Hilary Amnah

Hilary AmnahHilary Amnah is an Arts Program Specialist at the California Arts Council. She is passionate about serving communities of all shapes, sizes, cultures, abilities, and geographies, and feels fortunate to do this in California. In her role at California’s state arts agency, Hilary serves local communities through the Creative California Communities program and the State Cultural Districts initiative. Prior to moving to California, Hilary supported local arts agencies, the Change Leader program, and various other community-level arts activities at the Utah Division of Arts & Museums. She has also previously worked at the Oregon Folklife Network serving tradition bearers and their communities. Hilary hails from the Appalachian foothills of Southeast Ohio. She holds a BA in Music from The Ohio State University and an MS in Arts Management with a Community Arts concentration from the University of Oregon.

Jennifer Armstrong (Emeritus Council)


Jennifer Armstrong is the Associate Director of the National Center for Arts Research. She has more than fifteen years of experience in arts and community development at the local, state and national levels. Prior to joining NCAR, Jennifer served as the Director of Community Arts Development for the Illinois Arts Council Agency, working with local arts agencies, arts service organizations and other community development stakeholders to help build a strong, creative and connected Illinois. Jennifer serves as Vice President of the Robert E. Gard Foundation and is on the advisory board for Art of the Rural. She served for over ten years on the board of The Association of American Cultures, was a co-founder and past Chair of Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Council, and was the recipient of the inaugural Emerging Leader Award in 2006. Previously, she served as Executive Director of 40 North | 88 West in Champaign County, as Program Coordinator for the Department of Dance at Arizona State University, and as Managing Director of the Peoria Area Arts Council. An Illinois native, Jennifer studied business administration, theater and dance at Millikin University.

Savannah Barrett

SB at Cross Currents Shawn Poynter 2Savannah Barrett is the Director of Programs for Art of the Rural. She was raised on a seventh-generation homeplace in Grayson Springs, Kentucky, and earned a Masters of Arts Management from the University of Oregon. She has worked in the Kentucky and Oregon arts communities for more than ten years, first in high school as a founder of a local arts agency in her hometown, and later with the Louisville Visual Art Association, the Center for Community Arts and Cultural Policy at the University of Oregon, and as the co-founder of the Culture and Education Alliance in Eugene. She has contributed to the journals, blogs, or podcasts of Arts and Democracy, ARTSBlog, CultureWork, Imagining America, CommunityMatters, and Roadside Theater. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Performance and Civic Practice and the Robert E. Gard Foundation, and served on the Innovation Team for EmcArts’ Community Innovation Lab program.

Caroline Costa Beadle

BeadleCaroline Costa Beadle is a resident of Wadsworth, IL. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois where she received a BFA in Theatre and of Goucher College where she received her MA in Arts Administration. By day, she works at First Midwest Bank as the Closing Administrator in the mortgage department. She is the Artistic Director at Three Brothers Theatre which has two venues in Lake County, Illinois. With a commitment to “inclusion, opportunity and growth,” Three Brothers Theatre offers a season of theatre for young audiences, a new plays festival, and Shakespeare under the stars. She has been associated with Three Brothers Theatre since 2011, where she has produced, directed, acted in, costumed, and sold tickets for shows.

Doug Borwick (Emeritus Council)


Doug Borwick is author of Engaging Matters, a blog for ArtsJournal, author/editor of Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S, and author of Engage Now! A Guide to Making the Arts Indispensable. One of the country’s leading advocates for the arts and community engagement, Dr. Borwick has served as keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conferences across the U.S. and Canada as well as in Beijing and Singapore. Notably, he has been featured speaker for statewide arts gatherings in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin as well as for the Canadian Arts Summit in Banff, Alberta. He served as President of the Board of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, an international organization of higher education programs in the field, from 2010-2012. For three decades he was Director of the Arts Management and Not-for-Profit Management Programs at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Borwick is CEO of Outfitters4, Inc., providing management services for nonprofits and of ArtsEngaged, offering training and consultation services to artists and arts organizations seeking to more effectively engage with their communities. Dr. Borwick holds the Ph.D. in Music Composition from the Eastman School of Music and is an award-winning member of ASCAP.

Janet Brown (Emeritus Council)

Photograph from the 2014 Grantmakers in the Arts conference as held in Houston, Texas, at the Hotel Zaza and other locations from October 12 through October 15.

Janet Brown is President & CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts, and is a nationally known consultant, speaker and teacher. Prior to her leadership role in Grantmakers in the Arts, she was an adjunct faculty member at Goucher College, Baltimore, MD teaching Public Policy and the Arts and Chair of Performing and Visual Arts at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. She began her arts management career in theatre where her work included Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and national and European theatrical tours. She began her theatre career as an actress at the Black Hills Playhouse and was co-owner of the Deadwood Production Company for ten years. A registered lobbyist for 15 years, she was executive director of South Dakotans for the Arts, a statewide service, education and advocacy organization. Janet received numerous awards for arts advocacy including the Selena Roberts Ottum Award from Americans for the Arts, Washington, DC, and the Robert Gard Award from the University of Massachusetts Arts Extension Service (AES), Amherst. She’s served on many local and national boards of directors including Americans for the Arts and the American Folklife Center and has been a panelist and site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and several state arts agencies.

Ann Brusky (Treasurer)

Ann BruskyAnn Brusky is the Senior Manager of Public Programs at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She is responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Arts Center’s public programs, including performing arts, community arts, preschool, and education. As such, she generates strategies to engage diverse constituencies and promote the Arts Center’s important role as a vital and invigorating multidisciplinary resource to generate a creative exchange between artists and the public. Brusky holds a B.S. in communications with theatre emphasis from UW-Oshkosh along with her M.A. in arts administration from Goucher College (MD) and has been with the Arts Center since 2002. She is also a board member of the Wisconsin Dance Council and The Étude Group.

Maryo Gard Ewell (Past President)

Maryo Gard EwellMaryo Gard Ewell of Gunnison, Colorado is the Education Coordinator for the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley. Her career-long service to the community arts world includes jobs at two arts councils in Connecticut, the Illinois Arts Council and the Colorado Council on the Arts, where most recently she was the first coordinator of that state’s Creative Districts program. She continues to serve the community arts world through speaking, writing, and teaching. She teaches for the MA in Arts Administration program at Goucher College, and teaches Grantwriting for the Arts Extension Service and for Western State Colorado University. She is a recent board member of the Gunnison Arts Center and the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley. Honors include an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Goucher College and the Selina Roberts Ottum Award from Americans for the Arts for outstanding community arts development work. She holds an MA in Organizational Behavior and an MA in Urban & Regional Planning.

Ruby Lopez Harper (President)

Ruby Lopez HarperRuby Lopez Harper is the Director of Local Arts Services for Americans for the Arts. She is the Co-chair for the National Coalition on Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response, serves as Co-chair on the Support for Individual Artist Steering Committee for Grantmakers in the Arts and serves on the WETA Community Advisory Council. Prior to joining AFTA, Ruby was the Director of Grants and Services at the Greater Columbus Arts Council in Columbus, OH. She has a varied background that includes corporate affairs, marketing, and business administration. She served on the Emerging Leaders Council for Americans for the Arts and was the primary contact for the Arts and Economic Impact Study for Central Ohio. She also worked with PhilanthropyOhio on their Member Services Committee. Originally from California, where she was also a dance instructor, Ruby worked with local community theatre companies creating choreography for their musical theatre productions earning numerous local, state and regional recognition for her work. . She has and continues to serve on grant panels for the Ohio Arts Council, Kentucky Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, MetroArts Nashville and the National Endowment for the Arts. Ruby has an associate degree from Cerritos College, a certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College, and is a trained meeting facilitator.

Mark Lefebvre (Emeritus Council)


Mark Lefebvre retired as senior vice president for principal gifts at the UW Foundation. Lefebvre said of UW-Madison, “It was here that I found the best expression of the Wisconsin Idea.” His fundraising legacy includes leading the HealthStar campaign that built Rennebohm Hall and the Health Sciences Learning Center, securing the Blue Cross & Blue Shield gift that endowed The Wisconsin Partnership Fund and playing a pivotal role in the Create the Future campaign. Lefebvre began as a volunteer for the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center and moved to the Foundation in 1994. Lefebvre earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees from the UW-Madison, where the influence of professor Robert E. Gard and writer August Derleth pointed him toward a career in publishing. During his 20 years as president and chief executive officer of Stanton & Lee Publishers, he edited and published more than 100 books. Lefebvre is now one of the leaders working to create the first new medical school in Wisconsin in more than 100 years.

Gerard McKenna (Emeritus Council)

McKenna-Gerry (2)Gerard McKenna served as Chairperson of the Department of Music at UW-Milwaukee where he also served as Associate Dean and Acting Dean of the School of Fine Arts. In 1989 he was appointed Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at UW-Stevens Point. In addition to teaching beginning conducting and graduate music education coursework he shaped and directed the B.A. in arts management program at UW-Stevens Point. He retired in 2005. In 2009-2010 he served as chair of the Division of Communication at UWSP. McKenna also served as chairperson of the Stevens Point Arts Council and was instrumental in the development of the Riverfront Arts Center. He is past president of the board of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and served on the board of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans. He was a founding member of the Wisconsin Assembly of Local Arts Agencies (now Arts Wisconsin. In 2011 he shaped a new board developing a refurbished Fox Theatre into a cultural center for Stevens Point. He served as President of the Stevens Point Kiwanis Club, and serves on the Robert E. Gard Foundation, the Melvin R. Laird Youth Leadership Advisory Board and the Stevens Point Sculpture Park Committee. In 2014 he received the Community Leadership Award from the St. Michaels Foundation. He currently resides in Florida.

Mitch Menchaca MitchMenchaca

Mitch Menchaca is the executive director of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras. Prior to California, Mitch was in Washington, DC and served as the vice president of services & COO at Chorus America and was the head of local arts advancement at Americans for the Arts, where he designed and executed programs that provided support and resources to the 5,000 local arts agencies across the United States. Before moving to the east coast, he was the senior director of programs at the Arizona Commission on the Arts, where he administered a portfolio of more than 300 grantees from all artistic disciplines, with budgets ranging from $1,000 to more than $10 million. He earned a degree in public administration at Arizona State University, and he completed a festival and event management certificate at the University of Minnesota Tourism Center. Mitch is the past chairman of The Association of American Cultures (TAAC); a board member for DataArts (formerly the Cultural Data Project); and has served as a grants review panelist for several state and local arts agencies, regional foundations, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a past fellow and faculty coach for the Center for Progressive Leadership, a national political training institute that develops diverse leaders who can effectively advance progressive political and policy change.

Barbara Strauss (Emeritus Council)


Barbara Strauss Catalog Project Manager of the library at the Moravian Music Foundation in Winston-Salem. Prior to that, she was Assistant Director, Discovery Support Services, at the Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University. Barbara is one of the original members of the Gard Foundation Board and recalls discussions with Robert Gard fondly. Her background is in music, with music degrees from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and University of Arizona. She studied library science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked as a music librarian. She has a life-long interest in American Moravian music and has served on the board of the Moravian Music Foundation. She is an avid gardener and, while she was in Cleveland she developed an urban garden business.

Harv Thompson (Emeritus Council)


Harv Thompson retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the fall of 2004 as Professor Emeritus. Beginning in 1970, he served as Director of Continuing Education in Theatre providing citizens throughout the state with learning opportunities to improve theatre education at all levels. He co-founded two travel programs for adults, Arts Seminars Abroad and Performing Arts Study Tours that were modeled throughout the country.

During his career, he founded the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival, Wisconsin Theatre Directory, Wisconsin Theatre Association, Wisconsin Statewide Theatre Auditions, Great Lakes Theatre Auditions, and the Great Lakes Community Theatre Festival among others. He was faculty director of the School of the Arts at Rhinelander and the UW-Madison Summer Drama Institute. Harv continues to serve as a volunteer with the American Association of Community Theatre through their committees structure promoting lifelong learning in theatre throughout the country.

George Tzougros (Secretary)


is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board, the state agency which nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage. Mr. Tzougros works with the creative industries, Wisconsin Arts Board members and staff, the Governor, and state legislature to create funding programs and services to meet the needs of the citizens of Wisconsin. Mr. Tzougros is a member of the Governor’s Council on Tourism, the Cultural Coalition of Wisconsin, and the steering committee for the Wisconsin Task Force on the Arts and Creativity in Education. Mr. Tzougros is the chair of the National Creativity Network; a co-founder of the Wisconsin Science Festival; Past President of Wisconsin/Chiba Incorporated and Film Wisconsin, and a board member of the Robert E. Gard Wisconsin Idea Foundation. Mr. Tzougros has served as Executive Director of the Arts Board since 1996 and prior to that he served as Assistant Director, and was responsible for arts education, community arts development, and presenting and touring.

Richard Wolf (Emeritus Council)

Richard WolfRichard Wolf is a Professor Emeritus of Music, UW-Madison, School of Music
and UWEX Department of Continuing Education in the Arts, a department he chaired from 1980 to 1985. He has served the university from 1962 to 1995 except for a two-year leave (1973-75) when he served as Dean of Student and Academic Affairs at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Montreux, Switzerland. Also for the University, he was administrator of music credit workshops for teacher in-service; Director of Summer Music Clinic; first manager of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra (he serves on the Board of Directors and is a Life Trustee); directed the Education Video Series, “Clinics on Cassettes” – 22 educational videos featuring renowned national artists/pedagogues; and worked closely with Professor Marvin Rabin in the development of the State String Development Program. He is a lifetime member of the Wisconsin Music Educators Association; served as a consultant to Disney Corporation regarding the role of the arts in the development of EPCOT Park; served as on-site manager and a member of the Board of Directors for the Banff International Festivals (Canada); and is presently serving on the Advisory Council for the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music.