FirstWorks has risen to be an important organization
showcasing the beauty of Providence’s artistic innovation”

– Motif Magazine

Meet our team

Executive Artistic Director
Kathleen Pletcher
Kathleen Pletcher founded FirstWorks in 2004, transforming the one-night First Night Providence festival into a year-round performing arts and educational organization. With over 25 years experience as an entrepreneur, Kathleen has founded three non-profit arts organizations and formed strategies for organizations across the US. As a presenter, she has developed projects with creative pioneers such as Yo-Yo Ma, Kronos Quartet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, linking performances of new work with community engagement across Rhode Island. As a curator, she has participated in numerous international tours, forging relationships with artists in Taiwan, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Italy, Mexico and France.
contact: kathleen@first-works.org
Senior Director of Operations
Marissa Hutton
Marissa Hutton comes to First-Works from the Dorset Theatre Festival, in Dorset, VT where she served as Executive Director. She has an extensive career in live event production, having worked with organizations such as, the Park Avenue Armory, Irish Repertory Theatre, Monica Bill Barnes Dance Co., Valencia Production Partners, and Bike New York. She has worked on live network television events for Condé Nast Entertainment, Hulu, Netflix, and CW. Marissa spent four years at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT as Special Programs Curator. As an avid dance practitioner, Marissa has taught and performed nationally and internationally. Marissa is also a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician.
contact: mhutton@first-works.org
Marketing and Business Development
Tom Peterson
Tom Peterson is a marketing and branding executive with over 2 decades experience working for international consumer product and technology companies, marketing agencies and non-profits. His areas of focus are marketing strategy, business development, brand communications, and integrated marketing. Most recently, he was the Marketing Communication and Creative Director at IGT (formerly GTECH) and has also worked for A.T. Cross, Estee Lauder, Swarovski and Unilever, as well as a variety of smaller organizations and brands. Tom has an M.B.A. from New York University.
contact: tpeterson@first-works.org
Marketing Manager
Meredith Cutler
Meredith brings to FirstWorks over 15 years of experience in brand marketing, public relations and creative project management within the non-profit, higher education, consumer electronics and entertainment industries. Also a visual artist, Meredith co-founded the 9yds. art collaborative, which produced multimedia arts events and exhibitions throughout greater Boston from 1998-2002. Her collaborative and solo work has been featured at the BCA Mills Gallery, Allston Skirt Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery, Wheaton College and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery at Skidmore College, where she received her B.S. in Studio Art. Meredith is also a contributing writer for artscope magazine, (New England's Culture Magazine), covering the region's visual arts news since 2008.
contact: marketing@first-works.org
Program Director
Suzanne Kim
Suzanne Kim has over a decade of experience providing creative and technical direction for large-scale multimedia exhibitions and events. She has worked as an exhibition consultant for projects presented at international museums and galleries. Prior to moving to Providence, Suzanne was the Deputy Director and Director of Exhibitions at Smack Mellon, NYC, from 2004 - 2016, where she curated and produced over 100 art exhibitions and events. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts.
contact: skim@first-works.org
Education and Community Outreach Manager
Kathleen McAreavey
Kathleen was graduated from Providence College with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and concentrations in Business Studies, History, and English. She studied the History and Conservation of Textiles in the Master’s Program at the University of Rhode Island. In addition to FirstWorks, she is also the Manager of Education at the Westport (MA) Historical Society. Past positions include being the first Executive Director of the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum and the Director of Education at the Providence Preservation Society. Her experiences range from exhibit curation and teaching to development and speech writing. Kathleen’s community service includes serving on the Board of Trustees of the Attleboro Arts Museum, the Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the St. Mary’s Academy – Bay View Alumni Association; being a Docent at the John Brown House and the Betsey Williams Cottage; and being a Placement Exam Proctor for recent immigrants to Rhode Island for the International Institute of Rhode Island. In her spare time, Kathleen sews quilts and conserves historic textiles, specializing in American quilts of the 19th and early 20th century, Panamanian Molas, and Japanese textiles.
contact: kathleenm@first-works.org
Executive Coordinator
Holly Taylor
Holly Taylor is a recent graduate from Yale University where she studied American performance cultures. She has worked for two professional dance companies, and served as artistic director for Yale’s modern dance group and as editor for the campus’s dance journal. Having grown up in Providence attending FirstWorks performances and masterclasses, Holly is thrilled to be working for the organization that first exposed her to professional dance.
contact: htaylor@first-works.org
Grants and Development Coordinator
Abigail Comtois
Abigail is a recent graduate of Castleton University where she earned her M.A in Arts Administration. She received her B.A. from Rhode Island College where she studied both art history and studio art. Through her previous work experiences, within a wide variety of organizations, she has enjoyed sharing her excitement for the arts with others.
contact: adandurand@first-works.org
Education Project Manager
Sophia Ellis
Sophia is an educator, artist, and late-night story enthusiast. She is a Master's student in the Public Humanities program at Brown University with interests in public art, participant-based projects, exhibitions as sources of informal learning and community strength and works to align anti-colonial and anti-capitalist ideologies within education and art spaces. Before coming to Providence, she was an ArtsLiteracy teacher at Habla: The Center for Language and Culture in Merida, Yucatan. Where she co-created and facilitated poetry writing workshops and monthly multi-lingual storytelling events. In Merida, she was also a high school International Baccalaureate teacher of Psychology and Philosophy & Ethics. Her ceramic and mixed media artwork has been featured in exhibitions in Mexico and Florida and has served as a tool for integrating the arts into conventional classroom and workshop spaces.
contact: sellis@first-works.org
Fundraising Operations Assistant
Vanessa Villon
Vanessa Villon is a bilingual, community-oriented, and data-driven individual. She is an alumna of Rhode Island College with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Rhetoric and Writing. During her undergraduate career, she interned for ABC6 News and United Way of Rhode Island. Upon graduation, she worked for Brown University and Rhode Island College. She has worked with Trinity Repertory Company and The Empowerment Factory. She enjoys learning languages, promoting the arts, and volunteering at events.
contact: vvillon@first-works.org