Our Team

Officers and Executive Committee

  • President –  Mara DeWitte
  • Vice President – Maureen B. Prokos
  • Treasurer – John Polakowski
  • Secretary – Sandy Polanik
  • Member-At-Large – Julie Prohaska

Board of Directors

  • Charlie Gaulin
  • Raciel Fernandez
  • Simone Germain
  • Richard Harwood
  • Demetri Kasperson
  • Melissa Parent
  • Eddi Phillips
  • Rachel Young


 Mara DeWitte

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Raciel Fernandez

Raciel “Raci” Fernandez has served on the Board of Directors of QVCAH since 2008 where he has focused his efforts as Chair of the Communications Committee and the Member at Large of the Executive Committee. He has previously served as the group’s Vice President. Mr. Fernandez has 21 years of experience in the technology field within the investment industry, serving as Director of Technology for Babson Capital Management, and investment firm and wholly owned subsidiary of MassMutual, where he managed a team of engineers and services the company’s remote access strategy. Originally an elementary school educator for the Los Angeles Unified School District, he turned to technology by accident after realizing there was only one personal computer in the entire school. Seeing the potential for learning, design and connecting people, he changed career paths immediately. Raci was born in Mexico City, Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, California. He now lives with his family in Southbridge, Massachusetts. An avid art collector and enthusiast he is also a lover of design and architecture and among his current projects is the restoration of his home, a historic 1904 Georgian revival. Raci’s greatest passion is animal welfare, and is an animal rights advocate serving on the Board of Directors for Let’s Adopt Global, an international animal rescue group with a no-kill objective.

Click here to visit Let’s Adopt Global website
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Simone Germain

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Charlie Gaulin

Charles E. Gaulin was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts in1951.   Gaulin was inspired by longtime friend and fellow painter, Alex Gazonas, who stated many times that “you have to bomb a thousand times to learn the poetry of watercolor.”  Following this advice, Gaulin has produced a prolific body of work in the aforementioned medium; covering a vast array of subjects through experimentation of technique and repetition of imagery.  More recently, he has expanded his efforts into the realm of oil painting  under the tutelage and friendship of artist, David Lussier of Wilmington, Ct.  His emphasis on expressionistic and impressionistic manipulation of color is defined by what he terms his “language for the viewer.”  Gaulin states, “I feel as if I am not working on a piece, just designing and placing light and shadow with every stroke.”  “Charlie” as he’s known to his friends, meets weekly with a group of fellow enthusiasts known as Studio of Four for plein-air painting excursions or studio painting sessions.  He produces much of his work in his studio at the Art Center in Southbridge.

Richard Harwood

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Demetri A. Kasperson

Demetri has served on the Board of Directors since 2006 and the Executive Board since 2010. He has maintained involvement in several other committees including The Estate Committee, The Communication Committee, The Education Committee, The Special Events Committee and The Artist in Residency Subcommittee. Demetri was born in Southbridge, MA and grew up in neighboring Woodstock, CT. The son of a Clark University Research Librarian and Geography Professor, he studied illustration and painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and has lived in a variety of places, including Boston, New York City, Paris, England, Sweden and Greece. In 2007, Demetri along with Monika Agnello, established a contemporary art gallery, performance space, and studio in Southbridge – Sevengaits Project Space. In 2009 he founded Rive Gauche Realty, LLC a company that invests in real estate interests for artists. He is an avid painter and guitarist. Recently, he has focused on the establishment of an annual journal of poetry and prose, the Quinebaug Valley Review, which will be published by QVCAH in 2013.

Click here to visit the Sevengaits website.
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Melissa Parent

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Eddi Phillips

Eddi Phillips has served on the board on QVCAH since 2007 where he contributed on both the Estate Committee, the Renovations Subcommittee and the Special Events Committee. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and now makes his home in Southbridge, Massachusetts. He recently graduated from The School of Fashion Design in Boston, where he excelled in his studies and was recognized with two scholarship awards; one in 2006 and another in 2007. After fifteen years in the financial services and investment industry he is fulfilling his lifelong dream as a fashion designer.

Click here to visit Eddi’s website.
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John Polakowski

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Sandy Polanik

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 Maureen B. Prokos

Maureen Prokos was a founding member of The Quinebaug Valley Council for the Arts & Humanities and has served on the board for 25 years. She has served on the QVCAH Executive Board for 23 years, and presided as its President for four two-year terms. She has served many years, including currently as the Vice President of the organization and during her time has chaired several committees, including Fundraising, House, and the Estate Committee. She has lived most of her life within the Town of Southbridge married to Architect, Alexander S. Prokos and raising five children while working here as a School Administrator and Substitute Teacher. Currently she owns her own business conducting estate sales.

Mrs. Prokos has an extensive background in volunteering for charitable and humanitarian causes and orgainizations including the Southbridge Elementary School P.T.A. (President), the Parent Advisory Committee at her Church, the Southbridge Women’s Club, the Southbridge Historical Society, the Southbridge Downtown Partnership, Gateway Players Theatre (founding member and Public Relations Chair), Women in Business. She was also a founding member of WGBH and currently serves on their “Leadership Circle”.

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Julie Prohaska

Julie has been a resident of Southbridge for the past six years. She has a background in music as a classical singer, has studied interior design, has owned a paint-your-own pottery studio, has studied drawing, now is a jeweler, working with semi-precious stones and wire. She brings her diverse artistic skills to the Arts Center as our newest board member, and we are thrilled to have her on board.

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 Rachel Young

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