About the Madison Arts Commission
The Madison Arts Commission (MAC) is composed of ten residents and one Alderperson. Each commissioner is appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council. The eleven member commission is staffed with one full-time arts administrator and two additional staff who provide part-time support. The Commission was created by ordinance in 1974 to advise the Mayor and Common Council on public policy matters relating to the arts. It began as a unit in the Parks Division but has since moved to the Neighborhood Planning, Urban Design & Historic Preservation section of the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development.
Mitchell Branscombe is an architect and artist with a particular interest in public infrastructure, interrogating norms of collaborative design, and how space and buildings function for us. Growing up on a small Wisconsin farm surrounded by DIY’ers left him with a fascination for making, storytelling, and the process of creation. After refining his curiosity at UW – Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning with a BS in Architecture, he has focused his career on the power that inclusive collaboration has in creating beautiful things.
As an Architect, Mitchell uses his expertise and energy as a toolkit to help others create spaces that function for the community. He is constantly curious about how we can appreciate space and beauty around us and how that space can, in turn, positively affect our lives.
Sheri Carter is a lifelong Madisonian and an alumna of West High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sheri was elected in 2015, making her one of the first African American woman elected to the Madison Common Council. Over the past 15 years, Sheri has been actively involved in the Madison community. Prior to her election as Alder, Sheri served as the President of Arbor Hills Neighborhood Association for over 10 years, and initiated several community projects in Arbor Hills and worked closely with the Leopold Neighborhood Association.
In 2008 she launched the "See something, Say something, Make the Call" campaign in Arbor Hills. She has worked closely with Penn Park Partners to increase summer programs in Penn Park. In addition, Sheri served as President of South Metropolitan Planning Council and became very aware of other neighborhood's projects and concerns. Sheri was part of the Nine Springs Health Assessment Committee working with the Public Health of Madison/Dane County staff and community residents.
Prenicia Clifton is native of Kansas City, Missouri, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has nearly 3 decades of performance experience under her belt. Prenicia Clifton started singing opera at age eight after she told her first voice teacher, Millicent Daugherty, that she wanted to sing like Whitney Houston; however, her teacher told her that with her talent, she may not sing like Whitney Houston but would someday dine with kings and queens. Decades later, Clifton is an accomplished opera singer with credits in major opera houses around the world, including opening opera houses with Placido Domingo, sharing the stage with opera greats like Renee Fleming, Denyce Graves, Eric Owens and Grammy award winners Thomas Glenn and Adrienne Dandrich. Prenicia invests her musical talents back into the community through her annual Songs for Hope Holiday Music Spectacular which she hosts each year during the holiday season. Prenicia believes as she rises up, she must reach back which is why she includes aspiring youth artists in all her concerts.
For over 10 years, Annik Dupaty has planned, managed and executed all of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s major fundraising events —including the Art Fair on the Square, one of the largest and most highly ranked art fairs in the country attracting some 200,000 attendees. She holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in art history from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee; worked at the Milwaukee Art Museum; taught art history at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD); was a contributing Author/Researcher for Permission to Paint, Please - a book chronicling a 150-year period of African American art and artists in Wisconsin; and recently illustrated a children’s book, My Imagined World: A Story Inspired by Prince Rogers Nelson. Although drawing was her earliest form of creative expression, she has been exploring photography, ceramics and painting her whole life. She has worked in the arts for decades, but is still regularly awed and amazed by human creativity, and wishes all children would be encouraged to express themselves through art. Annik lives in Madison, WI with her family, and a beloved collection of Prince albums and Prince-inspired artworks.
Katie Howarth Ryan was recently named to the Advisory Council of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMOCA), where she serves on the Permanent Collection Committee. Ryan completed two terms on MMOCA's Board of Trustees and had previously been its Curator of Education.
Ryan moved to Wisconsin from New York where she worked at Art in America magazine and was ARTFORUM magazine's Managing Editor. In Wisconsin, Ryan pursued graduate work in art history at UW-Madison and was a teaching assistant before taking the Education Curator position at MMOCA (then the Madison Art Center). When she left the museum, she continued to volunteer in the community with particular commitments on the Cooksville Historic Trust, Inc., the Historic Commission of Porter Township's Zoning Committee, Rotary Gardens Education Committee, and at the schools of her four children.
Anna January is currently the Director of Individual Giving at Wisconsin Public Television. She has a background in fundraising, arts administration, museum administration, grants, community development, and art history.
Anna spent her childhood in Madison and returned to the city in 2014 after completing a MA in art history at McGill University (Montreal, QC Canada). While living in Montreal she also received a Fulbright Scholarship, supporting her research on Native arts practices, critical race theory, and intersectional feminism.
In addition to working at WPT, Anna has held positions at the University of Wisconsin's Division of the Arts, the Wisconsin Film Festival, Madison Children's Museum, the McCord Museum, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the Smithsonian Institution's Smithsonian Associates Program.
Bethany Jurewicz is the Director of Public Programming and Community Outreach at Garver Feed Mill. Formerly, she was the Exhibitions and Events Manager at the James Watrous Gallery, a program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters where she remains on staff part-time as a financial advisor.
After gaining a master’s degree in Contemporary Art Theory from Sotheby’s Institute in London, she moved to New York City and developed an expansive career in the food, beverage, and event industries. She relocated to Madison in 2014 and currently lives in the Atwood neighborhood on Madison's east side. Upon arrival, she gained employment as the business manager for various organizations and simultaneously produced large-scale culinary and visual art pop-ups as fundraisers for local non-profits, including The Apartment Project, Municipal, Makeshift, and the CSArt Dinner Series. Recently, she co-produced Femmestival with the Culinary Ladies Collective and curated Outside Looking In, a drive-thru exhibition in the windows of Garver Feed Mill. She looks forward to planning public events at Garver and throughout Madison that highlight Madison's creative economy while supporting artists, musicians, and culinary entrepreneurs.
Lance Owens is the founder and director of ArtWorking, a non-profit program that supports artists with disabilities, who wish to pursue careers in the arts and small business sectors. For most of the last two decades, Owens’ professional emphasis has been on inclusionary art practices, and microenterprise development within the disability community. In particular, Owens has focused on the intersection of arts entrepreneurship and social justice, and how art as a business practice can lead to inclusion in the community for marginalized populations.
In addition to ArtWorking, Owens has been an art instructor, and a community based art-facilitator, coordinating projects that emphasize collaborative art making experiences for people that may or may not identify as artists. Owens has also been actively engaged in music creation and production for the last 30 years, with an emphasis on audio engineering and mixing.
Owens received his BA in fine art from the University of California at Santa Cruz, as well as an MFA from UW Madison, with an emphasis in printmaking.
Fabu Phillis Carter is an artist professionally known as Poet Fabu in Madison, Wisconsin. She is a poet, columnist, storyteller, and teaching artist who writes to encourage, inspire and remind. Selected as the first African American to become a Madison Poet Laureate (2008-2012), she continues to share the Black experience living in the South, the Midwest and in Africa. She currently serves as poetry editor for the Capitol City Hues and is a culture columnist for the Cap Times newspaper. Dr. Fabu Carter has a PhD from the University of Nairobi, the African Women’s Center. Fabu currently works with Gary Glazner and the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (New York) sharing poetry with seniors at six facilities. She is a teaching artist with the Overture Center for the Arts and a well-known Wisconsin poet-in-residence. She is a recipient of fellowships from Dane Arts, Madison Jazz Consortium, Madison Arts Commission and the Wisconsin Arts Board and the author of four books of poetry. Her website is www.artistfabu.com
Nick Pjevach is the Director of Development at Arts + Literature Laboratory, having previously worked at the University of Wisconsin Foundation and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. He is a lifelong resident of Southeast Wisconsin, having come to live in Madison on two separate occasions, both to pursue degrees at UW: an MBA from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration and a BS in Computer Sciences.
Outside of work, Nick chairs the Economic Impact subcommittee of Greater Madison Music City, a broad coalition strategizing for equity among all members of our city's music ecosystem. Lastly, he is a course instructor for Constructing the Real, a free online school put on by Art and Labor Podcast. “Break Stuff: Luddism, the Californian Ideology, and How to Make Technology Work for Us” attempted to explore the current weird, wired world we find ourselves in and how to navigate it. A follow-up in late 2022 will explore artistic expression in relation to Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis.
Rae Senarighi / AKA Transpainter is your average non-binary cancer survivor inspiring self-compassion, activism and gender resilience via unapologetic portraiture and typography celebrating vibrant transgender and non-binary power. Rae's detailed, thoughtful artwork is influenced by years of scientific illustration, studying the natural world in micro and macro and being published multiple times in international publications such as Science and Nature magazines.
As a fine artist, designer and muralist, he is best known for intricately illustrative typography and vividly colorful, large-scale portraiture. Rae champions storytelling through art, working to create accurate and celebratory representation of the transgender and non-binary community in the fine art world and beyond.
Rae’s work has been featured in galleries throughout the United States and internationally in a wide range of outlets such as TEDx, Art Voices magazine, DNA India, GLAAD and Netflix.
Meri Rose Ekberg serves as Community & Cultural Resources Planner in the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development at the City of Madison. She administrates public art projects for the Madison Arts Commission and assists in historic preservation planning for the Landmarks Commission.
Originally from Nevada, Meri Rose has resided in the City of Madison since 2015. Prior to this position, she was the Assistant Director of the UW-Madison Public History Project, and for several years she managed educational programming at Overture Center for the Arts. She has additional experience in exhibition curation, music festival administration, collection management, digital archiving, event planning, and web design.
She has a M.A. In Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. In Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History from Western Washington University.
Angela Puerta is a certified Urban Planner for the City of Madison Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development. She started as an AASPIRE intern in 2014 and has been working full-time with the City since early 2016. She is bilingual in Spanish and has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from her home land Colombia and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the UW-Madison. Angela’s planning focus areas are neighborhood planning, community engagement and urban design.
Angela is also a professional musician, currently oversees music-related projects for the Madison Arts Commission and is an active member of the Greater Madison Music City (GMMC) team. Angela leads the Tourism Music Hub GMMC workgroup and assists implementing the Task Force on Equity in Music and Entertainment recommendations.
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 longtime 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.
Past Projects, Programs, & Partnerships: Biennial Report
Letters of Support
As the primary municipal agency that funds artistic activities and initiates cultural programs in Madison, MAC is often solicited to provide letters of support for artists and organizations applying for outside grants, permits, and honors. To insure that letters are consistent, requests must include sufficient background information to evaluate the level of appropriateness of a letter of support. The following procedures apply:
Requests for letters of support should be submitted to MAC at least two weeks prior to a scheduled commission meeting. View upcoming meetings here.
Requests for letters of support should include:
- A summary outlining the purpose of the project for which the letter is being requested, and explaining why MAC support is critical to the success of the proposed project and how the project will help advance MAC's mission.
- A copy of the budget proposed to accomplish the project.
- The name and address of the organization that the letter is to be directed to.
- A draft sample letter for review.
Madison Municipal Building
Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development
215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
P.O. Box 2985
Madison, WI 53701-2985
Download the MAC logo to use for all promotional materials related to projects and events funded by the Madison Arts Commission. The logo is available in three colors. Right click the image to save it to your computer.