Our Board


Gretchen has lived in the Metropolitan Washington area for twenty-three years. She is the mother of two college students who attended several Art Works Now programs during their teen years. Gretchen has a degree in Political Science from The University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana. She has a long history of volunteer work in the nonprofit sector on boards and fundraising committees. Gretchen is a dedicated social justice activist, most recently focusing her work on the Poor People’s Campaign. She has a deeply held belief that art is the new diplomacy and arts education strengthens individuals and the communities they inhabit.  

Board Vice Chair

Marci, her partner, and their son have lived in Hyattsville since 2006. Their son has been a part of the Art Works Now family since 2012. His enthusiasm for participating in Art Works Now classes and summer camps prompted her to join its Board of Directors, where her nonprofit leadership experience and passion for the arts could be happily intertwined.

While a college student, Marci lived for a semester abroad in Strasbourg, France, where she interned with the Council of Europe’s European Court of Human Rights, an eye-opening experience that cultivated her interest in social justice issues. Fast-forward several years later, she found a rewarding way to channel this passion through her work at AARP in Washington, D.C., where she and her colleagues led public benefits outreach campaigns to help alleviate poverty among low-income older adults and their families, and designed consumer education programs to enhance the health security and financial resilience of people 50+. Prior to joining AARP, Marci served as the director of the Southeast Senior Housing Initiative, a nonprofit coalition in Baltimore, MD, committed to helping older adults age in place in their homes and communities.

Marci holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from The College of Wooster (OH), and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Women’s Studies from The George Washington University (D.C.).

Jenny Shtipelman
Board Treasurer

Jenny has been leading individuals and businesses in the Washington, D.C. area to financial success for nearly 20 years. A valuable consultant and resource, her expertise in banking and her ability to effectively streamline processes make her a sought-after professional in the region. Ms. Shtipelman received her BBA from the George Washington University. She has a Small Business Consulting Certification, a Financial Management Certification from Cornell University, and an Action CFO Advisor Certification. Jenny was voted one of the Top 100 Bankers in the Greater D.C. area by readers of Smart CEO magazine. She is an active member of several non-profit and industry trade organizations in the Washington, D.C. area, where she resides.

Carl Sumter

Carl is a strategy consultant and business coach specializing in organizational and leadership development for the hospitality industry. His consulting fortes include producing competitive advantage, organizational alignment, and leadership strategies for entrepreneurs, managers, teams, and their businesses. He is the founder and managing partner of Savor Strategies. As an executive coach, Carl helps business owners and managers overcome professional challenges in the context of organizational leadership, performance expectations, startups, workplace conflict, regulatory compliance, service ethics, change management, outplacement, and career transitions. Carl holds an M.B.S. in organizational leadership from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, and a graduate certification in executive and organizational coaching from Columbia University.

Tochi Dike

Tochi holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from The University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Temple University. After receiving her degree in chemistry, Tochi joined the staff of Art Works Now in the role of general administrative support. Her skills and interest in finance and accounting developed here at AWN; and while working full-time she went back to school to study accounting. After five years with Art Works Now and receiving her degree, Tochi took a job with Verisk, an international accounting firm where she is working toward her C.P.A. Her commitment to Art Works inspired Tochi to become a member of the board of directors. Her long-term institutional knowledge is invaluable to the organization.

Krystal Ferguson

Krystal Ferguson is a graphic designer by trade, and community servant at heart. A poster contest for dental hygiene and a kind act from a “big sister” at the age of nine sparked her lifelong commitment to graphic design, mentorship, and advocacy. Born to a family of educators, musicians, and singers, she developed a love for learning and the arts. Krystal is an Eleanor Roosevelt Science & Technology alum. Krystal studied graphic design at the Delaware College of Art & Design and completed her bachelor’s degree at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. After eight years of working full-time while freelancing as unkanny! design, in 2015, she set out to operate her graphic design business full-time.

Krystal has served causes in art, education and mentorship. A mother of three, she served as technology and marketing chair on PTAs at Woodmore and Pointer Ridge Elementary, and Thomas G. Pullen Creative & Performing Arts Academy. At Pullen, she authored and executed two grants in the amounts of $1,000 and $5,000 for increasing family engagement and creating a courtyard garden. She also engaged Albus Cavus to work with the students to replace the five art panels on display at the front of the school for the 25th anniversary of the flagship creative arts program. Krystal served as head tutor for middle and high school academics with Evangel Cathedral’s Tutorial Ministry. 

Krystal lives by the mantra, “leave a place in better condition than the way you found it.”

Barbara Johnson

An artist and educator for over thirty years, Barbara founded Art Works Now with a vision of increasing accessibility to visual arts education across economic and ability spectrums. A working artist whose paintings have been exhibited internationally, Barbara has taught at colleges around the country, most notably The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, and The University of Texas. In addition to her work as an educator, Barbara brings several years of experience in management, marketing, and merchandising in the art supply retail industry.

Barbara holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Wyoming and an undergraduate Art degree from The University of Maryland. She is a candidate for the Master’s Art Education degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. In 2013 Ms. Johnson received the Outstanding Scholar Award from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania for her work advancing art education nationally through her publication efforts and national speaking engagements. Barbara currently serves as the Executive Director of Art Works Now.

Gina lancaster

Gina has worked in marketing for over 10 years with nonprofits, art communities, and sustainable food brands. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Consumer Economics and a Minor in Art from the University of Delaware.

A DC native and Prince George’s County resident, Gina volunteers and freelances in branding, social media, and photography. She’s served as a board member for The Dwelling Place and volunteered with several nonprofits including the Humanities Council of Washington DC. She’s previously worked for Disney on Ice and Whole Foods Market, and currently works as a Strategic Communications and Social Media Contractor for the Department of Defense.

Zena Polin

Zena Polin is a co-owner of The Daily Dish in Silver Spring, MD, and The Dish & Dram in Kensington, MD. She is also a trilingual author, editor and writer who writes for national and international magazines on food, wine and travel in and about Latin America, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the US. She wrote two travel guidebooks The Other Side of Sydney and The Pub, Club and Grub Guide to Washington, DC and was the managing editor of St. Kitts and Nevis Visitor Magazine from 2007 to 2105. From 1999 to 2007, she lived in Puerto Rico and was the owner of The Winning Ticket, a public relations, marketing and communications firm with clients in Washington, DC, St. Kitts and Puerto Rico. She received a Master of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management and her BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University.  


Rebecca Roberts has lived and worked as an educator in Prince George's County for over 20 year and holds a Master’s Degree in in Educational Administration and Supervision. Her 33 years in education have been spent in diverse areas from Appalachia to Washington D.C. Public Schools and she has designed curriculum and programing for ages preschool through Adults.   While in D.C., she piloted a Family Literacy Program for immigrant and refugee families that still serves families today. Prior to this, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, preparing Artists for success in classroom residencies.   She is also the proud mother of Lina and Thanh Thai, born in Cambodia and Vietnam, respectfully. She believes that having outlets for creativity and life long learning is the key to a strong and vibrant community and is delighted to be raising children in our art rich neighborhood.

Former Board members

Scott Kinlaw, Marisa Johnson, Laura Terrell, Marilyn Stewart, Rebecca Gitter, Stephanie Jones, Leanne Poteet, Teresa Martin, Kate Davison, Amy O'Brien, Tyrese Robinson, and Laura Rogers