Board

The North Carolina Arts Council is governed by a 24-member board appointed by the governor. The board advises the Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources on the policies and programs of the N.C. Arts Council.

General responsibilities include evaluating staff recommendations on policy, operational guidelines and program guidelines to determine their consistency with enabling legislation; providing recommendations of a budget for the Arts Council as developed and proposed by staff in cooperation with the chairperson; serving as an advocacy organization for the arts; periodically reviewing and re-evaluating Arts Council policy.

Robin Rogers Branstrom, Charlotte  – Chair
Robin is the chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library Foundation Board. She serves on the cabinet of the Campaign for Cultural Facilities and has served as chair of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees, the Children’s Theater of Charlotte Board of Trustees and several other cultural boards.

Lisa S. Anderson, Wilson
Since moving to North Carolina 40 years ago, Lisa has been enthusiastically involved in the arts as a volunteer, professional and — at times — a maker of ceramics and flamed glass beads. She was the visual arts director of Wilson’s Arts Council from 1980 to 1987 and an independent curator thereafter until 1993 when she opened The North Star, a gallery for art and fine craft in Wilson’s then unrestored historic district. Although Lisa closed the shop in 2008, she continues to serve on the board of Wilson Downtown Development, chairing both the design and public art committees. She co-founded and co-chairs the Friends of the Visual Arts at Barton College. Lisa has also been on the board of Preservation of Wilson and the Wesley Shelter. Other highlights of Lisa’s board service include Penland School of Crafts, the American Craft Council and SECCA’s Foundation board. With her husband Dudley, she has collected art in many media, with a focus on clay and glass. Since the early ’90s she has been a board member of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, a national group of collectors. Lisa has been part of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park initiative in Wilson from its beginning, a project near and dear to her heart and to her belief that economic development and the arts go hand in hand.

Kristin Bernhardt Cooper, Raleigh
Kristin is a part-time attorney and full-time mother of three daughters. She also shares her Raleigh home with her husband, Roy, two Shelties, and two cats. Kristin grew up in Oklahoma where her father was a family doctor and her mother was a painter. She is very involved with local community theater and is on the Board of Directors of North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre.

Marchell Adams David, Rockingham
Marchell is the City Manager of Hamlet. She is an Adjunct Professor at UNC-Pembroke and a former member of the UNC General Alumni Association Board of Directors. She led the successful $11.3 million relocation and restoration project of the Hamlet Passenger Depot. She is currently leading the efforts to restore the historic Hamlet Opera House. When restoration is complete, the Opera House will take on its new role as the Hamlet Performing Arts and Community Civic Center. Marchell was named the Lumber River Council of Government’s Manager of the Year in 2005 and currently is on the Board of Directors for the Hamlet Performing Arts and Community Civic Center and is a member of the Richmond County Arts Council.

Jill Dinwiddie, Charlotte
Jill has thirty years of experience in higher education administration, government service, and non-profit leadership. She has directed the administrative, counseling, and programming centers for foreign students and scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Texas, Austin. After moving to California in 1990, she served as Northern California Finance Director for Dianne Feinstein’s 1992 U.S. Senate campaign. From 1995-99 she was a principal of Belvedere Partners, a Bay Area search firm. She was Vice Chair of the East Bay Community Foundation Board, a Director of the Chabot Space and Science Center and on the Advisory Board of the Institute of International Education. In October 2003, Jill and her husband Bernie Hargadon moved to Charlotte. Jill worked on Erskine Bowles campaign for U.S. Senate and on Bev Perdue’s campaign for Governor. She most recently served as Executive Director of the N.C. Council for Women. Jill has served on the board of Lillian’s List of North Carolina and Carolinas Concert Association and currently serves on the Board of Levine Museum of the New South and Planned Parenthood Health Systems.

Murray C. “Tripp” Greason III, Winston-Salem
Tripp is Counsel and Pro Bono Director of the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP. He served as trustee of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County from 2004 – 2010 (liaison to Associated Artists of Winston-Salem, Chair of the Membership Committee, Member of the Public Art Committee (advisory committee to Winston-Salem Arts Council)). He currently serves as a member of the board of ARTS North Carolina. Tripp serves as Vice Chairman of the board of Partnership for a Drug Free North Carolina; Treasurer of the board of Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina; Immediate Past Chair of Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of North Carolina, Inc.; Member of the Wake Forest University School of Law Community Law and Business Development Clinic Advisory Board; Member of the board of the Central North Carolina Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; Vice Chair of the board of The New Winston Museum; and Member of the ECHO Council. Tripp is also a Member of the Winston-Salem Downtown Rotary Club and a Member of the Winston-Salem Downtown Arts District Association. Tripp chairs the Public Service Committee of the North Carolina Bar Foundation. Special recognitions include a tribute by the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence / WomensLaw.org North Carolina Domestic Violence Pro Bono Alliance Tribute (2010); Legal Aid of North Carolina Service Award (2009, 2010, 2011); Fellow, The American Bar Foundation (2009); Business Leader Media Pro Bono Impact Award (2008); North Carolina Bar Association 2007 Large Firm Pro Bono Award (firm award for work with Katrina victims); Supreme Court of Louisiana and the Louisiana State Bar Association tribute (assisting those affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2007); Louisiana State Bar Association 2007 Pro Bono Award (firm award for work with Katrina victims); Southeast Louisiana Legal Services 2007 Justice for a Greater New Orleans Award (firm award for work with Katrina victims); UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program Certificate of Recognition (2006); Trial Lawyers for Public Justice Award (pro bono work on behalf of families of victims of 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks).

Stephen Hill, Kinston
Stephen is president of Hillco, Ltd., CEO of Discovery Insurance Company and Chairman of Mother Earth Brewing, all in Kinston. He is a former president of the Community Council for the Arts (Lenoir County), and is chairman of Arendell Parrott Academy. Stephen has served on several non-profit boards and is in the process of the revitalization of his second building in downtown Kinston. Stephen was the recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award by the Kinston Rotary in 2009. Stephen is a member of several national and North Carolina associations. Stephen graduated from Lee’s McRae College in Banner Elk and attended Appalachian State University. After college Stephen worked for the United States Congress where he met his lovely wife Holly.

Keith Holliday, Greensboro
Keith is president and CEO of Carolina Theatre of Greensboro Inc. Holliday is a former councilman-at-large and mayor of Greensboro. Prior to his time with Carolina Theatre, Holliday worked in the banking industry.

Allen Huffman, Hickory
Allen is a retired physician. He and his wife Barry are avid Catawba Valley pottery and Southern contemporary folk art collectors. Huffman has served as president of the founding board of the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove. He currently serves on the executive committee for the Lake Norman Folk Art Festival.

Ira J. Jackson III, ‘Jerry’, Raleigh
Jerry is a member of the JC Raulston Arboretum Board of Advisors and  of the executive committee leading the effort to create a new home for the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State. He is a founding member of Friends of ARTS NC State and chaired that board from 2006-08.

A. Everette James Jr., Chapel Hill
Everette James, originally from Robersonville, grew up in a farming family. He is an honors graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke Medical School and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He served as a physician in Vietnam where he received the Army Commendation Medal. He taught at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, University College London and chaired the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences at Vanderbilt. Presently he is a lecturer at Johns Hopkins Medical Schools, adjunct professor and emeritus chair at Vanderbilt, and clinical professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. James is a collector of Southern paintings, North Carolina pottery, African American quilts and North Carolina waterfowl decoys. He has published over 500 articles and 20 books including Essays in Folk Art and Tales of the Dismal Swamp. His book North Carolina Art Pottery 1900–1960 has contributed to even greater appreciation for this art form. He has received numerous awards, most recently the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for service to the state. Dr. James and his wife, Dr. Nancy Farmer, live in Chapel Hill.

Marie Junaluska, Cherokee
Marie speaks Cherokee fluently and writes the Sequoyah syllabary. She presents educational programs throughout North Carolina and the southeast where she introduces the Cherokee language, leads activities based on Cherokee history and culture, and teaches songs in Cherokee. Marie is an outstanding translator and educator and has worked with Special Collections at Western Carolina University and has served as a consultant on many projects including the permanent exhibits at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Robert S. “Bobby” Kadis, Raleigh
Bobby was appointed to the Arts Council board in 1993 and served as its chair from 2005 – 2013. He is a founder and former president of Centrex Properties Inc., a commercial real estate development and management firm. Bobby is a potter and was a trustee and past chair of Penland School of Crafts. He currently serves on the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Bobby is a past director of the Goldsboro Community Arts Council, past president of the Wayne County Boys Club and trustee of its endowment fund, and former member or director of a variety of other community organizations.

Ray McKinney, Winston-Salem
Ray is a retired wealth management executive for Wachovia. He has served as a past president of the Winston-Salem Symphony Board of Directors. McKinney is a member of the Reynolda House Museum of American Art Board and the Kate Bitting Reynolds Trust.

Jean McLaughlin, Penland
Jean is the executive director of the Penland School of Crafts, a nonprofit national center for craft education in Spruce Pine. Prior to her time with Penland, McLaughlin served as director of the Office of Statewide Initiatives for the North Carolina Arts Council.

Ann Sapp, Greensboro
Ann established Greensboro’s first charter school, Greensboro Academy, and has been a part of several other areas of community involvement.  She founded The Mad Society, the school’s fundraising and booster club for the arts, and enjoys volunteering at her church, First Presbyterian of Greensboro.

Thomas S. Sayre, Raleigh
Thomas Sayre has designed and built public art projects all over the world and has been part of the design team for civic, educational and museum buildings. He, along with architect Steve Schuster, is a founding principal of the multi-disciplinary design firm Clearscapes and has collaborated to produce lighting, furniture, terrazzo floors and specialty surfaces. Growing up in the shadow of Washington National Cathedral, Thomas’ early art education, and his love and respect of natural materials, came from the stonecutters and the cathedral. His education continued at St. Albans School, University of North Carolina, University of Michigan, and Cranbrook Academy of Art. While occasionally producing studio pieces, most of his efforts are focused in the public arena. His commissions extend from Canada, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Thailand and all across the U.S., including San Jose, Tucson, Denver, Nashville, Portland, Raleigh and Washington, D.C.

Paul H. Sunu, Charlotte
Paul serves as chief executive officer of FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of broadband, voice and video services to communities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and 15 other states, headquartered in Charlotte. He also serves as the chairman of the Board of Directors of Integra Telecom, an integrated communications provider serving 11 states in the western United States. Paul is a strong believer in arts education having served on the board of Urban Gateways, a Chicago-based organization devoted to providing in and out-of-school arts education to Chicago area students through interaction with local artists.

Nancy Temple, Raleigh
Nancy is president of NTemple Consulting. Prior to this, she was the vice president of corporate communications for Progress Energy Inc. Temple is the former chief-of-staff to Governor James G. Martin.

Louise Toppin, Durham
Louise is professor and chair of the voice area at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and director of Videmus, a nonprofit arts organization committed to educational and collaborative projects on the repertoire of African-American, women and under-represented composers. She has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, recital and oratorio performances in the United States, Japan, China, Uruguay, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Sweden, England, Spain, Scotland, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Colombia. She can be heard on 15 commercial recordings of American music (on Albany, Centaur and Cambria records). Her newest solo CD, Heart on the Wall (art songs with orchestra by African-American composers), is due for release in spring 2011. She was a finalist in the Munich International Competition and the Metropolitan Opera regional auditions. She has appeared in recital on many concert series including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. Dr. Toppin is a graduate of UNC-CH (B.M. piano); Peabody Conservatory (M.M. piano, M.M. voice); and the University of Michigan (D.M.A. voice).

Richard Whittington, Greensboro
Rich has served as managing director of Triad Stage since its inception nine years ago. He earned an MFA in Theatre Management from the Yale School of Drama and has a BFA in Acting and Directing from Marymount Manhattan College. He has previously served on the boards of ArtsNC and Downtown Greensboro, Inc. and has served on numerous grant panels throughout the state as well as for the National Endowment for the Arts. Rich has taught Theatre Management at Greensboro College and N.C. A&T University and has guest lectured at UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. School of the Arts, Wake Forest University and UNC Greensboro. A native of Dallas, Texas, Rich previously served as Managing Director for the Ensemble Company for the Performing Arts (ECPA), as Artistic Administrator for the Dallas Theater Center and Associate Producer of Dallas’ The Big D Festival of the Unexpected. Prior experience also includes work at the Roundabout Theatre in New York and StageWest in Springfield, Mass.

John W. Willingham, Yadkinville
John is president of Indera Mills. As such, he represents the fourth generation to manage this family-owned business. He received his B.A. in economics from Yale University. In 1998, he moved his company from Winston-Salem to Yadkinville and became immersed in the community. Having been deeply involved in Winston-Salem with the Symphony Association and the Arts Council, he used these experiences to impact Yadkinville. For the past ten years he has led the Yadkin Arts Council as board president. His vision and leadership were instrumental in the creation of the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. The Center was completed in 2010 and consists of several buildings and significant open spaces. It is home to the Yadkin Arts Council and serves as anchor for the revitalization of downtown Yadkinville. John is devoted to the resurgence of small town American and the leading role that the arts play in this process.

Jackie Kohler Wilson, Raleigh
Jackie Kohler Wilson grew up in Blowing Rock North Carolina. She attended Virginia Episcopal School and graduated from Peace College with a degree in Human Resources. She has worked in government and communications and currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, Hayes Wilson. They are members of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church and have a yellow lab named Porter. Her interests include fine art, music and design.

Lynn York, Chapel Hill
Lynn York is a writer and a teacher. She is the author of two novels, The Piano Teacher (2004) and The Sweet Life (2007). She teaches writing at NC State University, High Point University and Duke Continuing Education and has led workshops for adults across the state and regionally. A graduate of Duke University, she earned an MBA and MA in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a managing partner for LBG Properties, LLC and serves on the board of the Arts Society of the North Carolina Museum of Art. She has been a Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a Fellow at the UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities. She lives in Chapel Hill.