Baltimore, MD – July 24, 2017 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) elected the following officers for its fiscal year 2018 at a board meeting in Baltimore on May 12, 2017: E. Scott Johnson (MD), Chair; Hal Real (DE), Vice Chair; Barbara Bershon (MD), Secretary; and J. Mack Wathen (DE), Treasurer.

E. Scott Johnson is co-chair of the Copyright, Media and Entertainment Group at Baker Donelson, a national law firm. His practice includes copyright, trademark, licensing, entertainment, and media law matters. Since 2003, Scott has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law; he was named Best Lawyers’ Baltimore “2013 Music Lawyer of the Year”; and Baltimore “2015 Copyright Lawyer of the Year.” Johnson served on Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Board from 1997-2007 and was Chair from 2003-2006. He is a past Chair of the Maryland State Arts Council and recipient of the 2011 Arts Advocate of the Year Award from Maryland Citizens for the Arts. Johnson has served on the boards of CityLit Project (past Chair), Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (past President), and Creative Alliance. He currently serves on the board of Young Audiences of Maryland (past President), Maryland Film Industry Coalition (immediate past Chair), and Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (Secretary). He is a member of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. and The Recording Academy.

Hal Real is the Founder and President of Real Entertainment Group, creator and operator of the nationally-acclaimed World Cafe Live music, restaurant and event venues located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 2004 and Wilmington, Delaware (2011-2017). In 2008 he helped a team of artists and educators launch LiveConnections, a nonprofit organization that inspires learning and builds community through collaborative music-making. Currently he is President of LiveConnections and Vice Chair of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Hal also serves on the board of the Freire (Charter Schools) Foundation, Philadelphia’s Fringe Arts, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Board and the Chairman’s Council of the Philadelphia Zoo. In the past he served as board Chair of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, a board and executive committee member of People’s Light (Malvern, PA), Chair of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Light Up the Queen Foundation, the Wilmington Leaders Alliance and the President’s Advisory Council of the Delaware College of Art and Design.

Barbara Bershon was appointed to the Maryland State Arts in 2008 and served as Chair from 2012 to 2014. Bershon also serves on the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Board and was elected Secretary in 2015. Bershon is the Emeritus Executive Director of the Chesapeake Orchestra in Southern Maryland. She is also a past president of the St. Mary’s County Arts Council. For many years Bershon was Director of Arts Outreach at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where she was the Managing Director of the River Concert Series at the College. Bershon earned her Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland and has been an Adjunct Professor in Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and American University in Washington, DC. Her publications include: Tales of teenage survival: Former teens recount their adolescence and lived to tell about it, Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse (2007) and “Cooperative problem solving: A link to inner speech,” In N. Miller & R. Lazarowitz (Eds.) Interaction in cooperative groups: The theoretical anatomy of group learning, New York: Cambridge University Press (1992).

J. Mack Wathen recently retired as Vice President, Support Services at Pepco Holdings, Inc. (Potomac Electric Power Company, Delmarva Power, and Atlantic City Electric Company), where he served in executive leadership roles for 18 years. He is currently the Chairman of the Delaware State Arts Council. Mr. Wathen has served in a volunteer capacity with other organizations in the arts community and beyond including the Arts Consortium of Delaware, the Delaware College of Art and Design, the Center for the Creative Arts (past Board Member), and the Food Bank of Delaware (current Board Member).

In addition to the election of officers, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation elected five new board members: Philip Horn (PA), Kevin M. O’Brien (NJ), Marilyn Santarelli (PA), John Strickland (WV), and Jane Werner (PA). The Foundation also elected three current members for additional terms: Romona Riscoe Benson (PA), David E. Fedeles (USVI), and Margaret G. Vanderhye (VA).

Romona Riscoe Benson is Director of Corporate Relations at PECO. She oversees a $6 million contributions budget and leads PECO’s sponsorships, community partnerships, employee engagement, and event and sports facility management programs. Previously she was the President and CEO of the African American Museum in Philadelphia. She served for five years as the Executive Director of the PCVB’s Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress where she produced the PECO Jazz Festival. Benson has also held the position of Senior Director of Visitor services and Community Relations with the New Jersey State Aquarium. Benson is a well-known jazz vocalist and has been performing in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for over 30 years.

David E. Fedeles is one of St. Croix’s leading real-estate brokers with over 25 years’ experience. He is also a licensed Broker in New York City and has worked with both Douglas Elliman and Charles Rutenberg. Prior to entering the real estate business, Fedeles held executive positions in corporate sales, marketing, and general management with several Fortune 100 firms. He has served as President of the St. Croix Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. He is a member of the St. Croix Board of Realtors and the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce. For nine years, he served as a Trustee of the Good Hope School in Frederiksted, an independent, multicultural, college preparatory educational community.

Philip Horn has been Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) since 1993. In 2013 he received the Sidney R. Yates Advocacy Award from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Past recipients include Tom Ridge, Ted Kennedy and Dr. Billy Taylor. While Program Manager for Touring and Presenting at the California Arts Council he led the first study of Presenting as a discipline. PCA was recognized by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University through Harvard’s Innovations in American Government competition for the PCA’s revolutionary approach to making grants. He has also received the National Accessibility Leadership Award from the NEA and VSA International for Excellence in Leadership; National Leadership Award from the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts; and the Gary Young Award from National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. He has served on the national PTA board of directors. He holds an honorary doctorate from Juniata College in Pennsylvania and been recognized with a lifetime membership in the Pennsylvania PTA among many other honors.

Kevin M. O’Brien is the Head Theatrical and Concert Rigger at MetLife Stadium and the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands, NJ. He also freelances as a theatrical technical director and in 2002, was elected President of Theatrical Stagehands Local 632 IATSE. O’Brien has served on the board of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts since 2008 and is a Commissioner on the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, serving as the Arts Council Ex-Officio to the Commission. He has been honored with the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce 2014 Man of the Year award, two State Legislature Resolutions for service, and the New Jersey AFL-CIO as Labor Leader of the Year award. O’Brien is a voting member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Marilyn Santarelli recently retired as Executive Director of the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Prior to her tenure at the Kirby Center, she served as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Misericordia University, in Dallas, PA. Santarelli served a ten year term on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and currently serves or has served on the boards of All One Foundation and Charities, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, River Parks Committee, Diamond City Partnership in Wilkes-Barre, and Blue Cross of NEPA Hospital Services. She is a past recipient of the Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal “Outstanding Women in Business” award and the NEIU 19, Community Arts Leader of the Year 2013.

John Strickland is president and major shareholder of Maynard C. Smith Construction Company, Inc., a Charleston, West Virginia, based commercial general contracting firm that specializes in new construction, renovation, and restoration of hospitals, office buildings and schools, as well as construction management. In addition to serving as a board member on state and local construction associations, John is a former board member of the Sunrise Museum, which became The Clay Center for Arts and Sciences of West Virginia. He currently serves as a board member for board member of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), Edgewood Summit, and West Virginia Commission on the Arts. John is a graduate of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.

Margaret G. Vanderhye is the Executive Director of the Virginia Commission on the Arts. She is a former member of the House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly representing the 34th District. She was appointed by Governor Douglas Wilder to the Virginia Commission on Population Growth and Development and to a four-year term (1992-1996) on the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board. Vanderhye also served as the Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Virginia Transportation Coordinating Council. President Bill Clinton appointed her to the National Capital Planning Commission where she chaired the Commission’s Joint Memorials Task Force. Governor Mark Warner appointed her to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority in 2002, and she was reappointed to the Authority by Governor Tim Kaine. She is former Vice Chair of the Board of McLean Project for the Arts (MPA), and twice served as Co-Chair of the MPA ArtFest, She is a Sustaining Director of the Prevent Cancer Foundation and a former board member of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm and Our Military Kids.

Jane Werner is Executive Director of The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh where she leads the team responsible for all aspects of the Museum’s mission and vision, exhibits, public programming, funding and operations. Prior to her tenure at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Werner worked for the Franklin Institute, Carnegie Science Center, and Buhl Science Center. She ran her own exhibit design firm whose clients included the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Franklin Institute and Scientific Discovery Museum. Werner received the 2012 YWCA Woman in the Arts Leadership Award and was named a 2013 Pittsburgh Businesswoman Leader. She is past president of the Association of Children’s Museums, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Board, and New Hazlett Theater and is on the boards of the Maker Education Initiative, Carnegie Mellon University’s Studio for Creative Inquiry, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Design Committee, Remake Learning Council, Fred Rogers’ Center, and Benedum Foundation.

Executive Director Theresa Colvin commented that “I am delighted to begin my tenure at Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with these incredibly experienced officers and board members. I look forward to working together as we look for new ways to strengthen and support the artists and communities we serve.”

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work and advance access to and participation in the arts. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about MAAF, its programs and services, visit our website at

Karen Newell, Director of External Affairs