Our Board

Martha Richards, President & Founder of WomenArts
Martha Richards is the Founder and President of WomenArts, and she served as its Executive Director from January 1995 until June 2020. She continues to guide WomenArts and work on selected projects in her role as Board President.

Prior to WomenArts, Richards served as Executive Director of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College and as Managing Director of StageWest, a regional theatre in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has written and lectured extensively on arts and cultural policy issues.

Richards has been frequently recognized for her commitment to women and to the arts. In April 2007 she was one of three U.S. nominees (with Quincy Jones and Wynton Marsalis) for the prestigious international Montblanc De La Culture Award for outstanding service to the arts. In April 2009 she was inducted into the BayPath College 21st Century Women Business Leaders Hall of Fame for her work in philanthropy. She has been honored as one of three “founding mothers” of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.  In 2018 StateraArts created an  award in her honor, the Martha Richards Visionary Woman in Leadership Award, which is given annually to a visionary woman who uplifts, amplifies, and advances women in the arts.

In November 2020 Richards received the 3rd Elsa Rael VintAge Award for Advocacy for Women in the Arts & Media as They Age from the Women in the Arts & Media CoalitionDame Rosemary Squire, one of the most prominent women in British theatre, presented this lifetime achievement award.  Richards and Squire met in 1984, when Richards travelled to London to help Squire launch the Women’s Playhouse Trust, a company that aimed to produce plays by women in the West End..

Richards has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.  She is a member of the California bar (inactive), and she was one of the founding directors of California Lawyers for the Arts.  See her complete resume>>

Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Treasurer – Arts management consultant
Barbara currently supports the Barr Foundation Creative Commonwealth Initiative. She serves as an arts program consultant for eight community foundations in Massachusetts. From 1996-2022, Barbara Schaffer Bacon was the co-founder and director, with Pam Korza, of Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts that inspires, informs, promotes, and connects arts and culture as potent contributors to community, civic, and social change for over 20 years. Additionally, she contributed to Local Arts Advancement work at Americans for the Arts.

A consultant in program design and evaluation, Barbara serves as an adviser for state and national arts agencies and private foundations. Barbara previously served as executive director of the Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts. She is president of the Arts Extension Institute, Inc. and a board member for WomenArts. Barbara served for 14 years on the Belchertown, MA School Committee. In 2018, Barbara received the Robert E. Gard Foundation Leadership Award. She served as a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council for over 10 years.

Christine Young, Clerk – Theatre Professor
Christine Young is the Director of the Honors College at the University of San Francisco. As a feminist theater practitioner, her research combines creative and scholarly work. She develops and directs plays about social issues affecting women’s lives, practices creative casting that seeks to put as many female performers onstage as possible, mentors young women theater artists, and promotes a world where women’s lives are understood not as special interest stories, but rather as essential human stories. Prior to joining the faculty at USF, she spent ten years working in nonprofit arts administration, including six years as Associate Artistic Director for Playwrights Foundation.  She curates Works by Women San Francisco, a blog that spotlights theatrical work produced by women in the San Francisco/Bay Area.  Read more>>

Eileen Sorrentino, Emeritus – Retired Attorney
Eileen Sorrentino specialized in divorce mediation, children’s issues, family law, domestic issues, and non-profit corporations. Prior to becoming an attorney, Sorrentino worked as a children’s book editor at McGraw Hill and as a freelance writer and copy-editor. She has served on the boards of StageWest, Early Childhood Centers, and the Longmeadow Planning Commission.