SMAC Board of Directors


Big Stone
John White
Term expires 12/2020

John White of Ortonville is a photographer, retired journalist, and writer.  He has served on many boards, including CURE, Chippewa County Historical Society, Entrepreneurial Assistance Network, Pioneer Public TV board, and the Upper MN Valley RDC’s tourism board, to name a few. 


georgette jonesChippewa
Georgette Jones
Term expires 12/2019

Georgette Jones of Watson teaches English at Lac qui Parle Valley High School, where she is also the fall play director and a speech coach.   She was a founding member of the Montevideo Music Boosters and is a board member for Lac qui Parle Players.  She has also been involved with the Marshall Area Stage Company as an actor and director.

Anna Johannsen
Term expires 12/2021

 Anna is a fiber artist who invented the concept of using 3D glasses and certain colors of fabrics to create 3D quilts and wall hangings. Her work has been featured in many exhibits, including four solo shows. Anna has been a teacher for 42 years and started the art program at the Alternative Learning Center in Windom. Anna says becoming a SMAC board member will be an exciting, new experience where she can expand her horizons, meet new people, help people, and gain new perspectives. She has had experience applying for, and receiving, a SMAC grant to take her ALC students on a field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, after which they held a community art show. She says, “I remember the excitement of it all and want to help others as I was, to give my students new experiences and culture.”

Kristen Kuipers
Term Expires 12/2021

Kristen is a musician, actor, and writer. In the past year since returning to Jackson, she has spent time volunteering for various community projects and organizations, especially at Jackson Center for the Arts. She is a freelance organist/pianist/vocalist for many area churches and enjoys connecting with people of all ages. She says she has a “desire to see a larger presence of the arts in Jackson County” and is “not afraid to reach out to artists and organizations who could benefit from working with SMAC.”

janet olneyKandiyohi
Janet Olney
Term Expires 12/2019

Janet Olney of Willmar is a visual artist who has been weaving baskets for 29 years, with multiple solo shows around the area. She served on the Willmar Area Arts Council Board, including two years as president.  Olney is currently the coordination for the Willmar Area Arts Council.  She is also a founding member and treasurer of Kaleidoscope: An Artists’ Gallery in New London. 

joyce meyerLac qui Parle
Joyce Meyer
Term Expires 12/2019

Joyce Meyer of Canby is a photographer and retired art teacher, and has received two SMAC individual artist grants.  She is also involved in the Canby Arts Council and the Gary Historical Association. 




If you are interested in becoming the Lincoln county representative on the SMAC board, please visit:

Black and white picture of Michele, shoulders up. She is smiling. Lyon
Michele Knife Sterner
Term expires 12/2019

Michele enjoys drawing, making crop art and using iron pours. She has participated in multiple Marshal Area Stage Company (MASC) performances, plays a variety of musical instruments and is experienced in traditional American Indian style dancing. Michele says that through her work with the “Access, Opportunity, and Success” program at Southwest Minnesota State University, she has had the opportunity to work with artists from many backgrounds and cultures who work in many mediums, as well as experience with a wealth of diverse performance based programming.

Lisa Hill
Term expires 12/2020

Lisa Hill of Hutchinson is an associate attorney at Melchert Hubert Sjodin and she recently relocated from Mankato. In Mankato, Lisa was actively involved with the board for the Minnesota Valley Chorale and the Mankato Area Youth Symphony. While involved with those boards, she gained experience with writing grants, fundraising, and administrative duties. Now that she’s in McLeod county, she is joining Crow Rivers Singers has also volunteered for the Hutchinson Marching Band and Phoenix Drumline. She looks forward to becoming further involved with volunteering on behalf of the arts in McLeod county!



If you are interested in becoming the Meeker county representative on the SMAC board, please visit:

Carisa Clarke
Term expires 12/2020

Carisa Clarke is a visual artist and the project director for the Slayton Community Mural, founder of the “Challenge the Art” Facebook group, has assisted in multiple art classes such as “Paint & Sip” and “Chalk Couture”, taught jewelry making classes, is a board member for the DAC of Murray county, has been a member of the Prairie Music Association and is a volunteer for Relay for Life, Lunch Buddies, Meals on Wheels, various church positions and been a part of many other fundraisers. When asked why she was interested in becoming a member of the SMAC board, she said “I look forward to networking with fellow artists, but mainly I’m excited about bringing arts awareness to the county I live in, and encouraging youths.” 

brett lehmanNobles
Brett Lehman
Term expires 12/2020

Lehman has assisted with the Worthington International Festival for six years, doing fundraising and logistics. He has also served on the boards for Worthington City Band, Worthington Concert Association, Plum Creek Food Co-op, and Shalom Hill Farm. Lehman enjoys creating art glass, playing trombone in the Worthington City Band, and occasionally performing as a vocalist/guitarist.

Erica Volkir
Term Expires 12/2018

Erica is the Executive Director for the Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce. She has a liberal arts education as well as a law degree and is a board member for many organizations in the Pipestone and surrounding area. When asked why she was interested in representing Pipestone county for the SMAC board, Erica replied, “I would like to help enhance the quality of life in southwest Minnesota to include exposure to and experiences with a wide variety of arts for all ages. One’s exposure to quality artistic performances, exhibits, and events should not be dependent upon either geography or income.” She also added that she has a great interest in public art and the arts as “economic development drivers to create beautiful spaces to live, work, and play” and that she is personally greatly inspired by the arts, both through attending and organizing events of all types.

David KelseyBassett
Term Expires 12/2020

David has been awarded two SMAC Individual Artist grants in the past for developing into an experienced screen printer. He has a BA in graphic design, experience in electronic music and hip hop DJ-ing, sound board operation, experienced in film post production editing, and has written and self published the book, “New York City Record Stores: A Pocket Guide.” David holds public “printing parties,” events that are free, with the goal of increasing the public’s awareness of local arts and artists. David says, “I hope I can be a progressive, active voice on the board. I desire to bring my expirience and alternative approaches to promoting the arts in the area.”

Anne O’Keefe-Jackson
Term expires 12/2018

O’Keefe-Jackson is the Human Resources Director at Jackpot Junction Casino. She is a Dakota from the Lower Sioux Community, enjoys beading and quill work, and her art background includes an art history minor from Augsburg College (Mpls, MN).





If you are interested in becoming the Rock county representative on the SMAC board, please visit:

Alison Nelson
Term expires 12/2020

Alison Nelson is involved with many arts disciplines, including a studio art degree, music (piano and saxophone), writing a weekly column published in four local newspapers, dance throughout her life, as well as choreographing local musicals on occasion. When asked why she was interested in serving on the board, she said “I think it is important to have our county represented in the region and be up to date on SMAC offerings and activities, as well as have the inside track as to how grant dollars work to be able to utilize them to promote the arts in the region. We do ‘okay’, but we could always improve!”

Colored picture of Claire Swanson, from lower chest up, she is smiling, sunglasses on top her head. It looks like she is out side, maybe infront of a large rock or tree bark.Yellow Medicine
Claire Swanson
Granite Falls
Term expires 12/2019

Claire has been a basket weaver since the 1980’s, and she teaches as well as sells her art work. She has been a member of the steering committee for the Meander Art Crawl since its conception, working with local artists, businesses, non-profits and local government to help facilitate cooperation to ensure a successful event. She is excited to help promote and sustain the arts through her membership on our board, and to encourage artists of all levels to explore their abilities.

SMAC Staff

Nicole DeBoer
Executive Director



Caroline Koska
Financial & Grants Administrator




Krystl Louwagie
Marketing Coordinator & Receptionist