River Arts Alliance Board of Directors

In December of 2015, our community lost Bernadette Mahfood—artist, arts advocate, and founding board member of the River Arts Alliance. Please visit her tribute page to learn more about this incredible woman.

The River Arts Alliance board is an advisory board made up of 7-11 volunteers. During their two-year term, each board member is asked to serve on one or more committees and work on community outreach and arts promotion.

Vicki Englich

Board Chair

Committees: Communication & Membership (chair)

Vicki Englich has been active in the Winona community for the past 30 years as a Master Gardener, a Winona Public School Board member, Community Liaison at Winona State University, and has served a variety of local, non-profit organizations such as Project FINE and Friends of the Winona Public Library. She co-founded River Arts Alliance with the late Bernadette Mahfood and currently serves as Chair of the RAA Board of Directors.

Greg Peterson


Greg Peterson is recently retired from Winona State University where he served in the Office of Student Financial Aid since 1987 and as Director since 1999.  He is a former Board Chair of Theatre Du Mississippi and was Treasurer for the first five years of the Frozen River Film Festival.  He is an active volunteer for the Great River Shakespeare Festival and has been since its inception.  He has a passion for traditional Irish music and for Celtic music in all forms. He believes strongly in the value of the arts to the Winona and surrounding communities.

Jamie Schwaba

Board Secretary

Jamie is passionate about all of the arts, with a special love for theatre. She relocated to the Winona area along with her family in November, 2014 to assume the role of Managing Director of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts.

Previously, Jamie was the Children’s Theatre Director at University of Wisconsin-Marinette, Education Director at Milwaukee Youth Theatre, as well as a professional actress with Skylight Music Theatre, Boulevard Ensemble, and Windfall Theatre in Milwaukee. She is thrilled to be a part of the River Arts Alliance and the amazing arts community in Winona.

Julia Crozier

Board Member

Julia Crozier grew up in Minnesota in a family of artists and outdoor enthusiasts.
She learned to paint outdoors with watercolors at an early age and became comfortable with many mediums and styles. In the early 1980’s Julia attended The St. Paul School of Associated Arts, which helped her hone her technical skills and foster discipline. Julia has worked on murals, public art projects, illustrated books and other publications. In 2007 Julia opened the Blue Heron Studio and Gallery in Winona, MN. She sold her work primarily from that location until she sold her building in 2012. Since then she has exhibited at The Minnesota Marine Art Museum and galleries in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Throughout the years Julia has traveled to seek inspiration for subject matter. Some favorite locations have been Scotland, the desert Southwest, the Grand Canyon, the Dakota Badlands and prairies, and the bluff lands of the Mississippi River valley for her landscapes. Sometime her subjects relate to house and home, industry or architectural themes. The main goal for Julia with her art is to draw the viewer into her world for a while, whether it be in a realistic or abstract painting. She would like to share these places and perspectives, in the interim encouraging the viewer to experience something new about life, nature, and our relationship to nature and to each other.


Ted Haaland

Board Member

Prior to four years ago, I had never written a poem. Now I have written several thousand. There’s a story to be told – One which I like to think may interest, even inspire, other folks, and bring forth an inner muse. First, however, a bit of where I come from and what helped shape me. I was born in 1939, an entirely different time, to a Lutheran pastor, and my mother who possessed a quite broad view of music and the arts, the first eighteen years of her life having been spent in China. After my high school graduation, I ambled through the groves of academe, eventually graduating from the University of Minnesota, with majors in Art, Philosophy, and History.

Now, fast-forward through successive years of teaching, both at Washington, DC Technical Institute and Ohio State, and a twenty year career in health services. Then, lightning struck in the best possible sense – I met and married the love of my life, Maria Faust. We moved from St. Paul to Winona, an area we both loved, and began, among other interests, to share Maria’s love of poetry, especially that of Mary Oliver. Maria was not a poet, but read much, drawing me in. In what we did not know would be the last year of her life, we shared, so often, poetry in the evenings. Early one morning, a few days after Maria’s death on December 15, 2011, I awoke with, unaccountably, a poem forming in my mind. I arose and wrote it down, and thus began my poetry journey – A journey of writing poems everyday, of varied types, from sonnets and serious narratives, through shorter, lighter work, including limericks and clerihews. Along the way I also work in forms such as Haiku and Tanka, and always with the sense of my muse, Maria’s, presence. At present I still reside in our Homer home, write incessantly, and also sponsor the GRSF/Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, as a way to remember her, and promote poetic art.

Ken McCullough

Board Member

Ken McCullough was born in Staten Island, N.Y., but spent his formative years in St. John’s, Newfoundland. More recently, he has drawn inspiration from the mountains of Montana and Wyoming and the blufflands of the Upper Mississippi. In 1992 he was adopted into the Miniconjou band of the Lakota Nation. He is a graduate of St. Andrew’s School, the setting for Dead Poets Society, and has degrees from the University of Delaware and the Writers’ Workshop of the University of Iowa.

McCullough’s most recent books of poetry are Walking BackwardsSicomoro.Oropéndola (published in Colombia), and Broken Gates, as well as a book of stories, Left Hand. He has received numerous awards for his poetry. McCullough has worked closely with Cambodian poet U Sam Oeur, survivor of the Pol Pot regime; they have published Sacred Vows, a bilingual edition of U’s poetry, and Crossing Three Wildernesses, a memoir. McCullough has two sons, Galway and Orion. He lives on a farm outside Winona, MN with his wife, Lynn Nankivil, a playwright. In 2014, McCullough began his second term as Poet Laureate of Winona.

Dirk Nelson

Board Member

Dirk Nelson has degrees in Mechanical Drafting, Technical Journalism, and Art. He has worked as a Drafter, Technical Illustrator, and Technical Writer. He recently transitioned to doing drawing, printmaking, and sculpture full-time. Recent exhibition locations include Winona Arts Center, Winona, MN; Pump House Art Center in La Crosse,WI; and Red Horse Gallery in Fountain City, WI. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Matchbox Children’s Theater in Austin, MN and is a current member of the Board of Directors for Winona Arts Center in Winona, MN.

Catherine S. Tuggle

Board Member

After a radical move to Minnesota from Kentucky in 2015, I have been shifting the focus of my work from writing a book back to visual art where it began. The stimulating scenery around the Winona area, plus discovering the River Arts Alliance and the amazing service it provides artists of every discipline has really helped make this transition a positive one. I am honored to be participating as a member of the River Arts Alliance board.

Anna VanDemark

Board Member

Anna grew up surrounded by art. Her father was an art instructor and painter, her mother a clothing designer; thus paint, clay, fabric, and art talk were always close at hand.

So, it was natural for Anna to choose college study at Atelier Lack, a private fine arts school. This classical training was followed by decades of easel painting and experience with sculpting, ceramics, beadwork and textiles.

Anna’s love of color, pattern, and nature are reflected in all of her photography, beadwork, and textile creations. Her work has been shown and won prizes in national competitions, shows and galleries. Anna has also taught workshops at many of these venues.