Riverzedge staff share a vision with the board, volunteer corps, and youth for success, innovative capacity, a commitment to materials and resource conservation, and boundless energy to provide hope and contribution to others.
Rebekah Greenwald Speck, Executive Director
Bekah Greenwald loves helping new ideas make big impacts. After 20 years growing small organizations, programs and coalitions in NYC, Washington, D.C. and RI, she is thrilled to be working in Woonsocket, a misunderstood gem teeming with talent, visionary youth, and untapped natural beauty. Bekah holds a BA from Barnard College, Creative Writing/Film Studies, 1988, and completed graduate work in Human Rights at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and Critical Theory at Rhode Island College. Bekah is on the board of Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative and Fund for Community Progress, and spent 10 years as Director of Education at Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living prior to taking the helm in 2009.
Karen Barbosa, ELO Woonsocket Director
Karen Barbosa is a self-described “teacher-nerd”; she’s been in education for over a decade and can’t get enough. Her learning journey has taken her from Colorado, to Vermont, to Boston, Massachusetts, and now Rhode Island. She is a passionate supporter of experiential education and is excited to see Woonsocket serving as a model for innovative hands-on learning programming in the state and nation.
Jane Dillon, Mobile Studio Director
One of Jane Dillon’s studios is a workshop for ceramics, textiles, and drawing. The other is the classroom, where she has worked with students from kindergarten to graduate school. She has taught, lectured, and created in studios from the Mendocino Arts Center to the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy. Jane thrives in collaborative environments where teachers and students support each other in the goal of making artful, thoughtful, and often beautiful objects.
Ben Briere, Public Art Lab Coordinator
Benjamin Briere graduated from RiverzEdge in 2007. He went on to receive a BFA in interdisciplinary sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Ben spends his time working with youth participants daily in both a group and individualized basis providing reference, technical demonstration and critique for those working on public art projects. Ben enjoys painting and drawing comics depicting scenery and life of the mighty Blackstone River Valley.
Kim Keiter Johnson | Print Works Studio Director
Kim received her BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Partnership with Tufts University, with a concentration in Photography and Printmaking. As Print Works Director she works with her participants to screen print a wide range of work for clients, from t-shirts and bags to posters and signage. Kim’s art practice involves various mediums, including screen printing, photography, embroidery and design. She spends her free time collecting vintage goods, kitsch and ephemera, and loves spending time with her husband and two crazy cats.
John Speck, Green Design Lab Director
Like the studio he leads, John’s background encompasses a wide range of pursuits. A graduate of Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, he played in many kinds of rock bands through the 80s and 90s. In the business world, he worked for high-growth and startup companies before founding a small ad agency in 2001. In 2011 he joined one of his client companies as marketing director and led the industrial design of their new, flagship product for which he is listed on the patent.
Irene Su, Media Works Director
Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Irene has had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of cool people and organizations from all over the world. At Riverzedge, she works with participants to find new and creative ways to share stories through video and photography. Irene is passionate about exploring media, and investigating how media can be used for social change. In her free time, Irene enjoys listening to live music for inspiration for her visual work, playing with how to translate sound into something physical.
Liz Holohan, ELO Woonsocket Coordinator
Liz Holohan received a B.A. in Studio Art from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She has worked in various media including Printmaking and Ceramics. As a student, she worked at the Center for Community and Civic Engagement helping student volunteers with youth related projects. She is completely obsessed with dogs and other animals, especially her family’s dog, Mitzi. Holohan was born and raised in Newton, MA and currently lives in Providence.
Lucy Asako Boltz, VISTA Volunteer
Lucy Asako Boltz has a background in freelance research. She graduated from Brown University with a BA in Ethnic Studies in 2013, and has renewed work on her thesis research with a mini-grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities to look further into the history of a Providence neighborhood paved over in the 1960s. She likes to incorporate and learn from oral history in every job she’s in– from working with the Chinese Historical Society of New England’s archive to building up a website for her own family’s archive. Now, she is serving as an Americorps VISTA working with the ELO office as well as the Public Art Lab on a new program “Stories of Access/ Stories of Denial: Civil Rights to Civic Engagement in Northern RI.” She likes sewing, bicycling and art-making.
Kyle Bresnahan, Design Works Assistant
Kyle Bresnahan began as a participant in Design Works during the summer of 2012. After earning his GED, Kyle was promoted to Design Works Studio Assistant, and now works to ensure each participant builds the necessary skills to fulfill a wide variety of clients needs. Kyle’s personal work intersects graphic and media arts in ultra modern transformations of visual and natural landscapes. In addition to preparing to apply for an AFA at CCRI, Kyle spends his days skateboarding and developing as a videographer.
Alyssa Dubeau, Assistant Print Works Studio Director
Alyssa Dubeau graduated from Woonsocket High School in the summer of 2015. She has worked at Riverzedge Arts since her junior year of high school as a participant and has since become the Assistant Director of the Print Works studio. Her passions include traditional and digital drawing, music, and cats. Alyssa hopes to attend an art college in the future.