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Alliance Welcomes 5 New Trustees

The Alliance of Artists Communities is honored to welcome five new members to its Board of Trustees, voted on by the Alliance's Organizational Membership in September, 2014: Melissa Franklin, Director of Pew Fellowships in the Arts, The Pew Center for Arts + Heritage; Gia Hamilton, Director, Joan Mitchell Center; Lisa Hoffman, Associate Director, McColl Center for Art + Innovation; Brad Kik, Co-Director, Institute for Sustainable Living, Art + Natural Design (ISLAND) and Tamara Ross, Director, Programming Operations, The Banff Centre. The Alliance Board is Chaired by Jason Kalajainen, Executive Director - of Luminarts Cultural Foundation at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The Alliance board is comprised of distinguished national arts leaders, artists, patrons, and policy-makers, representing a diverse range of perspectives. "We are incredibly excited and fortunate to have such a talented and diverse group of arts professionals and residency advocates joining the Alliance of Artists Communities’ Board" said Jason Kalajainen. "Whether from the perspective of an emerging program, an international program, or an arts funder their experience and backgrounds are sure to inform and expand the way the Alliance supports residency programs and the artists those programs serve."

For a full list of the 2015 Board of Trustees and the Honorary Board, click here.

Melissa Franklin

Melissa Franklin is the director of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in Philadelphia. She has held this position since 1995 and has been with the program as a senior staff member since its inception in 1991. From 2005-2008, Franklin co-managed the LINC Philadelphia project as part of a national initiative that seeks to improve artists’ living and working conditions. She has served as an advisor to several other foundations on implementing programs to support artists directly. She has served on selection panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Arts Council, St. Louis Contemporary Museum of Art’s Great Rivers Biennial Award, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the Marian Anderson Community and Artist Awards. Franklin was the Advisory Board Chair for Arcadia University Art Gallery and has served on many boards and committees including the City of Philadelphia's 1% for Art Advisory Committee, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Advisory Committee, Vox Populi Gallery Advisory Board among others, and also was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. 

Gia Hamilton

Gia M. Hamilton, a native of New Orleans, received her Bachelor’s in cultural anthropology with a minor in visual art from New York University and her Master’s in applied anthropology from City University of New York.  For 15 years in New York City, Hamilton worked with non-profit organizations as a Serial Entrepreneur, Program Development Consultant, Community Engagement Organizer and Curator.  Gia spent 6 years working in the corporate sector as a researcher and organizational design consultant with Downey Associates International, supporting financial firms and non-profit organizations like Citigroup, Hearst-Argyle and TIAA-CREF in their restructuring process.  In 2009, Hamilton founded Gris Gris Lab, as a place based incubator and cultural exchange space to ensure that emerging thought-leaders could actualize their interdisciplinary projects through an innovative live- work model in Central City, New Orleans.  Later, Gris Gris Lab built a team of social scientists who began cultural consulting to further support and strengthen the local economies of non-profits and small businesses in New Orleans, Seattle, Haiti, Washington D.C., Detroit and New York City.  Hamilton joined the Joan Mitchell Center in 2011 as a consultant and was appointed Director in July 2013.  She comes to the Joan Mitchell Center with a broad perspective of visual art, operational functions and community development where she acts as a conductor of information between the New York and New Orleans communities as well as a catalyst for change in contemporary art through designing innovative models for artistic and cultural exchanges and expansive public programming in the global arts and creative community.

Lisa Hoffman

Lisa oversees programs and strategic initiatives, community engagement, and the flagship Environmental Program at McColl Center.  Prior to joining McColl Center, she served as Director of Charlotte Nature Museum, and held positions as a science educator and mentor with the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County Maryland Public Schools.  Honored  for her dedication in connecting children and families to the natural world, she is also committed to place-based education and the improvement of schools in marginalized communities.  The recipient of Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award, Lisa has served on the board of North Carolina Association of Environmental Education Centers, North Carolina Play Alliance, and regularly participates as a speaker at various community and national events including National Innovation Summit for Arts and Culture.  Holding an MS degree in Biology and a BS degree in Botany from Howard University in Washington, DC, Hoffman is dedicated to social practice and the convergence of art and science as a vehicle to improve lives and effect systemic change. 

Brad Kik

Brad Kik is the co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND), a non-profit organization that connects the lines between art, agriculture and ecology. Brad’s varied background—film study, environmental activism, graphic design, community organizing, traditional music, ecology and permaculture—helps to direct the intention behind ISLAND’s work in the community. Brad also serves on a number of boards reflecting ISLAND’s diverse approach to community building: Madroño Ranch, a center for writing, art and the environment, Earthwork Music, a collective of Michigan musicians, and Grass River Natural Area, a 1000+ acre wetland preserve in Antrim County, Michigan, near where Brad calls home. Brad also acts as the chair of the Ecological Residencies Cohort for the Alliance of Artist Communities, and helps convene and present the AAC’s Emerging Programs Institute each year.                 

Tamara Ross

Tamara’s connection with The Banff Centre has spanned her entire life. After working in various departments at The Banff Centre in support of the artist during her teens, Tamara ventured to Vancouver to garner both a Commerce and Education degree from UBC. In Vancouver she was Manager of Artistic Operations with Ballet British Columbia and a high school teacher. In 2005, Tamara went east to complete her MBA at HEC Montreal and returned to Calgary to manage the School of Alberta Ballet before re-joining The Banff Centre in her current role in 2007. She is proud to be contributing to the great things The Banff Centre does and has seen first-hand the transformative effects this special place has for artists, leaders and all who visit it. Tamara has been a founding Board member of Kidd Pivot Performing Arts Society in Vancouver, BC and served for 7 years as Treasurer for the Mountain Haven Cooperative Homes Inc. a low-income housing development in Canmore, Alberta.