Meet MRAC Board and New Opportunities

MRAC Evolve

MRAC’s Board is Growing!

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) is seeking new board members for the next fiscal year (FY23, starting on July 1, 2022).

The MRAC Board of Directors is the governing body of the organization – primarily ensuring financial health and providing strategic direction. The MRAC Board works in partnership with the MRAC staff team to ensure that the organization’s culture, practices, and relationships align with the values, mission and vision we set forth.

Specifically, we are looking for board members that reside in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties. Individuals who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, People with Disabilities, and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Agender, Two-Spirit (LGBTQIA2+) are encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities of board members are listed below.

For more information, contact Kathy Mouacheupao: kathy@mrac.org

Or, if you are interested, please tell us more about yourself by filling out this form.

Board Member Feature: Amanda Cortés

Image description: The image is of Amanda, a Latina woman who has long brown hair and is wearing gold earrings and a green shirt.

Amanda Cortés recently completed her first year on the MRAC Board, and during that time participated in a panel discussion with fellow MRAC Board members about the arts community, MRAC’s role in the arts ecosystem, what has changed, and hopes for the future. A link to recording of that discussion is here: https://mrac.org/2021/06/09/talking-with-mrac-board-members/

Amanda works in St. Paul and has been a cultural worker nearly all of her life. She says about the MRAC:

MRAC has become a model for equitable arts funding practices by centering communities previously on the margins. I’m excited to see us continue to push boundaries as we repair past harms and sow the seeds that will grow the artistic landscape our communities want and need.

Board Member Feature: Alejandra Iannone

Image description: The image is of Alejandra, an Argentinian and American woman, who is wearing a green dress and is in a dramatic dancers pose. The photo is from LDV Live @ The Shed, which was presented by Hatch Dance and HoneyWorks.This production was funded in part by a grant from MRAC. Photo Credit: Bill Cameron.

Alejandra Iannone has been on the MRAC Board since July 2018, and during that time she served on the Racial Equity Task Force, making many contributions to the equity work and evolution of MRAC. She currently serves on the Executive Committee.

Alejandra is a dancer, teacher, and writer who lives and works in the Twin Cities. She says about the MRAC:

My favorite thing about being on the MRAC board is that I get to connect with other people who share my love for the arts and learn about their unique perspectives.

Board Member Feature: Lauren White

Image description: The image is of Lauren, a white woman with shoulder-length blonde hair, wearing a yellow knit hat and a turquoise coat.

Lauren White has been with the MRAC board for the last couple of years and was part of the recent significant operational and programmatic changes at MRAC. She currently serves as the chair of the Nominating Committee.

Lauren lives in South Minneapolis and works as the Development Director at Juxtaposition Arts. She says about the MRAC:

I love being on the MRAC board because I get to learn about all of the amazing art happening in the metro, and learn and grow alongside an incredible group of people on the staff and board.

Board Member Feature: Alejandra Pelinka

Image description: The image is of Alejandra, a Latina woman with long light brown hair, wearing a tan jacket.

Alejandra Pelinka will be completing her first term (three years) on the MRAC Board in June 2022. She serves on the Policy Committee and has contributed to several important and impactful policy changes at MRAC. 

Alejandra lives in Scott County and works in Suburban Hennepin County. She is the Director of Creative Placemaking for the City of Bloomington, with a lifelong passion for the arts and previous roles in arts and nonprofit administration. She says about the MRAC:

I enjoy learning from the varying expertise and perspectives of the staff and board members, and seeing the impact of MRAC grants on groups, individual artists, and the community.

Board Responsibilities

  • Board members are elected for a three-year term and may be elected to a second term for a total of 6 years of service. We seek a balance of representation on the board – geographic, artistic discipline, constituent/non-constituent, age, racial/cultural background, gender, and organizational experience.
  • Each board member adds value to the organization by bringing their experiences as a resident of the region, a member of their community, an artist in their discipline, and many other circumstances that influence their whole being. The role of the board member is to bring those experiences to inform decisions made about the entire 7-county Metropolitan area.
  • It is appreciated when members share information/insight about arts activities in their county and/or community.
  • The MRAC Board is responsible for setting and overseeing policy and broad direction of the organization. The staff is responsible for taking policy and board direction and putting it into action. The board does not get involved in program planning or management of the day-to-day operations of the organization.
  • The MRAC Board has 11 meetings per fiscal year, which is July 1 through June 30. Currently, they are on the third Tuesday of the month from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. There is no meeting in August.
  • Prior to each board meeting, board members receive important materials related to decisions and discussions for the meeting- this can include financials, staff reports, funding recommendations, etc.
  • MRAC uses a committee system to do more in depth and additional work outside of the monthly board meetings. Current active committees include the Executive Committee, the Policy Committee, the Nominating and Engagement Committee, and the Board and Staff Engagement Committee – all committees are made up for board and staff members.
  • Board members are sometimes called upon by staff for counsel and particular expertise. Staff also relies on board members to make referrals of future panelists from their community and colleagues.
  • MRAC Board members are expected to be advocates of the arts and to understand the importance of the legislative process to MRAC’s funding. Including the relationships with the Forum of Regional Arts Councils of MN, the MN State Arts Board, and MN Citizens for the Arts.
  • MRAC Board members may be reimbursed for parking, mileage, or public transportation related to attendance to meetings and events where they are officially representing MRAC.  Board members will be reimbursed at the same rate as grant review panel members. Requests for reimbursement shall be made using MRAC’s Volunteer Expense Reimbursement Form.

Current Board Members

Officers

Adaobi Okolue (Chair) Executive Director + Publisher, Twin Cities Media Alliance, Hennepin County

Sara Wilson (Vice Chair) Attorney, Lommen Abdo P.A., Suburban Hennepin County

Lue Vang (Treasurer) Accountant, McKnight Foundation, Ramsey County

Kate Walker (Secretary) Singer, Valley Chamber Chorale, Hennepin County

Alejandra Iannone, Interdisciplinary Artist and Creative Director, Sparkle Theatricals, Hennepin County 

Members

Amanda Cortés, Artspace and Springboard for the Arts, Ramsey County

Paul Creager, Founder and Director, Square Lake Film & Music Festival, Washington County

Adrienne Viola Doyle, Tactical Lead and Development Associate, Juxtaposition Arts, Hennepin County

Craig Dunn, Access Consultant, Ramsey County

Ryan-Olivia Lundy, Dancer, Black Label Movement and Shapeshift, Suburban Hennepin County

Alejandra Pelinka, Director of Creative Placemaking, City of Bloomington, Scott County

Lauren White, Director of Development, Juxtaposition Arts, Hennepin County

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