Smart Space Board of Directors
Jen Palacio | President
Jen moved to Somerville in 2006 and quickly fell in love with the various neighborhoods, squares, and the unique creative community of the city. After about a decade as a project manager for various financial institutions, and inspired by the artists and makers in her community, she started her own craft business aptly named Just Enough Nonsense in 2010. Jen has participated in several local craft fairs and artist events including: ArtBeat, Somerville Local First’s Local is for Lovers Markets, and Somerville Open Studios. A former employee at one of Somerville’s favorite locally owned gift shops, Davis Squared, she still stops by seasonally to update the chalkboard art behind the register. Jen has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from BU and a Master’s in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard. She is excited to marry her business expertise with her passion for the arts as part of the Smart Space team.
Damon Lehrer | Vice President
Damon studied drawing and painting with Paul Rahilly and attended Boston University as a graduate student in painting. He has shown paintings at the Pepper Gallery in Boston and Peter Tatistcheff Gallery in New York, among others. He has taught at various schools including the Rhode Island School of Design, Boston University, The Art Institute of Boston, Massachusetts College of Art, and Montserrat College of Art. In 2010, he started the Boston Figurative Art Center, with its central studio in Somerville, to promote figurative art and artists in the area; it has since grown into an organization with hundreds of artist and amateur members.
Jeremy Angier | Treasurer
Jeremy is a Somerville artist with a longstanding interest in sustainable local economy. He grew up in the Boston area and moved back a decade ago after studying at the New York Academy of Art where he received a master’s degree in figurative sculpture. He has participated in Somerville Open Studios as an artist and volunteer. He has enjoyed a twenty-year career in 3D digital technology and animation, creating science-based video programming for television and museums throughout the United States.
Michael J. Epstein | Founding Board Member
Michael J. Epstein is a Somerville-based filmmaker and songwriter/musician, and member of the Somerville Arts Council Board. His debut feature film, TEN, a surrealistic, post-exploitation exploration of identity, is currently on the international festival circuit and has been featured in CURVE, Fangoria, DigBoston, and The Boston Herald.
Michael’s music and music-video work has been featured by TIME, USAToday, and SPIN and has appeared in numerous TV shows and video games (Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band). His band, The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library, was selected as CBS best local rock band in 2013 and has focused on collaborations including an original rock ballet at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre with BalletRox, Art-Exchange: songs based on visual works and visual works based on songs, 37 songs to celebrate speakers at TEDxSomerville, and a continuing run on the franchised Encyclopedia Show Somerville.
Michael hopes to work in collaboration with others to establish a filmmaking studio in Somerville.
Andrew Fish | Visual Artist
Joel Janowitz | Visual Artist
David S Knisely | Attorney at Law
Kathleen Hogan Knisely | Urban Planner
Brian Zink | Visual Artist and Art Installer
Former Board Members
Resa Blatman is the former President and an original founding board member of Smart Space. Resa is a longtime resident of Somerville (27 years) and a Somerville homeowner (17 years), and she has a passionate dedication for her adopted city and home. Resa holds a BFA in graphic design from MassArt and an MFA in painting from Boston University. She is a visual artist and has worked at Vernon Street Studios
in Somerville since 2006. Her work deals with issues of global warming, nature, and the shifting landscape. She shows her work widely throughout the U.S. and has several upcoming exhibits through 2016, including a solo exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia. Resa is a recent recipient of The Arctic Circle residency and will be traveling to Svalbard, Norway in June 2015 to see the great icebergs and glaciers firsthand.
Ann Hirsch has been a Somerville artist since 2006. She is proud to join the Smart Space Board and its efforts to provide permanent, affordable work spaces for artists and makers. She also is honored to be part of a city that values the arts as much as Somerville does. Ann’s background is in public art, mentorship, and education. As a public artist, she works collaboratively in the service of the community and the site’s history, current identity, and future aspirations in the belief that public art can unify, enrich, and inspire pride and civic engagement. Her recent work includes the Bill Russell Legacy Project at Boston City Hall and the east entrance to Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery. Ann holds degrees from Barnard College, N.Y.U., G.S.A.S., and the New York Academy of Art and she is the recipient of many awards. In addition to her work as a public artist, she exhibits her studio work and teaches undergraduate sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design.
Kinetic sculptor (and an original founding board member of Smart Space) Anne Lilly uses carefully engineered motion to manipulate our perceptions of space and time. Her highly ordered and precisely constructed interactive sculptures move in strikingly organic, fluid and mesmeric ways. She is a 2014 visiting artist at MIT, 2013 recipient of the Annalee and Barnett Newman grant-award for lifetime achievement, 2012 artist in residence at AIB, and 2011 recipient of the Blanche E. Colman award. She exhibits widely in the US and Europe, and her work is held in corporate, private, and museum collections across the country. Her studio is located in Somerville, MA — one thin floor above a fine chocolate manufacturer. Anne joined the board of Smart Space to assist in the effort to envision, create and sustain a permanent, dedicated artist work-only building for the City of Somerville.