Arts Extension Institute: The Board of the Arts Extension Institute works closely with the staff of the Arts Extension Service on its programs and initiatives.
Barbara Schaffer-Bacon (President) is Co-Director of Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, Institute for Community Development and the Arts, funded by the Ford Foundation. Launched in fall 1999, Animating Democracy’s purpose is to foster artistic activity that encourages civic dialogue on important contemporary issues. Barbara has worked as a consultant since 1990, and prior to that she served as executive director of the Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts where she was on staff for 13 years. Her work with Pam Korza (see below) includes program design and evaluation for state and local arts agencies and private foundations nationally. Projects include strategic plans for the Heinz Endowment’s Arts and Culture programs and the New York State Council on the Arts; a 20-year review of the North Carolina Arts Council’s Grassroots Arts Program; and cultural plans for Northampton, MA, and Rapid City, SD. Barbara has written, edited, and contributed to several publications, including the revised edition of Fundamentals of Local Arts Management and The Cultural Planning Work Kit, published by the Arts Extension Service. She is an arts management educator, serving as a primary instructor for the “Fundamentals and Advanced Management” seminars, guest lecturer for the New York University Graduate Program in Arts Management, and a senior faculty member for the Empire State Partnerships’ Summer Institute in arts education. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Barbara has served as a panelist and adviser for many state and national arts agencies. In addition to her work with AEI, she is a board member of the Fund for Women Artists and chair of her local school committee.
Eric Bachrach, Former Executive Director of the Community Music School of Springfield, is himself a product of the community music school tradition, having attended the Turtle Bay Community Music School in Manhattan. Mr. Bachrach holds a Master’s degree in Music from the University of Massachusetts and a Bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in New York. He also studied at the High School of Music and Art, Berklee College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes College of Music. Mr. Bachrach taught elementary grades, general music, and strings for more than 10 years in the New York City Public and has studied violin with Samuel Gardner, Ruth Kemper, Julian Olevsky, Philipp Naegele, and Michal Urbaniak. Bachrach was awarded the 2001 Frances Hesselbein Fellowship by the Peter Drucker Foundation and was awarded western Massachusetts’ William Pynchon Award, also in 2001. Under Bachrach’s leadership, the Community Music School of Springfield was awarded the 2001 Commonwealth Award, a bi-annual distinction awarded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is the state’s highest arts honor. He serves on the boards of the Arts Extension Service, the Fine Arts Center of the University of Massachusetts, National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, and Springfield’s Brianna Fund for Children with Physical Disabilities.
Dorothy Chen Courtin, Ph.D. is the founder and President of Marketing & Management Associates for Nonprofits, a 13-year old management consultancy that adapts and applies best practices from the for-profit sector for the benefit of non-profit clients. Dorothy works with foundations, arts commissions and arts councils, cultural, educational, and human services organizations and museums. Assignments she had worked on include organizational expansion and right-sizing, Board governance and leadership transitions, market feasibility studies and strategic planning; marketing and communications research and planning, as well as the implementation of project plans. She writes and speaks frequently on non-profit strategy, management and marketing issues, nationwide. A Barnard College graduate, Dorothy earned her MA and PhD in Oriental Art history from Columbia University and a MBA from Northeastern University. She serves on the Board of Visitors Studies Association, a national association affiliated with the American Association of Museums, and Arts Extension Service of University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the President of the New York Herald Tribune World Youth Forum Alumni Association and the co-chair of the WGBH Community Advisory Board. She serves on the President’s Advisory Council of Barnard College, IdeasBoston Advisory Committee, and The Boston Club Board. Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, French and English, Dorothy was born in China, grew up in Malaysia, lived in France and considers Massachusetts her home.
Robert L. Lynch is the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, the national organization dedicated to advancing the arts and arts education in people's lives, schools, and communities. He was executive director of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies for 12 years, and managed the successful merger of that organization with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts in 1996. In 2005, he oversaw the merger of the Arts and Business Council, Inc. into Americans for the Arts. In 2005, Bob also created the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected political action committee to engage citizens in advocating for the arts and arts education to ensure arts-friendly public policies. With more than 30 years of experience in the arts industry, Bob is motivated by his personal mission to empower communities and leaders to advance arts and arts appreciation in society. Under his 23 years of leadership, the services and membership of Americans for the Arts has grown to over 50 times its original size in 1985. He has personally reached audiences in 49 states and eight countries, ranging from Native American tribal gatherings to the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and the president of the United States. Bob currently serves on the board of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, the Arts Extension Institute, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts Board. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Bob plays the piano, mandolin, and guitar, and lives in Washington, DC. Robert L. Lynch was the Director of the Arts Extension Service from 1976 to 1985.
FORMER BOARD MEMBERS:
Tom Weidemann is the Executive Director of the Clemens Center in Elmira, NY. Since 1983, Tom has managed the Clemens Center and its 1,600-seat proscenium and smaller black-box theater. During the course of his 20+ years with the Clemens Center, he has built an audience of 100,000 people each year, created a $3 million endowment fund, set an operating pattern that has seen nine consecutive years of modest operating surpluses, and successfully raised nearly $8 million to fund a renovation of the Center's exterior and lobby areas. In addition to his work at the Clemens Center, Weidemann is a member of the Elmira Rotary Club and a member of the Board of Directors of the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. He serves on the Capital Aid grant-review panel of the New York State Council on the Arts. Tom is also an Associate of the Arts Extension Service, where he has taught fundraising for AES’ online courses and offered workshops at our national conferences. Prior to his work in Elmira, Tom was the General Manager of the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne, Indiana for five years. And he also taught Secondary School English in the Wayland Central School District of Upstate New York. He is the recipient of the coveted North American Performing Arts Presenter’s Award for Excellence in Presenting the Performing Arts.