WHO WE ARE
The Madison Arts Commission is a municipal arts agency managed by a citizen commission composed of ten residents and one Alderperson who are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council. The eleven member commission is staffed with a full-time arts administrator. The Commission was created by ordinance in 1974 to advise the Mayor and thee Common Council on public policy matters relating to the arts. It originally began as a unit in the Parks Division of the City of Madison. Since then, it has moved to the Neighborhood Planning, Urban Design & Historic Preservation section of the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development.
Anthony Brown II graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Theater. He was appointed to the Madison Arts Commission in 2011. Currently he spends his days as an Education Assistant for the Madison Metropolitan School District. He also performs as a solo artist throughout Madison. His most recent album, Act Two: The Way of the World, capped off his first album trilogy, a compilation showing his strength as an artist as well as his ability to capture audiences across many genres. Brown is a cross-disciplinary music talent with a gift for vocal percussion ("beat-boxing"). As a vocal percussionist, he began performing and recording with Compass Rose. He has performed in over 450 shows around the country. Along with his musical capabilities, he has also written and produced the musical "Ballots" which was inspired by the 2000 election year.
Patty Elson has been serving on the Madison Arts Commission since 2006. She is the Chair of the Public Arts Committee and a member of the Hip Hop Ad Hoc Subcommittee. Patty has lived in Madison most of her life and is a Realtor with Restaino & Associates. Starting with her appointment to the Urban Design Commission in 1994, Patty has served proudly on the Overture Project Advisory Committee, the State Street Design Project Oversight Committee and in many other capacities guiding the growth and maturation of the city she loves.
Briony is fascinated by process, problem solving, and information sharing in general. As an artist that keeps her work fresh, but it also means you never know quite what sheâ€™ll come up with! She makes multi-media, one-of-a-kind pieces in ceramic, fiber, metal, and most recently polymer clay. The common threads are color, texture and whimsy.
Briony taught for many years at the UW-Madison & Milwaukee, and leads workshops at Penland, Arrowmont, Peters Valley, Split Rock, Shake Rag Alley, and many guild and design conferences. She received a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship in 2006 and shows her work nationally and internationally. You can see her work locally at Higher Fire Clay Studio in Madison, and at River Arts on the Water in Prarie du Sac.
Kia Karlen is an active musician and arts educator in the Madison area. She has worked for two decades at Madison Children's Museum, where she currently serves as the museum's Director of Education, overseeing the museum's education programming, community partnerships, and outreach initiatives. Kia can also be found performing with a diverse lineup of local musical ensembles, including the contemporary chamber ensemble Black Marigold Wind Quintet, world music groups Yid Vicious and Reptile Palace Orchestra, Rennebohm Park staple Capitol City Band, and more. In addition to serving on the Madison Arts Commission, Kia is a member of the Overture Community Advisory Board, volunteers at WORT 89.9 FM, and supports many local nonprofit agencies through musical performances at area benefit events.
Leslee Nelson creates embroidered memories. She is a professor emerita from the Departments of Art and Liberal Studies & the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She taught classes on grant-writing, and professional practices. She was the director of Wisconsin Regional Art Program. She believes that creativity is inherent in each individual and encourages everyone to find their art form.
Ms. Schrank, who has lived in Madison since 1977, has a Ph.D. in science, with a minor in economics, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also worked in management for the energy industry for many years. Since retiring from the energy field, she has been creating art quilts and putting her skills and experience to work advocating for the strings program and arts education in Madison's Public Schools. Ms. Schrank co-chaired a School Board arts education community task force charged with gathering information from the community and providing recommendations to the Board on MMSD's arts education program (Revitalizing, Sustaining and AdvancingArts Education in Madison's Public Schools – report to the MMSD School Board, July 2008) and served as a member of the Wisconsin Task Force on Arts and Creativity in Education (co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elizabeth Burmaster). She is an award winning advocate who defends the educational rights of children without the financial resources to receive music training outside of the public schools. Ms. Schrank's strategic emphasis has always been to get information out to the community - and let the community get back to the school board about what's important to them, what are the community's values for education. Her husband, Fred Schrank, is the principal bassist for the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra Director at West High School.
Danez Smith, a Cave Canem Fellow and 2-time Pushcart Nominee, works in Madison, WI, as an Student Advisor for the First Wave Program at UW-Madison. He likes tattoos, bad food, drinking Capri Suns, reading manga and good poems. His work appears or is forthcoming in PANK, Vinyl, Radius, Southern Indiana Review, and other places. He slams sometimes, placing 6th in the world at the 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam.
Chris Taylor is an Associate Dean at Madison Media Institute. He has been in and around recording studios for the past 22 years cutting his first recordings on 2" reels at the age of 14. Musically he plays trumpet, baritone, sousaphone, piano, drums/percussion, harmonica, bass and on occasion will attempt the lead guitar. He owns Alcatraz recording studio in Milwaukee. Chris has recorded, worked with, toured with or opened for top artists such as Coo Coo Cal, Max Julian (Goldy in the Mack), Chopper Young City (Making The Band), Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) Lil Boosie, Kanye West, Twista, Musiq Soulchile, Smokey Robinson, Anthony Hamilton, Lil Jon, Keith Clizark (Snoop Dogg) Joseph Warlick (Dr. Dre) Shorty B. (Too Short), Organized Noize (Outkast), Michael Clip Payne (Parliament Funkadelic), Danny Leake (Stevie Wonder), Devin Harris (New Jersey Nets) Mystical, Pimpin' Ken, Pimp Snooky, Ice Mone, The Ying Yang Twins, Nas and more then he can remember at the time of this publishing.
Ms. Wolf came to the City of Madison in fall of 2006 with a background in arts project management, research, writing, and educational programs. She is the Arts Program Administrator for the Madison Arts Commission in the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development. She manages the City's arts grants, runs the gallery spaces, stewards the City’s permanent collection of art, and handles the administration of new public art projects.
Prior to this position, she served as the Special Programs Coordinator in the Community Outreach Department at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, where she created award-winning programs for educators and K-16 students in art, design and technology. She has worked as an educational assistant at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, teaching, docenting, and assisting the Curator of Education.
She has a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and undergraduate degrees in History, History of Cultures, and Afro-American History.
She is a long time supporter of the arts and arts education, and has been involved with many community organizations in establishing exhibitions, educational programs, film festivals, temporary art, and permanent public sculpture projects.