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Snyder makes appointments to Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced six new appointments to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

The 15-member council, housed within the Michigan Economic Development Corp., facilitates an environment of artistic, creative and cultural activity to support Michigan's quality of life and economic vitality.

"These individuals bring years of diverse and outstanding experiences, and I am confident they will do great work to continue supporting and encouraging Michigan's vibrant arts and cultural activities," said Snyder.

Rich Homberg, of Bloomfield Hills, is the president and CEO of Detroit Public Television, one of the largest public television stations in the country. Prior to his work at DPTV, Homberg served as vice president and general manager of WWJ Newsradio 950. He serves as the chair of the Cultural Alliance of Southeast Michigan and is a board member of the Detroit Economic Club. Homberg holds a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film from Temple University. He replaces Amanda Van Dusen.

Sharnita Johnson, of Detroit, is a program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she develops program strategy and manages a $25 million grant-making portfolio. She previously served as senior program officer for The Skillman Foundation, program officer for the Ruth Mott Foundation and director of foundation relations for Detroit Public Television. She serves on the Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art Board at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Corporate and Foundation Advisory Committee at the Sphinx Organization. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Marygrove College and a master’s of public administration from the University of Michigan. She replaces David Egner.

Nikke Nason, of Marquette, is the artistic director of the Lake Superior Youth Theatre. She has 12 years of municipal arts administration experience. She previously served as the arts administrator director as well as the youth arts education director for the city of Marquette Arts and Cultural Center. Nason holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Northern Michigan University and will graduate in December with an master’s of public administration from Northern Michigan University. She replaces Nheena Ittner.

Susannah Goodman, of Detroit, is a preschool arts-enrichment teacher for Pewabic Pottery, studio manager for Ladybug Studios, and school group facilitator for the Detroit Institute of Arts. She previously served as a youth outreach teacher for Pewabic Pottery and an arts, community and environmental education docent for the Heidelberg Project. Goodman practices book arts, ceramics, fibers and sculpture. Goodman holds a bachelor’s of fine arts from Greensboro, North Carolina-based Guilford College and completed an apprenticeship in functional wood-fired pottery from Tye River Pottery. She replaces George Bayard III.

Kim Dabbs, of Grand Rapids, is the executive director of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology. She has extensive experience in the fields of nonprofit administration, arts education and community planning. Previously she served as the executive director of the Michigan Youth Arts Association, director of service programs for ArtServe Michigan and corporate and foundations relations coordinator for the Detroit Zoological Society. Dabbs holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Kendall College of Art & Design and a master’s of public administration in nonprofit management from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She replaces Barbara Kratchman.

Christian Gaines, of Grand Rapids, is the executive director of ArtPrize. He previously served as director of festival strategy and business development for the Internet Movie Database at, director of festivals for the American Film Institute, festival director and director of programming for the Hawaii International Film Festival, senior programmer and director of new media for Sundance Film Festival, and administrative director for The American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. Gaines holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College. He replaces Julia Taubman, who resigned.

With the exception of Gaines, members serve three-year terms expiring Sept. 1, 2016. Gaines will serve a term expiring Sept. 1, 2014. Appointments to the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs are not subject to the advice and consent of the state Senate.