Our Board

Our Staff

Teaching Artists

Our Board

Barbara Johnson || Founder & Board Chair

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 Chair of the Board of Art Works Now. Click here to read more →

Jessica Port || Vice Chair

Jess is a passionate contributor in the non-profit sector working in both direct service and management for over 20 years. She has relied on her social work and equity background to serve marginalized communities for all of her career. As an advocate for equality, Jess has worked tirelessly on the state and national level advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. She is a champion for the destigmatization of mental health care, community based solutions for youth, and access to art for all.

Jess has called Hyattsville home for the last 14 years and formerly served as PTA president of Hyattsville Elementary. Her son was and always will be an “Art Works Now kid.”

Jess believes that art has the power to heal, inspire, and create change.

Gretchen Kapuscik || Secretary

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.

Janine Jackson || Treasurer

Janine Jackson is a contributor and supporter of artistic initiatives, including those of musical, theatrical, and dance expression and has volunteered with several local, nonprofit outreach organizations. Ms. Jackson is currently the Deputy Executive Director and VP for Finance for the Prince George’s Healthcare Alliance Inc, and the Founder and CEO of Follow My Lead Consulting, LLC. She has an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland and a Master of Science in Not-for-Profit Management from the University of Maryland, University College. Ms. Jackson brings over 25 years of experience in nonprofit entity and business administration, financial oversight, and program and grant compliance expertise.

Previously, Janine worked as a Consultant Program Manager with the Prince George’s Health County Department providing program planning and finance, budgeting, personnel management, contractual oversight, and deliverables reporting during the Health Enterprise Zone grant funded by the State of Maryland for over five years. She previously worked over the past 17 years and held positions as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), VP/Director of Finance and Administration, Director of Finance and Operations, and an Associate Director for DC-based nonprofit organizations.

Janine also volunteered at Extended Hands, Inc. where her focus area was on community outreach formed from the vision and work of ministry at Faith United. Additionally, she has offered her interview skills training services and regularly donated business attire and accessories at Strive DC, a nonprofit providing job development assistance. Janine is a former member and Recording Secretary for the Howard University Hospital Auxiliary.

Bill Shipp || Board Member

Bill has been a supporter of various organizations throughout the Greater Washington area for over 30 years and has demonstrated his extensive participation in professional, civic, and charitable organizations. He received both his B.A. in Urban Affairs and his J.D. from George Washington University. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Prince George’s affiliate of the Community Foundation and is a past member of both the Prince George’s County Public Schools Management Oversight Committee and the Prince George’s County Housing Authority. Bill is also a member of the Leadership Washington Class of 2000 and served on the Board of Directors of The Family Tree, a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to prevent child abuse. He is a past Trustee of the Ballet Theatre of Maryland. He is a member of state and local bar associations and is a member of the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission. Alongside his many responsibilities, he is currently the principal Managing Director at O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, P.A

Rosezella Canty-Letsome || Board Member

After graduating as the Salutatorian from Connellsville Senior High School in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, Rosezella Canty (as she was then known) became the first of her family to attend and graduate from college, her choice being the prestigious Howard University.  Her Bachelor’s in Education from Howard University was quickly followed by a Masters in the Arts of Teaching (M.A.T) from Antioch-Putney Graduate School of Education, a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Duquesne University School of Law and a Masters of Legal Letters (LL.M.) from Harvard Law School.

Committed to public service, Rosezella Canty-Letsome has used her legal education to protect the rights of American citizens by working as an attorney for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and General Counsel and Union Chief Steward for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In addition to her public service, Rosezella harbored a lifelong love of learning and education, passions that supported her work as General Counsel for televised educational series “Infinity Factory” and as Associate Professor of Law at both New College School of Law and Golden Gate School of Law in San Francisco, California.

An advocate for body positivity before it was a term that people used regularly, Rosezella created a fitness program and video called “Light On Your Feet”, an exercise routine for “large, lovely ladies”.  This workout program became nationally known when she was featured on the Phil Donahue show and Ebony magazine in 1986-7 and continues to be one of the first body-positive, disability-accommodating exercise routines for women.

In 2011, Rosezella retired from the Federal government after nearly 30 years of service.   She currently resides in Maryland where she spends her days exercising, doing art classes and enjoying the company of friends and neighbors.

Rafael Rodriguez || Board Member

Rafael Rodriguez was born in Santa Rosa de Lima, a small town in El Salvador, and raised between the villages Copetillo and La Joya. He attended school in Canton Copetillo Caserio La Ermita and Canton La Joya. In 2013, Rafael moved to the United States in order to find a safe place, far from the violence he experienced in his home country. Upon arrival in Maryland, he attended Northwestern High School where he discovered his love for art and enrolled in the highly regarded Visual and Performing Arts Program at his school. His work in the arts includes enrollment in the CreativeWorks job training program at Joe’s Movement Emporium and a position as studio manager at Arts on the Block. He is the creator of a vibrant mural located at the Aldi store in Hyattsville, Maryland.

His artwork not only reflects his life as an individual but also the lives of many other young immigrants in this country who work hard to realize their dreams. Rafael graduated from Montgomery Community College in August of 2021. He has a studio at Red Dirt Studios. His goal is to become an art professor, and contribute through the arts, to make a better place for the youth who are still in El Salvador. At the heart of Rafael’s plans are continued work creating art about immigration injustices, the exploration of different artistic media, and sharing his passion for the arts as a teaching artist.

Brad Frome || Board Member

Brad Frome graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland with a BS in Government and Politics and attended George Washington University Law School. He started in government working for a member of the House of Delegates as a Legislative Director before serving as a Chief of Staff to a member of the Prince George’s County Council.

With experiences as Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for then-Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker as well as leadership roles in every significant economic development project in the county portfolio, Brad brings to AWN a deep understanding of and commitment to the development of Prince George’s County.

Additionally, he oversaw multiple Prince George’s County agencies and served as administration liaison to outside regulatory agencies. Among the projects in Brad’s leadership portfolio are The Purple Line, the largest Light Rail project in America at the time, the MGM-National Harbor Casino complex, and the redevelopment of Riverdale Park Station and the surrounding neighborhood.

Brad is a native of the Philadelphia area and “an avid fan of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys”! He currently resides in University Park with his wife and two young boys whose sport teams he enjoys coaching.

His passion for our community promises to be instrumental in helping to support the growth and vitality of AWN.

John Parker || Board Member

John Parker has served as President and Chairman of the Board of Hutchinson Design Group since its inception in 2006 and oversees all operations, corporate contracting and human resources. He is also founder/owner and Chairman of the Board of New Age Systems, a full-service government contracting software development and systems integration firm founded in 1990.

John comes to AWN with decades of experience working with non-profit clients in the areas of event management, marketing and brand development, public relations, and sponsorship cultivation. His extensive and comprehensive technical acumen has been instrumental as oversight for concept design, planning and registration functions for events for thousands of national and international guests, sponsors, speakers, VIPs, celebrities, and political figures. John’s musical background also allows him to be a valuable asset in technical stage production and event logistics.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Technology from Florida Institute of Technology.

John looks forward to sharing his penchant for fundraising and event development for nonprofits as well as his keen sense for budgeting, financial and contractual matters to help build a strong and vibrant future for AWN.


Former Board Members

Tochi Dike, Jenny Shtipelman, Carl Sumter, Marci Lefevre, Zena Polin, Krystal Ferguson, Gina Lancaster, Rebecca Roberts, Scott Kinlaw, Marisa Johnson, Laura Terrell, Marilyn Stewart, Rebecca Gitter, Stephanie Jones, Leanne Poteet, Teresa MartinKate Davison, Amy O’Brien, Tyrese Robinson, and Laura Rogers.