Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Announces New Board Members

Board Officers Elected to Second Term

Baltimore, MD – July 9, 2019 -In conjunction with the May Annual Board Meeting, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the election of four new board members: Vernon Araujo, USVI; James Lemons, NY; Lenwood Sloan, PA; and Donna Walker-Kuhne, NY.

Vernon Araujo co-founded the STT-STJ Young Professionals Network, and is a Board Member of the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts. Music and the arts have always been a part of his life. After hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Virgin Islands, he displayed some of his work locally where one particular photo became the iconic image for the “VI Strong” movement. Araujo is passionate about community service and support to local performers, producers, and artists as they develop their careers. Araujo co-owns marketing company Melee Media and is the Development Director at Family Resource Center, which is primarily responsible for providing programs and services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse in the Virgin Islands. After the hurricanes hit in 2017, the agency expanded services to include the distribution of emergency relief supplies.  

James Lemons is the Executive Director of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA). Under his guidance, the LPCA has undergone a revitalization of presenting programs, arts education activities, and visual arts programs. In 2016, Lemons oversaw the creation of Gallery 46, a visual arts gallery and information center in Lake Placid. Representing sixty-five artists, Gallery 46 sells art with most proceeds being distributed to artists through commissions. Lemons is Chairman of the Board of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. Lemons has served as a panelist/moderator for the Association of Presenting Arts Professionals, Autopistes Circus Network, PEA Southwest, and the Adirondack Nonprofit Network. He has served as a grant reviewer for the New York State Council of the Arts, CNY Arts, and the Essex County Arts Alliance. Prior to his tenure at LPCA, Lemons served as the General Manager of Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota and as the Associate Artistic Director and Communications Manager for WaterTower Theatre in Addison.

Lenwood Sloan is well known across the U.S. as a catalytic agent, animator, and facilitator of cultural and heritage programs. For the past forty years, Mr. Sloan has provided inspiration, leadership, and technical assistance both in the public and private sectors. Most recently, Sloan received the 2017 Martin Luther King Exemplars award for public service. In 2016, he received the Pennsylvania Tourism Industry’s “Innovation Award.” Sloan is an annual presenter for Pennsylvania’s Rural and Urban Leadership Exchange, a frequent lecturer for NYU’s Gaelic Center, and a journalist for Showcase Now Magazine. He has held high-level positions in the arts at the San Francisco Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Pennsylvania’s Cultural and Heritage Tourism Program, among others. Sloan represented Pennsylvania in the coordination and collaboration of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s thirteen-state geo-tourism travel experiences. Mr. Sloan is acclaimed for his legacy of creative works.

Donna Walker-Kuhne has devoted her professional career to increasing access to the arts. She has raised over $23 million in earned income promoting the arts to multicultural communities. She is founder of Walker International Communications Group Inc., a boutique consulting agency specializing in multicultural marketing and press, group sales, and promotional events around the world. She is currently consulting as Senior Advisor, Community Engagement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center charged with developing and deepening relationships with targeted communities. She is a veteran of over twenty-two Broadway productions providing multicultural marketing and group sales. Walker-Kuhne is the recipient of over fifty awards, proclamations and citations. Her first book, Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to Arts, Culture and Community, was published in 2005. She has a weekly blog, Arts and Culture Connections that explores cultural efforts to expand diverse audiences. Ms. Walker-Kuhne is a volunteer with the SGI-USA, a worldwide peace organization serving as Vice Director for New York. 

“We are so pleased to welcome Vernon, James, Lenwood, and Donna to the MAAF board,” said Theresa Colvin, MAAF’s Executive Director. “Their experience in the field will certainly be valuable as we move through our planning process and into some exciting new program possibilities.”

Additionally, MAAF elected the following officers for a second term for fiscal year 2020: Hal Real (DE), Chair; Barbara Bershon (MD), Vice Chair; Margaret G. Vanderhye (VA), Secretary; and J. Mack Wathen (DE), Treasurer.

Hal Real is the Founder and President of Real Entertainment Group, creator and operator of the nationally-acclaimed World Cafe Live music, restaurant, and event venues located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 2004 and Wilmington, Delaware (2011-2017). In 2008 he helped a team of artists and educators launch LiveConnections, a nonprofit organization that inspires learning and builds community through collaborative music-making. Currently he is President of LiveConnections and also serves on the board of the Freire (Charter Schools) Foundation, Philadelphia’s Fringe Arts, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Board and the Chairman’s Council of the Philadelphia Zoo. In the past Hal has served as board Chair of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, a board and executive committee member of People’s Light (Malvern, PA), Chair of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Light Up the Queen Foundation, the Wilmington Leaders Alliance, and the President’s Advisory Council of the Delaware College of Art and Design.

Barbara Bershon has served on the Mid Atlantic Art Foundation Board since 2013, and currently is Vice Chair of the Board. She served on the Maryland State Arts Council from 2008 to 2019 and was Chair of the Council from 2012 to 2014. Barbara is the Emeritus Executive Director of the Chesapeake Orchestra in Southern Maryland. She is also a past president of the St. Mary’s County Arts Council. For many years Barbara was Director of Arts Outreach at St. Mary’s College of Maryland where she was the Managing Director of the River Concert Series at the College. Barbara earned her Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland and has been an Adjunct Professor in Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and American University in Washington, DC. Her publications include: Tales of teenage survival: Former teens recount their adolescence and lived to tell about it, Lincoln, Nebraska: iUniverse (2007) and “Cooperative problem solving: A link to inner speech,” In N. Miller & R. Lazarowitz (Eds.) Interaction in cooperative groups: The theoretical anatomy of group learning, New York: Cambridge University Press (1992).

Margaret G. Vanderhye served as Executive Director of the Virginia Commission on the Arts through June, 2018. She is a former member of the House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly representing the 34th District. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Capital Planning Commission where she chaired the Commission’s Joint Memorials Task Force. Governor Mark Warner appointed her to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority in 2002, and she was reappointed to the Authority by Governor Tim Kaine. She is former Vice Chair of the Board of McLean Project for the Arts (MPA), and twice served as Co-Chair of the MPA ArtFest. She is a Sustaining Director of the Prevent Cancer Foundation and a member of the Advisory Board for Our Military Kids. 

J. Mack Wathen recently retired as Vice President, Support Services at Pepco Holdings where he served in executive leadership roles for 18 years. He is currently the Chairman of the Delaware State Arts Council. Mr. Wathen is also a member of the Planning and Budget Committee of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Mr. Wathen has served in a volunteer capacity with other organizations in the arts community and beyond including the Arts Consortium of Delaware, the Delaware College of Art and Design, the Center for the Creative Arts (past Board Member), and the Food Bank of Delaware (current Board Member). 

At the May meeting MAAF also elected current members, Kevin O’Brien and Jane Werner, to additional terms.

Kevin O’Brien is the Head Theatrical and Concert Rigger at MetLife Stadium and the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands, NJ. He also freelances as a theatrical technical director and in 2002, was elected President of Theatrical Stagehands Local 632 IATSE. O’Brien has served on the board of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts since 2008 and is a Commissioner on the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, serving as the Arts Council Ex-Officio to the Commission. He has been honored with the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce 2014 Man of the Year award, two State Legislature Resolutions for service, and the New Jersey AFL-CIO as Labor Leader of the Year award. O’Brien is a voting member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Jane Werner is Executive Director of The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and Museum Lab where she leads the team responsible for all aspects of the Museum’s mission and vision, exhibits, public programming, funding and operations. Prior to her tenure at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Werner worked for the Franklin Institute, Carnegie Science Center, and Buhl Science Center. She is past president of the Association of Children’s Museums, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Board, and New Hazlett Theater and is on the boards of the Remake Learning Council, Fred Rogers’ Center, and Benedum Foundation. She is a fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Studio for Creative Inquiry and a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation 
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work and advance access to and participation in the arts. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about MAAF, its programs and services, visit our website at www.midatlanticarts.org.

Karen Newell
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation