Our People

Get to know Oregon Arts Commission commissioners and staff. 

Subashini Ganesan-Forbes, Commissioner
Contact | Portland

Subashini is a curator, arts administrator, choreographer and former Creative Laureate of Portland (2018 – June 2021). Her contemporary works include deep collaborations with acclaimed artists and arts organizations including Mike Barber (Founder, Ten Tiny Dances), Michelle Fujii (UNIT SOUZOU), Sabina Haque, Amna Mawaz Khan (Pakistan/Germany), Anita Menon, DJ Anjali, Third Angle New Music, PICA, APANO, and Portland Center Stage. Subashini founded New Expressive Works (N.E.W.) in 2012. Through residencies, artist conversations and performance seasons, this vibrant performing arts venue celebrates bold new works created by multicultural independent performing artists. Subashini is Adjunct Professor at Pacific University teaching arts advocacy, an active Community Advisory Committee member of the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center and serves as a Board of Director for the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation and the Portland Parks Foundation.

 

(Term Expires: 3/22/2026)
Avantika Bawa, Commissioner
Contact | Portland

Avantika Bawa is an artist, curator and academic.

She has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India.

Noteworthy solo exhibits include shows at Schneider Museum, Ashland, Oregon; Suyama Space, Seattle, Washington; The Columbus Museum, Georgia; Saltworks Gallery and Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia; Nature Morte and Gallery Maskara, India; Disjecta and White Box, Portland, Oregon.

Avantika has participated in the Skowhegan, MacDowell, Jentel, Vermont Studio Center, Kochi Biennial Foundation and Djerassi residencies. In April 2004 she was part of a team that launched Drain: A Journal for Contemporary Art and Culture (www.Drainmag.com)

She is currently an Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Washington State University Vancouver. Her work can be viewed at www.avantikabawa.net.

(Term Expires: 6/30/2024)
Jenny Green, Chair
Contact | Bend

Jenny Green believes the arts are an essential ingredient in a happy and healthy community and has spent much of her life promoting the arts across Oregon. Jenny holds a master’s degree in the fine and decorative arts from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Vermont and did graduate work in Feminism and Art History at the University of Wyoming. She has worked in galleries, museums and auction houses in London, San Francisco, and Bend. Since moving to Central Oregon twenty-seven years ago, Jenny has taught Art History at Central Oregon Community College, created the Jenny Green Gallery, and co-created At Liberty Arts Collaborative. Jenny works with several non-profits, she currently sits on the boards of the Scalehouse Collaborative for the Arts and the Bend Cultural Tourism Fund. She is a retired board member of the Ellipse Theatre Community, World Muse and Cascades Academy.

“I believe deeply in the power of art and its ability to enhance our quality of life, affect social change and allow us to witness each other's shared humanity," says Jenny. “The Oregon Arts Commission strengthens our statewide community through the arts and I want to support this important work.”

(Term Expires: 11/30/2024)
David Harrelson, Commissioner
| Grand Ronde, Dundee

David Harrelson, the Cultural Resources Department manager for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and a Grand Ronde tribal member, was appointed to the Arts Commission in June 2021.

David has championed the use of his people’s ancestral art forms for the purpose of public art. His support for this work has resulted in five public art installations in the last four years throughout Northwestern Oregon. He has worked in the field of cultural resources for 10 years and before that worked as a wildland firefighter.

Besides supporting art in an administrative capacity, David currently approaches art as a hobby, believing that the process of creating art should be a part of everyone’s life. The primary areas of inspiration for his art include his indigenous heritage and the landscape of western Oregon.

David is active in his community and currently sits on the State Advisory Committee for Historic Preservation, is a former board member of the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg and was an editorial board member for Smoke Signals, a free and independent newspaper covering the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. He has a bachelor’s in history from Lewis and Clark College; some of his research interests include ethnobotany, contact era Pacific Northwest history and Western Oregon indigenous art.

“No matter where you live,” says David, “you are on indigenous land. Seek out and know your area’s indigenous people and their art.”

(Term Expires: 5/12/2025)
Roberta Lavadour, Commissioner
| Pendleton

Roberta Lavadour is an artist and arts administrator who lives and works in Pendleton, Oregon. She serves as an advisor to the Roundhouse Foundation Residency program, as a member of the City of Pendleton's Art Commission, and as executive director of the Pendleton Center for the Arts. 

Roberta maintains an active studio practice, and her artist’s books and design bindings are widely exhibited and reside in collections both nationally and internationally. She was previously recognized with an Oregon Arts Commission Artist Fellowship (2002) and a Career Opportunity Program award (2008). In addition to papermaking, letterpress and silkscreen printing, exploring a wide range of book structures, and the other myriad facets of book arts, she enjoys gardening and being a Grammy.

She holds a liberal studies degree from Oregon State University (2017), with a focus on communications and community development. Her work can be viewed at RobertaLavadour.com.

“Making art is important work, and vigorously supporting that work is one of the things that defines Oregon," says Roberta. "Fostering a culture of creative expression unlocks creative problem-solving skills that energize our public spaces, our economy, and our families,"

(Term Expires: 6/29/2026)
Kamilah Long, Commissioner
| Ashland

Kamilah L. Long is an innovative leader and dynamic theatrical professional. Her multifaceted theater career includes roles as an actor, director, producer, educator, fundraiser, activist and speaker.

Kamilah started her career in theatre as a storyteller, which led her to joining Actors Equity and becoming a professional actor before completing her undergraduate theater degree from Alabama State University. She went on to receive her master’s degree in fine arts in performance, along with a Certificate in African American Theatre, from the University of Louisville. Kamilah is a world-class orator, delivering commencement keynotes and traveling as far as South Africa to speak.

She is the founder and CEO of The Black Whole, a multimedia company focused on centering the Black global community through art and storytelling. The Black Whole recently has co-produced and served as a writer on the short film "You Go Girl" which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival.

(Term Expires: 6/29/2026)
Harlen Springer, Vice-Chair
Contact | Florence

Harlen Springer is a founding member and former chair of the City of Florence Public Arts Committee and a founding member and past president of the Florence Regional Arts Alliance.  He is also a member of the “Beautification for Florence” committee, a past member of the Siuslaw Library Art Committee and was the Art Coordinator for “Florence Fest,” the annual Jazz, Art and Wine festival.

Harlen is a retired corporate executive with extensive experience leading artistic and consumer products companies. He served as president of Portal Publications, a leading designer and publisher of posters, prints and greeting cards; chief operating officer of Numi Organic Tea; and chief operating officer of Boing Designs, a Portland-based designer and manufacturer of products for the gift industry.

Prior to that, Harlen held senior management positions at Fortune 500 companies such as Procter and Gamble, Clorox and Unilever, where he served as vice president of sales, vice president of marketing and general manager.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Oregon and an MBA from Seattle University.

(Term Expires: 11/7/2023)
Matthew Stringer, Commissioner
Contact | Ontario

Matthew Stringer, the executive director of The Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, Oregon, was appointed to the Arts Commission in December 2017.

Born and raised in Nyssa in Oregon’s Malheur County, Matt graduated Cum Laude from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s in journalism and marketing before embarking on a successful 29-year career in New York City. He worked in advertising for Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam, and spent more than 20 years managing marketing departments for mainstream music labels such as Island, Arista and Sony Music. He has in-depth experience in all marketing disciplines, new product development and project management. After choosing to return to Oregon, Matt accepted the position at Four Rivers Cultural Center in 2011.

The Four Rivers Cultural Center contains a 13,000 square-foot museum, a Japanese garden, an exhibit gallery, a theater and a conference facility. It served more than 89,000 unduplicated people in 2017, including more than 16,000 children, through 680 meetings or events. As executive director, Matt spends the bulk of his time writing grants, programming for the theatre, conference facility, garden and gallery and in community engagement. The center programs more than 52 events each year, ranging from exhibits of Basque, Japanese and Hispanic culture to events like Mexican Independence Day and the Obon Festival. It offers the biggest music event in the Western Treasure Valley, a summer concert series called Live After 5. 

Matt’s hobbies include music, hiking and swimming.

(Term Expires: 12/18/2025)
Anne Taylor, Immediate Past Chair
Contact | La Grande

Born and raised in western Washington, Anne Taylor moved east in 1975 to earn a degree in interior design from Washington State University. In 1980, she moved to the northeast corner of Oregon.  For 30 years she resided in Joseph and Imnaha, located in Wallowa County and 65 miles from the nearest town with a population greater than 15,000.  In 2010 she relocated to La Grande in Union County.

Anne’s work experience includes technical illustrator, graphic artist, ranch wife and mother, bronze foundry production, art marketing and sales, custom matting/framing and art sales, parent educator, executive director and research assistant. She also has had the honor of serving as a Girl Scout troop leader, a 4-H club leader, a member of the Wallowa Valley Arts Council, Rotary Club and several non-profit boards.

Anne has pursued lifelong education through college distance learning and personal or professional development workshops. She is a 2005 graduate of the Ford Institute for Leadership and became an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow in January of 2010.

For the past 24 years, Anne has played violin with various regional orchestras and ensembles; she currently plays with the Grande Ronde Symphony and the Inland Northwest Orchestra.  She actively pursues skiing, biking, hiking and gardening, and also enjoys reading, drawing and watercolor painting, cooking, sewing and travel.

(Term Expires: 10/31/2022)
Brian Rogers, Executive Director

Brian Rogers, a longtime arts and culture consultant, was named executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust in June of 2014. He has led planning and facilitated retreats, with a focus on funding stabilization and grant programs, for several state arts agencies and multiple cultural organizations across the country.  

Rogers served as deputy executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) for 16 years, where he was responsible for grant programs, financial oversight and the administration of the agency. He led development and implementation, through a public/private partnership, of the innovative and groundbreaking data collection and reporting tool, the “Cultural Data Project.” Rogers served on the governing body for the project and acted as the state’s task force manager. He also implemented several PCA programs and services including “Picture Pennsylvania,” a statewide traveling exhibition program. He helped conduct and implement four strategic planning processes, one of which resulted in a nationally recognized funding reorganization that more than doubled the number of applicants funded while providing a higher level of service.

During his more than 20 years with the PCA, Rogers also served as deputy director of administration, program director for art museums and fellowship manager.

An active and accomplished artist, Rogers holds a bachelor’s in fine arts from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, where he majored in painting, and a master’s in fine arts from the Graduate School of Art at the University of Arizona.

Kat Bell, Grants & Office Coordinator

Kat Bell is the Grants & Office Coordinator for the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Oregon Arts Commission. With the agencies since 2006, Kat oversees the online grant system and database and assures compliance with state and federal policy. Kat earned an Oregon Project Management Associate Certification from the Willamette University’s Atkinson School of Management and is in her junior year at Southern Oregon University where she studies Accounting. In addition to serving in the military, Kat has experience working at the state legislature as a Committee Assistant. She belongs to the PEAK Grant Making, a nationwide grant administrator network. She is a self-professed Data Viz Ninja and proud member of Ravenclaw.

Carrie Kikel, Communications Manager

Carrie Kikel is a longtime nonprofit communicator who has led communication efforts in the arts, education and health care arenas. Carrie spent 15 years with the Oregon Symphony, from 1991 to 2006, where she held the position of vice president of communication. Her Symphony accomplishments include initiating annual telecasts and National Public Radio broadcasts, organizing media partnerships that allowed a post 9/11 In Memorium concert to be experienced by 250,000 Oregonians and orchestrating a national simulcast and release parties for a Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute recording that then reached number four on the Billboard classical charts. She also led communication for the music director transition that paid tribute to James DePreist and welcomed Carlos Kalmar.

Carrie joined Providence Health & Services in 2006 and served as a regional public affairs manager until 2012 when she established her own consulting business. Her cultural clients have included fEARnoMUSIC and Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, as well as the Arts Commission and the Cultural Trust. She also helped found Portland Radio Project, an online music station honored with two Edward R. Murrow Awards in its first six months on the air.

Kikel has an associate degree in journalism from Mt. Hood Community College, where she started her communication career, and a bachelor’s in communication from Marylhurst University. She lives in Canby with her beloved Springer Spaniel Ella and has three grown children – Daniel, Nichole and Kelsie – and five grandchildren – William, Kody, Alexa, Isaac and Ashlynd. Carrie is an avid walker and loves adventures with family and friends.

Eleanor Sandys, Public Art & Artist Programs Coordinator

Eleanor’s focus areas include managing Oregon's Art in Public Places Program and coordinating individual artist grant programs. She started at the Oregon Arts Commission in 2016.

Eleanor has over 10 years of professional experience in arts and nonprofit administration. She graduated with a Master’s in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University and has a bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology from Reed College. She currently serves on the board of the Oregon Museums Association.

Liora Sponko, Community Arts Coordinator

Liora Sponko serves as the Community Arts Coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission. She provides technical assistance to arts organizations and communities across Oregon to help them thrive through the arts. She also manages the grant programs for Arts Build Communities, Small Operating Support and Operating Support for Arts Services, Music and Dance.

Liora has been an arts administrator and grassroots community-builder for more than two decades. She previously served as the Executive Director for Lane Arts Council for nine years, where she tripled the organizational budget, developed inclusive programming and increased partnerships with the public and private sectors.

Liora also served as a programs coordinator for the University of Oregon and did development work for nonprofits including Community Center for the Performing Arts/WOW Hall, Centro Latino Americano and Womenspace.  She is fluent in Spanish and has a master’s in International Peace and Development from Universitat Jaume I (Castellón, Spain) and a bachelor’s in Sociology and Spanish from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She has received multiple certifications and awards, including recognition as a rising business star in Lane County.

 

Sarah Baylinson, Art Collection & Artist Services Specialist

Sarah Baylinson joined the Arts Commission team in July 2022. As art collection and artist services specialist, they manage artist materials and records of the State’s Percent for Art in Public Places collection, oversee the condition and location of artworks and provide service to the public, client agencies, artists and contract project managers in the specialized area of expertise related to public art, collections management and visual arts. They also oversee the Art in the Governor’s Office exhibition series and support artist programs and special projects.

Sarah previously served as the exhibitions coordinator and collections manager for the High Desert Museum, where they coordinated eight rotating exhibitions per year including "Imagine a World" and "Dam It! Beavers and Us.” Sarah also served as a consultant for the State Historic Preservation Office's (SHPO) MentorCorps program, advising on moving collections, inventory management and other large-scale projects.

Their previous experience includes work with the Bowman Museum in Prineville and the Log House Museum in Seattle. They served as vice president of the Oregon Museums Association for six years.

Sarah has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Washington. They enjoy the great outdoors in many capacities, including camping, kayaking, flyfishing, watercolor painting and searching for the elusive Sandhill Crane while birdwatching.

Oregon Arts Commission

Phone
(503) 986-0082 (phone)
(503) 581-5115 (fax)
Address
775 Summer Street NE, Ste 200
Salem, OR 97301-1280