(Boston, MA – July 5, 2017) The New England Foundation for the Arts announces the appointment of two new members of NEFA’s Board of Directors and recognizes three members retiring from the board in 2017.

“We are truly honored that Christal Brown and John Henry have agreed to serve on NEFA’s Board of Directors; each brings a unique perspective and expertise,” said NEFA board chair Larry Simpson, senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, Berklee College of Music.

Christal N. Brown, photo by Mike Colletta

Christal N. Brown, Artistic Director, INSPRIT, and Dance Program Chair, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT

Christal Brown has the distinction of being many things. She endorses a short list of these attributes that includes the titles mother, artist, educator, and disciple. Brown is most well known as a dancer and choreographer due to her 20+ year career as a performer and artistic director. Brown describes herself as a person with a servant heart and a workaholic mind, who has been used by dance to touch and be touched by others.

Brown grew up in a small, Eastern North Carolina town, where she frequently accompanied her mother to NAACP, Black Caucus, and community board meetings. This early exposure to social movements and communal responsibility undoubtedly has influenced Brown’s work both on and off stage. As an undergraduate, Brown studied Dance and Business at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Upon graduation, she went on to tour nationally and internationally with companies such as Urban Bush Women, Bill T. Jones, Chuck Davis, and Liz Lerman before founding her own company, INSPIRIT. Brown served as the Artistic Director of INSPIRIT for 10 years where she developed curriculum for the New York Department of Education, choreographed over 75 performance works, created the Liquid Strength training module for dance, and Project: BECOMING, a rites of passage program for adolescent girls; before giving birth to the most complex and beautiful idea of her life, her 6-year old son Gabe.

While developing INSPIRIT, Brown completed her MFA in New Media Art and Technology at Long Island University while simultaneously joining the faculty of Middlebury College in 2008. At Middlebury, Brown currently chairs the Dance Program and serves as the Faculty Director of MiddCORE. Her dance career continues to thrive: preforming with Bebe Miller Company, touring her evening length work The Opulence of Integrity, and expanding her skillset as a regional affiliate with Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ.

John Henry, photo by Ann Wicks/NEFA

John E. Henry, Principal, MarlinSpike, LLC, Weston, MA

John has been principal at MarlinSpike LLC since August 2009, providing business and legal consulting services to early stage companies and investor groups. John is also co-founder of Finite Solutions, an early-stage healthcare start-up focused on improving efficiencies and outcomes in workers compensation medical care. From 2014 to 2016, John was General Counsel of N-of-One, a Lexington-based biotechnology company providing interpretation of molecular test results in oncology. From 2010 to 2013, John was a founding Director of Silverlining Holding Corp., a green technology pipeline rehabilitation provider. Prior to John’s consulting and entrepreneurial work, he spent 11 years as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Investors Financial Services Corp., a publicly-held global financial services company. John began his legal career at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault in Boston, representing underwriters, venture capital funds and high-tech businesses in corporate, securities and intellectual property matters.

Before becoming a lawyer, John worked as a free-lance musician, was assistant manager at the South Shore Music Circus and the Cape Code Melody Tent, and spent two years as a software systems analyst at GTE.

John has been a member of the Weston School Committee since 2015 and is also a member of the Business Advisory Council at Boston College Law School. John was a member of the Board of Directors of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston for seven years, five of those as chairman. John holds a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School of Music and a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School.

On June 22, at NEFA’s board meeting and 40th anniversary reception at Jacob’s Pillow Dance, the board recognized the work and accomplishments of those members retiring from the board: Jane James of RE/MAX Shoreline, Portsmouth, NH, (member: 2007 to 2017); Byron Champlin of Lincoln Financial, Concord, NH, (member: 2007 to 2017); and Alex Aldrich, former Director of the Vermont Arts Council, Montpelier, VT (member: 1997 to 2017).

“I join the NEFA board of directors and staff in acknowledging the work of board members who are rotating off the board after making significant contributions to NEFA,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “We are grateful for their leadership and service.”

About NEFA
The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in the arts to enrich communities in New England and beyond. 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