2019 Board of Directors
Sheila Liberman, Co-president
Sheila Liberman was the founder of Group 30, a marketing and PR agency that provided services in both the public and private sectors. Involved in education issues, she served as PTA president, co-chair of the city-wide PTA council, and the board of the Newton Schools Foundation. A member of the board of the Friends of the Newton Free Library, Sheila was chair of the library’s annual Book and Author Luncheon. As a member of the staff of the Mabel T. Riley Foundation (Boston, MA), she had a role in the founding of the Dudley Street (Roxbury, MA) Neighborhood Association. She has been a mentor for new mothers through Jewish Family and Children’s Services (Waltham, MA). Sheila and her husband, Allen, have been part-time residents of Tolland since 1985.
Barbara Penn, Co-president
Barbara Penn, MS, is a certified Executive and Business Coach, a member of the International Coaching Foundation, and the founder of Boundless Potential Living, a holistic learning and teaching center. Barbara was founder and Executive Director for the 939 Foundation for the Arts in NYC and Executive Director for the Moore Humane Society in NC. She has consulted widely to both educational, corporate and non-profit organizations in the management and development of effective boards and programs. In the arts, Barbara produced and directed “Poets at the Public” at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and created a reading series and literary salon for Books and Co. in New York City. She is a published fiction writer. Barbara has been a great fan of the Arts Center for years and hosted one of our most successful community events, the 2014 “Wild & Wooly” Animal Storytelling session.
Rosanne Skrip, Co-president
Rosanne moved to the Berkshires full time in 1999 from Waterbury, CT. Married to John for over 45 years, they have one son, John who lives in Natick MA with his wife and son. She has worked in healthcare for over 40 years including positions as a critical care staff nurse, head nurse, director of outpatient services and hospital administrator. Experienced in quality management, facilitating teams, and reorganizing departments for increased productivity, she is known for her no nonsense approach to problem identification and process management. She cares for her young grandchild and, when time permits, she enjoys reading, cooking, meeting new people, traveling and entertaining family and friends.
In 2016-2017, Rosanne served as Vice-President of the Arts Center Board of Directors.
Hilde Weisert, Co-president
Hilde Weisert has long experience in the high tech field, currently working at Dell Technologies. She has served on the board of several non-profit organizations, was a volunteer coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Bergen County, and has consulted with numerous nonprofit boards on ways to improve their operations. She is a published poet who reads and gives workshops around the Berkshires. Her books include a poetry collection, The Scheme of Things (David Robert Books, 2015) and Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People which she co-edited with Dr. Elizabeth Stone (University of Guelph, 2012). She has also hosted several literary and community-centred programs at the Arts Center.
John has held several leadership positions in Sandisfield including school board member and chairperson, cultural council member and chairperson, town moderator and most recently town Selectman.
In addition to serving as Treasurer, as a member of the Board of Directors he acts as a conduit to local residents to encourage their participation.
After 34 years of teaching and school administration, John retired in 2002, and is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at 2 community colleges where he teaches chemistry.
Tom Christopher is a graduate of Brown University and the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture. He worked for 10 years at Columbia University, restoring the landscape of an historic Hudson River estate and then went on to a career as a horticultural journalist, [publishing in a variety of newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, House and Garden and Martha Stewart Living. He is the author of more than a dozen books about gardening and currently divides his time between Sandisfield and Middletown, CT. his interests include vintage New England hard ciders (he and his wife Suzanne have 30 gallons fermenting in their basement), heirloom chicken breeds, and writing for the Sandisfield Times.
Jean Atwater-Williams, President 2010-2012
Before it ever occurred to her she would have to earn a living, Jean Atwater-Williams attended Boston Conservatory of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Voice. She has performed in a wide array of venues across several genres (art song, operetta, sacred music, musical theater and straight drama and comedy) and is a core member of the Sandisfield Players. But because she does have to earn a living, Jean owns and operates BizTech Associates, LLC, a technology firm specializing in helping small businesses and nonprofits utilize computer, Internet and telecommunications technology.
Jean has held office and served on numerous boards and committees for professional, civic and arts organizations such as the American Heart Association, WiredWest, the Hillstead Museum, the Rotary Club of Farmington, the Sandisfield Times and the Sandisfield Arts Center. Formerly of Farmington, Connecticut, Jean, her husband Ron, and their two furry Keeshonds reside in Sandisfield when they are not out on the open road sharing yet another RV adventure.
Peter Baiamonte was born, raised, and still makes his primary home in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BA from Brooklyn College: his major was Art with a focus on photography and a minor in English. He has been working in the photographic industry in New York since graduating from college in 1996. He has held a variety of positions in various studios, from intern to full- time staff. He now owns his own small business- Peter Baiamonte Photography- with diverse clients that include ad agencies, magazines, small PR firms and more.
Peter started bicycle racing in the early 1990’s and raced on an amateur level for over 20 years. Cycling remains an active interest. Peter and his wife Midori Nakamura purchased a house at 3 New Hartford Road about three years ago and divide their time between Brooklyn and Sandisfield.
Val Coleman is the author of 10 plays and a book of short stories. He taught National Housing Policy at Columbia University and served as director of public information at the New York City Housing Authority. Coleman was press secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality. He is a member of the Building and Grounds Committee.
Susie Crofut, Co-president 2016-2017
An active volunteer since the inception of the Sandisfield Arts Center, Susie is an artist working in watercolors and acrylics. She is on the board of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, is a member of the Steering Committee of the Highlands Community Initiative and is actively involved with the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
Hannah Fries is a poet and editor. She grew up in New Hampshire, went to Dartmouth College, and later got an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College. From 2005 to 2014 she worked as an editor—including poetry editor- at Orion magazine. Her poetry and prose have appeared in such places as American Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, Drunken Boat, Water- Stone Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and she is the recipient of a Colorado Art Ranch residency. She currently works as a project editor at Storey Publishing in western MA, and is also assistant poetry editor for Terrain.org.
Mary Anne Grammer
Mary Anne Grammer and her family discovered Sandisfield 27 years ago. Two years ago they moved to their South Beech Plain Road as “full timers.” For the past 25 years Mary Anne has been a Special Education Teacher for the New York City Department of Education and is now subbing in the Southern Berkshire area. After graduating from college, Mary Anne graduated from The Neighborhood House Acting School in New York City and pursued a career in theater. She acted in Off –Broadway plays and was especially fond of her roles in The Importance of Being Earnest and Anything Goes. She also studied jazz dance with Lyn Symonson (founder of the Symonson Technique) and voice with Felix Knight (tenor at the Metropolitan Opera House). She is also an avid Barre practitioner; a form of body conditioning that involves ballet, yoga and Pilates moves, and is seeking certification as a Barre instructor. Mary Anne, her husband John and her son John continue to be awed by the beauty of the Berkshire Hills.
Prior to coming to the Berkshires in 1992, Rita Kasky worked for 30 years in New York City as an executive in administration and development in nonprofits including the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Cancer Care, Inc. and Brandeis University’s New York Regional Alumni Office. From 1992-1996 she was development director at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge. In 1996 she became the first full time development director at Gould Farm, retiring in December 2006. Rita is involved with several local nonprofit organizations. She is on the board of the Berkshire South Regional Community Center, is a tutor for Litnet, and helps the Railroad Street Youth Program with various projects.
Abbie Lombard is a native of New Zealand. She moved to Sandisfield in 2011 and lives with her son Charlie in the Summer Palace on New Hartford Rd. From being cabin manager of a flight crew on an A320 Airbus to business manager of a ski mountain to running “on your bike winery tours” for a lucrative family operation, she’s had a wide variety of interesting management positions. Passionate about the performing arts, Abbie studied theater and dance, even co-hosting a nightly local television show. She is practical, handy and not afraid to roll up her sleeves helping by whatever means necessary. This has already been proven in her work at the Arts Center through painting, controlling theatrical lights, catering events and volunteering her time when possible.
Adam Manacher lives in Cambridge and here on Silverbrook Road where his family has had a home for 42 years. Adam is a trained Chef with an impressive resume that includes stints in France, New York, Hartford and Boston. Adam is our Guest Chef for various fund raising dinners throughout the year, and offers food prep workshops at the Arts Center from time to time. Adam is now out of the professional kitchen and has a far more important job: raising his two sons. Adam is also well known for his regular column in the Sandisfield Times (Edible Sandisfield) and is active on boards and organizations in Cambridge.
Bogart Muller works and plays here in Sandisfield. He has been involved with the town in helping to hire the Highway Superintendent and he has served on the Truck Committee. His company, RES LLC subcontracts with the town for landscape maintenance and he manages more than 20 estates in Sandisfield. Occasionally Bogart writes and reports for the Sandisfield Times. He plays several musical instruments and has performed in groups playing blues, rock and punk. He and his wife Tina and son Riley Jack have found the perfect place to call home here in Sandisfield.
Marcella Smith is a consultant to publishers and authors. Prior to establishing her own business, she was the Director of Vendor Relations for Barnes & Noble, Inc for 20 years. She worked for Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press before moving into the retail side of the publishing/bookselling business. A long time resident of Hell’s Kitchen/Times Square she is an avid theatergoer, and a big fan of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Along with her partner, Linda Mironti, she became a part time resident of Sandisfield in November 2012. She is a past President of the Arts Center.
1985-1997 Leonard Dryansky (founding President)
1997-1998 Erica Fay
1998-2001 Dr. Ron Myers
2001-2002 Liana Toscanini
2002-2003 Irene Conley
2003-2006 Tina Sotis
2005-2008 Rita Kasky
2008-2010 Barbara Elton
2010-2012 Jean Atwater-Williams
2013-2014 Susie Crofut and Alice Boyd
2015-2016 Marcella Smith
2016-2017 Susie Crofut and Sandy Parisky