Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center founder Lola Jaffe giving up leader post


GREAT BARRINGTON -- Lola Jaffe has stepped down as chair of Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, an elected office she has held since founding and leading the campaign to restore the 107-year-old theater in December 2002.

She is succeeded by Maggie Buchwald. Jaffe will continue to serve on the board as founding chair.

"After 10 years at the helm, it just feels like the right time to hand over the reins," Jaffe said by email in response to a query.

In a news release from the nonprofit year-round performing arts venue, Jaffe said she has "every confidence that the Mahaiwe will continue to evolve and thrive.

"It was important to me and our board of directors that residents and visitors of all ages have the opportunity to experience music, dance, theater, opera, films, and educational programs together, in this landmark theater, after it was beautifully restored with the generosity of many friends and supporters.

"It has been a thrill to share the laughter, song, and smiles with thousands of audience members over the past decade, and I look forward to celebrating many future events with Maggie, [Mahaiwe executive director Beryl Jolly], the leadership team, and our community for many years to come.

"It will be a pleasure to work closely with Maggie and the rest of the executive committee as well as continuing the strong ties we all have with Lola, as together our board and staff build an even stronger and more dynamic Mahaiwe for our community," Jolly said in the news release.

"I am honored to take the reins from Lola Jaffe," said Buchwald. "Having served on the board since 2004 and as its vice chair for the past four years, I look forward to building on her founding vision and helping this wonderful performing arts center grow and flourish in the future."

Based in North Egremont and New York City, Buchwald is a retired fundraising consultant who counseled non-profit institutions in board development, major gift solicitation, capital campaigns, and strategic planning. She has held senior positions at some of New York's major cultural and educational institutions, including American Ballet Theatre, Thirteen/WNET, and the New York University Medical Center. She is past president of Women in Development, New York, and a graduate of Cornell University.

Also elected to the board's executive committee were Alan S. Jaffe and Jane Iredale as vice chairs, Herb Abelow as treasurer, and Stacey Allegrone-Lewis as clerk.

Jaffe (no relation to Lola Jaffe) retired in 2005 as the chairman and managing partner of Proskauer Rose LLP, a 750-attorney firm with 12 domestic and international offices. A significant portion of his time was concentrated in the entertainment industry where he represented many of New York's premiere institutions. He has served on the Mahaiwe board since 2009 and lives in North Egremont and New York City.

Iredale is the president and founder of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics. Prior to forming her cosmetics company in 1994, her background had been in film, theater, and television. Through her own production company, she produced over 50 programs for PBS and HBO. She has served on the Mahaiwe board since 2004 and lives in Great Barrington.

Abelow's career on Wall Street spanned 44 years, during which time he was also active in the non-profit and community sector, starting the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and serving on the boards of the Edith Wharton Restoration and Lenox Library, among others. Currently a resident of Mill River, he is treasurer of the New Marlborough Village Association and the New Marlborough Historical Society, and past chair of the Southern Berkshire Regional School Committee. He has served on the Mahaiwe board since 2009.

A principal and CFO of the Allegrone Companies, Allegrone-Lewis joined the Mahaiwe board in early 2012. She returned to the Berkshires in 2002 and managed Allegrone Companies' multi-phase restoration of the Mahaiwe theater.


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