WHO WE ARE
The Madison Arts Commission is a municipal arts agency managed by a citizen commission composed of ten residents and one Alderperson who are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council. The eleven member commission is staffed with a full-time arts administrator. The Commission was created by ordinance in 1974 to advise the Mayor and thee Common Council on public policy matters relating to the arts. It originally began as a unit in the Parks Division of the City of Madison. Since then, it has moved to the Neighborhood Planning, Urban Design & Historic Preservation section of the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development.
Click the name for the bios of the commission.Barbara Schrank
Karin Wolf, Arts Program Administrator
Anthony Brown II graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Theater. He was appointed to the Madison Arts Commission in 2011. Currently he spends his days as an Education Assistant for the Madison Metropolitan School District. He also performs as a solo artist throughout Madison. His most recent album, Act Two: The Way of the World, capped off his first album trilogy, a compilation showing his strength as an artist as well as his ability to capture audiences across many genres. Brown is a cross-disciplinary music talent with a gift for vocal percussion ("beat-boxing"). As a vocal percussionist, he began performing and recording with Compass Rose. He has performed in over 450 shows around the country. Along with his musical capabilities, he has also written and produced the musical "Ballots" which was inspired by the 2000 election year.
Ginger Ann graduated from UW Madison in 2012 with degrees in Biological Anthropology and Theatre and Drama. As a member of ΦBK, Ginger Ann's academic background spans many disciplines. She believes in supporting others' educational and artistic pursuits, intellectual integrity, and always expanding one's knowledge. Artistically, Ginger Ann has participated in performances and creative collaborations locally and abroad. Currently, she script writes and is involved in the independent film scenes in Madison. She is interested in exploring the psychology of warfare and national identity through art. In addition, Ginger Ann works for the State of Wisconsin, retail, freelance education and web design. Having travelled extensively, she values gained insight from cross-cultural conversations and partnerships. Ginger Ann is eager to bring those lessons to her service on a Madison municipal commission. As a child of a single parent from a Migrant working family, she understands disadvantage and surmounting barriers; Ginger Ann is committed to helping build equality and shared success. Her core values, grounded in social and moral responsibility, are what inspire her to advocate for collaboration, cross-cultural communication, Theatre for change and valuing diversity in the local arts. She brings to the Madison Arts Commission great passion, creativity, and open-mindedness for achieving these goals.
Patty Elson has been serving on the Madison Arts Commission since 2006. She is the Chair of the Public Arts Committee and a member of the Hip Hop Ad Hoc Subcommittee. Patty has lived in Madison most of her life and is a Realtor with Restaino & Associates. Starting with her appointment to the Urban Design Commission in 1994, Patty has served proudly on the Overture Project Advisory Committee, the State Street Design Project Oversight Committee and in many other capacities guiding the growth and maturation of the city she loves.
Briony is fascinated by process, problem solving, and information sharing in general. As an artist that keeps her work fresh, but it also means you never know quite what sheâ€™ll come up with! She makes multi-media, one-of-a-kind pieces in ceramic, fiber, metal, and most recently polymer clay. The common threads are color, texture and whimsy.
Briony taught for many years at the UW-Madison & Milwaukee, and leads workshops at Penland, Arrowmont, Peters Valley, Split Rock, Shake Rag Alley, and many guild and design conferences. She received a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship in 2006 and shows her work nationally and internationally. You can see her work locally at Higher Fire Clay Studio in Madison, and at River Arts on the Water in Prarie du Sac.
Kia Karlen is an active musician and arts educator in the Madison area. She has worked for two decades at Madison Children's Museum, where she currently serves as the museum's Director of Education, overseeing the museum's education programming, community partnerships, and outreach initiatives. Kia can also be found performing with a diverse lineup of local musical ensembles, including the contemporary chamber ensemble Black Marigold Wind Quintet, world music groups Yid Vicious and Reptile Palace Orchestra, Rennebohm Park staple Capitol City Band, and more. In addition to serving on the Madison Arts Commission, Kia is a member of the Overture Community Advisory Board, volunteers at WORT 89.9 FM, and supports many local nonprofit agencies through musical performances at area benefit events.
Leslee Nelson creates embroidered memories. She is a professor emerita from the Departments of Art and Liberal Studies & the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught classes on grant-writing, and professional practices. She was the director of Wisconsin Regional Art Program. She believes that creativity is inherent in each individual and encourages everyone to find their art form.
U.S. Army veteran Yvette M. Pino joined the Armed Forces after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Yvette was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, where she earned the rank of Sergeant. Sergeant Pino was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2004. While serving in Iraq, Yvette found a sense of solitude in creating works of art, where her art was identified and appreciated by her commanding officers, to include General David Petraeus. This earned her the unofficial title of "Division Artist." The title later followed her to her 2nd deployment to Iraq in 2005-2006, where she created more works of art, boosting the morale of her fellow troops.
As a recent BFA Recipient at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Yvette founded the Veteran Print Project. While combining her management skills learned as a non-commissioned officer with her artistic experience she has found her passion in working with prints, people and the stories they tell. Following the success of VPP, Ms. Pino created Bench Press Events as a way to continue the re-investigation of the historical portrait. Rather than focusing solely on veteran stories, Bench Press Events examines the stories of everyday people who help organizations thrive in our communities.
Ms. Schrank, who has lived in Madison since 1977, has a Ph.D. in science, with a minor in economics, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also worked in management for the energy industry for many years. Since retiring from the energy field, she has been creating art quilts and putting her skills and experience to work advocating for the strings program and arts education in Madison's Public Schools. Ms. Schrank co-chaired a School Board arts education community task force charged with gathering information from the community and providing recommendations to the Board on MMSD's arts education program (Revitalizing, Sustaining and AdvancingArts Education in Madison's Public Schools – report to the MMSD School Board, July 2008) and served as a member of the Wisconsin Task Force on Arts and Creativity in Education (co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elizabeth Burmaster). She is an award winning advocate who defends the educational rights of children without the financial resources to receive music training outside of the public schools. Ms. Schrank's strategic emphasis has always been to get information out to the community - and let the community get back to the school board about what's important to them, what are the community's values for education. Her husband, Fred Schrank, is the principal bassist for the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Director at West High School.
Sofía Snow is an artist, educator, and community organizer who believes in the ability and power of hip hop culture as a tool to spread consciousness.
In 2007, Sofía's work was honored with a full page spread in the Boston Globe, and by 18, Sofía was accepted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a First Wave Scholar. In 2011, she graduated with a Bachelor's in Social Work, and was named Top 15 Inspiring Young Female Activists by Generation Progress. Sofía has taken her passions (youth work, arts, and social justice) across the US, UK and Carribean—performing and using Hip Hop to make change. In 2013, the City of Boston officially resolved February 28th as Sofía Snow Day; Snow was acknowledged as Cosmopolitan Magazine's Fun Fearless Female for April 2013; and Muzzle Magazine listed her as top 30 writers under 30. Sofía is the co-founder of the Not Enough Mics Collaborative, a nationwide network of womyn artists. She is currently working for the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives as the Education & Outreach Coordinator for First Wave.
Chris Taylor is an Associate Dean at Madison Media Institute. He has been in and around recording studios for the past 22 years cutting his first recordings on 2" reels at the age of 14. Musically he plays trumpet, baritone, sousaphone, piano, drums/percussion, harmonica, bass and on occasion will attempt the lead guitar. He owns Alcatraz recording studio in Milwaukee. Chris has recorded, worked with, toured with or opened for top artists such as Coo Coo Cal, Max Julian (Goldy in the Mack), Chopper Young City (Making The Band), Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) Lil Boosie, Kanye West, Twista, Musiq Soulchile, Smokey Robinson, Anthony Hamilton, Lil Jon, Keith Clizark (Snoop Dogg) Joseph Warlick (Dr. Dre) Shorty B. (Too Short), Organized Noize (Outkast), Michael Clip Payne (Parliament Funkadelic), Danny Leake (Stevie Wonder), Devin Harris (New Jersey Nets) Mystical, Pimpin' Ken, Pimp Snooky, Ice Mone, The Ying Yang Twins, Nas and more then he can remember at the time of this publishing.
Ms. Wolf came to the City of Madison in fall of 2006 with a background in arts project management, research, writing, and educational programs. She is the Arts Program Administrator for the Madison Arts Commission in the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development. She manages the City's arts grants, runs the gallery spaces, stewards the City’s permanent collection of art, and handles the administration of new public art projects.
Prior to this position, she served as the Special Programs Coordinator in the Community Outreach Department at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, where she created award-winning programs for educators and K-16 students in art, design and technology. She has worked as an educational assistant at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, teaching, docenting, and assisting the Curator of Education.
She has a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and undergraduate degrees in History, History of Cultures, and Afro-American History.
She is a long time supporter of the arts and arts education, and has been involved with many community organizations in establishing exhibitions, educational programs, film festivals, temporary art, and permanent public sculpture projects.