The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC) is celebrating its 35th anniversary by welcoming two new board members, Rachel Doriss of Brooklyn, New York, and Philip McCahill of Mashpee. McCahill serves as the nonprofit’s treasurer.
The pair are lending their expertise and passion for the arts to strengthening the AFCC’s mission to support, promote, and celebrate the arts and culture of Cape Cod.
“Both Rachel and Phil bring a skillset that will elevate the AFCC’s work in its next evolution. The mission remains the same, but the way we serve our community is vastly different than it was when I started over seven years ago,” said AFCC Executive Director Julie Wake. “Rachel brings her experience as a successful textile designer who was born and raised on Cape Cod. She understands the challenges and the joys of living and working here. Her professional expertise has given her a worldwide perspective through the eyes of an artist and will inspire us to think bigger and broader.
“Phil’s passion to support our community is unwavering,” Wake continued. “He has a breadth of knowledge working with organizations of all sizes and is committed to using his financial expertise to strengthen those organizations. Every nonprofit needs a financial guru like him. As we plan for the future, he will play an important role in the growth of the AFCC.”
The VP & Design Director at Pollack in New York City, Doriss is responsible for designing the company’s spring and fall collection of high-end interior home fabrics for upholstery and windows.
For Doriss, who grew up in West Barnstable, the arts have always been a constant in her life. “My mom is a musician and there were a lot of musicians around our house and a lot of artists as well,” she said. “It seemed very natural to consider a creative path. It wasn’t even a conscious consideration. It was more of what we just did.” Her mother, Elizabeth Doriss of West Barnstable, retired in the summer of 2020 after a 44-year career as the principal oboist with the Cape Symphony.
Rachel’s talents were nurtured at Barnstable High School, where she learned from a thriving art department that included visual arts teacher Carl Lopes, a former AFCC Board Member. “Carl was a mentor. He definitely had a really strong influence on me and both of my brothers,” she said.
After graduating in 1993, Rachel enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst before transferring to the Rhode Island School of Design where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in textile design in 1999.
Having spent her professional career tapping into her creativity, Rachel understands the value of the arts to society. “Everywhere I’ve lived, art makes people so much happier,” she said. “While I live in New York City, I am connected to the Cape and I hope I can bring that love of Cape Cod to the AFCC, but with a different perspective. I definitely care about the potential to make Cape Cod an even more lovely place to be through the arts.”
The former director of financial planning and analysis for Xerox, McCahill is using his retirement to assist nonprofits like the AFCC. “I was the finance and planning manager for a $7 billion business. We had 100,000 employees. What I was always focused on was putting information in a way that people could understand,” he said. “With the AFCC, it’s a different magnitude, but it’s the same principles.”
Originally from Rochester, New York, McCahill and his wife Mary Elizabeth have had a home on the Cape for more than 30 years. The pair have one daughter, Mary Sprague of Gorham, Maine.
Since retiring in 2016, Philip has volunteered his time giving back to a wide range of nonprofits including the AFCC, Cape Abilities, Calmer Choice, and Cape Wellness Collaborative. He has spent the past two years as a Community Volunteer Leader for the American Red Cross, having been deployed several times to support communities throughout the country following natural disasters.
Philip explained his charitable work this way: “I spent 37 years with Xerox. All I did was work and worry about month-end close and reporting results. I never got to do anything to give back to the community in that time frame. That’s what I wanted to do when I retired.”
He was excited to give back to the AFCC because “the arts is an important fabric of Cape Cod. Having an organization like the Arts Foundation which supports every facet of arts and culture to make sure the entire sector can be helped is critical.”
To learn more about the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s work, visit their website here.