Karen Finn is the Executive Director of the Springfield Cultural Partnership. In her current role, she works to advance the SCP’s mission of sustaining strong and secure arts and cultural environment in Springfield. She has been an entrepreneur and business owner as well as held positions with higher education and the federal government. She has experience in community service, advocacy, and program management. Karen also holds a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree and is a recipient of the prestigious U.S. Presidential Management Fellowship. She relocated to the Springfield MA area in 2018 with her husband, two sons, and two Bernese Mountain Dogs. She and her family enjoy partaking in cultural events, skiing, and traveling.
Vanessa Ford is the Program Director for Trust Transfer Project,. Trust Transfer Project is a partnership between Community Music School of Springfield and Springfield Cultural Partnership, led by Program Director Vanessa Ford. This initiative allows our local artists to lead in health messaging that will directly impact the lives of their family, neighbors and friends, offering a unique opportunity for us to depend on one another to share and receive health messages in a creative and inspirational way. Initially designed to build trust through the eyes of the most impacted by Covid-19, Trust Transfer Project is also focused on community care centered around Mental Wellness and Food Justice by transforming the health of our communities one artistic message at a time.
Sommers Smith oversees and programs Springfield Cultural Partnership’s weekly “Thank an Artist” segment on WTCC 90.7 FM. WTCC is a community radio station broadcasting from the campus of Springfield Technical Community College. Sommers uses her talents to highlight arts and culture within Springfield.
Sommers is a graduate of the University of New Haven with her B.A Communications – Public Relations. She has been able to apply her learning experiences to marketing and coordinating events, programs, and projects. Her passion for writing & creating valuable media content, allows her to challenge the bounds of how to best elevate the partnership and community creatives. She can be described as a movie lover & enjoys trying new foods.
Marla Shelasky is part of SCP’s Creative Leaders Program team. She uses her own experience as a working artist, and her background in program management, communications and audience research, to help the team stay focused on goals, mentor participants, develop surveys and analyze data. Marla also works as the Communications Coordinator for Make-It Springfield and started Artists of Springfield MA, an effort to raise the visibility of Springfield artists to the rest of the region through social media and exhibits. She is an alumna of Leadership Pioneer Valley and holds a BFA in Illustration and an MFA in Textiles but credits what she learns from talking with other artists as her most valuable inspiration. Marla relaxes by taking long walks and hikes and spending time making her artwork.