Minneapolis arts commission membership

Read about the members of the Arts Commission.





David Smith

David Smith was raised with an artist and teacher for a father, so his creativity and love of art was nurtured from a young age. He enjoys learning about, and trying his hand at, all kinds of things, exploring 3D printing, digital art, print making, glass blowing and neon bending. He is employed as a Mechanical Design Engineer with Sleep Number. A lifelong Minneapolis resident, David is a homeowner in Northeast Minneapolis near the Arts District. In his free time he enjoys working on his house, brewing beer, tending a large vegetable garden, and landscaping his yard with native plants and wildflowers.



Lisa Middag

Lisa Middag is an urban planner who collaborates with communities to support sustainable, vibrant, and walkable public spaces through creative placemaking and community development. Lisa works for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District as Director of Nicollet Activation, where she is responsible for developing, directing and implementing an activation framework along the city’s historic pedestrian/transit mall, assuring an inclusive range of cultural experiences for daily users and visitors. She previously worked for Hennepin County Community Works, connecting the Midtown Greenway bicycle trail to nearby cultural and commercial destinations through wayfinding and placemaking. She serves on the board for Springboard for the Arts, is a member of PPS’ placemaking leadership council, serves on the Minneapolis arts commission, and is an Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute fellow. She has an M.P.A. in urban and regional planning from the Humphrey School and spent 10 years as the publications director and studio manager at the Walker Art Center.



Mandi Bedbury

Mandi Bedbury has been performing as a Dancer and Actor in New York City and Minneapolis for two decades. She started her career teaching dance at North High School in Minneapolis before moving to New York to Dance and Act for the next 14 years. While in New York City she was a backup dancer for Nancy Sinatra in Little Stevie’s Underground Music Festival, could be seen in 1966 (A night at the Whiskey-GoGo), Treasure Island (Manhattan Children’s Theater), and danced with the Notes in Motion Dance Company. In 2006 she transitioned into acting- credits include; Law and Order SVU, Across the Universe, Blood Son, Love Taxi as well as numerous web sketches and commercial work.

Mandi has been an improv artist for the past decade performing sketch and improv in Minneapolis and New York City. She’s had the great pleasure of performing with such artists as Holly Mandel, Radhika Vaz, and Kristin Wig. She is currently performing with the troupe Crumplestiltskin and will be in Strike This! in February 2019 at Strike Theater.

When Mandi isn’t performing improv, she is a Project Manager (PMP) for Zurich Insurance and facilitates Improv as a professional development tool to corporations across the country.



Ahava Silkey-Jones

Ahava Silkey-Jones is an accomplished non-profit and education leader. She has a passion for building community through education and the arts locally and globally. She has worked to develop and implement high-quality programming, global education initiatives, and innovative models for arts education in Chicago, Boston, Newark, and Minneapolis.
Ahava is the Executive Director of the DaVinci Academy of Arts and Science, a K-8 Blue Ribbon charter school, serving 865+ students and 135+ faculty and staff. Prior to DaVinci Academy Ahava served as the Principal of Minnesota’s statewide residential arts high school serving students in grades 11 and 12 throughout the state with a passion for music, dance, theater, literary, media or visual arts. Prior to Perpich, Ahava worked as a school administrator in the Newark Public Schools and as the Director of Fine Arts for the University of Chicago Charter School. She earned her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University, her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University, and her superintendent license from the University of Minnesota.

Ahava currently serves as a Commissioner with the Minneapolis Arts Commission; as board chair for the Professional Theatre and Dance Youth Academy (PTDYA), 501.c.3.; and as an elected member of the National Arts in Education Advisory Council with Americans for the Arts.

Ahava was a 2019 fellow with the New Leaders Council Twin Cities Chapter and a 2013 recipient of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute’s Employee of the Year recognition for her extraordinary service, exemplary practice, and stellar results. Ahava is fiercely committed to working on system-level equity and policy initiatives, building school and community partnerships, and improving access to quality arts education for all students.


  Crystal Brinkman
Crystal Brinkman is a multidisciplinary artist living in the Midtown Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. Originally from San Diego, she moved to Duluth in high school and has been rooted in MN ever since. Crystal is the executive director of Kulture Klub Collaborative, a nonprofit arts organization engaging art and artistic practice to provide enriching multidisciplinary opportunities for youth experiencing homelessness and artists to grow individually and to transform community. As an experienced youth worker, she is committed to creating change and opportunity for young people. As a long time performing artist and musician, Crystal knows that art heals and can bring people together in meaningful ways.   9
  Marianna Mansfield

Mari Mansfield has spent most of her life in Minneapolis, working tirelessly as a visual artist and educator. She earned a BFA in Illustration and Art Education from the College For Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. Mansfield is an accomplished painter and graphic designer and her work has been in galleries locally and nationally. Her most well known work, The Mourning Passage (names of 169 People of Color killed by police, painted on the street on Chicago Avenue near George Floyd Square) has been featured on the covers of multiple national newspapers, and in numerous documentaries. It inspired a wave of street painting across the country. As an educator Mansfield has worked as a Paraprofessional with high schoolers with developmental cognitive disabilities, as well as elementary students with non-verbal autism. She currently works as the American Indian Education Program Tutor for the Elk River Independent School District. As a Woman of Color, Commissioner Mansfield aims to bring Arts to communities of color in creative ways that will beautifully portray the diverse mosaic of people that make up the City of Minneapolis.

  Lucy Thompson

Lucy Thompson spent 31 years as a Principal Planner with the City of Saint Paul, where she worked on several public art initiatives: updating the City’s Public Art Ordinance, working with key City departments to implement the ordinance, selecting public artists for City infrastructure and City-financed development projects, and selecting and managing planning consultant teams with a public artist as a team member.  She believes in the power of public art to express and celebrate community identity, revitalize neighborhoods, engage residents in meaningful discourse, reveal pain and bring joy.  Lucy is interested in creating opportunities for artists of color throughout the city, especially in communities that are neglected or under-represented.

  Jeffrey Swinton Jeff Swinton is a Sales/Marketing Executive with over 30 years’ experience with global companies including (Schwan’s, PepsiCo, Wendy’s International etc…).  Jeff was born in NY and he received his BS at the University of Houston and MBA at the University of Texas- Austin. He and his family moved to Minneapolis in 2015.   Throughout his professional career, Jeff has built strong strategic alliances and developed lasting business partnerships.  Jeff has a passion for the arts and is an avid collector of visual arts from the African Diaspora.  He is currently on the Walker Art Center’s Education Council that works closely with the Twin Cities community to share a passion for arts access and education. Jeff is also Vice Chairman of the Monitors Foundation, a grant making philanthropic organization that focuses on Black youth in the Twin Cities.   Lastly, Jeff is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, a Black Greek Letter Organization founded at Howard University in 1911 devoted to community service.  10 
  Lana Aylesworth

Lana Aylesworth is an arts enthusiast who visited Minneapolis 15 years ago 'to see a few plays for a few days' and never left. She has spent ten years working in external relations for non-profit theater focusing on ticket accessibility and creating welcoming spaces.

She holds BAs from Western Michigan University in Theater Performance and Playwriting and has contributed locally as an actor, playwright, and reader of new work. With the aim to increase arts awareness and involvement on a neighborhood level, she believes transformation through the arts is best achieved by creating accessibility for all.

Happiness is taking a nature walk around south Minneapolis or exploring a museum with her partner and two kids. She also likes talking to strangers so come say hello if you see her at a show.

  Jack Moebius Jack is currently working as a projects manager and Executive Administrator for the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. His background includes a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, an AS in Environmental Science and a BS in Biology | Botany from Portland State University. His is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Affairs at the Humphrey School. Jack lives in Ward 12 in Minneapolis with his husband Nathaniel and cat Lynx. 12
  Joan Vorderbruggen Joan Vorderbruggen is the Director of Public Art and Placemaking for Hennepin Theatre Trust. Her role includes creating opportunities for local and international artists to activate Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. In 2013, Joan developed and implemented Made Here, a project which pairs Minnesota-based artists work with vacant commercial storefronts. Made Here is the largest storefront initiative of its kind in the nation, now in its ninth iteration having featured work by nearly 400 artists in more than 300 vacant storefronts across 15 city blocks. In the fall of 2015, Joan worked with internationally renowned Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra and his team to create a five-story mural of Bob Dylan. She has since led the creation of four additional large scale murals including a mosaic art vertical garden. In spring of 2016, she pursued and was awarded a “Heart of the Community” grant from Southwest Airlines to work with Project for Public Spaces creating the 5 to 10 on Hennepin initiative. Joan is a founding member of the Placemaking Leadership Council, serves on the Board of Directors for Forecast Public Art, Minneapolis Mad Dads, and Salvation Army Harbor Light. In 2017 she completed the year long Ethical Redevelopment Salon program led by Place Lab and the University of Chicago and was named a National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow.  12

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Community Planning & Economic Development




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Public Arts Administration

Community Planning & Economic Development




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415