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The Commons
The Arts

BMAC elects new trustees and officers

Originally published in The Commons issue #312 (Wednesday, July 1, 2015). This story appeared on page B3.


BRATTLEBORO—The membership of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) elected seven individuals to the museum’s Board of Trustees at the annual meeting of the museum’s members on June 16.

Nominated by the museum’s governance committee, the seven new trustees include nonprofit administrators, educators, artists, a curator, a jewelry designer, and an economic and community development expert. All seven are full- or part-time residents of southern Vermont. They join nine returning trustees at the helm of one of the region’s premier cultural institutions.

The first act of the newly constituted Board of Trustees was to elect four officers to one-year terms.

Of the seven new trustees, BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld said, “This is such an impressive group. They bring to the table a range of personal and professional expertise and experience that will prove invaluable as BMAC continues to grow in the years ahead.”

• Kim Benzel of Brattleboro, is associate curator in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since starting at the Met in 1990, she has worked on numerous exhibitions and related publications. Benzel holds a Ph.D. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University in New York. Before embarking on a career in art history, she studied goldsmithing at the Kulicke-Stark Academy in New York.

• Sean Conley of Brattleboro has served since 2010 as director of graduate and professional studies at Marlboro College Graduate School, where he has been involved in launching new degrees in nonprofit management and in education. Prior to Marlboro, he chaired a degree program at The New School in New York and worked for the School for International Training in Tokyo and in Brattleboro.

• Ken Klothen of Philadelphia and Guilford is a consultant in bioethics, law, and public policy. A graduate of Swarthmore College and the Georgetown University Law Center, he practiced health care law for 10 years and then began a second career in government service, during which he served in a variety of positions in federal, state, and municipal government.

• Petria Mitchell of Brattleboro is an artist and co-owner of the downtown Brattleboro gallery Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts. She has served several prior terms on the BMAC Board of Trustees and was instrumental in the planning and fundraising that led to the renovation and dedication of the museum’s Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Gallery. She has been actively involved with many other Brattleboro organizations, including River Gallery School of Art, Brattleboro-West Arts, and Brattleboro Area Hospice, among others.

• Gina Pattison of Vernon is director of development and marketing at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH). Before joining BMH in December 2014, she worked for the American Cancer Society for 13 years, first as a community executive on the development team and then as senior director of distinguished events. Pattison has served on committees and boards of several Windham County organizations, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from the University of Vermont.

• David Walter of Westminster is a designer, goldsmith, and platinumsmith, has been producing jewelry for clients since 1982. His studio and gallery are located on Main Street in Brattleboro. In 1985,Walter founded DF Walter & Co. in New York City. His earliest clients included Buccelati, Tiffany & Co., Fred Leighton, and Schlumberger, among others. He studied fine art and industrial design at Pratt Institute and worked as an industrial designer and a commercial photographer prior to his jewelry career.

• Susan Wilson is a ceramic sculptor living in Putney. She retired there from Morristown, N.J., where she spent 30 years teaching art at the high school and college levels. Wilson’s artwork has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Maine, Massachusetts, and New York, in addition to Vermont. She regularly volunteers with Brattleboro Area Hospice and helps support AIDS orphans in Rwanda, Kenya, and Cameroon.

In a brief meeting immediately following the election, the newly-constituted board elected four officers to one-year terms. Christopher Chapman of Brattleboro was elected president. Gordon Faison, Eleanora Patterson, and Whit Wheeler, all of Dummerston, were elected vice president, treasurer, and secretary, respectively.

For the past 14 years, Chapman has been a principal with the Trust Company of Vermont, a statewide trust services company. Chapman has served on numerous boards, state committees, and the Brattleboro Selectboard. His father, Ralph Chapman, was an original incorporator of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

Of his election as president, Chapman said, “I am grateful to my board colleagues for placing their trust in me. I look forward to working with them and the museum’s extraordinary staff and volunteers in strengthening BMAC and expanding the role it plays in our region.”

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