Staff and Board

Staff

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Sheila M. Smith
Executive Director

Sheila M. Smith is the Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) which strengthens our cultural community by achieving arts friendly policy at the Minnesota Legislature and in Congress. Now also Chair of the Creative Minnesota Project, she produces important research about the arts and cultural community for education, policy making, and advocacy. A […]

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Mark Albers
Operations Manager

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Lawrence M. Redmond
Lobbyist
Lawrence M. Redmond Lawrence M. Redmond is contracted by MCA as a lobbyist. President of Redmond Associates, Inc., Redmond has lobbied at the Minnesota Legislature for more than 30 years. Formerly a State Senate staffer, and later an aide to Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Redmond has worked with MCA since 1977. Email Lawrence M. Redmond [...]
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Ian Vaver
Fieldworker

Ian Vaver is the Fieldworker for Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. Originally from Wisconsin, he has been involved in various music ensembles since childhood, ranging from concert bands and choirs, to jazz and bluegrass bands. Among his many musical accomplishments, he won the Kickapoo Valley Acoustic Music Association’s 2012 songwriter competition and released his first solo […]

Board

MCA’s Board of Directors is comprised of 36 members, half of whom live outside of the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. The Board includes one member from each Regional Arts Council area, ten members from organizations receiving grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the remainder from the population at large.

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Jamie Andrews

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Mary Ann Aufderheide

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Ken Bloom

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Sandy Boren-Barrett

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Dianne Brennan

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Brenda Byron

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Peg Churchwell
Peg Churchwell Peg Churchwell has over 30 years of experience in graphic design, marketing, communications and special events. She loves introducing arts, culture and social awareness events into local communities to promote personal well-being and community sustainability. Presently, she is employed at CentraCare Health in Long Prairie where she focuses on promoting wellness through these [...]
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Kathy Dodge

2004 Graduate University of Michigan Medical School,
Microbiology and Immunology Department.

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Sean Dowse
Sean Dowse Greater Minnesota Organizational member Sean Dowse is a past MCA Board President. Dowse has an exemplary dedication to the arts. He has served as Executive Director of the T.B. Sheldon Theatre, a board member for the Anderson Center and Red Wing Arts Association, a director of community theater productions and high school musicals, [...]
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Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter Amy Hunter, Region 5 Greater Minnesota representative from Staples, is a Program Coordinator for the Freshwater Education District Schools in Central MN and works in the areas of Community Education, School Age Child Care, MN ENABL (a teen pregnancy prevention program), GCT (Gifted, Creative, and Talented) and Drug and Violence Prevention. She serves [...]
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Jeff Jurewicz

Jeffrey is an artist, poet, and arts advocate based out of Rochester, MN.  He currently serves on the board of directors of Concerned Citizen’s for a Creative Community (C4), the steering committee of the Rochester Arts and Culture Collaborative, and the board of the Alliance of Chicanos, Hispanics, and Latin Americans (ACHLA).  In his art […]

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Noah Keesecker
Pat Dove Noah Keesecker, Organization Metro member, is Program Director at Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, MN. He is a professional development ninja for artists across the upper midwest and frequent presenter on a wide range of topics related to the business of art. His professional work focuses on leading workshops, individual consulting, [...]
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Leslie LeCuyer
Leslie LeCuyer Leslie LeCuyer, Greater MN At Large member, has served as the Executive Director of the Central MN Arts Board (CMAB) since 2003. The CMAB is one of Minnesota’s eleven regional arts councils. She is a freelance artist, and a former Minnesota elected official having served four years on the Sherburne County Board of [...]
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David Marty
David Marty David Marty, MCA Vice-Chair, a Greater Minnesota At-Large member, has been President & CEO of the Reif Arts Council in Grand Rapids, Minnesota since 1996. He is on the board of the MCN (Minnesota Council of Nonprofits), and is active with both Minnesota Presenters Network and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. In Grand [...]
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Carla McGrath
Carla McGrath Carla McGrath, Metro At Large member, is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis. Prior to starting Highpoint, she was Art Lab Coordinator at the Walker Art Center in the Dept. of Education and Community Programs. She has a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law and [...]
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Mary Minnick-Daniels

Mary Minnick-Daniels, Region 7E Greater Minnesota member, has served as Executive Director of the East Central Regional Arts Council, Braham for the past 2 years and was also Arts Director for the East Central Regional Development Commission from 1996-2011; for a total of 15 years with the Regional Arts Council. She also worked as a […]

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Tamara Nadel

Tamara Nadel is a founding member of Ragamala Dance Company, where she serves a dual role as Company Dancer/Soloist and Development & Outreach Director. Tamara has toured extensively with Ragamala, highlighted by Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, Walker Art Center, Open Look Festival (Russia), Just Festival (U.K.), and National Centre for Performing Arts […]

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John Nuechterlein

Metro organization member John Nuechterlein has been the President and CEO of the American Composers Forum, since 2003. His service in the field of music spans 30 years, and for fifteen years was a marketing professional in the for-profit sector. In addition to his work with MCA for the past 6 years, Nuechterlein was involved […]

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Michael-jon Pease

Michael-jon Pease is the Executive Director of Park Square Theatre, having served as External Relations Director from 2007-2012 and as the company’s first Development Director from 2000-2002. He began his Minnesota career as the founding executive director of Cornucopia Art Center in Lanesboro, where he was recognized by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council as its […]

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Jeff Prauer

Jeff Prauer was the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) from 2008 through 2015, and also served as director of MRAC’s Arts Learning grant program. Previously he was the executive director of COMPAS (Community Programs in the Arts) for 14 years, and was its development director for five years prior. He has […]

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Faye M. Price

Faye M. Price, MCA Chairperson, is the Co-Artistic Producing Director of Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis. As co-producer she has overseen a variety of Pillsbury House Theatre productions including Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Perestroika, The Gimmick, Phoenix Fabrik, Jesus Hopped the ‘A\\’ Train and Bulrusher. A former dramaturg at the Guthrie Theater she has […]

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Michael Robins

Metro Organizational member Michael Robins founded the Illusion Theater in 1974 and currently serves as its Executive Producing Director. He has guided the company as it produced more than 100 world premieres, bringing the work of a diverse and important group of American artists to the state. In addition to directing, Robins has authored or […]

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Laura Seter

Laura Seter, Region 2 Arts Council Executive Director Laura Seter started working at Region 2 Arts Council in January 2011. She became the executive director in 2015, bringing her love of artistic expression, community engagement, teaching, and the written word to her work. Laura holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the School for […]

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Dana Sikkila

Litchfield, MN native Dana Sikkila received her Master of Arts as well as her Non Profit Leadership Certificate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Still based in Mankato she concentrates on making her art work as well as being Executive Director of the 410 Project Art Gallery, a volunteer managed art space bring arts and arts […]

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Andrea Specht

Andrea Specht is the executive director of Artistry, a nonprofit producer of theater, visual arts, arts education, and creative placemaking programs that serve more than 80,000 people annually. Before joining the Artistry staff, Andrea worked in a variety of marketing and development positions for Girl Scouts and practiced law at Dorsey & Whitney. In the […]

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Danielle St. Germain-Gordon

Danielle St. Germain-Gordon, Director of Development, joined the Guthrie senior management staff in July 2013. Previously she was the Chief Development Officer for Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, DC. Her other arts fundraising experience in Washington, DC includes the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. […]

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Christopher Stevens

Christopher Stevens, Organization Metro member, has worked at the Walker Art Center since 1994. As Chief of Finance and Development, he oversees all aspects of the Walker’s budgeting and fundraising activities. He successfully planned and executed the Walker’s $100 million capital campaign which was completed in 2006. Prior to working at the Walker, Stevens held […]

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Amy Stearns

At-large Greater Minnesota member Amy Stearns manages the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes. A graduate of Augustana College and the University of St. Thomas MBA program, she has had the opportunity to work throughout the United States and abroad for both nonprofit and Fortune 500 companies. Currently, she and her husband have chosen to […]

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George Sutton

At-Large Metro member George Sutton, an arts consultant in Minneapolis, is the former Managing Director of the Jungle Theatre. Sutton led the Jungle’s successful fundraising effort for a new theater location in Minneapolis, including lobbying the Minnesota Legislature for bonding funds. Sutton is a tireless advocate for the arts, having served on the MCA Board […]

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Sheila Terryll

Sheila Terryll, At-Large Metro member, is the principal consultant at Strategic Development Consulting for Non-Profits. Her involvement in the arts community has been broad: she has worked with Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Minnesota Center for Book Arts and the Open Book capital campaign, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Terryll has been politically active as […]

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Ben Vander Kooi Jr.

Ben Vander Kooi Jr. is an attorney and DFL activist from Luverne in Southwestern Minnesota. He is President of Blue Mound Area Theatre, the non-profit organization which is restoring the historic Palace Theatre built in 1915 as an all-hemp vaudeville theater and later converted to a movie theater. He also serves on the Council for […]

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James Wafler

James Wafler, At-Large Metro member, is President of the Highway Construction Industry Council. He served for nearly 22 years as a staff member for the Minnesota House of Representatives, including nine years as Executive Director of the House Majority Caucus and several years as Executive Director of the Speaker’s Office. Prior to his legislative career, […]

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Dennis Whipple

Over the past seventeen years, Founder and Artistic Director Dennis Whipple has developed the Great River Educational Arts Theatre (GREAT) into the premiere theatre of central Minnesota. His passion for arts education led to a successful public election campaign to serve on the St. Cloud District 742 School Board where he currently serves as co-chair. […]

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Ross Willits

Ross Willits Managing Director, has been working with SteppingStone Theatre since 1998. He was a member of the theatre’s Board of Directors for two years prior to joining the staff in 2002. He has held artistic and administrative positions at many Twin Cities theatre companies including the Guthrie Theatre, the Playwrights’ Center, Cricket Theatre, Penumbra […]

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Daniel Zielske

Daniel Zielske, Greater Minnesota At-Large. Dan has worked throughout Greater Minnesota. “If our state is to remain competitive with the rest of the world we need to attract the best and brightest companies and individuals to live among us. To do this, we need a well-funded arts community. I am confident MCA can make that […]

Board Nominations

Nominations for MCA’s Board Now Open. Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is looking for new Greater Minnesota members for our Board of Trustees. Terms begin November, 2016 and will last for two years.

What makes the arts strong in Minnesota? We have great, talented artists. We have world class museums and orchestras. We have thriving arts communities in every corner of the state. And we have a higher level of arts participation than most of the country. Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is a statewide, grassroots political organization that works to increase support for the arts in our state. We lobby the legislature and congress on behalf of the non-profit arts and also produce research to support arts advocacy. We created and passed the arts portion of the Legacy Amendment with many legislative partners that now funds the arts across Minnesota. Learn more at www.artsMN.org and www.creativeMN.org.

The full MCA Board meets four times a year in addition to holding an annual Arts Advocacy Day at the State Capitol in St. Paul. All members serve on committees that meet primarily by phone.

Interested? Fill out the form below and return it by October 18, 2016 by email, fax, or by snail mail to the address below. MCA’s bylaws ensure that board representation comes from all over the state. Half of MCA’s 36 board members must come from the Twin Cities metro area, and half from Greater Minnesota.

Current openings on the MCA Board include three Greater Minnesota spots.

MCA seeks board members who:
Have mix of party affiliation, and provide balance in terms of the size or type of organizations represented on the board (large, medium, small, arts education, individual artist, etc.)
Provide other balances in terms of representing the state or the arts community (ie diversity in terms of age, race, etc).
Are people with political connections, political strategists, and people with an understanding of the political process, or are willing to learn.
Have clout within their organizations and/or peers, and have the ability and willingness to communicate about the need for arts advocacy.
Have a willingness to work, volunteer and join us at our meetings.
FYI, your nomination to the board is more likely to be successful if you are a paid member of MCA and if you have previously been a part of Arts Advocacy Day, the Legacy campaign, or volunteered for the cause in some other way.
***(Please do not nominate someone else unless you have discussed it with them first, and they have provided an answer to the question “Why do you want to be on the MCA board?).***
Successful applicants will be notified in November, 2016.

For further information, please download our Board of Directors Nominations Form and feel free to contact us with any questions at (651) 251-0868 or Staff@artsmn.org.