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.
Stephen Hill, Kinston – Chair
Stephen is the chief executive officer and chairman of Discovery Insurance Company, Hill Realty, and Mother Earth Brewing, all in Kinston. He is a former president of the Community Council for the Arts (Lenoir County) and is past chairman of Arendell Parrott Academy. He is revitalizing his sixth building in downtown Kinston. In 2013, the North Carolina Department of Commerce designated Stephen a North Carolina Mainstreet Champion. Stephen graduated from Lees-McRae College, in Banner Elk, and attended Appalachian State University. After college, Stephen worked for the United States Congress, where he met his wife, Holly.
Asha Bala, cary
Asha received the 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award, given in recognition of lifetime contributions to the cultural heritage of our state. One of Asha’s prime accomplishments is the establishment of her independent dance institution, the Leela School of Dance, of which she is the artistic director. Through her studies in traditional and modern dance at the university level in India and the United States, Asha says she has come to appreciate how much dance benefits from knowledge and understanding of its historical and philosophical roots. She exposes her students to a well-rounded, holistic education that incorporates in-depth instruction in the practice of Bharata Natyam, a dance form that originated in South India thousands of years ago and is practiced in Indian communities in North Carolina.
DeWayne Barton, Asheville
DeWayne is the founder and chief executive officer of Hood Huggers International, an organization that offers sustainable strategies to build support pillars for resilient historically African American neighborhoods. He also co-founded Green Opportunities (a “green collar” job training program for young people and adults) and the Burton Street Community Peace Gardens. DeWayne is a moving spoken-word performer, author, and maker of provocative found-object sculptures. He attended Norfolk State University from 1996–1999, majoring in social work. He has been involved in community improvement and youth development for more than 20 years. He received a 2016–2017 N.C. Arts Council Mary B. Regan Artist Residency grant and serves on the African American Heritage Commission.
Lynne Boney, Wilmington
Lynne has been a real estate agent with Intracoastal Realty for almost 20 years. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she sang with Opera Carolina and Des Moines Metro Opera and played leading musical theater roles in Wilmington. Lynne has been involved in various artistic, civic, and nonprofit organizations, including the Junior League. She is an active hospice volunteer, applying her skills as a harpist while completing the Music for Healing and Transition program. In 2006, she was president of the Cape Fear chapter of the North Carolina Symphony; the chapter was awarded America’s Next Great Orchestra Award that year under her leadership. She is vice-chair of Wilmington’s Historic Preservation Commission and an active Rotarian. Lynne and her husband, Charles, have been residents of Wilmington’s Historic District for more than 30 years.
Chad Cheek, Winston-Salem
Chad owns Elephant in the Room, a design and brand consultancy in Winston-Salem. Elephant in The Room specializes in brand creation and development, marketing strategy, and graphic design. Chad has more than 30 years of brand marketing and strategic business development experience and has been active in several community organizations over the years. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the Board of Directors for the RiverRun International Film Festival, the Board of Directors for the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, the Board of Directors for ABC of NC, and the Board of Directors for the Triad Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Chad has been a member of the board of the North Carolina Arts Council since 2014. Chad is a Winston-Salem native and holds an MBA from Wake Forest University.
Kathy Crowe, Morehead City
Kathy holds a BA degree from Meredith College in Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education. Kathy has dedicated her life to music education and the musical arts in her community and has taught both public and private elementary music for nearly 40 years. Locally, she is an instructor of voice at the Music & Arts Academy of Morehead City and was the musical director of several children’s productions of the SandCastle Players. Kathy says she loves performing. She is a member of Carolina East Singers and a former member of Carteret Chorale and the performing ensemble Encore! She has performed in regional theater with Harnett Regional Theater and Carteret Community Theater. Kathy dedicated years of leadership to National Charity League, Inc. and served on its national Board of Directors. She loves boating, deep-sea fishing, and travel, and most of all the sound of children singing.
Lou Anne Crumpler, Raleigh
Lou Anne is the director of the Carolina Hunger Initiative, at UNC-Chapel Hill. Along with No Kid Hungry N.C., the Carolina Hunger Initiative expands access to nutritious meals for children at school, after school, and in the summer months. No Kid Hungry N.C. was established under Lou Anne's leadership in 2011 in the Governor’s Office and is now a project of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Previously she was engaged in corporate, nonprofit, and public service work, focusing on enterprises that serve the greater good. Her professional experience in communications, marketing, development, and social entrepreneurship includes creating several successful initiatives both in business and nonprofit arenas. Lou Anne’s passion for the arts led to her prior service on the Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She volunteers for and supports several community organizations and is a member of White Memorial Presbyterian Church, in Raleigh. Lou Anne serves on the Board of Directors of the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation, whose purpose is to improve the lives of adolescent and young adult cancer patients in North Carolina. She is currently serving her second term on the N.C. Arts Council.
Carroll Dashiell, Greenville
Carroll is associate professor of music, the director of Jazz Ensembles, and string/electric bass professor at East Carolina University. Carroll was mentored by the North Carolina jazz great Billy Taylor and has been recognized for his contributions as a bassist, musical director, and composer/arranger. His performance history includes concerts with the Boston Pops, the National Symphony, and the Washington Philharmonic orchestras. He has performed with Dr. Taylor, Ethel Ennis, and the Fifth Dimension and in concert/show tours with Maurice Hines, Stephanie Mills, Maceo Parker, Ray Charles, Vanessa Rubin, and Jennifer Holiday. Carroll has produced or performed on dozens of national and international recordings. He is the recipient of the Robert and Lina Mays and Robert L. Jones Distinguished Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.
Gina Esquivel, Lincolnton
Gina is the principal consultant of Civic Canvas, a boutique consulting firm for social impact. Civic Canvas works with people, organizations, and communities to increase the impact of goodwill efforts through thoughtful leadership, program design, and community grassroots marketing. She is a longtime advocate of inclusion and equity, serving on national, state, and local boards. She is a visual artist and thought leader who has spent nearly three decades working for nonprofits in Mecklenburg County. Gina earned a bachelor’s degree from the National University of Costa Rica in Education and Counseling. She received her master’s degree from Pfeiffer University in Change Management and Leadership. She is a world traveler, currently working on The Hard-Working People of the World, an exhibit to bring forward the people who make our lives better.
Margaret Emory Haynes, Wilmington
Margaret was appointed to the Wilmington City Council in 2008 and has run three successful campaigns for that seat since 2011. She chairs both the Appointments and Governance committees for the city. She was sworn in for her third term and selected again to serve as mayor pro-tem in 2019. She serves on the boards of directors of the N.C. League of Municipalities and N.C. Women in Municipal Government. Margaret has also been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of National Women in Municipal Government. She is a retired federal employee, having worked on the executive management staff of a member of Congress for a decade. Margaret established and manages a successful property management business. She has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration degree from James Madison University.
Eric Lindstrom, Fayetteville
Eric is an architect and co-owner of SfL+A Architects. Eric lives and works in downtown Fayetteville, where he has personally redeveloped five historic properties, including the CAMEO Art House Theater. From Festival Park to numerous residential lofts, Eric’s firm has been involved in dozens of downtown projects, studies, and arts initiatives. Eric has served on Fayetteville’s Historic Resources Commission and as a board member for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre and the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County for more than 20 years. Recently, Eric helped to launch the Cool Springs Downtown Arts and Entertainment District and the Downtown Works in Progress Public Art Program, in Fayetteville. Eric’s architectural firm is a leader in sustainable design, specializing in “net-positive” buildings that generate up to 70-percent more energy than they consume. Through the firm’s sister company, Firstfloor, SfL+A offers creative financing solutions that reduce the total cost of ownership for their clients. For weekend fun, Eric enjoys working with his partner, Kennon Jackson, on restoring their 1790s jump-and-a-half historic coastal cottage in Beaufort.
Sejal Mehta, Raleigh
Sejal has a strong love of the arts, and she comes from a family of writers. She served on the Board of Directors and fiction staff of the Raleigh Review, a literary and arts magazine. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Raleigh Little Theater. Sejal has assisted on the production of short films and various commercials in the Triangle. Previously, Sejal worked as a contract attorney for Duke Energy, an attorney at the New York Medical Examiner's Office, and a prosecutor in the Queens District Attorney's Office in New York City. Sejal has a BA degree from New York University, where she minored in film criticism, and a JD degree from Northeastern University School of Law. She lives in Raleigh with her husband, Jay, and their two young children.
Edward Norvell, Salisbury
Edward is a “mostly retired” attorney from Salisbury. He is a board member of the Rowan Arts Council, the Piedmont Players Theatre, Inc., the Rowan Cabarrus Community College Foundation, the Salisbury Community Foundation, the St. Luke’s Foundation, the Three Rivers Land Trust, and the Bell Tower Green Park. He has been active in historic preservation both in Salisbury and the state as a former board member of Preservation N.C., former president of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, and former president of the Rowan Museum. He led the capital campaign for the Meroney Theater and the Norvell Theater in downtown Salisbury, and he and his wife, Susan, fund the annual Dare to Imagine visual arts scholarship of the Waterworks Visual Arts Center. He was named Salisbury’s Main Street Champion in 2005. Formerly an attorney with the Land Trust for Central N.C. and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and a board member of the N.C. Coastal Land Trust, he has been very active with the land trust community across the state. He received his BA degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, his MA degree from the City University of New York, and his JD degree from Wake Forest University. He is also the author of several novels that take place on the N.C. coast.
Sally Plyler, Raleigh
Sally has a long history of promoting art and representing artists. She owns Midtown Art Consulting (MAC), an art consulting business for corporate and residential clients. MAC also procures art for boutique hotels, such as the North Hills Renaissance and the North Hills Hyatt. Sally curates art shows and exhibits. She serves on the board of the Visual Art Exchange and has served on the board of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. She chaired the Raleigh Fine Arts artist exhibition, which showcases the work of artists across the state. As an elementary school counselor, Sally introduced therapeutic art in her schools. She also served as a volunteer art teacher at a high-risk elementary charter school. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from UNC-Chapel Hill. Sally is a part-time real estate agent with Monarch Realty in Raleigh and specializes in the sale of downtown residential properties. She is a member of the First Baptist Church and lives in Raleigh with her husband.
Holly Post, Sanford
Holly says she experienced how the arts can transform lives during more than a decade as a reading consultant and tutor in the public schools. That understanding intensified early in her career as she visited communities throughout the state organizing events and monitoring employment for the North Carolina departments of Natural Resources, Commerce, and Corrections. She believes the arts are essential for developing well-rounded children and vibrant communities and that without public assistance those opportunities can be sorely limited. Now retired, the lifelong Sanford resident has been a leader in St. Luke United Methodist Church as a trustee, Foundation board member, youth mentor, and teacher for adults and children. She served on the Lee County Community Orchestra Board of Directors, volunteers with many service organizations, and remains an enthusiastic advocate for the arts. Holly received her BA degree in Political Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is married to attorney Norman (Chip) Post, Jr., and has three adult children and four grandchildren.
David Robinson, Raleigh
David is a native of England. He has been the director of the North Carolina Executive Mansion since early 2013. Before he moved to Raleigh, he was the director of guest relations at the Greenbrier Resort, in West Virginia; before that, he managed the butler department at the Cloister Hotel, on Sea Island in Georgia. He is a veteran in the world of private service, customer service, and guest relations, having trained employees at, and consulted with, the Cloister, the Greenbrier, the Plaza, the Aqualina Spa & Resort, the Omni Grove Park Inn, and other high-end properties. As a lover of world history, and as a former British merchant mariner, David counts himself fortunate to have visited many parts of the world, where he has experienced cultures different from his own. David and his wife, Lynn, enjoy progressive games of chess, essential oils, traveling, and visiting their grandchildren.
Libby Rodenbough, Hillsborough
Libby is a native of North Carolina who grew up in Greensboro, attended UNC-Chapel Hill, and has since lived in various small towns in the Piedmont. She spends most of her days on the road playing fiddle and singing in the North Carolina-based band Mipso. She is interested in traditional and vernacular music, especially string band music in the old-time vein, and her self-guided major at UNC was largely concerned with questions about authenticity and ownership. She spent a summer working at the North Carolina Folklife Institute and another at a live radio program, Music City Roots, modeled on the Grand Ole Opry in its early days. In her writing and performing with Mipso, she continues to investigate stories and ideas about the place she calls home.
John Russell, Asheville
John has served since 2006 as executive director of the Montford Park Players, North Carolina’s longest-running Shakespeare Festival. Born and raised in Asheville, he is a 1970 alumnus of the Governor's School of North Carolina, attended UNC-Chapel Hill, and has worked in arts management for most of his career. He holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University and is active in the Institute of Outdoor Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, the North Carolina Theatre Conference, and the Southeastern Theatre Conference. He also serves as vice-president of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Governor's School Foundation and is secretary-treasurer of the Rotary Club of Asheville-Metro. In 2018 he received the Mark Sumner Award from the SETC for his contributions to outdoor theater.
Thomas Sayre, Raleigh
Thomas has designed and built public art projects all over the world and has been part of design teams for civic, educational, and museum buildings. He is a founding principal of the multidisciplinary design firm Clearscapes. Growing up in the shadow of Washington National Cathedral, Thomas's early art education and his love of and respect for natural materials came from the stonecutters and craftsmen there. He was educated at the St. Albans School, UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, and Cranbrook Academy of Art. His commissions extend from Canada, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Thailand, and across the United States, including San Jose, Tucson, Denver, Nashville, Portland, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C.
Patrick Torres, Raleigh
Patrick is the artistic director of the Raleigh Little Theatre. He has spent his career as a director and educator. He has directed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Southwest Shakespeare Festival, the Round House Theatre, the Source Festival, and the Hangar Theatre, among others. He was selected as a Drama League Directing Fellow and in 2005 was named a Young Leader of Color by the Theatre Communications Group. As an educator, he has created and implemented theater programs for incarcerated youth in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. He also developed the After-School Playwriting Program for the Young Playwrights' Theater that won the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010. Patrick has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Henry Walston, Wilson
Henry recently retired as president of Barnes Motor & Parts Co., Inc., a family-owned automotive parts business that operated from 1921–2018. In his hometown of Wilson, Henry served as president of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum from its inception in 2009 until 2019. (Construction was completed and a dedication was held in November 2017.) Henry has also been actively involved in the Wilson Downtown Development Corporation and Wilson Downtown Properties, serving terms as president of both groups. Henry and his wife, Betty Lou, are also involved with Preservation of Wilson and Eyes on Main Street, an annual outdoor photography festival held in Historic Downtown Wilson.
Ann Whichard, Greenville
Ann has been an active community volunteer in Greenville and the state of North Carolina for more than 30 years. She served on the Board of Directors at the North Carolina Museum of Art and chaired its Building and Grounds Committee. She served on the Greenville Museum of Art for more than 10 years and as president from 1995 to 1997. She is currently the chairman of the Rachel Maxwell Moore Art Foundation, which is the art acquisition arm of the Greenville Museum. In Greenville, she has been involved as a board member with the East Carolina University Friends of the Library, Literacy Volunteers-Pitt County, and the Center for Family Violence Prevention. She is the founder of Greenville’s annual Stone Soup fundraising event, which benefits the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Food Pantry. She has served on the UNC General Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s High School and College and UNC-Chapel Hill. She is married to Jordy Whichard. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.
John Willingham, Yadkinville
John is the fourth generation to manage the family-owned Indera Mills. He received his BA degree in economics from Yale University. In 1998, he moved his company from Winston-Salem to Yadkinville and became immersed in the community. For the past 10 years, he has led the Yadkin Arts Council as board president and was instrumental in the creation of the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. Completed in 2010, the center is the home of the Yadkin Arts Council, which consists of several buildings and significant open spaces. It has served as an anchor for the revitalization of downtown Yadkinville. John is devoted to the resurgence of small-town America and the leading role that the arts play in this process.
Janie Butler Wilson, Winston-Salem
Janie is Excalibur Direct Marketing’s chief executive for human resources, legal, financial, risk management, purchasing, and contract administration. She is a member of Idealliance, an industry advocacy association for the printing, imaging, and mailing communities and was featured as a symbol of the association’s national campaign to promote women’s leadership and professionalism in the industry. She was the founding director in 2005 of the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, which seeks to improve the lives and opportunities of women and young girls. Janie is a past board member of the Winston-Salem Foundation and the Giannini Advisory Committee of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a former trustee of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County. With her husband, J.D., she co-chaired that council’s $27.7 million Comprehensive Campaign for the Arts to create a new Downtown Center for the Arts; she also chaired capital campaigns for Salem Academy and College and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission.