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Karen Arp-Sandel. visual artist, spiritual activist, co-founder of FeMail and arts educator brings a fresh playful approach to mixed media creativity. Like a good collage, her life is an exciting mash-up.  From being faculty at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, to being a FeMail collaborator, Karen integrates art making into daily living. Whether leading students on the Yoga mat, or in studio art, Karen draws inspiration

from living inside the creative experience with mindfulness. When wearing her Kripalu program presenter hat, she elevates both body and spirit as paths for self-discovery during her annual retreat: Vibrant Visionary Collage.  Karenʼs passion is to illuminate the transformational power of living a creative life. Read more about Karen at

Karen Arp-Sandel

Co-Cure-ator + Performer:




Cynthia Atwood has spent the last twenty- seven years in the Berkshires of MA and practices her avocation congruent with a sewing business. The use of sewing techniques in her business and in her studio practice has brought an integration of the real and the surreal into her everyday life.  She graduated with a B.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking, and graduated with my M.F.A. in Visual Arts/Sculpture in 1999.  In 2000,

she was awarded the Sculpture Prize in the Cambridge Art Association’s National Prize Show.  She has taught and has been involved with “The Body Project”, a project for women of all ages addressing body image and adornment with the Railroad St. Youth Project of Gt. Barrington, IS 183 School for the Arts in Interlaken and Community Access For The Arts, and is currently an artist/teacher at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Graduate Program in Montpelier, Vt. More at

Cynthia Atwood

Cure-ator + Performer: MENOPAUSE


Creator: "Life-Death-Life"


Suzi Banks Baum defies description.

At one moment she is writing about mothering and creativity and at another

she is stirring jam. Another finds her producing events, and another making books. At all times Suzi is the proud mother and partner, and descendant of a line of women who wrote letters, made things, taught others, and loved chickens. Suzi

hails from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She published An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice that is available on Amazon or at local Berkshire bookstores. Her mail art correspondence with Karen Arp-Sandel called FeMail keeps her making art wherever she goes. You can keep up with seeing and celebrating the sacred in daily life with Suzi, her writing workshops and conference appearances at

Suzi Banks Baum

Co-Cure-ator + Performer:


Cure-ator: “Confessions of Motherhood” in MOTHERHOOD


Lorimer Burns worked for many years with small modern dance companies in Salt Lake City, Utah, NYC and Paris before earning her BFA from NYU. She performed with Jennifer Sargent and Dancers, Clay Taliaferro and MJ Becker, retiring in 1993. Lorimer taught full-force knock-out self-defense at Model Mugging of Boston for 10 years. Shortly after moving to the Berkshires, in 2003, she established Lorimer Burns Ceramics. She is a faculty artist at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires and Community Access to the Arts in Great Barrington, MA.

Lorimer Burns

Cure-ator + Performer:




Cathy Fisch is a fiber artist, massage therapist, magical herb woman and mother of three. She studied the fine arts of woven and spun things at The Threefold Center for Fiber Arts and loves sheep, wool, baking delicious cakes and collecting books. Legends about her award winning breads and wool have been circulating around Berkshire and Columbia Counties since her arrival from Weymouth, MA in 2006.  Rites of Passage was her first major artistic work.

Cathy Keenan

Cure-ator + Performer:


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Lori Fisch loves the arts in all forms.

This love has drawn her to an exploration

of numerous mediums. Interior design,

stained glass, fiber arts, collage and clay sculpture are among the channels of her creations.  Rites of Passage signals her

return to artistic work after raising her

two children.

Lori Fisch

Cure-ator + Midwife:


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Kristin Grippo is an educator, a writer, a mom and all around go-to-girl. When Kristin was 13, she loved chunky peanut butter, star stickers, and writing poetry in her journal. Not much has changed since then. Co-Curating the adolescent room (with Dina Noto) for Rites of Passage was her first major artistic project

Kristin Grippo

Co-Cure-ator + Performer: ADOLESENCE


Krysia was born in Wroclaw, Poland, where she attended art schools for six years and became a successful jewelry designer. Since moving to the United States she has applied her skills and sensibilities to children's book illustration, graphic design, painting, and photography. She has recently added video to her arrays of artistic expressions. Her paintings, prints, and photography have been shown and sold to private collectors. She currently resides in Great Barrington, MA, where she runs a herb CSA herb farm.  

Krysia Kurzyca




Sarah Nicholson studied photography

in high school and college and has taken various painting classes over the years.

She continues to develop her love for honoring the mystery and beauty of life

with her camera, collaging, pastels, fabric arts and whatever captures her fancy in

the moment, and has participated in

multiple group shows.

Sarah Nicholson

Co-Cure-ator + Midwife:


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A native of Rochester New York, Dina Noto graduated from the Experimental Animation MFA program at the California Institute of the Arts in 2008, completing a broad academic career that began with traditional 2D fine arts and moved into animation and experimental film. Her thesis film Temporary Services has been recognized in a variety of national and international festivals including the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film,

Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Black Maria

Film Festival, and the Barcelona Art Contemporary Festival. More about her

work can be found at


“Lovecat” is the patron saint of the Adorable and the Awkward, the product of an all growed up woman still holding fast to her childhood obsessions with Hello Kitty, Care Bears, unicorns and Tom Selleck's mustache.

Dina Noto

Co-Cure-ator + Performer: ADOLESENCE

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Belle O’Brian was a Pittsfield native.

A 1955 graduate of PHS, she worked at General Electric in Marketing until the birth of her second child. She attended Berkshire Community College, and worked in the Pittsfield School Department while her children were in school then went back to General Electric, retiring in 1993.  She spent 15 years associated with the Women’s Club of the Berkshires, Inc. as a Board member and

as President. Rites of Passage was her

first major artistic project.

Belle O-Brien

Cure-ator + Performer:



Cindy L. Parrish is the founding co-director

of Heroic Productionz, an educational media, curriculum guide production, and consulting company.  Heroic Productionz has produced, to date, two award-winning educational projects, MAGIC PLANET, and HEROIC GIRLZ  directed by Meg Agnew and co-written by Cindy with four 11-year-old girls.  HEROIC GIRLZ, the movie, and its accompanying documentary, MAKING HISTORY, were written and directed by Cindy and have won numerous awards and screened at many venues including the Women’s Rights Convention National Park in Seneca Falls, NY and at the 2009 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Cindy is also the author of a dozen screenplays, and is a founding member of the storytelling trio,

The Snickering Witches. She is the co-author, with Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez of the graphic novel, JOLIE ROUGE (the story of two real-life women pirates)! Aside from curating the room ‘Animus’ in Rites of Passage, she

also filmed the entire project.

Cindy Parrish

Cure-ator: ANIMUS

Creator: Audio Reel in MOTHERHOOD

Rites of Passage

Videographer + Film Editor


Pooja conceived, gestated and collaboratively birthed the first production of Rites of Passage in 2013. As an artist who explores life in many mediums including theatre, dance, writing, music, and visual art, she has been fueled by the ritual traditions of India in which all forms of art-making are simultaneously incorporated to produce a whole work of art.  Rites of Passage was just such a work. Her vision and need for theatre are drawn as much from her cultural roots as from her lack of rooting. Born in Zambia, Africa, she was raised in her native Kerala, India until age 4, and then re-planted

in the suburbs of NY with English as her 2nd language. In 2012 she founded and directed The Ritual Theatre, an experimental site-specific ritual-theatre company based in the Berkshires, that has created several original solo and group plays which have attempted

to re-member the connection between humanity, Nature, the Collective politic, and the Feminine. She has a BA in Folklore & Performance Arts from Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and has been the recipient of numerous grants and generous patronage. More at and

Pooja Prema



Rites of Passage Concept Creator, Artistic Director & Producer


Camille Roos grew up among sailboats and tipi's with supportive parents who encouraged self-expression. From childhood onward, she would fight for her rights of poesy and paper, finding all time to write and draw to loved ones and herself. She practiced martial arts and was part of an improvisation troupe until high school, when she began her volunteer work and attended open mic nights in downtown Worcester, MA. Camille spent much of her time picnicking in graveyards and the forest, and went to Simon's Rock to study philosophy and visual art at 17. She received her A.A. in 2010 and promptly went a-wanderin' to artist residencies and collective houses around the world, and then earned her BA at Goddard College in Vermont.  She lives with her two children in the Berkshires, MA.

Camille Roos


Cure-ator + Performer:


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Gabrielle Senza is an internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist focused on environmental and human rights issues that directly impact our lives today. Her work has been included in solo and traveling group shows throughout the U.S. and abroad, and is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA New York, Lifetime Entertainment, and numerous other corporate and private collections. She is happiest working out in the world where she can creatively engage with individuals in a variety of public and intimate spaces. Gabrielle seeks to make visible the invisible through multidisciplinary projects and to create opportunities for people to feel seen, heard, respected and connected, and is the founder of the Walk Unafraid Foundation. Currently, Gabrielle divides her time between Berlin and the Berkshires, focusing primarily on the phenomenon of invisibility. She was part of the first Rites of Passage in 2013, having cure-ated the room Hysteria, and is happy to be back as an artist and facilitator for collaborative community art-making as a tool for women's healing.

Gabrielle Senza

Cure-ator + Performer:


Artist: “The Collaborative Scroll”


Kiki has been painting in oils for the last twenty five years. She studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1992-1996 with some of the leading artists in the Bay Area movement as well as landscape painting at the New York Studio School in N.Y.C. She's most drawn to the figure and the landscape. Each painting develops through a series of spontaneous action from which the figure and/or landscape evolve out of. For her, the process of painting remains an ongoing journey and an exploration of that which can never be fully defined.​ More of her work at

Kiki Dufault

Oil Figure Paintings

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Julia Erickson discovered her love and appreciation for process art, installation art, happenings, & multi-faceted performance while living in San Francisco. She lives in the Berkshires with her teen aged son & husband where she tends bees, processes

honey and art.

Julia Erickson


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Deb Koffman made art (stories, poems, cartoons, installations, card decks) to understand, reflect and honor her emotions and thinking patterns. She wrote stories about choice, poems

that gave her advice, cartoons that

reminded her what really matters to

her heart and soul. She was deeply drawn to Buddhist teachings and to

the practice of meditation and mindful awareness. She practiced paying attention to her reactions, her thinking, her speech, her physical sensations.

Her books, cartoons and card decks all offer  guidance, wise advice, reminders for when she stuck or struggling, lost or confused. Her hope was that her work encourages your well-being, helping you navigate your emotional and mental life more easily.More at

Deb Koffman

Soul-Food Boxes


Florence, now over a100 years old, was

an “inveterate punster” who liked to

shock people, she told lots of jokes,

and she was very charming.

Starting in 1968, Florence turned her house into a creative haven, taking up macramé and weaving. Florence added found objects like feathers, beads and other items to her macramé designs which ranged from wearable art to wall hangings. Florence took up weaving and began to combine it with her macramé work, again adding in unexpected objects to create one-of-a-kind pieces. She has shown and sold her work widely in prestigious venues.


Macramé + Weavings

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Rosalind has a deep reverence for

the eARTh.  Clay allows for her to

both ground and become present.

She listens to the mediums wish to take shape, while honoring both her and the clay’s true nature. She was honored to have her clay vessels shown, shared and illuminated at Rites of Passage as well as her painting in

"A Womb of Her Own".

Rosalind Mae Reis

Pottery + Painting


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Meg Agnew



Ensemble Member

Meg Agnew has been a movement theater artist for most of her life. She performed for many years in New York City and taught at NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing and other venues in the United States and Europe. She is currently a dance and theater Teaching Artist in the Capital Region of NY and the Berkshires of MA, where she’s lived for 20 years. Meg is also

a Licensed Massage Therapist practicing the Trager Method® of Psychophysical Integration. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department and is the co-founder of the award-winning arts- based educational company, Heroic Productionz with Cindy Parrish. She lives with her family in Canaan, NY.

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Elizabeth Blackshine


Elizabeth Blackshine, native to the Captial District NY, with a background as a mental health social worker, she has come to the arts as a playwright and writer. Her professional background, travels, as well as recovery from major illness continuously inform her presence and creativity. She is also the founder and director of “Harmony Homestead” a sanctuary for black & Indigenous healing in Hillsdale NY.

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Takaiya Brown


Samantha Elliot


Hazel Elsbach


Laura Geilen



Ensemble Member

Laura Geilen lives in Hillsdale, NY, and works with her very special friends in Camphill Village Copake. She also teaches clowning with Nose To Nose of North America ( and has collaborated with Walking the Dog Theater, with Kevin O'Keefe of CircusYoga, and regularly teaches movement and circus arts, Spacial Dynamics® and clowning to adults, kids and special needs groups throughout the Berkshire-Taconics and beyond. Other recent works include tending a large garden and small herds of grass-fed animals with her husband Mario and seeing the last of her four children leave the nest to travel the world.

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Tanya Himeji


Tanya Himeji Romero was born and raised in beautiful British Columbia to a Japanese mother and Spanish father. Having met backpacking, her parents continued exploring the world and its cultures with their children in tote. To this day, she cherishes this most valuable education. Though she studied photography in college, it quickly became apparent that she was cultivating her creative eye more than a skill set. Her explorations have lead her into the worlds of fashion, cooking, foraging and now farming. She feels blessed to have child eyes, ever seeing the world anew.

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Laura Lin



Ensemble Member

​Laura Lin expresses herself dancing through life.  From the first urge to move to music, to soaring through the sky as a hang gliding pilot, movement has been a theme.  Living in the Berkshires since 2003, Laura has interned and volunteered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, taught dance, creative movement, yoga, and even Mandarin Chinese throughout the area.  Laura holds a B.A. in Dance from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and is a licensed Massage Therapist. Her children, Ethan and Euan join her in this journey. 

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Lucinda Karp


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Samantha Keyes


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Hillary Melville


Hillary Melville is a transplant from the

high desert of Southern California.

She's been doing theater since the age

of 8, and has worn many hats throughout her life- doing lights, set building, stage managing, directing, and one particularly memorable hat featuring the statue of liberty draped with jalapeño peppers.

She now spends her time dreaming of unicorns, queering reality and taking trips with her daughter; she loves all things related to women. She is also the co-founder & director of Random Harvest grocery, cafe & community space in Hillsdale NY. 

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Gill Panchy


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Danielle Roos


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Nancy Rothman



Ensemble Member

Nancy Rothman descends from a long line of seers, sailors, shamans, whistle blowers, muck rakers, medicine people, prophets, fools, lovers, witches, wool gatherers, wizards and winos who have lusted for

and claimed freedom through the ages. She suspects you have, too. She is profoundly grateful to Pooja Prema for this collaborative opportunity to explore the raw edges of this precious company of souls. 

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Gail Ryan



Ensemble Member

Gail Ryan has worked Off Broadway, toured a great deal, some TV, some film, some commercials, but too little in the 60's, 70's

& 80's in NYC & L.A.   She is on honorable withdrawal from AEA and an active member of SAG/AFTRA.  She spent many years traveling and performing in Jean Erdman's The Coach With the Six Insides, taken from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake.  Jean's husband, Joseph Campbell traveled with

us and shared much insight, humor and

wisdom about Joyce's masterpiece.  The production received several Obie's and other awards and toured the world for six years.  She counts Joyce and Campbell as mentors.  In 1989, she purchased an Inn in the Berkshires and produced Sunday Night Storytelling and Dinner, and appeared in Love Letters, Dear Liar, 84 Charring Cross Road, A Child's Christmas in Wales and ​Capote's A Christmas Memory.  She has worked with Mixed Company; Berkshire Theatre Festival;  Miniature Theatre of Chester;  Castle Hill Theatre Company; 

The Mount;  and Aglet Theatre Company.

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Julie Vallun
& Ukiah


Julie Vallun is the mother of Ukiah.

She cleans homes and businesses as a

day job and enjoys using her healing skills as a massage therapist whenever possible. She also deeply enjoys singing kirtan as

a spiritual practice and dancing and playing various instruments such as ukelele, flute, and hand drums.  She is an artist at heart looking for an opportunity

to create time to bring her dream

creations into the physical world, a work

in progress! of Random Harvest grocery, cafe & community space in Hillsdale NY. 

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Olivia Wilbur


Olivia Idella Wilber has danced all of

her life. Starting in classical ballet and as she got older she ventured into styles of

Jazz, Hip Hop, African, and several

partner genres of dance, in workshops

all over the place.  Olivia spent 7 years working with CATA (Community Access

to the Arts), dancing and working with people with disabilities. Olivia studied

at the Dean College School of Dance, where she studied dance and Arts Management.

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Barby Cardillo


Barby Cardillo is a professional performer and teaching artist. With Shakespeare and Company she has directed productions at many area elementary, middle and high schools and worked for “Shakespeare in the Courts” directing productions with adjudicated youth as a part of an alternative sentencing program. She was director of the Theatre Program at Camp Hawthorne in Maine, and drama instructor at the Valley Head School, a residential treatment facility for teenage girls. She has worked for many years with Community Access to the Arts (CATA), and has been an Artistic Mentor with the Barrington Stage Company leading groups of youth at risk in creating theatre from their own stories as part of the Playwright Mentoring Project (PMP). She has been seen on stage in many varied roles with W.A.M. Theatre, Aglet Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Fringe Festival, Castle Hill Family Theatre and the Boston Playwrights Theatre as well as being a founding member of the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe and a player with “The Majesters”improv group.

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Tamarack Garlow


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Justin Green



Ensemble Member

Justin Green wears a lot of hats:

massage therapist, Thai massage instructor, adventure-based counselor at Mountainside Treatment Center, musician, wedding officiant. He was voted most-musical and second-most-friendly in his high school class, a perfect foreshadowing for his current role as MC and performer with Gypsy Layne Burlesque & Cabaret. Justin can often be found dancing through the aisles of organic supermarkets, talking to strangers, cuddling, singing the Rent soundtrack in the car, and staying up late talking about emotions. He loves the stage, in particular the vulnerability it encourages.
Burr Milliken



Ensemble Member

​Burr Milliken, a self described "undiscovered superstar, with raw

talent, very raw talent", whose performances critics call 'rare' and ' .

..not searing, but seared', Burr makes

an honest living in the Berkshires as a carpenter while awaiting his discovery.

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Hartmuth Sommer



Ensemble Member

Hartmuth Sommer, born in the small town of Salzwedel in former East Germany, spent his early life in the simplicity of a socialist farm-based way

of life.  He initially came to North America shortly after the westernization and dissolve of East Germany via his interest in co-housing and cooperative sustainable living at a Camphill Village

in Canada.  His interest in Rudolf Steiner-based communal living progressed into homesteading at the Camphill Village of Copake, NY for six years where he started his family and raised his three children. You can almost certainly find him at the local contra dances on any given weekend giving a lady (or a man

for that matter), the best mind-whirling, skin-tingling dip in the county!


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Erin Bell


Erin Bell's keen on work that bolsters people-relating, creating intimate spaces for talking and exuberant participatory spectacles. She worked on street performance pieces in New Orleans, played in the brass-heavy Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship?, and helped to create the Krewe of Eris. In New York City she led her own band, The Curious Shape of Hens, and played in the Balkan brass band Veveritse for several years. She recently toured her own puppet show, Do Right Belly Fire, Do Right Monkey Brain, and joined the horse-pulled theater company, The Rural Academy Theater, in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, and

Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont. Much about her work can be found at

Eva Goodman


Eva Boodman is a teacher and trumpet player from Montreal, Quebec.

She loves brass bands, and has been fortunate to play in many klezmer, balkan and rock groups in Canada, Belgium and the U.S. She is currently living, playing and dreaming in New York City while she completes her PhD in philosophy.

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Esteli Kitchen


Esteli Kitchen has worked & played

for Bread and Puppet Theater, and the Brass Liberation Orchestra, a radical brass band based in San Francisco, CA. 

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Sarah Ferholt


Sarah Ferholt performs with Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band and Veveritse. She performed with the Circus Amok Band,

and is on staff teaching a EEFC Balkan Music and Dance Camp. She is a teacher

at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music,

and is also an MCAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. She is a mother of two and lives in Brooklyn NY.

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Ira Temple


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Ira Khonen Temple lives in Brooklyn, NY where he is a member of the Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee and a trombonist in New York's largest radical marching band the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.

He has also toured with the horse and bike powered Rural Academy Theater, Great Small Works' Sandy Sandy Sandy, and Erin Bell's Do Right Belly Fire Do Right Monkey Brain.

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