MCA Annual Meeting Update: MCA Welcomes New Board Members
Thank You From the Annual Meeting
At MCA's Annual Meeting on November 13th, the board and staff gave a big THANK YOU to our outgoing board chair Ross Willits. Willits helped to steady the ship at MCA during some challenging times with the COVID pandemic.
At the meeting, MCA also approved and welcomed new Board Chair Morgan Baum. Baum is a strong advocate for the arts and is the Owner and CEO of The Clay Coyote in Hutchinson, Minnesota as well as on the board of the Minnesota Pottery Festival. MCA would also like to thank committee chair members: Tamara Nadel (Membership Committee and Vice-Chair), Kyle Carpenter (Finance Committee and Treasurer) and Michael Robins (Nominations Committee).
MCA Welcomes 9 New Board Members
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of 9 new members to the board of directors. The new members were approved by membership at our recent Annual Meeting on November 13th. With the 9 new members, MCA is continuing to build upon its work to welcome more diverse voices from across the state.
Cheryl Bannes has a BA, and MA in Studio art, then continued her education to receive K – 12 art teacher certification, and has been working in the arts as an artist, teaching artist, and arts advocate for over 30 years. Cheryl moved to MN 6 years ago from Montana. Cheryl’s art career in Montana included being a working artist represented in galleries in MT, ID, WY, ND and MN. She was the Education Director at the Lewistown MT Art Center and a high school art teacher. Cheryl developed and taught her own outreach program in partnership with the Montana Arts Council and VSA Montana, to bring high-quality art experiences to rural communities and schools. The outreach program expanded to 27 schools and organizations in 7 counties. She developed and taught art lessons to groups of disabled adults with VSA MT and VSA North Dakota. Cheryl was also a regular presenter at the Montana Education Association’s annual teacher’s conferences, and was an adjunct professor for Montana State University-Northern, teaching professional development for teachers.
Cheryl was on the board, then chair of the Montana Arts Education Association, an affiliate of the Kennedy Center, and lobbied in Washington for arts education for underserved populations. She has testified before MT state legislative hearings on art funding, and written and published many MT state-sponsored lesson plans for schools. Her work as an advocate, teacher, and art program developer is well-known in Montana.
Currently, Cheryl is the Artistic Director at the Cultural Center in New York Mills. She curates the gallery shows, schedules artists, teaches workshops, manages the Artist Retreat Program and collaborates with many regional arts organizations for shows and events. Cheryl has expanded outreach to include schools, senior housing facilities, and centers for adults with disabilities. In MN she is continuing her personal belief and mission that quality art experiences are a fundamental right for all people.
Elizabeth Cabalka Bayer is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Annandale Art and Textile Center (AATC) in Annandale, MN. In 2020, Elizabeth and her husband founded the non-profit home of the Heart of the Lakes Weavers, a vocational-weaving program employing individuals with a variety of learning styles and abilities. The Heart of the Lakes Weavers are onsite Tuesday to Friday and the center is alive with the clickity-clack of the looms, the celebratory buzz of conversation and a palpable sense of joy (and impromptu dance parties.) In AATC's curated gallery, over 45 local artists sell their work. In the attached Art Center, over 30 creative classes are offered for the general public. So much more than weaving, AATC provides jobs with dignity in a joyful, whole-person place. Elizabeth is a noted speaker, workshop leader, and the author of two non-fiction books. In all things, Elizabether endeavors to celebrate all people for who they are and what they can do in a world that too often excludes people for what they cannot do.
Eyenga Bokamba is an artist and educator born in Madison, WI and based in Minneapolis. Eyenga is committed to a rigorous exploration of multimedia abstract painting in which she creates large-scale immersive paintings and installations for purposes of the reconsideration of possibility in all realms. Eyenga has shown her work in the Venice Biennale, at Frieze Los Angeles and has had solo shows in New York City and Minneapolis. International artist fellowships include Esperienza in Pennabilli, Italy and the Rural Residency for Contemporary Art (RUC) in Lombardy, Italy. She is an active member of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), and she currently serves on the board of directors of the National Performance Network (NPN).
Eyenga is dedicated to resourcing choice, voice and joy in her work as an artist and as a community leader working at the intersection of experiential education, civic engagement and the arts. Eyenga currently serves as the Director of the Minnesota Institute for Trauma-Informed Education (MITIE), which was launched in 2021 as a joint partnership of the University of St. Thomas School of Education and Morrison Family College of Health to provide an arena for scholars, practitioners, and researchers to convene and learn about the best practices in trauma-informed education. Prior to this appointment, Eyenga served as the Executive Director of Intermedia Arts and as the Director of Menlo Park Academy.
Eyenga is a recipient of a Bush Leadership Fellowship and has been inducted into the National Association of Women Artists. She holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and an M.Ed. from Harvard University.
Laura Cederberg is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at Weber Shandwick. Laura advises clients in Washington and Minnesota on how to effectively navigate the intersection of business, government, and politics. Laura brings more than 15 years of experience leading strategic, crisis and C-suite communications for clients ranging from Fortune 5 companies, large federal agencies and state agencies.
From 2016-2019, Laura served as Assistant Chief of Staff, Communications to Governor Mark Dayton, where she oversaw communications for the state's 24 agencies. In this role, Laura was named one of the top public sector communicators in the country by the National Association of Government Communicators. Prior to the Capitol, Laura was Head of Marketing and Communications at the American Swedish Institute where she promoted the work of local and international artists of all mediums. She concurrently serves on board of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona and is a past board member of Impossible Salt Theater. Laura is a graduate of the University of Michigan and resides with her husband in Minneapolis.
Mara Hanel is Executive Director of the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council. She has been developing arts grants and services for thirty years. She served on the MCA Board of Directors off and on for the last twenty years. She is immersed in arts community development and served as Mayor in Warren. She works in a variety of disciplines of arts throughout her life including textiles, glass, photography, performing arts and creative writing. She enjoys traveling the world with her husband and children for adventure and relaxation. Mara is a certified Intercultural Development Inventory administrator and certified Co-Active Coach.
Charlie Leftridge is an active published composer, musical director, and grant writer out of Saint Peter, Minnesota. He received his Masters in Music Composition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and has served for the past twelve years in the arts nonprofit sector. Charlie is the Executive Director of the Carnegie Art Center in Mankato, Minnesota, where he facilitates opportunities for artists to develop and demonstrate their work and for audiences to connect to meaningful arts and cultural experiences. Charlie also serves as the Director of Worship and Music at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Mankato, and as the Artistic Director of Twin Cities Bronze, out of Eagan.
Andrea Mokros has spent a career in communications and strategic planning at the local, state and national level. Currently, she is EVP and Chief Public Affairs Officer at Fairview Health Services.
Previously, Andrea served as SVP of corporate and public affairs at Weber Shandwick in its Minneapolis office. Before that, Andrea was vice president of communications for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, helping prepare to host one of the world’s preeminent sporting events in the Bold North and prior to that she served in the White House as special assistant to the president and director of strategic planning for the first lady. In this role, she oversaw the strategic planning process for all aspects of first lady Michelle Obama’s schedule, managing an active scheduling and advance team that takes every event from inception to completion. During her tenure, Andrea led the first lady’s travel to China, Africa, the 2012 London Olympics, as well as countless other domestic and international trips; created programming for the spouses of world leaders at US-hosted summits, including NATO and the UN General Assembly; and produced major national tours on behalf of the first lady’s Let’s Move!, Joining Forces and education initiatives.
Prior to joining the White House, Andrea served as deputy chief of staff in the office of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton; as deputy chief of staff to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); and as director of the executive offices at the Washington, DC, offices of Kissinger McLarty Associates.
Andrea is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts, class of 1999. She currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Anh Thu T. Pham joined Theater Mu as its first Asian American managing director in July of 2020. Anh Thu is a 1.5 generation refugee from Viet Nam. She and her parents immigrated from Viet Nam to Minnesota in 1975. Prior to working at Mu, she worked at the University of Minnesota for 23 years in finance for the Provost Office.
She is invested in the Minnesota arts community, having served on the board of directors at Pangea World Theater, Ananya Dance Theater and the New Arab American Theater Works as well as working as a festival coordinator for Mizna’s on their Arab Film Festival. She is currently on the board of Northern Lights MN and treasurer for East Side Freedom Library.
She has also worked as a consultant on Vietnamese language and culture. In the 2022-23 season, she worked as a cultural consultant for the Guthrie Theater’s production of “Vietgone” (2022-23 season), Stages Theatre’s “A Different Pond” (2022-23 season) and as dialect consultant for Ten Thousand Things Theater’s production of “Mlima’s Tale”.
Born and raised in Waseca, Minnesota, Anna Pollock is the current Executive Director of Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council. She graduated from McNally Smith College of Music where she majored in Music Business and minored in Songwriting & Composition. She's worked in the arts and entertainment industry for over ten years, starting her career with The Recording Academy in Los Angeles, coordinating promotions at WCCO Radio and JACKfm in Minneapolis, then coming back home to help build out the fellowship program at Lead For Minnesota (Lead For America). Anna is also the theater director at the Waseca Junior/Senior High School and is a self-published author of two novels, When the Summer's Over and Scout's Honor. She enjoys gardening, collecting old cookbooks, and drinking too much coffee in her spare time.
MCA Says Goodbye to Retiring Members
At our Annual Meeting MCA also said goodbye to 10 board members that retired during 2023. Help us say thank you to: Mary Ann Aufderheide, Nicole DeBoer, James Haskins, Michelle Kiley, Sherri Kruger-Kukowski, Kristin Makholm, Vanessa McDuffie, Mark Nerenhausen, Amy Stearns and James Wafler