Lana Aylesworth (Ward 11) 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.
Mandi Bedbury (Ward 3) is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), accredited Practitioner of Emotional Intelligence and has an Executive MBA. Mandi leads workshops around the world, via in-person or virtual, to help people build invaluable leadership, communication and relationship skills in a fun and safe environment. In her previous roles as a project manager, strategic analyst, and business development leader, Mandi utilized her acting and improv training to help with active listening, the ability to pivot/change direction, and build relationships. Mandi has been performing improv in New York and Minneapolis for over a decade. When Mandi isn't facilitating an improv, emotional intelligence or leadership workshop she is performing on stage and film and contributing to her YouTube channel "From Start to Finish".
Crystal Brinkman (Ward 9) 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.
Jaspar Lepak (Ward 11) is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been working as an independent artist for over fifteen years. A writer at heart with a deep belief in the power of every voice, she understands how the arts connect us to our most authentic selves and challenge us to grow in ways that build confidence, compassion, and joy. Jaspar has released nine studio albums in the folk/Americana genre and has performed both nationally and internationally. Her 2021 album Desert Ghosts reached #15 on the folk charts, and her songs have been featured on 89.3FM The Current and on the syndicated radio show Democracy Now. After living away from Minneapolis for over a decade in both Seattle, WA and Durban, South Africa, she is happily back in the Nokomis neighborhood with her husband and daughter, enjoying the lakes, creeks, and nature paths. Jaspar cares deeply about her local community, and as a parent, makes sure to include shows where kids and listeners of all ages are welcome. She also leads regular music programs for assisted living and memory care and teaches private music lessons.
Leni Moore (Ward 7) moved to Minneapolis in 2004 from New York City, where she was the Board Chair of the New York Foundation for the Arts. An investment banker by background, she has been an advocate for the arts and has served on several arts boards in Minneapolis: The Soap Factory; Minnesota Opera; Minneapolis Institute of Art, where she chaired the Audit Committee and the Community and Government Relations Committee, as well as serving as Board Secretary; and Minnesota Orchestra. She also currently serves on the Board of the Minneapolis Foundation and is a past member of the Boards of The Minnesota Zoo Foundation, Graywolf Press, and Global Minnesota (Chair.) Leni believes strongly that the arts are the heart and soul of the community. Recognizing the effects of both an historic pandemic and the reverberations following George Floyd, she is committed to forging new opportunities for adaptation and collaboration within and throughout the City of Minneapolis.
Jeffrey Swinton (Ward 7) 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. Jeff has a passion for the arts and is an avid collector of visual arts from the African Diaspora. He is currently on the boards of Walker Art Center’s, Roho Collective and the Monitors Foundation. Jeff is also a lay member of the Minneapolis Arts Commission.
Lucy Thompson (Ward 10) 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.
Michelle van Kuijk (Ward 12) is a Certified Interior Designer with over 25 years of experience in Commercial and Residential Interiors. She grew up in Florida, where her love for the Arts began in childhood. Michelle earned a Bachelor's degree from Auburn University, AL, and has since lived on the East and West Coast, with an overseas stint in Australia. She moved to Minnesota from California in 2009, settling in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis in 2012. She has been actively involved in outreach and volunteer work to increase youth awareness of the creative process. Recognizing the value of diverse, authentic voices and artists' visions, she is passionate about promoting the Arts in local neighborhoods to support community engagement and well-being. Michelle writes a blog focusing on the importance of self-care with a holistic approach to creativity, emphasizing the interconnectedness of creative expression and mental health. She envisions a world where sharing in the Arts is elevated in every community.