Staff / Board
Our staff and board is run by a group of esteemed and dynamic people from all over the arts community of Philadelphia who are passionate about using art as a way for all to connect to joyful, creative lives.
Erica Atwood, founder of First Degree Consulting; Chief of Staff to City of Philadelphia Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. Erica is a mentor, coach, people lover, problem solver and troublemaker who is fiercely committed to black people and believes in honesty from a place of love, being rooted in your purpose from a place of joy and naps.
Betsaleel (Bets) Charmelus s a facilitator, community advocate & an auditory story-teller. Whether in his work as a program director for the anti-violence, music based non-profit Beyond the Bars, facilitating as a music instructor for survivors of sexual trauma with JJPI’s B.O.S.S Program, coordinating men’s mental health support groups or aural story-telling in the nationally acclaimed, all-black rock band ill Fated Natives, Bets is passionate about finding & claiming new spaces, building strong, inter-connected communities & exploring the difference between questioning oneself and asking oneself questions.
Cat Ramirez is a Philly-based director and producer who specializes in new plays, devised work, multidisciplinary performance, and event production. They work at the intersection of performance, activism, and administration to create a work where all people can tell their stories without shame or fear. They currently serve as the Creative Director for Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists and the Interim Line Producer at The Bearded Ladies Cabaret. In 2018, Cat was honored by Governor Wolf’s Advisory Committee on Asian Pacific American Affairs for their work furthering Asian American Theater in Philadelphia. More info is here.
Betsy Cloues, Esq., Ballard Spahr, (Secretary) is a lawyer who loves all things Philadelphia.
Sannii Crespina-flores (Chair) is the founder of the Un-Inhibited Muse Film Festival, the global youth initiative Do Remember Me and the art collaborative Yram Collective. Sannii uses storytelling, life casting and film to actively advocate for women and youth. For more information visit this link.
Hannah Gillean, Hamilton Lane (Treasurer). Hannah is a finance enthusiast who is passionate about supporting Philadelphia and the arts outside of her day to day job as she believes arts and self expression is an integral part of a robust culture. Hannah hopes to bring her interest in investments and business acumen to support the Barton Foundation’s mission.
Iquail Shaheed is the executive artistic director of Dance Iquail, a Philadelphia-based dance company working at the intersection of dance and social justice. Mr. Shaheed has performed in the companies of Ronald K Brown/ Evidence, Fred Benjamin Dance Company, The Metropolian Opera Ballet and on Broadway in The Lion King among others, Mr. Shaheed serves on the faculty at Goucher College, The Ailey School, Dance Theatre of Harlem and NAISDA Dance College in Sydney, Australia. His scholarship is devoted to the advancement and perseveration of black artistic contributions in dance and community. More info here.
Wit López, (Secretary) is a visual artist, performer, and arts administrator. They are the Artistic Director of Till Arts Project, an arts-services organization serving LGBTQI+ artists in the Greater Philly area. Wit believes that marginalized artists should have support for their practices and equal access to resources as artists from privileged backgrounds.
Veronica Ponce de Leon Plascencia is a multi-disciplinary artist who teaches folk arts at FACTS Charter School. I am passionate about children’s arts education that helps them grow up in a loving and just world. I love making art with everyone out of whatever we have.
Sinta Penyami Storms is a traditional Indonesian dance artist who is also known as a strategic, visionary, and community-based leader who utilizes dance, fashion, cuisine, and other aspects of Indonesian cultural tradition to support dialogue and education about critical issues impacting the Indonesian diaspora in Philadelphia, including immigration, cross-racial solidarity, public health, intergenerational relationships, and governance. Sinta is also the Events and Operations Manager at Philadelphia Folklore Project. Through her work to preserve the traditional Indonesian culture, Sinta founded Modero & Company who provides a More info here and here.
Emilee J. Taylor, Adjunct Professor, Moore College of Art and Design, (Vice-Chair) is an art educator, visual artist and photographer who is passionate about the education and the inclusion of Arts education in our public schools. She brings with her expertise in education as she was an Art Educator with the School District of Philadelphia for 39 years before retiring. Emilee now works as an adjunct professor in Art Education Department at Moore College of Art and Design. She also works as a support mentor for teachers pursuing National Board Certification working under the direction of Temple University.