The KCAC is delighted to announce the unanimous election of four new members to our Board of Trustees. Their diverse array of areas of expertise- from music performance to entrepreneurship to media relations – reaffirm the notion that a love for the arts can be carried across careers, age, and educational background.
These newly elected members join the Arts Council’s existing board members; Clarke Bjorke, Meredith Davies Hadaway, Carol DeGennaro, Marc Dykeman, Irene Moore, Robert Earl Price, Marilee Schumann, and Director Emeritus, Leslie Prince Raimond. The Arts Council is proud to introduce you to our new board members.
Jason E. Claire– A native of the New York City suburbs, Jason fostered his interests in art, design, and gastronomy by graduating from Duke University with a triple major in art history, design, and pre-medicine. After receiving his MBA from Georgetown University, he co-founded a luxury furniture retailer and local gallery called Vastu in Washington D.C, which secured contracts for internationally recognized brands in addition to sponsoring six annual art exhibitions. While managing the development of interior design projects, Jason also supervised marketing, sales, training, and accounting at Vastu. Having recently returned from nearly five years in Switzerland with his husband Mark, where he worked in management consultancy for a company called FoundersCard, Jason is eager to establish firm roots in the Chestertown arts community and Kent County as a whole.
Stephanie King– After graduating from San Jose State University in California with a degree in Piano Performance, Stephanie earned her Master of Arts in Teaching and went on to direct band, choir, and orchestra in Oregon public schools. She later served as the Creative Arts Director for a metropolitan church in Portland, and for 12 years held the position of Music Director and Organist at a church in Sisters, Oregon. Her passion for music has taken her across many borders, as she has led five international choir tours and visits Italy every summer as faculty for the International Lyric Academy and Tuscia Opera Festival. Stephanie currently works here in Chestertown as the Music Director and Choirmaster at Emmanuel Church, and hopes to continue to support and encourage the arts in Kent County while also enjoying kayaking, yoga, cooking, and the company of her four grandchildren.
Kate McGraw– Kate is currently the Deputy Director of the Psychological Health Center of Excellence at the Department of Defense, where she focuses on meeting the mental health needs of female service members and veterans, as well as male and female service members who have experienced sexual assault and harassment. She is also the lead for the DoD Sexual Assault Advisory Group and the current chair for the Peace Corps Sexual Assault Advisory Council. Kate is also an accomplished musician and self-taught artist with an undergraduate degree in piano from the Hartt School of Music, where she also worked professionally as a vocal coach and music director. She has received numerous accolades for her solo piano performances, and in her spare time offers her services to local musical theatre companies and art galleries. Also a skilled writer, both professional and creative, Kate has penned an award winning column on mental health published in the Wilmington Delaware News Journal in addition to various professional articles in scientific books and journals.
Charles Taylor– Charles graduated from St. Paul’s College with a degree in Organizational Management and later studied Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An early job as a radio announcer followed by a brief stint as a newspaper reporter launched Charles on a 37-year communications and media relations career encompassing the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Charles has served as a senior corporate communications representative for Pepco and Dominion Virginia Power, a government media relations manager for Arlington County, VA, and a writer at the National Association of Counties in Washington, D.C. Since retiring in Chestertown last year, Charles has immersed himself in the community and fostered his love for music by by serving on the county’s Social Action Committee, the Marketing Committee of the National Music Festival, and by singing with the Chester River Chorale.
“It is critical, when entrusted with public funds, that the board and staff of the Kent County Arts Council not only be fully engaged and fully transparent about our grant making activities, but that we hold our grantees to the highest of standards of community engagement,” said Arts Council Director John Schratwieser, “Our board of directors plays a critical role in ensuring that each application for funding is thoroughly reviewed, and is done so objectively holding the benefit to the community in the highest regard.” Our new members live and/or work in our community and are committed to measuring the impact of the public dollars that we award. In addition, each is fully committed to the Kent County Arts Council’s mission to “invest, infuse, and inspire, the arts for all in Kent County.”
The new members begin their work immediately, and will be a part of the FY 2019 grant award process which will begin in May 2018 for the coming fiscal year.