New Rochelle Council on the Arts
Welcomes New Board Members

Leslie Demus (left) and Ximena Francella

Elizabeth Hurwett (left) and Karen Keller Selman

Maddali Paci Atallah (left) and Selena Evans

The New Rochelle Council on the Arts (NRCA) is pleased to welcome two new Board members: Marisa Boan has been elected to NRCA’s Board of Directors, and Ximena Francella has joined NRCA’s Advisory Board. In addition, NRCA Board members Maddali Paci Atallah and Karen Keller Selman have joined the Executive Board as Assistant Treasurer and Corresponding Secretary, respectively.


“We are excited to add new Board members who bring a diversity of talent and experience to the Board,” says Theresa Kump Leghorn, President of NRCA.  “The NRCA is an all-volunteer organization, with an incredible group of talented, hardworking people who make up our Board, our Advisory Board and our committees.”


The New Rochelle Council on the Arts was created by the New Rochelle City Council in 1975 to stimulate and encourage the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts; for nearly 50 years NRCA has worked to fulfill that mission by sponsoring art exhibitions, theatrical productions, dance recitals, film screenings, lectures, and concert series.


In addition, NRCA has sponsored public art — like the popular NRNY Murals — and created annual events like the Summer Sounds Concert Series at Hudson Park and ArtsFest, while helping to build relationships between the arts, the business community and city government. The NRCA website has become major resource for artists and art lovers – the “go-to” place for information about the arts.


NRCA’s programs are made possible, in part, by the City of New Rochelle and grants from  ArtsWestchester (with funds from Westchester County Government) as well as private foundations; additional support comes from event sponsorships and individual donations. For more information visit NRCA on the web at


NRCA’s officers include Theresa Kump Leghorn, President; Lynn Moloshok Green, Vice President; Billie Tucker, Treasurer; Karen Keller Selman, Assistant Treasurer; Margaret Chadwick, Recording Secretary; and Maddali Paci Atallah, Corresponding Secretary.


In addition to the Executive committee, NRCA’s Board of Directors includes Marisa Boan, Nick Carter, Barbara Davis, Leslie Demus,  Monica Deane, Selena Evans, Dave Fabris, Charles Fazzino, Candice Sanchezs McFarlane, Anthony Paolercio, Linda Tarrant-Reid, Ken Valenti and Catherine White. NRCA’s Board of Advisors includes Terry Prettyman Bowles, Michael Dandry, Angela Derecas Taylor, Linda Kelly Fauci, Dianne Flagello, Ximena Francella, Lynne Honeysett, David Patterson,  Jesse Sanchez, Leah Sills, Judith Weber, Beth Willensky, Eric Woodlin and Ex Officio Member Vin Parise, Commissioner of New Rochelle’s Department of Parks & Recreation.


 Marisa Boan has proudly called New Rochelle her home for over forty years. During her high school years at the Ursuline School, she developed a love and appreciation for the arts, which continues to this day in her photography and writing.


Ms. Boan is a graduate of the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University and Pace University where she received a BS, MST, MPA, and an MBA in Finance and International Business. After a long successful career in finance, she co-founded the High School for Public Service in NYC through a partnership with New Visions for Public Schools and the Bill & Belinda Gates Foundation. Her school has been recognized annually in US News and World Reports as one of the top high schools in the United States.


Ms. Boan works at home as a writer creating bilingual children’s books and literacy-based art instructional materials for elementary school teachers. In her free time, she takes pictures of only two things, flowers and her seven-year-old son Max. She has traveled many roads in her lifetime, but her favorite one is the road that winds its way through New Rochelle and ends underneath a glorious cherry blossom tree in front of the place that she calls home. Her advice to others is to look closely at the road you travel on each day. If there are no flowers along that road, you may want to take a different road.


Ximena Francella is a successful entrepreneur and committed civic leader with a strong philanthropic background who has dedicated her life to advocating on behalf of children, women and the Latino Community. Ms. Francella has a B.A. from Queens College, a Masters Degree in Social Work from Fordham University, an administrative degree from Hunter College, and an advanced degree from New York University.    


Ms. Francella is the founder of various programs that received national recognition for their innovation and success in delivering services to communities in need. She worked for over a decade at The International Center for the Disabled in New York City, and established Nuestro Futuro for The Mental Health Association in Westchester. Ms. Francella was the President and CEO of Cross-Cultural Consultants, a women-run business offering bi-lingual and bi-cultural services to national and international clients. 


In addition Ms. Francella has an abiding interest in the arts: From 2017 to 2021 she owned and managed BIZG87 Art Gallery, which featured exhibitions by local and international artists across all mediums with a focus on engaging with the public and community.


Ximena Francella is the Co-Chair of Hispanic Democrats of Westchester. She is the Assistant Treasurer of the Westchester County Democratic Executive Committee, District Leader of the New Rochelle Democratic Committee, Member of Indivisible New Rochelle, and Lead of the Women’s Rights Team. Ximena serves on the Westchester Planning Board, Women & Minority Business Board, Advisory Committee for Immigrant Affairs, Advisory Board STEM ALLIANCE Larchmont-Mamaroneck, and on the Coalition to Undo Racism through Education (CURE).


Ximena Francella was the recipient of The Amigo Award from the Community Resource Center and received recognition from President William J. Clinton on Advancing Women’s National Issues.