Meet our supporters: Deb Martin and Dan Shertzer


Deb and Dan boogie down at Studio 44 in 2019

Deb and Dan boogie down at Studio 44 in 2019

Dr. Deborah Martin and Dan Shertzer have been living in Worcester since 2004, where they both work and raise their two children. Both have long been rooted in arts and culture. Shertzer points to his roots in a family of creatives. His sister, Boo, and father, Gerald Shertzer, are practicing artists (Gerald is an artist member here). Deb Martin is passionate about contemporary art’s reflection of the human condition. In ArtsWorcester, they found a direct link between their own interests and the city they call home. “For us, participating in ArtsWorcester makes us feel like we are a small part of what makes the city tick.”


Deb and Dan began frequenting ArtsWorcester exhibitions after being introduced to the organization by executive director Juliet Feibel. Since then, the ArtsWorcester community has steadily grown to become a greater part of their own social circle. At openings and events, they often run into friends from Clark University (where Deb is a Professor of Geography) and the Jewish Community Center (where Dan, a bank executive, had served as Board President). “It contributes to the feeling of knitting the city together and making a great tapestry with these overlapping communities,” says Dan. In 2012, the couple began contributing to the Annual Appeal. In 2018, their support grew to include a pledge to ArtsWorcester’s first capital campaign, Framing the Future, as a way to strengthen the city’s growing cultural district.


Martin and Shertzer enjoy engaging with visual and performing arts throughout the city. Beyond ArtsWorcester, they attend events at the Worcester Art Museum, Music Worcester, and the Sprinkler Factory. “Our support comes from the awareness of the need for art in our lives, the needs of artists and desire to support local artists,” Deb explains. “Seeing what artists are doing is always a way to reflect on the world around us and think in different ways. [Experience], identity, environment and interpretation can be transformative and create meaning–help us see the world differently and help change the world.”


The couple is particularly committed to supporting ArtsWorcester’s mission of maintaining public accessibility to the arts. “We believe strong communities are built by strong institutions and a vibrant arts community,” says Deb. “It seems like more and more our society becomes more and more transactional. Fee for service does not make a community strong. The arts are a dialogue between all of the stakeholders and need investment. That investment blossoms and builds relationships, culture, identity and depth.” They view Worcester as a powerful example of the way art touches everyone, even those who do not count themselves as artists or patrons of the arts. Greater investment in the arts has opened a new chapter in the city’s growth, and lasting accessibility to the city’s cultural resources ensures a fairer, more sustainable future. “Think about the gems of this city. They were invested long ago by visionaries and patrons to create the city we know today–not for a service,” says Dan. “We as citizens need to…be part of the renaissance that is going on. We can be part of it, for all of us and for the future.”


For Dan and Deb, ArtsWorcester highlights these connections and strengthens their bond to artists throughout the city, sometimes in unexpected ways. At a past Art on the Line, Deb purchased a photograph of the side of a railroad car. “As an urban geographer [and professor], she loves art that celebrates random city scenes. After buying it, she discovered that the photographer was Allen Fletcher, who has given a tour and lecture to one of her urban geography classes before (titled ‘Discover Worcester!’). That sort of coincidence is one of the lovely things about Worcester, that people have overlapping connections that we don’t even realize. ArtsWorcester helps to bring that out.”


ArtsWorcester thanks Deb Martin and Dan Shertzer for their time, passion, and ongoing support! Click here to learn more about the different ways to give to ArtsWorcester.