Board Member Information

2021-2022 Region 2 Arts Council Board

Chair: Gayle Gish … Mahnomen County
Vice Chair: CT Marhula … representing Lake of the Woods County
Treasurer: Shannon Lucas Westrum … Beltrami County
Secretary: Becky Colebank … Clearwater County
Pam Janssen … Clearwater County
Michael Schlemper … Beltrami County
Katie Larson … Hubbard County
Ben Soderberg … Hubbard County
vacant …  Lake of the Woods County
vacant
 … Mahnomen County

Board Meeting Dates

If you recognize that the arts are valuable to the quality of life in North Central Minnesota, we invite you to consider becoming a Board Member. Our ten-member Board is comprised of two representatives from each of the five counties that we serve: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, and Mahnomen. Get the Application here!

  • Much of the Board’s activity revolves around policy-making, budgeting, and reviewing and awarding arts grants to our region’s organizations and artists.
  • The Region 2 Arts Council operates in the spirit of the open meeting law.
  • Meetings are currently held via Zoom to safeguard the health and wellbeing of board members in light of the current pandemic. They are typically held on the third Monday of the month and can vary in meeting time so please check our website for current dates and times.
  • Terms are for two years, renewable to four years.

Contact  staff@r2arts.org for more information.

Region 2 Arts Council Board of Directors
2020-2021

Gayle Gish, Mahnomen County Representative (Board Chair). Gish has retired after 42 years of teaching at the Naytahwaush Elementary and Naytahwaush Community Charter Schools. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Bemidji State University. After learning black ash basket weaving and bead work from Ojibwe artisans, she was inspired and became a collector of American Indian art. She is an enthusiastic arts appreciator and is in awe of the gifted artists and their artwork. Her numerous leadership roles and connections in her Mahnomen County Community enliven and enrich the R2AC Board of Directors. Gayle lives with her husband in Naytahwaush.

C.T. Marhula, Lake of the Woods County Representative (Vice-Chair). Marhula is a current Bemidji resident, but serves LOW County on the Region 2 Arts Council Board. He has both personal and professional contacts in Lake of the Woods County making him an effective advocate for the arts needs in Minnesota’s northern most county. As a former City Clerk-Treasurer for the City of Warren, Marhula held responsibilities for budgeting, HR, economic development, and community relations.  Marhula received an MBA from the University of North Dakota, a J.D. from the UND School of Law, in Grand Forks, ND and a B.S. in Business Administration from Bemidji State University. Due to his role as former Business/Human Resource Manager of Nodak Electric Cooperative in Grand Forks and having served on many boards, C.T. brings a depth of experience in support of the R2AC mission.

Becky Colebank, Clearwater County Representative (Board Secretary). Becky Colebank is a retired family law attorney. She received her JD from the University of North Dakota, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from BSU. She writes many articles for the Clearwater County History Center newsletter and has recently finished 109 short biographies of all Clearwater County’s war dead for the local Veteran’s Memorial Committee. She has been practicing the Norwegian art form of rosemaling for about five years and belongs to the Church Basement Rosemalers of Leonard.

Shannon Lucas-Westrum, Beltrami County Representative (Treasurer). Lucas-Westrum is a lifelong resident of the Bemidji area. She is a basket maker and jewelry designer, having had works at the American Craft Council, Macrostie Art Center, Nemeth Art Center, and area arts festivals.  Shannon is an arts instructor and avid maker, demonstrating during the First City of Arts Studio Cruise and the Pine to Prairie Fiber Arts Festivals.  Most recently she completed a Region 2 Arts Fellowship that took her to Ireland to work with world-renown Basket Maker Joe Hogan.  Lucas-Westrum has been an active supporter of our regional arts community, having previously served on the boards of the Bemidji Community Arts Center (now Watermark Arts Center), the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Bemidji Sculpture Walk. Shannon and her husband Jesse are Bemidji High School and Bemidji State University graduates. They live east of Bemidji in a small wooded cabin with their daughters, Bridget and Logan, 4 cats, and a small dog.

Pam Janssen, Clearwater County Representative. Pam is a retired Administrative Assistant from Bemidji State University. She has taken a variety of art classes and workshops over the years and exhibited her work in the Bemidji and Bagley area. Pam is a current member of the Bemidji Woodcarvers Club, Bagley Area Arts Collaborative and the Norda-Gonvick Rosemalers.

Michael Schlemper, Beltrami County Representative. Schlemper has a long-standing art teaching career that began in 1989 with the Bemidji Community Arts Council’s summer program, and continued with teaching art in both Red Lake and Bemidji High Schools. He practices and teaches drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, computer arts, Native American traditional arts and architecture. Michael also writes poetry and fiction and is an avid movie/video buff. He has previously received R2AC grants to further his artistic development in writing and painting.

Katie Larson, Hubbard County Representative. Larson has been looking for a way to support her community and the arts and is excited to serve on the R2AC board as a new Hubbard County representative. She served as assistant technical director for the Park Rapids Area High School Drama Club for 9 years, and was also on the Hubbard County Fair Board for 6 years, where she managed the Open Class competition, planned and managed entertainment, applied for grants, and researched the history of the one room school house currently on the grounds. Katie brings her passion for theater, as well as her organizational and planning skills to strengthen and grow R2AC services and programs.

Ben Soderberg, Hubbard County Representative. Soderberg is a long-time arts appreciator with extended service on the Hubbard County Fair Board of Directors and the Lake George Volunteer Fire and Rescue team. He offers extensive experience in leadership, production, product quality and evaluation practices as team leader for Lamb Weston. He has been involved in various organizations, events and activities, and has experience in plays, art-related technology, as well as judging of drawings and artwork, among many other skills. Ben brings a new voice and perspective that support R2AC’s ongoing efforts to broaden its reach and impact across its five-county service area.

Anishinaabe Arts Initiative/Region 2 Arts Council Board Liaison: Kent Estey

Contemporary Native Artist Kent Estey (Ojibwe), is an enrolled member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation of Northwestern Minnesota. His heritage includes many self-taught artists where black-ash basketry, beading, sewing and birch-bark artistry were everyday occurrences in his home. Raised in Naytahwaush, Minnesota, Kent continues his artistry while he and his wife Becky teach at the local Community Charter School.  Kent’s preferred art form is painting with oils, acrylics and inks.  His paintings reflect feelings and emotions through his use of color and movement on the canvas, and most often painted as a sky or landscape.