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Executive Committee

Headshot of Gary Gibbs

1st Vice President
Gary Gibbs Executive Director
Texas Commission on the Arts


As executive director of the Texas Commission on the Arts, Dr. Gary D. Gibbs is responsible for the development and administration of the policies, programs and procedures of the state agency. Gibbs earned a B.M.E. in voice from Baylor University, an M.M. in voice from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Texas at Austin. His vocal studies prepared him to serve as soloist and choral clinician for a German church organization that presented him in concert and workshops throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Canada and South America. As a musicologist, he has presented numerous papers and has written several published articles dealing with American music topics. Gibbs's strong academic background does not preclude his vast practical experience. He has taught at all levels from kindergarten through college, and from 1991 to 2007 he served as director of education and outreach at Houston Grand Opera. He was the education manager for the Houston Arts in Education Collaboration (HAIEC), a project funded by the Arts Plus Initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts. He managed a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project, Texts and Traditions: Coming of Age in America, for the HAIEC. He has served on the Houston/Harris County Arts Task Force, the Harris County Department of Education Fine Arts Leadership Group and the Texas Commission on the Arts - Arts in Education Task Force. Gibbs has served on numerous local and national panels and committees, including the Multidiscipline, Music and Large Organization panels for the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Arts in Education and Arts Learning Panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. (Board term 2011-2016)

Headshot of John Bracy

2nd Vice President
John Bracey Executive Director
Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs


John Bracey became executive director of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) in 2006, after serving as director of programs since 1998. Prior to his tenure at MCACA, Bracey headed up communications and educational programs for the State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission. In that capacity, he worked on statewide as well as national campaigns, including the Detroit Challenge with the California based Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving and the education committee of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. He also served as legislative contact for the agency and was appointed ombudsman for the Commission during the privatization of its warehousing operations. Before his state service, Bracey spent nine years as a journalist, working as a reporter, news editor and managing editor. Bracey attended the University of Michigan in Flint, earning his degree in philosophy with a concentration in aesthetics. His graduate work has been in liberal studies, concentrating in American culture. (Board term 2010-2015)

Loie Fecteau

Loie Fecteau Executive Director
New Mexico Arts


Loie Fecteau has served as executive director of New Mexico Arts, the�state arts agency and a�division of the�New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs,�and its advisory New Mexico Arts Commission since 2004. Fecteau has focused much of her tenure on arts-based economic development and cultural tourism, including the development of Arts Trails designed to put New Mexico artists on the map and bring the market to them, as well as the creation of state-designated Arts and Cultural Districts in partnership with the New Mexico Economic Development Department's MainStreet Program. The pilot New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails received national recognition and have been featured in USA Today's daily newspaper and its GOESCAPE travel magazine. Fecteau served on the legislative advisory panel that recommended creation of the New Mexico School for the Arts, a publicly funded statewide arts high school, and currently serves on the steering council of Creative New Mexico, a statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization. Fecteau also serves on the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) Board of Trustees, WESTAF's Multicultural Advisory Committee, and as the New Mexico State captain for Americans for the Arts. She served a previous three-year term as a NASAA board member from 2009-2011. Prior to becoming an arts administrator, Fecteau was a journalist for more than 20 years and covered politics�in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. She received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri and a B.A. in English from Marietta College.�Fecteau has long believed in the transformative power of the arts. (Board term 2014-2016)

Headshot of Benjamin Brown

Benjamin Brown Chair
Alaska State Council on the Arts


Benjamin Brown has served on the Alaska State Council on the Arts since 2004, first as vice-chairman and since 2007 as chairman. He is a lifelong Alaskan and acting company member at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska, and has performed across the Last Frontier. Brown is an attorney currently serving on the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, a state agency dedicated to conservation and sustained-yield management of Alaska's unique fishery resources and supporting economic stability for fishermen and those dependent upon them. He was previously an associate attorney at Baxter Bruce & Sullivan, P.C., working on both criminal and civil law matters. He was a legislative aide in Juneau and Anchorage prior to attending law school, and has served on the boards of the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, and Capital Community Broadcasting, Juneau's public broadcaster. Brown currently serves as vice-chairman for CoastAlaska, the consortium of public radio stations across Southeast Alaska, and as cochairman of the Capital City Republicans. Brown received a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and a juris doctor from Northeastern University School of Law. (Board term 2012-2017)


Headshot of Alex Aldrich

Alex Aldrich Executive Director
Vermont Arts Council


Alexander L. Aldrich brings more than 25 years' experience in the arts to his position as executive director of the Vermont Arts Council. He is primarily responsible for furthering the Council's mission to inspire and nurture the arts at the center of community life through program development, fundraising and advocacy. Before moving to Vermont, Aldrich spent five years in Atlanta, Georgia: first as music programs producer for the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games' Cultural Olympiad; then as the first-ever "Cultural Paralympiad" director for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games; and finally as the business manager of Georgia State University's Rialto Center for the Performing Arts. Between college and graduate school, Aldrich held a variety of positions in music performance and management. A graduate of Harvard College and Yale School of Management, he previously has served as executive director of the Arlington [Virginia] Symphony Association, assistant director of the National Endowment for the Arts' Music Program and program director with the National Institute for Music Theater in Washington, D.C. Aldrich currently serves on the board of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, the board of the New England Foundation for the Arts, the New England Creative Economy Council, and the board of the Associated Harvard Alumni. He is on the advisory board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Vermont Chapter), and the Museum of Glass and Ceramics in Portland, Maine. (Board term 2011-2016)

Headshot of Cyndy Andrus

Cyndy Andrus Chair
Montana Arts Council


Cyndy Andrus has more than 25 years of work experience in the tourism industry, with an emphasis on marketing, strategic planning and geotourism. She is the principal of Andrus Consulting, which focuses on tourism development, strategy, marketing and communication in rural and urban Montana communities. Andrus is a member of the Montana Heritage Commission and serves on the governor's Tourism Advisory Council (past chair), which oversees the distribution of the state lodging tax and advises the governor on tourism issues. She is a current Bozeman city commissioner and a member of the Montana Ambassadors. Previously, Andrus served as director of the Bozeman Convention and Visitor Bureau. (Board term 2015-2017)

Stephanie B. Conner

Stephanie B. Conner Vice Chair
Tennessee Arts Commission


Stephanie B. Conner was appointed to the Tennessee Arts Commission in 2012 and was elected vice-chair for fiscal years 2014-2015. She previously served on the Commission from FY2002-2007, which included service as Commission chair for FY2005-2006 and FY2006-2007. During FY2014, Conner was chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and was a part of the Allocations Committee. Prior to her work with the Commission, she served as executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. During her tenure, she helped strengthen the film and music industry in the areas of policy development and legislation. She also served as assistant to the governor for Policy and, prior to that position, as assistant to the governor for Boards and Commissions. Conner has been board president of Tennesseans for the Arts and served on the Executive Committee and board of directors of South Arts. Currently, she serves on the board of Tennesseans for the Arts and of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. Conner has a special interest in arts education, fundraising and support, access for rural communities, and advocacy. She received her bachelor's degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University. (Board term 2015-2017)

Garbo Hearne

Garbo Hearne Former Chair
Arkansas Arts Council


Garbo Watson Hearne owns Hearne Fine Art and Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, located in the historic Dunbar neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas. She developed Hearne Fine Art in the New York and Atlanta markets and expanded its services to include cataloguing and fine art appraisals. In 2005, Hearne earned her certification in appraisal studies from New York University. In 2008, she and her husband, Dr. Archie Hearne, published Collaborations, Two Decades of African American Art: Hearne Fine Art 1988 – 2008. Before opening Pyramid Gallery in 1988, Hearne worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse at Arkansas Children's Hospital. She is a board member of the Mid-America Arts Alliance has served on the board of the Arkansas Humanities Council. She received a B.S.N. in nursing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. (Board term 2014-2016)

Headshot of Margaret Hunt

Margaret Hunt Executive Director
Colorado Creative Industries


Margaret Hut became director of Colorado Creative�Industries in 2013. She had directed the Utah Division of Arts and Museums since 2005. Prior to this position, she served as director of community and economic development for Salt Lake City government; manager of economic development programs for PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power Company; director of the International Microfinance Training Program at Naropa University; and vice president of a Utah-based fund-raising consulting group for nonprofit organizations. She has received leadership awards including the governor's leadership award, Utah Small Cities, Inc., for contributions to community and economic development; Pathfinder service award, Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce; Governor's Helping Hands Award for corporate volunteer programs in Utah schools; and United Way's Volunteer of the Year award. Hunt is a visual artist with work hanging in the Salt Lake City International Airport. She attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. (Board term 2013-2015)

Headshot of Susan Landis

Susan Landis Chair
West Virginia Commission
on the Arts


Susan Landis is executive director of the Beckley Area Foundation, a community foundation serving the charitable needs of southern West Virginia. She is active in Philanthropy West Virginia, West Virginia "Leave a Legacy" and the Council of Foundations. A member of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts for more than 15 years, she currently serves as its chair. She is a past president of the Theatre West Virginia board of directors and recipient of its Bravo Award for ongoing support of the arts in the Mountain State. In 2010, she received a Governor's Arts Award in special recognition of her support of the arts in West Virginia. Landis is a longtime member and officer of the Beckley Concert Association. She currently serves on the boards of the Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Concord University Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Beckley Rotary Club, Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, Raleigh General Hospital, Philanthropy West Virginia and the West Virginia Humanities Council. Landis received the a Distinguished West Virginian Award from the governor, an Outstanding Citizen Award from the local Chamber of Commerce, and the Spirit of Beckley Award for outstanding community service. Other organizational interests include the YMCA of Southern West Virginia, the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia, the College of William and Mary Alumni Society and her garden club. (Board term 2008-2015)

Headshot of Todd Lowe

Todd Lowe Council Member
Kentucky Arts Council


Todd Lowe is president and founder of the investment advisory firm Parthenon LLC. He was previously senior vice president of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, Inc., where he served as director of research, director of marketing, and equity analyst and portfolio manager. Lowe joined the board of the Kentucky Arts Council in 2005 and was elected chair that same year. He was the past president of the Partnership for Creative Economies in Metro Louisville, is a board member and president of Actors Theatre of Louisville, and is immediate past chair of the board of trustees of The Speed Art Museum. He currently serves as chair of the South Arts governing board. After attending the University of Louisville as a music major, Lowe graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.S. in finance. He has experience as a professional musician that includes performing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Rich Little Orchestra and Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. (Board term 2013-2015)

Headshot of Bill Mandicott

Bill Mandicott Former Chair
Maryland State Arts Council


Bill Mandicott has 30 years of professional experience in student affairs administration with an emphasis in performing arts presenting and management, community development and outreach programs, volunteer outreach/service learning programs, leadership development, multicultural programming and diversity initiatives. He is assistant vice president for student and community involvement at Frostburg State University and is chair of Frostburg's Cultural Event Series. Appointed to the Maryland State Arts Council by Governor Martin O'Malley in 2007, Mandicott served as chair from 2011-2012. He has served on the board of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and on NASAA's Development and Nominating committees. Mandicott completed post-master's coursework in educational leadership at West Virginia University. He has an M.A. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in counselor education/student personnel services and a B.A. in economics from State University of New York, College of Arts and Sciences at Geneseo. (Board term 2013-2015)

Headshot of Ken May

Ken May Executive Director
South Carolina Arts Commission


Ken May joined the South Carolina Arts Commission in 1985 as a regional arts coordinator and served as director of planning, research and grants and assistant deputy director before being named deputy director in 1995. During his tenure at the Commission, May has played a key role in the creation of many of the agency's nationally recognized programs and partnerships in arts education, community design, public participation in the arts, rural arts development, and career development for artists. Since becoming executive director in 2010, he has gained a national reputation as a leader in the use of social media for arts advocacy, decisively overcoming serious threats to his agency during the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions and securing $1 million in new, recurring state appropriation for arts grants in 2013. May has served as a panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts; a panelist, presenter, consultant and facilitator for national, state and local arts organizations; and a guest lecturer in arts administration programs at the College of Charleston and Winthrop University. He is a member of the board and current treasurer of South Arts. Before beginning his career in arts administration, May held positions with ARA Services Magazine and Book Division and McGraw-Hill. Prior to his long sojourn in the realm of day jobs, he worked as a professional musician. May received undergraduate and master's degrees in music history and musicology from Florida State University. (Board term 2015-2017)

Headshot of Lewis Ricci

Lewis Ricci Executive Director
Indiana Arts Commission


Lewis Ricci came to the Indiana Arts Commission as its newest executive director in 2006. He spent the previous five years at the University of Idaho as a faculty member and the inaugural director of International Jazz Collections at the Lionel Hampton Center, where he pioneered new on-line resources linking the collection to the public and developed national programs based on the collection. Prior to that, Ricci was executive director of the Columbus (Indiana) Arts Council and was a development director at Penn State University. He holds a master's degree in arts administration from Indiana University and a B.S. from Bucknell University, and has worked with the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and public broadcasting from Indiana University. During his long career, Ricci has been an author, lecturer, educator and producer for both television and the musical theater. He has served on many boards and committees, and is currently a member of the Distinguished Alumni Council of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Ricci and his musical family live in scenic south-central Indiana, where he is well-known as a singer, songwriter, pianist and leader of a family band. (Board term 2012-2017)

Headshot of Randy Rosenbaum

Randall Rosenbaum Executive Director
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts


Randall Rosenbaum is the executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, a position he has held since 1995. From 1984 to 1995, Rosenbaum served in a variety of capacities at the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, including deputy director and director of the Dance and Presenting Organizations programs. He has a bachelor of music education degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, and has managed orchestras and nonprofit arts organizations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio. Rosenbaum has served as a site visitor and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts in the dance, theatre, musical theatre/opera and state and regional programs, and as a panelist for the state arts agencies of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as for the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Heinz Endowment of Pittsburgh, and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in Cleveland, Ohio. He has taught arts administration courses, classes and seminars at Brown University and Rhode Island College. He serves on the board of the New England Foundation for the Arts. A practicing musician, Rosenbaum has sung professionally in churches and synagogues, and with performing ensembles throughout the East Coast. (Board term 2012-2017)

Headshot of Nola Ruth

Nola Ruth Chair
Missouri Arts Council


Nola Ruth retired eight years ago after 25 years in arts management. She served for 17 years as the director of the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies, a statewide service organization that provides training and consultant services to arts councils including planning, program development and fundraising. Ruth has been an instructor for arts management institutes in South Dakota and Kansas and has consulted for various organizations in Illinois, Kansas and Kentucky. She began her career in nonprofit arts management as manager of a community radio station with 14 staff and 125 volunteers. Her volunteer experience includes being founding president of the Arts Resources Council, now the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Columbia. She was also founding president of the Statewide Community Arts Association, now the State Arts Action Network with Americans for the Arts. In both instances, responsibilities included planning, fundraising and program implementation. Ruth is a board member of Mid-America Arts Alliance. (Board term 2015-2017)

Headshot of Sandy Shaughnessy

Sandy Shaughnessy Division Director
Florida Division of Cultural Affairs


Sandy Shaughnessy served at the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs as an arts administrator for various grant programs, special events and initiatives before being appointed director in 2005. Prior to that, she was box office manager for Old School Square Cultural Arts Center in Delray Beach and director/treasurer of box office operations for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. A native New Yorker, Shaughnessy has work experience at ABC's World News Tonight and 20/20 as well as at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a graduate of New York University with a bachelor of arts degree in dramatic literature, theatre history and the cinema, with a minor in political science. She completed graduate coursework in arts administration, and is trained in international protocol. Shaughnessy serves on the board of South Arts, where she cochairs the Performing Arts Exchange, and has served as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. (Board term 2014-2016)

Headshot of Suzanne Wise

Suzanne Wise Executive Director
Nebraska Arts Council


As executive director, Suzanne Wise is the Nebraska Arts Council's CEO, representing the agency at the state, regional and national levels in a variety of ways. She works with the Arts Council board to implement agency goals and objectives and responds to the needs of the state's arts community through financial support, services and advocacy. Wise works with the Nebraska Cultural Endowment in developing financial resources for the arts and humanities. Her career at the Arts Council began in 1988. She has served as the public art program administrator and managed special initiatives and all grant programs except arts education for the agency. She has served on numerous boards both in Nebraska and nationally, including Mid-America Arts Alliance and NASAA. Wise holds an M.A. in art history from the University of Kansas, with a specialization in 19th- and 20th-century American painting and photography, and a B.A. in art history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Previously, she held curatorial positions at Sheldon Art Museum, Joslyn Art Museum and Northwestern University's Block Gallery, and has taught at Creighton University and in the University of Nebraska system. Wise was awarded an Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award in 1998 from University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts Alumni Association board of directors. (Board term 2015-2017)

Advisory Member

Headshot of Mary Margaret Schoenfeld

Mary Margaret Schoenfeld National Coordinator
U.S. Regional Arts Organizations


Mary Margaret Schoenfeld is the national coordinator for the U.S. regional arts organizations. She provides programmatic, management and administrative leadership for the collaborative work of the six independent nonprofit agencies created to encourage development of the arts and to support arts programs throughout the United States and on a regional basis. Schoenfeld works as an independent arts management consultant. For 25 years she has led efforts in nonprofit and public sector arts organizations to train and provide technical assistance to artists and arts administrators, created programs, and managed funding programs and other resources to ensure that arts and cultural opportunities are available to the widest possible audience. She has a specific focus on community and economic development and the arts. Schoenfeld is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, teaching arts programming through the Arts Extension Service. She holds an M.A. in public affairs from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and a B.A. in government from St. Lawrence University. She has worked for local, state and national arts organizations including Americans for the Arts, the Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington County, Virginia, the League of Historic American Theatres, the Vermont Arts Council and the Women's Art Registry of Minnesota.