SMAC Board of Directors
Term expires 12/2023
Judy Beckman has experience as the Big Stone County representative for the Southern Minnesota Tourism Association, was the CEO of the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, is an experienced grant writer, an amateur historian for Ortonville and Big Stone Lake area, and served on the music team for internationally competitive Pride of Portland Chorus. Judy explained her interest in joining the SMAC board: “I’m convinced that Big Stone County needs this affiliation to both serve as a link to SMAC as a resource, but also to think more ‘globally’ with respect to Big Stone County artists reaching out to a larger audience”.
M E (Maggie) Fuller
Term expires 12/2025
M E (Maggie) Fuller resides in Montevideo and is the author of 2 works of fiction, a writing coach, visual artist, public speaker and community organizer. Maggie worked as a graphic designer and art director in Minneapolis for over 30 years until she moved to Montevideo, where she now works on her art in her home studio. In 2021 Maggie was the recipient of a SMAC Individual Artist grant and turned her artistic practice to abstract expressionism. She has also been a Minnesota State Arts Board and Five Wings Arts Council grantee for her writing practice. Since moving to Montevideo, Maggie has been active in local arts and as a SMAC board representative for Chippewa county, she has already started to support and encourage Chippewa artists by creating a Facebook page specifically for Chippewa County Artists! If you’re an artist in Chippewa County, Maggie would love to connect and start discussions on what’s needed to enhance the arts community in Chippewa County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-839-4215.
Term expires 12/2024
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.”
Term Expires 12/2024
Gillian is an English instructor and the Humanities Division Chair at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. She edits and publishes the college’s creative arts journal, has co-authored one book, and is currently working on a second. When she isn’t teaching and encouraging her students to participate in the arts, she enjoys writing short stories and poems, painting, hiking, and attending art-related events.
She serves on the SMAC board because she recognizes the power of the arts and the need to support them. Art enriches lives; it reflects the many diverse and individual encounters with the human experience; it molds the world. Art not only makes our lives more vibrant – it also makes us more humane.
If you are interested in becoming the Kandiyohi county representative on the SMAC board, please visit our webpage on becoming a SMAC board member. Term expires 12/2025.
Lac qui Parle
Term Expires 12/2025
Kristine Shelstad is the “Energizing Officer” of the Madison Mercantile; a community center that will include an art gallery, artists studios, performance stage and entrepreneurial spaces. Kristine is an Initiator Fellow for the Southwest Initiative Foundation, and has previously served as a board member of the Spicewood Arts Society in TX, as well as served in Rotary Clubs and Veteran Service Organizations. She is currently the Junior Vice Commander of the VFW Post 1656 in Madison and is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. Kristine is also a member of the Madison Arts Council, which promotes public art in Madison, and is involved with the local theatre group, the Lac qui Parle Players. Kristine attended the University of Minnesota, Morris, with a minor in Studio Art. She is interested in serving on the SMAC board because she wants to bring arts opportunities to underserved populations in her county.
Term expires 12/2024
Mark has served 23 years on the Lake Benton Opera House Board of Directors and is currently the president of their board as well as the Artistic Director for the Opera House. He has also worked as a newspaper editor since 1997 in Lincoln county and is currently managing editor for the Tyler, Lake Benton and Hendricks newspapers. Wilmes has been honored multiple times by the Minnesota Newspaper Association in the areas of ad creation, photography and as a columnist. When asked why he was interested in serving on the SMAC board of directors he said, “I am a strong believer in SMAC’s mission and would like to ensure Lincoln County is represented. SMAC has been a great benefit to our organization over the years and I would like to give back in a small way by helping other small groups benefit in the same way.”
Dr. Erin Kline
Term expires 12/2025
Dr. Erin Kline of Marshall holds a doctorate in Sociology with a specialization in race, class and gender intersections. She works at Southwest Minnesota State University as the associate director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Mustang Pathway program, as well as adjuncts in sociology. When asked why she was interested in serving on the SMAC board, she said, “I benefited so much from my participation in the arts that I would love to be able to continue to support the arts in a more direct way, and I believe this is possible from a position on the SMAC board. In addition, I strongly believe that valuing the arts begins at a young age. My children all demonstrate different talents and interests in the arts, and I want to help to insure and promote art on a wider scale because without art we begin to lose our ability to identify our shared humanity. This is crucial if we ever hope to attain a more peaceful world.”
If you are interested in becoming the McLeod county representative on the SMAC board, please visit our webpage on becoming a SMAC board member. Term expires 12/2023.
Term expires 12/2025
Darlene Kotelnicki has served as board chair and secretary for numerous boards, including the Greater Litchfield Opera House, the Litchfield Public Library, Litchfield Public Schools, Litchfield Community Theatre and more! When asked why she was interested in serving on the SMAC board she said, “I feel we need to promote the arts in Litchfield and Meeker County. I am willing to work to do this. There is much that can be done in our county.”
Term expires 12/2023
Jessica Welu has been a member of the Minnesota Valley Chorale, the Southwest Minnesota State University Choirs and the Al Opland Singers of Pipestone. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a focus in poetry from the Minnesota State University in Mankato and also taught creative writing there as a Teaching Assistant. Welu also brings her knowledge working with boards and board member responsibilities through her work at Southwest Regional Development Commission, as well as her understanding of the development work within the southwest region and communities. When asked why she was interested in a board position with SMAC, she said “Art has the ability of helping to create more vibrant communities, helps to build connections, and helps attract tourism and development–as an RDC staff, these are areas that drive my work, but art is also something I’m personally passionate about. As a creative writer and art enthusiast, I would like to see arts opportunities grow in the region. I believe that art is a community need and I want to be an advocate for the growth of arts opportunities in the region.”
Term expires 12/2023
Avenel-Navara is a retired educator from Higher Education and currently substitutes in Middle and High School classes in all disciplines. She said she is not an artist herself, but is a strong advocate for arts and artists of all disciplines and a dedicated consumer of art. She is the current chair of the Worthington Public Arts Commission and has served as a grant writer and committee member for the Worthington International Festival Committee, as well as been a grant review panelist for SMAC on many occasions. When asked why she was interested in serving on the SMAC board she replied that she had spoken to the past board representative for Nobles county about the responsibilities of being a board member and thought she could “bring a consumer’s perspective” to the board and that she’s interested in promoting the arts in Worthington and Nobles county and “making art available to all of our communities”.
Term Expires 12/2024
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.
Term Expires 12/2023
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.”
Term expires 12/2024
Kylie Rieke is a Ceramic Artist and Muralist, and recently opened her own pottery studio called Raydiant Clay Works. She graduated from Augsburg University with a BA in Studio Art and served in the Peace Corps El Salvador. She is a founding member of the T-Bird Community Arts and has served on the board since 2015. She participates in community theater productions for both the T-Bird Community Arts and the State Street Theater. She is also an active volunteer and violinist for the New Ulm Suzuki School of Music. Kylie was a recipient of SMAC grants and Minnesota State Arts Board grants in her development as an artist, and is excited to give back by serving on the SMAC board. “I love bringing people together with the magic of art, music and theater, and using this power to unite our rural Minnesota communities.”
Term expires 12/2024
Shawn is the Executive Director for the Palace Theatre in Luverne. He also has experience as the Vice President of Green Earth Players Community Theatre, a board member of Luverne Street Music and Artistic Director for the Luverne High School Theater. Shawn is highly involved both on-stage and back-stage for theater and musical productions in Luverne. Previously Shawn has written, recorded and performed music in a touring band for seven years. When asked why he was interested in serving on the SMAC Board as a representative for Rock County, he said, “I have lived in Luverne most of my life. I have watched my hometown grow and thrive in ways that I never thought it could, and much of that is thanks to the arts. The arts in Luverne are able to thrive thanks in part to SMAC. Helping SMAC continue to support the arts in towns all across southwest Minnesota is a good way to continue that growth.” Thanks Shawn!
Term expires 12/2023.
More details coming soon!
If you are interested in becoming the Yellow Medicine county representative on the SMAC board, please visit our webpage on becoming a SMAC board member. Term expires 12/2025.
Nicole describes herself as a doer and a dreamer: an out of practice visual artist who believes everything can be renovated – including people. As the Executive Director of the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, DeBoer enjoys meeting and helping artists and organizations who produce and support the arts. She has been at the arts council, which serves 18-counties and provides arts funding and services, for over a decade. There isn’t an artform she won’t try – but most of all prefers to see others succeed in sharing their art.
When not promoting the arts in rural MN, she enjoys DIY projects around her 1880s house and working on converting a century granary into a cabin. If she had a tattoo it would either say “If 2 Be/Up 2 Me” or “Stick to the Plan!”
If you are interested in consulting with Nicole on arts access for our region, schedule a meeting by clicking here.
Financial & Grants Administrator
Caroline Koska is originally from Marshall and has worked for SW MN Arts Council since 2011, first as Administrative Assistant and for the last several years as Financial/Grants Administrator. She has an arts background in music. With a degree in vocal performance, Caroline loves to sing and also plays piano, flute, and, as a new venture, harp. She has taught piano lessons, done music for church and community theater, and dabbled in acting in community theater productions as well. Caroline’s other hobbies include reading and sewing.
If you are interested in consulting with Caroline on on grant eligibility, using the application system, or reviewing a draft of a grant application, schedule a meeting by clicking here.
Access & Marketing Coordinator
Krystl Louwagie grew up on a Minnesota farm. She graduated with a Studio Art degree with an emphasis in intaglio printmaking from Hamline University in St. Paul. She now lives in Marshall and works full-time for SMAC. On the side, she finds time to work as a commission artist, professional facepainter, petting zoo assistant, and pet sitter.
Her interest in the arts began early through illustrated fairy tale books, super-hero comics, animated cartoons and a healthy appreciation of musicals, theatre and dance.
She’s also enthusiastic about reading, exercising, the outdoors, cooking, and animals (especially cats)! She believes strongly in equity and community-building in rural spaces.
You can follow her artistic journey on Facebook & Instagram or Krystl’s Website. She mostly creates ink portraits (people & pets) and short autobiographical comics about her life. If you are interested in consulting with Krystl about marketing, artist promotion, or social media content, schedule a meeting by clicking here.
*All above staff photos taken by Shay Photography: https://www.shayphotographymn.com/
John brings 12 years experience in hospitality and special event management, has experience in social media marketing and website maintenance, is a professional photographer and filmmaker, and has received multiple artists grants from SMAC and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
John Kellen Artist Biography
As a hybrid digital storyteller, I want my images, words, and video to depict the beauty I see all around me. Stories make life rich and I’m constantly in search of those thin threads that connect us all.
After a 30-year career in International Business, Academia and Philanthropy spanning more than 60 countries I’ve returned to my hometown in Minnesota to pursue my artistic inclinations. I’ve been fortunate to have received numerous grants and awards locally, regionally, and statewide. As a lifelong learner, I’m constantly learning new techniques and skillsets to enhance what I’m able to share with the world.
I’ve always loved photography having received my first camera when I was very young and over my lifetime, I’ve documented my experiences and travels behind the lens. My intentions are to share my work more broadly and to offer photographic services, cinematography and writing to individuals and organizations.