Susan Still (chair)
Susan comes to MSA’s board after enjoying its classes, gallery shows, special events, and performances—especially those involving her grandkids. Retiring to Saxtons River to be close to those grandkids, she and her husband, Peter Bergstrom, have loved the sense of community and creativity in this village with an arts center at its core. After a career as an organizational development consultant (Johns Hopkins M.S. in Applied Behavioral Science and Fielding Graduate University M.A. in Human Development) Susan aims to bring best practices in governance to the MSA board. Her skills include strategic planning, group facilitation, creative problem-solving, and conflict resolution. For fun, she works in her garden, bakes, and makes costumes. As a young drama student at Carnegie-Mellon, she recorded the voice of the first talking computer.
Maryann McArdle (secretary)
A charter member of Main Street Arts, Maryann has been involved with the organization since its inception, previously serving as a member of the board in the 1990s. She performed regularly in MSA’s annual Christmas Revels, portrayed The Other Woman in MSA’s production of Trial By Jury, and was co-musical director with founder Mary Hepburn for MSA’s first production of Kiss Me Kate. Maryann has worked at Vermont Academy for over 30 years, serving in their advancement and communications offices, and currently as a college counselor. She lives with her husband artist Mark Ragonese in Bellows Falls. She is an avid gardener and plays jazz piano with The Little Big Band and the Interlude Trio.
Alan Fowler (treasurer)
A California native who has lived and studied in various states and countries over these many years, Alan has always been interested in community connected endeavors wherever I have settled. His lifelong connections with things technical since vacuum tube training in the Army have given him a knack of helping people relate to change in its various forms. Experience in business, both large and small, helps him relate to the challenges of organizations such as Main Street Arts. Alan and his wife Pat are the owners of Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls.
Rick Cowan has enjoyed minor roles in various MSA theatrical productions over the years. Most of his career has been devoted to independent schools. He held teaching and administrative positions at Choate Rosemary Hall, Pingree, and St. Paul's Schools and served as executive director of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) in Boston and Washington, D.C. Locally, he was head of The Grammar School (TGS), Director of Admission at The Putney School and Compass School before retiring in 2016. Rick lives in Cambridgeport and has two grown daughters. He serves on the Rockingham selectboard and the TGS board of directors.
Catherine Despont is a newcomer to Saxtons River. She grew up in New York City where she was a founding program director at Pioneer Works, an art center in Brooklyn. She is passionate about the intersection between arts and education and has organized several conferences including a Summit on Pedagogy, and The Alternative Art School Fair. More recently she lived in rural England, producing events and doing research in the archives of the art colony at Dartington Hall. She has an MFA from Columbia University and is working on her first book. She loves learning with others and is excited to join the conversation at MSA.
While working in Rockingham at the Canal Street Art Gallery and as the President of the Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance (BFDDA), I enjoy positive economic and social impacts that further illustrate the excellent efforts being made to continue to improve living in Windham County overall! To me the creative and farming economies are the most vibrant forms of development in a State like ours. Being able to hear what folks in the business, arts, education, and agricultural sectors of the region are believing in is an important part of successful planning. Making these real connections foster the best relationships within a small community like ours, and guarantee appropriate and wanted "development.”
Amy Harlow has been a member of the Saxtons River community as a longtime teacher in the elementary school, a parent at Vermont Academy, and a member of the Saxtons River Playhouse. Amy also worked for The River Valley Performing Arts Center and the Whetstone Theater Company in their box offices. Amy's love of world music has given her opportunity to travel and sing in Europe and the United Kingdom. Offering creative and educational opportunities for all ages has been an important part of Amy’s life and career. A school principal in Londonderry, VT, Amy brings a lifetime of experience with children and families to Main Street Arts. She is thrilled to be a part of this new artistic adventure!
Charles Norris-Brown, PhD (Sociology and Anthropology, Lund University, Sweden, 1984), hails from north central Pennsylvania. He started as an artist, he thinks, in second grade, and over the years dabbled in self-taught and classes in various places including Art and Architecture at Penn State, watercolor in Shelburne Falls, MA and other venues large and small. In 2016, his children’s book Did Tiger Take the Rain? was published in Brattleboro, VT. It is now an open source book with Pratham Books in India, and has been rewritten in a second version as a play plus animated film with children in Nepal. Charles brings a long list of varied experience to Main Street Arts, from art and academia to union organizing and community development.