Jamie Bennett

2017 Archive: Conference Presentation

Jamie Bennett is the Executive Director of ArtPlace America, a partnership among 16 foundations, 8 federal agencies, and 6 financial institutions working to position art and culture as a core sector of community planning and development by investing in, researching, and supporting those who lead and execute creative placemaking projects.

To date, ArtPlace has invested $85 million in 233 projects in communities of all sizes across the United States in which artists and arts organizations are working with their neighbors to help shape communities’ social, physical, and economic futures.

Until December 2013, Jamie was Chief of Staff and Director of Public Affairs at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversaw the national rollouts of the "Our Town" grant program and partnerships with the US Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development. 

Previously, Jamie was Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, where he oversaw the agency's partnerships with the NYC Departments for the Aging, of Education, and of Youth and Community Development.  

Jamie also provided strategic counsel at the Agnes Gund Foundation, served as chief of staff to the President of Columbia University, and worked in fundraising at The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Philharmonic, and Columbia College. 

Before entering the public sector, Jamie served on the board of the HERE Arts Center.  Jamie received a B.A. in drama and theatre arts from Columbia University.

Kris Amundson

2017 Archive Conference Presentation: Powerpoint, HERE.

Kristen Amundson, President and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education, brings more than two decades of experience as a policymaker to NASBE. She represented the 44th District in the Virginia General Assembly from 1999 to 2009.  During that time, she was a member of Virginia’s P–16 Council and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).

Before her election to the General Assembly, Amundson—a former teacher—served for nearly a decade on the Fairfax County, Va., School Board, including two years as its chairwoman. Most recently, she was the senior vice president for external affairs at Education Sector, an independent think tank. 

She writes frequently on education issues and has been published in The Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, among others.


Teresa Cochran is a public art consultant who works with city, public and private organizations on a daily basis. She manages the creation of large-scale, site-specific public artworks in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, site design and architectural art glass. Responsibilities include contract negotiations, scheduling and coordination, advisory design review, client and public relations, the design and implementation of large-scale community engagement processes, group and public meeting facilitation, educational outreach, administration, project management, writing and editing, and public speaking.

She is a trained specialist in public participation, and facilitates large participation processes that gather stakeholder and public input to shape the development strategies of public sites and site-specific artworks. She has served on numerous design teams, collaborating with government, community-based, corporate, and non-profit organizations on public art and public participation planning and implementation.


William Cochran creates landmark public artworks in paint, glass, masonry, steel, stone and light. These projects often engage the community in the creative process. They are carefully integrated into their social and architectural environments, yet retain a strong sense of the human hand. He has served on many design teams and often works closely with other design professionals including architects and landscape architects.

For twenty years William and his partner and wife Teresa have been a close-knit team, working with a wide range of government, private, community-based and non-profit organizations to develop and implement these projects. They have pioneered new forms of public art and public engagement, and designed public participation processes ranging from stakeholder design charettes to mass-scale processes that engage the public directly in the creative process. They are often involved in master planning and visioning processes for public art and peacemaking for cities, corporations and non-profits.

Ayo Abifarin Craddock, M.I.S. is the executive director of Culture4MyKids, Inc and the artistic director of Taaluma Youth Performance and Isokan Performance Company. With close to 15 years of arts and education experience, she is a lifelong educator who currently works at Henrico High, John Tyler, and several tutoring and home school programs. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor in the VCU Dance Department teaching West African dance and is also on the VA Commission for the Arts Artist Roster.

In order to further her work in the arts and education field, Ayo is currently pursuing her PH. D. in the VCU's Education Department under the Curriculum, Culture, and Change track. Her professional portfolio includes multiple workshops throughout the City of Richmond and up the East Coast, dance choreography for various stage productions, and also her very own production of two full length spoken word, theater, and dance productions: Voices From The River and Art is Life.


Lisa Donovan, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and is the director of the arts management program. Previously, she has served as Associate Professor of Education and Division Director of the Creative Arts in Learning Division at Lesley University. She is a theater artist, educator, administrator and researcher. Lisa has broad experience working as an arts educator and administrator and has served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education.

Donovan is the co-editor of a new series on arts integration with links to Common Core State Standards and co-author of three books within the series: Integrating the Arts across the Content Areas (2012), Integrating the Arts in Math (2013), and Integrating the Arts in English Language Arts (2013). Lisa is a member of the Arts Education Partnership’s National Advisory Committee and the ArtsEdSearch Advisory Board. She has designed professional development offerings in STEAM topics through an Increasing Teacher Quality grant for early childhood educators.


Cheryle “Cherry” Gardner currently serves as the Principal Specialist of Fine Arts for the Virginia Department of Education (DOE).  She serves pre-kindergarten through higher education in the areas of dance arts, music, theatre arts, and visual arts. Cherry presently provides leadership and direction in the design, development, delivery, assessment, and services related to curriculum and instruction of fine arts educational programs within pre-K-12 Virginia schools and higher education pre-service fine arts programs of study.

Cherry has served the Commonwealth for over 30 years―beginning her tenure as Supervisor of Art in July 1986.  She was appointed Associate Director of Fine Arts in 1987, and accepted her present role with DOE in February 1991. A frequent presenter at national and state meetings, she recently served as the state of Virginia chair for review of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards.  She serves as DOE liaison to the Virginia Coalition for Fine Arts Education and the Virginia Art Education Association.

Cherry holds a B.S. in Art Education K-12 and General Education K-7 from Radford University, earned a M.S. in Art Education/Supervision and K-12 Administration from Radford University, and post-graduate doctoral studies in administration at the University of Virginia.   

Robert Goudie
Robert Goudie is the Executive Director of the Reston Town Center Association, a position he has held since the spring of 2015. Goudie, an attorney, is also the chairman of Greater Reston Arts Center’s (GRACE) Board of Directors. Goudie has been a Reston Town Center resident since 1998. He was the Town Center Representative to the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force and served as Co-Chair of the Task Force’s Town Center Committee.
RTCA is the master association for the Town Center District. It is responsible for managing the common property, ensuring design integrity, supporting various cultural and other programming at Town Center and monitoring compliance with the Town Center covenants.


Susan Woods Jennings has served as Arts and Culture Coordinator for the City of Roanoke since October 2006. In that capacity, she serves as staff to the City Council appointed Roanoke Arts Commission and directs the city’s public art program. She is responsible for guiding the implementation of the City of Roanoke’s Arts and Cultural Plan, approved by City Council in August 2011 as well as guiding the grant process by which the city financially supports arts and cultural organizations that serve the citizens of the city. Susan has been responsible for receiving two National Endowment for the Arts grants for the city. The first was for a conservation study. The second was to develop the national award winning Parks and Arts program which brings the arts into neighborhoods by providing free programming in city parks.

She was previously executive director of the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge for thirteen years.   She was Director of Programs & Services at the Arts Council for one year prior to becoming the director.  She holds a degree in art history from Hollins University and taught at a Montessori School prior to joining the Arts Council. 

She has an extensive volunteer and community service background on both the local and state level, having served on the boards of Downtown Roanoke Inc., the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Roanoke City Arts Commission, Junior League of the Roanoke Valley, the Art Museum of Western Virginia and Virginians for the Arts.  She developed the concept and worked to found the first Art Venture Children’s Center, a hands on children’s center originally housed in the Art Museum of Western Virginia.  She was the first president of the Virginians for the Arts Foundation serving in that capacity from 2004 to 2006. Jennings served as the state chair for Arts Advocacy Day in 1999.   She currently sits on the President’s Advisory Board of Hollins University, the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization, the Carilion Healing Arts Program Advisory Committee and the Roanoke City Public Schools Foundation Board.

Jennings has received various awards for her service to the arts and the community. She was the 2003 recipient of the Patrick McMahon Tourism Ambassador Award given by the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau in recognition of “outstanding efforts and dedication toward the development and promotion of the Roanoke Valley as a tourist destination.” She received the Chairman’s Award from Downtown Roanoke Inc. in 2002 in “recognition of extraordinary commitment to the betterment of downtown Roanoke.” In January 2007 Jennings was recognized by the VA Commission for the Arts and Virginians for the Arts at the annual meeting by a special proclamation “On behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth for outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts”.  Ms. Jennings was the 2008 recipient of the Perry F. Kendig Award for Outstanding Support of the Arts given by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge to recognize achievement and dedication to the arts in the community. In 2013 she received the Betsy Green Grubs Award from Hollins University for commitment to the arts in her community. In 2015 she received the Art Venture Award from the Taubman Museum of Art which recognizes outstanding leaders in the community who support the arts, arts education, and volunteerism.

Susan is a native Roanoker.  Her father’s family founded the Woods Brothers Coffee Co. and she took part in the relighting of the H&C Coffee Sign built by her grandfather. She is married to Geoff Jennings, President of F. Geoffrey Ltd.  They have three children.  Daughter Ryan is a veterinarian practicing in Arlington, Rob is a CPA with KPMG in Roanoke and Coles is a mechanical engineer in Richmond. She also has six grandchildren.


Gina Lyles is the Program Coordinator for ART 180's Youth Self-Advocacy Through Art program, known as the Performing Statistics project. She started as a Program Assistant leading a Hip Hop class at Henderson Middle School. She finally made it through the doors of the Richmond City Detention Center where she led her own hip hop programs just as Performing Statistics was being born.

Now, Gina contributes greatly to helping incarcerated youth find their voice, using their creative voices as a catalyst to change the juvenile justice system in Virginia. Based on her own life experiences Gina is able to navigate and empower youth caught in the school-to-prison pipeline. In addition to her work with ART 180, Gina is a poet, singer, host and emcee, known as DA Paper Lady.

ART 180 provides opportunities for young people to express themselves through art, and to share their stories with others. Their new Youth Self-Advocacy Through Art program works with youth trapped in the school-to-prison pipeline to sharpen their advocacy and leadership skills, share their experiences through creative expression, and mobilize communities for change. This program is in partnership with Legal Aid Justice Center, justice4all.org, and was inspired by the Performing Statistics project, performingstatistics.org.


Nello McDaniel founded ARTS Action Research in 1991 and supervises all project activity and publication development from AAR’s office in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to ARTS Action Research, Nello was Executive Director of the Foundation for the Extension and Development of the American Professional Theatre, an arts consulting company based in New York City.  

From 1978 to 1982, he managed the Presentation and Touring Programs for the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Program. Prior to that, he was Chief Operating Officer and Performing Arts Director for the Western States Arts Foundation, Denver, CO. In 1993, he was named Fulbright International Scholar.

Tim Miano

Tim Miano is the co-founder and Chief Executive Invention Officer of SP@CE.  A Virginia native, Tim attended the University of Virginia, obtaining degrees in Physics and Mathematics.  Over the next ten years, he went on to complete two law degrees, work as an attorney at a top law firm in DC, travel extensively, and move to New York City to work as a Manager and Tax Litigation Specialist at a Big 4 accounting firm. With an interest in the creation of technology-based startups, he began working with Matthew Slaats and Adalie Pierce-McManamon in 2014 toward developing a Technology & Arts Flexspace, Incubator, & Accelerator, and soon after, they created a formal proposal for a major “Innovation District” custom built for Charlottesville.  In June 2014, SP@CE was officially added to UVa’s iLab.  The team is currently finalizing a complete development proposal for the project and continues to strengthen relationships between the City government, UVa, and the local creative, technology, and entrepreneurial communities.


2017 Conference Archive: Bridge Park's Equitable Development Plan and information on how it was created: http://www.bridgepark.org/community-impact

Irfana Jetha Noorani is the Development and Community outreach officer at the 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC in Washington D.C. Along with fundraising for Bridge Park, Irfana works closely with many local stakeholders to plan community-driven programs like the annual Anacostia River Festival and other placemaking initiatives at the site of the future park. She also promotes the project’s work around equity by providing planning and implementation support on Bridge Park’s Equitable Development Plan.

Previously, she worked with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in the Performing Arts Program, and for New York Live Arts, where she served as the manager for Institutional Giving and provided instrumental support during the merger between the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop. Irfana was a Fellow of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at The Kennedy Center. She holds a BA in Dance & Movement Studies and International Relations from Emory University in her hometown of Atlanta, GA.

J. Robert

J. Robert ‘Bob’ Reeder currently serves as a Program Director and Program Field manager for Rural LISC (the rural component of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation). There he directs sustainable rural community development activities covering 76 local community based organizations working in 44 states, covering 1,973 rural Counties.

His areas of expertise include community engagement, board of director development and training, land retention strategies in rural areas and other issues impacting land tenure, project feasibility analysis, grant and loan assistance, and organizational capacity building. He has built a 30-year career devoted to social and economic justice and equity, housing and comprehensive community development, particularly in incorporating arts and cultural-based strategies (creative placemaking) in the revival of distressed rural communities, public policy and legal and administrative advocacy.  A native of Rock Hill, S. C., he earned a BA in Government from Wofford College and a JD from Vanderbilt University School of Law.

Art Works for Virginia Conference 2017 is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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