Board & Staff
Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo Staff
Kristen Chesak, Executive Director
Kristen joined the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo in June 2016. Prior to this appointment, Kristen had a 22-year career at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre – serving in the positions of Intern, Carpenter, Lighting Designer, Production Manager, and most recently as its Executive Director – a position she held for the past 10 years. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Kristen has also had the pleasure of working for the Group Theatre, The Alice B., and the Annex Theatre. A graduate of both Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, Kristen holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Communication and an M.F.A. in Performing Arts Administration.
Kristen has been a strong advocate of the arts in her previous roles, and was presented with the Robert A. McKenna Award by the Community Theatre Association of Michigan in recognition for her contributions to community theatre at the local, state and national levels. She has also served as a committee member for the American Association of Community Theatre, as well as volunteering locally as a member of Rotary and an Advisory Council Member of Discover Kalamazoo.
In addition to advocacy, Kristen has a proven track-record in fundraising and program development and is eager to be able to expand her role in the community as a connector between art, artists, and the community.
Beth McCann, Deputy Director
Beth McCann joined the Arts Council in August of 2009 as Director of Marketing and Community Relations, was promoted to Deputy Director in September of 2010, and has served as Interim Executive Director from June 2015 to June 2016. Beth has over 20 years of marketing and public relations experience. Prior to joining the Arts Council Beth spent 12 years in healthcare marketing and administration overseeing physician focused marketing and advertising campaigns, website development, physician recruitment, customer service, policy development and program management working for the Heart Center for Excellence, Borgess Ambulatory Care and Bronson Healthcare Group. Beth has a strong background in event management, professionally as Marketing Coordinator for Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated from 1990-93 and as a community volunteer for various non profit organizations. Beth also has served as a consultant to numerous non profits in Southwest Michigan and throughout the Midwest. Beth received her Bachelor of Science from The University of Michigan and her MBA from Western Michigan University.
Beth is active as a community volunteer also. She has served on many community non profit Boards of Directors including Housing Resources, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Corporate Giving Committee, the American Heart Association Heart Ball and Go Red for Women, Hospital Hospitality House and the Discover Kalamazoo Advisory Council. Currently, Beth is Chair of the Discover Kalamazoo Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the Branding and Engagement Committee at Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated and a Board Member of Glass Art Kalamazoo and Pretty Lake Camp. Beth has been a member of the Junior League of Kalamazoo for over 20 years, serving as its President in 1999-2000.
Charlie Tomlinson, Program Coordinator
Kalamazoo native Charlie Tomlinson’s career in the Arts spans more than 20 years. A graduate of The University of Michigan with both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music Degrees in String Bass Performance, Charlie spent his early career in New York. He performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra and New York Chamber Ensemble. Charlie founded and served as Artistic and Executive Director of Positive Music, an organization dedicated to presenting quality chamber music concerts, providing performance opportunities for musicians affected by HIV/Aids and exploring the relationship between health and healing. In New York he also worked at Production Manager at BergerBrown Communications.
Charlie returned to Kalamazoo in 2008 and quickly became involved with local arts organizations. He serves on the Boards of Directors of the Crescendo Academy of Music, Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Society and Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers. Most recently Charlie was the Production Coordinator at Fontana Chamber Arts. He worked for the Arts Council in 2011 as a Special Events Coordinator for Make Music Kalamazoo.
Charlie is a graduate of the Kalamazoo Leadership Academy and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center in Grand Rapids. In addition to his present role as Program Coordinator at the Arts Council, Charlie teaches Bass at Kalamazoo College.
Kitty A Mitchell, Office Coordinator
Morgan Rasmussen, Marketing Assistant
Morgan Rasmussen joined the Arts Council in March 2016 as a part time Marketing Assistant. She is a current student at Western Michigan University with a Major in Sales and Business Marketing and a Minor in Fine Arts.
Steve Curl, Curator
Steve joined the Arts Council in January 2014 as an art handler for Art Hop, a job he formerly held with the Arts Council “many years ago”. He is a popular Michigan artist known for his use of discarded metals like aluminum to create robots and other fun free-standing sculptures like Japathar, a popular attraction at the Kalamazoo Art Fair. Steve is proud to say he is the only “second generation” artist in the KIA Art Fair.
Michael Ray Helms, President
Retired, Van Buren ISD;Actor
Jana Zollinger, Vice President
Western Michigan University, Development & Alumni Relations
Kurt Sherwood, Secretary
Attorney, Miller Canfield
Nancy Schultz, Treasurer
Southwest Michigan First, Vice President
Bryan Zocher, Past President
Kalamazoo RESA – Education for the Arts, Director
Communities in Schools
John F. Donaldson, CPA
Stryker Medical, Associate Product Manager
Western Michigan University, Associate Dean of Fine Arts
Manager in Middle Market Lending, Regional President and Alternate Group
Hospice Care of SW Michigan
PNC Bank, Branch Manager
Administrative Director, Retired
KNI/Southwest Michigan Imaging Center
Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Director of Student Services
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