Arts Council 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.


Stephen Hill, Kinston – Chair
Stephen is CEO 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 in the process of the revitalization of his sixth building in downtown Kinston. Stephen has been designated a 2013 North Carolina Mainstreet Champion by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. 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.

Michael Andry, Asheville
Michael has worked in the finance industry for 28 years and is a Wealth Advisor for the Western North Carolina region of Wells Fargo Private Bank. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he was a Private Client Advisor with U.S. Trust in Asheville for 10 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and his M.B.A. in finance from Tulane University. Michael cares deeply about the arts and his community. He currently serves on the Asheville Symphony board, as well as the boards of the Mission Health System Foundation, Pack Place and Carolina Day School. Formerly, he was the Chair of the Board for the Diana Wortham Theatre, the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy and the UNC Asheville Foundation. Michael also enjoys the outdoors, golf and history and is married with three children.

Larry E. Beckler, Durham
Larry is passionate for the arts, especially music, theater, dance and song. His first acting role was Freddy in a tour of My Fair Lady at age 15. After he spent three years in New York City as the vocal soloist for the U.S. Army Band, he worked as an actor in New York City and was part of 20 professional tours, including Nick in Funny Girl, Paul Bratter in Barefoot in the Park (opposite Tony Award-winning actress Maureen O’Sullivan), Guys and Dolls with David Birney and Meredith Baxter, and Officer Kline and William Shatner’s standby in Arsenic and Old Lace. His TV credits include The Doctors and As the World Turns. Larry is married and resides in Durham with his wife Marlene. They enjoy being surrounded by art in their home. In 2008, Larry was moved to commission a memorial statue in honor of the first responders of 9/11 called “A Day of Service.” The statue can be liked on Facebook at A Day of Service and a video of the making of the piece can be seen at

Lynne Boney, Wilmington
Lynne is a native of Wilmington and has been a Realtor with Intracoastal Realty for over 17 years. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she sang with Opera Carolina, Des Moines Metro Opera and enjoyed leading musical theater roles in Wilmington. Lynne has been involved in various artistic, civic, and non-profit organizations. She is an active hospice volunteer, applying her skills as a harpist while completing the Music for Healing and Transition program. She is a past member of the Junior League and 2006 President of the Cape Fear chapter of the North Carolina Symphony. The Cape Fear chapter was awarded America’s Next Great Orchestra Award in 2006 under her leadership. She serves as Vice-Chair of Wilmington’s Historic Preservation Commission and as an active Rotarian. Lynne and her husband Charles are 32-year residents of Wilmington’s Historic District.

Robin R. Branstrom, Charlotte
Robin was born in Statesville and attended Peace College and UNC-Charlotte. Robin works in the real estate brokerage business and is also a partner and owner of an art consulting business, Robin and Robbins, which assists corporate and private clients in collecting art that enhances the architectural integrity of the office and home. Robin is Chair of Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library Foundation and has served on the boards of North Carolina Dance Theatre, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto Festival, Peace College, and NC Museum of History. In 2005, Robin was honored with the Star Award, an honor given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Charlotte.

Chad Cheek, Winston-Salem
Chad Cheek is the owner of Elephant In The Room ( ), a design and brand consultancy in Winston-Salem. Elephant In The Room specializes in graphic design, brand development and creation in addition to various brand communication solutions. Chad has over 20 years of brand marketing and strategic business development experience. He has been active in several community organizations over the years. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the Community Advisory Board of 88.5 WFFD (Wake Forest University NPR member station). Chad is a Winston-Salem native and holds an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University.

Lou Anne Crumpler, Raleigh
Lou Anne Crumpler is State Director of No Kid Hungry North Carolina, a statewide program that expands access to federally-funded meals for kids who need them at school, after school, and in the summer months. No Kid Hungry NC was established under Lou Anne's leadership in 2011 in the Governor’s Office, and is now an initiative of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, she was engaged in corporate, nonprofit, and public service work focusing on enterprises that serve the greater good. Her professional experience in public relations, communications, marketing, development, and social entrepreneurship includes creating several successful initiatives in both the business and nonprofit arenas. Lou Anne’s passion for the arts led to her prior service on UNC School of the Arts’ Board of Trustees and Foundation Board. Lou Anne is a member of White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. She volunteers and supports several community arts organizations including Artsplosure and First Night Raleigh, PineCone, Kidznotes, and Carolina Performing Arts at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Carroll V. Dashiell, Jr., Greenville
Carroll V. Dashiell, Jr. is Associate Professor of Music, Director of Jazz Ensembles, and String/Electric Bass Professor at the East Carolina University School of Music and has worked in academia for more than three decades. Throughout his academic career, he has been appointed multiple awards and honors, including Jazz Educator of the Year 2002 by Down Beat Magazine. In the music industry, Carroll has been recognized for excellence as a bassist, musical director/conductor and composer/arranger. His performance history includes concerts with the Boston Pops, National Symphony, and Washington Philharmonic Orchestras, in addition to concerts and Broadway show tours with Stephanie Mills, Maceo Parker and Mr. Ray Charles, among others. He has been named Artistic Director of the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina Music Series and is the Founder/Artisic Director of the Dr. Billy Taylor Jazz Festival in Greenville, North Carolina. A native of Washington, D.C., Carroll is a graduate of Howard University.

Allen Huffman, Hickory
A native of Hickory, Allen graduated from UNC Chapel Hill where he also completed a residency in OB-GYN in 1972. After retiring in 2007, he and his wife Barry continued collecting Catawba Valley pottery and Southern contemporary folk art. More than 150 pieces from their folk art collection form the nucleus of a growing Southern folk art collection and programming at the Hickory Museum of Art. He has served as president of the founding board of the NC Pottery Center in Seagrove and chaired the steering committee of the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival for its 16 years. Allen has been instrumental in the Lake Norman Folk Art Festival, a fund-raiser for the Hickory Museum of Art, and is a founder and past- president of the North Carolina Folk Art Society.

Ira J. Jackson III, ‘Jerry’, Raleigh
Born in Raleigh, Jerry grew up in Vance County, returning to Raleigh where he graduated from NC State in 1964. Before retirement in 2007, Jerry was chairman of FMI, management consultants and investment bankers to the engineering and construction industry. Jerry has served on the boards of Arts NC State and JC Raulston Arboretum; he is currently vice chair for the NC State University Foundation and co-chair of the Capital Campaign for the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State. He is an enthusiast for the arts in most any form and both he and his wife Nina are painters. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.

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.

John E. McGee, ‘Eddy’, Rural Hall
Eddy McGee is the Executive Director of the Stokes County Arts Council where he has served since 2004. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in non-profit management from Grace College of Indiana and has also completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in business management. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of ARTS NC and the King Chamber of Commerce. He is a former USPTA Tennis Teaching Professional, has been featured in Southern Living Magazine for his Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe, and sang in the motion picture Junebug starring Amy Adams and filmed in North Carolina. He is married to Anna McGee, a teacher coach with Stokes County Schools. They currently reside in Rural Hall, North Carolina. 

Jean McLaughlin, Little Switzerland
Executive Director of Penland School of Crafts since 1998, Jean has focused her energies on strategic planning, external relations, facilities construction and renovation, board development, and fundraising. She currently spearheads a $30 million Campaign for Penland’s Future. Jean came to Penland after serving 16 years at the NC Arts Council as Director of Visual Arts and later Director of Statewide Initiatives. A native North Carolinian, she holds an MA in Liberal Studies from NC State University, and a BA in Studio Art from UNC-CH. She also studied textiles at the California College of Arts and Crafts, NC State University, and Penland School of Crafts.

Sejal R. 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 Raleigh Little Theater. Sejal has assisted on the production of short films and various commercials in the Triangle. Previously, she worked as a contract attorney for Duke Energy, an attorney at the New York Medical Examiner's Office, and a prosecutor in the Queen's District Attorney's Office in New York City. Sejal has a B.A. from New York University where she minored in film criticism and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. She lives in Raleigh with her husband Jay and her two young children.

John B. Mitchell, Hendersonville
John is the Business and Community Development Director for Henderson County. He is a graduate of UNC-Asheville, holds a Masters of Public Administration from Western Carolina University and thru-hiked the Appalachian Trial in 2005. After college, he worked for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and then for United States Senator Richard Burr in North Carolina’s far western counties. He continues to serve on boards and commissions in the region, including the executive committee of Land-of-Sky Regional Council and 211 in WNC. A fiddle and banjo player, he has a passion for the musical traditions of North Carolina. With a group of likeminded musicians, he provides music for charitable events in Western North Carolina. John lives in Hendersonville, with his wife Meredith, who is a weaver and quilter.

Laura N. Raynor, Raleigh
Laura is a native of Raleigh and has been actively involved in the community for 40 years. She has served on various community and advisory boards including Carolina Ballet, Duke Raleigh Hospital Guild, where she initiated an Arts and Healing program to benefit patients, staff, and physicians, Raleigh Fine Arts Society, North Carolina Museum of History Associates, Red Hat Amphitheatre, and the Raleigh Hall of Fame. While serving on the City of Raleigh Arts Commission for seven years as member and chair, she offered leadership and advocated for increased arts funding. Laura is a graduate of St. Mary’s College and is an active member of White Memorial Presbyterian Church and the National Society of Colonial Dames. Recently, she and her husband of 45 years, Hurley, served as Honorary Chairs of First Night Raleigh and The Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild Show. Special awards received include induction into the YWCA Academy of Women and recipient of the Raleigh Medal of Arts.

Scott J. Relan, Wilmington
Scott is a media and marketing communications campaign veteran, with experience ranging from retail to advanced research, energy, entertainment, manufacturing, and aerospace, as well as a myriad of non-profits and arts and humanities communications programs. He has worked in Community Affairs and Reputation Communications with Fortune 500 companies and large Foundations. He also has extensive experience working with NGOs, International Democracy Projects from the Balkans to Afghanistan to Latin America, and innumerable public affairs campaigns throughout the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Relan's communications experience and audience-centric focus comes from stints as director at multiple national advertising firms and Arts Foundation development.

David Robinson, Raleigh
David is a native of England and now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina where 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, and prior to that, he managed the butler department at The Cloister Hotel located at 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. Bhutan is next on his list to visit. David and his wife Lynn enjoy progressive games of chess, essential oils, traveling, and visiting their grandchildren.

Lorraine Robinson, New Bern
Lorraine’s career in higher education included positions in the English faculty at East Carolina University, Craven Community College, and North Carolina Wesleyan College. In 2013, she retired as the Director of the East Carolina Center for the Liberal Arts and is now an emerita faculty member. She has studied at the Goethe Institute in Germany, served as the Senior Associate Editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, and has won national awards for her creation and editing of the newsletter for the ECU Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Currently, Lorraine serves on the board of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, where she has chaired the selection of the recipient for the Hardee-Rives Award for Dramatic Arts and also served as presenter. Lorraine is also a professional musician.

Libby Rodenbough, Hillsborough
Libby has lived in North Carolina from birth. She 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 N.C.-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 after the early days of the Grand Ole Opry. In her writing and performing with Mipso, she continues to investigate stories and ideas about the place she calls home.

John Russell, Asheville
John Russell is in his twelfth year 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 the University of North Carolina, and has worked in arts management for most of his career. He holds the Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University, and is active in the Institute of Outdoor Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, North Carolina Theatre Conference, and the Southeastern Theatre Conference. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Governor's School Foundation, and is Secretary-Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Asheville-Metro and a Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Foundation.

Thomas S. 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 multi-disciplinary design firm Clearscapes. 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 craftsmen at the cathedral. His education included St. Albans School, University of North Carolina, University of Michigan, and Cranbrook Academy of Art. His commissions extend from Canada, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Thailand and across the U.S., including San Jose, Tucson, Denver, Nashville, Portland, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C.

Nancy Temple, Raleigh
Nancy is a native of Charlotte and lives in Raleigh. In 2009, she retired from Progress Energy as VP-Corporate Communications, where she was responsible for overseeing the company’s brand and corporate reputation, including all internal and external communications and corporate community relations. Before joining Progress Energy, Nancy held leadership positions in health care, government, and politics. She served in the administration of North Carolina Governor Jim Martin and was his chief of staff from 1989 to 1993. Nancy holds a BA in Political Science from North Carolina State University. She is married to Henry Temple, has two sons, and four grandchildren.

John W. Willingham, Yadkinville
John is the fourth generation to manage the family-owned Indera Mills. He received his BA 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 ten years, he has led Yadkin Arts Council as board president and was instrumental in the creation of the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. Completed in 2010, the Center consists of several buildings and significant open spaces and is home to Yadkin Arts Council. It has served 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.