Arts Advisory Panel

The Arts Advisory Panel is comprised of representatives from each of the five artistic disciplines – Dance, Literature, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts – and generalists who demonstrate strong involvement in support of the arts in the SEMAC region.  The Panel is responsible for reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations to the Board of Directors. 

Assembled through an open nomination process, panelists are appointed by the Board of Directors based on their artistic expertise and critical skills in their respective disciplines.  To nominate someone for a term on the Arts Advisory Panel, please contact the SEMAC office.

Discipline Panelist Description

Dance vacancies  nominations accepted by contacting director(at)

Literary Arts Beth Nienow accomplished musician and literary artist with advanced degrees in literature and educational leadership, as well as past SEMAC service

Literary Arts Pamela Whitfield Faculty of English & Humanities at RCTC, writer, actor, award winning educator and poet
Music Ruth Lincoln extensive music and voice background, having lectured and performed both light and classical opera, also actively engaged with theatre and the visual arts

Music David Kassler professional musician with experience in performance, conducting and composition, recipient of a SEMAC Individual Artist Grant to compose and perform chamber music

Theatre  Aaron Young managing director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, pianist and singer, serves on the membership committee of the National Alliance for Music Theatre

Theatre Merritt Olsen professional actor, former executive director, Performing Arts Center of Rapid City, with leadership background at various equity and community theatre groups across the country

Theatre Julianna Skluzacek  artistic director and founder of The Merlin Players, playwright and directing with the Minnesota Festival Theatre and various community and high school theatres

Visual Arts Dave Casey assistant curator of education and exhibitions at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, freelance musician performing with a variety of groups across multiple genres

Visual Arts Julie Fakler operations manager at Paradise Center for the Arts, committee and participating artist South Central MN Studio Artour, six-year veteran of SEMAC Board of Directors

Visual Arts Amarama Vercnocke mixed media artist, art director for Day of the Dead Poet Slam, participant in several juried and solo exhibitions

Generalist Gretchen Ramlo  arts enthusiast, boards of Austin Area Commission for the Arts and Riverland Foundation, volunteers for the ArtWorks Festival and Spruce Up Austin

Generalist vacancies nominations accepted by contacting director(at)