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Commission Member Bios

 

Charles Stanhope, Chair (Southwest Harbor)

Charles retired from his public service career at the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress. He served the library as assistant chief operating officer, working alongside Librarian James H. Billington on executive matters of congressional, legal, and public affairs, as well as private sector fund-raising and donor cultivation. These responsibilities supported the library's well-regarded exhibit, literary and poetry program, including the activities of the U.S. Poet Laureate. He is especially proud to have served on the library team that designed and established the National Book Festival, which annually draws over 150,000 lovers of books and reading to the National Mall. A new resident of Southwest Harbor, Charles graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor's degree in French and from the Catholic University of America with a master's degree in library science. At UMaine, he has established an endowment to support travel for research purposes for honors college undergraduates. His upbringing and education have instilled in him a love and value for the arts - fine art, performing arts, literary arts - and he has long supported and attended musical and theatrical endeavors in Washington, D.C. He serves on the board of the Maine Historical Society and the Southwest Harbor Public Library.

 

Paul E. Benjamin (Rockland)

Paul began promoting blues shows as a hobby in 1978 and has been fortunate enough to turn that passion into a full time occupation. He is the cofounder of the award winning North Atlantic Blues Festival, which is now in its 18th year. Paul is the owner of Benjamin Productions and North Atlantic Blues Records. He currently produces blues music shows throughout Maine, offers consulting services to festivals nationwide, and manages national touring blues artist Kenny Neal. Paul has been recognized many times for his exceptional work and dedication to the music industry: he was awarded Mississippi Trail Marker for his 32 years of work showcasing Mississippi born artists in Maine; he is one of eight such markers located outside of Mississippi. He was the first person elected president of the board of directors of the Blues Foundation that did not reside in Memphis, TN. He was music director of the 25th and 26th Blues Music Awards show in Memphis and was awarded Chamber Person of the year in 2003 by the Rockland/Thomaston Area Chamber Of Commerce. He has also been a guest speaker at a number of music conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada.

 

Mark H.C. Bessire (Portland)

is the director of the Portland Museum of Art. Previously, he was director of the Bates College Museum of Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art.

Bessire holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University, an M.A. in art history from Hunter College and a B.A. from New York University. He was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art and a Fulbright Fellow in Tanzania. He has published widely, organized traveling exhibitions, and is active in local, community, and national public art programs. Bessire is also a founding board member of the nonprofit Africa Schoolhouse, which builds schools in rural Africa.

 

Joshua Bodwell (Biddeford)

Joshua Bodwell is the executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. He is the co-founder of the Biddeford arts organization Engine. As a journalist, Joshua’s work has garnered awards from the Maine and New England press associations. Joshua served as the associate editor on the founding staff of Maine Home + Design magazine, and today is a regular contributor to Poets & Writers magazine and a contributing editor of the online journal Fiction Writers Review. Joshua’s fiction and poetry has appeared in magazines and quarterlies across the United States, England, and Europe.

 

Sharon Corwin (Waterville)

Sharon Corwin is an art historian and museum professional. She currently serves as the Carolyn Muzzy Director and Chief Curator at the Colby College Museum of Art, where she has worked since 2003. At the Colby Museum, Sharon established the yearly exhibition program, Currents, which showcases work by emerging artists who have ties to the state of Maine. She also oversees the museum’s exhibitions, acquisitions, and public programs. Sharon received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and has published numerous articles and books on modern and contemporary American art.

 

Alan Crichton (Belfast)

is a sculptor, draftsman and writer living in Liberty. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Goddard College and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, he has taught at Unity College, Colby College, the MFA program at Vermont College and the Farnsworth Museum and has exhibited throughout Maine and New England for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of Waterfall Arts, a center in Montville and Belfast, which for 11 years has brought together artists from Maine and around the world to celebrate creativity and promote sustainability through education, artists’ residencies, exhibits and events.

 

Suzanne Grover (Norway)

Information will be posted when it becomes available.

 

Shannon Haines (Waterville)

served as the director of the Maine International Film Festival from 2002 until October of 2012 when she became the first executive director of the film festival's parent organization, Maine Film Center, whose mission is to enrich, educate, and entertain the community through film and art. Shannon also served as the executive director of Waterville Main Street from March of 2003 through October of 2012, during which tiem she oversaw $1 million in downtown revitalization grant programs, the creation of Barrels Community Market, and numerous community events, including the Maine Open Juried Art Show and the Waterville Intown Arts Fest.

Shannon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Japanese from Middlebury College. In 2008, she was named in Maine Biz’s “Next List” of top 10 individuals shaping the Maine economy and was presented with the Ken Curtis Leadership Award from the Maine Development Foundation. She was presented with the Downtown Visionary award by the Maine Downtown Center in 2012.

 

Jonathan B. Huntington (Wayne)

Jon Huntington has practiced law in Maine for twenty-five years. His practice is focused on intellectual property representing individuals and businesses engaged in general commerce and many creative and artistic enterprises. He is widely experienced in trademark and copyright law in the U.S. and other jurisdictions including the creation and maintenance of trademark rights, registration in the United States and internationally including China and the European Union, licensing, and various adversary proceedings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In his copyright practice, he represents mainly visual artists, authors, musicians, and other creative interests in the development and negotiation of performance and publication agreements, assignments, and licenses under the U.S. Copyright Act. His practice includes copyright and trademark infringement opinions and litigation in state and federal courts. He is a licensed attorney in Maine and Washington. He has chaired the boards of Spectrum Generations (Central Maine Area Agency on Aging) and the Androscoggin Yacht Club. He resides in Wayne.

 

Tim Lo (Bangor)

Tim is a cofounder and executive director for the KahBang music | art | film Festival. Established in 2009, the festival showcases independent musicians, artists, and filmmakers and is now the largest indie festival in New England. Building upon the festival’s success, Tim has steered the organization to include expansions such as a nonprofit division focused on the exposure and funding of art initiatives, a concert series on the Maine State Pier in Portland, and an online media magazine for news and original content called KahBang TV. Tim graduated Northeastern University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and served two years consulting entrepreneurial business ventures prior to his role at the Festival. Tim applies his business knowledge and creative entrepreneurial skillset to help make art happen.

 

Daniel Minter (Portland)

Daniel Minter is a painter, illustrator, art educator. Minter's paintings and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums including the Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Art Museum and the Meridian International Center. He has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Travel Grant, Partners of the Americas Artist Exchange and the James Washington Jr. Sculptor residency program.

Minter has illustrated nine children's books, including, Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story, winner of a Best Book Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, and The Riches of Oseola McCarty, named an Honor Book by the Carter G. Woodson Awards. Minter is the founding director and vice-president of Maine Freedom Trails, Inc. He created the markers for the Portland Freedom Trail, which identify significant sites related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Portland, Maine. He was commissioned in both 2004 and 2011 to create the Kwanzaa stamp for the U.S. Postal Service.

Minter lives in Portland, Maine with his wife, Marcia, and son Azari Ayindé.

 

Rowan Morse (Falmouth)

Rowan has been a real estate broker for over 25 years and a Principal at Town & Shore Associates since 1993. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS degree in Psychology. Rowan began her involvement in the arts when the new wing of the Portland Museum of Art was built in 1983. She eagerly signed up for the museum docent program that was offered and served as a docent for a decade. Rowan had no formal art education in college but over the years has taken numerous classes including a 2-semester course in art history at USM and hands on classes in drawing, painting, photography, calligraphy and others at MECA, SMCC and local community programs. Rowan and her husband moved to Portland in 1970 when the Old Port didn’t exist and MECA was a department store. Over the years they have witnessed an explosion of the art scene (with theatres, museums, galleries, festivals, architecture and music) of which they support and participate whenever they can. Rowan’s special interest now is art education through the schools as she had triplet sons and now 7 grandchildren.

 

Cynthia Murray-Beliveau (Hallowell)

Cynthia has worked on developmental, educational, artistic and political endeavors for many years. Her artistic background includes experience as a production assistant for "Music From Maine," a program aired on National Public Radio, as a public school music teacher, as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and as the Chair of FORUM-A, an arts consortium between the University of Maine and local communities. She has worked in schools, K-12, both teaching and counseling, and /or sat on the boards of small liberal arts colleges and Maine’s University System. She has been an advocate for many causes for women and children, at the legislature, in public forums and as a volunteer in places like Haiti, S. Africa, Honduras, and most recently last summer in Kaoma, Zambia where she worked to support the needs of local residents in housing, food and health care distribution systems.

 

Jennifer Oxman Ryan (Portland)

has been conducting research at Harvard University’s, Project Zero for the past five years. She is currently working on the GoodPlay project, exploring the ethical dimensions of young people's online activities. Past projects have included Qualities of Quality: Excellence in Arts Education and How to Achieve It, and Trust and Trustworthiness. Jennifer conducts professional development workshops and is also an arts education consultant. Research interests include arts education and assessment, professional development, student/teacher/community engagement, and moral/ethical thinking.

Prior to joining the staff at Harvard, Jennifer was a teaching fellow in the Arts in Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Previous experience also includes, directing the education programs at L/A Arts in Lewiston, museum educator for students and teachers at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, and advocacy for arts education policy and practice at local and state levels. She has been active with the Maine Arts Commission since 1999 and is currently chair of the Education Committee. Jennifer served on the Kennedy Center taskforce for Arts Afterschool, which resulted in The Arts Beyond the School Day: Extending the Power (2001) In 2007, Jennifer received the Outstanding Advocate for Arts Education award from the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. She earned a BA in Art History from Mount Holyoke College and an Ed.M in Arts in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

 

Heather Sincavage (Presque Isle)

Heather Sincavage is a mixed media artist residing in Presque Isle, Maine. A transplant to Aroostook County from Pennsylvania, Heather joined University of Maine at Presque Isle faculty in 2011. She is an Assistant Professor of Fine Art and in January 2012, she also became the Director of the Walter Reed Fine Art Gallery and University Collections. She is a dedicated community activist, looking for opportunities where art connects with community identity, unity, and change.

Her artwork has also been nationally and internationally received. Notably, she was awarded a full fellowship for a summer residency in Zaragoza, Spain in 2009 where her work continues to be exhibited under management with Artix Creativo Espacio. She has been awarded numerous Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants; been grant funded to attend the Vermont Studio Center; and was a Spring 2010 Artist in Residence at Lehigh University. In May 2011, she was awarded the “Outstanding Contributions to Visual Art” Award by the Allentown Arts Commission, City of Allentown.

She received her BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and her MFA from the School of Art, University of Washington in Seattle, WA.

 

Tracy S. Michaud-Stutzman (Scarborough)

Tracy S. Michaud Stutzman, Ph.D. resides in Scarborough with her husband and two girls.  For over a decade Tracy has worked doing community economic development in Maine focusing on the arts. Tracy was the original staff person for the Center Theatre in downtown Dover-Foxcroft and co-chair of the capital campaign that purchased and renovated the theatre. Working with local economic development corporations, Tracy founded and ran The Maine Highlands Guild which merged in 2008 with the Maine Crafts Association, a non-profit organization that promotes Maine Craft Artists.  As Executive Director of The Guild she received State and National recognition as the winner of the 2003 National Social Venture Competition sponsored by Columbia University, Hass Business School at Berkeley, and the Goldman Sachs Foundation.  Tracy sat on the Maine Governor’s Council for the Creative Economy and the Governor’s Council on Quality of Place. She was a leader in the Realize!Maine Youth Initiative. She recently served on the board of the Maine Association of Non-Profits, the national Craft Organization Development Association, and the World Crafts Council.  She is currently on the Executive Committee of the Maine Arts Commission and a Trustee of Foxcroft Academy.  In 2005 she was chosen for Maine Biz magazine’s “NEXT” list and in 2007 won the Governor’s Award for CDBG Administrator of the Year and the Warren “Pete” Myrick Community Service Award. During her tenure as Executive Director of the Maine Crafts Association, the Center for Maine Craft was created as well as an Associate’s Degree in Traditional and Contemporary Craft at Eastern Maine Community College. Tracy is now a professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern Maine focusing her teaching in the Tourism and Hospitality Degree program. In her spare time Tracy sings and performs regularly with various regional theaters. 

 

Donald Tuski (South Portland)

Donald Tuski joined Maine College of Art as President in July 2010. Tuski received his undergraduate degree at Olivet and then earned both his master's degree and a doctorate in anthropology from Michigan State University. He built his academic career at Olivet, starting as a faculty member and assuming a variety of posts before serving as president for his last nine years at the college. He and his wife Louise live in Portland. They have two children attending colleges for the performing arts.