Community Planning & Economic Development

Minneapolis Arts Commission
105 5th Avenue South, Room 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Minneapolis Arts Commission Membership

The seventeen member Commission consists of five artists, five arts administrators and seven laypersons with consideration given to geographic distribution, experience in the arts, and connections with the community, ethnic diversity and representation from a range of artistic disciplines. Commission members may be appointed for no more than two consecutive two-year terms. Current Commissioners include:




Becky Franklin

Becky Franklin has ten years of experience working for artists and art organizations in several capacities, and she is currently the operations manager for the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. She also is a visual artist, who has created work for public art projects, participated in group shows throughout the Midwest and in England, and was most recently a featured artist in the Arts Midwest Leadership Ideas Exchange. Inspired by her experience balancing her administrative work and creating art, Becky established an annual endowed scholarship at her alma mater, Luther College, for students hoping to pursue professional art internships outside the studio. Becky loves that the work from Minneapolis artists, which spans a wide array of expressive forms, is particularly thoughtful and smart.


Blake Iverson

Blake Iverson is a partner with the law firm Friedman Iverson, PLLC. His practice focuses primarily on representing artists and other creative entrepreneurs. Bake received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Minnesota. He serves on the Board of Directors at Intermedia Arts and on the Community Board of the Blaisdell YMCA. In his free time he enjoys writing, playing music and hosting pub trivia.


Brenda Bell Brown

Brenda Bell Brown is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. After receiving a BA in Theater Arts from Brown University, dedication to the study of Black American life and culture led her to pursue a MA in Museum Studies at Hampton University. A writer, performer and visual artist, Brenda is a member of the Black Storytellers Alliance (MN) and Blues City Cultural Center (TN), an alumna of Hedgebrook Women's Writer's Retreat (WA) and best recognized for her work in literature for print, stage, and screen. In 2010, she received a Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership Grant and currently serves as Music Host for KFAI-FM Fresh Air Radio's (Friday) Morning Blend. Recently, Brenda wrote and directed the docu-drama "There but for the Grace of God: responding to the revelation," a film that urges us to see and respond to homelessness in our community.favorite aspect about arts in Minneapolis - The eclectic nature of it all.


Calvin Keasling

Calvin is an active Twin Cities Musician and the lead Arts Administrator for Minneapolis Public Schools. He is an advocate for arts education, arts integration, and increased arts experiences for preK - 12 grade students, and believes strongly that the creative process transforms lives for the better. As an arts administrator he has organized and planned citywide performances and art exhibits. As a commissioner Calvin is looking to increase music and other art venues for South Mpls residents. Calvin loves how Mpls artists come together in collaboration, and he is excited to see more dancers, actors, musicians, and visual artists come together in collaborative presentations and performances.


Deanna Newman

Deanna Newman is the president of Public Pathways, Inc., a school facilities planning company. In her professional capacity she has participated in the design of nationally respected arts schools and implemented an 'Arts in the Schools' program. Her background includes county arts administration and a decade of community and college theater experience. Since moving to Minnesota in 1996, she and her husband have been enthusiastic cheerleaders for a variety of arts institutions. I love the way Minneapolis encourages art a part of our everyday lives whether it is standing at a light rail stop, drinking from a water fountain on the bike path, or walking down Nicolette Mall.   I like the everyday transparency of an art community that invites people to hear the reading of a new play in the making or participate in an intersection painting. The summers in the city are a sensory feast made possible by our vibrant arts ecology.


Jennifer Arave

I received my BFA in theater direction and my MFA in interdisciplinary Art focused on Performance studies. I am dancer and a choreographer of dance and a choreographer of community situations working in the northeast neighborhood. I have been working as an artist for the past 25 years. What I love about arts in Minneapolis is it exist-- Its everywhere, its alive and well here in Minneapolis.


Jim Barsch

Jim Bartsch Ward 12 Background is in music education and performance: I’m associated with the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and Minnesota Youth Symphonies. Favorite aspect: the breadth and depth of the arts in Minneapolis, so many people, and organizations of all sizes, doing amazing work in dance, music, theater, visual arts and more.


Jonna Kosalko

Jonna Kosalko is an enthusiastic fan of the arts and Minneapolis, her adopted home. She is a licensed Realtor/Assistant to Coldwell Banker Burnet agents Fran & Barb Davis, and actively uses the arts community as a way to connect people and promote Minneapolis as a great place to live. A volunteer IVEY evaluator for Twin Cities' theater, Jonna began her career at the Guthrie as a fundraiser and events planner for the Annual Fund and new building campaign. She enjoys the urban atmosphere of the Seward neighborhood, where she has resided for ten years, and is the proud recipient of a fourth-place ribbon in Crop Art at the Minnesota State Fair.


Margo Ashmore

Margo Ashmore, Ward 3. Past coordinator of Art-A-Whirl and a founder and former consultant to Northside Arts Collective. As co-owner of Northeaster and NorthNews, my art is photography, writing and layout. I like that, in Minneapolis, there are frequent opportunities to participate in as well as observe a broad range of artistic expressions, from traditional to cutting edge, especially small financially-accessible theater, art crawls and gallery openings, and student arts. Arts integrated into community work is transforming lives.


Megan Leafblad

Megan Leafblad is the Assistant Director of International Programs at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she works to forge new partnerships and create international opportunities with students, artists, colleagues, and communities. She recently spearheaded a new study abroad partnership in Guatemala and developed a student- run gallery initiative on campus. Before joining MCAD, Leafblad was the Community Programs Manager at the Walker Art Center. She is passionate about building communities that cultivate creative minds and collaboration across all disciplines. She currently serves on the board at The Soap Factory, a dynamic non-profit dedicated to the production, presentation, and promotion of emerging practice across the visual arts. Megan earned a dual bachelor's degree in studio art and art education at Bethel University and currently resides in Minneapolis.


Melinda Ludwiczak

Melinda Ludwiczak (Ward 11) is a project manager for MELSA, an alliance of metro area public libraries, where she is responsible for programs and projects supported through the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. She works with staff at 100 public libraries to plan, implement and evaluate literary programs, performances, visual arts, cultural activities and history programs. A Minneapolis resident for nearly 40 years, Melinda loves her Kingfield Neighborhood, especially the Kingfield Farmers Market she helped establish. She combines her information skills and love of gardening as a Hennepin County Master Gardener volunteer. After a long Minnesota winter, Melinda makes an annual visit to Santa Fe every spring to absorb the sun, museums, arts, culture and breathtaking scenery.


Noel Raymond

Noel Raymond, Ward 8 Noel Raymond is the Co-Artistic Director of the Pillsbury House + Theatre a center for creativity and community where she has helped lead, develop and implement arts programming to promote community vitality since 1995. Noel has worked extensively as an actor and director in theaters locally and nationally and is currently a core member of Carlyle Brown and Company. She has served on the Boards of Directors for the Multicultural Development Center; the Burning House Group Theatre Company, which she also co-founded; and the South Minneapolis Arts Business Association (SMARTS).   Noel has been a member of the Minneapolis Arts Commission since 2011. My favorite aspect of arts in Minneapolis – is the extent to which arts are integrated into the physical and social environments all over the city – I can’t walk a block without encountering art and artists – I love that!


Robert Hunter

Robert A. Hunter, Ward 8 Rob is an associate and senior architect at James Dayton Design who has worked closely with many twin cities arts organizations in the design and realization of their buildings. His experience includes working closely with individual artists, large building committees, community groups and local and state governments to successfully achieve each project’s unique goals. Rob serves on the Board of Directors of the Highpoint Center for Printmaking, mentors University of Minnesota College of Design students, and has been a guest design critic at several universities. His memberships include the Association of Licensed Architects, Architecture for Humanity, and he is an affiliated member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. Rob has great appreciation for the unique depth and breadth and strong community support of the arts in Minneapolis and he looks forward to leveraging his experiences for the benefit of the Commission.


Sara Rothholz Weiner

SRW is an award winning LEED accredited registered architect, an Educ ator, writer and beginner potter. Originally from NY she currently lives happily with her family in Seward neighborhood, Ward 2. She has degrees in Architecture and Communications from Antioch College, UMN and La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris.She is active in city initiatives that have focused on revitalization of the Minneapolis riverfront. She serves on the Boards of The Soap Factory; and Hillel UMN. She is deeply committed to supporting emerging practices for arts and culture. She enjoys the vitality and vibrancy of Minneapolis' diverse and strong arts communities.


Sarah Sampedro

Sarah Sampedro, chair of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, is a photographer who is deeply involved in the Minneapolis arts scene. As a resident of the Northside, she has taught Minneapolis Community Education, promoted Northside artists and curated exhibitions drawing artists from around the country. She is also the recipient of a 2011/2012 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. Sarah enjoys the way Minneapolis residents use the arts to build community and make the city a more beautiful, life-giving place.


Last updated Apr. 17, 2014