Conference Speakers

Click on the names to jump to individual bios, or scroll down for a complete list of conference speakers. Additional speakers will be added as they are confirmed.

David Baker A Studio in the Woods
Carol Bebelle Ashé Cultural Arts Center
Tom Birch National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Michelle Boone The Joyce Foundation
Sam Bower greenmuseum.org
Ann Brady Atlantic Center for the Arts
Penelope Burk fundraising trainer and author
Jennifer Calienes Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography
Cornelia Carey Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Donna Cavato The Edible Schoolyard
Michelle Laflamme-Childs Santa Fe Art Institute
Mel Chin artist
Jacquelyn Clarkson New Orleans City Council
Jean-Yves Coffre CAMAC
Mary Len Costa Arts Council of New Orleans
Eric Dallimore artist
Daphne Derven New Orleans Food & Farm Network

Mario Garcia Durham NEA
Lolis Eric Elie journalist
Liz Engleman Tofte Lake Center at Norm's Fish Camp
Robert Fakelman Louisiana Tech University
Rashida Ferdinand Sankofa Marketplace
Kate Haw Skowhegan
Paul Hogan Alliance of Artists Communities
Olukemi Ilesanmi Creative Capital Foundation
Ra Joy Arts Alliance Illinois

Kirsha Kaechele KK Projects
Amanda Kik Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design
Brad Kik Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design
Morgana King Arts Council of New Orleans
Sally Lai Chinese Arts Centre
Wayne Lawson Ohio Arts Council
David Macy The MacDowell Colony
Richard McCarthy MarketUmbrella.org
Tamalyn Miller CEC ArtsLink
Adam Natale Fractured Atlas
Craig Nutt Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Hunter O'Hanian Massachusetts College of Art & Design
Peggy Morrison Outon Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
Alix Refshauge HUB-BUB
Lee Renninger artist
Linda Marston-Reid The Rockefeller Foundation / Bellagio Creative Study Center
Ama Rogan A Studio in the Woods
Jeff Schmuki Jeff Schmuki
Ce Scott McColl Center for Visual Art
Whit Shepard RWS Consulting
Rebecca Solnit writer and activist
Carolyn Somers Joan Mitchell Foundation
Caitlin Strokosch Alliance of Artists Communities
Susan Page Tillett Ragdale Foundation
Alan Tracy Rhode Island School of Design
Elizabeth Underwood artist
Monique Michelle Verdin artist
Dr. Michael White composer and musician
Sarah Workneh Ox-Bow

David Baker

Environmental Curator
A Studio in the Woods
New Orleans

David Baker graduated from Louisiana State University with a BS in Botany. During his tenure at LSU he studied Hurricane ecology in Florida and Louisiana. Upon graduating from college he worked for the Louisiana Nature Conservancy for four years and a private environmental consulting firm aiding oil field clean up projects using plants. He has worked at A Studio in The Woods since 2004, restoring the environment and educating artists and visitors about the natural environment. [top of page]

Carol Bebelle

Carol Bebelle

Co-Founder
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
New Orleans

Due to a scheduling conflict, Carol will no longer be speaking at the conference. [top of page]

Tom Birch

Thomas L. Birch

Legislative Counsel
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Washington, D.C.

For more than 25 years, Tom Birch has served as legislative counsel and lobbyist for nonprofit organizations, developing policy positions and di­recting advocacy ef­forts to influence Con­gres­sional action, primarily in cultural policy and on issues of child welfare. An attorney by training, Tom came to this work from Congress, having served as legislative counsel to members of the United States Senate and House of Representa­tives on issues of domestic policy.  He is the author of articles on legisla­tive advoca­cy and topics of public policy, particularly in his areas of specializa­tion in child welfare, human services, and cultural affairs.
      Tom received his JD degree from George Washington University and BA in American history from Lehigh University. He was a Peace Corps volunteer for three years in Morocco and has served as a board member for a number of charitable organizations. He is serving a fourth term in elected public office as Georgetown’s neighborhood commissioner in Washington, D.C., where he was recipient of the Belin Award in 2006 for distinguished service to the community. [top of page]

Michelle Boone

Michelle T. Boone

Culture Program Officer
The Joyce Foundation
Chicago

In Michelle T. Boone's capacity as the Culture Program Officer for the Joyce Foundation, she is responsible for distributing nearly $2 million annually to arts and cultural institutions in Chicago as well as managing the Joyce Awards program, a competitive grant opportunity that supports arts and culture groups in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cleveland, and Indianapolis to commission new works by artists of color.
      Michelle was previously the director of Gallery 37, an award-winning program of the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs that provides job training in the arts for youth. She began her career in entertainment working in television, film, and the recording industry, and later served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Africa. In addition to her duties at the Joyce Foundation, Michelle is an adjunct professor at DePaul University and serves on the boards and advisory committees of several arts and cultural organizations in Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and a master’s degree in Public Affairs (nonprofit management major) from Indiana University, Bloomington. [top of page]

Sam Bower

Sam Bower

Co-Founder and Executive Director
greenmuseum.org
San Francisco

Sam Bower is Co-Founder and Executive Director of greenmuseum.org, an online museum of environmental art, launched in 2001. Prior to this, Sam created environmental art for 8 years as part of a San Francisco Bay Area collaborative art group known as Meadowsweet Dairy. He helped found Cellspace, a nonprofit community art space in San Francisco, and Co-Directed Crucible Steel Gallery. Sam has worked as a solo artist, puppeteer, and web designer, and in advertising, events planning, and the environmental nonprofit sector in the US and Ecuador. He has served as a founding Board Member of Dreamfish and on the Board and Advisory Board of various art and environment-related nonprofits and art projects. [top of page]

Ann Brady

Executive Director
Atlantic Center for the Arts
New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Ann ascended to her current position in 2003 after 11 years in various rolesat Atlantic Center. Ann received a BA in Journalism in 1981 from Temple University in Philadelphia. In the years prior to working at Atlantic Center, she worked in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and Orlando as a professional grant writer, editor, and program developer for cultural organizations, as well as women’s advocacy and social service agencies. She also worked in the for-profit sector in communications, public relations, and marketing. She has served on numerous state grant panels and special task forces, and is on the executive board of the local arts agency, the Volusia County Cultural Alliance. She is the Board Chair of the Alliance of Artists Communities. [top of page]

Penelope Burk

Penelope Burk

Fundraising trainer, author, and President
Cygnus Applied Research Group, Inc.
Chicago

Penelope Burk has over 30 years' experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, marketing, and research. She has held management positions in both fundraising and communication in arts, social service, and sport/recreation charities and is today one of the most sought-after trainers in the sector, known as a "turn around specialist," advocating innovative solutions to improve revenue and institutional performance. Penelope is the author of Donor-Centered Fundraising and Fundraising in a Turbulent Economy, and more than 50 seminars, training programs, articles, and dramatic plays, all written specifically for nonprofit organizations. Her comprehensive research on donor relations is the foundation of her innovative work, her advocacy for donors, and her passion for the philanthropic spirit. Penelope is one of the industry's foremost authorities on fundraising research, training, and strategic planning based on the principles of Donor-Centered Fundraising. [top of page]

Jennifer Calienes

Jennifer Calienes

Director
Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography
Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Calienes has a BS in Arts Administration with a Dance Concentration from Butler University. From 1999 to 2004, she managed the National Dance Project, a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts that supports the creation and distribution of contemporary dance in the US. Jennifer assisted in raising over $12 million for the programs and facilitated international partnerships with France, The Netherlands, and Japan. MANCC (pronounced man-see), a dance and choreographic research center, is housed at Florida State University, and its mission is to raise the value of the creative process by providing a model of support for professional choreographic creativity within a comprehensive research university; providing choreographers access to a stimulating environment where experimentation, exploration and life-long learning are both valued and encouraged; and providing opportunities for the students, staff, and faculty, the community of Tallahassee, and the national dance field at large to engage with the creative process in dance. [top of page]

Cornelia Carey

Cornelia Carey

Executive Director
Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Montpelier, Vermont

Cornelia Carey has served as the Executive Director of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund since 1995. Prior to her tenure at CERF, she was the grants officer at the Vermont Arts Council and a program coordinator in the Contemporary Arts Department at the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. She has a master’s degree in education with a specialization in human development from Harvard University and has served on numerous foundation, state arts councils, and National Endowment for the Arts grant panels. [top of page]

Donna Cavato

Donna Cavato

Program Director
The Edible Schoolyard
New Orleans, Louisiana

Donna has 15 years experience in successful program development and project management. This includes the development and implementation of Sow & Grow: A Schoolyard Gardening Program in the New Orleans Public Schools, and the Kids’ Café Teaching Garden. In addition, she has worked on multiple entrepreneurial projects, including developing garden-based business ventures such as the St. Thomas 7-Pepper Hot Sauce project. Prior to her nonprofit experience, she worked as a professional cook and caterer. She holds a master’s degree in urban planning and public policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. [top of page]

Michelle Laflamme-Childs

Michelle Laflamme-Childs

Residency Director
Santa Fe Art Institute
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Michelle Laflamme-Childs is currently the Residency and Marketing/Press/PR Director for the Santa Fe Art Institute in Santa Fe, NM. Before landing at the SFAI in 2006, she served the corporate world for over 20 years as a Marketing Director for various consumer goods companies. She holds a BA from UMass Amherst, an MA from St. John’s College, and is currently working on an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas, El Paso. [top of page]

Mel Chin

Mel Chin

Artist
North Carolina

Mel Chin was born in Houston to Chinese parents in 1951, the first of his family born in the United States, and was reared in a predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhood. He worked in his family’s grocery store, and began making art at an early age. Though he is classically trained, Chin’s art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification. Alchemy, botany, and ecology are but a few of the disciplines that intersect in his work. He insinuates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. Unconventional and politically engaged, his projects also challenge the idea of the artist as the exclusive creative force behind an artwork. “The survival of my own ideas may not be as important as a condition I might create for others’ ideas to be realized,” says Chin, who often enlists entire neighborhoods or groups of students in creative partnerships. Chin also promotes “works of art” that have the ultimate effect of benefiting science or rejuvenating the economies of inner-city neighborhoods. Chin’s current Fundred Dollar Bill Project and its sister initiative Operation Paydirt seek to engage students and others from around the US in a participatory art-making project that will culminate in creative solutions to New Orleans’s lead-contaminated soil problems. Chin received a BA from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1975, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 and 1990. [top of page]

Jackie Clarkson

Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson

Vice-President
New Orleans City Council
New Orleans

Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson has served the citizens of New Orleans for over 16 years. Since the Mayor-Council form of government was enacted in 1954, she is the first councilmember to be elected to three non-consecutive terms. She is a former legislator, representing District 102 in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1994 to 2002. As a State Representative, she was recognized for her leadership, championing landmark legislation that focused on ethics and government reform, women's healthcare, fiscal reform, education, child protection, law enforcement, and neighborhood preservation. Clarkson has also been actively involved in numerous civic organizations including the National World War II Museum, Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Catholic Cultural and Heritage Center of New Orleans, GNO Young Audiences, Louisiana Philharmonic, NORD/NOBA Ballet, Save Our Cemeteries, Audubon Institute, and New Orleans Museum of Art. A native of Algiers, Jackie and her husband, Buzz, have raised five successful daughters, including Oscar nominated, Emmy award-winning actress, Patricia Clarkson, and they have ten grandchildren. Jackie is the daughter of the late New Orleans legendary coach Johnny Brechtel, founder of the New Orleans Recreation Department. [top of page]

Jean-Yves Coffre

Director
Centre D'Art (CAMAC)
Marnay, France

Jean-Yves Coffre was born in 1968 in Melun, France, and studied journalism. He has a great interest in contemporary art, and, after serving as co-director of CAMAC with Alexandra Keim for 5 years, Jean-Yves became CAMAC’s director in 2005. While at CAMAC, Jean-Yves has organized and curated renowned exhibitions of works by contemporary artists, such as Julia Lohmann, Alice Anderson, Laurent Duthion and Antonella Bussanich, and Steve Shada and Marisa Jahn. He also curated three versions of “Rodeo Performance,” an international festival of performances that included artists Pascal Lièvre, Skall, Olga Kisseleva, Vincent+Feria, Santiago Reyes, John Boehme, and Tsuneko Taniuchi. Jean-Yves has developed the international residency program at CAMAC which offers resident artists time dedicated solely to the creation of new work. His goal is also to engage a constant dialog with the surrounding community and with artists from around the world. In 2008, Jean-Yves was invited to China to write a book on the City of Hangzhou, which was published in 2009. Among his additional projects is a pedagogical program for children which now serves more than 5,000 people per year. [top of page]

Mary Len Costa

Interim Director and CEO
Arts Council of New Orleans
New Orleans

Mary Len Costa served for many years as Public Art Director for the Arts Council of New Orleans, and holds a degree from Memphis College of Art in textiles. Mary Len has a passion not only for the arts, but for the preservation of New Orleans culture and architecture. With her husband, she has received numerous local and national awards for revitalization of the residential character of 19th-century New Orleans urban neighborhoods. Since becoming Interim Director and CEO of the Arts Council in 2007, Mary Len has been a tireless advocate for the artists and arts community of New Orleans, working with city and state governments, local and national funders, and business and community leaders to support a vibrant arts community. [top of page]

Eric Dallimore

Eric Dallimore

Artist
New Orleans

Eric Dallimore is a New Orleans native who received his BFA from Louisiana State University in 2004. Since then, he has run a darkroom in Denver, CO, and assisted several artists for public art works in Colorado, Louisiana, and California. Teaching is another passion for the young artist, reviving a photography program at Camp Highlander in Asheville, North Carolina, teaching as a guest sculptor in 2007 at The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and assisting at the Marble/Marble Symposium in Marble, Colorado. Eric continues to show his work throughout Louisiana and Colorado and hopes to expand this work both nationally and internationally. "Untitled #6209" is Eric's first public art piece, a sculpture which speaks of recreating our future through possibilities and local resources, rather than limitations. As an emerging artist, Eric continues to focus his sculpture work combining the areas of sustainability, conservation, ecology, architecture, and local environments. [top of page]

Daphne Derven

Daphne Derven

Executive Director
New Orleans Food & Farm Network
New Orleans

A new resident of New Orleans, Daphne Derven relocated from Eugene, Oregon, where she was the Program Director for Northwest Youth Corps. She was a field archaeologist for many years, working from the Arctic watershed down through Guatemala and just about everywhere in between. Daphne was the Founding Director of Programs & Development at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, in New York. From 1997-2003, she was Founding Curator of Food and Director for Public Programs at Copia, in Napa; prior to that she was the Director of Public Programs at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. She was co-founder of the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, which recreates a working family farm of the 1770s. She did her undergraduate work in Archaeology at Skidmore College in upstate New York. She is currently a Master’s Candidate in Sustainable Development at the University of London. She has served as a consultant for a variety of institutions in the development and interpretation of historic foods and educational programs, particularly for the Hermann-Grima House and Magnolia Mound Plantation in Louisiana, Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts, Old City Park in Texas, and the Headlands Center for the Arts in California. [top of page]

Mario Garcia Durham

Mario Garcia Durham

Director of Artist Communities, Director of Presenting
National Endowment for the Arts
Washington, DC

Before joining the National Endowment for the Arts, Mario Garcia Durham was the founder and Executive Director of Yerba Buena Arts & Events at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Prior to founding the festival, Mario was the Performing Arts Curator and a founding staff member of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Mario has served on numerous boards, including the Executive Committee of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and on the board of the American Arts Alliance. Since starting at the NEA in 2004, Mario has been responsible for a renewed NEA focus on the role of Presenters, Artist Communities, Service Organizations, and Outdoor Festivals, and he is responsible for the creation of the American Masterpieces - Presenting program. In 2009, Mario's role at the NEA expanded to include direction of the new Artist Communities discipline, a category he helped create in 2008. [top of page]

Lolis Eric Elie

Lolis Eric Elie

Journalist
New Orleans

Lolis Eric Elie is an award-winning metro columnist and accomplished author. Since 1995, he has chronicled the heartbeat of New Orleans' neighborhoods thrice weekly for the city's major daily newspaper, the Times-Picayune. Elie is currently writing Of Bondage & Memory, a book on the enduring legacy of the slave trade on two continents.
      A recognized expert on New Orleans food and culture, Elie is the author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country, a book about the culture of barbecue, and producer of several culinary documentaries. Elie is editor of Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing for University of North Carolina Press.
      As a producer for the Smithsonian Institute's Jazz Oral History Project, Elie conducted interviews with many of New Orleans' elder jazz musicians. He holds master's degrees from the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York and the University of Virginia. [top of page]

Liz Engleman

Liz Engleman

Founder & Co-Director
Tofte Lake Center at Norm's Fish Camp
Boundary Waters, Minnesota

Liz Engelman is a freelance dramaturg who lives in Minneapolis. She has served as the Literary Director of the McCarter Theatre, the Director of New Play Development at ACT Theatre in Seattle, Literary Manager/Dramaturg at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, and as Assistant Literary Manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville. She has worked on the development of new plays at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, ASK Theatre Projects, New York Theatre Workshop, the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, South Coast Rep, and Florida Stage. She has directed new plays at The Illusion Theatre (with Michael Dixon), Mixed Blood Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and Carleton College. She received her BA in theater from Brown University and an MFA in dramaturgy from Columbia University. Liz is the co-editor with Michael Bigelow Dixon of several collections of plays, a new book on playwriting exercises, and two volumes of monologues with Tori Haring-Smith. She has written articles published in Theatre Topics and Theatre Forum. She serves on the Advisory Board of the National New Play Network and Emigrant Theatre, is a Consultant for The Playwrights’ Center (where she helped initiate their New Plays on Campus Program), and Dramaturg at Mixed Blood Theatre. Liz is a member of the New Project Group of ITI, and most recently served as President of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, having just completed her 3-year term as LMDA’s Board Chair. [top of page]

Robert Fakelman

Robert Fakelman

Professor of Architecture
Louisiana Tech University
Ruston, Louisiana

Robert Fakelman has taught at Louisiana Tech University for the past 30 years. Robert received a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Design and a Master's of Architecutre from Texas A&M University. He has been the recipient of numerous research grants, and has published many essays and articles on architecture and architectural theory. Robert's architectural work has earned him several awards, including a Boston Society of Architecture award for The Kennedy Residence. Robert designed The Raincatcher Studio at the Sustainable Arts Society in Blue Ridge, Georgia, a rural artists' colony interested in preserving the land while providing artists with a retreat in which to create new work. The Studio integrates sustainable systems which gather the sun’s energy, harvest rain water, and naturally ventilate its spaces. These features are augmented by the use of regional materials that are available within a 100-mile radius and can be assembled by local trades and artisans. [top of page]

Rashida Ferdinand

Rashida Ferdinand

Director
Sankofa Marketplace
New Orleans

Rashida Ferdinand is the Director of Sankofa Marketplace, created by a coalition of artists, community groups, churches, and small business based in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward to stimulate eonomic development and community revitalization. This market features a farmers market, health resources, live New Orleans music, access to community resources, a crafts market, and an exhibition of L9 history and culture. [top of page]

Kate Haw

Kate Haw

Executive Director for Development & Administration
Skowhegan
New York City

Kate Haw joined Skowhegan in November 2006, working in Skowhegan’s New York office handling all financial, development, and administrative aspects of the program and producing Skowhegan’s publications. She came to the School with a wealth of experience in the art world, first in the curatorial and exhibitions fields and later in fundraising. Immediately prior to coming to Skowhegan, Kate was Director of Development and Acting Director of External Affairs at the American Federation of Arts (2004-2006). Earlier in her career she worked in the Department of French and Northern Baroque Paintings at the National Gallery of Art from 1994–1997, was director of Peter Tillou Works of Art from 1997–2000, and was a curator at the American Federation of Arts from 2000–2004, where she organized exhibitions ranging in subject matter from Chola bronzes to the work of Edgar Degas. Kate has a BA in art history and religion from Sweet Briar College in Virginia and an MA in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. [top of page]

Paul Hogan

Treasurer
Alliance of Artists Communities
Milton, Massachusetts

After receiving his Masters in Business Administration from Dartmouth College in 1974, Paul began a distinguished career with FleetBoston Financial, formerly First National Bank of Boston. He served in a number of capacities during his 30-year tenure, most recently as Chief Risk Officer, until his retirement in 2003. Paul is past Director of Draper Laboratories in Cambridge, and past Director of Carney Hospital in Boston. He serves as the Finance Committee Chair of the Paulist Center. Paul received a Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Boston College, and a Masters in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He serves as Board Treasurer of the Alliance of Artists Communities. [top of page]

Kemi Ilesanmi

Olukemi Ilesanmi

Associate Director of Grants & Services
Creative Capital Foundation
New York City

Kemi Ilesanmi is the Associate Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation, where she shepherds a multi-layered process of regularly selecting new grantees from across several artistic disciplines. Once awarded, she provides the artists with advisory support and resources to help them realize their adventurous and ambitious projects. Prior to joining Creative Capital, she was a contemporary visual arts curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for six years. She serves on the boards of the Laundromat Project and None on Record. [top of page]

Ra Joy

Ra Joy

Executive Director
Arts Alliance Illinois
Chicago

Ra Joy is an artist and arts advocate with extensive experience in public policy and the congressional arena. As Executive Director for one of the premier statewide advocacy organizations in the nation, Ra oversees research, capacity-building, and communication efforts to advance widespread support for the arts and arts education in Illinois. Prior to joining the Illinois Arts Alliance, Ra served for six years as a senior staffer for US Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-9). Motivated by the belief that democracy is a verb and the instinct to be creative is universal, Ra is a member of the board of directors for Mikva Challenge and serves on the Executive Committee of the Americans for the Arts State Arts Action Network. Ra was selected as a fellow for the 2005 class of Leadership Greater Chicago and holds a BA from Southern Illinois University. Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, he currently resides in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood with his wife, Falona, and their three sons. [top of page]

Kirsha Kaechele

Founder
Life is Art Foundation | KKProjects
New Orleans

Kirsha Kaechele is a contemporary art curator, artist, and architectural designer focusing on ecology and sustainable systems. She was born in Topanga Canyon, California, and raised in Guam and Japan. Her father, a retired Rand aerospace engineer focusing on alternative energy (and an early practitioner of Rolfing), and her mother, a painter, shaped her early education spent in more than 50 countries, during which time she met Biosphere 2 creator John Allen, chemist Albert Hoffman, writers Tom Robbins and John C. Lilly, EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, psychiatrist Oscar Janiger, La Mama Theatre, and a group of German architects building sustainably in Maui. Kirsha also lived and worked closely with the Shipibo ayahuasca shamans in the Peruvian Amazon and a group of leading writers, philosophers, and historians in Southern Lebanon. She co-founded the first sustainable architecture major at University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught the first Sustainable Design studio. In 2000, Kirsha moved to New Orleans and began collaborating with local artists and musicians including Quintron and Miss Pussycat.  
            Kirsha founded Life is Art Foundation | KKProjects in 2007, an art space composed of six abandoned houses in the St. Roch Neighborhood of New Orleans. The foundation invites local and international artists to create site-specific installations utilizing the houses and surrounding ecological and social environment as medium.  Exhibitions have included artists Tony Oursler, Mel Chin, Keith Sonnier, and Robert Rauschenberg. Life is Art foundation includes an urban farm in which community members grow and sell organic produce. Through the farm, the growing and making of food becomes medium for art, economic development, and social evolution. Kirsha’s current projects include a land art exhibition of a 1-1/2-acre living sugar cane sculpture in rural Louisiana and 20 large-scale, site-specific installations in New Orleans’ City Park and Botanical Gardens in partnership with Voodoo Experience. [top of page]

Brad & Amanda Kik

Amanda Kik

Co-Founder
Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND)
Bellaire, Michigan

Amanda Kik spent both her undergraduate and graduate years at California Institute of the Arts (in fine art and writing, respectively), and lived in Los Angeles for a spell before moving to a small town in Northern Michigan in 2001. There, she quickly learned that art is a vital part of any community, no matter the size or cultural composition. Amanda's commitment to supporting artists and strong desire to live a more ecologically sustainable life led her to co-found the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND) with her husband, Brad, in 2005. In addition to her volunteer work with ISLAND, Amanda works for a rare cancer advocacy organization, teaches college-level writing online, and freelances in web and print design. Amanda lives and works in Bellaire, Michigan, with her husband, two dogs, three cats, and seventeen chickens. [top of page]

Brad & Amanda Kik

Brad Kik

Co-Founder
Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND)
Bellaire, Michigan

The last 16 of Brad Kik’s 36 years have been a jumbled mess of media arts, graphic design, environmental activism, community organizing, carpentry, the study of conservation and homesteading skills, music, ecology, permaculture, amateur architecture, and work as a volunteer coordinator/possum killer in New Zealand. The last four years have been a slightly more focused mess of falling in love with his wife Amanda and, with her, co-founding and directing ISLAND, a nonprofit artist residency program and education center in Michigan. ISLAND’s mission is to create spaces that explore the integration of art, natural design, and sustainable living. The organization’s vision is inspired in large part by the work and writings of Wendell Berry, including his essay The Purpose of a Coherent Community. Brad and Amanda are working to create such a community, one that is coherently connected to the arts, to agriculture and ecology, and to the larger cultural and economic communities of Northwest Lower Michigan. [top of page]

Morgana King

Morgana King

Public Art Coordinator
Arts Council of New Orleans
New Orleans

Morgana King is an artist and arts administrator. After Hurricane Katrina, Morgana moved to Providence, Rhode Island, to coordinate the Alliance of Artists Communities’ Hurricane Relief Residencies, providing emergency residencies to 25 Gulf Coast artists. She returned to New Orleans at the conclusion of the project, and continued her work with the Arts Council. Last year, Morgana oversaw “Art in Public Places,” a project placing 19 public artworks throughout New Orleans. [top of page]

Sally Lai

CEO
Chinese Arts Centre
Manchester, England

Before joining the Chinese Arts Centre, Sally Lai worked in numerous roles in the visual arts sector, including as Assistant Director and Head of Programmes at firstsite, an independent curator, consultant to the Culture Team of London 2012, and Visual Arts Officer at the Arts Council of England. Her advisory roles have included acting as a specialist advisor to the Scottish Arts Council, a think-tank member for artist Chris Ofili’s music project Freeness, an action group member of Mission Models Money (an action research group looking at the sustainability of the cultural sector), and as a trustee of Creative Capital. Sally has an MA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, University of London. In 2005-06 she was one of the youngest recipients of a Clore Fellowship, one of only 25 to be awarded across the country from all art forms for the development of high potential cultural leaders. In conjunction with the fellowship, Sally attended the Stanford University Executive Program for Leaders in the Arts, participated in finance training at Henley Management College, and attended the Windsor Leadership Trust. [top of page]

Wayne Lawson

Wayne Lawson

Director Emeritus
Ohio Arts Council
Columbus, Ohio

Wayne Lawson served as the fourth executive director of the Ohio Arts Council, 1978 – 2006. Under his direction the OAC became one of the foremost state arts agencies in the nation in terms of funding, long-range planning and evaluation, support for individual artists, and innovative services to constituents in all arts disciplines. Wayne, who was born in Cleveland, studied Romance languages at The Ohio State University, earned a Masters degree in European literature, and a doctorate in theatre and comparative literature. He is an adjunct professor of art education at Ohio State. He has served on many panels for the NEA, and was chairman of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Arts Midwest. Wayne has received numerous awards, from The Association of American Cultures, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, the Ohioana Career Award, the Alumni Award of Distinction from the College of Humanities at Ohio State, and from the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Wayne is a trustee of the James Thurber House and the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio. [top of page]

David Macy

Resident Director
The MacDowell Colony
Peterborough, New Hampshire

Before moving to New Hampshire to work for MacDowell in 1994, David Macy was employed at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, California. Thanks to their daughter Rowan, David and his wife Rebecca Rothfusz have been parents since 2000. Having narrowly avoided a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in the 1980s, David shifted his studies to the visual arts at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland State College before finally earning a Master of Science in Management from Antioch New England Graduate School in 2000. David currently serves as Vice President for the New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts, a non-partisan arts advocacy group. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alliance of Artists Communities and serves as Chair of the Member Services Committee. [top of page]

Richard McCarthy

Executive Director
MarketUmbrella.org
New Orleans

Richard McCarthy embodies the phrase, “think globally; act locally.” After growing up in New Orleans and earning his master’s degree at the London School of Economics, he co-founded the Crescent City Farmers Market in 1995. As Executive Director, he led the organization to grow from a weekly farmers market into marketumbrella.org, an internationally recognized mentor for markets, community-building, and sustainable economic development. In 2002, Richard led a New Orleans delegation to the United Nations’ World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa, as well as to the preparatory meetings in Indonesia. He is founding board president of the Farmers Market Coalition, and has also served on the Project for Public Spaces’ public markets initiative, which has resulted in $2 million in new grant money for public markets. Richard is a member of the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee and the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans Task Force, the first Alice Waters project outside Berkeley to encourage sustainable gardening and cooking among underserved public school students. He was named a Public Health Champion in 2004 by the Tulane University School of Public Health. [top of page]

Wayne Lawson

Tamalyn Miller

Program Manager
CEC ArtsLink
New York City

Tamalyn Miller organizes and oversees selection, placement and logistics for the ArtsLink Residencies, Independent Projects and ArtsLink Projects programs. She is a practicing artist and has exhibited her artwork and performed with the experimental folk band Goddess at numerous venues including Wave Hill, the Sculpture Center, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Deitch Projects and Tonic in New York. Previously she served as Managing Editor of Grand Street Magazine and as project manager and fabricator for sculptor Mel Chin. She has a Masters Degree in Russian Literature from Columbia University and an MFA from Mills College.  
      CEC ArtsLink is an international arts organization, striving to create and sustain constructive, mutually beneficial relationships between the US and the 30 countries of Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Working with artists, arts organizations, and community-based institutions CEC ArtsLink provides an essential structure for ongoing dialogue between the US and these formerly isolated cultures.[top of page]

Adam Natale

Director of Membership & Program Development
Fractured Atlas
New York City

With Fractured Atlas, Adam Natale has created innovative audience development, online education, and arts insurance programs, formed partnerships with over 60 arts organizations, presented at multiple national conferences, and has helped the organization grow immensely, with over 4000 artists joining in the past year. A graduate of American University with a degree in Directing for Theatre & Film, he is a freelance director, serves on the Board of Directors for Red Bull Theater, and is a member and the immediate past chair of Americans for the Arts' Emerging Leader Council. Formerly, he served the Theater & Musical Theater disciplines at the NEA and worked as an Associate Producer with the New York Musical Theatre Festival. [top of page]

Craig Nutt

Director of Programs
Craft Emergency Relief Fund
Kingston Springs, Tennessee

Prior to joining the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, Craig Nutt served as Interim Executive Director of the Tennessee Association of Craft artists and on the boards of the Furniture Society, CERF, and many local and regional arts organizations. He currently serves on the Artists’ Council of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee. As a studio furniture maker and sculptor, he is known for his vegetable-inspired work that is included in numerous collections including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, The High Museum of Art, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Birmingham Museum of Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, Mobile Museum of Art, and the Tennessee State Museum. [top of page]

Hunter O'Hanian

Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Executive Director of the Foundation
Massachusetts College of Art & Design
Boston

From 1997 to 2006, Hunter O'Hanian served as the Executive Director of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In December 2006 he was appointed President of Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. He joined MassArt in August 2009. He is a former litigation partner at the Boston law firm of Morrison, Mahoney & Miller, focusing on commercial and contract litigation. He is also the past Chairman of the WGBH Community Advisory Board, and the Art Institute of Boston Board of Trustees. Hunter was an overseer for the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, is involved with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and served as Chair of Provincetown’s Licensing Board. Hunter taught financial management for nonprofits at Boston University for five years, prior to moving to Colorado. He received his Bachelors degree from Boston College and Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School. Hunter is the incoming Board Chair for the Alliance of Artists Communities. [top of page]

Peggy Morrison Outon

Executive Director
Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
Pittsburgh

Peggy Outon is the founding Executive Director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, and founded similar institutions in Austin, Texas, and New Orleans. Peggy has three decades' experience in the nonprofit sector, and she has served as a management consultant to more than 600 nonprofit organizations in fund development, board development, strategic and operational planning, and volunteer management. 
      Peggy has taught graduate students at both the University of New Orleans and Robert Morris University. She is a founding member of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation international training team and serves as a trainer and advisor to the Institute for Global Ethics. She has spoken to audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. In July 2006, Peggy was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50. [top of page]

Alix Refshauge

Alix Refshauge

Director/Artists-in-Residence Program & Director of Development
HUB-BUB
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Alix Refshauge was born and raised in South Carolina, and studied studio art at Furman University. Her post-college career included working for Christies Auction House with 19th C. European Furniture, working for Burton Snowboards as a traveling/snowboarding nanny, a summer in Denali, Alaska as a hotel housekeeper and dishwasher, a couple of years in Spartanburg as a faux finisher/painter, and getting an MPA in Arts Management in Charleston, SC. Alix returned to her hometown of Spartanburg in June of 2007 when she was offered the dream job of working for HUB-BUB as the Director of the Artists-in-Residence Program and Director of Development. [top of page]

Lee Renninger

Artist
Gulfport, Mississippi

Lee Renninger was born in Miami, and holds both an MA in Political Science and a BA in English from the University of Florida. Renninger’s work has been selected for inclusion in four consecutive Mississippi Museum of Art Biennial Invitationals by independent curators Lily Wei, Elizabeth Ferrer, Sue Spaid, and Peter Plagens. She has exhibited at the Sidney Meyer International Ceramics Competition in Victoria, Australia, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, and the Mint Museum, among others. She was a Pollock-Krasner Grant recipient in 2007 and has been an artist-in-residence at the Camargo Foundation and McColl Center for the Visual Arts. Her work was most recently published in World Contemporary Public Ceramic Art by Zhang Yushan and is held in both public and private collections including those of Safeco Insurance, Fidelity Investments, and The Shepparton. [top of page]

Ama Rogan

Ama Rogan

Managing Director
A Studio in the Woods
New Orleans

Ama Rogan is the Managing Director of A Studio in the Woods of Tulane University, a wooded sanctuary for artists and the environment located in Lower Coast Algiers, New Orleans. As a member of the founding board, an early staff member, and now director, Ama has been an integral part of the organization's growth for over 10 years. As Managing Director she is key in the development and management of arts and environmental programming, fund and board development, community outreach and communications, and financial oversight. Ama is a native New Orleanian and a visual artist with a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. With her husband, musician Ben Schenck, she is parenting two young children. [top of page]

Jeff Schmuki

Artist
Gulfport, Mississippi

Jeff Schmuki was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He received his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and his BFA from Northern Arizona University. His approach combines environmental, social, economic, and aesthetic concerns with a nomadic sensibility developed after Hurricane Katrina. Whimsically functional yet serious hydroponic plant growth systems such as mobile garden machines, botanic enhancements, and portable fields often begin as a response to a specific place and are fashioned to mutate and adapt to new situations and environments along the way. Jeff often encourages the audience to consider art-making a collaborative research laboratory, empowering the community and promoting a more accountable use of natural resources. [top of page]

Ce Scott

Ce Scott

Director of Residencies & Exhibitions
McColl Center for Visual Art
Charlotte, North Carolina

Ce Scott was born in Detroit and began studying art and piano at age six. She received her BFA from Wayne State University in 1981 and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, the following year to begin her career as an artist and educator. She has shown in galleries and museums, regionally and nationally, and her work is in collections in the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. In 1995, she was awarded a Hoffberger Fellowship from the Maryland Institute College of Art and moved to Baltimore to pursue an MFA degree with a concentration in painting and installation art. After graduation, Ce returned to Charlotte and worked for the Community School of the Arts before joining McColl Center for Visual Art in 1998. McColl has an active and well-established artist residency program. Its mission is to advance artists and the community through dynamic residencies, exhibitions, and educational programs focused on contemporary art. When Ce is not working at McColl, she spends her time traveling, painting, writing, weight training, reading, and working as a private chef. [top of page]

Whit Shepard

President
RWS Consulting
Lake Forest, Illinois

Roger W. (Whit) Shepard has had nearly two decades of leadership experience in fundraising, strategic planning and board development for nonprofit institutions. Prior to starting a new career as an independent consultant, Shepard served as associate dean for development and alumni relations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His administrative experience includes vice president of development at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, director of development at the Ravinia Festival Association, director of development at Lake Forest Hospital and director of development, corporations and foundations, for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Recently, Whit led the board of trustees at the Ragdale Foundation through a feasibility study process in preparation for a $3 million capital campaign in 2008. He is also working with Elawa Farm Foundation and Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. Whit holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University. [top of page]

Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit

Activist and author
San Francisco

Rebecca Solnit is an activist, historian, and writer who lives in San Francisco. Her twelfth book, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, comes out in August. The previous eleven include 2007's Storming the Gates of Paradise; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender and Art; and  River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A contributing editor to Harper's, she frequently writes for the political site Tomdispatch.com. She has worked on antinuclear, antiwar, environmental, indigenous land rights, and human rights campaigns and movements over the years. [top of page]

Carolyn Somers

Executive Director
The Joan Mitchell Foundation
New York City

Carolyn Somers leads The Joan Mitchell Foundation in fulfilling the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to respond and attend to the needs of painters and sculptors. Established in 1993, The Foundation seeks to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities. To further this mandate, the Foundation awards grants to visual artists, supports professional development programming through workshops and residencies, and provides a comprehensive program of free art education to New York City youth. The Foundation recently embarked on a new initiative to develop a program to support the documentation of work by older artists, thus ensuring the preservation of their individual legacies. The Foundation has provided emergency funding to individual artists affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005 and continues to support the visual arts community in New Orleans as it recreates itself in the aftermath of the storms. By encouraging the ambitions of developing artists, the Foundation celebrates the unique legacy of Joan Mitchell as an American artist and seeks to emphasize and create visibility for the important contributions of artists working today. [top of page]

Caitlin Strokosch

Executive Director
Alliance of Artists Communities
Providence, Rhode Island

Caitlin Strokosch joined the Alliance of Artists Communities in 2002, first as an event coordinator, and later in development, communications, membership liaison, and programming roles. She was named Executive Director in February 2008. Caitlin previously worked with several music organizations in Chicago, and with a small PR firm specializing in performing arts groups. She currently serves on the Events Committee of the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island and on the Support for Individual Artists Committee of Grantmakers in the Arts. She has a Bachelors degree in music performance from Columbia College-Chicago and a Masters in musicology from Roosevelt University, where her research focused on music as a tool for building communities of resistance and social dissent. [top of page]

Susan Page Tillett

Executive Director
The Ragdale Foundation
Lake Forest, Illinois

Susan Page Tillett is the Executive Director of the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. Since her arrival in 2000, Susan has guided Ragdale through the completion of a successful $4.5 million capital campaign, extensive renovations to the historic property and the development of strong community programs. Susan was a member of the Alliance of Artists Communities' Board 2001-2007, where she concentrated on services to the membership and mentoring to emerging artists' communities. She came to Ragdale with more than 25 years of experience with museums and cultural organizations. Susan has a Masters degree in American Studies from George Washington University and a Bachelors in American Literature from Hamilton College. [top of page]

Alan Tracy

Alan Tracy

Administrative Coordinator, Career Services Office
Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, Rhode Island

Alan Tracy has spent his past 6-1/2 years supporting artists and designers via the Career Services Office at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is also a visual artist, musician, and father. When he is not making art or running his teenage daughter around the planet (in a hybrid), he is likely to be found reading a book, attending a roller derby match, or controlling the weather. [top of page]

Elizabeth Underwood

Artist
New Orleans

Elizabeth Underwood is a visual artist, activist, writer, and long-term resident of New Orleans. In pursuit of "the art of relationships" she focuses on site-specific installation and performance as well as formal work in photography, collage, and drawing. Her poetry, personal memoir, and essays have been widely published. She spearheaded AORTA Projects in 2006 (formerly ARTinACTION), as a method for working for and in struggling post-disaster communities. Through intimate engagement, AORTA aims to animate the creative process' capacity to connect people and initiate social change. AORTA has produced 37 sites and Underwood has taught workshops, published, and lectured on her experiences nationwide. [top of page]

Monique Michelle Verdin

Artist
New Orleans

Monique Michelle Verdin uses imagery to expose the reality of a Louisiana lost and the Louisiana left behind. More folk artist than photographer, more storyteller than visual artist since the summer of 1998, she has captured, collected, and exposed an intimate perspective into the survival of her indigenous French-speaking clan, inhabiting the endangered bayou communities of southeast Louisiana. Her story has been shared and exhibited at the University of California, Georgia College and State University, Mesa College of San Diego, the Social Public Art Resource Center in Venice, California, and at a number of other galleries along the Gulf Coast. Verdin currently resides on her family land in lower St. Bernard Parish. [top of page]

Dr. Michael White

Dr. Michael White

Composer, musician, historian, educator
New Orleans

Dr. Michael White, who was born and raised in New Orleans, is related to such pioneering jazz musicians as bassist Papa John Joseph (who was an associate of Buddy Bolden), and clarinetists Willie Joseph and Earl Fouche. In addition to being a major performer whose clarinet style is inspired by the Creole and blues playing of Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone, Edmond Hall, George Lewis, Barney Bigard, and Omer Simeon, Dr. Michael White has many other accomplishments. He has appeared on more than three dozen recordings, including 11 CDs of his own. He has traveled the world, performing in over two dozen countries, and his was the first traditional New Orleans jazz band to play at the legendary Village Vanguard, where he has been a regular for 16 years. After teaching Spanish for over 20 years, White currently holds the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Xavier University. He is also featured in several dozen books, has written scores of essays that have appeared in journals, books, and encyclopedias, has worked on over two dozen documentary films, and worked with Wynton Marsalis in creating major concert tributes to the early New Orleans jazz greats. White has been awarded two residencies at A Studio in the Woods, and was a 2008 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award. [top of page]

Sarah Workneh

Sarah Workneh

Associate Director
Ox-Bow
Saugatuck, Michigan

Sarah Workneh is the Associate Director of Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency. She works from Chicago, coordinating with the on-campus staff in Saugatuck, Michigan, as well as with Ox-Bow’s affiliate organization, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has worked to strengthen Ox-Bow’s fellowship program and Artists in Residence program as well as the organization’s relationship with art schools nationwide. She earned her BA in Linguistics and Russian Language and Literature from the University of Maryland-College Park and is working on a Masters of Art in Interdisciplinary studies from DePaul University. [top of page]

The Conference

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I just wanted to thank you for making a newcomer to your conference feel so welcome. I also wanted to congratulate you on such an organized, content- and experience-filled conference … with sessions and conversations that left me truly inspired and energized!
–2008 Conference attendee

The Alliance's 19th Annual Conference is supported in part by grants from The Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Copyright 2009 Alliance of Artists Communities
Contact: 255 S Main Street | Providence RI 02903 | tel 401-351-4320 | fax 401-351-4507 | aac@artistcommunities.org

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