Our Team

Kathleen Pletcher

Executive Artistic Director

She/Her

kathleen@firstworks.org

About Kathleen

Kathleen Pletcher founded FirstWorks in 2004, transforming the one-night First Night Providence festival into a year-round performing arts and educational organization. With over 25 years experience as an entrepreneur, Kathleen has founded three non-profit arts organizations and formed strategies for organizations across the US. As a presenter, she has developed projects with creative pioneers such as Yo-Yo Ma, Kronos Quartet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, linking performances of new work with community engagement across Rhode Island. As a curator, she has participated in numerous international tours, forging relationships with artists in Taiwan, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Italy, Mexico and France.

Marissa Hutton

Senior Director of Operations

She/Her

mhutton@firstworks.org

About Marissa

Marissa Hutton comes to FirstWorks from the Dorset Theatre Festival, in Dorset, VT where she served as Executive Director. She has an extensive career in live event production, having worked with organizations such as, the Park Avenue Armory, Irish Repertory Theatre, Monica Bill Barnes Dance Co., Valencia Production Partners, and Bike New York. She has worked on live network television events for Condé Nast Entertainment, Hulu, Netflix, and CW. Marissa spent four years at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT as Special Programs Curator. As an avid dance practitioner, Marissa has taught and performed nationally and internationally. Marissa is also a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician.

Suzanne Kim

Program Director

She/Her

skim@firstworks.org

About Suzanne

Suzanne Kim has over a decade of experience providing creative and technical direction for large-scale multimedia exhibitions and events. She has worked as an exhibition consultant for projects presented at international museums and galleries. Prior to moving to Providence, Suzanne was the Deputy Director and Director of Exhibitions at Smack Mellon, NYC, from 2004 – 2016, where she curated and produced over 100 art exhibitions and events. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts.

DBR Headshot

DBR

Artistic Ambassador

He/Him

info@sozomedia.com

About Daniel

Known for his signature violin sounds infused with myriad electronic, urban, and African-American music influences, DBR takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium. His innovative musical collaborations span the worlds of modernist composer Philip Glass, choreographer Bill T. Jones, Broadway star Savion Glover, and pop icon Lady Gaga, leading the New York Times to describe him as “about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets.

Jamil Jorge

Education Director

He/Him

jjorge@firstworks.org

About Jamil

Jamil Jorge (juh-mel hor-heh; he/him) has a Ph.D. and M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. in music from Connecticut College. He is a Mellon Mays Fellow, is on the Board for Thames Valley Music School, the Alumni Advisory Board for Humanities Without Walls, and the Alumni Committee for the 7th Regiment Youth Performing Arts Organization. Jamil has taught in multiple institutions, coordinated mentoring and educational opportunities for the U.S. Navy, and founded a nonprofit to provide leadership training and scholarships for students of color. As a performer, Jamil is a multi-instrumentalist who has played many styles of western art music, jazz, African music, music for dance, and more.

Meredith Cutler

Marketing Manager

She/Her

mcutler@firstworks.org

About Meredith

Meredith brings to FirstWorks over 15 years of experience in brand marketing, public relations and creative project management within the non-profit, higher education, consumer electronics and entertainment industries. Also a visual artist, Meredith co-founded the 9yds. art collaborative, which produced multimedia arts events and exhibitions throughout greater Boston from 1998-2002. Her collaborative and solo work has been featured at the BCA Mills Gallery, Allston Skirt Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery, Wheaton College and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery at Skidmore College, where she received her B.S. in Studio Art. Meredith is also a contributing writer for artscope magazine, (New England’s Culture Magazine), covering the region’s visual arts news since 2008.

Abigail Comtois

Development Manager

She/Her

acomtois@firstworks.org

About Abigail

Abigail is a recent graduate of Castleton University where she earned her M.A in Arts Administration. She received her B.A. from Rhode Island College where she studied both art history and studio art. Through her previous work experiences, within a wide variety of organizations, she has enjoyed sharing her excitement for the arts with others.

Kimberly Najjar

Development Associate

She/Her

knajjar@firstworks.org

About Kim

Kim is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a B.A. in Anthropology. She is an alumna of The State Ballet of Rhode Island, where she now acts as a volunteer rehearsal assistant and coach. She is excited to join the FirstWorks team and share her passion for fundraising and the arts. 

Square cropped headshot of team member Sam Zimmer outdoors in winter hiking gear.

Sam Zimmer

Education Program Coord.

She/Her

szimmer@firstworks.org

About Sam

Sam Zimmer is an educator, nature nerd, and lover of creative expression. Sam has enjoyed working with kids of all ages in classrooms and non-traditional settings, especially outside! Her passions include climate advocacy/environmental justice and increasing access to both the arts and the natural world. She has a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Fordham University and a dual MA in Childhood Special and General Education from Bank Street College of Education. Sam is a member of the local folklórico group, Las Teteras.

Jess Costanza

Administrative Coordinator

She/They

jcostanza@firstworks.org

About Jess

Jess comes to FirstWorks by way of Western Washington University where she received a B.A. in Linguistics. While at Western, she sought out projects that celebrate the creativity of language and its role in the stewardship of cultural histories, and she found a love for sharing the stories of people’s passions. Raised in Pittsburgh’s music and arts festival scene, Jess is excited to help make the same magic happen in Rhode Island. 

Vanessa Villon

Fundraising Operations Asst.

She/Her

vvillon@firstworks.org

About Vanessa

Vanessa Villon is a bilingual, community-oriented, and data-driven individual. She is an alumna of Rhode Island College with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Rhetoric and Writing. During her undergraduate career, she interned for ABC6 News and United Way of Rhode Island. Upon graduation, she worked for Brown University and Rhode Island College. She has worked with Trinity Repertory Company and The Empowerment Factory. She enjoys learning languages, promoting the arts, and volunteering at events. 

Mary Gagnon

Vitalo-Gagnon, Fiscal Mgmt

She/Her

accounting@firstworks.org

About Mary

VITALO GAGNON, LTD. is a professional management firm specializing in customized accounting and business advisory services. Vitalo Gagnon’s expertise encompasses interim or part time CFO/Controller capabilities, special projects and retained long-term accounting relationships. They have provided accounting and fiscal management services to FirstWorks since 2017.

Mary Gagnon brings over 25 years of experience including accounting, financial planning and analysis, and administrative support functions.  She has a BS in Business Administration with a major in accounting and marketing and an MBA from Bryant University.  She also earned an Information Systems Management certificate from Boston University.

Board of Trustees

Catherine Taylor

President

Black and white photo of J. Richard Ratcliffe

J. Richard Ratcliffe

Vice President

Tomas Avila headshot

Tomás Ávila

Vice  President

Kevin S. Hundley

Treasurer

Karen Silva headshot

Karen E. Silva, Ed.D, CHE

Secretary

Board of Trustees

Kyle Adamonis

Katherine Hypolite-MacMannis

Wendy Kagan

Siu-Li Khoe

Alex Lancey

H. Jack Martin

Jeanette Palmer

Rob Panoff

Sydney Skybetter

Grafton “Cap” Willey IV

Board Advisors

Robert J. Allio

Deming E. Sherman

Chair Emeritus
Frederick K. Butler

Honorary Trustee

Alan Chille

Jorge Cardenas
(In Memoriam)
Founding Board Member