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.


Sheri Carter – Common Council Representative to the Madison Arts Commission

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, Vice Chair
Ginger Ann grew up in Madison, attending Madison's public school systems k-Uni. As a PBK badger alumnus, she is trained both in the Arts and Sciences. Ginger Ann believes in supporting all people in their educational and artistic pursuits, intellectual integrity, and professional opportunities as seen in her contributions to MAC's creation of individual artist seed grants. Her performance background includes collaborations locally and abroad. Having travelled extensively, she values gained insight from cross-cultural conversations, global art and collaborative partnerships - bringing those lessons to her service as a commissioner. As a child of a single parent from a Migrant working family, she understands disadvantage, hard work and surmounting barriers; this drives Ginger Ann's commitment in building equity and shared success for community. Areas of interest include Theatre for Change and valuing diversity in the arts. Through her community service; as one of your Madison neighbors; and through her work at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery – Ginger Ann seeks to foster professional and networking opportunities for local artists that enhance our community through Creative Placemaking and programming initiatives.

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.

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.

Katie Howarth Ryan

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 also currently serves as a docent at the Chazen Museum of Art.

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. She is currently a resident of Madison and a member of Rotary Club of Madison.

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 2019:

Last Updated: 03/26/2019


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


Madison Arts Commission Logo

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