Introducing GBCA’s New Board Members for 2012

Last week, GBCA formally added six directors to its board of directors.  I ask the cultural community to join us in welcoming them.
Liz Lerman

Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker. Described by the Washington Post as “the source of an epochal revolution in the scope and purposes of dance art,” her dance/theater works have been seen throughout the United States and abroad. Her aesthetic approach spans the range from abstract to personal to political. She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance. Recently, she handed the artistic leadership of the company over to the next generation of Dance Exchange artists, and will be pursuing many new projects with fresh partnerships. The first of these new projects will take place this fall, when she will be artist-in-residence at Harvard University. Liz has been the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship. Liz’s work has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, and the Kennedy Center among many others. Her newest critically acclaimed work, The Matter of Origins, examines the question of beginnings through dance, media and innovative formats for conversation. Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, her new collection of essays, was recently published by Wesleyan University Press. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Milwaukee, Liz attended Bennington College and Brandeis University, received her BA in dance from the University of Maryland, and an MA in dance from George Washington University. She is married to storyteller Jon
Spelman. Their daughter Anna recently graduated from college.

Debra Rubino

Debra Rubino is the director of strategic communications at OSI-Baltimore. She is responsible for the creation and implementation of an integrated communications platform for OSI-Baltimore, including publications, public relations, electronic media, and events, especially to support the Campaign for Baltimore.

From 1998 to January 2006, Rubino served as vice president for communications at Goucher College, and was responsible for creating a new, comprehensive identity for the college, which had been a former women’s college. From 1988-1996, she served first as director of institutional communications at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and then from 1996-1998, as associate vice president. At MICA, she was one of six individuals to  launch the Baltimore Collegetown Network, a consortium of 15 institutions from the region, at its inception by building a website ( In 1999, the Baltimore Collegetown Network established itself as a 501(c)(3) and Rubino served as the Governing Board’s president for five years.
Rubino serves as the board president of Art on Purpose and is a member of the board of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.  She was one of the founding board members of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance where she served for eight years.  She is also an active professional artist—a photographer and printmaker. She holds a BA degree from Franklin and Marshall College and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Stacie Sanders

For seven years Stacie Sanders Evans has served as the executive director of the
Maryland chapter of Young Audiences/Arts for Learning. This organization is the founding chapter of the largest arts in education network, with 30 chapters in 24 states that reaches 7 million students annually.

Under her direction, YA’s financial achievements include eliminating the organization’s deficit in two years and more than doubling its operating budget to $1.6M through increasing earned and contributed revenue. Programmatic achievements include co-founding a statewide training program for professional artists called the Teaching Artist Institute, aligning YA programs with state academic standards and curriculum, and significantly improving the quality and impact of its programs. As a result, YA’s outreach has grown by 400% and YA and its roster of 100 artists are playing a larger and more relevant role in the lives and education of Maryland students.

Prior to this position, Sanders helped launch the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs, an organization dedicated to increasing youth access to high quality afterschool programs. The center’s work included advocacy, resource dissemination, convening leaders in the field, coordinating research, and designing professional development for practitioners.

Stacie’s experience also includes working with nationally renowned organizations like Charleston’s Spoleto Festival U.S.A. and Maryland’s Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

Stacie holds a Masters in Business Administration from University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Charleston, SC. She is a graduate of the South Carolina’s Governor’s School of the Arts and the North Carolina School for the Arts.

Shodekeh Talifero

Shodekeh Talifero is a professional beatboxer & vocal percussionist currently working in the Baltimore, MD area & beyond. Boldly taking his craft wherever the passion for music brings him, he works in a number of artistic fields for Dance, Music, & the Visual arts. By channeling the concepts of various instruments & sound scapes, he vocalizes many dynamic emulations of everything from drum sets, turntables, ocean waves, to sleigh bells. These abilities & his keen musical adaptability have brought him far & wide across many genres & artistic traditions within a very short period of time, which has also allowed him to repeatedly become the first Beat Boxer/Vocal Percussionist to serve in array of creative settings.

Shodekeh is the founding director of “Embody, A Music Series of The Vocal Arts” which strives for artistic & cultural unity through the many vocal traditions of the world from Opera, Throat Singing, to Beat Boxing, which will also evolve into a larger festival in 2012. He currently serves as Faculty/Musical Accompanist @ Towson University’s Department of Dance & The American Dance Festival @ Duke University. Over the years Shodekeh has completed a number of high level music commissions such as opening for President Bill Clinton at a Maryland State Reception with The Coppin State University Choir, “Witness” with VT Dance @ The Kennedy Center, “Fuse Muse” with percussionists Brian Prechtl & Barry Dove of The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, “The Kandinsky Beatdown” @ Virginia Tech University, “The Urbanite Project 2009” with Urbanite Magazine, The Conference on World Affairs @ The University of Colorado (2008-2010), & “Transformations: New Directions in Black Art”, a 2009 conference of African American Art presented by The Maryland Institute College of Art & Harvard University. Shodekeh has also won many awards & honors such as his 2006-2007 residency with The Johns Hopkins Modern Dance Company, The 2007 Artist Studio Residency at The Creative Alliance @ The Patterson, grants & commissions for The United States Embassy of Lithuania’s 2009 & 2010 Month of American Culture Program, & placement on The Maryland State Arts Council 2009-2012 Touring Artist Roster Program. Shodekeh won a $25,000 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize in 2011.

Gregg Wilhelm

Gregg Wilhelm is Executive Director of CityLit Project, a Baltimore-based nonprofit literary arts organization that he founded in 2004.  CityLit produces literary festivals, conducts writers’ workshops and conferences, promotes author events, and inspires youth to enjoy reading and writing.  Twice named a “Best of Baltimore,” the annual CityLit Festival was called “a can’t miss event on the city’s cultural scene” by Baltimore magazine. Gregg has worked in book publishing since 1992 as an editor, marketer, and production manager for various presses (including Johns Hopkins University Press, Tidewater Publishers, and Woodholme House Publishers).  In 2010, he launched the organization’s CityLit Press imprint. Gregg has taught writing and publishing classes at Loyola University, Community College of Baltimore County, and University of Baltimore, where CityLit’s office is located.  He has been named “One to Watch” by Urbanite magazine, “40 Under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal, and an Arts MVP by Baltimore.  He appears on WYPR, WBAL-TV, and other media to talk about books.  He lives in Highlandtown with his wife, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and a nurse educator for AIDSRelief, and their two-year-old daughter.

Roswell Encina

Roswell Encina is the Director of Communications of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore City’s public library system). He manages the library system’s social networking sites, oversees the web department and coordinates media and public relations. A recent study by a librarian in Singapore ranked the “Top Influential Libraries on Twitter in the World” and the Pratt Library was ranked #6. Roswell has extensive public relations and media experience. He worked as a TV reporter for 12 years and also has more than five years of public relations experience. He is a Baltimore resident and enjoys everything Charm City has to offer.

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