Linda Marson, Executive Director

Linda Marson brings over 20 years of experience working with non-profit organizations, managing national and local grassroots advocacy campaigns and as a business development consultant for a variety of national and local organizations. She has successfully managed a global PR and Marketing Agency and led successful national and local political campaigns for US House and Senate races.  Previously, she was National Communications Director for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Linda is a strong, team-focused leader with a deep commitment to supporting arts education and its ability to create change and enrich communities.

Gwendolyn Short, Art Therapy Director

Gwendolyn Short, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT is CREATE’s Interim Art Therapy Director and Director of our Studio Downstairs program. Before joining CREATE in 2015, Gwen served as Founder and CEO of Cradle of Art, a community art center in Capitol Heights, Maryland and worked for the Prince George’s County Health Department for more than 30 years specializing in addictions, mental health and rehabilitation services. A member of the American Art Therapy Association’s Board of Directors, Gwen also assisted with the creation of the film Wheels of Diversity: Pioneers of Color in Art Therapy. She is a recipient of AATA’s Clinician Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical work with Adults.

Allie Berg, Communications & Outreach Director

Allie Berg is CREATE’s Communications & Outreach Director. She brings over 15 years of both nonprofit and art experience to CREATE. After spending many years working in the world of philanthropy and grantmaking with the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Allie returned to school to pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer. After graduating from a professional photography program in 2010, she left the foundation to become a freelance photographer, specializing in wedding and portrait photography, and photo retouching and restoration. She returned to her nonprofit roots in 2016 when she joined the staff of CREATE. In addition to her day job, Allie teaches CREATE’s Comics & Cartooning class. In her free time she enjoys architectural and urban photography, watercolor painting, baking and doing messy art projects with her two sons.

Sulay Khin, Managing Director, Arts Programming

Sulay Khin is a practicing artist and teacher, and CREATE’s Managing Director of Arts Programming. She was born in Myanmar but raised in Southern Maryland. She has been in love with art from a young age, and has explored a variety of practices including fibers, illustration, painting, and ceramics. After spending her earliest childhood years in an environment rich with diverse flora and being raised by a botanist, it is no wonder the language of flora has a great impact on her work. She has come to use this language in her depictions of diverse female identities to tell their narrative. Sulay earned her Associates in Arts and Sciences as well as her Studio Arts Assistant Certificate from The College of Southern Maryland and recently finished her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Arts.

Lisa Pascal, Art Therapy Program Manager

Lisa Pascal is a mixed media artist, emerging professional art therapist, and lifelong Montgomery County resident. Lisa began her journey at CREATE Arts Center in 2016 as a volunteer, and quickly transitioned to teaching artist, eventually becoming director of CREATE’s smARTkids™ program before going back to school to obtain her master’s degree in Art Therapy from George Washington University. She has always been fascinated by the healing aspect of art and remembers tapping into its therapeutic value as a young child when she would retreat to her easel and paint to soothe herself. Lisa holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Maryland and appreciates the potential of the arts to transcend language barriers and communicate across diverse cultures. She aligns with a person-centered approach and is passionate about using the visual arts to support the development and well-being of all individuals.

Samarra Coakley, Registrar & Office Manager

Samarra Coakley is CREATE’s Office Manager and Registrar. Samarra has had a love for the arts since her early childhood when she was enrolled in dance, theatre, and art classes. She graduated from the University of Maryland College Park where she received a B.A. in Theatre and a minor in Spanish business. During her time in College Park, she was exposed to arts education and the impact it made on the young lives she worked with. She grew a love for the community and felt a desire to become more involved. Samarra wants to use her passion for the arts to inspire others to use their imagination and creativity in every aspect of their lives.