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The Synergy Between Art and Innovation!

The Jamestown Arts Center is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary facility created to benefit the community of Jamestown, RI, and beyond. Our mission is to engage, enrich and inspire our community through extraordinary arts and educational experiences. Our facility is fully wheelchair accessible. Follow the JAC:  Instagram  Facebook  Twitter


The Mission of the Jamestown Arts Center is to engage, enrich and inspire our community through extraordinary arts and educational experiences.

Residents of small communities shouldn’t lack the opportunities of their big city counterparts to experience art and design that is aspirational, inspirational, challenging, and at the highest level of its craft. We are setting the pace and raising the bar at the JAC every day.


The Jamestown Arts Center’s vision is to be a leading arts and cultural hub, for Rhode Island and beyond, where creativity, ideas and innovation flourish.

Great art is fed by the richness of experiences and the cross fertilization of ideas. We encourage participation of people of all ages, cultures and walks of life, the amateur to the professional. We present the arts in a variety of forms and formats, from the visual to the performing arts, from classes to events.

Our Goal

Our goal is to unite our community by embracing the arts.

JAC provides space for education, exhibition, rehearsal, performance, and interdisciplinary art camps, as well as opportunities for our community including employment, mentoring, outreach, internships, and patronage. By creating the Jamestown Arts Center, we will enrich our essential self-worth individually and collectively for years to come.

Who We Serve

While we are committed to creating out-of-the-ordinary arts and design experiences for Jamestown and our surrounding communities, our center is open to all and enriched by participants from near and far. We hope the art and arts experiences created here will be an inspiration to people worldwide.

Community is the fabric of our being. The JAC exists because members of our community were inspired to create it. That spirit of collaboration and community ownership also sustains it. Everyone is invited to work, to create, to build and to invest here.


The JAC was conceived in 2007 by a group of Jamestowners passionate about the arts who collectively envisioned a dynamic arts center in the heart of town. This committed group became the organization’s founding board members and began working in earnest to make their vision a reality. In February of 2008 the JAC board launched a Capital Campaign to purchase and renovate a former 5,000 square foot boat repair shop into a beautiful arts center designed by Estes/Twombly Architects. The property was purchased on December 21, 2009, with contributions and support from many generous individuals and foundations and soon after opened its doors as a multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts space. The JAC now hosts art exhibits, theatre and dance performances, film nights, OutLoud events and concerts, and provides art and design educational programs for people of all ages. Programming partners include: Heifetz International Music Institute, FirstWorks, RISCA, FabNewport, 10 Thousand Small Businesses, RISD, Manhattan Short Film Festival, SENE Film Festival, Providence Art and Design Film Festival, Island Moving Company, The Jamestown Schools, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, The Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Acting & Directing Program and many individual artists and local organizations. The JAC was awarded Best Gallery in Newport County by the Best of Rhode Island 2017 & 2018 readers’ polls. The Jamestown Arts Center has quickly become a leading arts and cultural hub, for Rhode Island and beyond, where creativity, ideas and innovation flourish. Founding Board Members & Executive Director: Kate Petrie, President; Elizabeth Congdon, Vice President; Vivi Valentine, Vice President; Dianne Grippi, Vice President; Joce Donaghue, Secretary; Dori Hirsch, Treasurer; Anne Livingston, Treasurer; Abby Campbell-King; Lisa Utman Randall, Executive Director As one of our founders, Vivi Valentine so eloquently said, “The founders believed in the idea, mission and goal of the need for a ‘home for the arts’ in Jamestown. They put their personal lives aside, and worked tirelessly as a passionate, committed, collaborative group in order to achieve this goal. They used every resource at their disposal in order to make this happen. They used every skill they had and enlisted those outside the board for those they did not. This group of women became a community working toward one common goal and their original motto kept them going; We believe Art Transforms Lives.”

Who We Are


• Maureen Coleman, Executive Director
• Tessa Freas Rodgers, Marketing Director
• Karen Conway, Exhibitions Director
• Seamus Hames, Education Director
• Molly Dickinson, Development + Special Projects
• Donna Defusco, Bookkeeper
• Jon Baylor, Ceramics Studio Manager
• Kara McKamey, Instructor
• Casey Weibust, Instructor

Staff Photo (above):
Molly Dickinson, Karen Conway, Lisa Utman Randall (Founding Executive Director) + Tessa Freas Rodgers

Board Photo (right):
Standing: Diane Harrison, Dianne Grippi, Lisa Utman Randall (Founding Executive Director), Peter Marcus, Courtney Hunter + Susan Hackman
Seated: Karen Benson, Joan Hall, Nell Connelly + Tom Farrell
Missing: Catherine Bowen, Dick Trask + Barry Eyre

Photos by Kim Fuller at our 9th Annual Summer Soirée

Board of Directors

Dianne Grippi, Chair

  • Fairleigh Dickenson University, Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Television and film production company
  • Public Relations, Stylist, Commercial Visual Manager
  • Island Realty, Realtor
  • Set Designer, Mixed media artist

Thomas G. Farrell, Vice Chair

  • BA, Brown University 1978
  • JD, Georgetown University 1981
  • Executive Management, Harvard University 1997
  • Group Executive Vice President, Lafarge Paris 2007-2015
  • Division President, Lafarge Americas 2003-2006
  • CEO, Lafarge India 1998-2002
  • Vice President, Lafarge Canada 1995-1998
  • Vice President, Lafarge France 1990-1994
  • Shearman & Sterling, New York & Paris 1983-1989
  • Director, Rexel SA since 2012 – member of Audit Committee and Nominations Committee
  • Married to Lisa Barsumian (Artist), two children: James and Aiden

Barry Eyre, Treasurer

  • BS, Finance, New York University 1990
  • MBA, Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, 1995
  • Financial Analyst – Kidder Peabody, NYC – 2 Years
  • Derivatives Trader – Deutsche Bank, London, England 6 Years
  • Managing Partner – Putney Realty Providence, RI 3 Years
  • Managing Partner – Saint John Stone – North Kingstown, RI 4 Years
  • VP Business Development – KTP Advisors, Newport, RI 4 Years

Catherine Bowen, Secretary

  • Advertising at Young & Rubicam NY; Saatchi & Saatchi NY; Weightman Group, Philadelphia
  • Publishing at Rodale Press at Men’s Health magazine, Prevention magazine and Rodale Books
  • Bowen Brophy Communications (‘98+) working on national, regional, local, for- and non-profit organizations
  • Adjunct Professor at Salve Regina University: Writing for Public Relations, Marketing, Event Management
  • Worked with a variety of non-profits: Island Arts, Newport Int’l Film Festival, Newport Art Museum, Norman Bird Sanctuary, Ballard Park, Flying Kites, Academy Players
  • BSBA Villanova University

Karen Augeri Benson

  • J.D.,Cum Laude -UMass Dartmouth School of Law 1995
  • University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI Master of Marines Affairs Program, 1982
  • B.A., Cum Laude-Political Science and Legal Studies Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI 1979
  • Law Office of Alan A. Amaral, Fall River, MA, 1996 to present General Practice of Law: Concentrating in Environmental Compliance and Land Use matters, Civil Litigation and Estate Planning
  • Law Clerk/Associate – Corcoran, Peckham & Hayes, P.C. Newport, RI, 6/92-8/96 Legal Research and writing, drafting pleadings, discovery, trial preparation. Civil, Criminal and Domestic Litigation.
  • Admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
  • Member Massachusetts and Rhode Island Bar Associations
  • Norman Bird Sanctuary – Board of Directors 2009 – 2016
  • Staff Attorney – Taunton River Watershed Alliance 2006
  • Save the Bay – President, Board, Legal Committee 2002 -2005
  • Member and past Secretary – Fall River Rotary Club
  • City of Newport, RI – Zoning Board of Review 1996
  • Community Preservation Institute – Mass. DEP 2002
  • Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation –VP, Board of Directors 2001

Nell Connelly

  • The Lawrenceville School, ’02
  • BA Boston College, ’06
  • MA Boston College, ’08
  • ESL teacher – Prague, Czech Republic, 2008 – 2009
  • ESL teacher – Boston, MA, 2009 – 2011
  • English teacher at Jamestown Middle School, 2011 – Present

Joan Hall

  •  BFA Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio 1974
  •  MFA University of Nebraska-Lincoln 1978
  •  Visiting Critic- Rhode Island College of Design 2017, 2018
  •  Kenneth E Hudson Professor of Art, Washington University, St Louis 2002-2014
  •  Professor of Art, Washington University, St Louis 1978-2014
  •  Visiting Professor, Salzburg Academy of Art, Salzburg, Austria 1996
  •  National Endowment for the Arts/M-AAA Grant 1989
  •  National Endowment for the Arts/M-AAA Grant 1985
  •  Exhibitions:   Meadows Museum Shreveport, LA 2019, Newport Art Museum 2018, Museum of Nebraska Art 2014, Walton Art Center, Fayetteville, AR 2014, Silkeborg Art Center, Denmark 2010, St Louis Art Museum 1999
  •  Collections: Brooklyn Art Museum, NY, St Louis Art Museum, MO, Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA, Leopold-Hoesch Museum, Duren, Germany
  •  Married to Mark Weil

Courtney Hunter

  • Marketing Manager, People’s Credit Union
  • BA English, Honors Program, University of Rhode Island
  • The Italian International Institute, Florence, Italy,
  • Past Advisory Board Member Providence Summerbridge
  • Past Board of Directors Jamestown Chamber of Commerce
  • Past Board of Directors The Edward King House Senior Center
  • Past Board of Directors YMCA of South County
  • Leadership Advisory Council, Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership
  • Past Board Member Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County
  • Advisory Council, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County

Peter Marcus

  • Printmaking, Scuola del Libro, Urbino Italy
  • M.F.A., Brooklyn College 1964
  • BS, NYU 1962
  • Parsons School of Design, Industrial Design 1960
  • Prof. of Art: Washington Univ. 1967-1999
  • Prof. of Art: State Univ.Wisconsin-Stout 1965-1967
  • Prof. of Art: Queens College, New York 1964-65
  • National Endowment for the Arts Senior Fellowship,1985
  • Exhibitions: Newport Art Museum 2015, Jamestown Art Center 2013, Steinberg Art Museum, St.Louis, Mo. 2011, Contemporary Art Museum St.louis, Mo. 2007
  • Collections: Newport Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, St.Louis Museum of Fine Art

Richard Trask

  • Finance Committee of Conanicut Yacht Club
  • Board Member of Jamestown Fitness Club and Bridges Inc.
  • Citigroup (1973 – 2012): Began as a corporate banker, ended up as Senior Risk Manager in charge of approving (1) bond underwritings worldwide and (2) Leveraged Buyouts and other highly leveraged transactions.
  • Columbia Business School (1973): MBA
  • University of North Carolina (1964-1968): BA in American History
  • US Army (1969-1972) including a tour in Vietnam.
  • Family: Married to Cindy Trask and have two sons: Jake, 27 and Will 25 years old.
Our Staff

Jamestown Arts Center | Location: 18 Valley Street, Jamestown, Rhode Island 02835 | Mailing Address: PO Box 97, Jamestown,
Rhode Island 02835 | for more Information call: (401) 560-0979 or email


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