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 revitalizing 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.

Asha Bala, Fayetteville
Asha Bala is a recipient of 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 levels in India and the U.S., Asha has come to appreciate how much dance as a performing art benefits from knowing and understanding the historical and philosophical backgrounds of dance. She exposes her students to a well-rounded, holistic education that combines in-depth instruction in the practice of Bharata Natyam, a dance form that originated in South India thousands of years ago and is now practiced in Indian communities in North Carolina.  

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, which 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.

Chad Cheek, Winston-Salem
Chad is the owner of Elephant in the Room, a design and brand consultancy in Winston-Salem. Elephant in the Room specializes in brand development, graphic design 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.

Kathy Crowe, Morehead City
Kathy Morgan Crowe is a native of Winston-Salem but has lived in Morehead City since 1982. She holds a degree from Meredith College with a Bachelor of 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 is the musical director for several children’s productions of the SandCastle Players. Kathy loves performing and 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 has also dedicated years of leadership to National Charity League, Inc. and served as a Director on their National Board of Directors.  She loves boating, deep sea fishing, and travel, but most of all she loves the sound of children singing.

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 N.C. 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 Dashiell, Greenville
Carroll Dashiell is Associate Professor of Music, Director of Jazz Ensembles, and String/Electric Bass Professor at East Carolina University. Carroll was mentored by North Carolina jazz great, Billy Taylor, and has been recognized for his contributions as a bassist, musical director and as a composer/arranger. His performance history includes concerts with the Boston Pops, National Symphony, and the Washington Philharmonic Orchestras. He has performed with Dr. Billy Taylor, Ethel Ennis, and the Fifth Dimension; and concert/show tours with Maurice Hines, Stephanie Mills, Maceo Parker, Ray Charles, Vanessa Rubin, and Jennifer Holiday. Carroll has produced or performed on over 35 national and international recordings. He is the recipient of the Robert and Lina Mays and Robert L. Jones Distinguished Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.

Jerry Jackson, Raleigh
Born in Raleigh, Jerry grew up in Vance County, returning to Raleigh where he graduated from North Carolina State University in 1964. Before retirement in 2007, Jerry was chairman of FMI, management consultants and investment bankers for 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 N.C. State University Foundation and co-chair of the Capital Campaign for the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at N.C. 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.

Eddy McGee, Rural Hall
Eddy McGee is the Executive Director of the Stokes County Arts Council where he has served since 2004. He recently completed his master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Grace College of Indiana and currently serves on the Board of Directors of ARTS NC, a statewide advocacy organization for the arts. 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, the Director of K-5 Education/AIG with Stokes County Schools. They reside in Rural Hall, North Carolina. 

Jean McLaughlin, Little Switzerland
Recently retired as Executive Director of Penland School of Crafts after more than 20 years, Jean focused her energies on strategic planning, external relations, facilities construction and renovation, board development, and fundraising. She spearheaded a $30 million Campaign for Penland’s Future. Jean came to Penland after serving 16 years at the North Carolina Arts Council as Director of Visual Arts and later Director of Statewide Initiatives. A native North Carolinian, she holds an M.A. in Liberal Studies from N.C. State University and a B.A. in Studio Art from UNC-Chapel Hill. She also studied textiles at the California College of Arts and Crafts, N.C. State University, and Penland School of Crafts.

Sejal Mehta, Raleigh
Sejal Mehta 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, Sejal 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.

Sally Plyler, Raleigh
Sally has a long history of promoting art and representing artists. She is the owner of 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 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 a B.A. and a master’s degree in social work from UNC-Chapel Hill. Sally is a part-time realtor with Monarch Realty in Raleigh and specializes in the sale of downtown residential properties. She is a member of the First Baptist Church. Sally lives in Raleigh with her husband of 38 years. 

Holly Post, Sanford
During more than a decade as a reading consultant and tutor in the public schools, Holly saw how the arts could transform lives. She experienced it early in her own life when one caring high school teacher urged her to pursue vocal music and theater, and that understanding intensified early in her career as she visited communities throughout the state while organizing events and monitoring employment for the North Carolina Departments of Natural Resources, Commerce, and Corrections. She came to realize how essential the arts are for developing well-rounded children and vibrant communities, and how, without public assistance, those opportunities can be sorely limited. Now retired and part of a family devoted to public service, the lifelong Sanford resident has long 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 attended St. Mary’s College in Raleigh and received her B.A. in Political Science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is married to attorney Norman (Chip) Post, Jr. and has three adult children and one grandchild. 

Laura Raynor, Raleigh
Laura is a native of Raleigh where she 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; N.C. Museum of History Associates; Red Hat Amphitheatre; and Raleigh Hall of Fame. While serving the City of Raleigh Arts Commission for seven years as a 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.

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 before 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.

Libby Rodenbough, Hillsborough
Libby is a native of North Carolina and 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 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, DC.

Ann Whichard, Greenville
Ann has been an active community volunteer in Greenville and the state of North Carolina for over 30 years. She served on the Board of Directors at the North Carolina Museum of Art including as chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee. She served on the Greenville Museum of Art for more than ten 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 ECU 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 the University of North Carolina at 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 B.A. 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 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. With more than 40 years’ experience in the direct marketing field, 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. Also, 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. She is also a former trustee of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County. With her husband J.D., she co-chaired The Arts Council’s $27.7 million Comprehensive Campaign for the Arts to create a new Downtown Center for the Arts. Also, they chaired capital campaigns for Salem Academy and College and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is a member of the newly-formed Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission.