New Board Members and Officers Announced

Mid Atlantic Arts Welcomes 2023 Board Members

Announces the Election of Officers

Baltimore, October 7, 2022 – At its June 2022 annual board meeting, Mid Atlantic Arts welcomed three new board members and elected its 2022-2023 officers.

Color photo of board member Jessica Ball. Jessica has long straight brown hair and wears a purple blouse. Jessica is shot from the chest up against a vibrant background.

Jessica Ball (DE) is the Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts where she oversees all aspects of managing a state agency committed to supporting the arts and cultivating creativity to enhance the quality of life in Delaware. Jessica brings a collaborative, progressive, transparent approach to arts leadership and administration. Adept at creating and sustaining partnerships across private, government, and creative sectors she facilitates initiatives that expand access to the transformative power of the arts and arts education. Jessica is dedicated to strengthening the cultural sector and growing the creative economy and workforce. Before becoming the Director of DDOA Jessica was the Executive Director of the Delaware Arts Alliance. There, she developed sector wide strategies to advance arts and culture. She worked with cultural, community, and civic leaders on policy and funding initiatives to ensure that the creative sector is vibrant. Jessica graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design with dual master’s degrees in Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from Florida International University. She spent the first part of her career in the fields of design and architecture. She is a visual artist, artisan, and co-founder of Handmade Modern Accessories–a Women and Black-owned creative business. Her diverse background gives her perspective on the importance of arts and culture’s positive impacts on communities. She volunteers on the Delaware Fund for Women’s Young Founders Committee and the Delaware MillSummit Planning Committee.

Color photo of board member Nicholas Hawkins. Nick has short dark hair and dark rimmed glasses. Nick is shot from the chest up and wears a charcoal grey suit, white shirt and pocket square, and tie.

Nicholas Hawkins (MD) is an attorney at Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP were he assists clients with intellectual property management, private equity and venture capital financing, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate governance. Nicholas was previously an in-house attorney for one of the world’s largest sports brands where he worked closely with the product and marketing teams, advising on various intellectual property issues facing the brand including working with A-list celebrities and athletes. In addition to his work as an attorney, Nicholas is active in a range of community and professional organizations, including serving as the current Vice President of the Board of Directors for Baltimore Clayworks, and serving as the former Chair of the Intellectual Property Section of the Maryland State Bar Association. Nicholas has also served as interim Executive Director and Art Law Clinic Director for Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a Maryland nonprofit that provides legal services to creatives throughout the state.

Color photo of board member John Rainero. John has short brown hair. John is shot from the chest up and wears a dark jacket, white shirt, and multicolor bow tie.

John Rainero (VA) understands the transformative power and importance a vibrant Arts community can have on peoples lives. As chair of the Birthplace of Country Music organization John successfully lead the funding efforts and construction of the 12 million dollar Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, VA. He has worked tirelessly helping the BCM, Tennessee and Virginia Tourism join forces to fund and promote the music and artists in the Appalachian Highlands region with projects like the recording of Orthophonic Joy, and filming of the movie Born in Bristol.  Understanding the importance of the Arts in rural communities John was honored to served as the Region 1 Commissioner and eventual Chair for the Virginia Commission for the Arts. During his time as Commissioner in 2018, the Commission Board adopted the agency’s first-ever Statement on Cultural Equity, and that same year, created an IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Committee of the Board. John’s passion for the performing arts (a gift from his actress/director mother Mary Beth) continues as he serves on the board of the Barter Theatre. John is no stranger in the legislative halls of Richmond and Nashville, or the City Halls of Bristol TN/VA advocating for arts organizations. John enjoys spending time with his two children. He loves the outdoors and music. John is a professional engineer holding degrees in both Civil Engineering and Building Construction from Virginia Tech.

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 fiscal year 2022: Romona Riscoe Benson (PA), Chair; Donna Walker-Kuhne (NY), Vice Chair; James Lemons (NY), Treasurer; and Margaret G. Vanderhye (VA), Secretary.

The board also acknowledged the service of four retiring board members: Barbara Bershon (MD) who came to the board in 2013 and whose work on the Strategic Planning and Governance committees was integral to the changes we see in the organization today; Susie Farr (MD) who joined in 2016 and whose perseverance has led to the diverse board of directors who now lead Mid Atlantic Arts; Hal Real (PA) who came to the board in 2014 and served as both Chair and Vice Chair through the Strategic Planning process and into the pandemic; and Mack Wathen (DE) who joined in 2015 and served as Treasurer for six years and also sat on the Investment and Audit committees leading to a financially healthy organization. We are so appreciative of their time and guidance and wish them all of the best in future endeavors.

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

Karen Newell
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts
410.539.6656 x104