A woman in a floral shirt with shoulder length hair smiles.
Communications Director

(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts announces the appointment of four new members to the Advisory Council.

Formed in 2017, the Advisory Council serves as NEFA’s strategic advisors and community ambassadors. Members are charged with providing their professional expertise and diverse knowledge, including of artists and cultural enterprises, philanthropic practice, nonprofit business practice, and policies that impact artists, the cultural sector, community development and entrepreneurship.

“We welcome these new members to the Advisory Council,” said council co-chair Sandra Burton. “And we look forward to working together to expand our partnerships, networks and learning.”

“The Advisory Council connects NEFA to the power of diverse leadership perspectives and multiple points of strategic input. Our work is most successful when we are connected to one another and to the robustness of New England’s cultural landscape,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards.

  1. A head shot of a woman standing in front of a brick wall. She wears a blue patterned top under a rust color blazer.
    Shoni Currier by Heidi Kirn
    Shoshona (Shoni) Currier of Lewiston, ME, brings nearly 20 years of experience in the contemporary performance field to her new role as Director of the Bates Dance Festival. She is the previous Director of Performing Arts for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. In her five years with that department she was integral in the development and integration of dance and theater into Chicago’s civic programming. She created SpinOff, a festival of contemporary dance made in the Midwest and OnEdge, a series of boundary-pushing performance. She oversaw a robust performance residency program at The Chicago Cultural Center and curated the first city-wide SummerDance Celebration in August 2017 to great acclaim. Prior to her role at DCASE, Ms. Currier served in Producer positions at Dance New Amsterdam and Performance Space 122 in New York City. Shoshona holds degrees from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the New School University and was a member of the inaugural class of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University. She has taught, directed, and lectured at University of Chicago, New York University, Wagner College, Ramapo College, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Ms. Currier is an Advisor for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, and a previous Consortium Member of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum. 
  2. A head shot of woman with dark hair and red lipstick wearing a gray top.
    Stephanie Fortunato
    Stephanie P. Fortunato of Providence, RI, has been the Director of Providence's Department of Art, Culture + Tourism since 2016. She leads the Department at the intersection of cultural planning and urban development, collaborating with local communities on creating arts-based policies and partnerships to strengthen neighborhoods and transform public spaces. In her tenure, Ms. Fortunato has helped the Department secure new resources to expand the staff and focus to include arts education, public art, and PVDFest, the City’s signature destination arts festival. These initiatives have enhanced Providence’s brand and identity as a Creative Capital and led to international collaborations. Since Ms. Fortunato began working for ACT in 2008, she has managed the City’s first cultural planning process, led the cultural planning team on a major transit corridor study, assisted the development of a regional creative economy conference and network, supported Providence’s 375th anniversary celebration, and overseen creative placemaking initiatives funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtPlace America and the Kresge Foundation. Previously, Ms. Fortunato was director of programs for The Pawtucket Foundation, a public-private partnership working to catalyze area prosperity, and a consultant with Jane Clark Chermayeff Associates LLC, a firm specializing in family programming and interpretation for museums, science centers, and outdoor play spaces. Ms. Fortunato began her career on Long Island working for the Huntington Arts Council and as curator of a local history museum. She is on the Board of WaterFire, the Providence-Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, and on the advisory committees for the Providence Tourism Council, Congressman Jim Langevin’s Arts and Culture Committee, and New England Foundation for the Arts. In 2018, Ms. Fortunato received the Mary Brennan Tourism Award from the RI Hospitality Association. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, among other agencies. She received her M.A. in public humanities from Brown University and a B.A. from Providence College.
  3. A head shot of awoman in a black suit jacket and pearls; the background appears to be a park.
    Alyce Lee
    Alyce Lee of Boston, MA, has been volunteering for more than 20 years. Throughout this time, Mrs. Lee has been donating her energy to causes that improve the quality of life for people at home and abroad.  Currently, she is bringing her efforts to ArtsEmerson, The Associates of the Boston Public Library, The Fragment Society, The New England Foundation for the Arts, The Pine Street Inn, and Village in Focus. Alyce has also served as Trustee and Chair of the Committee on Student and Academic Affairs for the University of Massachusetts.  Mrs. Lee was appointed to the Trusteeship by Governor Deval Patrick and served from 2011-2016. Alyce is a founding Trustee of Boston Medical Center (BMC).  From 1996 until 2012 she served as Trustee of the Medical Center.  During her tenure at BMC, she served as Vice Chair of the Board, Chair of the Finance and Trustee Patient Care Committees.  In June of 2012, Mrs. Lee was named Trustee Emeritus of the Medical Center.  Mrs. Lee has served on other Boards in Greater Boston including Facing History and Ourselves, and Mother Caroline Academy.  Mrs. Lee’s prior employment includes serving as Chief of Staff to Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  In this capacity, Mrs. Lee directed the operations of the Mayor’s office including chairing the Mayor’s cabinet.  Ms. Lee served as Executive Director of the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation where she directed the rehabilitation/construction and management of 600 units of low-income family housing in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  She also successfully restructured the nonprofit corporation’s finances, returning it to profitability. Mrs. Lee graduated from Wellesley College in 1981. She lives with her husband, Patrick Lee, in Boston where they have raised four daughters.
  4. A head shot of a man smiling, wearing a navy overcoat and sitting outside.
    Jacob Padrón by Marc J. Franklin
    Jacob Padrón of New Haven, CT, is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Sol Project, a national theatre initiative dedicated to producing the work of outstanding Latinx playwrights in partnership with leading Off-Broadway companies in New York City and beyond. He was most recently the Senior Line Producer at The Public Theater in New York City. He was formerly the Producer at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago where he oversaw the artistic programming in the Garage, Steppenwolf's second stage dedicated to new work, new artists, and new audiences. From 2008 to 2011, he was an Associate Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Padrón received his BA from Loyola Marymount University and MFA from Yale School of Drama where he is now on faculty teaching artistic producing in the graduate theater management program. He is originally from central California and began his life in the theater with El Teatro Campesino. Jacob is the new Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

Thank you to the following council members who are returning for another term:

  • David Howse, Arts Emerson, Boston, MA (Co-Chair)
  • Sarah Coffey, State Representative
  • Molly Davies, James E. Robinson Foundation, Stowe, VT
  • Pamela Diamantis, Curbstone Financial Management Corp, Manchester, NH
  • Ana Flores, Earth Inform Studio, Charlestown, RI
  • Felicia Knight, The Knight Canney Group, Scarborough, ME
  • Liana Krupp, Krupp Family Foundation, Boston, MA
  • Angie Lane, Red River Theatres, Concord, NH
  • Denise Menton, Attorney, New York, NY
  • Frank Mitchell, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, Hartford, CT  
  • Anita Walker, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Boston, MA

Thank you to the following outgoing members for their service on the Advisory Council:

  • Maurice Decaul, Merrill Lynch, New York, NY
  • Karina Kelley, Kelley Stelling Contemporary, Manchester, NH
  • Rania Mater, Rania Mater Photography, Brookline, MA
  • Roberta McCulloch-Dews, Mayor’s Office, City of Pittsfield, MA
  • Mariko Silver, Henry Luce Foundation, New York, NY
  • Sydney Skybetter, Brown University, Providence, RI


The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.  NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at www.nefa.org.

Contact: Ann Wicks, 617-951-0010 x534