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 up to five generalists who demonstrate strong involvement in support of the arts in our 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.

Discipline Panelist Description
Dance Judy Hickey board member of several local arts organizations, degreed in Theater and Drama, stellar track record of teaching, program development, and fund development in theatre arts, music, dance and visual arts
Dance Mary Ruth former executive director Faribault Art Center, co-founder Kinesia Dance Company, and visual artist transitioning from batik to encaustic panting.
Dance open nominations accepted
Generalist Andrea Gaffke photographer and arts advocate who relentlessly volunteers in the community, recent judge at the Owatonna Festival of the Arts
Generalist Marie Maher past board member of the Minnesota Theatre Company and Rochester Music Guild, holds a degree in visual arts, and has performed with several symphony orchestras
Generalist Jon Swanson curator of collections and exhibitions at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, degrees in Fine Art and History of Art, member of the Winona Fine Arts Commission and previously served on the board of Midwest Music Festival
Generalist Sandy Thompson Director of Development at the Rochester Art Center, degree in Art History, varied artistic background as a curator, writer, teacher, and fundraiser
Literary Arts Emily Urness author and teacher with degrees in Writing Across Genres and Creative Writing, currently Special Sections/Radish Magazine Editor of the Post-Bulletin Company
Literary Arts open nominations acceepted
Music Scott Anderson served as SEMAC Board President for six years, accomplished musician and former manager of the Historic Paramount Theatre in Austin
Music David Kassler professional musician with experience in performance, conducting and composition, currrent recipient of a SEMAC Individual Artist Grant to compose and perform chamber music
Music Gary Tollers retired IBMer currently devoting full time to the arts with River City Rhapsody Rochester and Blue Stars Performing Arts for Youth, both providing world-class drum and bugle corps performance and competition to the region
Theatre Kathy Rush retired from the SEMAC Board of Directors, is a thespian with the Lockwood Theatre Company and serves on the board of Paradise Center for the Arts
Theatre Joan Sween has broad background and experience in the arts, including artistic direction of over 100 local and regional theatre productions, as well as a published novelist, columnist and playwright
Theatre open nominations accepted
Visual Arts Philip Taylor proponent of a strong regional visual arts community, this degreed studio artist was instrumental in bringing the Alt window galleries concept to Rochester
Visual Arts Loretta Verbout Charter Artist Member and co-founder, Mantorville Art Guild; degree in art, photography/graphics; has exhibited extensively and won awards for her designs
Visual Arts Tom Willis a potter who thoughtfully applies skill and craftsmanship to the unlimited  possibilities of clay form, served two three-year terms on the SEMAC Board of Directors
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