Headshot of Arts Foundation Board Chair Ken Elmer

Arts Foundation Welcomes Ken Elmer as its New Board Chair

May 13, 2024 (Cape Cod, MA) – Ken Elmer of Barnstable, has been named the new Chair of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s Board of Directors. Elmer, a retired HR professional who joined the board at the end of last year, succeeds Kathryn Kayajan of Mashpee, who served on the nonprofit’s board since 2018 and as its chair since February 2020.

“I was thrilled to join the board last year. Now I am honored to step into this board leadership role to make an impact on the continued growth and development of the Arts Foundation’s mission to support and promote the arts across the Cape and the Islands,” said Elmer. “Over the years, the Arts Foundation has successfully demonstrated how it can flourish by deepening its roots and maintaining strong ties across all communities in the region and in all aspects of building a vibrant arts scene here on Cape Cod.”

“Ken has been a tremendous asset to our organization, helping to shape and improve the internal processes of the Arts Foundation. We are excited to have him take on a bigger role as our organization amplifies the positive impact we’re having on our community through the support we’re providing to the artists and arts organizations who contribute so much to the Cape’s creative economy,” said Arts Foundation Executive Director Julie Wake. “We’re also incredibly grateful to Kathryn for the steady hand she provided to the Arts Foundation, especially through the pandemic. Because of her belief in the power of the arts, we’ve been able to take meaningful steps in our organization’s evolution.”

Kayajan, who owns Ferran Textiles, helped guide the Arts Foundation to new heights. Since 2020, it has distributed more than $600,000 in grants to support arts and culture organizations and artists on the Cape. Over the past two years, it has connected nearly 11,000 children to the arts through its AFCC Access program. And last year, over 400 individuals working in the arts sector received personal and professional development through its Creative Exchange program.

She will remain a member of the Arts Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Prior to retiring in 2022, Elmer spent six years at Repligen Corporation in Waltham, where he served as the Global Head Human Resources. He previously was the Chief Human Resources at attune in Burlington, and the Senior Vice President Human Resources at Celerant Consulting in Waltham.

He has more than 40 years of experience in human resources and business management across multiple industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Rhode Island.

Amanda-Clare Cunningham

Elmer joined the board last December along with Amanda-Clare Cunningham of Dennis, Marius Dehelean of Mashpee, and Jeffrey Soares of Dartmouth.

Cunningham is the principal at A.M.P.M Design, a custom building design company based in Hyannis, which she launched in 2009.

Born in Scotland and raised in Ireland, she studied art and design in Galway, Ireland, and architecture in Cardiff, Wales, Britain. She moved to the United States 24 years ago, focusing her career on commercial and institutional architecture.

With her husband, Phelim Meehan, she co-founded the Turlough Meehan Research Foundation, a nonprofit that raised funds for pediatric cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“The arts help us grow as a society and a community,” Cunningham said. “I believe everyone should have access to the arts. I believe every child should be given the ability to explore the creative fields. And I believe every artist should be given the opportunity to deliver their works to the greater community.”

Over the past 14 years, Dehelean has served as the Senior Relationship Manager, VP at TD Bank in Falmouth. He has over 18 years’ experience in the banking industry and received his MBA from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

“Given my finance career, getting involved with the arts and becoming a supporter and champion of artistic endeavors provides an outlet for my creative passions,” he said. “Arts bring people together and create a sense of community. They encourage empathy and understanding by allowing individuals to explore different perspectives and experiences.”

A Cape Cod native, Soares grew up in Barnstable and credits the arts “with providing my younger self with an outlet to express myself creatively and to practice mindfulness while learning music.” These formative experiences served as an impetus for Soares to join the Arts Foundation board.

Soares spent more than five years in Senator Julian Cyr’s office, serving as his District Director before becoming his Legislative and Budget Director. During his time in the State Senate, he was proud to support the work of organizations across the Cape; this included helping Senator Cyr secure a $400,000 ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) appropriation for the Arts Foundation’s Creative Exchange program.

In April of last year, Soares was named Director of Rowing and Head Coach at Watuppa Rowing Center, a nonprofit based out of Fall River.

New Arts Foundation Board Member’s Jeffrey Soares (left) and Marius Dehelean.

A graduate of Sturgis Charter Public School, he received his bachelor’s degree in political economics as well as his master’s degree in economics from The University of Edinburgh.

“I am excited to join the Arts Foundation Board and help to continue its legacy of supporting artists and the arts across Cape Cod,” he said. “I hope to be able to create similar opportunities to the one I had growing up for young people across the Cape, especially through the Arts Foundation’s AFCC Access program.”

Read more about former Board Chair Kathryn Kayajan here. If you’re interested in volunteering with the Arts Foundation, email us at info@artsfoundation.org