About Us

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Arts Escape is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization

OUR MISSION:

Arts Escape provides Arts and Cultural Enrichment and Educational programs and workshops for adults. Its mission is to use the Arts proactively to prevent the social isolation that often accompanies aging and can lead to physical, mental, and emotional deterioration and a decreased quality of life. Arts Escape provides individuals the opportunity to learn and create in the arts which has shown to improve problem solving, increase self-esteem, and build interpersonal skills.

“Arts Escape – where creativity and learning never get old!”

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Ron Oleet

President

Ron is currently a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New York City. He is a partner in the wealth management practice, The Lenox Group. Ron is the Senior Portfolio Manager of the group’s fixed income strategies, oversees the group’s asset allocation process as well as being responsible for the relationship management of a portion of the practice’s high net worth client base.

A graduate of Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Ron began his career in the financial services industry more than 35 years ago. He has worked as a Financial Adviser with Merrill Lynch and Kidder, Peabody before joining a Morgan Stanley predecessor firm in 1987. He has managed firm offices in New York City and Manhasset, New York. Ron is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®) and the Association of Professional Investment Consultants (APIC), currently serving as a Board Director.

Ron is involved in a number of community organizations, including the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley Region in Valhalla, New York, where he currently serves as Board President. He is a past President and Board Chairman of Sinai Free Synagogue in Mount Vernon, New York. Ron and his wife of 40 years, Eileen, maintain homes in Hartsdale, New York, and West Dover, Vermont. He has been a downhill skier for more than 45 years and volunteers at Mount Snow as a Mountain Ambassador. Ron is a road bike enthusiast, a lover of classical and Broadway music, and a collector of blown glass.

Dawn Fleming

SecretaryDawn cropped

Dawn Fleming is an accomplished fund-raising professional with more than 15 years’ experience in fund development, donor relations, corporate relations, community relations, and marketing. With a background in grant research, capital campaign fund-raising, major donor relations, donor research, event planning, strategic planning, and capacity building, Dawn has been recognized for her success in exceeding funding goals, relationship building, program improvement, dedication to mission, creative vision, and commitment to excellence.

Dawn is currently Director of Donor Relations for The Salvation Army, Southern New England Division, serving Connecticut and Rhode Island, where she manages a portfolio of 250 major donors. Prior to that position, she spent four years as Director of Development for Waterbury Youth Services where she worked closely with the executive director and board of directors to achieve fund-raising objectives while strengthening corporate and community relations. Dawn’s formative years in fund-raising were with The Martin J. Moran Company and Sand Dollar Associates, both headquartered in New York, where she conducted grants research and directed major capital campaigns.

Dawn is an active member of the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits and The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) where she has served on the 2011 and 2012 Education Committee for National Philanthropy Day in Connecticut. She directed marketing initiatives for AFP CT Chapters’ 2011-2012 Fundraising Professionals’ Speaker Series. She feels most fortunate to spend her career associated with people who lead organizations that enrich and improve lives as well as the philanthropists who support them. She lives in Southbury with her husband, Michael, and their three daughters.

Becky Butler

KariePetersonPhotography_TheButlerFamily-1102Founder and Executive Director, Arts Escape Inc.

After twelve years working with adults in a planned retirement community in Connecticut as the Community Life Director, Becky created the “Art of Living” concept and now the nonprofit Arts Escape Inc. The Art of Living program was designed by Becky for the adults in her community to enhance their quality of life through creativity and learning. She co-founded The Art of Experience, Connecticut’s only senior juried art show, which is now approaching its tenth year of showcasing the work of more than 150 artists over the age of 70.

Prior to Becky’s Community Life position, she was the administrator of a dance school and community theater company in Connecticut. She managed both businesses and also created a teen theater summer program for Main Street Theater Company.

Becky received her BFA in Communications Art and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.  She is a member of PEO (Philanthropic Education Organization) and is on the governing board of the Arts and Culture Collaborative in Waterbury, Connecticut.  Becky has always worked in the nonprofit world and believes people can make a difference and she prides herself in being one of those people. Becky lives and raised her 3 children in Southbury, Connecticut with her husband Paul, and she is the bookkeeper for Paul’s business, GlobalEdg as well.

 

Janet Walker

Treasurer

Janet is a Certified Public Accountant and a partner at Diversified Financial Solutions, PC located in Southbury, Connecticut. Janet joined the firm of Diversified Financial Solutions, PC in 1998. Janet specializes in trust, gift and estate administration and planning and serves as executor and trustee for a number of Diversified Financial Solutions, PC clients. She also prepares individual and business income tax returns. Her certifications include the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, Fellow Life Management Institute and State of Connecticut Life, Accident, Health and Insurance License.

Janet has many professional activities including serving on the Connecticut Society of CPA’s Estate and Gift Taxation Committee. She is currently Treasurer of the Southbury Business Association. She has served on the Pomperaug Woods Board since 2008 and currently serves as Vice President and Director of Finance. Janet also serves on the Southbury & Middlebury Scholarship Board. She has served on the Pomperaug High School Grad Nite Fund Raising Committee of which she was the Fundraising Chairperson from 2002 – 2004.

Janet Walker was born in Evansville, Indiana. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northern Kentucky University with a B.A. degree in Accounting. Janet’s husband, Chuck is a manager of Global Mobile Services for Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Chuck’s job brought the Walkers to Southbury, Connecticut in 1997 where they raised their two daughters and still live today.

Thomas A. Burns

Thomas A. Burns, retired Vice President, Senior Project Manager, Connecticut On-Line Computer Center, an information technology company providing information services to more than 140 community-based financial institutions located primarily in the Northeast. Previously he was employed as a Senior Vice President and Installation Director for FBC Inc., and as a Senior Vice President and Installation Director for Banc Boston, Inc., and as Vice President, Systems Manager, for the First National Bank of Maryland, all of which provided information technology services to the community banking industry.

Mr. Burns has a BS degree from The Pennsylvania State University and an MS degree in Computer Science and Finance from The Pennsylvania State University. He brings forty years of experience managing complex projects in a rapidly changing environment to our Board of Directors. His personal activities in the arts include woodworking, cabinet making, and playing the bagpipes.

Paul Butler

Paul works with senior executives in organizations to increase capabilities of individuals, teams, and organizations. With more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors, he is well positioned to support organizations going through large-scale change efforts. Paul’s facilitation methodology is proven to produce sustainable results with executive teams and boards. He uses his broad management experience in sales, marketing, operations, and organizational development to help organizations achieve leadership and functional excellence.

Paul’s corporate experience includes senior-level sales, marketing, and human resources positions with Wyeth Labs and Procter & Gamble (Gillette), where he was a member of the Human Resource Operating Committee. Paul was Gillette’s Director of Global Organizational Learning and Development, serving in a role as the company’s chief learning officer.

Areas of Expertise
• Strategic Thinking and Change Management
• Executive Board Retreats / Facilitation
• Organizational Design
• Leadership and Executive Team Development

Paul holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development from the George Washington University. He is a member of the American Society of Training and Development, and was a board member of the Professional Society of Sales and Marketing Training. Paul and his wife, Becky, are now “empty nesters” and reside in Southbury, Connecticut. They are the parents of three children. He is an avid runner and golfer.

Christopher J. Powderly

Christopher J. Powderly, is a practicing attorney currently employed by Liberty Mutual Insurance as a Senior Worker’s Compensation Attorney. Chris has been practicing in the area of Worker’s Compensation and related law for over 25 years having worked for several of the major Connecticut insurance companies and law firms. Chris has handled both large and small matters, from complex business litigation to simple general law matters during his quarter century in Connecticut practice. Chris brings his analytical mind and legal expertise to our Board of Directors.

Mr. Powderly has a BA degree from The New School, New York, NY and a Juris Doctorate degree from Quinnipiac University. Chris is actively involved in two local non-profit community arts organization; Main Street Ballet Company and Newbury Musical Theater Company, performing various productions annually. During his spare time, Chris is an avid runner, participates annually in triathlons, and other road races. Chris lives in Southbury with his wife, Taffy and their two daughters.

 

 

Eveline Jones                                                                     Eveline

Eveline Jones, retired President of IWC North America, Inc (International Watch Company) a Swiss luxury watchmaker. Eveline was responsible for setting the distribution and marketing strategies that built       both sales and the luxury image of the brand. Prior to   joining IWC she had worked for over 15 years at Cartier, the last years as Vice President of the Commercial Division which included Cartier       watches and all accessories such as pens, leather goods and scarves. Ms Jones was born and      educated in Switzerland earning a degree in business but the US has been her home for over 30 years.

Since retiring Eveline has become a watercolor artist, an avid golfer and an active volunteer for various organizations.

 

Lindsay ButlerKariePetersonPhotography_TheButlerFamily-1126

Lindsay received her Bachelor of Music on violin with a concentration in the music industry from James Madison University. In 2008, she attended the Stamford International Music Festival in England where she studied with both Andrew Smith and Víctor Correa-Cruz from the music conservatory at the University of Madrid. She has also worked closely with several talented musicians in the New York City area, doing public relations work for the New York Pops and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as well as working at the Juilliard School and Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan.

Lindsay graduated in 2014 from Quinnipiac University School of Law,  concentrating in Intellectual Property and is an attorney in NYC.  She is currently working at Verus Financial LLC in Manhattan.  She actively performs in her community whenever its possible and loves teaching violin and piano in her free time.