2019 Speakers Achive

Jamie Bennett

Kelly Barsdate, Chief Program and Planning Officer, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Kelly has worked at NASAA for more than 27 years, helping to make the case for the arts during multiple recessions and swings of the political pendulum. Kelly was the original author of Why Should Government Support the Arts?, writes NASAA's Practical Advocate series, and has produced numerous research monographs and policy briefs for elected officials and cultural advocates. Kelly oversees NASAA's planning, knowledge services and professional development programs and leads NASAA's "Boot Camp" executive training program for recently appointed state arts agency directors. She has directed NASAA collaborations with the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Endowment for the Arts and other policy partners. Kelly is a contributing editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society. She holds an Executive Certificate of Facilitation from Georgetown University's Institute for Transformational Leadership; a Change Leader certification from the state of Utah; and a degree in English from Oberlin College. Born and raised in Alaska, Kelly's arts background includes studies in clarinet performance, arts education and orchestral conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as well as community-based training in dance and ceramics.

Katherine S. Biddle, Ph.D., LPC, REAT

Katherine Biddle is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist with over ten years of experience as a mental health clinician. Katherine received a master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2007. She completed her counseling residency in community mental health, providing outpatient counseling for children, adolescents, and families for three years, and she worked for several years as a therapist leading group expressive arts for children, adolescents, and adults in an inpatient psychiatric setting. Katherine holds a doctoral degree in Counselor Education from Virginia Tech and has many years of experience as an instructor, supervisor, and mentor of healthcare professionals. In her new role overseeing the Dr. Robert L. A. Keeley Healing Arts Program at Carilion Clinic, Katie promotes holistic healthcare through integration of the arts in the healing process. Her continuing research agenda focuses on the arts in health and education.

Kris Amundson

William (Bill) Bodine, President & CEO, Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation

Bill Bodine attended Furman University and is a graduate of the University of Lynchburg, with a Masters in Administration. Most of his career has been spent in healthcare administration, but his volunteer work with local nonprofits led him to his post as the President & CEO of the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation, which has served Lynchburg and the four surrounding counties since 1972. The GLCF provided grants last year of almost $1.8 million to 169 nonprofits and also granted scholarships to worthy students. He is a skier, avid golfer, and works as a professional actor.


Becky Caldwell, Executive Director, Virginia Highlands Festival

Becky Caldwell joined the Virginia Highlands Festival in January, 2012 and has produced international arts programs and festivals since 1992 in Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit. A graduate of Northwestern University, Becky has spent most of her career in Chicago with Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Chicago Improv Festival (among other organizations). Becky is an expert in festival producing, event programming, and board development. She came to the Virginia Highlands Festival as the Festival Producer in 2012, and in her first year she took the Festival finances from deficit to surplus, almost doubled the amount of corporate donations, exponentially increased the marketing and publicity reach, and led the effort to develop a 3-year strategic plan.

In the evenings she advises other nonprofit organizations as a “Virtual Executive Director,” helping them with fundraising strategies, board relations, and strategic planning. Her podcast, “Virtual Executive Director,” is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and SoundCloud.


Amina K. Cooper, Manager of External Affairs + Public Art, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (MD)

Amina has spent the past ten years developing strategies that increase the capacity of community-based artists and arts organizations. Since 2015, she has served as a curator and public arts manager at the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC), the region’s designated local arts agency. Montgomery County’s public art program was initiated over 30 years ago and has grown to roughly 300 public artworks and 500 contemporary works on paper over time. In her role, Amina helps to lead conservation, maintenance, policy development and commissioning for the county. She also curates and manages the county’s gallery and exhibition space. Amina is interested in expanding cultural equity, leading research, community outreach and fundraising planning for public art projects in underserved communities. With an interest in new and best practices, Amina has helped to develop the programs’ new strategic plan and public art guidelines. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University and a Master of Science degree in Arts Administration from Boston University.


Carrie Cleveland, Education and Resources Manager, CERF+

Carrie Cleveland has been at CERF+ for 10 years and in that time has participated in all aspects of the organization’s work to help artists have resilient careers, from counseling artists seeking emergency assistance to spearheading $100,000 fundraising appeals to delivering delivering career protection workshops in areas impacted by natural disasters. Carrie’s work stems from a drive to empower people to have agency in their careers and lives, and to help remove barriers to access. In addition to her work at CERF+, Carrie is also a student of Facilitated Communication, an alternative communication method to support people with disabilities; a lapsed tenor sax player; and a beginning metalsmith.

Theresa Colvin, Executive Director, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Theresa based in Baltimore, MD. Colvin comes to MAAF from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) where she was the Executive Director for 16 years. Prior to her tenure at MSAC, Colvin was the Deputy Director and Acting Executive Director of the Howard County Arts Council in Ellicott City, MD. Colvin has served on numerous boards and panels, including those of the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Colvin holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from LaSalle University and a Masters in arts administration from Drexel University.


Sarah B. Cunningham, Executive Director of Research, School of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

Dr. Sarah Bainter Cunningham is currently Executive Director for Research and Director of the Arts Research Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. She provides national and international leadership in arts research through individual scholarship, interdisciplinary collaboration, and faculty research development. Cunningham oversees partnerships with the Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange space, has conducted research with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Institute, and has assisted in founding VCUarts first Physician-Scientist in Residence. From 2005-2011, she held the post of Director of Arts Education at the National Endowment for the Arts and has served as advisor or board member to the Alliance for Arts in Research Universities, Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, Crystal Bridges Arts Education, and Turnaround Arts California. Cunningham also serves as the Chair of the Richmond Public Art Commission, and led the planning and approval process for the city's first Public Art Master Plan. In July, Cunningham will take up a new post as Rhode Island School of Design’s first Associate Provost for Research and Strategic Partnerships.


Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle, WA

Lara Davis is an artist, racial equity strategist, and arts administrator working at the intersection of cultural policy, public education, and social justice. She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, a nationally recognized youth arts education organization. As strategic advisor and arts education manager for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Lara oversees its Creative Youth Programs, including The Creative Advantage, a public/private initiative to reinvest in equitable arts education for all Seattle students. Lara is the inaugural co-chair for the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian/API Arab, Native American) Network, serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, is a 2017-2018 Marshall Memorial Fellow, and the 2015 recipient of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award. She knows firsthand the power of creativity necessary to transform communities, and inspire systemic change.

Jay Dick, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs, Americans for the Arts

Jay Dick is the Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts where he works to educate and inform elected officials about the value of the arts and culture. As an twenty five-year veteran of K Street, Capitol Hill, the private sector, and federal, state, and local campaigns, Jay possesses a tremendous body of knowledge in the field of arts policy, government, the legislative process, and grassroots advocacy. He is a nationally recognized speaker on these topics and is regularly interviewed by the media and testifies in front of legislative bodies as a subject matter expert.

With the mandate to positively affect the policies that promote state and local funding and expansion of the arts, Jay works closely with state and local arts leaders to accomplish this goal. Further, he oversees Americans for the Arts’ Public Partnerships and works to educate state and local elected official across the country about the importance of the arts and culture. Jay was appointed in 2014 by Virginia Governor McAuliffe to serve a five year term as a Commissioner for the Virginia Commission for the Arts and he is a former board member of ARTSFAIRFAX where he chaired their advocacy committee.

Advocacy for the arts is his job but also his passion.


Dr. Niyati Dhokai, Veterans and the Arts Initiative Program Manager, College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University

Dr. Niyati Dhokai is a Research Assistant Professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University, and she also serves as Program Manager for the Veterans and the Arts Initiative at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. In recognition of her work, Dr. Dhokai is the 2018 recipient of the Change Maker of the Year award from the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and the 2018 recipient of George Mason University’s Jack Wood Award for Town Gown Relations in the faculty/staff category. Prior to joining the faculty at GMU, she worked with veterans and service members recovering from injuries in post-acute neurorehabilitation in the Washington D.C. metro area by designing and facilitating music activities to support community integration. She has a B.A. in Music from George Mason University, and she completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Music (Ethnomusicology) from the University of Alberta (Canada), where her doctoral dissertation research was supported by a Fulbright grant to study in India.


Maryo Gard Ewell, Director of Community Impact, Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley

Maryo Gard Ewell of Gunnison, Colorado, is the Director of Community Impact for the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley (Colorado). She is a 2017 recipient of the Colorado Governor’s Creative Leadership Award. She serves the community arts development world through keynote speaking, writing, training and teaching. She teaches the community arts class for the MA in Arts Administration program at Goucher College, and teaches Grantwriting at Western State Colorado University and for the Arts Extension Service. Ewell has worked for community arts councils in Connecticut and for state arts agencies in Illinois and Colorado. She’s Past President of the Gunnison Arts Center. Honors include the 2003 “Arts Are The Heart” award for service to the arts in Colorado; the 2001 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Goucher College; and the Selina Roberts Ottum Award from Americans for the Arts in 1995. She holds an MA in Organizational Behavior and an MA in Urban & Regional Planning.


Kendra Jones, Director, Arts & Equity, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

RMHF works to address the social, economic and structural conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes. As director for arts & equity, Kendra created a health equity and arts (HEArts) program that works with local artists and organizations to address barriers to health and housing equity. Kendra’s first year in this role included direct awards from RMHF to individual artists and artist collectives to create works of art that communicated the concept of equity and its significance to residents of the Richmond Region. The goal was to inspire and motivate change that embraces equity by tapping into the many forms of creative expression that are alive and thriving in the Richmond Region. RMHF’s Board of Trustees saw the relevance of this initiative and approved a current commitment for HEArts that will invest in nonprofit organizations that work with individual artists or a collective of artists to engage community residents around issues of health and housing equity. Kendra’s background is as an accountant for over 23 years prior to becoming an arts administrator and as an advocate for type 1 diabetics and affordable lifesaving insulin.

Tim Miano

Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts

Robert L. Lynch is president and CEO of Americans for the Arts and its membership of 7,000 arts agencies and professionals as well as the Americans for the Arts Action Fund with 400,000 citizen activists and a connected Political Action Committee. With more than 44 years of experience in the arts industry, he is motivated by his personal mission to empower communities and leaders to advance the arts in society, and in the lives of our citizens. Key cultural policy tools development under his leadership include Arts and Economic Prosperity, the national economic impact study for the arts now in its 25th year, the National Arts Policy Roundtable, The National Arts Action Summit, and he has overseen six mergers to create Americans for the Arts combining the forces of the American Council For the Arts, the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, the Business Committee for the Arts and the State Arts Advocacy Network. Bringing a national perspective to local arts issues, Mr. Lynch currently serves on the board and executive committee of the Independent Sector, as well as chair of their public policy committee. He serves on the Board of the American Crafts Council. He served two terms on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and was named four times to the Non Profit Times Power and Influence Top 50 leaders in the non profit industry list. In 2017, he was the inaugural recipient of the JFK Commonwealth Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. In 2014, he was awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts. Mr. Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and enjoys playing the piano, mandolin, and guitar.

Jan Newcomb

Jan Newcomb, Executive Director, National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness & Emergency Response (NCAPER)

Since 2017, Jan Newcomb has worked “virtually” at LYRASIS in Atlanta as the Performing Arts Coordinator for the national Performing Arts Readiness Project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and as the first Executive Director for the National Coalition of Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response under the auspices of South Arts in Atlanta. In preparation for her current responsibilities toward building resilience in the arts sector, Jan had a 30+ year career in arts management that involved leading eight performing and community arts organizations including the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, four arts councils and a community arts center. Jan served as Director of Grants at the SC Arts Commission, taught dance at SUNY Buffalo and USC (Columbia), arts policy at the College of Charleston and developed an arts management program at Medaille College (Buffalo). Beginning in 2009, she began working as a consultant for arts and education organizational clients in Atlanta, Manhattan, Lexington, KY, New Haven, CT, Miami, FL and in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville, SC. In 2014, her consulting work led her to being hired by New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) to work with Bob Nederlander of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, LLC in designing a graduate program for arts leaders. Subsequently she served as the founding director of the MA in Leadership in the Arts & Entertainment Industries Program to launch the graduate program at NYIT in Manhattan. In 2017, Jan received the Lifetime Service Award by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes in her hometown of Corning, NY where she currently resides. Jan holds a BA in Music from Hood College in Frederick, MD and a MA in Education with a teaching field of Modern Dance from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.


Mark Hierholzer, President and CEO, Art for the Journey

From childhood, Mark has have had an interest in drawing, and developed a portfolio of pencil and charcoal drawings from life by the time he was twelve. In 2000, he began oil painting and has become a passionate and active impressionist oil painter. His subjects span a broad area of interests including figure painting, architecture, still life, landscapes and seascapes, with a special interest in fishing boats and water scenes. Mark has lived in Richmond, Virginia, since 1984 and spends much of his “art time” at a second studio along the inner banks of North Carolina in Swan Quarter, a small fishing village that sits on Pamlico Sound (http://www.swanquarter.net).

In his art Mark reflects the work of both local and national artists with whom he has studied, including Portrait and Landscape Artist David Tanner, Portrait and Landscape Artist John Silver, Impressionist Portrait and Landscape Artist Frederick Guess, and Impressionist Landscape and Portrait painters John Ebersberger and Camille Przewodek. He is a student of the work and artistic approach of Claude Monet and the French Impressionists as taught by American Impressionists Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche through the Cape School of Art in Provincetown MA. He has been taught by or studied the work of a number of accomplished artists from that school including John Ebersberger, Camille Przewodek, Lois Griffel, Susan Sarback and others. Mark is a member the Uptown Gallery, the Metro Richmond Artists Association, Bon Air Artists Association and the North Carolina Arts Council.


Christina Pollins, Executive Director, Chestnut Creek School of the Arts

Chris is an experienced Arts Administrator, Sculptor and Teacher. Her professional background is concentrated in Community and Arts Program Development having spent the last 18 years starting and operating two Crafts schools in southwest Virginia: Floyd Center for the Arts in Floyd(2000-2008), and Chestnut Creek School of the Arts (2008- Present). A Sculptor since 1987, Chris holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, and a BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has also studied at the Corcoran in D.C., Parsons School of Design in Paris and Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, PA. Her teaching credentials include the Corcoran, Virginia Commonwealth University, Touchstone Center for Craft, Jacksonville Center, Greensburg and Alleghany Art Clubs and Chestnut Creek School of the Arts with experience teaching youth, college level and continuing education classes.


Cindy Paullin, Deputy CEO, Art for the Journey

Cindy Paullin has been drawing, painting and exploring various media and approaches to art expression from college. Besides painting fine art in oils and acrylic, she has painted commissioned murals, floor cloths and decorative items for stores and individual clients.

In 2014 Cindy joined with Mark Hierholzer and Jamie Wigginton to found Art for The Journey, a nonprofit with a mission to “overcome barriers and transform lives through creating art”, with a special focus on people who do not normally have access to such experiences.

Cindy holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a background in sales and law firm management. She is a Certified Facilitator for “Opening Minds through Art”, a best practice program specially developed by the Scripps Gerontology Center and Miami University of Ohio for people suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s. She is also lead Facilitator Instructor in partnership with Dr. Elizabeth Lokon, Founder of the OMA program to certify others to Facilitate the person-centered OMA program in Assisted Living Facilities to expand implementation of OMA around the State of Virginia and beyond.

In his art Mark reflects the work of both local and national artists with whom he has studied, including Portrait and Landscape Artist David Tanner, Portrait and Landscape Artist John Silver, Impressionist Portrait and Landscape Artist Frederick Guess, and Impressionist Landscape and Portrait painters John Ebersberger and Camille Przewodek. He is a student of the work and artistic approach of Claude Monet and the French Impressionists as taught by American Impressionists Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche through the Cape School of Art in Provincetown MA. He has been taught by or studied the work of a number of accomplished artists from that school including John Ebersberger, Camille Przewodek, Lois Griffel, Susan Sarback and others. Mark is a member the Uptown Gallery, the Metro Richmond Artists Association, Bon Air Artists Association and the North Carolina Arts Council.


Linda Sullivan, President & CEO, ARTSFAIRFAX

Ms. Sullivan serves as the chief executive officer of Fairfax County Virginia’s local arts agency, an arts grant-making, advocacy, and capacity building services organization serving over 220 nonprofit arts organizations, uncounted artists, and 1.1M county residents. ARTSFAIRFAX seeks both public and private funds to support the arts through grants as well as projects such as public art, artists’ residencies and county-wide master arts planning. ARTSFAIRFAX is an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization with a budget of $1.4M (approx.), a staff of 6 FTEs, and a 24 member governing board of volunteer community leaders.

Ms. Sullivan has served the greater Washington area as an arts management consultant since 2001. She has specialized in executive transition management & interim directorships; nonprofit governance; strategic and organizational planning; capital project planning; and fundraising.

Additional professional activities include teaching fundraising in the Museum Studies Graduate Program, George Washington University; serving as a Maryland State Arts Council grants panelist; Standards of Excellence reviewer for Maryland Nonprofits; and board member service on the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County MD (Chair, Grants Committee), The Writer’s Center, Bethesda MD (Executive Committee), and ArtTable, DC Chapter (Executive Committee). She is currently serving on the board of Virginians for the Arts, School of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University, and the Children’s Science Center in Fairfax County, Virginia. Ms. Sullivan holds an MFA in Arts Administration (inclusive of core MBA program) from Columbia University, and has served as a National Endowment for the Arts – Arts Management Fellow.


David B. Trinkle, M.D., FAPA, Associate Dean of Community and Culture, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Dave Trinkle, M.D., FAPA is currently Associate Dean for Community and Culture and Associate Professor of Psychiatric Medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM). He is a Geropsychiatric Consultant to the Geriatric Assessment Clinic at Carilion Clinic Center for Healthy Aging, the League of Older Americans, and to numerous Nursing Homes in the Roanoke Valley. He helped develop and lead the Geriatric Psychiatry Program and Fellowship and the Carilion Center for Healthy Aging, a multidisciplinary team based center for geriatric patients and their families, where he is clinically based and continues to actively see and consult patients.


Crystal Williams, Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Boston University

Crystal began her administrative career at Reed College where soon after her appointment as an assistant professor, she became a faculty activist, envisioning a more inclusive and diverse institution, catalyzing a collective of faculty members who shared the same goals and objectives, and working collaboratively and strategically over the course of several years to effectuate significant institutional change. The results of that work was her appointment as Reed College’s inaugural Dean for Institutional Diversity, where she developed the footprint for a major new office of the college, and worked closely with the President and Dean of the Faculty to initiate a series of strategic endeavors to further diversify the faculty as well as lay the groundwork for the creation of a new teaching and learning center, among other endeavors.

Crystal Williams began her career in the arts as an actress, working in Washington, DC, before moving to New York to pursue a career in the arts. Once in New York, she transitioned from theatre to performance and poetry, becoming a regular at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the mid-90s where she earned a spot on the 1995 Nuyorican Slam Team, which competed in the National Slam in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

An ardent arts advocate, Williams regularly engages in leadership positions within the arts community and has served on several arts boards and selection panels, including as a board member for Write Around Portland and The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center; on the Oregon Poet Laureate Selection Committee; as a judge for the 2015 Donald Hall Poetry Prize, Regional Arts and Culture Council Literary Arts Fellowship, and the Oregon Arts Commission Individual Fellowship; on the Governor’s Ad Hoc Committee to Reduce the Achievement Gap; and on the editorial board for The Writer’s Chronicle.


Haowen Wang, Program Officer, Performing Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Haowen manages a roster of MAAF’s longstanding regional touring grants. Previously, Haowen was Program Manager, Grants at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and spearheaded two major re-design processes of LMCC’s flagship regrant programs. Prior, Haowen piloted a two-year funding program serving grassroots/traditional cultural groups in Manhattan’s Chinatown at Asian American Arts Alliance. Haowen holds M.A. in Performance Studies at NYU and Certificate at Institute of Curatorial Practices in Performance at Wesleyan University.

Art Works for Virginia Conference 2019 is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Dominion Energy Foundation.

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