Jean Butler

Founder • President •Senegal-America Project Program Co-Director

Our founder, Jean Butler, has been mentoring and working in arts in education for nearly 30 years. She began as the Cultural Enrichment Chair at her children’s elementary school for about 15 years, and then served as the President of West Suburban Creative Arts Council for three years. She founded and continues to chair ABSART (Acton-Boxborough School Arts Resource Team), which brings together the enrichment chairs of the six Acton and Boxborough schools to network and share resources for arts in education enrichment. As President of AAE, Inc., Jean has presented several artist marketing workshops for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and served on an MCC panel on “Stresses on the Art in Education Artists Today.” In her work with AAE, Inc., she continues to provide one-on-one support and mentoring for parents, educators, and artists. In addition she is a successful grant writer and a strong arts advocate.


  • President and founder of Arts Are Essential, Inc. Incorporated as a nonprofit in July 2003
  • Business manager and agent for artists since 1998
  • Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council appointed fall 1998 — Chair and Grants Chair for four years
  • Acton and Acton-Boxborough School Committees for eight-and-a-half years; Chairperson of the Acton Public School Committee for one term
  • Education Foundation of Acton and Acton-Boxborough — Founding member and board of directors member for three years
  • President of West Suburban Creative Arts Council, Inc. for three years, an unpaid, volunteer position. WSCAC is a nonprofit Arts in Education Advocacy corporation
  • Founder and Chair of Acton-Boxborough Schools Arts Resource Team since 1987
  • Volunteer Arts Enrichment Committee Chair at Douglas Elementary School for nearly 15 years
  • Successful grant writer and grant-writing workshop coordinator
  • Ran marketing workshops for artists hosted by Massachusetts Cultural Council

“My story begins 28 years ago. As a parent-volunteer and arts-coordinator for 15 years, I created and booked programs specifically for my children’s elementary school. During this time period, I served on the Acton and Acton-Boxborough School Committees for eight-and-a-half years, and also served as the President of the West Suburban Creative Arts Council for three years. I have worked with Arts in Education programming and artists in many different capacities. I enjoy assisting artists and educators in creating school-specific or Massachusetts Frameworks and Core Curriculum related workshops for professional development, and student workshops or residencies. We especially enjoy working with the students!” — Jean


Rich Haxhi — Faculty, Roger Ludlowe Middle School, Fairfield, CT (203) 255-8345

Shafiya Cicarelli — Counselor, Pioneer Valley Regional High School, Northfield, MA (413) 498-2931 x4117

Jane Hyman — Principal, Jefferson Elementary School, Franklin, MA (508) 541-2140. December 2003–March 2004 and 2007, with Tony Vacca: I helped support and prepare for two 12-day residencies in visual art and music-making instruments, culminating in community performance by all students.

Jean's Full Resume