Our Team

We’re a group of practicing artists, advocates, and community members who are passionate about helping to create a world where artists can thrive.

Artists Thrive started in 2016 when a group of arts professionals and artists produced the first draft of this field-wide assessment rubric. Through multiple rounds of feedback, Artists Thrive was publicly launched in 2017. Artists Thrive is driven by a leadership team of artists and diverse collaborators from different sectors and communities across the country and is supported by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.


Sara Garden Armstrong

Artist Activator (2019-20)

Sara is an interdisciplinary artist working in a myriad of directions and scales, from atrium sculpture to small artist books, while also running an artists' collective in Birmingham, Alabama.

I see Artists Thrive as an opportunity to assist artists in their growth and development as vital members of their community, while at the same time having global impact and reach.


Edwige Charlot

Artist Activator (2018-19)

As an artist, designer and advocate, Edwige uses her visual making practice has allowed her to ask questions about identity and heritage, and her design practice and advocacy work to ask, "What if capacity building methodologies were applied to our creative life?"

I see Artists Thrive as a catalyst for a cultural shift in the arts community. A chance to live and work more holistically.


Donna Daniels

2019 Summit Steering Committee

Donna has worked in leadership and community development since 1990. Currently, she is director of Brushy Fork Institute, a strategic initiative of Berea College that provides leadership development programming for central Appalachian communities.

I see Artists Thrive as an avenue to place power into the hands of local people by incorporating artistic practices into community visioning, exploration of culture and diversity, and aspiration toward equitable outcomes.


Matthew Deleget

Artists Thrive Consultant

Matthew is a visual artist, curator, writer, gallerist (Minus Space), educator (School of Visual Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Creative Capital), and arts worker.

I see Artists Thrive as a catalytic tool for long-term artistic sustainability.


Ana Lucia Divins

Artist Activator (2019-20)

Singer and community connector. Passionate about inspiring a greater awareness of the Latino music and culture. Intrigued by the power of music beyond entertainment.

I see Artists Thrive as Active contributors on creating the fabric of each city and connecting communities along the way.

Photo: Headshot of Beth Flowers.

Beth Flowers

2019 Core Team, Inaugural Leadership Team, 2019 Summit Steering Committee, 2018 Summit Steering Committee, Speakers Bureau

As the creator and Director of the AIR Institute of Berea College, Beth is at the forefront of connecting artists and creatives to their communities in new ways that truly raise the value of art and creativity. Beth has created messaging for victorious political candidates and issues, inspired citizen participation in government, managed public planning efforts, repositioned struggling arts organizations, and developed innovative cultural and collaborative programming that shift and evolve value systems and lives.

I see Artists Thrive as a movement to raise the value of art and creativity in every community for every person. Creative making is our most valuable human point of connection and expression - the Artists Thrive network and tool can help us do it better together!


Tia-Simone Gardner

Artist Activator (2018-19)

Tia-Simone is an interdisciplinary artist and Black Feminist currently living between Houston, Birmingham, and Minneapolis.

I see Artists Thrive as a much needed tool to help artists and institutions at every phase of their careers to make critical self-assessments that will strength their work and help them identify short and long-term goals.

Photo: Headshot of James Grace.

James Grace

2019 Core Team, Inaugural Leadership Team, 2018 Summit Steering Committee, Speakers Bureau

A lawyer and published writer, Jim has overseen a platform of business and legal services and programs to artists and arts organizations for almost 20 years as the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston.

I see Artists Thrive as an appreciation for not just the work that artists and arts organizations create but for the people that create it and a shared goal of creating equitable and sustainable practices.

Photo: Headshot of David Grant.

David Grant

Inaugural Leadership Team

As a former teacher and foundation president, David helps nonprofit organizations take a positive, proactive, holistic, qualitative approach to assessment – one that shapes and improves all aspects of their work. His book, The Social Profit Handbook (2015), is becoming widely used in the social sector.

I see Artists Thrive as an organization of the issues that matter most to artists and those who work with artists, and an invitation to join together in ever-expanding circles in a quest for clarity, effectiveness, and success in relation to those issues.


Chris Green

2019 Summit Steering Committee

Chris Green sees his work at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center as the most important he has yet undertaken. His monograph, The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachia, Race, and Radical Modernism, won the 2009 Weatherford Award for the best non-fiction book about Appalachia.

Photo: Headshot of Jessyca Holland.

Jessyca Holland

Inaugural Leadership Team

Out of past lives in theatre and research, Jessyca combines her love of the craft with her love of learning. Her work is dedicated to building tools that focus on strengthening artistic careers, awareness for the issues facing arts workers, and space for creatives to share knowledge as Executive Director of C4 Atlanta.

I see Artists Thrive as a starting point for a larger dialogue about arts workers as a valuable asset in every community and what is needed in order to retain them.


Arnold Kemp

2019 Summit Steering Committee

Arnold Joseph Kemp is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Artadia Fund for Art & Dialogue, Art Matters Grant, Printed Matter Award for Artists, Tufts University, and the American Academy of Poets. His artworks are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Berkeley Art Museum.

Photo: Headshot of Michelle Knapik.

Michelle Knapik

Inaugural Leadership Team, 2019 Core Team, 2019 Summit Steering Committee, 2018 Summit Steering Committee

From her professional vantage point in philanthropy as President of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Michelle strives for intersectoral collaboration and empowered participation by combining leadership in the Foundation’s interest areas in the arts, sustainable development, and education (learning and attention issues) with systems thinking and inclusionary social change theory and practice.

I see Artists Thrive as an open source, self-organizing expression of how the big “we” sees artists that will shape practice, policy and lived experience ongoingly – it is a catalyst to “change the narrative”.


Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer

2018 Summit Steering Committee Member

Hoong Yee is a champion of Queens artists by profession and an artist/illustrator by confession.

I see Artists Thrive as a space artists can call their third space, after home and studio.


Sharon Louden

Artists Thrive Consultant, 2018 Summit Steering Committee, Speakers Bureau

Sharon is an artist, educator, advocate for artists, Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution and the Editor of the "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life" series of books.

I see Artists Thrive as a resource for artists that not only provides tools to move themselves forward, assessing their needs and wants, but also as a peer-to-peer source to connect with other artists, opportunities and resources.


Keren Lowell

Artist Activator (2018-19)

Keren is a practicing artist who also works as the Visual and Literary Arts Program Director at the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

I see Artists Thrive as one of many tools that artists in Alaska can use to identify resources and points of connection, in order to create uniquely sustainable and fulfilling lives.


Carmen Mitzi

Artist Activator (2018-19), 2019 Summit Steering Committee, 2018 Summit Steering Committee, Speakers Bureau

Carmen Mitzi is as a border-crossing multidisciplinary artist born to convene conversations about race and class across industries and interests, building more tolerant communities, learning from the past, re-imagining our future, one story at a time.

I see Artists Thrive as the language we need to speak= POWER.


Hunter O'Hanian

2019 Summit Steering Committee

Hunter is the Executive Director of the College Art Association.


Taria Person

Artist Activator (2019-20)

Taria Person, a native and current resident of Nashville, TN, is an alumna of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, a 1st place, award winning Spokenword and Hip-hop Slam Champion, a creative writer, multi-disciplinary, performance artist, author, and educator.

I see Artists Thrive as a lifestyle.

Photo: Headshot of Heather Pontonio.

Heather Pontonio

Administrative Support, 2019 Core Team, Inaugural Leadership Team, 2019 Summit Steering Committee, 2018 Summit Steering Committee, Speakers Bureau

Having worked in multiple art disciplines early in her career, Heather’s expertise in philanthropy focuses on creative field building, problem solving, and project development and management. Heather serves as Artists Thrive’s administrator and chief connector as part of her role as Art Program Director of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.

I see Artists Thrive as the start of a conversation that acknowledges the importance of artists in our work and drives us towards continual improvement.


Melissa Hilliard Potter

Artist Activator (2018-19)

Melissa is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and teacher whose work has focused on the feminist legacy in art.

I see Artists Thrive as a robust, interactive guide for artists to take control of their time, goals, mindset, and artistic outcomes.


Sheryl Maree Reily

Artist Activator (2019-20)

Sheryl Maree Reily is an "artivist" working across media to advocate for human and environmental health.

I see Artists Thrive as as a platform for measuring and promoting community and environmental well-being. A thriving artist community is a barometer of the health of the greater community.


Sarah Michelle Rupert

Artist Activator (2018-19)

Sarah Michelle is a Miami-based artist and arts professional who works collaboratively with artists and organizations to build innovative and fun projects across artistic disciplines.

I see Artists Thrive as the beginning of a long overdue restructuring of priorities and perspectives in how our society values, engages and collaborates with artists, designers, authors, performers and other creative professionals.


Rhonda Schaller

2019 Summit Steering Committee

Rhonda is a Visiting Associate Professor; Director of Career & Professional Development, founder of the Meditation Incubator, the Mindful Making immersion fellowship recipient for Made in NYC, and chairs the Mindfulness in Student Affairs Committee at Pratt Institute.

I see Artists Thrive as a process, a product and a service to our community to bring all of who we are to our mark in the world.


Kristine Schomaker

Artist Activator (2018-19); Artists Thrive Consultant

Kristine is an artist, art manager, curator, publisher and cultural producer whose focus is on cultivating community, empowering artists and changing the world through social practice.

I see Artists Thrive as a valuable resource to help artists feel like they aren't alone and they have a space to find supportive resources and navigate their place in the world of art.

Photo: Headshot of Andrew Simonet.

Andrew Simonet

Inaugural Leadership Team

Andrew is a choreographer and writer and the founder of Artists U, an incubator for changing the working conditions of artists. He is the author of Making Your Life as an Artist and other open-source tools for helping artists build sustainable lives.

I see Artists Thrive as a movement that has been growing for decades and that aims to increase the sustainability—and therefore the impact—of individual artists.


Casey Summar

Artists Thrive Consultant; Speakers Bureau

Casey is an attorney and national arts consultant based in Carpinteria, CA. Previously, she founded the Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in 2005 which grew to become the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, for which she served as Executive Director until 2017.

I see Artists Thrive as sparking conversations about how we can raise the value of artists in every community.


J. Renée Tanner

Artist Activator (2019-20)

Renee is an artist currently working with found object installations. Her life's work has included public art administration, community planning, and activism for artists projects.

I see Artists Thrive as a thinking exercise for building healthy artists, offering guidance and motivation for practice for emerging to established artists.


Vinson Valega

Artists Thrive Consultant

Vinson is a media producer, jazz musician & activist attracted to compelling ideas told through creative storytelling.

I see Artists Thrive as an amazing resource for artists learning from other artists in an authentically genuine forum.


Azucena Trejo Williams

2019 Summit Steering Committee

Azucena Trejo Williams is an interdisciplinary artist, working in installation, photography, video and sound, who also works in higher education in Kentucky.

I see Artists Thrive as an intersecting tool for dialogue, networking and resources for artists at any stage of their careers.