Grantmakers in the Arts Announces 2017 Board of Directors

SEATTLE – Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) is pleased to announce the recent election of three new members of its board of directors. Jaime Dempsey, deputy director of Arizona Commission on the Arts; Ken May, executive director of South Carolina Arts Commission; and Sharnita C. Johnson, arts program director of The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation have each been elected for a three-year term beginning January 2017.

Re-elected to a second term are Denise Brown, executive director of Leeway Foundation; Kerry McCarthy, program director – thriving communities at The New York Community Trust; and Angelique Power, president of The Field Foundation of Illinois. Beginning in 2017, Power will assume a two-year term as chair of GIA while McCarthy will serve as vice chair.

Grantmakers in the Arts is the only national association of both public and private arts and culture funders in the US, including independent and family foundations, public agencies, community foundations, corporate philanthropies, nonprofit regrantors, and national service organizations – funders of all shapes and sizes across the US and into Canada. GIA provides leadership and service that advances the use of philanthropic and governmental resources to support the growth of the arts and culture.

With offices in Seattle, GIA sponsors an annual conference; research and publications on arts philanthropy, including The Reader periodical; and a robust website with a library of studies and articles. The organization hosts regional and local workshops on issues such as capitalization of the nonprofit arts sector, artists working in community settings, arts and medicine, and the environment. GIA is a leading proponent for racial equity in arts philanthropy and policy changes at the federal level in arts education, arts and aging and juvenile justice.

Denise M. Brown is executive director of the Leeway Foundation in Philadelphia, which supports women and trans artists and cultural producers creating art for social change. Prior to this position she was associate director of the Bread and Roses Community Fund and a consultant with Leeway and other cultural and social justice organizations in the Philadelphia area. Brown also serves on several other boards, including Bread and Roses Community Fund, Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia (formerly Delaware Valley Grantmakers), Scribe Video Center, and PhillyCAM (Philadelphia Community Access Media).

Jaime Dempsey is deputy director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona that provides leadership, services, and grants supporting a statewide arts and culture sector. Prior to joining the Arts Commission, Dempsey developed community programs and partnerships as the first program manager for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where she also taught courses in arts leadership and nonprofit arts management. Previously, she managed programs for Idaho’s nexStage theatre and Sun Valley Center for the Arts. Dempsey has served on the national board of directors for DataArts (formerly Cultural Data Project) since 2012, and recently completed board service with Phoenix LGBTQ Pride. In alignment with her passion for public policy and community empowerment, Dempsey recently completed a fellowship with the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership’s Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Academy. Dempsey studied theatre and anthropology at Arizona State University.

Sharnita C. Johnson directs The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s arts grants, which foster a diverse and vibrant arts ecosystem, create broad-based public support of the arts, and support communities engaged in creative placemaking in New Jersey. Prior to joining Dodge, Johnson managed a $25 million grantmaking portfolio in education, health, and family economic security at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Michigan. Her arts career began in development at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the historic Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit. Johnson later joined the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, then co-founding the Council of Michigan Foundations Arts Affinity Group, which led to implementing the Cultural Data Project (DataArts) and later establishing Detroit's first community public art program. Johnson holds a master of public administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a bachelor of arts from Marygrove College in Detroit.

Ken May is executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, where he has served in several positions since 1985. During his tenure at the Commission, May has played a key role in the creation of many of the agency’s nationally recognized programs and partnerships in arts education, community design, public participation in the arts, rural arts development, and career development for artists. May has served as a panelist and site-visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts; a panelist, presenter, consultant, and facilitator for national, state, and local arts organizations; and a guest lecturer in arts administration programs at the College of Charleston and Winthrop University. He is a member of the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, South Arts, and South Carolina Afterschool Alliance, and is an alumnus fellow of the Diversity Leaders Initiative of the Riley Institute at Furman University. May has worked previously as a professional musician. He received undergraduate and master’s degrees in music history and musicology from Florida State University.

Kerry McCarthy is program director of thriving communities at The New York Community Trust, where she oversees arts and historic preservation grantmaking. Before joining The Trust in 2009, she ran a consulting company serving city nonprofit arts organizations. She has more than twenty years’ experience in museum and performing arts administration with organizations as varied as the Queens Museum of Art and Jim Henson Productions. McCarthy holds an MA in folk art studies from New York University and BA from Sewanee: The University of the South. She is a graduate of Coro’s Leadership New York Program, a member of the New York State Cultural Data Project Task Force, and past co-chair of the City’s Dance Funders Group and of New York Grantmakers in the Arts.

Angelique Power is president of The Field Foundation of Illinois. Previously, she served as program director for The Joyce Foundation’s culture program, where she focused on strengthening and diversifying arts organizations, building capacity within the arts sector, and investing in the creative capital of artists of color through the Joyce Awards. Power has more than 15 years of experience in communications and outreach and has served as director of communications and community engagement at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She also developed and managed philanthropic efforts as a senior manager in community relations for Target Corporation.




Monica Thomas, Communications & Publications Manager, Grantmakers in the Arts
(206) 624-2312 |