2024 New Board Members and Officer Announced

Mid Atlantic Arts Welcomes 2024 Board Members

Board of Directors Announces the Election of Officers

BALTIMORE August 17, 2023 – At its June 2023 annual board meeting, Mid Atlantic Arts welcomed four new board members and elected its 2023-2024 officers.

Color headshot of board member Laura Bottinelli. Laura is wearing a green and blue v neck top and is shot from the chest up. Laura has long straight brown hair.

Lora Bottinelli (DE) is the Executive Director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA). Prior to joining NCTA, Lora served as the Executive Director of the Ward Museum of Wildfowl from 2006-2018. As folklorist there, she established the Lower Shore Traditions Folklife Program, co-directed the American Folklife Center Field School in Crisfield, Maryland, supported the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Mid Atlantic Water Ways program, and designed the Pass It On: Cultural Traditions of the Eastern Shore K-12 Curriculum and Activity Guide. Lora served two terms on the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) in leadership roles including the Executive Committee and Treasurer, and partnered in developing Imagine Maryland: A Renewed Strategic Plan for the Arts 2014-2019. As chair of the Advocacy Committee, she worked in coordination with the Maryland Citizens for the Arts to secure the Special Fund for Preservation of Cultural Arts. She served on the MSAC’s Diversity Committee, working to engage people of diverse backgrounds throughout the state. A common thread in her success has been the building of partnerships at the local, regional, state, and national levels. Lora played a key role in creating the coalition that culminated in the City of Salisbury’s successful application to host the National Folk Festival, and later guided that event and other major traditional arts events through the pandemic in her role at NCTA. In 2022, under her leadership at NCTA, National Treasures was launched – bringing NEA National Heritage Fellows to National Parks throughout the country. Lora is passionate folk arts advocate and a founding member of the Living Traditions Network.  

Color headshot of board member Valerie Gay. Valerie wears an orange open neck top and gold earrings. She has short curly hair.

Val Gay (PA) is a Certified Financial Planner, non-profit administrator, recording and performing artist, and thought leader. She is Deputy Director and Chief Experience Officer for the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, where she oversees public programming, community engagement and family programming. and the combined front line and security team. She has previously held senior and executive positions, including Executive Director of Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia, Assistant Dean for Institutional Advancement for the College of Education at Temple University, and Vice President and Portfolio Manager with PNC Advisors where she managed investment portfolios of high-net-worth individuals and family trusts. Val has been a serial entrepreneur since 2006, beginning with Fortress Arts which provides arts and skill building lessons to children and adults, especially those in underserved communities. Other companies and organizations under Val’s leadership include, Syncopate Creative, Spector | Gay Consulting, the EVER Ensemble, and Fuse Vox. She also serves as Consulting Executive Director of Empowered Community Development Corporation, Inc., while serving on the board of directors for organizations like Sea Change (New York) and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. She is recognized among “Philadelphia’s Most Influential African American Leaders.”

Color headshot of board member John MbW=Ewen. John wears a charcoal grey suit, white shirt, and pink tie. He has greying hair, a grey beard, and wears dark rimmed glasses.

John McEwen (NJ) serves as the Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a service organization for the state and region’s 42 professional theatres. Under John’s leadership the Alliance completed a successful endowment campaign, and has lead several initiatives benefiting the state’s entire arts sector including The Creating Change Network, a resource to educate and support the field as it becomes a more just and inclusive community; the Arts and Culture Administrators of Color Network, providing networking and educational opportunities for multi-generational leaders of color; and the nationally recognized Cultural Access Network Project, an educational and networking resource as the field makes its programs and facilities accessible to artists and patrons with disabilities. John is a trustee for the Fund for New Jersey Blind and the New Jersey Center for NonProfits. John has consulted numerous local, regional, and national organizations in the areas of accessibility, fundraising, strategic planning, and board development. He is the recipient of the 2018 Robert M. Smythe Award for Outstanding Professional Fundraiser from the Association of Fundraising Professionals/NJ Chapter.

Color photo of board member Carlos Ruiz Cortés. Carlos is shot from the waist up and wears a dark suit and shirt. Carlos has short dark hair and a full short beard.

Carlos Ruiz Cortés (PR) has served as the Executive Director of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP) since 2017. He was elected by unanimous decision of the ICP Board of Directors to implement and oversee public policy execution regarding arts, culture, and heritage. The 2021 Emmy award winner is in charge of over two-hundred employees and contractors, over thirty-five historic buildings, two sub-corporations, and two theaters. ICP currently manages a budget that amounts to $70M, considering State, FEMA, ARPA SLFRF, NEA, and other grants including the Mellon Foundation. Ruiz-Cortés is the representative of Puerto Rico before the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA). More than 500 activities are carried out annually at ICP, reaching over 396,000 people in 2022 (in-person and virtual). Carlos also supervises the progress of eighteen divisions of the State ranging from the National Art Collection of Puerto Rico to the Council for the Conservation and Studies of Archaeological Subaquatic and Land Sites and Resources. Specifically, he oversees the Council for the Conservation and Studies of Archeological Subaquatic and Land Sites and Resources; Building Improvement and Conservation; Support for the Arts; Cultural Promotion in Municipalities; Fine Arts Division; Popular Arts Division; Music and Theater Division; Built Historical Heritage; Parks and Museums Division; Archeology Division; Publications, Sales, Marketing, and Magazine Division; General Archive of Puerto Rico; and National Library of Puerto Rico. 

A photo block of four images stacked two by two. Top left is an image of Romona Riscoe Benson. Top right Donna Walker Kuhne. Bottom left James Lemons. Bottom right, Margi Vanderhye.

Additionally, Mid Atlantic Arts elected the following officers for the fiscal year 2024: Romona Riscoe Benson (PA), Chair; Donna Walker-Kuhne (NY), Vice Chair; James Lemons (NY), Treasurer; and Margaret G. Vanderhye (VA), Secretary.

Photo Collage of Board Officers (from upper left clockwise): Romona Riscoe Benson, Donna Walker-Kuhne, Margi Vanderhye, and James Lemons.

About Mid Atlantic Arts
Mid Atlantic Arts nurtures and funds the creation and presentation of diverse artistic expression and connects people to meaningful arts experiences within our region and beyond. Created in 1979, Mid Atlantic Arts 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 Mid Atlantic Arts, its programs and services, visit our website at www.midatlanticarts.org.

Mackenzie Kwok
Communications and Social Media Manager
Mid Atlantic Arts 
410.539.6656 x123