Meet Our Staff

Karen Hanan

Executive Director

360.252.9976

Karen Hanan is a senior executive with 25 years of successful leadership with state and regional arts organizations. She was appointed Director of ArtsWA by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2014. Hanan’s focus is growing the organization’s capacity and services to positively impact the arts, and WA’s creative economy. Previously, Hanan was Director of Arts Northwest, the regional service organization for performing arts. Before that, she founded and directed the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts. She is a respected member of several industry organizations and boards of directors.

Adetola Abatan

Project Manager
Art in Public Places

360-485-1514

Adetola manages Art in Public Places projects in public schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies. Prior to joining ArtsWA in 2022, she had a 14-year career in the energy sector, though is now focused on her visual art and music practices. She holds a MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University as well as a MS/PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She believes art is key in our framing of community history, identity and memory.

Michelle Avitia

Program Coordinator
Art in Public Places

360.485.1344

Michelle joined ArtsWA in April 2022 as the Arts in Public Places Program Coordinator. Before joining ArtsWA, Michelle was the Office Manager at Church Rietzke Johnson, PLLC where she managed multiple overlapping tasks, and became very familiar with many new policies, laws, and regulations. During her years with the law firm, Michelle utilized her wide experience to create in-depth procedures to improve overall administrative processes. Her work requires close attention to detail and clear communication skills, two strengths she attributes to her background as a writer and editor. She holds a B.A. from San Jose State University in English and Professional Technical Writing.

Daniya Baisubanova

Daniya Baisubanova

 Program Specialist
Wellness, Arts, and the Military

360-252-9979

Daniya Baisubanova joined the Arts Commission in December 2022 as the Wellness, Arts, and the Military (WAM) Program Specialist. Before joining ArtsWA, Daniya supported the Arts Program at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and served as their internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Facilitator. Previously, Daniya served at the Washington State Women’s Commission, and managed international development projects in Kyrgyzstan.

Daniya holds a B.A. in Political Science from the American University of Central Asia, and a Master of Arts in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Daniya is excited to be joining ArtsWA and is keen to promote the healing power of arts among the military community.

Bryan Bales

 Program Manager
Wellness, Arts, and the Military

360.485.1516

Bryan Bales joined ArtsWA in July 2022 as the Wellness, Arts, and the Military (WAM) Program Manager. Bryan is a Marine Corps Veteran with a BA in Social Science from WSU and a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership from Warner Pacific University. Bryan is a WA State Certified Peer Counselor. Bryan has a deep understanding and appreciation of the arts and looks forward to connecting service members and veterans to the arts to be able to learn new skills, find a new passion and/or purpose, and discover the healing benefits that the arts can provide.

Jonah Barrett

Jonah Barrett

Collections Coordinator
Art in Public Places

360.485.1262

Jonah is the Collections Coordinator for the Art in Public Places program. They got their start at ArtsWA as a student employee from 2014-2016, and returned in November 2021. Jonah regularly helps with assessing artworks, collections organization and archiving, and object photography. Jonah also serves as the Art Collection Project Manager for The Evergreen State College’s art collection. Both as an artist and administrator, they have made their career growing arts and creative sectors in the South Puget Sound region. Besides a filmmaking and published writing career, they have worked as a marketing director, bookseller, and script supervisor on various films.

Gabriel Brown

Conservation Lead, 3D and Integrated Artwork

360.485.1518

Gabriel joined the Art in Public Places program in 2022 as a Conservation Lead of 3D and Integrated Artwork. Previously he worked for 9 years coordinating public art programs for Spaceworks Tacoma. Born and raised in Spokane, Brown is also a shoe cobbler and a visual artist, focusing on sculpture and performance art. After graduating from Spokane Falls Community College and Eastern Washington University, he went on to earn an M.F.A. from Washington State University.

Judy Cullen

Program Specialist
Arts in Education

360.252.9972

Judy joined ArtsWA as a contractor in July of 2013. She became part of ArtsWA staff in January 2017. She coordinates Washington’s Poetry Out Loud (POL) program. POL is a national poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. A Pacific Northwest artist, Judy has over 30 years of experience in theatre and opera. She has served many Pierce County arts non-profits. Judy has self-published ten titles of fiction, poetry, and reflective essays.

Adam Fah

Conservation Manager
Art in Public Places

360.252.9971

Adam has been the Conservation Technician for the Art in Public Places Program since September 2007. He facilitates art conservation projects, art handling, and partner agency support for the care of the State Art Collection. He helps shape the conservation review process for new artworks. Adam has also owned and operated a studio since 2000, specializing in conservation and restoration of metal sculpture. He is a professional patineur and enjoys facilitating bronze castings for artist Philip McCracken.

Heide Fernandez-Llamazares

My Public Art Portal Manager
Art in Public Places

360.252.9977

Heide joined ArtsWA as Project Manager for My Public Art Portal in January 2016. She manages the online presentation of the State Art Collection. Previously, Heide managed a private collection, worked in Education at Tacoma Art Museum, and worked as a technical writer. She is passionate about art and collections, and loves working in an environment that includes art on a daily basis.

Miguel Guillén

Program Manager
Grants to Organizations

360.252.9970

Miguel Guillén joined ArtsWA in 2016 and currently serves as Program Manager for the Grants to Organizations program. As a seasoned arts administrator, Miguel provides support to community-based arts organizations and projects, small arts groups, and artists across Washington. He has previously managed arts programs for the private sector. Born in Mexico and raised in the Skagit Valley, Miguel received an Arts Management Certificate from Seattle Central College. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle. He is a practicing visual artist.

Jonathan Hickerson

Conservation Lead, Central and Eastern Washington

360.485.1521

Jonathan Hickerson joined ArtsWA in July 2022 and currently serves as the Conservation Lead for Eastern Washington’s Art in Public Places program. He maintains, repairs, installs, and transports public art throughout the state. Previously, he served for eleven years as an artists’ assistant and foundry technician at the Walla Walla Foundry. Hickerson is also a multi-media sculptor based in Walla Walla. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Wyoming.

Janae Huber

Collections Manager
Art in Public Places

360.252.9975

Janae has served as the Collections Manager for the Art in Public Places program since 2005. She stewards the care of the State Art Collection and maintains ongoing relationships with statewide partners. She previously served as the Tacoma Art Museum registrar. She held curatorial roles at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. Janae has served two terms on the Olympia Arts Commission. She founded the advocacy group Olympians for People-Oriented Places (O-POP), focusing on land use and planning. She completed undergraduate degrees in Art History and German Studies at the University of Arizona.

Linnea Ingalls

Linnea Ingalls

Program Coordinator
Grants to Organizations

360-252-9969

Linnea Ingalls joined ArtsWA in January 2021 and serves as Community Investments Grants Specialist, supporting the Grants to Organizations and Arts in Education programs. She holds an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University where she studied interactive arts and equity in storytelling. An artist in both theatre and digital media, she has also carried out creative production and administrative work with She is Fierce Stories, King County Equity Now, and Seattle Rep.

Desiree Johnson

Desiree Johnson

Administrative Assistant
Arts in Education

360.485.1497

Desiree has a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre with an Acting emphasis and a Minor in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California. Her passion and commitment to arts education brought her to the ArtsWA team, where she serves as AIE Administrative Assistant. Desiree’s work at ArtsWA directly supports the agency’s goal to ensure arts funding is accessible to all Washington State students.

Kristy Keely

Fiscal Analyst

360.485.1343

Kristy joined ArtsWA’s operations and budget team team in April 2022. She has a variety of experience in private and non-profit fiscal operations and has been a co-founder of multiple cooperative businesses around the south sound. Before discovering her love of finances, she spent her free time organizing community events and performing as an aerial artist and a musician. She is excited to join her love of the arts with her love of numbers.

Adrienne Kerrigan

Community Relations Program Assistant

360.485.1269

Adrienne joined ArtsWA in March 2022 and serves as Community Relations Program Assistant, supporting the Communications team with their online presence and administrative needs. She previously worked in roles that included website and marketing development, systems management, and graphic design. She is passionate about the written word and loves working at the intersection of communication and arts culture. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Seattle Pacific University.

Tamar Krames

Tamar Krames

Program Manager
Arts In Education

360.643.6385

As ArtsWA’s Arts in Education (AIE)  Program Manager, Tamar oversees a variety of programs and partnerships with a focus on equitable access to quality arts learning. Supporting innovative, community-based practices in schools has been at the core of her work for the past twenty years. Current projects include managing AIE grants, implementing Washington State’s Poetry Out Loud program, providing ongoing support for teaching artists and K-12 art teachers, and amplifying the creative practices of youth and educators.

Marissa Laubscher

Project Manager
Art in Public Places

360.252.9974

Marissa manages Art in Public Places projects. She travels across the state to facilitate site-responsive artwork commissions in public schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies. Prior to joining ArtsWA in 2015, she managed public art and exhibitions for the City of San Antonio’s International Airport, Libraries, City Hall, and the X Marks the Art temporary storefront art program. Bringing art into everyday life is her passion. She holds a Master’s in Arts Management from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Britt Madsen

Britt Madsen

Program Specialist
Grants to Organizations

360.485.1509

Britt joined ArtsWA in August 2022 as a Program Specialist supporting Grants to Organizations. Before joining ArtsWA, Britt’s career focus has been connecting youth from all backgrounds and abilities with music education. She served nine years as the Deputy Director at Seattle JazzED, and was instrumental in building the organization from the ground up since its inception in 2010. Prior to that she worked at the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) where she ran the nationally-renowned Marrowstone Summer Music Festival and SYSO’s public school partnerships. Britt holds a BA in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Washington.

Ashley Marshall

Administrative Assistant
Grants to Organizations

360-485-1524

Ashley has joined the Grants to Organizations team as the Administrative Assistant. She has a Masters of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership from Seattle University where her work includes experience with Wa Na Wari, the 2020 exhibition Abstractions of Black Citizenship: African American Art from Saint Louis, and the applied Arts Ecosystem Research Project (AERP). She enjoys learning about the rich, expansive, and impactful arts and culture history in Washington State and is passionate about sharing that history with others.

Audrey Molloy

Program Coordinator
Arts in Education

360.252.9987

Audrey Molloy joined ArtsWA in April 2019 as interim Program Assistant for Arts in Education and Grants to Organizations. Before joining ArtsWA, Audrey was the Asst. Cultural Arts Coordinator with the City of Murfreesboro and an instructor of photography at Watkins College of Art. She has also held curatorial and arts administrative positions with City of Austin Art in Public Places, Northern-Southern, and AINT-BAD. In 2017, she was in residence with Art Practical and c3initiative as an Art Publishing Resident. She has a B.F.A in Photography from the University of Arizona.

Jared Moore

Conservation Lead, 2D Artwork, Workspace, and Safety

360.932.8908

Jared joined the Art in Public Places program in September of 2019. He maintains, repairs, installs, and transports public art throughout the state. He has previously served as the Lead Art Handler at the Seattle Art Museum for the last five years. Prior to that he worked for eight years at Artech Fine Art Services. In addition, Jared has worked extensively at several frame shops and galleries and holds a degree in Psychology and Fine Art from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Valerie Peterman

Project Manager
Art in Public Places

360.252.9986

Valerie manages Art in Public Places projects. She travels statewide to bring site-responsive artwork into public schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies. Valerie joined ArtsWA in 2016. She previously served as the researcher/writer for My Public Art Portal, and Curated Projects Coordinator for the Art in Public Places team. She holds a Master’s in Philosophy and the Arts from Stony Brook University and a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Colorado College.

Leslie Pope

Executive Assistant

360.252.9983

Leslie serves as Executive Assistant to Karen Hanan, ArtsWA’s Executive Director. She connects Karen with constituents and legislators, supports the 23-member ArtsWA Board, and wears the Human Resources Liaison hat. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration, and has extensive work experience with organizations in both the public and private sectors. Her experience and interest in the arts is multi-faceted, which is reflected in the many aspects of support for the arts she provides within ArtsWA. Current personal pursuits include writing, music, and theater.

Thomas Grant Richardson

Director, Center for Washington Cultural Traditions

206.682.1770 x107

Thomas Grant Richardson, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions, a state-wide folk and traditional arts program presented in collaboration with Humanities Washington. Through on-the-ground programs, including the Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program and the Cultural Traditions Survey, the Center is a go-to source for learning about Washington’s rich, diverse cultural heritage. Dr. Richardson views the folk and traditional arts are the lifeblood of healthy communities and testament to the myriad forms of human creativity.

Annette Roth

Community Development Manager

360.252.9982

Annette joined ArtsWA in October 2017 as the Creative Districts Program Manager. She develops and implements this statewide program, which works to prepare communities for state certification. She is the former Marketing and Communications Director for the Thurston Economic Development Council. She previously co-founded a boutique marketing and design firm in Tacoma. Annette holds an adjunct faculty position at South Puget Sound Community College, teaching graphic design. Annette studied English at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Thurston County.

Alexis Sarah

Project Manager
Arts in Education

360.228.6359

Alexis joined ArtsWA in December 2019 as the Arts and Early Learning Project Manager. Since 2003, she has focused on shaping and supporting education programs that connect young learners with the arts. Through her work with Mariah Collaborative Art School, the co-founding of the Encore Arts Memorial Foundation, and most recently with Olympia Family Theater, she brings expertise and energy around arts administration and early learning. Alexis holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College.

Deane Shellman

Deputy Director

360.252.9985

In 2000, Deane assisted with the Governor’s Arts and Heritage Awards while working at the State Theater in Olympia. That experience ignited her goal to work at ArtsWA and be a part of a dynamic staff, doing amazing work. She joined the staff two years later and served as Program Coordinator for the Art in Public Places Program for 18 years before moving into the Deputy Director position. Deane holds a degree in Theatre Arts from Western Washington University. Before coming to ArtsWA, she worked locally as a stage and production manager, as well as in marketing and operations for two local theaters. She continues to volunteer in the arts community and has served on the boards of Olympia Family Theater, NW Playwrights Alliance, and the Evergreen Playhouse.

Michael Sweney

Program Manager
Art in Public Places

360.228.4080

Mike leads ArtsWA’s public art team and manages public art acquisitions statewide. Previously, he had a 19-year career in galleries, including director of Davidson Contemporary in Seattle and the Charles Cowles Gallery in New York. Mike is past board vice president at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art and past chair of the Tacoma Arts Commission. He serves on the Tacoma Art Museum’s Collection Committee and the Advisory Council for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU. He holds a BA degree in Art History and Studio Art from Oberlin College.

Michael Wallenfels

Communications Manager

360.252.9831

Michael has worked in the Washington arts since 2007, with roles in event management, marketing and communications. Born and raised in Eastern Washington, Michael holds a deep appreciation for the diversity and history of the arts across Washington state. He has a B.A. in Design Studies and a MLIS, both from the University of Washington, and is a practicing musician and visual artist.

Cindy Xu

Fiscal Analyst

360.753.3860

Cindy joined the ArtsWA operations and budget team as a Fiscal Analyst in July 2022. She has robust financial experience in accounting and auditing in the US and China. Prior to pivoting to studying and working in accounting, she studied Chinese language and literature and taught Chinese. Cindy is excited to be a part of ArtsWA and is looking forward to providing a supporting role in the work it does to advance the role of arts in Washington.