Stephen Butler is a native of Onondaga County in New York State. He received his BA in Theatre from Oswego State University and relocated to New York City. During his years in NYC, Stephen worked in managerial positions for the Alliance of Resident Theaters/New York, the Alliance of New York State Arts Councils and at several producing organizations including Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Hudson Guild Theater. His last position in NYC was as the Executive Director of Creative Alternatives of New York, a drama-therapy organization attached to the Department of Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and serving the greater NYC metropolitan region. Stephen is a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipient in Strategic Planning (Advancement). He was also an Actors Equity Association stage manager. He returned to Syracuse to obtain a Masters of Arts in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and was then hired to run the Mental Health Association in Onondaga County.
For the past decade, Stephen has been the Executive Director of CNY Arts, a regional arts council providing grants, technical assistance, marketing and promotions among other services for arts organizations of all sizes in six Central New York counties including: Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga (its home), and Oswego. CNY Arts provides support to all the counties’ arts, culture and heritage organizations, higher education programs for the arts, residents and visitors alike, and individual artists through promotion, advocacy, collaboration, and community engagement. He is an adjunct professor in Le Moyne College Graduate Arts Administration program, and a guest lecturer who has presented at many schools, including the Herbert H. Humphrey Fellows Enhancement Conference at the Maxwell School, SU Drama Department, and at SUNY Oswego’s graduate program in Marketing.
Stephen’s volunteer work includes serving on the board of the Human Rights Commission of Onondaga County/City of Syracuse, President of the Association of Teaching Artists, Advisory Board Member at SUNY Oswego School of Communications, Media and the Arts, and as Co-President of Arts NYS.
Chief Executive Officer
Janet Langsam is the CEO of ArtsWestchester, an organization that financially and promotionally supports all of the arts in Westchester County. During her 27 year tenure, Ms. Langsam, an artist and journalist, has helped grow ArtsWestchester, formerly known as the Westchester Arts Council, from a $1.8 million to a $4.2 million agency and has made the arts more visible, diverse, and accessible for all. As CEO, Ms. Langsam advocates for funding, supports local artists and cultural organizations, champions the county’s arts community and reports on the positive impact the arts have on the local and regional economies.
Among her many achievements, Ms. Langsam spearheaded the purchase and renovation of an abandoned nine-story historical bank building in the heart of downtown White Plains, NY, led a major rebranding of the organization that added more contemporary marketing synergy and completed a $10 million capital campaign. She has been named amongst 914INC’s Most Influential Women of Westchester.
Prior to her work at ArtsWestchester, Ms. Langsam served as President and CEO of the Boston Center for the Arts and held positions in three NYC Mayoral Administrations including First Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and Assistant Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development in which she pioneered the conversion of city-owned vacant properties to cultural sites and artist housing. She is a founder and former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Queens Museum, honoree of the Queens Theatre in the Park and a former Chairperson of Queen’s Community Planning Board 7 and District Manager of the Rockaways. Ms. Langsam was a recipient of the Americans for the Arts Michael Newton Award. She has also been recognized by the Mental Health Association of Westchester, Westchester County Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Westchester Jewish Council, the Hudson River Museum, the Emelin Theatre and the Association of Development Officers. Ms. Langsam received her Masters from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Huntington Arts Council
Marc Courtade is an experienced arts professional with over 25 years in the field. A resident of Freeport, NY, Marc was a native of Buffalo, NY before relocating to the New York area. He received an MS in Management and Urban Policy from the New School for Social Research, with a specialization in Nonprofit Management. He holds a BPS from Empire State College in Music, and a BA in English from SUNY Buffalo.
Marc is currently Executive Director of Huntington Arts Council (HAC), a position he assumed in 2015. He oversees the Huntington Summer Arts Festival, Grants for the Arts (DEC) for both Nassau and Suffolk counties, an exhibition program and an arts-in-education program. HAC also offers technical assistance for artists and arts organizations. Prior to joining HAC, Marc was Business Manager at LIU Post/Tilles Center for the Performing Arts for 17 years. At LIU, Marc also acted as Producer and Artistic Director for Performance PLUS!, a pre-performance series that included lectures, demos and other related events, and was an adjunct professor of Arts Management. Marc also held administrative positions at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. and New York City Opera. In the for-profit sector, Marc was an Assistant Vice President for Enhance Financial Serves Group and a Data Communications Analyst for Chemical Bank.
Marc was a speaker for the New York Council for the Humanities for eight years, lecturing on The Rodgers and Hammerstein Era: Reinventing Musical Theater and The Ethnic Musicals: Assimilation and Integration. He is a lecturer at LIU’s Hutton House Lectures, and is a frequent speaker all over Long Island and the New York area on Broadway Musicals, Opera, and Great Performers. He is an at-large Board member of Huntington Cultural Affairs Institute, has served on the board of LI Arts Council at Freeport, and received the Arts Recognition Tribute from Freeport Arts Council in 2016.
Arts Center of the Capital Region
Chief Executive Officer
Elizabeth (Liz) Reiss is a life-long arts advocate. Her career has been guided by the simple belief that the arts belong in everyone’s life. Raised in LI, Liz has worked in NYC, Pittsburgh, and the Capital Region, in art museums, childrens’ museums, arts festivals and now as the CEO of the Arts Center of the Capital Region. Her favorite projects have been developing Craft in the Classroom, a K-12 craft education curricula for NYC schools, renovating an empty storefront to become the Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo, and presenting public art projects that pushed traditional boundaries of art, such as the skateboard park Roll Rampant and Free. Liz has a BA from Bard College and an MS from Bank Street School for Education. She has played an active role in professional service organizations. In the past, she has served as the Chair of the NYC Museum Education Roundtable, VP of Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance, and now serves as the Chair of the Troy Cultural Alliance, and on the boards of Arts NYS and the East Greenbush Education Foundation. Liz has also served as a grants panelist for Institute of Museum and Library Services, Cleveland Percent for Art, New York State Council on the Arts, Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Sprout Fund, Pittsburgh.
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
Executive Director, Finance & Administration
A Brooklyn native who now calls the Lower East Side home, Diego is a first generation Italian-American artist and arts administrator. Prior to joining the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) in 2007, Diego spent three years as Managing Director of 3LD where he played a pivotal role in fundraising, financial planning and project management to establish a multi-million dollar Art & Technology Center in Lower Manhattan. Most recently he worked for Nonprofit Finance Fund where he was responsible for performing financial and organizational analyses for clients nationwide. Early in his career, Diego designed and produced dozens of plays, films and special events and continues to pursue artistic endeavors in his spare time. He holds a double B.A. in Drama and Mathematics from Vassar College and is a proud alum of Stuyvesant High School.
Diego oversees all aspects of the LMCC, including day-to-day operations and strategic planning for the organization.
Arts Services, Inc. of Western New York (ASI)
Jen is the Executive Director of Arts Services Inc. which empowers the region’s artists and arts organizations with connections to funding, learning opportunities, and community access to the arts.
Since 2011 she has lead the organization to be a resource hub for artists and arts and cultural organizations in Western New York. ASI provides assistance through arts funding, professional development training, bookkeeping services, and advocacy efforts on local, statewide, and national levels. Jen has been in the field of nonprofit arts management for over 15 years and has been supporting thriving arts and culturals through her community-minded focus and involvement in grassroots production. She has provided guidance and consultation to arts leaders and artists, and understands the tools needed for creative entrepreneurs and arts administrators.
In addition to her ASI work, Jen is an Adjunct Professor at Daemen College and the University at Buffalo’s Arts Management Program, Board Member of Arts NYS and Hope for Cats, Finance Committee Member of Grassroots Gardens, writer for the Nonprofit Quarterly, and Member of the Leadership Niagara Class of 2016.
Jen was named Buffalo Spree Magazine’s 2018 Best Arts Administrator and has a MA in Arts Management from the University at Buffalo and a BA in Communications/Broadcasting with a minor in music from Buffalo State College.
Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA)
Viviana, a native of Argentina, brings a social sector career that spans more than 20 years in the areas of resource and partnership development, management, fundraising, strategic planning, board of directors relations, and communications/marketing. Prior to joining the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) in 2017, Viviana served as Assistant Executive Director for External Affairs at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in The Bronx, and occupied leadership positions at City Year New York, the Inter American Press Association, and People for the American Way Foundation. While in Argentina, Viviana founded Pegasus Solutions, a management consulting firm that provided development, strategic planning, and communications/marketing services to media and culture organizations, and to individual artists. As Project Director for the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, she oversaw the social justice media grant-making of the Funding Exchange, a national network of foundations with central offices in New York City.
Aside from her social sector work, Viviana has been involved in cultural endeavors most of her life as an actress, film curator and festival producer in Buenos Aires, Miami, and New York City. She was Grants Review Advisor for the Dade Community Foundation’s Fund for Community Organizing (Miami), Film Programmer for Cinema Tropical (New York/Miami) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Argentina), and served as Program Officer for the National Film, Video and Photography Competition sponsored by the Argentinean Ministry of Culture.
Viviana is an invited participant at the New York City Office of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and a member of the Hostos College Community Advisory Council. Viviana holds a BA degree in Theater from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master degree in Cinema Studies with a Certificate in Media and Culture from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts.
Cjala Surratt focuses on cultural equity and restorative justice, emphasizing socially engaged practices, site-specific projects, and public interventions. An alum of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, she has worked in public relations, marketing, and community outreach for various arts, culture, and social justice organizations for the past 20 years. As the Redhouse Arts Center’s public relations director, she promoted theater productions, film screenings, live concerts, and art exhibitions. As marketing director at the Community Folk Art Center, she focused her skills on representing and promoting visual artists from the African American Diaspora. She currently serves as the Communications Coordinator at Light Work and Urban Video Project, a community-access digital service lab and art gallery for emerging and underrepresented artists working in the field of photography and digital media. Surratt serves on the Everson Museum of Art Members’ Board and Racial and Equity Task Force, The ArtsNY, and Community Folk Art Center Advisory Board. She is a co-founding member of the Black Leadership Coalition and Black Artist Collective; both endeavors center the concerns of the Black and Brown community in political, arts, and cultural spaces. She served as a commission panelist for the Central New York Arts Decentralization Grants and is the Interfaith Works 2021 “Racial Justice Award-Catalyst”award recipient. The “Catalyst” award is given for outstanding achievements towards ending racial injustice and demonstrating leadership in inspiring others to end racial injustice and promoting social equity.
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