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 her retirement from that role in 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 Coalition. Dame 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, 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 Schaffer Bacon co-directs 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. Schaffer Bacon has written, edited, and contributed to many publications related to arts and social change. As a consultant in program design and evaluation, she has served as an adviser for state and national arts agencies and private foundations. She previously served as executive director of the Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts, and she is currently the president of the Arts Extension Institute, Inc. as well as a board member for WomenArts. Read more>>
Christine Young, Clerk – Theatre Professor
Christine Young is Chair of the Performing Arts Department, the Director of the Gender and Sexualities Studies Program, and the Co-Director of the Tech and Design Program at University of San Francisco. As a feminist theater practitioner, Professor Young’s research combines creative work as a director with scholarly work. Prior to joining the faculty at USF, she spent ten years working in non-profit 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.
Advisory Board Members
Kate Clinton – Comedian, Author
Amy Dowling – Dance Professor, University of San Francisco Peforming Arts & Social Justice Program
Andrea Hairston – Artistic Director, Chrysalis Theatre, Professor of Theatre at Smith College
Lenelle Moïse – Playwright, Performer, Spoken Word Artist
Deborah Richardson – Executive Vice President, National Center for Civil & Human Rights
Elizabeth A. Sackler – Founder, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Alice Tuan – Playwright, Director of Writing for Performance, CalArts