ABOUT US

A majority of us on the LV Arts Board have lived in Leavenworth for most of (if not all) our lives. We deeply care about our mission to build, broaden, and nurture a love for the arts in our community because this is our home and we want it to grow into an even more beautiful place.

 

Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2021, LV Arts came to life to provide more unique and tangible ways to engage with art and culture right here in our very own community.

 

We believe the arts wield a special ability to open our eyes and help us see our world in new and different ways. Our teams are dedicated to creating unique experiences through the arts, and we hope you'll find our programs and events to be innovative, enriching, and special. We do hope you'll support our organization as we continue to connect art and community.  

We are grateful to our community of art supporters and explorers. Thank you for believing in the power of art to create a better tomorrow. 

Michaela B. Fitzgerald

Founder & CEO of LV Arts

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Michaela Fitzgerald
Founder & CEO

Michaela strives to be the person in the ring daring greatly She has lived in Leavenworth for nearly her entire life and has always been a dreamer of grand ideas, from owning a chocolate factory to making it big in a girl band. By day, she teaches Visual Art Education at Lansing High School; by night she develops plans for an awesome arts organization in her hometown that provides unique aesthetic experiences for the entire community. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Education degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney while also devoting time to her husband and three sons. Michaela's vision for LV Arts includes establishing a physical location within historic downtown that offers a modern art gallery, a space for artistic exploration in the form of classes and programs, and a whole lot of other arts and humanities-based opportunities and events. Michaela especially appreciates modern art in its ability to challenge the societal norms of today's technologically advanced world. In addition to a serious love for donuts, Michaela is also passionate about cultivating a culture of art appreciation right here in our community and bringing downtown to life by offering creative outlets and opportunities. The future of LV Arts is bright!

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Brooke Bristow
Executive Directior

Loves Disney World, coffee, and her markers in rainbow order.  Brooke received her BFA in Visual Communication from KU in 2005. For the past 12 years she has been working for Colonial Patterns in the Kansas City River Market district as the art director and illustrator. An avid sewer, embroiderer, and all around crafter she can be found most weekends working on a project for one of her daughters, hiking or cooking a meal with her husband. An amature at far too many crafts she loves to learn new things and will always be a student of the arts. Some of her favorite artists include: Mary Blair, Sandy Skoglund, Charley Harper, Ed Emberley, Jon Klassen, Charles and Ray Eames, Cindy Sherman, Vivian Maier, and Sister Corita Kent. She will always have a Dolly Parton song in her heart, and be on the hunt for good St. Louis style pizza in KC.  She is a member of the LV Arts board because she sees a need for more artistic opportunities in our community, especially for the youth. Growing up in Leavenworth she had the Carnegie Arts Center, St. Mary's theater department  and a wonderful high school art teacher to help encourage and foster her love of art. Without those things she would probably be a barista in a vintage camper or running a gift shop in Weston with her mom.

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Jeanne Im
Secretary

Loves dogs & dragonflies, her family, and quiet times of solitude. She served 20 years in the U.S. Army entering from Cleveland, OH, where she attended CCC West on a scholarship for Performing Arts. In her travels with the Army, she lived many places in and out of the United States, before she and her husband decided to make Lansing, KS their forever home. Jeanne also has degrees from Marshall University and Webster, in Business, HR, and Health Care Management. Although these fields served her well in out of the military, her true passion is in the Arts. She has participated in a couple of shows with the RCCP in Leavenworth. She has also taken classes in panting, jewelry making, paper crafts, glass works, and many others. Jeanne believes that Art is part of the human condition, whether it is performing or physical art.  And, that participation in the arts should be open to everyone regardless of cultural background or economic class.  Although Jeanne is not a professional artist, participating in arts makes her life much richer.  

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Sharon Burns
Treasurer

Sharon moved to Lansing in 2004 and has raised four boys in the Leavenworth-Lansing community. The arts have always been an integral part of her life – she is a pianist and painter. Although her dream job was being an elementary school art teacher, her current job as Director of Communications and Marketing for Lansing School District allows her to make a living by utilizing the arts through writing and photographing. She is proud to have passed her love of the arts on to her four boys – through guitar, voice, theatre, and painting. Her two oldest sons benefited from art classes at the Carnegie Arts Center, and her family felt the void when it closed in 2011. When Michaela Fitzgerald approached her about being a possible board member of LV Arts in September 2021, it was an easy sell. Favorite vacation spot: Steamboat Springs, Colorado (love the outdoors and quaint town) Favorite food: Minsky’s Jalapeno Pizza with Extra Cheese and Beer Favorite Band: The Lumineers, The Brummies, Mother Mother Hobbies: Playing the piano, painting, gardening, being outdoors in general Tagline: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

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Chris Bristow
Board Member

Favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Loki, God of Mischief. When Chris was a kid he wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. And while he thinks his career is still on that trajectory, he currently spends his days as a partner at Keyhole Software.  Chris played percussion at Lansing Middle School. In the 7th grade he cited his greatest musical influences as drummers: John Bonham, Dave Grohl, Phil Collins and Travis Barker. To this day he knows all the lyrics to Blink-182’s critically acclaimed, 1997 album Dude Ranch.  A man of adventure, Chris has been up close to grizzly bears in Alaska, swam in the Rio Grande and once made a high-speed motorcycle run to the lowest point in North America alongside his three brothers. While not trying to create the perfect Detroit-style pizza, he enjoys woodworking, backpacking, golfing and singing Disney songs with his wife and two boys.

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Barbara Fitzgerald
Board Member

Barbara Fitzgerald is the Vice President of Development for Hillcrest Transitional Housing. Barb began her fundraising career in 2006 when she was the President of the Leavenworth Catholic schools. In 2013 she accepted a position with the Command and General Staff College Foundation and in 2017 she moved to a position working with the underserved population and formerly incarcerated populations in the metro KC area. Barb has raised well over three million dollars in her fundraising career. Daughter of Bela and Maxine Hamilton, Barbara was born and raised in Leavenworth and attended Catholic schools. She is the middle child of seven siblings. Barb lived in Mission, Kansas for 25 years where she raised her three handsome sons, Gino, Anthony, and Dominic. In 2012 she married Tom Fitzgerald. With their blended family, they have seven adult children and fifteen grandchildren. Traveling anywhere if it is warmer than Kansas winters, watching sports (especially when a child or grandchild is playing or coaching), playing golf, swimming, spending time with her sons, or hanging out with friends and family at the Knights of Columbus are Barb’s favorite things to do. Barb is a true believer that God will lead you where you are supposed to be in your life, and she has relied on her faith in God to bring her where she is today in her life and career.

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Suzanne Gray
Board Member

Suzanne believes that the arts can be used to change the world for good both medically and psychologically. She is an experienced creative arts therapist and volunteer coordinator. She is a native of Kansas who has been passionate and involved in the arts for most of her life. She has a drive to grow community and help individual organizations to be the best they can be which is reflected in the work she has done over the past 20 years.  She currently works as a Program Analyst for national Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for IT performance improvement programs. She has a master’s degree in Quality Systems Management (Process Improvement) and a dual bachelor’s degree in Horticultural Therapy and Landscape Design.  She worked with several nursing homes throughout Kansas to incorporate therapeutic gardening and sensory gardens in their facilities.  As a Creative Arts Therapist for Colmery-O’Neil Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Topeka, Kansas she designed, evaluated, and implemented programming on a full range of treatment for patients with psychiatric, substance abuse, geriatric, and physical ailments.  Suzanne lives in Lansing with her husband, Richard, who is an accomplished print/multimedia artist and their two cats Romeow and Shakespurr.  They have a daughter, Aurora, who is studying to be an electrical engineer at K-State.  When Suzanne is not working, she enjoys art, travel, gardening, cooking, and shopping.  She is looking forward to working with LVArts to grow the arts in the Leavenworth community. Bringing artists and resource opportunities together.

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Sue Lednicky
Board Member

Even though Sue has lived in Kansas since 1981, she is a Colorado girl through and through. Back on January 8, 1958, Sue came into this world just three weeks after Elvis Presley received his Army draft notice. Yes, Elvis is one of her favorite performers. Some of this is due to the fact she shares a birthday with him and the rest is because her oldest sister listened to Elvis all the time. Besides Elvis, Sue loves the older country and music singers as well as performers from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Sue was born and raised in Brush, Colorado, and spent vacations with her family camping in the Rocky Mountains. One place she loves to visit and can always find peace is the mountains around Estes Park and Ft. Collins, Colorado. She also loves spending time anywhere around water where she can sit or lay on sand and spend time swimming. Over the years Sue pretty much lived at football and baseball fields as her sons, John and Paul, both played. At the age of 8 Sue knew she wanted to be a teacher. At one time she though she wanted to teach elementary kids, but then in high school she found out she was really good in business classes and that led her to pursue a career in business education at the high school level. Sue has done other jobs throughout her life, but teaching is what she loves the most. Sue’s interest in the arts comes from being an observer not necessarily as a participant. Her dad drew and painted as a hobby, and she two sisters that do the same. She has always loved to read poetry, is an avid book reader and used to write imaginary short stories. When asked to join LVArts, Sue was not sure how she could help since she has not actively been involved in the fine arts; however, she is a good organizer, listener, and loves the arts as a spectator. Sue is close to retirement from education and wants to be involved in the community.

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Stephanie Matteson,
Board Member

Bio coming soon!

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This could be you!

We are always looking for talented, passionate, giving people to serve on our board.

Join a team that works collaboratively to ensure that Leavenworth is not short on arts-based experiences.

Every voice matters!

Please complete the Board Member Information Form by clicking here.

 

You can also email hello@lvarts.info if you'd like to attend a board meeting and to meet our team!