The Network for Arts Administrators of Color

Mentorship & Sponsorship Pilot Program

As a new and growing network for building the career capacities, connections, and power of arts administrators of color in the Greater Boston region, ArtsBoston’s Network for Arts Administrators of Color (NAAC Boston) is launching a new initiative designed to elevate professionals of color. NAAC Boston’s Sponsorship & Mentorship Pilot Project builds on research showing that mentoring under-represented categories of professionals (like women and people of color)—by itself—does not drive systemic change in the power structures of our institutions and sectors.

What is needed is sponsorship, which focuses on advancement by tapping into resources of power and opening doors that add value to mentoring relationships and disrupt entrenched power dynamics. This project uses both components of this two-step process to increase the talent pipeline and develop future leaders of color in Boston’s arts sector.

How It Works


For mid-level administrators (4 or more years in the field) as a pathway for upward mobility in the field through supportive relationships with executive-level sponsors who can open doors, provide a seat at the table, and guide toward next-level leadership.


With structured professional development for junior– and entry-level arts administrators (1 to 3 years experience in the field) to accelerate their learning with personalized support from mid-level arts administrators of color.

Pilot Program Participants

Five mid-career mentors and five executive-level sponsors  have been matched with five mentees and five sponsees for our inaugural program, running March to December 2019.


  • Lecolion Washington Executive Director, Community Music Center of Boston
  • Harold Steward
    Harold Steward Producing Co-Executive Director, The Theater Offensive
  • Lisa Simmons
    Lisa Simmons Festivals Program Manager, Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Candelaria Silva-Collins
    Candelaria Silva-Collins Community Membership Coordinator, Huntington Theatre Company
  • David Howse Executive Director, ArtsEmerson



  • Marsha Parrilla
    Marsha Parrilla Director/Choreographer, Danza Orgánica
  • Karthik Subramanian
    Karthik Subramanian Interim Managing Director, Company One Theatre
  • Ngoc-Tran Vu Program Director, Associations of Independents in Radio (AIR)
  • Ashleigh Gordon Artistic Director, Castle of our Skins
  • Jazzmin Bonner
    Jazzmin Bonner Program Manager, Stagesource ; Managing Director, Fresh Ink Theatre


  • Adriana Zuñiga
    Adriana Zuñiga Social Media & Sales Apprentice, American Repertory Theater
  • Falyn Elhard
    Falyn Elhard Program Associate, New England Presenting & Touring, New England Foundation for the Arts
  • Rebecca Kelley Executive Assistant to the Producing Co-Executive Director, The Theater Offensive
  • Romy St. Hilaire
    Romy St. Hilaire STEAM Team Program Coordinator, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Fabienne Keck
    Fabienne Keck Curatorial Dept. Coordinator, Institute of Contemporary Art /Boston


Application: Interested Mentees and Sponsees submitted online applications through Friday, February 15. Mentors and sponsors, nominated by the NAAC Steering Committee were confirmed before the interview process begins.

Interviews: The NAAC Steering Committee conducted interviews with applicants from February 18 through February 28.

Onboarding: Final decisions and Mentor/Mentee and Sponsor/Sponsee pairings were announced on Monday, March 4. A kickoff event, initial pair meetings, and participant training will take place in March. Applicants who were not paired with a Mentor or Sponsor were invited to join a learning cohort with all Mentees and Sponsees.

Program Engagement: Mentor/Mentee and Sponsor/Sponsee pairs will meet one-on-one monthly, as will the learning cohort for masterclasses with a featured Mentor or Sponsor. The full Mentor/Sponsor cohort will check-in as a group and individually with the steering committee over the summer.

Conclusion: Program evaluation and culminating farewell event will take place in December.

Leadership support provided by

Additional support provided by