Madison Arts Commission

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.


Faisal Abdu'Allah
Faisal Abdu'Allah is the faculty director of The Studio: Creative Arts & Design Learning Community in Sellery Residence Hall, UW-Madison. Abdu'Allah is a British artist whose work includes photography, screenprint, film, and installations. He maintains an international art practice exhibiting both in the UK and in the US. Part of his artistic projects in Madison include a strong social practice stemming from the Wisconsin idea, an expectation that scholars from the University of Wisconsin should extend their research into the community and use it to improve the health and quality of life for all citizens of the state.  Thus, he has involved himself in the art community beyond the campus, supporting non-profit spaces such as the Arts & Literature Laboratory, serving on the Madison Arts Commission, and working with NIP Teens through the Madison Public Library.


Ginger Ann graduated from UW Madison in 2012 with degrees in Biological Anthropology and Theatre and Drama. As a member of ?BK, Ginger Ann's academic background spans many disciplines. She believes in supporting others' educational and artistic pursuits, intellectual integrity, and always expanding one's knowledge. Artistically, Ginger Ann has participated in performances and creative collaborations locally and abroad. Currently, she script writes and is involved in the independent film scenes in Madison. She is interested in exploring the psychology of warfare and national identity through art. In addition, Ginger Ann works for the State of Wisconsin, retail, freelance education and web design. Having travelled extensively, she values gained insight from cross-cultural conversations and partnerships. Ginger Ann is eager to bring those lessons to her service on a Madison municipal commission. As a child of a single parent from a Migrant working family, she understands disadvantage and surmounting barriers; Ginger Ann is committed to helping build equality and shared success. Her core values, grounded in social and moral responsibility, are what inspire her to advocate for collaboration, cross-cultural communication, Theatre for change and valuing diversity in the local arts. She brings to the Madison Arts Commission great passion, creativity, and open-mindedness for achieving these goals.

Jenie Gao
Jenie Gao is an artist and writer who specializes in woodcuts, ink drawings, and allegorical storytelling. She sees artwork as a way to challenge existing perspectives and make paradigm shifts possible in our society. Teaching is integral to her practice, and she views it as the way we help others lead themselves. Jenie has worked across industries, which has made her a firm believer in different disciplines working together to inform and help one another. She believes that art is inseparable from culture and the values that define us.   

Cedric Johnson
A supporter and promoter of the arts from a young age, Cedric Johnson started as a student editor of Catch, the award-winning arts and literature magazine at Knox College. He was a founding member of the young patron's committee at Rockford Arts Museum in addition to serving on the Rockford Arts Council. It was in Rockford, IL where he launched his independent curatorial activities; from classic gallery exhibitions to large-scale graffiti/performance art shows. He moved to Madison in 2011 as Account Executive for The Onion, followed by fundraising roles at Madison Children's Museum and his current position as Director of Development & Communications with Youth Services Network of Southern Wisconsin/Briarpatch. Outside of work, he is Board President for O.P.E.N. Madison (Out Professional & Executive Network), board member of F.L.Y.Y. (Forward Learning Youth & Young Adults), an avid friend of MMoCA, and has recently resumed curating with a focus on featuring up-and-coming artists in non-traditional spaces.

Kia Karlen, Chair
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.

Yvette Pino, Vice Chair
U.S. Army veteran Yvette M. Pino joined the Armed Forces after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Yvette was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, where she earned the rank of Sergeant. Sergeant Pino was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2004. While serving in Iraq, Yvette found a sense of solitude in creating works of art, where her art was identified and appreciated by her commanding officers, to include General David Petraeus. This earned her the unofficial title of "Division Artist." The title later followed her to her 2nd deployment to Iraq in 2005-2006, where she created more works of art, boosting the morale of her fellow troops.

As a recent BFA Recipient at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Yvette founded the Veteran Print Project. While combining her management skills learned as a non-commissioned officer with her artistic experience she has found her passion in working with prints, people and the stories they tell. Following the success of VPP, Ms. Pino created Bench Press Events as a way to continue the re-investigation of the historical portrait. Rather than focusing solely on veteran stories, Bench Press Events examines the stories of everyday people who help organizations thrive in our communities.

Francesca Rodriquez
Francesca Rodriquez is the Foundation Officer at the Madison Public Library Foundation. Prior, she was the Director of Technology Adoption and Digital Skills at the City of Chicago where she managed the city's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and where she was devoted to bridging Chicago's digital divide. As a Project Manager for Creative Commons for three years and one of its first employees, Francesca helped to evangelize that sharing is better.  In policy school, she served as an intern at the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative where she researched and wrote on open government issues. Francesca holds a Master's of Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at University of Chicago and MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Prior to policy school, Francesca worked in museum education at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. She was also the Arts & Culture editor of the Santa Fe Reporter. She plays the cello and rarely misses a Kids in the Rotunda performance.  

Barbara Schrank
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.

Yorel F. Lashley
Yorel Lashley is a PhD student in Education. His career in youth development and educational instruction began as an undergraduate student at UW-Madison in 1990 with work at the South Madison and Wil-Mar Neighborhood Centers. His roles evolved from Camp Counselor/Youth Worker to Teen & Summer Camp Director over the course of 6 years.

In 1998, Yorel started working with youth and arts curriculum development in New York City schools, and in 2001 he founded Drum Power Inc., a youth leadership organization that uses learning West African, Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian percussion to develop and practice life skills. He continues to direct Drum Power Inc. in both New York City and Madison, Wisconsin.

Yorel developed a classroom culture building and maintenance framework "Relationships First," which he uses in his work as a classroom management and positive learning environment trainer. He provides professional development for teachers in the Madison Metropolitan School District as well as nationally through the "Relationships First" framework.

Yorel served on a variety of arts in education steering committees and grant review panels in New York City supporting the missions of variety arts organizations including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Partnership for After school Education, Center for Arts in Education, Queens Council on the Arts and Bronx Council on the Arts.

Karin Wolf, Arts Program Administrator
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.

The Madison Arts Commission meets on the following days in 2018:

Last Updated: 02/07/2018


Madison Arts
Madison Municipal Building
Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development
215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
PO Box 2985
Madison, WI 53701-2985


Karin Wolf, Madison Arts Program Administrator
Neighborhood Planning, Urban Design & Historic Preservation
Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development
Phone: (608) 261-9134
Fax: (608) 267-8739


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