In July 2021, the Executive Director hat was passed from ArtVan’s Founder, Art Therapist, and only Executive Director Jamie Silvestri to ArtVan’s Director of Development and Communication Shannon Els. Shannon received a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship from Pepperdine University and immediately connected with ArtVan’s commitment to encouraging supportive relationships and art across neighborhoods through a reliable, mobile, strengths-based model.
Els joined ArtVan in June 2020 in the midst of ArtVan’s adapted COVID-19 ArtBag model. Her storytelling experience, savvy-tech skills, and genuine curiosity to dive into community, fueled ArtVan’s reach across various channels during a remote year. In addition to optimizing operations, she joined Bath Art Hop’s committee to highlight local artists and expand ArtVan’s outreach and fundraising.
Through Jamie Silvestri’s new role as Program Director, she guides ArtVan’s history and mission while continuing to strengthen ArtVan’s relationships through the therapeutic arts by deepening the work with youth, community partners, foundations, and staff development. “It’s the right time as a trained art therapist to put all my focus into programs and supervising programmatic staff,” remarked Founder & Art Therapist Jamie Silvestri. Her commitment remains first and foremost to the Youth and families in the core neighborhoods ArtVan has been steadfastly serving for over seventeen years.
It’s through these relationships with property managers, nonprofit collaborators, teaching artists, and donors that allow ArtVan to keep showing up. “As long as the youth show up, we will be there,” states Jamie Silvestri.
Shannon Els is the second Executive Director since ArtVan’s nonprofit incorporation in 2012. With a strong working relationship and complementary skills, Jamie Silvestri and Shannon Els with full support from ArtVan’s Board of Directors are curating this pivotal shift with intentionality.
In true ArtVan style, creative expression, process-oriented communication, and local collaboration will continue to ‘steer’ the ArtVan mission to deliver a solid community-based organization.