Great Barrington, Mass.— The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Board of Directors announced today that it has elected a new board chair and slate of officers for 2019, as well as added three new board members in recent months. Margaret Deutsch was elected chair; she succeeds Maggie Buchwald who held the position for six years. Ms. Buchwald will continue to serve on the board as past chair. Also elected to the board executive committee were Alan S. Jaffe and Mandy Pieczarka as vice chairs, Jeffrey N. Cohen as treasurer, Ron Ashendorf as clerk, and Lola Jaffe as founder. The new board members are Barbara Cutler, Benjamin Liptzin, M.D., and Judd Shoval.
“I often say that we have one of the best boards in the Berkshires, and that has made it a genuine pleasure to serve in this role. That the Mahaiwe succeeds, despite its relative size, in presenting high caliber programming all across the year for such varied audiences has made it gratifying work,” said Ms. Buchwald. “Turning over the reins is easy only when one has as much confidence in a successor as I do in Margaret. She is passionate and discerning about the performing arts, has in-depth business experience, and will work to preserve our precious historic theater.”
“I am honored to be elected to lead this important cultural anchor at this moment in its development, and look forward to working with this dedicated board and our talented executive director,” said Ms. Deutsch. “I recall the Mahaiwe’s restoration and am awed at how far Lola, Maggie, and Beryl have brought us. The performing arts, for me, have been life changing and have added meaning and purpose to many parts of my life. It is so important to ensure that the Mahaiwe keeps that friendly feeling it is known for, keeps its artistic standards high, and keeps opening its doors to the community, night after night.”
“We are very thankful for Maggie’s tenure as board chair. Her first task in 2013 was to follow Mahaiwe Founder Lola Jaffe and transition as new board leadership. She and Lola were able to navigate that really beautifully,” said Mahaiwe Executive Director Jolly. “Maggie went on to steward the Mahaiwe through the successful completion of the IMPACT Campaign, during which we eliminated all debt and built our small cash reserve. She has overseen a thoughtful progression in staffing and successes at the theater, including new levels of stellar headline talents, as well as the exciting opportunity that the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative grant will offer our year-round historic theater. We’re also grateful that she’ll remain on the Board of Directors and continue to serve as a resource for Margaret and me.”
Margaret Deutsch is senior principal and chief financial officer of CBT Architects, which works nationally and internationally on projects that range from urban district master planning to large-scale mixed-use developments, to civic buildings, corporate interiors, and academic projects. She is responsible for the financial and administrative management of the firm, and serves on its executive board. Ms. Deutsch is also an active member of several national architectural organizations. She has served on the Mahaiwe board since 2014 and lives in Boston and Great Barrington.
Alan S. Jaffe (no relation to Lola Jaffe) retired in 2005 as the chairman and managing partner of Proskauer Rose LLP. While he has counseled clients in a variety of industries, a significant portion of his time was concentrated in the entertainment industry where he represented many of New York’s premiere institutions, including The Broadway League, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, New York City Ballet, and New York City Opera, among others.
A native of the Berkshires, Mandy Pieczarka has been a licensed realtor in Massachusetts for more than 30 years, working with Stone House Properties since 2003. She also has an accomplished background as a children’s book illustrator. She has been involved in fundraising for Herman Melville’s Arrowhead and co-produced “Call Me Melville” at Ozawa Hall, as well as co-chaired benefits for Chesterwood and the South County Literacy Network.
Jeffrey (Jeff) N. Cohen is a real estate developer who has focused on commercial and residential development, urban mixed-use projects, and public/private partnerships to develop properties in transitional neighborhoods, previously in Washington, D.C., St. Paul, MN, and Maine. A specialty of his is the restoration of historic properties and he has served on the board of Maine Preservation. He is currently restoring historic paper and cotton mills in Lee and Adams, MA, and is chairman of the Conservation Commission of Great Barrington.
From 1974 to 2006, Ron Ashendorf ran Romar Fabrics Corp., a successful wholesale textile converting business, which he acquired from its prior owners in 1980. As a small business owner, he was directly involved in all aspects of management, sales, marketing and finance, and worked with global suppliers and customers. After selling Romar, he retired and currently devotes his time to personal investing, travel, tennis, and spending time with his family.
Lola Jaffe is the founding president of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Inc., where she headed the campaign to restore the 100-year-old Mahaiwe Theater. Among her other cultural involvements, she is currently vice president and secretary of the Jaffe Foundation and she is a past board member of Jacob’s Pillow, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Opera, American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and America-Israel Cultural Foundation.
Barbara Cutler spent more than two decades as a practicing attorney. The last 10 years of her practice she was president of Mediate, Inc. (a subsidiary of The Feinberg Group), serving as the Court-appointed Special Master in several NYC public disputes concerning homelessness and welfare. Ms. Cutler was the co-creator of Project E.R.A.S.E., an in-school asthma program for NYC’s poorest children. She has been a trustee of the New York Theatre Workshop for the past 26 years and also served on the boards of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab and LiveON NY.
Dr. Benjamin Liptzin retired in 2016 having served as Baystate Health chair of psychiatry for 25 years and as deputy chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. He currently serves on the board of Aston Magna and chairs the development committee for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Berkshire Community College. He previously served on the boards of the Springfield Symphony, Jewish Federation of Western Mass, Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Western Mass, and Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts Chapter.
Judd Shoval is the chair and founder of Shoval Enterprises, a family office engaged in various investment activities with an emphasis on financial services, clean/green energy, and real estate investments and management. He is a co-founder and past CEO of GUARD Insurance Companies, currently owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and past CEO of First Peoples National Bank, currently owned by Wells Fargo & Company. He has been involved with various nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board and investment committee of King’s College, as well as past tenures in similar capacities with a hospital system, a college preparatory school, and religious organizations.
About the Mahaiwe
Located in downtown Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is the year-round presenter of world-class music, dance, theater, classic films, Live in HD broadcasts, and arts education programs for the southern Berkshires and neighboring regions. The intimate jewel box of a theater opened in 1905. Since 2005, the performing arts center has hosted over 1,500 events and welcomed over half a million people through its doors. More than 20,000 students from 68 different schools have benefited from the Mahaiwe’s school-time performances and residencies. The Mahaiwe receives generous support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Berkshire Bank, and the Barr Foundation and The Klarman Family Foundation through the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative. For more information, see www.mahaiwe.org