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:
Margo Ashmore is an independent consultant working with Northside Arts Collective, South Minneapolis Housing Fair, Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour, and Pro Media, Inc. - the Northeaster and NorthNews newspapers. Past arts related assignments include Ballet of Dolls, Lake Street USA, City of Minneapolis Arts Resource Fair, Catholic Eldercare and Minnesota Retreat for the Arts. She coordinated Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis for three years and has exhibited her photographs in group shows. Comfortable with devising and following evaluations criteria, she has served on Metropolitan Regional Arts Council panels, public art juries, Neighborhood Partnership Initiative for CURA, and as a judge for amateur photography clubs. As Agent of Change, she is also licensed as a real estate broker specializing in helping buyers and community organizations.
Jim Bartsch is director of education for the Minnesota Orchestra, responsible for Young People's Concerts and other education and outreach initiatives. He developed the Minneapolis UPbeat program, which brings the entire 3rd grade from the Minneapolis Public Schools to Orchestra Hall each year. He is also a freelance musician, performing with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra and other area ensembles, and conductor with the Minnesota Youth Symphonies. Jim lives in South Minneapolis and is a big fan of the NE arts district and our local art festivals.
Brenda Bell Brown is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. After receiving a MBA 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 alumnae of Hedgebrook Women's Writer's Retreat (WA) and recipient of several recognitions for her work in literature for print, stage, and screen. Enjoying a second term as a Cultural Liaison to the Minnesota State Arts Board as well as her recent appointment to the Minneapolis Arts Commission, Brenda looks forward to serving the public as an interlocutor for arts opportunities.
Jill Boldenow chair of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, has worked extensively with artists, arts organizations, the University and other community partners to spark engagement with artist and art. She has produced arts and interpretive programs for the Weisman Art Museum, supported community arts programs as chair of the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, and promoted statewide arts resources for Explore Minnesota Tourism. In addition to supporting the Minneapolis arts community as a 2-term commissioner, Jill has been active with state arts advocacy. Her MPA program at the Humphrey School focused on public and nonprofit arts leadership and art as a public policy issue. A 27-year resident of Minneapolis, Jill loves the city and her Powderhorn Park neighborhood and especially the annual events held in the beautiful park..
Peter Brabson is an artist/independent curator who works as a marketing assistant for the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota. Peter has a B.S. in Studio Arts and Rhetoric from the U of M and is currently completing an MLS degree in Arts Management at the U of M. For the last 14 years he has exhibited and curated exhibits locally, regionally and internationally. As an entrepreneur he has opened and co-owned two art galleries, one in Indiana and one on the south side of Minneapolis. He has worked on projects with the Northeast Minneapolis Artists Association (NEMAA), Forecast Public Art as well as being a member of the South Minneapolis Arts Association (SMARTS). He has been involved with large art fairs such as the NOVA Art Fair in Chicago and Bridge Art Fair in Miami. He is a resident of Powderhorn Park where he lives and operates a small art gallery/studio space along with his wife.
Christopher E. Harrison Christopher E. Harrison is a graphic designer and illustrator for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder newspaper in Minneapolis. He is also a freelance art director, visual artist and adjunct instructor at the Art Institutes of Minnesota. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Northside Arts Collective in Minneapolis, as well as participated as a grant juror for Minnesota non-profit organizations such as COMPAS and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Christopher’s paintings and drawings have shown locally, nationally and internationally, and are included in corporate, residential and retail collections. His public art pieces are located around the Minneapolis area. His website is http://www.harrisonartstudio.com.
Robert Hunter is an associate and senior architect at James Dayton Design. For over 15 years, he has worked closely with arts organizations in the design and realization of their buildings. This experience includes working closesly with individual artists, steering committees, and community groups to collaborating with local and state governments. Rob is a member of the Highpoint Center for Printmaking board of directors, mentors University of Minnesota College of Design students, and has been a guest design critic at various universities. His memberships include the Association of Licensed Architects, Architecture for Humanity, and he is a business affiliated member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. His experiences have afforded him a strong appreciation of the significant role arts have in enriching our communities and he looks forward to leveraging these experiences for the benefit of the Commission.
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.
Leann Johnson is an independent graphic designer and illustrator, printmaker, and tile artist. Her design clients include local and national companies and businesses. Leann's scratchboard illustrations have been published in the New York Times. For two years she served as a panelist for MRAC and is currently a member of the advisory board for d underbelly (an interdisciplinary network of artists based in Chicago). Leann is currently a member of The Handmade Tile Association, Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA) and the Northside Arts Collective (NAC). She has exhibited her prints and tiles in juried and groups shows locally and nationally. In September 2011 she was awarded "Best Use of Detail" by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine for her tile designs at the 10th Annual Minnesota Tile Festival. Her website is http://www.lea-way.com.
David Kang has over ten years of experience as an independent media and film consultant who has worked in Seoul, New York, and Minneapolis, and is currently working at Asian Media Access and Hana Media & Development in Minneapolis. He has consistently advocated for the increased exposure of Asians in media throughout his career, and is active in the community. David serves on the Northside Arts Leadership Group and Community Shares of MN committees, and has served on the MPLS Complete Count Committee and the Asian Advisory Council to the City of MPLS. Through the Minneapolis Arts Commission, he hopes to further the MAC mission of stimulating participation in and appreciation of the arts by all city residents.
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.
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.
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.
Noel Raymond is the Co-Artistic Director of the Pillsbury House/Pillsbury House Theatre Cultural Community Hub 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 is excited to join the Arts Commission and expand her service as an arts advocate to the greater Minneapolis community.
Sarah Rust Sampedro is a photographer who is deeply involved in the North Side arts scene, has taught for Minneapolis Community Education, and helps other North Side artists gain exposure through her work with the Northside Arts Collective. She will add an invaluable perspective as an artist and resident of the neighborhood where many proposals appearing before MAC originate.
Last updated Jul. 26, 2012