Julie A. Richard, Executive Director
Julie Richard most recently held the position of President & CEO of the West Valley Arts Council in the West Valley of Phoenix, Arizona. Before that she was the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Arts Council in Greenville, South Carolina. She is noted for her ability to take organizations to the next level and has done that wherever she has worked. Julie earned BS degrees in Psychology and Music (Voice) and a MA in Business (Arts Administration) all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previous positions include managing director of Tulsa Opera in Tulsa, Oklahoma; managing director of Syracuse Opera in Syracuse, New York; executive director of the Cayuga Community College Foundation in Auburn, New York; and director of external relations at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust in Oak Park, Illinois. She has extensive experience in development, strategic planning, arts education and organizational development. Julie was a member of Valley Leadership’s Class XXXI and a past chair and member of the National Arts Education Council for Americans for the Arts. She was most recently a member of the WESTMARC Board of Directors, the City of Avondale’s Municipal Arts Committee, the AZ Citizens/Action for the Arts Board of Directors, and the City of Surprise’s Arts & Culture Board. She was also on the research committee for AZ Town Hall. Her past board service includes the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau, South Carolina Arts Alliance, the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Syracuse, Junior League of Syracuse, and the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (CNY Chapter).
Kerstin Gilg, Director of Grants & Accessibilty
Kerstin Gilg is the director of the media arts program and the performing arts program at the Maine Arts Commission. Kerstin also has overseen the agency public art program, agency technology integration, and event production. Kerstin has a Master’s Degree in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a Theatre Science degree from the University of Oregon. Before joining the Maine Arts Commission, Kerstin worked professionally as a scenic designer in New York and an event coordinator in Los Angeles. Kerstin still occasionally teaches art and design courses at the university level and maintains an active creative practice on his farm in Gardiner. Kerstin volunteers for the Gardiner Main Street program, is a member of the Gardiner Board of Trade, and is an advisor to the Film and Video Association of Maine, Digitize Maine initiative and Maine Community Health Options board.
Julie Horn, Visual Arts Director
Julie is the visual arts director for the Maine Arts Commission and manages the State’s Percent for Art program. She relocated to Augusta after working for six years as the director for visual arts, craft, media and design at the Tennessee Arts Commission in Nashville. Her tenure there also included curating and managing the TAC gallery. Her education includes a BFA in painting from the University of Arizona, a MFA in print media from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a fellowship at the Wexner Center for the Arts, at The Ohio State University. Her professional work experience includes facilitating a variety of studio and lecture classes at several colleges in middle TN and serving as adjudicator for grants for Louisiana and Tennessee. In 2013 she was invited by Tennessee’s First Lady Crissy Haslam to curate TN craft and traditional artwork for the TN Executive Residence. She is also a published writer of art criticism for Numbers Inc., Art Papers and the Nashville Scene. She was the curator of public programs for the Frist Center for Visual Art and has received her certification in both nonprofit leadership and nonprofit management. In 2016, she was an invited speaker at Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, on Contemporary Craft Apprentice Programs and served on the panel, Being and Doing: Legacies of Creative Practice and Education, at Black Mountain College. She also serves as a member of the Maine/New Brunswick Cultural Task Force.
Ryan Leighton, Marketing & Communications Director
Ryan Leighton is the Marketing Director at the Maine Arts Commission. A native of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Leighton grew up with a healthy dose of fishing culture and tales from the sea. Realizing he might not be cut out for the salty life of lobstering, Leighton attended the University of Maine in Orono to study journalism and advertising. His passion for storytelling has taken him from reporting in small town coastal newspapers, to writing on the high seas aboard a 19th century whaling ship. Before joining the Arts Commission in January of 2017, Leighton completed a full length documentary film about walking the Appalachian Trail. In 2018 his documentary won Best Maine Film at the Maine Outdoor Film Festival. In his current position at the Maine Arts Commission, Leighton says he enjoys marketing the arts through the power of digital storytelling and creative development.
Linda Nelson, Assistant Director
Linda Nelson was most recently the Producing Artistic Director and founding Executive Director of Opera House Arts at the Stonington Opera House on Deer Isle, ME, founded in 1999 and devoted to the commissioning and year-round programming of original Maine performance. In addition to her 17 years of nonprofit management and theater production, Linda has more than 30 years of experience in the media industry as reporter, writer, editor, and new media pioneer and designer; and in the technology industry as a Chief Information Officer and CEO. Prior to relocating to Stonington year-round, Linda worked for 13 years for the Village Voice newspaper, the nation’s largest and most acclaimed alternative newsweekly. While there she was responsible for the start-up of the Voice’s new media business division (www.villagevoice.com). From 2001-2003 she was the News Editor for the Island Ad-Vantages newspaper, based in Stonington, for which she also designed the corporate website (www.penobscotbaypress.com). Her business experience as a CEO includes: strategic planning; facilities management; budgeting; organizational development; and operational start-ups. A Bowdoin College graduate and Leadership Maine alum, Linda is a classically trained musician and freelance writer and book editor whose fiction, poetry, and criticism have appeared in anthologies and periodicals.
Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education
Argy is the director of arts education at the Maine Arts Commission and has worked with visual and performing arts teachers throughout the state since 2006. Prior to that Argy taught middle school visual art education for 30 years. Argy has been recognized for her accomplishments as an educator multiple times including being named the 1995 Maine Teacher of the Year. Argy believes her success has come through communication and has established a listserv of over 1,200 educators and an arts education blog at meartsed.wordpress.com/.
Ryan Leighton, Marketing & Communications Director
Ryan Leighton is the Marketing Director at the Maine Arts Commission. A native of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Leighton grew up with a healthy dose of fishing culture and tales from the sea. Realizing he might not be cut out for the salty life of lobstering, Leighton attended the University of Maine in Orono to study journalism and advertising. His passion for storytelling has taken him from reporting in small town coastal newspapers, to writing on the high seas aboard a 19th century whaling ship. Before joining the Arts Commission in January of 2017, Leighton recently completed a full length documentary film about walking the Appalachian Trail. In his current position at the Maine Arts Commission, Leighton says he enjoys marketing the arts through the power of digital storytelling and creative development.