence, RI.

contact: ddormody@artistcommunities.org

Lisa Hoffman, Executive Director

Lisa Hoffman joined the Alliance of Artists Communities as Executive Director in the summer of 2016. Lisa is the former Associate Director of the McColl Center of Art + Innovation, where she oversaw programs and strategic initiatives, community engagement, and the flagship Environmental Program at McColl Center.

Prior to McColl Center, she served as Director of Charlotte Nature Museum, and held positions as a science educator and mentor with the District of Columbia and Prince George's County Maryland Public Schools. Honored for her dedication in connecting children and families to the natural world, she is also committed to place-based education, the improvement of schools in marginalized communities and research in creative placemaking.

The recipient of Charlotte Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Award, Lisa has served on the board of North Carolina Association of Environmental Education Centers, North Carolina Play Alliance, and regularly participates as a speaker at various community and national events including National Innovation Summit for Arts and Culture. Currently she serves on boards for the Jazz Arts Initiative and Lakewood Trolley, and is a former board member of the Alliance of Artists Communities. Most recently she was appointed by President Obama to be a Member of the National Museum and Library Services Board. Holding an MS degree in Biology and a BS degree in Botany from Howard University in Washington, DC, Lisa is dedicated to social practice and the convergence of art and science as a vehicle to improve lives and effect systemic change.

Sarah Madsen, Administrative + Special Projects Coordinator

Sarah Madsen hails from a place in the Pacific Northwest known as the Apple Capital of the World. Prior to moving to Rhode Island in 2004, she worked for many years as a bookseller. More recently, she managed Loie Fullers bistro and the Hope Street Farmers Market. She holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown, where she teaches in the pre-college creative writing program.  As an alum of both Hedgebrook and the Millay Colony, she knows first hand the power of the residency, and is presently, perpetually, at work on a novel.

Stephanie Olarte, Program + Administrative Associate

Stephanie OlarteStephanie Olarte has worked as a community organizer on rights for disabled people, and advocacy in education and for women’s rights. She is originally from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and speaks fluent Spanish, as it is her native language. Her family hails from Colombia. Before she started doing community organizing in Rhode Island, she worked in the tourism and event industry. She interned for the US Open in New York soon after graduating from Johnson & Wales University in 2010. Stephanie has also worked for a Sodexo company called Circles for over three years doing leisure tourism and events for high-level clients in Boston. In 2014, she started working at Collette, while pursuing her MA in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island. 

Flannery Patton, Director of Member Services + Communications

Flannery Patton joined the Alliance in summer 2011. She has worked previously as a Development Associate at WRNI (Rhode Island Public Radio), as a Research Coordinator in the Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University, as a Life Skills and Computer Literacy Teacher at the Rhode Island International Institute, as a public programs producer for the National Park Service, and as an English teacher and Curriculum Developer at Open Book in Denver. Most recently, Flannery also worked as Program Coordinator for Greater Kennedy Plaza, a non-profit offering art and culture programming in downtown Providence; and coordinated monthly art activities for The Hive Archive, a feminist art collective. Originally from Colorado, she came to Providence in 2003 for college; she has a BA in psychology and a BA in art history from Brown University. 

contact: fpatton@artistcommunities.org

CONSULTANTS

Lesley Bunnell | Development Consultant

Lesley Bunnell

Lesley has worked extensively in nonprofit development, including serving as Communications and Grants Associate at the Providence After School Alliance, as Outreach and Grants Manager at South Side Community Land Trust, and as Development Associate at Oliver Hazard Perry.

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she earned a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College, where she pursued Dance and African American Studies.

Jassen Strokosch | Communications + PR Consultant

From the early days of campaign sites in the 1990s to today's social media, Jassen has spent nearly 15 years advancing public agenda via the Web. After earning his bachelor's degree in political science from Drake University, Jassen was an IT pioneer and soon combined his two passions to specialize in online advocacy.

His clients have included the AFL-CIO, World Wildlife Fund/EarthHour, the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Midwest Democracy Network, the Laborers Employers Cooperation Education Trust (LECET), IUOE Local 150, the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 17, the Illinois Film Office, FutureGen for Illinois, the Ministerial Alliance Against the Digital Divide, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), the University of Illinois Chicago Urban Daley Forum, DeVry University and the Illinois Road Builders Association.

Jassen currently serves as Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement at Children's Home + Aid in Chicago.

Lori Wood | Research + International Affairs Consultant

Lori Wood

Lori Wood has an extensive background in the field of artist residency programs and social entrepreneurship, and conducted one of the first field assessments for artists’ communities in the early 1990s. Lori directed the Villa Montalvo Artist Residency Program in California from 1991-1995, where she organized the NEA-funded “El Taller Nepantla,” a collaboration between Villa Montalvo and Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA), and other international residencies. She spent two years on the boards of both the Alliance of Artists Communities and Res Artis: The International Network of Residential Arts Centres, and helped run artist residency conferences and planning sessions in Budapest, New Delhi, and Dublin. She has created literary arts programming and fundraising programs for organizations such as the National Steinbeck Center and UCSC Division of Humanities. Lori produced two NEA Big Read programs, created and implemented the 2007 Steinbeck Festival, A Culture of Discontent: Steinbeck in the 60s, and led the early creation process of the 2008 Steinbeck Festival, Steinbeck in Mexico. She is currently managing a two-year IMLS leadership grant, a collaboration between the Salinas Public Library and the National Steinbeck Center, re-imagining Salinas, California as a City of Letters. She is also the founder and director of a social venture project in Fes, Morocco which is restoring traditional properties in Fes’ medieval medina and will provide non-profit residencies for artists from around the world. Lori holds a BA in Literature from Harvard College, an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School, and a Masters in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on France and North Africa.