- MD Arts Community
- Get Involved
- News and Events
Matt GallagherChair Goldseker Foundation
Doreen BolgerVice Chair Baltimore City
Marva Jo Camp, Esq.Treasurer Prince George’s County
Carole AlexanderSecretary Anne Arundel County
Christopher BedfordBaltimore Museum of Art
Ardath M. CadeAnne Arundel County
Bob CarpenterCalvert County
Navasha DayaSinger and Songwriter Baltimore City
Lynn DeeringBaltimore City
Carla Du PreeCityLit Project
Sue HessBaltimore City
Kerry HolahanEAA Chair, Singer
Peter KjomeBaltimore Symphony Orchestra
Elizabeth LucasNew Spire Arts
Julia Marciari-AlexanderThe Walters Art Museum
Mary Ann MearsArts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance
Richard Montgomery IIIMaryland State Bar Association
April NymanArts Council of Anne Arundel County
Eliot PfanstiehlStrathmore Hall Foundation
Karen RecknerCAAM Representative Garrett County Arts Council
Ryan RiletteRound House Theatre
Michael RossCenter Stage
Ben SimonsAcademy Art Museum
Nicholas CohenExecutive Director
Cristyn JohnsonProgram Manager
Secretly wants to be a…
Secretly wants to be a…
Secretly wants to be a…
Secretly wants to be a…
Secretly wants to be a…
Chair Goldseker Foundation
Matthew D. Gallagher serves as the President and CEO of the Goldseker Foundation. Before joining the Foundation in 2013, Mr. Gallagher served as Chief of Staff to Maryland Governor Martin J. O’Malley and was responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the executive branch of Maryland State government.
Prior to his position in Maryland State government, Mr. Gallagher served as Director of CitiStat, Baltimore’s nationally recognized public sector accountability program. Mr. Gallagher has also served as Project Director for the Greater Baltimore Committee, as an assistant deputy mayor in Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell’s administration, and in educational programs for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Gallagher was born and raised in Baltimore and holds degrees from La Salle University and the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in public policy and administration at the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, as well as lectured at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Center of Government.
Mr. Gallagher resides in Baltimore City’s Roland Park neighborhood with his wife, Helene, and their children.
Vice Chair Baltimore City
Doreen Bolger, former Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art for 17 years,led the BMA through a Strategic Plan that redefined its artistic focus as nineteenth century, modern, and contemporary art; placed greater emphasis on the riches of the Museum’s renowned art collections; initiated a series of high profile, BMA-organized scholarly exhibitions that have traveled nationally; made a renewed commitment to arts education and community engagement with the Museum; and called for increasing the Museum’s fundraising capacity. Ms. Bolger also played a leadership role in the region’s cultural community, serving as Chair of the WYPR Community Advisory Board, and as a Board member of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Maryland Citizens for the Arts, and the Charles Street Development Corporation. She is also a member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee of the U.S. Mint.
Previously, Ms. Bolger served as Director of the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design. She had a long curatorial career, first at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and then at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. With a Ph.D. in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, she has published extensively on American painting, drawings, and decorative arts.
Treasurer Prince George’s County
Marva Jo Camp is an attorney in private practice. Her specialties include governmental relations, real estate transactions and land use, not-for-profit governance, community and economic development and minority and women-owned business. Locally, Marva Jo works as included serving Director of Government and Community Outreach for Bowie State University and as a Lobbyist for the Prince George’s County Council. Marva Jo is very involved in community service. She serves as Pro Bono Counsel for a number of community organizations, including the Prince George’s Tennis and Education Foundation and the Democratic Central Committee. She also serves as Chairperson of Leadership Prince George’s, Vice Chair for the Prince George’s Economic Development Corporation, Trustee for Maryland Citizens for the Arts and Panel Member for Arts in Public Places. Marva Jo previously served as President of the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council. Marva Jo is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia School of Law. She is the proud mother of Jordan Alexandria, 16 and Taylor Jonai, 14. The family resides in Prince George’s County.
Secretary Anne Arundel County
Carole Alexander is a resident of Annapolis, Maryland and formerly of Prince George’s County. She has been active in arts advocacy for the last twenty years. She is an independent consultant specializing in creative special events, marketing, fundraising and community outreach. Carole attributes her professional successes to serving with creative people on numerous boards, including the Maryland State Arts Council, Maryland Citizens for the Arts and the Art education in Maryland Schools Alliance.
Baltimore Museum of Art
Christopher Bedford is the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and the 10th director to lead the museum, which is renowned for its outstanding collections of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Recognized as an innovative and dynamic leader, Bedford served as director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University for four years prior to joining the BMA and was appointed as Commissioner for the U.S. Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale. His previous experience includes curatorial positions at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and J. Paul Getty Museum. Born in Scotland and raised in the United States and the UK, Bedford has a B.A. from Oberlin College, an M.A. from Case Western Reserve University, and has studied in the doctoral programs at the University of Southern California and the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London.
Anne Arundel County
Ardath Cade, a longtime resident of Anne Arundel County, began her Maryland governmental career as County Administrator of Charles County. Thereafter she served on the State House staff of Acting Governor Blair Lee. During a the administration of Governor Hughes, as Assistant Secretary of the Dept. of Economic and Community Development she oversaw housing and cultural programs , including the Maryland State Arts Council. Later, while a senior administrator in the Anne Arundel County Government, she was appointed by Governor Schaefer to membership on the Arts Council, and served as its Chairman in the late 90’s.
Ms. Cade has been an MCA Board member since 1998 and has served as treasurer and vice chairman.
While not a professional artist or arts administrator, Ms. Cade, a harpist during her youth, and a photography enthusiast, continues as a strong supporter of diverse arts organizations, co-chaired Maryland Arts Day for several years, and is active in the advocacy efforts of MCA’s support of arts funding.
Bob Carpenter serves as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Calvert. He also serves as President and Founder of Chesapeake Beach Consulting, a full service political strategy and research company he started in 2012 after spending 18 years as Vice President of American Viewpoint, a Republican research company. Prior to joining American Viewpoint, Mr. Carpenter spent 15 years as a Republican political operative with numerous Republican State Committees and the Republican National Committee.
Mr. Carpenter also serves as an outside sales consultant for Seven Lands & Sea Travel, specializing in luxury cruises. And, serves on the Calvert Memorial Hospital Foundation Board. After a twenty year break from theater in high school, he reentered the sector, helping his brother-in-law with sets and costumes for various community theater organizations around the greater DC area. For 15 years, he was active in the Arts Club of Washington including serving as Club Treasurer and Club President.
Mr. Carpenter is a native of California, graduating from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo with a degree in Political Science and the University of Southern California with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He lives in Chesapeake Beach where he serves on the Chesapeake Beach Town Council.
Singer and Songwriter Baltimore City
Navasha Daya performs, speaks, and consults nationally and internationally utilizing art and culture as a tool for violence prevention, conflict resolution, self-care and healing from trauma. On stage, Ms. Daya embodies the indigenous feminine spirit and inspires women throughout the world. Grammy-Award winning songstress India Arie described Ms. Daya’s voice as “the true definition of soulful.” She was nominated for female vocalist of the year for the Soultracks Reader’s Choice Awards and has charted at #2 on both Japan’s jazz and dance iTunes charts numerous times. In addition to her solo career as an indie-soul artist, Ms. Daya toured from 2013-2015 as a guest artist, singing with the Grammy Award winning a capella group “Sweet Honey In The Rock.”
Ms. Daya provides services and learning for the mind, body, and spirit, and holds sacred, the beauty of all spiritual paths, faiths and cultures of the world. She is knowledgeable and trained in a variety of spiritual paths and is a transformation agent who uses her spiritual and artistic training to assist in the daily re-birth process of those she serves. Dedicated to the healing of the community, Ms. Daya is also Co-Founder and Director of the Healing and Performing Arts of the Youth Resiliency Institute, providing an array of programming, trainings, and services to assist others in healing from trauma. She uses her art to serve families in public housing in Baltimore, MD and in East Cleveland, OH. Ms. Daya is a board member of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, a steering committee member of the Baltimore Arts Education Coalition, a member of the international working group Feminist Alliance for Rights, and a member of The Recording Academy.
In addition to her volunteer work with Maryland Citizens for the Arts, where she has served on the Board for over 15 years, Mrs. Deering serves as a trustee on the Board of Center Stage in Baltimore, MD (previously President of the Board). Mrs. Deering is also the President of The Charlesmead Foundation and a member of the National Advisory Board for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Theatre & Literary
Secretly wants to be a…
Carla Du Pree is a fiction writer, literary consultant, state arts ambassador, and speaker, whose short stories and excerpts from her work-in-progress, Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, have appeared in Callaloo, Potomac Review, a Special Fiction and Poetry edition of City Paper– Baltimore, and anthologies The Spirit of Pregnancy and Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience.
Ms. Du Pree is the Executive Director of CityLit Project, a small literary nonprofit that nurtures readers and writers throughout the region. She was appointed to the Maryland State Arts Council, served as the Vice Chair, and the Chair of the Diversity Outreach Committee, and completes a six-year stint as a counselor in 2017. She’s currently on the One Maryland One Book Selection Committee (a second time), and has served as a county and state judge for the flourishing Poetry Out Loud, NEA’s national poetry competition. She produced Raising Our Voices: Womyn Out Loud, a reading devoted to diverse voices. Ms. Du Pree’s speaking engagements include tributes to Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison – all with the Furious Flower Poetry Center, The Baltimore Arts Society, in a tribute to Lucille Clifton, and the Baltimore debut of Listen to Your Mother speaker series. Ms. Du Pree has spoken before the National Association of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) about the benefits and necessity of diversity and inclusivity, and worked as a parent liaison for the Howard County public middle schools. She was an adjunct professor and independent thesis advisor at The Johns Hopkins University part-time graduate writing seminars in Fiction.
For her work in progress, Ms. Du Pree is the recipient of a 2016 Rubys Artist Project Grant in the literary arts, a 2017 Poetry Foundation Fellow, a 2017 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellow, and won a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction in 2007. As Founding Fiction Editor of Shooting Star Review, she edited the most sought after issue in the 14 year history of the literary magazine. She’s written, directed and produced two plays (The Era of Black Women at the University of Pittsburgh and Believe for 45 middle schoolers at a Howard County private school), and happily joined a women’s conversation about fashion by contributing to Women in Clothes, edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton. In 2010, she was invited to join an illustrious group of literary scholars, poets and writers called Wintergreen Women. Ms. Du Pree is the former executive director of HoCoPoLitSo and producer of The Writing Life. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from The Johns Hopkins University. An avid arts advocate, she supports artists nationally and throughout the state, and continues to empower women artists.
Sue Hess has been a leader and staunch defender of the arts in Maryland for over thirty years. Shortly after Francis Murnaghan, Jr., a longtime chairman of the Walters Art Museum, founded Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) in 1977, he was appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court. He asked Ms. Hess to become the chair of MCA, which she did, and she has continued to serve MCA in various capacities ever since that time. Working on her own for the first three years at her kitchen table in Ocean City, Ms. Hess began forming a network of grassroots art supporters across the state, and she soon acquired a reputation for unflinching persistence in advocating for the arts in Maryland at any level at any time. Residing with her family in Salisbury, she was concerned that all Maryland citizens have access to the arts, especially students. Ms. Hess has been instrumental in driving the tremendous change and growth in MCA over the years, and she continues to add her unique and seasoned perspective to the organization as the longest serving member on the Board of Trustees. Her passion for the arts and her credibility with the state’s elected leadership has yielded countless benefits for artists and audiences everywhere in her beloved State of Maryland.
EAA Chair, Singer
Kerry Holahan is a singer based in Baltimore who performs with Western Classical and Traditional Chinese choirs and ensembles throughout the Greater DC area. She is a vocal advocate for individual artists and active in arts advocacy work at the state and national level since she first enrolled as a masters student at Peabody Conservatory. Kerry joined the Maryland Citizens for the Arts Emerging Arts Advocates Committee in 2013 and has helped facilitate numerous MCA-hosted events such as Maryland Arts Day and Maryland ArtsLAB, is a frequent attendee at Arts Advocacy Day and was invited to join the selection committee for the Sue Hess Arts Advocate of the Year in 2016. In addition to arts advocacy work, she has maintained her cross-cultural work in China, after having lived in Beijing for nine years prior to coming to Baltimore. She regularly performs, tours and conducts performing masterclasses in China, as well as coordinating Sino-US cultural exchange events through the Baltimore-Xiamen Sister City Committee and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Blending his deep love of classical music with a passion for business, Peter Kjome began his tenure as President and CEO of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in early 2017. Recognized as an engaging and thoughtful leader, during his career he has played a central role in engaging key stakeholders to achieve artistic and economic success. Prior to his BSO appointment, Mr. Kjome served as President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony (GRS), the second-largest performing arts organization in Michigan. In addition to mounting a successful $40 million endowment campaign, the GRS reached several multi-year collective bargaining agreements with its musicians, including a five-year agreement signed in 2016. Under his leadership, in 2016 the orchestra selected Marcelo Lehninger as its Music Director, after developing and implementing strategic plans that significantly advanced the organization’s artistic and educational initiatives and financial position.
Mr. Kjome brought strong management and financial skills when he returned to the orchestral music industry, developed during his time at 3M Company, a leading global company based in St. Paul, Minnesota. At 3M, Mr. Kjome served in positions of increasing responsibility in the company’s consumer business, including roles in strategic planning and marketing, along with significant international experience. He led projects generating substantive change during his tenure at 3M, including major projects in the company’s Six Sigma program.
Mr. Kjome’s career in orchestral music began when he joined the Grand Rapids Symphony as an oboist in 1990. He served as a member of the orchestra for eight years, including six years as principal oboist, continuing a career that included performing as a substitute musician with the Cleveland Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony. During his time as a musician in the GRS, he was elected by his peers to serve as a musician representative on the orchestra’s board.
Mr. Kjome received his bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. At Kellogg, he majored in marketing and management and strategy, receiving the Maurice L. Rothschild Scholarship in recognition of his academic achievement and commitment to social enterprise.
Active both personally and professionally, Mr. Kjome is a past chair of the Group 2 orchestras of the League of American Orchestras. He is a past board member of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids and Blandford Nature Center. His service has also included the Arts Advisory Committee of the 3M Foundation and the Community Capital Alliance. In 2011, the League of American Orchestras presented Kjome with the Helen M. Thompson Award for Exceptional Leadership. Mr. Kjome is married to Kristen Morrison, an accomplished artist.
New Spire Arts
Elizabeth Lucas is the Producing Artistic Director of New Spire Arts, a new performing arts and education facility in downtown Frederick, MD. Elizabeth has developed many new musicals, from countless readings to full productions, including a critically acclaimed production of her own new narrative for Adam Guettel’s MYTHS AND HYMNS for Prospect Theater in New York, the world premiere of Mark Hollman’s BIGFOOT AND OTHER LOST SOULS for Perseverance Theatre in Alaska and many New York Musical Theatre Festival premieres, where she is also a Founding Producer. Other favorite directing credits include the Midwest premiere of HELLO AGAIN and her casino adaptations of FOOTLOOSE and JEKYLL & HYDE in Atlantic City. Elizabeth made her feature directing debut with three award-winning genre movies about New York City past, present and future: her rock musical movie, CLEAR BLUE TUESDAY, her slasher flick, RED HOOK and her Sci-fi FADE TO WHITE. Elizabeth has assistant directed over 30 musicals, plays and operas around the country.
The Walters Art Museum
Dr. Julia Marciari-Alexander became Executive Director at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland on April 1, 2013. The first woman to hold that post, Dr. Marciari-Alexander came to Baltimore with more than 15 years of experience. In 2008 she was named Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA), where she oversaw all aspects of the museum’s curatorial and publications programs from 2008 to 2013. She also served as SDMA’s Interim Co-Director from 2009 to 2010 and Deputy Director for Education from 2010 to 2011. While at SDMA, Ms. Marciari-Alexander led the team that conceived, planned, and implemented major reinstallations of every public space within its permanent collection galleries and ran a major international exhibition program. Additionally, she was a founding member of a “Learning Partnership” focused on community, museums, and cultural arts that works to create a bridge between Balboa Park and the communities commonly called the Diamond Neighborhoods in Southeastern San Diego.
Prior to moving to San Diego, she was at the Yale Center for British Art, first as a curator in the Paintings & Sculpture Department from 1996 to 2002 and then Associate Director for Exhibitions & Publications from 2002 to 2013. In 2007, her exhibition, Howard Hodgkin Paintings 1992-2007, was named one of the ten best exhibitions of 2007 by Time. The San Diego installation of Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman, co-organized with the Cincinnati Art Museum, was named a top ten California exhibition of 2011 by LA Times critic Christopher Knight. A specialist in the arts and visual culture of Britain and France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, she holds a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University and a MA in French Literature from NYU. She received her BA from Wellesley College in 1989.
Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance
Mary Ann Mears is a sculptor who has been commissioned to create site-specific art for public sites across a number of states including Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Within her home state of Maryland, her commissioned works are located in Bethesda, Rockville, Cheverly, Belair, Glen Burnie, Silver Spring, Columbia, and at several locations in Baltimore.
Ms. Mears is also a volunteer arts advocate. Her achievements include being a founder of Maryland Art Place and helping to craft and successfully lobby for Maryland’s Public Art Bill. She is a trustee of Maryland Citizens for the Arts. Ms. Mears is the founder of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS) Alliance, she serves on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Fine Arts Education Advisory Panel. and recently Co-chaired the Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council’s Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland Schools.
She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in the Fine Arts from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). In 2009, she received the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award from the National Governors Association.
Chatham, New Jersey
Being silly with her grandson
Secretly wants to be a…
A world traveler
Maryland State Bar Association
Richard Montgomery has been the Director of Legislative and Governmental Relation for the Maryland State Bar Association since 2003. He previously served as Deputy Legislative Director for Maryland Governors William Donald Schaefer and Parris N. Glendening. His principal issues areas of expertise were housing, environment, civil rights, social services, and domestic violence prevention.
Mr. Montgomery is a member of the Board of Directors of Art with a Heart, the Green and Health Homes Initiative (formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning), and Maryland Government Relations Association. He was the Chairman of the Government Relations Section of the National Association of Bar Executives from 2010-2011. Mr. Montgomery has also been a voluntary instructor for the Charm City Youth Lacrosse League since 2012. He is an avid photographer, and has donated his photographs to a number of nonprofit organizations in the Baltimore area.
Arts Council of Anne Arundel County
April Nyman was born in Pensacola, FL. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marketing. After graduation, she worked as an Event Planner and Marketing Director in both the Hotel and Mall industries. While working in these corporate positions, she also served in numerous volunteer capacities in the Arts. Ms. Nymanl led a 5-year development campaign to support an emerging Cultural Arts Center. As a result of this positive experience, she moved from a corporate career to one in the non-profits. She has served as Executive Director for the Fiesta of Five Flags Celebration, Navy League, and for the CFC United Way Campaign.
April is a 2009 Executive Leadership Series graduate for Leadership Anne Arundel and chairs the Cultural Arts Day for the Flagship class annually. She was named as one of five Anne Arundel “Women of the Year” in 2010 by the Capital Gazette. Ms. Nyman is also a grants panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council; is a member of the Annapolis Rotary Club and the 21st Century Club; and serves on the Boards of Anne Arundel County Visitors Center, 4 Rivers Heritage of Anne Arundel County, and Main Street Annapolis Partners. She is the current President of the Community Arts Agencies of Maryland (CAAM).
Ms. Nyman and her family moved to Annapolis 8 years ago. She assumed the position with the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County in fall 2007. She has three children; Logan, 20; Abby, 18; and Lizzie 15. All three children are active in the arts.
Strathmore Hall Foundation
Eliot Pfanstiehl is the President and CEO of Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc., which operates and presents programming at Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary arts center, including the Music Center and the Mansion at Strathmore, in Montgomery County, Maryland. Mr. Pfanstiehl has held this position since the Foundation’s inception in 1983.
Born in the District of Columbia and a graduate of George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology, Mr. Pfanstiehl’s career is a mixture of arts management, education, leadership training, and organizational development. He has led over 250 board and strategic planning retreats for a range of non-profit civic, arts and social service organizations, government agencies and businesses.
Mr. Pfanstiehl has been a founder, president or chair of Montgomery County Arts Council, the Round House Theatre, the League of Washington Theatres, the Maryland State Arts Council, and Maryland Citizens for the Arts. His past board service includes the Friends of the Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, BlackRock Center for the Arts, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, Maryland Association of Non-profit Organizations, Montgomery County Conference and Visitors Bureau, and MetroArts I, II and III. He was the founding President of Maryland Leadership Workshops and is the ongoing program facilitator for Leadership Maryland, Leadership Montgomery, Leadership Allegany, Leadership Washington County, Leadership Anne Arundel. and is a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Washington.
Mr. Pfanstiehl was named 2000 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine, the Washington Business Journal named him one of the “People to Watch” in 2005, and he was awarded Outstanding Leader of the Year by Leadership Montgomery in 2008.
Mr. Pfanstiehl and his archaeologist wife, Cynthia are the proud parents of four children. They live in Silver Spring, Maryland where they are active in school, church, and community affairs.
Leadership programs facilitator (State and County programs)
Secretly wants to be a…
A rustic conference center operator or short-order cook at any hometown diner
CAAM Representative Garrett County Arts Council
Karen Reckner is the Executive Director of Garrett County Arts Council, overseeing the daily operations of all projects including a community arts granting program and a retail gallery serving more than 360 regional artists.
Before joining Garrett County Arts Council in 2009, Ms. Reckner was Director of Business Services for Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to this, she worked for the Maryland Office of Tourism as an assistant supervisor at a state Welcome Center. In addition to her supervisory duties, Ms. Reckner was an instructor for Travel Industry Association of America National Certification Training program for OTD.
Ms. Reckner currently is a board member to the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area, where she serves on the Grants Committee, an ex officio member of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, previously served the County United Way, Maryland Life board and Economic Development Workforce Development Committee. Ms. Reckner is a founding member of the non-profit organization Barn Quilt Association of Garrett County, Inc. Her efforts helped Maryland become part of a grassroots public art project that is now present in more than 40 states and several countries.
Ms. Reckner is a lifelong resident of Garrett County and lives in Oakland. While appreciating and celebrating the diversity of the arts culture across Maryland, she is especially proud of the Appalachian traditions present in the beautiful mountains of Western Maryland.
Round House Theatre
Ryan Rilette is entering his fourth season as Producing Artistic Director of Round House Theatre. During his tenure, Round House has received more Helen Hayes awards and nominations than in the previous decade, the 2014-15 season was the second-highest attended in history, and unrestricted net assets have increased by more than $1MM. Mr. Rilette is also one of seven Artistic Directors who conceived and produced the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival, which features more than 50 world premieres by more than 50 female playwrights throughout the DC area this September and October.
Prior to joining Round House, Mr. Rilette served for five seasons as Producing Director of Marin Theatre Company and for six seasons as Producing Artistic Director of Southern Rep in New Orleans, where he led the theater’s post-Katrina recovery. He is also the co-founder of New York’s Rude Mechanicals Theater Company, where he served as Artistic Director for three seasons, and is the former President of the National New Play Network. He has worked as an actor in film, TV and at theaters throughout the country, and was a professor at Tulane and Loyola Universities in New Orleans.
Michael Ross returned to Center Stage in 2016, after working for seven seasons as managing director of Westport Country Playhouse. From 2002-2008 he was managing director of Center Stage. Previously, Ross was managing director of Long Wharf Theatre (1997-2002), where he was on the producing team for the commercial transfer of the Pulitzer Prize winner, Wit. He was general manager, and business manager at Hartford Stage (1986-1996). Ross served as program officer/project director at National Arts Stabilization, and worked with Baltimore Opera Company and Alley Theater, Houston.
Mr. Ross has consulted in fundraising, board development, executive search, and strategic planning for theaters nationwide, including Kansas City Repertory Theatre, SITI Company, Wilma Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and Everyman Theatre. He has been a panelist for programs hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group, and New England Foundation for the Arts, among others, and was an adjunct professor in The Yale University School of Drama Theater Management Program. He has served on numerous Boards including Theatre Communications Group, The National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition.
Mr. Ross currently serves on the Board of the Burry Fredrik Foundation and Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
Academy Art Museum
From 2006 until 2013 Ben Simons served as chief curator and senior management member of Nantucket Historical Association, an American Alliance of Museums-accredited museum and campus of historic properties with a $5.3 million budget. He has a Master’s Degree in History of Art from Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Mr. Simons also a master’s degree from Yale University and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. In addition, he has attended Getty Leadership Institute for museum professionals in Claremont, CA. Mr. Simons has written two books on private collections of maritime art and authored several collections and exhibition catalogues, as well as served as editor of the award-winning quarterly Historic Nantucket.
Mr. Simons and his wife, Alison Cooley, are natives of Washington, DC. Alison is a practicing artist. They have a six-year-old son, Finley.
Nicholas Cohen has served as the Executive Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts since March of 2017. In this capacity, Nicholas is in charge of coordinating advocacy efforts on behalf of the entire arts community in Maryland. These efforts help ensure increase funding at the state level for the Maryland State Arts Council and help bring increase access to the arts for all Marylanders.
Before coming to MCA, he served as Director of Community Engagement & Education Program for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, overseeing programming that provided access to music and arts for the entire Mid-Atlantic region. Most recently, Nicholas served on Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Youth Development Committee which was charged with developing a comprehensive plan for Baltimore City youth.
An avid musician, Nicholas is currently the contrabassoonist with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Bethesda, Maryland, and has performed with the Annapolis Symphony, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and other ensembles throughout North America. Nicholas received his Bachelors of music with a minor in developmental Psychology from the University of Florida and a Master of Music Performance in Bassoon from Carnegie Mellon University.
Secretly wants to be a…
Cristyn Johnson has been with MCA since October 2013. In addition to advocacy efforts, her time at MCA has centered around organizational streamlining, program development, and individual giving and membership campaigns.
Prior to joining MCA, Cristyn spent eight years in management capacities the for-profit sector, where she focused on revenue and team development. She achieved many awards as a result of her record setting numbers including Highest Comp Sales, Highest Conversation Rate, and Best New Store to Plan.
Missing the arts she grew up with, Cristyn came to the nonprofit sector in 2012 and brought her strong financial management skills with her. With an undergraduate degree in Music Performance from Towson University, Cristyn has been a clarinet player for the last fourteen years. In 2015, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University. This program, as well as her time as MCA, has allowed her to combine her passion for music and the arts, with her impeccable business acumen.
In her free time, you can find Cristyn performing with several local orchestras including the Metropolitan Orchestra, the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra, and the Prince George’s Philharmonic.
Secretly wants to be a…
A closet organizer