About Us //
Erin Muirhead McCarty (she/her/hers) is a seasoned development professional whose work has focused primarily on directing annual fund campaigns, individual and corporate giving, institutional fundraising, and strategic partnerships. In this capacity, she has experience within the world of higher education and also as the annual fund manager for an international nonprofit; she has raised monies for the arts, as well as for social services. She holds a degree in studio arts, and art history from Virginia Commonwealth University’s nationally ranked School of The Arts, and studied visual arts and restoration in Florence, Italy. She's also spent time living and working in London, England. Erin has a love of pop-culture, politics, travel and adventure, and enjoys binge-watching documentaries, she relies on her two teenage daughters to keep her current on all of the latest Tik Tok challenges, Instagram trends, and viral memes.
Michael Matfess (he/him/his) comes to the Community Art Center after a long, storied career in finance and operations with companies ranging from 3 employees to ones with over 100 employees. After decades in both the for-profit and non-profit world, Michael is committed to working with organizations that support young people and underserved communities. In his most recent role before joining Community Art Center, Michael was the CFO and STEM Day Camp Director for a non-profit that offers informal education through the use of live action role playing. Michael lives north of the city with his wife of over 30 years, Judy. Together they have a daughter who lives and works in New York and a son who is self-employed in Lowell. Michael has a knack for storytelling that he honed while raising those children who still sometimes question if he’s making something up or not. In the office you will often find Michael sitting at his desk behind a gnome named Jacques or wandering aimlessly around the halls and the classrooms. When he isn’t working, Michael is often binge-watching shows on streaming services while contemplating the struggles of growing up with only black & white TV and 6 stations to choose from. While Michael likes to cook, he continues his quest for the perfect breakfast/brunch location.
My name is Kosar Mohamed (she/her/hers). I’m a Somali-born American citizen. I moved to America in 2003 with my son and family after fleeing from my country of Somalia, at the age of 9 and lived in refugee camps in Kenya for the next 12 years before coming to America. I started my formal education in Upstate New York, where I earn GED and Associate degree in Arts and later my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Umass Boston. I currently reside in Chelsea, MA for the last 10 years and have worked in different communities around the Metro Area. I have worked as a case manager/social worker, parent educator, and family advocate on and off for the last 11 years both in Minneapolis and Boston. In the years between my human service work, I took on real estate as a seller agent. My passion has always been to help others. That’s why as a child, with no schooling, I dreamt to become a doctor to help those who are sick. Although my career path has changed, my passion is the same: helping others. In my downtime, my hobbies include painting canvases, decorating candles, bottles, and journals for both self-care and donating to fundraisers in the various organization in my community; cooking for my family, and spending time with my niece and nephew at the playground.
Aishea Henry (she/her/hers) is a Jamaican born, American citizen who moved to America when she was in the 7th grade. Aishea lived in Cape Cod until she went off to college at Assumption College, which was later named Assumption University in Worcester, MA. Aishea earned a BA in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies. Having enrolled in Assumption's 6 in 5 program, Aishea was able to complete her master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling within an extra year post-undergrad. Aishea fulfilled her graduate practicum at Central Mass Collaborative High School and gained additional experience while interning at Family Continuity programs in Worcester. She went on to work part-time for Family Continuity as an Outpatient Clinician specializing in children and youth ages 6 - 22. Aiesha’s full-time work as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, makes use of her over 5 years experience working in the mental health field. In that time, Aishea has benefitted from working in a variety of settings, with a spectrum of ages. Aishea especially enjoys working with young children and adolescents, helping them to navigate their worlds, emotions, thoughts and feelings. In her free time Aishea enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends and family.
Sarah Winter (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She formerly worked in education and interactive media at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where she worked on digital story-telling interactives and the early iterations of the Museums As Sites for Social Action (MASS Action) project, a national, collaborative project to create more equitable and inclusive practices in museums. In 2018, her adventurous spirit brought her to the West Coast; while in Eugene, Oregon, she coordinated community engagement and educational programs at an arts non-profit focused on arts accessibility, environmental sustainability, and recycled art. Sarah received her master’s degree in Art, Education and Community Practice from New York University, and holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her spare time, Sarah loves spending time with family and friends, enjoying the outdoors, listening to podcasts and music (and singing along!), watercoloring, and trying out new baking recipes.
A lifelong Cantabridgian, Jada Alleyne (she/her/hers) comes to the Community Art Center with a wealth of early childhood and youth work experience. She has worked with Cambridge Youth Programs, Amigos Community School and Campamento Cultural de Amigos, and Children’s Village. The daughter of an educator, Jada holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is also a licensed cosmetologist, a creative spirit, and beauty product junkie. These days, when she’s not working on curriculum plans and keeping up with attendance records, she can be found selling her boutique bath & body products through her Soap Her Girl website. Jada enjoys creating art and baking with her young daughter, or spending time twin-bonding with her twin sister.
Christ Genty (he/him/his) Born and raised in Massachusetts, is a local film director, photographer, and CEO of his own Production company GentyProVisions. Growing up, Genty always had a passion for the arts, being born into an artistic family with roots from the country of Haiti, he's always been influenced by family members and the culture he grew up in. Before Joining the Community Art Center, Genty's background in media arts ranged, his primary line of work is music video production, portrait, & fashion photography, while also having done work in wedding videography & photography, marketing production, and even having managed his own photo production studio GPV Studios. Genty's photography was also formally published in The Boston Voyager magazine 2018 July issue. Now, having accepted the position as the new Teen Program Manager, he is looking forward to helping guide and teach the youth to become excellent filmmakers and photographers as well as creative-minded individuals who use their skills to produce great works of art, and are continuously inspired.
Jack O'Hearn (he/him/his) has spent nearly two decades as a professional artist, with experience in public art, grant administration, and higher education. He has worked with many non-profits, small businesses, and local governments to execute public art projects with a community focus. He believes the arts can be an important tool for community and economic development, enhancing pride and trust within a community and increasing equitable investment. Jack earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from Lesley University and his Master’s Degree from The University of Wisconsin. He has lived in many places throughout the country building a career in the arts, including New Mexico, Wisconsin, Indiana, and West Virginia. He now lives back in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters. In addition to being a visual artist, Jack also plays the guitar and is very passionate about music.
Ashlynn Cottoy (she/her/hers) is a New York City native who recently graduated from Boston College. At Boston College, Ashlynn majored in Sociology and minored in African and African Diaspora studies. Ashlynn was introduced to performing arts at a young age and has experience with acting, playing the baritone horn, and dancing. She is grateful to work with the Community Art Center as she is a strong advocate for the intersection of education, youth, and the arts. Prior to joining the Community Art Center team, Ashlynn interned at Gibson Dunn, Bedstuy Restoration Corporation, Storycorps, and Sony Music Entertainment. Ashlynn has also mentored students as a tutor, teacher, and club leader. During her free time, Ashlynn enjoys constructing nail extensions, supporting upcoming artists, reading, and spending time with her younger siblings.
Noel Rubio (he/him/his) has over six years of experience driving smart growth for mission-oriented organizations. His work has spanned six countries and practice areas including tobacco control, domestic violence intervention, pollution prevention, public health promotion, access to justice, disability rights, health equity research, policy advocacy, and economic and community development. Noel is a strong believer in harnessing the power of partnerships to strategically build capacity and iterate on, innovate, and sustain community-based programs at scale. He is passionate about locally-led, evidence-informed, and holistic transformations—from the grassroots to the systems level—in health, human services, and youth development. He has written successful grants for individual, family, foundation, corporate, and government funders ranging from $500 to $10,000,000 in total award value; directed development and communications strategies for nonprofit organizations; and co-managed portfolios of award-winning programs cumulatively valued at over $40,000,000. At the Community Art Center, Noel engages executive and program leaders, as well as operations colleagues, to design, execute, and manage a comprehensive grants strategy that aims to secure the diverse and resilient funding from necessary to sustain and evolve the Center’s programming and budget. Noel studied public policy at the University of Chicago and has roots in the Philippines and Guam. An avid home cook, shower singer, and lapsed thespian, he has made it his life’s mission to advance the public welfare through meaningful work that centers diversity, equity, inclusion, access, anti-racism, justice, and impact.
Ariana Messana (she/her/hers) has been a teacher for five years and is excited to join the CAC team! She graduated from Suffolk University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Theater. She brings her passion for theater and creative writing into the classroom to provide confidence boosting and educational activities for her tribe, The Dreamers. Ariana believes in fostering a safe and welcoming environment to all students and hopes to inspire her tribe to live out their artistic dreams.
Tess O'Brien (she/her/hers) has lived in Boston her entire life. From a young age, art has been her passion. She was always exploring new ways to create, like making duct tape wallets and bags or making/customizing clothing. This passion continued to grow as she got older and took many new forms such as painting clothes and shoes, printmaking, and sewing. She loves to use lots of color and patterns in her art which is also reflected through her clothing, makeup, and hair. At age 15 she started working at Courageous Sailing Center where she spent the next seven summers teaching children from all around Boston to sail. Starting as an instructor in training, she worked her way up to head instructor. In the spring of 2021, she graduated from Umass Boston with a bachelor's degree in Art and Environmental Science. After graduating, she continued working with children at Conservatory Lab Charter School as an eighth-grade teaching assistant. She is very excited to have the opportunity to combine her love for art and working with kids at the Community Art Center.
Elizabeth Garcia (she/her) Dominican-American Artist and Graphic Designer born and raised in Boston, MA. Liz has been passionate about art since early childhood, but it wasn’t until high school where she had the opportunities to embark on her artistic journey. Now, Liz is a first-generation alumni of Northeastern University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in the Graphic Design concentration.
While at the CAC, Liz focuses on creating space for her students to express and find themselves through a diversity of art mediums and experiences. Liz’s main goal is to be the person she needed at their age, as a curious and creative child growing up in undervalued neighborhoods and schools.
In her freetime, Liz enjoys creating experiences with her own curious and creative child. All the while running her business and expanding herself artistically.
Antaliyah Maxwell (she/her/hers) comes from a Cantabridgian family with deep roots in Cambridge. In fact, her mother actually attended Community Art Center as a youth, and participated in some of the earliest filmmaking projects! Antaliyah has worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at TechBoston Academy, where she assisted students ages 5-13 in behavior and honor roll classes; tutoring students in math, social studies, science and humanities. She has also worked as a home health aid for Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts, where she took great care of some of the most vulnerable clients. Antaliyah is finishing up a bachelor's degree at the University of Massachusetts - Boston, majoring in sociology with a minor in early education. Coming from a large family, Antaliyah has tons of real-life, hands-on experience working with young children. She appreciates that working with children teaches patience, and enjoys viewing life through the observations of young children. In her spare time, Antaliyah loves delving into poetry - you may even catch her at an open mic in the area!
Joey (they/them) is a 2D artist born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Growing up in the city, from childhood through college, is a large part of who Joey is and a big inspiration for their work. The city hosts a collection of vibrant cultures and specific colorful aesthetics you just can’t find anywhere else. Joey often draws from the cultures and views around them when creating their work. Joey is the child of a Haitian immigrant, which has led to many challenges. But Joey's connection with music helps to motivate them through these challenges, and inspires them to create.
The poetry in rap, the electric beats in hip hop, and soul in vocals motivate Joey to create not just for themself, but for voices often left unheard. Musical inspiration, as well as cultural inspiration, are prevalent themes in their work. Joey has undergone many changes while growing up, and has had some hard realizations about their sexual orientation and gender identity. These changes have taught Joey the importance of love and the power it has to unify communities. During these growing pains, Joey always had cartoons to make them smile. Joey believes that there is no greater joy than the opportunity to make others smile in the same way.
Ashleigh Hinds (she/her/hers) was born in Long Beach, California, but was raised in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado. After experiencing the joy of facilitating art engagement for youth, at an internship in Denver, Ashleigh decided to pursue her studies in Boston, where she is now an undergraduate student at Lesley University studying art therapy. During her childhood and adolescent years, Ashleigh was involved in competitive sports and also enjoyed creating short stories and illustrative storybooks. Since graduating high school, she has maintained an interest in the use of creative writing, visual storytelling, and art-making to navigate one’s social identity and to empower self-development. The art center offers her a supportive environment to explore paths for her future career in social work and youth services. A professor of her’s used to say, “If you can work with kids, you can work with anyone”— although her education may empower her to work with a variety of populations, she is eternally grateful that the art center has introduced her to her passion for arts-based care.
Toni Fuller (she/her/hers), Founder & CEO of Kids with Keys Transportation, is a former certified teacher with over 15 years of experience of teaching children with disabilities. Toni is an advocate for childhood development for over a decade and has built long lasting relationships with students, parents, educators and organizations as well as school administrators. In addition to providing transportation services, she has a lifelong interest in assuring legal protections for those with disabilities.
José Yax (he/him/his) is the Community Art Center custodian and resident ‘fix-it-all’ super-hero. It runs in the family for José; for years before him, his brother, Erick held the position until retirement. José’s easy going demeanor and kind ways bring a smile to everyone in his path.