ArtLinks Speakers


Steve Clark

Steve Clark is the CEO and founder of Propak Corp, a national logistics and supply chain management company that employs almost 2,000 people and has operations stretching from California to New York. He is a University of Arkansas at Fayetteville graduate with a degree in business administration and finance. Clark is the founder of 64.6 Downtown, a nonprofit organization created to drive cultural and economic development to downtown Fort Smith. Since 2015, 64.6 Downtown has been bringing urban and contemporary art to Arkansas through The Unexpected, a week-long event celebrating the arts. The event brings in renowned artists to create public art, typically large-scale murals on buildings, sculptures and other outdoor art installations, along with musicians, speakers and art activities. The event has led to a resurgence in development in downtown and an increase in music and performing arts events throughout the year. In addition, Clark's efforts have led to the creation of Garrison Commons, a pocket park and open-air gathering venue that includes a small stage for live events, movie nights, food trucks and eating areas in downtown Fort Smith.      

Lisa CordesLisa Cordes is the director of Artist Services for the Mid-America Arts Alliance, where she manages the Artist Inc. training program and the Artists 360 artist-grant program in Northwest Arkansas. Over the past 30 years, she has worked across disciplines as an artist, administrator and educator to connect artists to audiences. Cordes has served in administrative leadership positions at Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey and Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. As an educator, she has taught performance at the Kansas City Art Institute and served as director of Artist Inc. at the University of Missouri-Kansas Innovation Center. As an artist, her performance work is about the intersection of personal and civic identity and includes plays, solo performance and large-scale community events. Cordes has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council and the Charlotte Street Foundation. She has consulted and written for the President’s Committee on the Arts.

Charles W. Fluharty

Charles W. Fluharty is the founder and president emeritus of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI,) the only U.S. national policy institute solely dedicated to assessing the rural impacts of public policies. More than 300 scholars representing 16 different disciplines in 100 universities all U.S. states and 30 other nations have participated in RUPRI projects since the institute was founded in 1990. A clinical professor emeritus in the University of Iowa College of Public Health and a graduate of Yale Divinity School, Fluharty was a German Marshall Fund Transatlantic Fellow from 2007 to 2011. He is the author of numerous policy studies and journal articles, has presented dozens of Congressional testimonies and briefings and is a frequent speaker before national and international audiences. He has provided senior policy consultations to federal departments, state and local governments, associations of government, planning and development organizations, and foundations.

Donald Gensler

Donald Gensler is the Art in Public Places project manager for the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. He manages restorations, ongoing projects and new public art projects for the City of Sacramento. He is both an attorney and visual artist with a passion for and experience in making and managing public art projects both nationally and internationally. Having worked as an attorney in land conservancy and site acquisition, he understands the unique land use and contract challenges involved in locating projects in public spaces. For over 20 years, Gensler has worked as a visual artist in community arts and in private, public and nonprofit public art programs in Arkansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and California, and internationally in Dublin, Ireland. He understands the challenges artists face in working with municipalities and project stakeholders. He was an adjunct professor in public art at the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and was a lecturer in public art and mural making for 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also worked with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to develop social justice centered arts programming. He actively writes about public space, mural making, social justice and public art. His murals and writings on public art have been featured in The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer and in books such as "If These Walls Could Talk: Community Muralism and the Beauty of Justice" by Maureen O'Connell; "Mural Art: Murals on Huge Public Spaces Around the World Vol. 2" by Kiriakos Losifidis; and "More Philadelphia Murals" by Jane Golden, Natalie Pompilio and Robin Rice.

Erin Holliday, executive director of Arkansans for the Arts, services as the District 1 director for the City of Hot Springs. She was a member of the Planning Commission from 2017 to 2019 and of the Community Development Advisory Committee from 2013 to 2017. She served as the executive director of Emergent Arts in Hot Springs from 2013 to 2017. Holliday is certified as a community and economic developer by the Community Development Council.

Holliday, a Hot Springs native, studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute and worked in many areas of the arts, including professional art handling and installation, commercial and community gallery management, art consulting and historic restoration. She has been responsible for curating nearly 100 gallery exhibitions. As a working artist, she was awarded the first-ever artist residency through the Hot Springs Sister City Program and spent four weeks in Hanamaki, Japan, where she represented the Hot Springs arts community.

Wendy HolmesWendy Holmes is the senior vice president for Consulting and Strategic Partnerships with Artspace in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Holmes is curious about cities and what makes them work well and equitably. She’s lived in Minnesota since attending Macalester College, but her roots are on an Illinois farm, which is now an organic farm where her daughter goes to an occasional “farm camp.” Holmes has worked for the Walker Art Center, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnesota Public Radio and her alma mater. She says she and her team of five are “community whisperers.” She and her team are always on the go to new places — large and small — to help figure out puzzles that lead to equitable community development and give creative people and organizations a strong voice at the table. Holmes has been active on local and national boards and advisory committees, including James Sewell Ballet, the Urban Land Institute, Cantus, the Minneapolis Park Foundation and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She has been a speaker at numerous national arts and urban affairs conferences, as well as a guest lecturer at the University of St. Thomas, Macalester College and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of the University of Minnesota. Holmes is a national resource for information about urban redevelopment issues and has been interviewed by many local and national publications.

Kelsey HowardKelsey Howard is the executive director of Main Street Siloam Springs. Howard is a John Brown University alumna and a proud resident of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. In 2011, she and her husband Jordan taught English in South Korea for one year. Shortly after, Howard became a recipient of the Rotary District 6110 Ralph R. Kirchner Award, which funded her time in London where she received an M.A. in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a specialization in British architecture. Howard has worked at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, John Brown University and the Amazeum children's museum in Bentonville. She is the executive director of Main Street Siloam Springs and teaches art history as an adjunct professor at John Brown University. In the last several years, she's had the privilege to combine her love of art education with enhancing historic downtown spaces. She has helped plan and execute several public art projects in Siloam Springs, including the downtown Art Feeds mural and the upcoming Dave Andrus sculptures on Broadway Street. 

Melisa Lailan

Melisa Laelan is director of the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese. She is a native Marshall Islander. At age 16, she graduated top of her high school in the Islands. A year later, she enlisted in the United States Army. While in the Army, she was offered the opportunity to serve as a logistic specialist within various units throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Asia and Europe. It was then that she became acquainted with people from different cultures and became more appreciative of the diversity she experienced. After 10 years in the service, she moved to Arkansas in 2004 to attend the University of Arkansas, where she is now a senior studying international relations. Because of her prior service with the military, she was able to attain her citizenship, and in 2011, she became a U.S. citizen with dual citizenship. In 2011, along with other Marshallese leaders, Laelan founded Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, and in 2015, ACOM received its nonprofit status, making it the first organization founded and directed by native Marshall Islanders. As the executive director of ACOM, she has become a resource contact in both Marshallese and non-Marshallese communities. 

Adam Long

Adam Long is the interim director of Arkansas State University’s Heritage Sites. This program preserves four historic sites of national significance in the Arkansas Delta, including the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott, the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza, the Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village and the Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess. Adam is the administrator of Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and a member of the Arkansas Delta Byways regional tourism association board. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lyon College, a masters from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a doctorate from the University of Kansas. His specialty is American literature, particularly the writing of the American modernists like Faulkner and Hemingway. 

Allyn LordAllyn Lord has been the director of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale since 2005. She served as registrar at the University of Arkansas Museum from 1982 to 1994 and as assistant director at the Rogers Historical Museum from 1994 to 2005. She holds a B.A. in humanities and classical civilizations from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.A. in classical archaeology and museum studies from the University of Missouri. Lord has served as a peer reviewer and board member for the American Alliance of Museums, the nation’s largest museum organization. She served as a board member for the American Association for State and Local History, the Southeastern Museums Conference and the Arkansas Museums Association. She is the author of "Historic Monte Ne," published in 2006, and several museum textbooks. Her work has appeared in articles for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. As Shiloh Museum director, Lord led the museum board and staff through a mission statement revision and created numerous exhibits. She guided a complete renovation of the 4,000-square-foot exhibit hall, supervised facilities maintenance on the 1991 museum and six historic buildings, oversaw the $1.3 million renovation of the 1871 Shiloh Meeting Hall and shepherded the museum's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018. Her professional interests include small museums, strategic planning, community collaborations and copyright laws. Lord has been recognized with the 2008 Community Ambassador Award for championing diversity, the 2012 Tyson Foods' “Key Influencer List,” the 2015 Washington County "Woman in History" award and lifetime achievement awards from the Arkansas Museums Association and the Southeastern Museums Conference. 

Paul Pietsch

Paul Pietsch leads the National Assembly of State Arts Agency’s qualitative research efforts, focusing on programmatic and policy trends in state arts agencies. In his role, Pietsch has written a number of nationally influential white papers. His research portfolio includes a broad array of topics, including arts-based rural development, arts in health care, arts and the opioid epidemic, creative aging, arts and the military, the creative economy, creative placemaking, cultural districts, public art, arts education and diversity in the arts. He tracks state legislation pertaining to the arts and highlights innovative state arts agency practices in the monthly State to State column of NASAA Notes. Prior to joining NASAA in 2012, Pietsch managed the research efforts of the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid, as well as those of the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition. He has worked as a writer and fundraiser at Harvard University, Dartmouth College and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. He also is an artist with an M.F.A. and a graduate certificate in arts management from American University in Washington, D.C. He is a faculty member of the Washington Studio School and facilitates life drawing groups. Pietsch has served on the Artists’ Advisory Council of the Washington Project for the Arts and on the board of directors of Art Enables, an art gallery and vocational arts program for artists with disabilities. 

Lenore Shoults

Dr. Lenore Shoults grew up in New Jersey and earned a bachelor’s degree in art and art education for kindergarten through 12th grade students from Rutgers College. Her first career, as a theatrical costumer, led to travel throughout the United States and Caribbean and a move to Arkansas. She then started businesses, which honed her marketing skills and led to her interest in the arts as an economic driver. She also became interested in the role of authenticity in tourism development. Shoults sold her businesses and went on to earn a Masters of Mass Communications and a Ph.D. in Heritage Studies from Arkansas State University. She has participated in the re-accreditation of two American Alliance of Museum institutions — the gold standard in the field. Shoults sees the arts as an economic driver and a vital component for building quality-of-place.

Donna Smith Jones

Donna Smith Jones is director of Recruitment and Outreach at the School of Art at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is originally from Northeast Arkansas and moved to Fayetteville in July 2011. Jones was an international admissions analyst in the Graduate School before joining the J. William Fullbright College of Arts & Sciences Advising Center in August 2012. As an assistant director of the advising center, Jones facilitated communication between advisers and students, in addition to advising students with majors primarily in art, music and theater. Jones serves as a resource to encourage students to meld their personal interests and educational strengths as they pursue their academic paths. In her role as the director of Recruitment and Outreach, she provides professional knowledge and personal passion to recruitment and engagement initiatives within the School of Art and develops strong connections and partnerships with organizations in Northwest Arkansas. She earned her B.A. in Studio Art with a minor in Film Studies from Rhodes College in 2008 and an M.F.A. in Fine Art from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011. Her art practice focuses on video, installation and performance art. She has participated in several group and individual exhibitions around the country and served as the chairwoman of the Fayetteville Arts Council from 2015 to 2018. Jones is a contributor to The Idle Class, an arts magazine, and has served as a guest curator for various exhibitions. She also co-founded the former art space, "The Shed," in Fayetteville. 

JoAnn Kaminsky

Jo Ann Kaminsky is a licensed counselor, play therapist and art therapist, painter and puppeteer living in Fayetteville. Kaminsky works with people of all ages dealing with many of life’s issues, including stress and anxiety, depression and anger and abuse issues. She trained as a counselor and feels the most important factor in healing and growth is to create a safe place, free of judgement, so that one can explore strengths and feel comfortable enough to share hurts and fears. Kaminsky received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Central Arkansas in 1969. She then received further training in undergraduate art courses at Memphis State University, Memphis College of Art and the University of Arkansas. She trained as a professional potter under Gary Eagan for three years, and after working as a professional artist on her own for many years, she began working in three elementary schools in Fayetteville as an artist-in-education professional. Kaminsky then returned to school for further training in art therapy. Impressed with how empowering and validating art making was for many of the children who are called "at risk,“ Kaminsky earned her M.Ed. in the spring of 1991. 

Andy Vick, Courtesy of Mike PachAndy Vick is an experienced leader and arts administrator who believes in the power of the creative sector to drive economic development, build community, grow tourism and enhance quality of life for everyone. As the executive director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, Vick oversees the daily operation and financial management of a nonprofit, local arts agency serving a two-county region with a population of over 700,000 residents. In conjunction with his work at the Cultural Office, Vick has been appointed by the governor to serve as a council member for Colorado Creative Industries, or the State Arts Agency, and as a board member for the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority. At the national level, he serves as the vice-chair of the United States Urban Arts Federation, an advisory council for Americans for the Arts. Vick also is the vice-president of the Visit Colorado Springs Board of Directors, an ex-officio board member of the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, an honorary commander at the United States Air Force Academy, a member of the Regional Leadership Forum and a member of the Downtown Colorado Springs Rotary Club. Vick is a graduate of the 2016 Colorado Springs Leadership Institute program, the 2015 Leadership Pikes Peak Signature program and Colorado Creative Industries’ 2015 Change Leaders Program. Vick is an experienced public speaker and consultant on the topic of using the arts as a tool for economic development and community vitality.