Arts Impact Ohio Conference Sessions – Ohio Arts Council

Artist Collectives and You: A How-to Guide for Living Your Passions

Artists and creatives are everywhere! Learn how two trailblazing artists/administrators are leveraging core values and local talent to create citizen-led projects that empower communities and transform existing spaces! You'll leave this session with the tools, passion, and drive to succeed in living your best life through your artistic endeavors.


Janelle Hallett

Janelle Hallett is a nonprofit administrator, artist, and mother. She currently serves as the director of grants and sponsored programs at Otterbein University. She is also a founding member and resident artist at Daylight Artist Collective, and a board member for the Gahanna Area Arts Council. Janelle is a fiber artist with a focus on weaving and jewelry. She has been playing with yarn since her grandma taught her to knit at age 8 and is a mostly self-taught weaver. Her love of art led her to a career in arts administration, with a focus on grants administration. She currently lives in Gahanna with her two sons, husband, a few pets, and a lot of yarn.


Amanda Lewis

Amanda is co-founder and executive director of Watch Me Grow Ohio, a sustainable agriculture nonprofit in Portsmouth. She is also the founder of Trillium Project, a small arts and culture nonprofit focused on advancing community-based art in Southern Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Shawnee State University with a concentration in watercolor painting and ceramics. Amanda works to promote the arts through resident-led public projects in underserved communities. Her current projects include: Appalachian Visual Poetry, a series of public murals created by local artist and poet partnerships; AfterWord Poetry, a poetry workshop for individuals in recovery; and VIBE, youth-led public art. Amanda is passionate about art, advocacy, and Appalachian tenacity.

Arts Integration Techniques for Students with Special Needs

Experience interactive arts learning activities for students with special needs through the arts integration teaching approach heralded by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. SMARTS (Students Motivated by the Arts) staff and teaching artists will share their premier program, Beats and Empowers, which uses arts integration to simultaneously engage students with special needs in learning the arts, social-emotional skills, and core content. Come ready to explore and activate your inner superhero as you take away lessons and activities that can be employed to engage students of all ages and abilities.


Amanda Beagle

Amanda Beagle is a Warren, Ohio, based singer/actor who has spent the greater part of her professional life invested in the development of young people through the arts. She has maintained a private vocal studio since 2001, both in the Warren/Youngstown area and New York City. She has been on faculty with music schools in New York City and South Orange, New Jersey, serving a diverse body of students. An experienced theatre teaching artist, she has also trained extensively with Lincoln Center Education, The Metropolitan Opera Guild Education Department, and The City College of New York in educational theatre and teaching artistry.

Amanda currently serves on the musical theatre voice faculty at Youngstown State University (YSU). Amanda's history with SMARTS dates back to 2001 when she was a sophomore vocal performance major at YSU. During that time, she worked on a SMARTS team that facilitated the Metropolitan Opera Guild's education program called Creating an Original Opera in which students wrote, produced, and performed their own works of musical theatre. SMARTS was also Amanda's community service platform as she competed for the job of Miss Ohio.


DeAudra Edgerson

DeAudra Edgerson is a SMARTS program manager overseeing SMARTS free public after school programming. She is a visual artist from Warren, Ohio. She enjoys artistic expression in many forms, such as sewing, designing, and home décor. Her original passions were in sketching and painting. Her work was previously on display at the McDonough and Trumbull Art Gallery. She holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising from Youngstown State University.


Lindsay Goossens

SMARTS Education Director Lindsay Goossens has been a part of the SMARTS team since May 2018 and oversees SMARTS Public and Community Programming, working to train community teaching artists in best practices for teaching and learning in the arts for PK-12 students and producing curriculum that follows state standards for SMARTS partners and SMARTS free after-school classes. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ashland University and completed four majors in English, Journalism, Integrated Language Arts for Grades 7-12, and Creative Writing. While an undergraduate, she was awarded the Journalism Education Association's national "Future Teachers of Journalism" award. She previously taught high school English, journalism, yearbook, and creative writing at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School in Chardon. She has completed Trauma Informed Care certification to be a trainer for organizations interested in becoming trauma-aware through the Family & Children First Council of Trumbull County and also serves on the Stand Grow Thrive Mahoning Resiliency Movement initiative on behalf of SMARTS. As an artist, she is a writer, photographer, and drummer.


James Hain

Jim Hain is a SMARTS program manager overseeing community programming. He holds a Master's Degree in English from The University of Maine and a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the NEOMFA. He previously worked as an Adjunct Professor at Youngstown State University, Kent State University, and Eastern Gateway Community College, teaching creative writing and composition. He has been published in The Stolen Island Review, Jenny, The Rubbertop Review, and Pennsylvania English, and he has performed locally at the Youngstown Playhouse, Rust Belt Theater, and Mahoning Valley Players, among others.


Simon Kenneally

Simon Kenneally is a singer/songwriter and composer who has established multiple musical projects and solo projects. He has recorded and released thirteen studio albums. He has performed thousands of shows across the country and has been commissioned multiple times to create original scores for plays at various playhouses. He studied classical guitar at the Dana School of Music focusing on music education. He also studied secondary education at Youngstown State University and has been teaching music theory and composition publicly and privately for more than 20 years. Simon teaches rock band; studio recording and production; and ukulele, guitar, and piano to SMARTS students. Simon is also trained in arts integration and leads the SMARTS Beats teaching team for hand drumming for students with special needs.

Brand Strategy for Consistency

Brand strategy is integral to a successful marketing approach. More than a creative logo or tagline, a well-positioned brand can evoke emotion and generate recognition when built and used effectively. We’ll explore the importance of branding discipline and the fundamentals of consistent design and messaging, along with the challenges organizations face from internal audiences.


Bill Sattler

Bill Sattler is a founding partner and interactive/brand director at Madhouse. Bill graduated from Kent State University with a degree in Visual Communication Design and has expanded his capabilities beyond a traditional print/illustration background. Raised and ingrained with an entrepreneurial blue-collar work ethic, Bill appreciates a hard day’s work and the satisfaction it brings when a project comes to life. Results driven, not process-obsessed. Push the boundaries of traditional design and get it done on time and on budget, that’s Bill’s mantra and something he tries to impart on all of his team members.

Budgeting for Bronze: Understanding Design and Maintenance Needs in Public Art

Public art must withstand a variety of elements – weather, pollution, and people, just to name a few. Regular maintenance is crucial for healthy, long-lasting collections, but so is making informed decisions on materials, location, installation, and maintenance planning while still in the design phase.

Whether you’re an artist or collections manager, a public art advocate or city official, join us to discuss material design, failure issues to look out for and avoid, artwork assessment and maintenance, and the importance of documentation and recordkeeping.


Lindsay Jones

As the owner and principal conservator of Blind Eye Restoration (BER), Lindsay has made a living from her passion for restoring old buildings and fine art. She started BER to offer her blended experience as a material preservation consultant and a contractor, and to share her passion for the environmental and community benefits that preservation affords. Lindsay aims to help share these benefits with the general public through social engagement, educational workshops and speaking, and support for younger generations (especially girls) who are interested in working in the preservation trades. Alongside leading her crew in completing their restoration work, Lindsay sits on the boards for the APT Eastern Great Lakes Chapter and the Lakeside Ohio Design Review Board. She was featured in Preservation Magazine in 2019 and the Smithsonian Institute's Women in Preservation Symposium 2021.

Embracing Change

The only thing that is constant is change – so why is it so scary? Join this session to learn from two arts leaders working with their teams to establish cultures that embrace change as an opportunity for improvement -- and ultimately, survival -- in this ever-changing world. Riding parallel to positive culture shift, deep listening, flexibility, and a solid mission to lean into help stabilize this work and are key to success.


Jon Fiume

Jon Fiume has served Akron’s arts and culture scene for more than 20 years. His past contributions have included serving on the boards of the Akron Art Museum, Weathervane Playhouse, ArtsNow, and Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. He is a Public Arts Commissioner for the City of Akron, board member of Leadership Akron, member of the Diversity and Inclusion committee for ArtsNow, and a member of the Arts Advancement Council for the University of Akron. As of February 2022, Jon has served as the John S. Knight Director & CEO of the Akron Art Museum. Jon graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland with a degree in Spanish and a minor in Marketing. Since 2020, Jon was the interim executive director of the Akron Art Museum. Prior, he held corporate level positions in the for-profit sector with a focus on operations. Jon enjoys the arts, travel, and exercise. Jon resides in Akron.


Jessimi Jones

Jessimi Jones is a passionate believer that museums can positively impact the creative life and well-being of communities. Currently the executive director of the Springfield Museum of Art, she began her career as an art museum educator and has since worked in museums for nearly two decades. Before coming to Springfield, Jessimi worked at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio. She presents nationally and has served as a board member for the Museum Education Roundtable and the Ohio Art Education Association, and as a consultant for the Ohio Department of Education. Jessimi holds a BA from Kent State University and an M.S. Ed from Bank Street College in New York. She and her husband Graham are proud to be raising their daughter in Springfield, where they enjoy hiking and, of course, visiting museums.

Engaging Volunteers in Transformative Public Art

Join the Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB) team as they discuss strategies to engage volunteers in art-making, to re-think public art to play to volunteers’ strengths, and to examine examples of successful community-driven artwork. The session will focus on recent projects spearheaded by KCB's arts team and examine their unique approach to volunteer engagement, the lasting impact these pieces have on the community, and volunteer engagement strategies during the stages of a pandemic.

Claire Bryson

Claire Bryson is a nonprofit arts program director at Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB). She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture from DAAP at the University of Cincinnati. Her innovative art programming at KCB has been recognized nationally for its low-cost, high-impact artistic solutions to neglect and blight. She was honored in 2018 as one of WCPO’s Next Nine Art & Entertainment, and Women of Cincy recently published a piece highlighting her work. In her personal time, she enjoys adventures to new places and nurturing an urban family with her husband, Zach, and two kids, Madeline and Ingrid.


Katie Davis

Katie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design from the University of Cincinnati in 2010. Her passion for hands-on work, historic architecture, and preservation of Cincinnati’s under-utilized spaces led her to Keep Cincinnati Beautiful's (KCB) Arts Program, where she has contributed to more than 1,000 public art projects. In her time with KCB she has worked to join community improvement with public art, restoring neighborhood identity and pride. In her free time Katie pursues other creative outlets and forms of making, ranging from fiber arts to ceramics.

Fail Fast, Fail Forward

Opportunity for growth is often revealed through friction. Cincinnati Museum of Art and co-collaborator Wordplay Cincinnati share learnings and new pathways to deep, meaningful connection and partnership with the community. Come to this session to hear collaborators share how the community engagement arm of their programming has learned and grown from early missteps to find their stride together.


Emily Holtrop

Emily Holtrop is the director of learning & interpretation at the Cincinnati Art Museum. With more than 22 years of museum education experience, she has worked in the division she directs since 2002. Her previous position with the museum was as the former assistant curator for school and teacher programs. In her current role, Emily oversees the museum’s interpretive and educational initiatives. This includes public programs for all audiences. She served as the National Art Education Association's museum education division director from 2015-17 and was named the 2018 National Museum Educator of the Year by the same organization. Emily holds an A.A. in Art History from Grand Rapids Community College, a B.A. in Public History from Western Michigan University, and an MSc. in Architectural History from the University College London-Bartlett School of Architecture.


Spring Starr Pillow

Spring graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in musical theatre performance and holds Masters Credits from the University of Cincinnati in education and counseling. She is currently employed as the director of school programming for Wordplay Cincy, where she plays an active role in the initiative to combine theatre and education. She has developed several after-school and in-school workshops combining curriculum and drama in the tri-state schools. Spring has worked for several tri-state theatres, including Ensemble Theatre, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Covedale Theatre, and The Showboat Majestic, and was a featured cabaret performer at The Celestial. Spring has also had the privilege of singing and writing with David Kisor, a prolific children’s song writer, on several nationally recognized c.d. 's and play projects through Growing Sound. In her spare time, Spring enjoys writing poetry, short stories, plays and music, rehabbing old homes, singing with her band No Guarantees whenever possible, and spending time with her boys, Nick, Eli, and Max and her dogs, Sophie and Herman.

Getting Past the Brochure: Developing More Meaningful Culture-Facing Arts Organizations

In the face of a rapidly changing and highly charged world, communities are looking for more from the artistic and cultural institutions they enjoy and support. This session will focus on what many of these expectations are and their persuasiveness, freeing the vision and talents embedded in organizations and their communities to become better, and what kinds of things artistic institutions must unpack to meet the challenges of systemic issues. This session offers resources aimed at the development of genuine value-based change.


Scott Woods

Scott Woods is an Emmy award-winning writer and event organizer in Columbus. Woods is the author of "Urban Contemporary History Month" (2016), "We Over Here Now" (2013), and "Prince and Little Weird Black Boy Gods" (2017). He has been featured multiple times in national press, including appearances on National Public Radio. He is the founder of Streetlight Guild, a performing arts nonprofit; a 2018 Columbus Foundation Spirit of Columbus Award recipient; and the Greater Columbus Arts Council winner of the 2017 Columbus Makes Art Excellence Award for his event series “Holler: 31 Days of Columbus Black Art." He is the 2022 winner of the Press Club of Cleveland’s Ohio Excellence in Journalism award for Best in Ohio Essay Writing. In 2006 Scott became the first poet to ever complete a 24-hour solo poetry reading--a feat he bested seven more times without repeating a single poem.

Getting to Know the Ohio Arts Education Data Dashboard

Because we know the arts are vital to the development and future success of our children, the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, and Ohio Department of Education have developed an Arts Education Data Dashboard that enables parents, educators, school administrators, and policymakers to see what arts education opportunities are being offered in schools and districts in Ohio. Join us to explore the Ohio Arts Education Data Dashboard with the most recent data available, and learn how to decipher and use the data to the benefit of students in your community and across the state.


Jarrod Hartzler

Jarrod Hartzler has served as the executive director of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education since September 2019. Previously, he was the executive and artistic director of Tuesday Musical Association in Akron. He has coordinated community arts and education programs and worked to establish partnerships with schools and other arts and community organizations all around the state of Ohio.

A Wooster native and graduate of The College of Wooster, Jarrod has worked as a not-for-profit arts manager and arts educator at both the local community and statewide levels. He has worked at Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster, the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center in Delaware, and served as co-executive director of VSA Arts (now Art Possible Ohio) in Columbus, Ohio. Jarrod has participated in several education programs of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He was a 2008 fellow in the Kennedy Center’s Arts Management Institute where he studied with Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser.


Robert Morrison

Robert B. Morrison is founder and CEO of Quadrant Research, the nation’s leading arts education research organization, where he has created a deep body of research and policy work. Bob is recognized as a pioneer in statewide arts education status and condition research. He leads the groundbreaking national Arts Education Data Project coordinating the reporting of arts education data from 31 states representing more than 70 percent of the student population in the United States. These efforts have directly impacted millions of students. Bob is the founder of Music for All, was the first CEO of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and helped create the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. He has been recognized for his work to add the arts as a core subject to the nation’s education goals in 1994. He served as director of market development for NAMM and the director of marketing for Pearl. Bob also founded Arts Ed NJ, the Center for Arts Education, and Social Emotional. Bob's advocacy work has earned him both a Primetime Emmy and a Peabody Award and the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts Education, and he has received an honorary doctorate degree from the State University of New York. He is a member of the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame.

Healing Through the Liminal Space

This session will address learning how to find healing through the liminal spaces in our lives. Participants will hear from poet Barbara Fant to understand how she moved through her own personal, emotional, and spiritual liminal spaces in her life over the last several years. We will also discuss the collective liminal space that everyone has experienced during the season of COVID-19. Participants will engage in ways and develop tools to help navigate through their own liminal spaces, to help heal, and to also find joy in the midst of the journey. Participants will also engage in a writing exercise around joy.


Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant has been writing and performing for 15 years. She has represented Ohio in nine National Poetry Slam competitions and is a World Poetry Slam Finalist.

For more than a decade, she has led healing-informed poetry workshops for youth and adults who are incarcerated, adults in recovery, and survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. She is the author of two poetry collections, Paint, Inside Out (2010) and Mouths of Garden (2022). Her work has been featured by Button Poetry and Def Poetry Jam, and has been published in the McNeese Review and Electric Literature, amongst others.

She has received residencies from Idyllwild Arts in California and Connect Arts in Havana, Cuba. She holds both an M.F.A. in Poetry and a Master of Theology. She is the founder of the Black Women Rise Poetry Collective and co-founder of The Senghor Project, West African International Artist Residency. Currently, she is the artistic director of Street Poets, Inc. in Los Angeles and is an artist-in-residence at both Harmony Project and Thiossane West African Dance Institute, both in Columbus, Ohio. Barbara believes in the transformative power of art and considers poetry her ministry.

Karamu House: Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present, and Creating a Sustainable Future

Karamu House, located in the Fairfax neighborhood on Cleveland's East Side, is recognized as the oldest producing Black theatre in the United States, where many of Langston Hughes' plays were developed and premiered. Throughout its 107-year history, Karamu House has carved out a legacy of inclusion and advocacy through meaningful arts experiences. It has also overcome great adversity to reach new heights in its ever-evolving narrative. Central to the theatre's success story has been the intentional, paced, methodical building and re-building of community trust, buy-in, and engagement. Hear from Karamu House President + CEO Tony F. Sias and Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Aseelah Shareef, as they share their story of this historic arts institution, its challenges, and its commitment to arts as a means to educate, celebrate, and activate community while keeping joy at the center of it all.


Aseelah Shareef

Aseelah Shareef offers a unique combination and understanding of inspirational leadership, operations and logistics, organizational programming, and artistry, developed through intense non-profit environments demanding excellence, flexibility, and the capacity to master multiple roles. Just a few of those roles include performing in Step Afrika!, the world’s only professional dance company dedicated to the art of stepping (body percussion), which toured nationally and internationally, and teaching and co-creating new curriculum for dance at Cuyahoga Community College.

Her most recent role is vice president + chief operating officer at Karamu House, where she implements operational efficiencies across product lines, has developed new arts residency programs, and curates socially and culturally responsive community arts experiences including after-school and weekend arts education models for life-long learners.

Aseelah holds a Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the Florida State University.


Tony Sias

Tony F. Sias is the President + CEO of Karamu House, Inc., America’s oldest Black producing theatre. Under Tony, since 2015 Karamu stabilized finances, and raised more than $10 million for restoration and increased attendance. Prior to his tenure at Karamu, Tony served in several progressive roles for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) including director of arts education and artistic director of Cleveland School of the Arts.

As a creative, Tony has produced, directed, and performed in more than 100 productions. He most recently received critical acclaim for directing Karamu’s production of Freedom on Juneteenth, and in October 2021 Tony performed narration with The Cleveland Orchestra in Sinfonia No. 5 “Visions” by George Walker. His work has been highlighted nationally in The New York Times, American Theatre Magazine, on NBC’s Today Show with Al Roker, and more. Tony served as a delegate from the U.S. Department of State in Istanbul, Turkey, representing the Council of International Programs in the Youth Arts for Peace Project. In 2018, he was inducted into The HistoryMakers, the largest African American oral history archive collection in the U.S. In 2019, Tony was named the Cleveland Arts Prize, Barbara S. Robinson award winner. In 2021, Tony received the Community Leader Award from Cleveland Magazine. He is a fellow of the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program through Harvard Business School. Tony serves as a national board member for the League of Historic American Theatres. He is a board member of the Cleveland School of the Arts and the Assembly for the Arts. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in dramatic art from Jackson State University and a Master of Fine Arts in acting from Ohio University.

LEAD: Impacting the Way

Dive into the historic, legal, and social trends that established the foundations for the mission-critical work of organizations engaging with people with disabilities. This session demonstrates effective ways to interact and engage, impact, support, and advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities of all ages in arts and culture.


Stuart James

Stuart joined the independent living movement as the executive director at the historic Center for Independent Living in Berkeley (TheCIL). During his seven-year tenure, he renewed TheCIL’s commitment and vision for a truly inclusive world and nearly tripled the organization’s endowment. TheCIL adopted the “Be Your Own Normal” slogan and reorganized its services, communications, and operating philosophy around the idea that “normal” is everyone and that we all possess talents, skills, qualities, and responsibilities that contribute to our community. Stuart led the organization in developing and updating programs, including an expanded AT program, new Lifestyles events, a life-changing Residential Access program, and the evolution of TheCIL’s Youth programs. Additionally, he brought new corporate partnerships and attention to TheCIL through the PowerOn! web series and its annual Ed Roberts Day event.

Before his tenure at TheCIL, Stuart spent more than 20 years as an executive in the sports and entertainment industry, living and working across four continents. He is an avid sports fan with allegiances to his childhood teams—the New York Giants and Knicks—but he’s vowed to be a die-hard fan of the Toledo Mud Hens and University of Toledo Rockets. Stuart has a master’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology and sits on the Advisory Board for the Kennedy Center's VSA program.


Betty Siegel

As the Kennedy Centers’ Accessibility/VSA Director, Betty Siegel believes arts and cultural experiences accessible to, and inclusive of, people with disabilities of all ages is a civil, cultural, and human right. She champions and leads disability arts, education, employment, and cultural practices. A career highlight is the recognition of the Centers’ work as a cultural rights defender by a UN Special Rapporteur 2020 report. Another was convening a field of more than 900 arts, education, and cultural access, equity, and inclusion professionals in 2019. As a respected and sought after speaker, delivering training, lectures, and presentations around the world and across the United States, Betty addresses disability rights; compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and access, equity, and inclusion. She acquired her Juris Doctorate in 2009 from the Columbus School of Law and founded the Accessibility Advisory Group, LLC, in 2021.

Participation and Organization: Contemporary Art with Communities

Social practice and other community-based art forms are challenging the ways that arts institutions traditionally curate and program art exhibitions and experiences. These new art forms, along with a broader change in how we live and operate in a participatory-based culture, have affected what we expect from an arts organization and its role in engaging with community.

Wave Pool, an eight-year-old contemporary art "fulfillment" center in a post-industrial neighborhood of Cincinnati, aims to create a cultural shift in which art becomes so ingrained in daily life that we’re not sure if we’re experiencing an art event, a social service, or a utopian vision. Either way, Wave Pool acts toward a vision of artists and communities remaking the world together. The organization strives to make conceptual and contemporary art works accessible by having them serve our community in ways that our neighbors requested.

This session will explore ways to reach members of your community that are not otherwise engaged with the arts and to empower them in artistic collaborative processes that serve real community needs.


Calcagno Cullen

Calcagno Cullen is a social practice artist, arts educator, and curator. She is founder and executive director of Wave Pool Arts Center, a gallery, studio space, and socially-engaged arts activator in Cincinnati. She is also the co-founder of The Welcome Project, a social-enterprise and makerspace for and by Cincinnati’s refugees and immigrants that exists as part of Wave Pool. She has previously worked in the education department of SFMOMA, the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California. She was also previously the director of Adobe Books Backroom Gallery in San Francisco. She is a member of the women’s art collective The FemFour, and collaboratively organizes the traveling exhibition and catalog of Women’s March posters entitled "Still They Persist." She has also curated and organized a multitude of exhibitions including "Dial Collect" in 2013 at SOMArts in San Francisco, "Social Medium" at Wave Pool, a segment of "Bay Area NOW 7’"at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and "Survival Adaptations" at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery. She has been artist in residence at The Center for Great Neighborhoods in Covington, KEntucky; Lo Studio dei Nipoti in Calabria, Italy; Teple Misto in Ivano Frankivsk, Ukraine; and in Sardegna, Italy. Her work has been shown in solo shows at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, and elsewhere.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: How Big-Picture Ideas Make Successful Succession Planning

Hear from Akron Civic Theatre Executive Director Howard Parr on his lived experiences and how succession planning doesn't, nor shouldn't, need to be a zero sum game. This conversation will be facilitated by arts consultant Janus Small, who possesses years of experience helping leaders and organizations transition themselves to better, more unique, and inventive positions for the future benefit of staff, board members, audiences, and communities.


Janus Small

Janus Small is president of Janus Small Associates, a consulting firm based in Cleveland, focusing on strengthening cultural arts, community development, social service, educational, and faith-based organizations for increased service to the community. With expertise developed over her 15 years as an executive director of Shoes and Clothes for Kids, the Center for Arts and Culture at Cuyahoga Community College, and New Organization for the Visual Arts (NOVA), Janus has made Janus Small Associates a highly respected source of guidance on strategic planning, fund-raising, board and organizational development, programming, audience growth, and other capacity-building processes for many national, regional, and local nonprofit and civic organizations including the Ohio Community Development Corporation Association, Akron Civic Theatre, Inlet Dance Theatre, MOCHA (Museum of Creative Human Art), Zygote Press, U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, GAR Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, Greater Cleveland Interfaith Alliance, and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, among others. In addition, Janus contributes to the success of deserving community efforts by serving on the Board of Directors of the Saint Luke’s Foundation, the City of Cleveland’s Mayor’s Public Art Commission, the NAACP-Cleveland Chapter’s Communications Committee, and the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. As an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University teaching nonprofit administration graduate students, Janus is committed to helping to train the next generation of nonprofit leaders.


Howard Parr

Howard Parr has more than 30 years of professional experience in the arts and entertainment industry. He has served as executive director of the Akron Civic Theatre since September 2007, having served as its director of development and planning from 1998–2004, during which the theatre completed a $22.5 million expansion and restoration project. In addition to his work with The Civic, Howard provides booking assistance to the City of Akron’s Lock Three Park and to the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall.

Small Towns, Big Ideas: Arts as Catalyst for Community Change

Dive into small-town Ohio’s unique and expansive dedication to the arts’ role in catalyzing community change. OAC staff members Brianna Dance and Jarred Small will provide an overview of the agency’s annual efforts in awarding grants in all 88 Ohio counties, while a panel of guest speakers highlight recent successes and discuss ways in which they’ve leaned into the arts as a driver toward positive economic, cultural, and educational outcomes in their communities.


Sarah Barr

Sarah Barr is the executive director for Wild Goose Creative in the heart of Franklinton Arts District (Columbus). Sarah, an artist and creative herself, has a background in sculpture and photography and has more than 15 years experience in nonprofit leadership. Most recently, Sarah has completed two successful capital campaigns transforming historic theatres into cultural arts spaces. In Sidney, she raised $3.5 million to renovate a 1921 vaudeville theatre and recently finished another $3.2 million new build of the collapsed Avalon Theatre in the heart of Marysville, creating a venue in which to enrich the community through the arts.


Amanda Cleary

Amanda Cleary has a passion for empowering people to take control of their health and wellness. In addition to personal wellness, she is passionate about the community and economic wellness of her beautiful hometown of Ironton, Ohio and the surrounding river town region of the Southern Ohio Valley.

Amanda founded and operated The Vault Market, a retail space featuring all U.S. made gifts, artist and artisan creations, and vintage clothing and furniture. She had hopes of that collaborative space becoming a small business incubator to encourage more growth and prosperity in her city and region, and although the retail storefront closed in June of 2021 due COVID-19, it served as a catalyst for helping cultivate an ecosystem for artists to thrive in her hometown and local region. Amanda's work promoting arts, small business, and economic development continues through the nonprofit, Third and Center, which she helped found in late 2019.

In addition to her work with the nonprofit, Amanda is building her own small business that focuses on interior organization and home improvement. She has a background in marketing, life coaching, and management. Amanda thoroughly enjoys working with people, and helping others grow and reach their full potential makes my heart smile. She is a Virgo whose top strengths are positivity, organization, and futuristic vision. She always has a project going, usually involving paint, and rarely shies away from a challenge. In addition to her passion for community, art, and music, Amanda is a wife, mother, sister, friend, and caregiver and finds immense joy in all those roles.


Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher is one of the founding members of the Monroe Arts Council, which formed in 1994 as an answer to continued arts programming cuts in the Switzerland of Ohio School District. He has served throughout that time as board member, serving as president for the past four years. The Monroe Arts Council supports and promotes a variety of arts related programs under its umbrella such as the Monroe Singers, the Monroe Artists, the Writers Guild and Tourism. Mick studied briefly at Columbus College of Art and Design in the seventies. He is a Monroe County commissioner, currently seeking a fourth term after serving in 2001-2004, 2014-2018, and 2019-2022. Schumacher promotes the arts through scholarships and various opportunities made available at the Monroe Arts Center, the Monroe Theatre and the Switzerland of Ohio School District.


Brianna Dance

Brianna Dance has administered state funding of the arts since 2011. She joined the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) staff in 2013 and serves as the organizational programs coordinator for the Central and Southeast Ohio. In her role, she builds awareness of OAC funding opportunities, advises applicants on their grant proposals, recruits panelists and coordinates panel reviews, and adjudicates grant applications. Previously, she conducted policy research and guided organizations through the state's capital funding process at the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, and served in communications and exhibition roles at the Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus. Brianna is a 2012 fellow of the Jefferson Center Academy for Leadership and Governance's Next Generation of Leaders in the Arts program. She studied fine art and philosophy at The Ohio State University, where she was awarded several grants, scholarships, and a university fellowship for her artistic work and research.


Jarred Small

Jarred Small joined the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) in 2017 as the agency’s second arts learning coordinator, together overseeing arts learning grant programs including those that support artist residencies, student visits to arts experiences, partnerships between organizations and schools conducting projects with arts learning at their core, and other special initiatives and activities for learners of all ages and abilities.

Jarred has a diverse background spanning education, program management, consultation, research, and evaluation. Prior to his role at the OAC, he served in a variety of capacities with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Policy and Analysis, and the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Jarred earned a Master of Arts in arts policy and administration from The Ohio State University and his Bachelor of Music in instrumental music education from Western Michigan University.

SMU DataArts Research and Analysis

This session will provide an overview of research and reports produced by SMU DataArts, supported by data from the Ohio arts community. Research associate Rebecca Roscoe will walk through SMU DataArts' most recent research on the operations of the arts and cultural sector, culturally specific organizations, and audience prediction research. She'll also discuss important findings for grantmakers and arts and cultural organizations and how to stay up to date on SMU DataArts' latest research, tools, and reports.


Rebecca Roscoe

Rebecca Roscoe is a researcher in the arts and culture sector, with prior experience as a market researcher for consumer loyalty initiatives. She has held a research position at DataArts since 2014 and has co-authored papers on topics such as organizational financial and programmatic health, the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture sector, workforce and audience demographics, and arts vibrancy in the United States. Rebecca is a summa cum laude graduate of Temple University and resides in Pennsylvania. Her love for the arts is further demonstrated by her involvement as executive director of an education-based circus nonprofit, the Philadelphia Spin Coalition.

Statewide Arts Service Organizations: Overview and Resources

Ohio's Statewide Arts Service Organizations (SASOs) are here to enrich the work you do around arts education, artists with disabilities, dance, heritage, craft, downtown revitalization, and so much more. Come ready to hear the latest updates and activities from these SASOs. Meet new colleagues, hear highlights of current work, and learn about the various services offered by our SASOs in this informative and fast-paced session geared toward novice and seasoned arts colleagues alike.


Molly Cairney

Molly Cairney serves as the executive director of Art Possible Ohio, a statewide arts service organization that bridges the arts and disability with programs and services that promote inclusive spaces and accessible opportunities for Ohioans. Molly is an artist, creative space-maker, and arts professional. Most recently she was the manager for studio initiatives at the Columbus Museum of Art. Prior to working for the museum, she worked at the Ohio History Connection as state coordinator for Ohio History Day and project director for several National Endowment for the Humanities and Department of Education grants. She has also worked at Urban Arts Space, the Ohio Art League, and the Richard M. Ross Art Museum. Some of her favorite things include running, kayaking, camping, researching obscure historical events, and making art, usually with collage or fiber.


Jane D'Angelo

Jane D’Angelo has served as the executive director of OhioDance since 2003. She is a board member of Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, and a former board member of Dance/USA as a service council chair. Jane is the co-founder and project director for the OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection®. She participated in the executive fellowship program in the Academy for Leadership and Governance at the Jefferson Center in Columbus, Ohio. She has been a guest speaker at The Ohio State University's Department of Dance and Otterbein University. Jane has served as a panelist for Culture Works, and has adjudicated for a variety of organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University and a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University. She has an extensive background in dance and dance education, both performing and teaching dance to children and adults.


Jessica Rosenblatt

Jessica Rosenblatt became the executive director of the Ohio Arts Professionals Network (OAPN) in August 2019. Her venture into the arts started in 2008 when she partnered with singer-songwriter Diana Chittester and, in collaboration, created their independent record label Fighting Chance Records. Together they recorded, released, and internally distributed five studio albums, toured the U.S. and Canada, and signed on new talent to the agency. Jessica’s work in the performing arts established a connection with OAPN when she attended the organization's 2015 conference as an agent. Additionally, Jessica has worked in public relations, marketing, social media, and communications with Cain Park and the City of Cleveland Heights. Jessica has degrees in Marketing and Small Business Management and will complete her Nonprofit Administration degree at Cleveland State University in the fall of 2023.


Matt Wiederhold

Matt Wiederhold has been involved in community development and revitalization for more than 20 years, and is a graduate of the National Main Street Institute. He is the new executive director of Heritage Ohio. Previously, he served as the executive director of Main Street Medina in Northeast Ohio. A 1992 graduate of the University of Toledo with a degree in art history focused on American art and architecture from 1860-1930, his passions for history, design, and revitalization run deep. He was one of the first Ohio urban program Main Street directors (for Toledo) and the project manager/economic development director for the Gordon Square Arts District in Cleveland. His hobbies include gardening, thrifting and going to flea markets, collecting American pottery, and studying old buildings and local history. He is currently restoring his tenth historic home with his husband, Joshua.

The Akron Cultural Plan: the Impetus, the Process, and the Outcomes

The Akron Cultural Plan developed a vision and recommendations on how residents, organizations, and businesses can build upon their collective history and create the path for the future. ArtsNow, an independent nonprofit organization, received private resources from GAR Foundation and Knight Foundation to work together with the City of Akron, artists, cultural organizations, regional experts, and community residents to collect data and public input to inform the cultural plan. Hear from local funders, ArtsNow, members of the selection committee, local artists, elected officials, and the project consultant about the impetus for the plan, the process for developing the plan, and about major outcomes of the plan.


Amanda Golden

Amanda Golden has been an urban planner, arts administrator, and curator in the public art and cultural planning field since 2014. She is the managing principal and co-founder of Designing Local, where she oversees the creation of arts, cultural, and public art master plans for United States' cities, and helps private developers integrate public art within their developments. She has delivered more than 35 public art master plans in 15 states, managed complex public art commissions, and contributed to multiple National Endowment for the Arts' Our Town Grant projects. Amanda holds a Bachelor's of Science and a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University.

The Importance of Investing in Community Artists

The administrators of Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC), a non-hierarchical leadership consortium, know a bit about the struggles of community artists from relationships they’ve built with creatives around the region. As artist-entrepreneurs, CATAC also navigates the challenges of writing grants and waiting on results, pitching ideas to organizations with little to no avail, relying on institutions for provision, and being offered compensation in the currency of “exposure.” Unfortunately for many community-oriented artists, CATAC staff/volunteers included, a life as a full-time artist is an aspiration, where burnout runs rampant due to the less-than-ideal societal recognition of the arts' social and economic impact.

In this session, CATAC members will share creative ways to integrate community artists into the fold of local nonprofits, organizations, and businesses, creating a sustainable gig economy for creatives. Through a facilitated discussion, participants will leave with an action plan that can be pursued in their own communities. If you are part of an institution wanting to create better services for artists, an organization seeking to integrate the arts more in your programming, or an artist needing encouragement, this workshop is for you.


NimBrother, Katie Beck, Tessa Gaffney, and Josy Jones

NimBrother (Spaceman) is an Asian actor who holds space to share life experiences in a way that reflects and heals the traumas from the past and reimagines a positive future.

Katie Beck (Oracle of Synthesis) is a creative community builder, director, and writer who works to build spaces that center and prioritize historically excluded voices through Gum-Dip Theatre.

Tessa Gaffney (Marketing Mage) is currently the Marketing Director for the Center for Applied Drama, and an administrator and actor with QuTheatr.

Josy Jones (Strategic Partnerships) is the founder of the Chameleon Village Theatre, a site-specific theatre focused on building community connection with place.

CATAC affirms the intrinsic value of all cultures and explores the transformative power of the arts for the Akron community. CATAC supports the research and performances of resident/affiliate theatre companies, and nurtures emerging local artists and those of international reputation creating and experimenting with new work.

The Power of Creative Collaboration at Work

Ohio is rife with creatives, problem-solvers, and doers! This panel session of Air Collaborative facilitators, moderated by Air’s Executive Director Beth Flowers, will showcase the work of Ohio creatives in building stronger, more resilient, and inspired communities through the lens of creative collaboration. Learn how program facilitators thoughtfully adapted to localized need (from the classroom to the community), leveraged existing talent, and provided participants with entrepreneurial tools and knowhow, to help create healthy community-building frameworks and practices rooted in the arts.


Beth Flowers

Beth has 30 years of executive level experience with non-profits, governmental agencies, broadcast media, and the arts. She is a visionary thinker and a talented communicator. Beth has created messaging and strategies for victorious political candidates and issues, inspired citizen participation in government, managed public planning efforts, repositioned struggling organizations, and developed innovative programming that connects people. Beth is a national leader in the fields of arts professional development, community development, and entrepreneurship. As the creator and executive director of the Air Collaborative, she is at the forefront of connecting artists and creatives to their communities in new ways that truly raise the value of art and creativity. Beth strives to live up to her last name and is a passionate nature enthusiast, native plant champion, and amateur landscape designer and gardener.


Amanda Schaeffer

Amanda Schaeffer is a middle school art teacher at Hilliard City Schools Innovative Learning Hub, Hilliard, Ohio. She is passionate about using art to create better thinkers, knowers and doers. For 16 years, she has taught students how to use art and advocacy to feel connected and empowered in their own community. Amanda received her BFA from Kent State University, M.Ed from Ashland University and MA+15 from Ohio State University. She is a Fund For Teacher Fellow, recipient of numerous grants, the “Embrace, Inspire, Achieve” award (2022), and has been featured on PBS's “Broad and High” and in the documentary film “Every Fiber.”


Cameron Dedrick

Cameron Dedrick has nearly 20 years of teaching experience. He currently teaches 3D Foundations, 2D Foundations, Drawing Fundamentals, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Media Arts at Ashland High School (AHS). He taught elementary art for 15 years. He also serves as assistant marching band director at AHS and district technology coach. In 2021, Cameron was selected as a featured clinician at the Ohio Music Education Association State Conference, where he presented a clinic on utilizing technology in the fine arts classroom. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Ashland University with concentrations in Graphic Design and Printmaking, and a Master of Arts in Educational Technology from Baldwin-Wallace College. He is also a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity and a former assistant stage manager for the Ashland Symphony.


Martin Kral

Martin Kral is the director of bands and music department chair for Ashland High School (AHS), where he directs the high school symphonic, concert, and marching bands. He also teaches high school guitar and music technology courses and assists with the middle school band. Martin is a co-producer of the AHS media arts program, and he serves as the district’s fine arts coach. In 2010, 2020, 2021, and 2022, he was selected as a guest clinician at the Ohio Music Education Association State Conference, and most recently co-presented a clinic on making the fine arts "non-negotiable" in education. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Education from Ashland University, Master of Arts in teaching and learning from Nova Southeastern University and teacher leadership endorsement from Concordia University. He serves on various committees for the Ashland County Community Foundation & Ashland University and is a former board member of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. Martin has master teacher status with the district, and holds a Lead Professional Teaching License – the top licensure available for educators in the state of Ohio. He has a K-12 Music Licensure as well as a Teacher Leadership Endorsement.


Jennifer L'Heureux

For nearly 20 years, Jennifer L'Heureux nurtured her small business to help the community and better the lives of those in Southern Ohio. Resourcing and connecting with local food sources, community and school programs, event planning and gift giving were all ways to connect and network. A firm believer in sharing information and collaborating, Jennifer participates on several boards and is engaged in community outreach. AIR’s Collaborative Model has been a guiding force in changing her small business, the Nelsonville Emporium, into New Leaf Marketplace, creating pathways to empowerment, education and economic justice serving women and all genders who have experienced trauma and/or violence and/or substance abuse. Jennifer currently serves as the community outreach coordinator, finding ways to address issues like transportation, childcare, workforce and educational development, and supportive services within the program and community.


Brandon Thompson

Brandon Thompson, a native of Athens, Ohio, splits his time creating the 10,000+ person strong, weeklong Craft Brew Festival, Ohio Brew Week, as executive director, moving dance floors as a DJ and music producer and curator of the Athens Halloween Block Party, and serving as outreach coordinator for the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program a rape crisis center that serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Brandon thinks more can be done in terms of entertainment in southeastern Ohio and is happy to challenge any and all cultural norms he grew up with since many are outdated, lazy, or downright problematic. He wishes we would be kinder to each other and he is tired of music and television/film being seen as a lesser art form than many other more accepted forms of art. Working with AIR has been a great first step to actualizing those hopes.


Madelyn Brewer

Madelyn Brewer is currently employed at Buckeye Hills Regional Council, a designated Local Development District serving eight counties in southeast Ohio (Athens, Hocking, Perry, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington). Madelyn joined the Buckeye Hills team in May 2021, after working at an Athens-based economic development nonprofit. During her tenure at Buckeye Hills, Madelyn has worked with state, local, and federal programming including Economic Development Administration initiatives like the Coronavirus Aid Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Madelyn currently works on Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) area development initiatives.
Madelyn became a certified AIR facilitator in February 2019 with support from the Ohio Arts Council. She then organized Athens County’s first AIR Shift workshop in July 2019, based in Nelsonville, Ohio. Madelyn believes the work of AIR is vital to supporting rural communities in achieving resilient and prosperous local economies.

The Protagonist Project; "Catalyst"

Part of The Center for Applied Drama and Autism's Protagonist Project, a holistic theatre program which casts everyday people as the heroes of their own stories through interdisciplinary applied drama work, "Catalyst" is an interactive performance which offers audience members the opportunity to direct the action of a scene and to change its outcome through revisionist creativity. Part fun, part empathy-building, this session features actors from Theatre on the Spectrum and explores issues of bullying, accessibility, and inclusion. Suitable for teachers, arts leaders, professionals, and others working to make their school, theatre, place of business, or community more accessible to those with cognitive and other disabilities, leading to a more compassionate and service-focused mindset.


Anna-Jeannine Griesacker

Anna-Jeannine describes herself as an "autistic person, arts leader, and career creative." She began her theatre career early in life. Later, she used her knowledge of theatre performance and design found an award-winning boutique entertainment firm where she acted as an event planner, master of ceremonies, and audio/lighting designer. She has taught at several levels in both formal and informal settings and considers herself a life-long learner and educator. She was recognized as a Top 5 "Best Mentor" by Cleveland Business Connects Magazine (CBC) and The Northern Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) for creating an Event Design and Technology program also named "Coolest Internship" by CBC and NOCHE. Today, Anna-Jeannine is the administrative director of the Center for Applied Drama and Autism and a master's degree candidate in arts administration at The University of Akron. Her continuing thesis research “Growing a Viral Culture” explores how performing arts nonprofits in Northeast Ohio continued to serve their missions by leveraging technology and new funding sources as they adjusted to recent world events and changing health guidelines.


Ruben Ryan

Ruben earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies from Kent State University and has taught improv to children and adults of all abilities for many years. He is a longtime member of Just Go With It Premier Longform Improv Troupe and is currently the creative director for Point of No Return Improv.

Using Art to Understand Implicit Bias

Learn how art, self-reflection, and storytelling can reveal and provide understanding of implicit biases to create more inclusive practices. Come ready to actively investigate these processes that will demonstrate how we can engage, grow, and better understand ourselves and others through the lens of art.


Dr. Melissa Crum

Dr. Melissa Crum is an artist, author, researcher, and founder of the consulting company, Mosaic Education Network, LLC. Mosaic infuses the arts, research, storytelling, and critical thinking into professional development, community building, and curriculum development.

Dr. Crum has facilitated training sessions across the United States, creating a non-judgmental and refreshingly honest look at privileges and privately held beliefs. Her workshops focus on workplace culture development, equipping educators, leadership, staff, and board members with the skills to implement inclusive and equitable practices. By creating a brave space, Dr. Crum’s workshops allow organizations to critically investigate policies, workplace and learning culture, and relationship dynamics. Together, she empowers teams to positively dismantle systemic patterns, build authentic communication, and instigate radical growth company-wide.

Dr. Crum has earned degrees from The University of Florida and The Ohio State University. She is a certified diversity and inclusion practitioner through Cornell University, an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) qualified trainer and SHRM provider. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Cultural Equity Planning Workshop

Whether you've just begun your journey toward greater equity in your organization or community, or are deep into implementation, there are a million ways to think, plan, and execute more equitable programming for the benefit of all Ohioans. Remove fear, break down barriers, and supplement your work by learning an intentionally basic tool — the Cultural Equity Planning Rubric. Join the Kentucky Arts Council's Emily Moses to learn how this rubric and its related exercises work as you consider best practices to bring back to your board and staff. Come ready to work! If multiple people from your organization are attending the conference, we recommend attending this session together.


Emily B. Moses

Emily B. Moses is executive staff advisor for the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency. Emily works with artists, organizations, communities, partners, and other stakeholders to advance and support the arts in Kentucky. She manages the grants and fiscal staff at the agency, coordinates an array of programming for the arts council, develops and coordinates special projects, writes the agency’s grants, and works with arts council staff to achieve the agency’s goals and objectives. Emily worked to develop new efforts related to diversity, equity, inclusion and access during the last six years, the last two years funded by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. She is currently coordinating the state’s response to the arts and culture field following two major disasters in Kentucky in the last 10 months. Emily has worked as a government communications director, journalist and editor, and actress. Emily currently lives in Cynthiana, Kentucky, with her exceedingly adorable 4-year-old son.

The Power of Print and Community

This session will describe the birth and evolution of Collective Arts Network and its flagship project, CAN Journal. CAN Journal is a quarterly print magazine of art in Northeast Ohio, which anchors a website, a blog for critical reviews, and a weekly e-newsletter that is the most comprehensive listing of visual art events each week in Cuyahoga and surrounding counties. In 2019, CAN Journal was named the Best Magazine in Ohio by the Press Club of Cleveland at its statewide, peer-reviewed Excellence in Journalism Awards. In 2022, CAN Journal begins its second decade of publication, and counts among its membership nearly 100 visual art organizations, ranging from fledgling galleries to non-profit studios to major institutions like the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Michael Gill

Michael Gill is founding executive director of Collective Arts Network, and editor and publisher of CAN Journal. He has a background in arts administration and arts journalism, having been marketing director at Beck Center for the Arts, and having served as arts editor for the alternative weeklies, Cleveland Free Times and subsequently Cleveland Scene. His arts writing has been consistently recognized by the Press Club of Cleveland, which once named him Best Essayist in Ohio, and in 2022, recognized him as “Best in Ohio” in the Reviews/Criticism category. As an arts journalist he followed closely Cuyahoga County’s pursuit of public funding for the arts, the impact of arts businesses in neighborhoods, local graffiti, and the region’s discussions of racial equity in the arts. In his copious spare time he prints wood block/letterpress books, which are in public and private collections in the United States and abroad. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Hiram College, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University.

Rising Together: The University of Akron's AkronArts Initiative

Get to know the University of Akron’s bold new AkronArts plan, which embraces and advances the arts on the UA campus in truly transformative ways. The groundbreaking initiative announced in 2021 reimagines the university’s arts programming, better leverages facilities, expands curricula, deepens community engagement and relationships, addresses capital needs, and so much more, all to lead students, faculty, alumni, community partners, and the entire region into a new era of art and culture for Akron and beyond.


Dr. Gary Miller

Dr. Gary Miller is the 18th president of The University of Akron. He began his tenure on October 1, 2019. Dr. Miller has worked in higher education as a faculty member and administrator for nearly 30 years. He previously served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He served as a provost, dean, and department chair. Dr. Miller is an ecologist with interests in population ecology, behavioral ecology and the evolution of mating systems. He holds a BA and MA from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.

Financial Wellness for Creative Individuals

Building healthy financial habits can be a challenge for anyone… And for artists, designers, writers, dancers, and musicians, there is the added complication of managing cash flow, measuring success in creative and financial terms, and relying on sometimes uncertain sources of income. Especially now. As part of this workshop, we will:

  • Review a framework for managing income and expenses.
  • List key metrics to build financial wealth.
  • Describe ways of diversifying income to meet expense needs.
  • Specify next steps for future planning.


Elaine Grogan Luttrull

Elaine Grogan Luttrull, CPA-PFS, AFC® is the founder of Minerva Financial Arts, a company devoted to building financial literacy and empowerment in creative individuals through education and coaching. Her workshops and presentations have been featured nationally by groups that support the arts, a variety of state and regional arts councils and commissions, and colleges and universities where creative students thrive.
Elaine taught at the Columbus College of Art & Design for 10 years, including four years as the department head for Business & Entrepreneurship. Previously, Elaine served as the director of financial analysis for The Juilliard School and in the transaction advisory services practice of Ernst & Young in New York. She is based in Dublin, Ohio, (Kaskaskia and Hopewell indigenous and cultural lands) where she serves on the board of the Short North Alliance.

The GAME of Innovation

What does it take to win the game of creativity, organizational prosperity, or artistic success? Discover actionable strategies for conquering complex challenges and guiding teams toward big ideas and remarkable solutions. In this truly unique presentation, join thought leaders David Cutler and Lance LaDuke, co-authors of the visual book The GAME of Innovation, for an artistic journey encompassing music, humor, and a few surprises along the way.


David Cutler

"If 1,000 people consider a particular challenge, and 999 spot roadblocks, I aspire to be the one who sees things differently."
Speaker, author, musician, consultant, educator, and facilitator David Cutler is known for leading immersive "innovation GAMEs." These powerful, team-based experiences empower arts, business, and education communities to solve creative challenges while becoming better collaborators. His book The GAME of Innovation (McGraw-Hill; 2022) guides readers to conquer complex challenges, level up their team, and invent the extraordinary.
One of the world’s leading voices on arts entrepreneurship training, his acclaimed books The Savvy Musician and The Savvy Music Teacher have shaped a generation of artists. A multi-genre composer, pianist, Yamaha Master Educator, and self-proclaimed "weekend traveler,” Cutler seamlessly weaves together classical, jazz, popular, folk, and world music.
Recently appointed dean of music at DePauw University, Cutler previously taught arts entrepreneurship and innovation at University of South Carolina. He is a member of the Liberty Fellowship and Aspen Global Leadership Network, associations aimed at building a more just society.
Learn more about David at and


Lance LaDuke

"My hope is not to predict the future, but to embrace tools, clues, and allies that lead us there (while enjoying some laughs along the way)."
Teacher, creator, futurist, and performer Lance LaDuke has engaged audiences in all 50 states and 25 countries, sharing ideas on technology, problem-solving, the arts, and entrepreneurship.
He has performed with some amazing musical groups (Boston Brass; Philadelphia Orchestra; Pittsburgh Symphony; USAF Band in Washington, D.C.; River City Brass; and Brass Band of Battle Creek) and some amazing musicians (Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, Morton Gould, Morgan Freeman, and Frederick Fennell) while teaching some amazing students (at Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Royal Academy of Music in London, Juilliard, Hong Kong Academy, and Tatui Conservatory in Brazil).
LaDuke co-hosts The Brass Junkies Podcast with Andrew Hitz, contributed to the visual book The GAME of Innovation with David Cutler, and has been sighed performing comedy songs for unsuspecting audiences or even poor souls trapped on an elevator.
Learn more about Lance at:

Special Performance by Akron-based Jazz Pianist Theron Brown

Check in, fuel up for the day, and enjoy a special performance by Akron-based jazz pianist Theron Brown.


Theron Brown

A glimpse of gospel, jazz, and soul from the great legends is what inspires the sound of pianist Theron Brown’s music. But the reason he plays is to encourage and influence people through his talents.
Born and raised in Zanesville, Ohio, Theron currently resides in Akron, Ohio, where he is the artist coordinator for Curated Storefront, artist director at I Promise School, and the founder and artistic director of the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival which takes place annually in Akron, Ohio’s downtown historic district. You can see him regularly performing at many jazz clubs and theaters in northeast Ohio. Theron is immensely involved in promoting the arts scene in Ohio.
Theron received an amazing opportunity as he auditioned for and was cast as young Herbie Hancock in the 2016 released film about Miles Davis, Miles Ahead, directed by and starring Don Cheadle.
In 2019, Theron released his debut album, No Concepts. Theron is currently working on his second album titled “Spirit Fruit”, which reflects on essential and fundamental characteristics that bring positive vibes to peoples’ lives. This was inspired by Galatians 5:22-23.

PERFORMANCE: Three Countries, One Mother

Using storytelling, poetry, movement, and song, Three Countries, One Mother examines the history and culture of the Bhutanese-Nepali-American people who were displaced from their homeland as part of the Bhutanese Refugee Crisis in the 1990s and early 2000s. This play is inspired by the true story of Neema Bal’s family—members of the Tamang tribe, an ethnic group in the Bhutanese-Nepali community. Spanning generations and countries, this deeply personal narrative weaves together family stories and shamanic ritual to explore the impact of cultural legacy on an individual. The audience is invited to journey with Neema through his cultural inheritance as part of a quest to better understand himself.


Gum-Dip Theatre

In the past 6 years, Gum-Dip Theatre (GDT) has produced more than 90 performances in 42 different locations of original theatrical content based on the stories and histories of the marginalized. GDT is a resident theatre company of the Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, a leadership consortium that nurtures theatre research and performance in Akron. GDT believes that the theatre is a space for practicing different factual and imaginary versions of ourselves, for representing the narratives that are often ignored, and for elevating voices and identities that are not included in the mainstream. GDT’s Co-Artistic Directors NimBrother (Neema Ball) and Katie Beck have collaborated with multilingual communities to produce plays that have explored the personal stories of those who grew up in refugee camps, the experience of being multilingual in a globalized world, and the dreams of a happy and healthy future in the United States.

Performance by Found Sounds

Begin the day with breakfast and the musical stylings of Found Sounds, an ensemble featuring alumni of the University of Akron’s Steel Drum Band.


Found Sounds

Found Sounds is a NE Ohio-based group that has been performing for more than 20 years together. Alumni of the acclaimed University of Akron Steel Drum Band, Found Sounds has performed in-school concerts for thousands of students through Akron's Children’s Concert Society.
Matt Dudack is on the percussion faculty of the University of Akron, where he is the artistic director of the University of Akron Steel Drum Band. He has traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, the home of the steelpan, and was executive director for "Hammer on Steel," a documentary about the instrument’s origins. He has performed with Boogsie Sharpe, David Rudder, Cliff Alexis, Andy Narell, Liam Teague, Ray Holman, Earl Rodney, and Michael Spiro, among others. Matt also directs the steel band at the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts and Firestone High School.
Erynn Krebs is a fantastic bass player who also is a steelpan artist. She has performed throughout Northeast Ohio and Pittsburgh, frequently performing with Wil Krebs in their duo group, Dog Friendly.
Wil Krebs was originally the bass player for Found Sounds but recently moved into the lead pan position. Wil is a guitarist and bass player by trade but has added steelpan to his array of talents. He also works as a tuner and builder of steelpans.
Jeff Neitzke is today's drummer for Found Sounds, though he is an accomplished steelpan artist as well. Jeff is the director of bands at the University of Mount Union, where he is also their percussion instructor and steel band director. Jeff has traveled to Trinidad and Tobago and performed with Phase II Pan Groove during Carnival's Panorama competition.

Reasons to Return: Building Donor Retention

Nonprofit organizations work hard and invest significantly to acquire donors. However, national studies demonstrate that the majority of first-time donors do not give again the next year. This places significant pressure on finding new donors to replace those who lapsed all while trying to also to grow contributed income. And that, of course, is in addition to the many other roles nonprofit staff members must play. This session focuses on why retaining donors must be a priority and provides ideas on how to manage relationships to create loyal donors. We'll explore ways to make development programs sustainable and productive.


Carey Schmitt

Carey brings more than 20 years of experience in creating strategic solutions for clients that provide focused, integrated, and resource-efficient pathways to achieving goals. As managing partner of Plentiful, LLC, a consultancy to nonprofit organizations, she focuses on the formation of advancement strategies that are tailored for each organization’s situation. As an executive partner in a leading marketing agency, Carey worked on the campuses of colleges and universities around the country to strategically engage audiences. That experience included multi-million and multi-billion- dollar comprehensive campaigns and shaping the programs that supported them. As part of Plentiful, Carey has partnered with nonprofit organizations in health, human services, advocacy, women and children, and the arts. Recent clients include Besa, Community Housing Network, Harmony Project, Ohio Humanities, and YWCA Columbus.