Staff & Board

Not quite sure who you need to talk to? Call the M’s main line at (651) 797-2571 or email info@mmaa.org, and we’ll direct you to the right person.

Nancy Ariza

Associate Curator of Learning and Engagement 
651.204.0700
nariza@mmaa.org

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Since 2012, Nancy Ariza has been developing and facilitating art educational programming throughout the Twin Cities. Most recently, she served as the Education Programs Coordinator at the Walker Art Center, where she assisted in the development and launching of K-12 school programs and served as the interim facilitator of the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC). Outside of her work at the M, she is the Education and Community Programs Fellow at Highpoint Center for Printmaking where she leads youth and adult workshops, as well as the Access/Print teen mentorship program. She holds a BA in Art History and a BFA from Minnesota State University – Mankato.

Ann M. Benrud

Marketing and Communications
651.288.2486
abenrud@mmaa.org

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Curtis Bjerke

Designer
651.797.2571
cbjerke@mmaa.org

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Curtis Bjerke moved to the Twin Cities area from northern Minnesota in 2004 and attended Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he graduated in 2009 with a BFA in painting. Before coming to the M in late 2013, Curtis worked as an installer at various art galleries, as well as handling private art collections and building custom picture frames in his woodshop. He’s an adventurous, outdoorsy person, and when he’s not here at the M, maintaining the gallery and preparing art and frames for exhibitions, Curtis can be found camping and canoeing in the wilderness.

Meredith Heneghan

Communications Assistant

mheneghan@mmaa.org

Laura Wertheim Joseph, PhD

Curator of Exhibitions
651.797.2853
ljoseph@mmaa.org

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Laura Wertheim Joseph is a curator interested in collaborative, experimental, and interdisciplinary methods. She enjoys and appreciates supporting and exchanging ideas with artists, as well as creative people from different fields. Through her work, Laura seeks to draw attention to what is at the margins and in the shadows, with a particular investment in emotion, materiality, and embodiment. Some of her curatorial projects include Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection (Weisman Art Museum), Testify: Americana from Slavery to the Present (Hennepin County Library), and A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde (Mary and Leigh Block Museum).

Before coming to the M, Laura worked alongside artists with disabilities at Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts to challenge perceptions of disability. She has a PhD from the University of Minnesota where she specialized in contemporary art and critical theory with a focus on feminism and gender and performance studies.

Ken Kornack

Interim Director of Operations
651.797.4057
kkornack@mmaa.org

Mia Laufer

Associate Curator
mlaufer@mmaa.org

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Mia Laufer received her PhD in Art History at Washington University in Saint Louis, specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art. A Brooklyn native, she moved to Minneapolis in 2018. Before joining the staff at the M she worked and interned at museums in New York, Greenwich, and Saint Louis, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Bruce Museum, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. She has also worked as an Instructor and Teaching Assistant at Washington University. She holds an M.A. in Art History from Washington University and a B.A. in Art History from New York University.

Benjamin Reed

Exhibition Services and Facility Manager
651.797.2571
breed@mmaa.org

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A Colorado native, Benjamin Reed started handling art when he was a student at Goshen College in Indiana. He moved to Minneapolis in 2006 and received his MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2008. Honing his skills at the Science Museum of Minnesota, he has worked in all aspects of exhibition installation. Ben also manages the logistical details of art handling for galleries like the Weinstein Gallery, as well as for corporate and private clients throughout the Twin Cities. When not handling art, he is creating his own, even receiving a Jerome Foundation grant for his work.

Hanna K. Stoehr

Development Associate
651.288.2480 (ext. 406)
hstoehr@mmaa.org

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Hanna K. Stoehr has worked within a museum setting since 2011. She formerly held the position of Interpretive Services Coordinator at the American Swedish Institute and, in the past, worked for the Weisman Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Hanna comes to the M after receiving her MA in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of St. Thomas in 2019. She received a BS in Museum Studies from Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) in 2012. Hanna brings a background of event planning and floral design to her role as Development Associate.

Hanna is a death positive advocate, seeking to improve cultural appreciation of the rituals and art forms that accompany death and mourning through increased representation within museological contexts. She takes great interest in contemporary interpretations of memento mori, and within her interpretations of art history, places emphasis upon the importance of decolonizing death. Recently, Hanna presented her scholarship at the 5th annual symposium held by the Art Historians of the Twin Cities.

Mai Vang

Mai Vang

Registrar of Collections and Archives
651.453.1750
mvang@mmaa.org

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Mai Vang is a passionate museum enthusiast with a vast experience in collection care and curation, exhibit development, museum education, and grant writing. Mai holds a Master’s of Science degree in Anthropology and Museum Studies Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Most recently she completed a summer fundraising campaign for the Richfield Historical Society as Executive Director and Founded the Hmong Museum. Previously she was Curator at the Minnesota Discovery Center where she successfully completed a permanent exhibit renovation, drastically increased attendance through programming, and established professional excellence in collection management.

Kova Walker-Lečić

Associate Registrar of Collections and Archives
kwalkerlecic@mmaa.org

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Kova Walker-Lečić was born in a country that no longer exists, and does not own any photographs of herself prior to age 16. This might explain her obsession with photography and collecting, which led her to obtain a BA in Photography, Anthropology, and Spanish from University of Minnesota, as well as an MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University in Toronto. Kova has worked with photographic collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, George Eastman Museum, and Minnesota Historical Society, as well as archival collections at the Walker Art Center. She is passionate about making collections more accessible to all, and the idea of museums as sites of decolonization.

Chris Widdess

Interim Executive Director
cwiddess@mmaa.org

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Board of Trustees

Thomas J. Arneson
Art Collector

Jo Bailey
Art Collector

Tim Beastrom – Treasurer
Chief Securities Counsel and Assistant Secretary Ecolab

Brenda Child, Ph.D.
Professor of American Studies, University of Minnesota, Red Lake Band of Chippewa

Dr. Bruce Corrie
Associate Vice-President, University Relations and International Programs and Professor Economics, Concordia University, St. Paul

Jim Denomie
Visual Artist

Nathan Johnson
Architect, 4RM+ULA

Colles Larkin
Art Collector

Dave Neal
Principal, Tealwood Asset Management

Gregory Page – Chair
Art Collector and Community Advocate

Ann Ruhr Pifer
AdoptAClassroom.org, gallery owner

Diane Pozdolski–Vice Chair
Former Vice President, Compensation, Benefits and HR Shared Services, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Michael Sammler-Jones–Secretary
Senior Director, Internal Communications, Community Relations & Enterprise Events, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Brandon Seifert
Director, Special Projects, IXR Group

Gerry Stenson
Retired EVP at Wells Fargo, former board chair of HealthPartners and Habitat for Humanity

Patty Dunlap Whitaker
Retired Manager of Corporate Communications, Securian Financial

Ex-Officio Members

Mayor Melvin Carter
Mayor, City of St. Paul