Elena Thornton
Founder, CEO

Elena has more than 20 years of hands-on experience in the education, business and the non profit sector. She has taught Russian language to all grade levels from Elementary School to College. She held positions as a Director of an after school program and also a Director of Training for a Phoenix based company. Elena’s formal education is in the Secondary Education, she holds both a B. A. and M.A. degrees from the University at Albany, NY. She is the past President of the Paradise Valley Artists League. Currently, Elena is an adjunct faculty at Paradise Valley Community College. Elena also served on a collaborative committee at Arizona Art Alliance. Elena’s education and career experience combined with real-life experience makes her the successful organizational leader she is today. Currently, together with the Arizona Consortium for the Arts Board of Directors, volunteer coordinators and advisors, she is spearheading the efforts in developing relationships through networking and partnering with local non-profit organizations that will bridge resources and forge collaborations with individuals, public, private and government organizations and agencies, educational institutions, business community to reach their goals, objectives and ultimately build and sustain a multicultural arts and performing arts center facility. Working closely with all the entities, she is confident they will have the resources, skills and knowledge that will enable them to continue on their path to success, grow and leave a legacy for the next generation. When not working on projects and community involvement, Elena spends much of her time with her husband Jim and their son Jeremy. She also devotes time to her art and poetry. Two of her poems are published in the book “Tapestry: A Collection of Stories Woven by Jewish Women”.

Richard Dyer
Founding Member
Editor, Blue Guitar Magazine

Sarah Vannucci
Board Member 2010-2012
Special Projects

Sara Vannucci focuses her tax and business consulting with family farms and businesses in the area of succession and tax planning, as well as planning for physicians and medical personnel. She is a tax consultant to many non-profit organizations. Sara holds numerous Volunteer/Non Profit Positions, the following are just to name a few: President, North Country Conservancy, 501(C)3 Land Trust, Cave Creek, AZ. Director, Black Canyon Trails Coalition, Black Canyon City, AZ. Advisor/Member, New River/Desert Hills Community Association. District 3 Advisory Council, Maricopa County. Sara is a member of several Professional Associations including the Maricopa County Bar Association and she is a Licensed Life & Health insurance agent in Arizona. Sara had a private law practice in the Chicago area for 33 years and she is a Licensed title attorney /agent for over 30 years. Sara is a National speaker, instructor and past chairperson and member of various Illinois bar association seminars and committees for the Chicago Bar Association, the Northwest Suburban Bar and various Realtor Boards, including the Women's Council of Realtors; Arizona seminars in basic estate & business planning, insurance planning, charitable planning, annuities & family foundations, and reverse mortgages. Arizona community activities include participation on Trails Committees, various land/development issues, and the Maricopa County Merit Commissions. Sara is an artist and an arts advocate and supporter. She was also a journalist for two newspapers on land and business issues as well as a former real estate broker (IL).

Ann Wallace
Board Member 2013
Development Advisor 2010 - 2013

Tosca Kerr
Board Member 2013
Special Projects

David Fraley
Board Member 2010-Present
Special Projects

Cristín Duerinckx
Grants Advisor 2011 - 2012

Kim "Max" White
Special Projects

Marjory Boyer
Founding Member
Special Projects

Cj Rider
Special Projects

Denise Landis
Special Projects

Kas Winters
Special Projects

Jessica Moore Aikin
Special Projects

Kate Tracy
Special Projects

Gabriel Bey
Special Projects

Warren Chu
Special Projects

Kathryn Halsey
Special Projects

Lisa Rosenbloom
Special Projects

Tina Wahl
Special Projects

Celise Colston
Special Projects

Roger Kirk Nelson
Founding Member
Board Member 2010-Present
President-2013

Roger Kirk Nelson is an artist living in Glendale, Arizona. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, he won several national art and music competitions on the island before emigrating to the United States in 1985. He has an advanced certificate in Art and Languages (Spanish and French), a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Arts, a Master’s in Administration and a PhD with a focus in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. His style has developed from his upbringing in the Caribbean, his travels throughout the US and Europe and from his mentors. Most notable among them are Jackie Hinkson, Trinidadian artist and teacher, and Arizona Artists Henry Stinson, Mary Deloyht-Ahrendt, Joni Falk and Liz Kenyon. He admires contemporary artists such as Henry Valenti, Shant Beudjekian, and Stephen Quiller, and the color theory of the French masters, Monet, Matisse, Chagall, Derain, and Gauguin. He also loves the vibrant abstracts of Kandinski. Roger began painting at a very early age and after more than 30 years of involvement with the arts and a commitment to artist development, the subjects of his paintings are as eclectic as his life and interests. The body of his work includes seascapes, landscapes, human interest compositions, still life and portraits. He uses a variety of media including pencil, watercolor, acrylics, oils and pastels to express subjects and moods. He sometimes experiments with mixed-media in his work. Roger is currently showing at the Red Dog Gallery in downtown Phoenix and at various on-line galleries. He is the former Director of Lending and Administration at a local non-profit and shares his time between painting, running his own gallery and working for equality in home ownership among Native Americans. He is a member of the Arizona Artists Guild, Arizona Consortium for the Arts, International Plein Air Painters, and the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago.

Beth Cornell
Special Projects

Zhanna Tevan
Founding Member
Performing Arts

Diana Matatova
Dance (Youth Division) 2009 - 2010

Shea Stanfield
Special Projects

Shea's life is in the arts and service to the community. She grew-up in northeast Phoenix graduating from Arcadia High School where she focused her studies in the visual and performing arts as well as journalism. She obtained her B.A. from Arizona State University in Graphic Arts and Secondary Education. Her M.ED, also from Arizona State, is in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Reading and Special Education. Shea spent the first 25 years of her career as a working artist and teacher developing programs for remediation of learning disabilities through the visual and performing arts. Armed with certifications in Montessori International Education, Reality Therapy from the William Glasser Institute and English as a Second Language, Shea has spent the last 12 years as a counselor of at-risk teens. Shea has served her community through the arts in a variety of ways. She was a member of the original committee to write the Arizona State Arts Curriculum for the Arizona State Department of Education. This K-12 curriculum still serves as the foundation for art programs throughout the state of Arizona. She worked with the Arizona Art Education Association as a chairperson for Youth Art Month coordinating exhibits at the Arizona State Capital and local public libraries to promote awareness for youth art and the importance of arts programs. She continues to coordinate the artist in resident programs for the middle school where she works. Over the years Shea has incorporated her love for the arts and community development into a service role in the foothills area. Shea served two terms on the Cave Creek Town Council 2001-2005 actively working toward supporting the arts in her community. Shea has the unique ability to move the arts agenda forward through networking opportunities. Shea has served for the past six years on the board of the Sonoran Desert Center for the Arts, an organization that is bringing together environmental preservation and the arts.

Jerry Sieve
Special Projects

Jerry has over 30 years of experience as a professional scenic/nature photographer/artist . Over 2,500 images have been published worldwide. He also paints oils on canvas. Jerry led a one day seminar on "Searching for the Grand Landscape" to over 100 people. In 2007 he was the Chairman of Photograpy at the Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival. In 2008 he was the Judge of photography at the Arizona State Fair. Jerry has exhibited in many shows including at the Glendale College, AZ., the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, at the Valley National Bank Center in Phoenix, at the Cincinnati Nature Center, in Cincinnati, at the Picture Perfect Gallery in Scottsdale, at the Tate Gallery in Sedona Arizona and each year he is an active participant of the HIDDEN IN THE HILLS Studio Tour Art Expo. Jerry has received the prestious 60 Years of Arizona Highways award and the National Wildlife Federation Calendar Award. Jerry has published - One man Photographer for coffee table books entitled, America's Southwest 1985, Ohio : Images of Nature 1990 Along the Arizona Trail, 1998. One man Calendars Black and White (Jerry Sieve) 1988, OHIO: Images of Nature 1990-1996. Jerry has taught over 50 photography workshops in various areas across the nation. He was the Artist in residence at the Fountain Hills High School and at the Cactus Shadows High School in 2006. Over the past 16 years, Jerry have taught more multi-day workshops for the FRIENDS OF ARIZONA HIGHWAYS Magazine than any other of their teachers. Jerry's work is in numerous individual and corporate collections.

Jami Lyn Lanser
Founding Member
Special Projects

Jami began art at an early age. She can recall her mother sitting at her isle painting for hours as she scribbled on paper in admiration. Born in 1973, in Denver, Colorado to a mother of many artistic tendencies and a father who enjoyed poetry and music; art came natural to Jami. In 1994, she started her own business called ECCENTRICITIES DESIGN GROUP LLC. while still going to school in Colorado. The company combined modern design concepts with a timeless artistic approach to finish and treating walls, ceilings, columns, floors, cabinets, trim and much more for home or business. By infusing texture and color into the designs, simple structures became works of art. Jami specialized in brilliant custom murals, faux finishes, speciality finishes, trompe l'oeil, venetian plaster, mosaic and sophisticated custom paintings and artwork. Jami continued her passion for art through college attending Colorado University in Boulder. In 1997, she moved to Phoenix and attended Collins College in 1999. Her own personal work was greatly influenced after all the years of experience with such a variety of mediums. In 2008 she began to focus solely on her personal growth and painting, thus ending an era for Eccentricities. Today, she balances family and art and is focusing on developing her 2D works. Jami's work can be seen in local small businesses, galleries and art shows. Her favorite medium is acrylic. She likes the essence of the paint and the instant gratification she gets from it. Much of her work consists of mix media, mixing photography and objects with her pieces. Always having a sincere love of photography since school, and now with more time to explore her personal art, she plans on developing this more. Her subject matter varies, however she is inclined to figurative work. In recent years, the force behind the ideas for her work seem to be coming less emotionally and more psychologically campaigned. She has a passionate enthusiasm for the next era of her art and life... Jami is also excited about the Arizona Consortium for the Arts and is looking forward to all the projects and activities.

Sherry Finzer
Special Projects

Sherry Finzer is a professional flutist located in the Phoenix area, and is the President and CEO of AZWMI. After watching the budget cuts and lack of support for school music programs, she felt the need to create the Arizona World Music Initiative. Performers from the Initiative will go into schools to perform for children, and teach them simple rhythms on a variety of percussive instruments. At the end of the session, children will be able to perform and play along with the musicians. The focus is on world music, so performances can be tied in with the current curriculum being taught to the students. Originally from Rochester, NY, Sherry Finzer (Pearl Flute Performing Artist) now resides in Phoenix, AZ and performs as a soloist and also with large number of professional musicians in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. Trained classically, Sherry has chosen to explore other styles of music and has recorded her own CD’s, Desert Journey and Watercolors, and has also recorded CD’s with Diego Andres and with other Phoenix musicians. She performs regularly with Desert Fusion, dulce VAS, Diego Andres, Radiant Sky, CAFE, Trillium Trio and more. She also performs classical music and has won three national competitions, and was selected from hundreds of entrants to perform with the National Flute Association's Professional Flute Choir (alto) in August 2007 at the Albuquerque Convention, and in August 2006 at the convention in Pittsburgh, PA. Sherry was also selected to perform in the Newly Published Music concert at the convention in Pittsburgh in 2006 and has won first place in the Arizona Flute Society Competition - Nov 2008, and the Great Southwest Flute Fair Competition - March of 2006 and 2007, where she was also given the opportunity to perform in master classes with Michel Debost and Mimi Stillman in Tucson, AZ. She has also won the Rochester Flute Association's competition in the 2002 and 2004, and has had the opportunity to play in national master classes for Goran Marcusson, Jill Felber, Jim Walker, Flute Force, Brian Luce and more. Her style and influences have been formed from taking a variety of lessons with professionals such as Goran Marcusson, Nestor Torres, Bradley Garner, Christopher Caliendo, Gary Schocker, Glennda Dove-Pellito, Joe Corral, Emily McKay, Claudia Anderson, Jeanie Pierce, Alexander Viazovtsev and Brian Luce.

Effie Bouras
Architect
(photo by Dayvid Lemmon)

Effie Bouras, PhD, principal of mechanik design office llc, received a doctorate in urban planning in 2010- the first ever awarded for the study of Landscape Urbanism in North America- from Arizona State University, following bachelor’s degrees in both civil engineering and architecture, from McGill University and Dalhousie respectively, and a master’s in architecture from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During tenure in Las Vegas the MDO principal worked on the Guggenheim and Hermitage Museums with Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry and The Stubbins Associates. MDO continues to work in the architecture and planning fields, both as principal designer and collaborator. Design work has included collaborations with various designers as well as renovations and ground up structures. Recently, MDO was the project assistant for Hanny’s restaurant (2010) in downtown Phoenix, Arizona; a 15,000 square foot renovation of a historic registrar property and a new lounge space for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which was headed by Janis Leonard Design Associates, LLC. MDO compliments design work with freelance writing, lectures and artistic pursuit; projects and writing have been featured in several national publications including Modernism Magazine, Architectural Record, Canadian Architect Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, +plusmood online, City Magazine in New York, Coastal Living, and as architecture and planning editor of Hearsight (online) Magazine. Art created by the design office has been featured throughout the United States and Europe and is represented by Perihelion Arts based in Arizona. Most recently MDO/MAO was invited as a lecturer and guest critic at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Taliesin West (2011).

James Thornton
Founding Member
Special Projects, IT

Fabiola Estrada
Special Projects,
Web and Graphic Design

Timothy Ross
Special Projects,
Web and Graphic Design