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The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Welcomes New Board Chair and Directors
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) is pleased to announce the election of a new chair and three new members to its board of directors. As part of a rigorous national nomination process, state arts agencies elected these exemplary leaders at NASAA’s 2021 virtual Business Bash Celebration. The new chair, Omari Rush of Michigan, will serve a two-year term. The three new members (below) each will serve a three-year term.
Council Member, Alaska State Council on the Arts
Alice Bioff is from Koyuk, Alaska, and has worked since 2010 in the Community Planning and Development Department of Kawerak, an Alaska Native regional tribal consortium. As the business planning specialist, she is a resource partner connecting small businesses with programs that offer technical assistance in small-business development to the residents of the 16 communities of the Bering Strait region. Bioff has worked for native nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years since attaining her B.A. in rural development from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. In addition to her experience, Bioff is the founder and owner of Naataq Gear and brings with her the experience of owning her own business as an apparel design manufacturer. With her Inupiaq values close at heart, Bioff is a strong supporter of small-business development that supports the diverse economic landscape in the state of Alaska.
Executive Director, Massachusetts Cultural Council
Michael J. Bobbitt, theater director, choreographer, and playwright, joined the Mass Cultural Council in 2021, becoming the highest-ranking cultural official in Massachusetts. Previously he served as the artistic director of the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, Massachusetts, and of Adventure Theatre-MTC in Maryland. While in Maryland Bobbitt led the organization to be a respected theater/training company in the D.C. region, as well as a nationally influential professional Theatre for Young Audiences. Bobbitt trained in nonprofit arts management at Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, The National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, and Cornell University’s Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program. He has served as an associate professor of theater at both the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Howard University, and has volunteered on numerous nonprofit boards, including Non-Profit Village, Maryland Citizens for the Arts, Leadership Montgomery, Weissberg Foundation, Watertown Public Art Commission, and ArtsBoston. In 2021 he was selected to join artEquity’s second cohort of the BIPOC Leadership Circle.
Executive Director, Minnesota State Arts Board
Sue Gens joined the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2001, serving as director of communication and government relations, and interim executive director, before becoming executive director in 2008. Before joining the Arts Board, Gens was director of external relations for the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities); and director of development for United Arts, a federated fundraising organization for small and mid-sized arts organizations in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area. Gens has worked in the Twin Cities nonprofit and public sectors for 30 years; has held management, public relations, marketing, or development positions at the Children’s Theatre Company, Minnesota Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, COMPAS and the Women’s Theatre Project; and has served as a volunteer, consultant, or board member with a variety of nonprofit organizations. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, with degrees in music and arts administration.
In addition to the new directors, members elected these directors to a second three-year term:
“We enthusiastically welcome Alice, Michael, and Sue to the NASAA board,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “These experienced and diverse leaders bring a breadth of knowledge and perspectives, fierce commitments to serving the public, and genuine passion for the arts. We are eager to work with this new team and we welcome their expertise and guidance.”
Per NASAA’s bylaws, the board elected these officers to serve on the Executive Committee:
“The 2021 NASAA board represents dynamic and dedicated leadership from our field,” said NASAA Chair Omari Rush. “I am excited to work with these outstanding leaders as we advance NASAA’s mission to strengthen state arts agencies and continue to advocate for the value of arts and creativity across all communities.”
For more information on NASAA’s 2022 board, visit NASAA Board of Directors.