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Commissioners

Alberta Barker, Commission Chair, Lafayette

Alberta Barker graduated summa cum laude from Indiana Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. She is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin ABA National Trust School and Cannon Trust School, earning the designation of Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Barker is heavily invested in her community through endeavors with the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette; Art Museum of Greater Lafayette Foundation Board; Lafayette Symphony Orchestra Foundation; Estate Planning Council; and Ivy Tech Regional Development Committee. She is currently retired from 1st Source Bank’s Lafayette Wealth Advisory Services.

Anne Penny Valentine, Vice-Chair, Carmel

Anne serves as the Chief of Staff for the office of Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, leading the executive office and overseeing the operations of the state agencies within the portfolio of the Lieutenant Governor, including the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and the Office of Rural and Community Affairs. Prior to joining the Lieutenant Governor’s team earlier this year, she was the Vice President for Government Relations at United Way of Central Indiana where she advocated on behalf of early childhood education and whole-family solutions to address poverty. Anne’s career has covered three different industries: state government, nonprofit and higher education including leadership roles with Ivy Tech Community College and the Office of Governor Mitch Daniels. In the non-profit arts community, Anne has worked for Indianapolis Opera, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and the Arts Council of Indianapolis, allowing the opportunity to work closely with the city of Indianapolis as well as a wide range of arts organizations throughout central Indiana. In 2017, Governor Eric Holcomb appointed Anne to serve as a commissioner with the Indiana Arts Commission. A graduate of Butler University, Anne is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration with the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI.

Yolanda "Dusty" Stemer, Secretary, Chesterton

Yolanda “Dusty” Stemer is a community volunteer and long-time advocate and supporter of the arts. She is a trustee of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago and has served as Gala Co-chair for the museum's Annual Gala De Arte five times. She also serves on the Smithsonian Latino Board, the Women's Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, and is a member of the Chicago History Museum's Costume Council. She is also a member of the Service Club of Chicago. The Stemer's have extended their philanthropy to not only cultural organizations, but to institutions of higher learning and medical centers. they have six children: Jordan, a PA in dermatology; Brian, noted shoe designer of the Brian Atwood shoes; Cameron, a teacher; Andy, a medical doctor who is the director of the Stroke Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in DC; Emily, a homemaker; Zak, a creative director for a marketing company. Yolanda and her husband, Alexander, reside in Chesterton, Indiana.

Chad Bolser, Richmond

Chad earned his Bachelor of Arts in History at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri and his Masters of Education from Earlham College. Since that time, Chad has worked in education for 22 years including stints at public and private high schools and small universities. In July 2017, Ivy Tech Community College named Chad Bolser to serve as Chancellor of the Richmond campus where he has overseen new initiatives and developed strong relationship with local K-12 partners. In 2019, Ivy named Chad as the Vice President of Operations for its southern campuses. Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.

Réna Bradley, Fort Wayne

Réna Bradley is one of Fort Wayne’s foremost experts in placemaking, asset-based development, and neighborhood revitalization, and, believes that beauty is a call to justice. She is a community activator who pulls neighborhood residents into decision-making processes and uses her design skillset to help residents reimagine underserved communities -breathing new life and enthusiasm into both places and people. As Bridge of Grace’s Community Development Director, she has taken a design-thinking approach to create, support, and implement various initiatives. In the MVP neighborhood, those efforts have resulted in

-       -The renovation of 20+ houses (and 3 youth-designed pocket parks),

-       -Reducing the crime rate by over 60%, and

-       -Infusing over $5 million in funding into the community.

Ms. Bradley an Indiana Arts Commissioner, Fort Wayne Public Arts Commissioner, board member of the Fort Wayne Allen County Airport Authority, and advisory committee member of Input Magazine. She is a proud alumna of Howard University's College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Science; the Detroit Revitalization Fellows; Fort Wayne’s Forty under Forty; and Virginia Society AIA’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture.

Ruth Ann Cowling, Jeffersonville

Ruth Ann Cowling has been an art educator for over 40 years. Having earned her M.A. from Indiana University in Art Education, she has taught elementary through college level students, most recently as adjunct professor at Indiana University Southeast. Previous to this she taught elementary art at Portage, Indiana, Jr. High Art at Hazelwood and Scribner Jr. High Schools in New Albany, Indiana, and art at New Albany High School in New Albany, Indiana. She has been integral in developing school curriculum, academic content, and the planning and execution of student art shows. During her teaching career she served as Chairperson and coordinator for Teacher IN-Service of the New Albany Floyd County School Corporation, chaired the Performance based Accreditation Correlate, and instituted student art shows throughout the community. She has been a member of the Louisville Visual Art Association, leading free art classes for 12 years, as well as establishing their summer art camps curriculum and serving as camp director. Beyond her teaching experience, Ruth Ann has worked as a freelance commercial artist creating numerous ads for Louisville Magazine, and a variety of art work for numerous clients to meet their needs. She has worked as a professional watercolor artist in which she owned her own business, traveled extensively for art shows and garnered numerous awards. Her adult life focus has been art. She is a patron of the arts and is an advocate for the arts and art education.

Dave Haist, Wabash

A Wabash, Indiana native, Dave lived in South Bend for 10 years as a partner of Barnes & Thornburg and then moved in 1986 to Fort Wayne to help open the firm’s Fort Wayne office. He joined Do it Best Corp. in 1997 and retired as its COO in 2012. He and his wife recently returned to his hometown of Wabash and they share time between Wabash and Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver. Dave began serving for arts organizations in South Bend as he served the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. After moving to Fort Wayne, he served on the Boards of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic (including board president for two years) Arts United and the Fort Wayne Ballet. In Wabash, Dave has served as the Chair of the Board of The Honeywell Foundation and  now serves as Chair of the Board of the Honeywell Arts Academy. Dave serves on several other boards including Arts United and Manchester University.

Greg Hull, Indianapolis

Originally from Richmond, Greg serves as the Dean and the Valerie Eickmeier Professor in Sculpture at Herron School of Art and Design, IUPUI. Prior to joining the school in 1999, Greg taught in the Sculpture Department at Kansas City Art Institute. His work and interests include interactive, kinetic, and time-based media including light, sound, and video. Greg has created both temporary and permanent installations for institutions such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the John Michael Kohler Art Center, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis’s Conrad Hotel, and the Indianapolis International Airport. He is an Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellow, a Creative Renewal Grant recipient and one of two inaugural recipients of the Indianapolis Arts Council’s Transformational Impact Fellowship.

Walter Knabe, Indianapolis

A designer since the age of 14, Walter obtained his Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin. Walter opened his first studio nearly 35 years ago as a painter in New York City. His paintings quickly morphed into full-scale wall coverings, which have been in demand by many high profile clients and interior design houses. His artwork can be found in the homes and offices of film, sports and music legends. Walter has been the official artist for several high profile events, including the Indianapolis 500.

Laurie Burns McRobbie, Bloomington

Laurie Burns McRobbie is the 18th First Lady of Indiana University. She is founder of the Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council and the Indiana University Foundation and serves as its honorary chair. In 2012, she was named Woman of the Year by the City of Bloomington’s Commission on the Status of Women, and in 2014 she was given the Leading Light Outstanding Leadership Award by the Indianapolis-based organization Women in Hi-Tech. McRobbie holds has adjunct faculty position in IU’s School of Informatics and Computing, where she helped found the ServeIT service-learning clinic. She played a crucial role in establishing the Indiana University Center for Women in Technology (CEWiT), which seeks to create, foster, and improve academic and professional opportunities for women students, faculty, and staff working in or with technology.

Jake Oakman, Indianapolis

Jake Oakman is the Executive Director of the White River State Park Development Commission. Before joining White River State Park, Jake was Special Assistant to Governor Eric Holcomb, serving as the governor’s primary speechwriter, liaison on international engagement, and adviser on communication strategies. Beginning in late 2019, Jake led all marketing and communications efforts related to the governor’s historically successful reelection campaign. Jake has extensive experience in Indiana’s travel & tourism and sports industries. He was Director of Communications and Media Relations for Visit Indiana and his first job in Indianapolis was at White River State Park, working as a ticket sales executive for the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field. Additional experience includes serving as then-Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb’s Director of Communications, Deputy Press Secretary to Governor Mitch Daniels and Director of the IUPUI Student Foundation at the Indiana University Foundation. Oakman earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education with concentrations in US history, world history and political science from Indiana University where he served as student body president his final year on campus. A history buff, Jake enjoys reading biographies and histories, especially those about World War II. He is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Indiana University Hoosiers. Jake lives in downtown Indianapolis’ Holy Cross Neighborhood.

Kelsey Peaper, Indianapolis

Kelsey has worked in education the past 12 years with students and teachers in traditional and public charter schools spanning grades K-12. Kelsey graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Theatre and minors in Vocal Music and Communication. After graduation she joined Teach for America and taught Special Education in Los Angeles, California. She obtained her Masters in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University. Kelsey then taught Special Education in Brooklyn, New York. She moved to Indianapolis with her husband and most recently she served as Assistant School Leader and the Director of Special Education at a public charter school in Indianapolis. Her passion for both the arts and education is something that is very important to her, especially making art accessible to all.

Sofía Souto, Indianapolis

Dr. Sofía Souto is a professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Butler University. Her teaching and research interests primarily center on monolingual and bilingual language acquisition in children with and without language impairment. Dr. Souto earned her graduate degrees at Indiana University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Purdue University.