Board of Directors
Kara Dirkson, Executive Director
Angelica Mercado, Communications Coordinator
Jennifer Erickson, Bookkeeping Services
2017 Board of Directors
Sandra Pay, President
Daniel Edmonds, Vice President
Alex Hagen, Secretary
Parker Newcomb, Treasurer
Molly McCarthy, Past President
Charlotte Carver, Emeritus Board Member
Anita Kealey Brannian
Sandra Pay has a long track record of nonprofit arts leadership. Before moving to Sioux Falls in 2000, she lived in San Diego, CA where she was President of the San Diego Opera board of directors, served on the fundraising committee to redesign the First Ladies’ exhibit at the Smithsonian, Chairman of the San Diego Arts Commission, President of the board of directors of the San Diego symphony, board member of San Diego Downtown Rotary and board member of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. Since her move to Sioux Falls, Sandra has been a member of the South Dakota Symphony board of directors, Chairman of the Trustees of the Washington Pavilion, Chairman of the Park and Recreation Board, Treasurer of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, and board member of Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
Dan Edmonds is Senior Vice President – Design Director and a partner at Lawrence and Schiller, Inc., the region’s largest advertising and marketing communications firm. An Iowa native, he is a graduate of Iowa State University and resides in Sioux Falls with his wife Barbara.
Alex Hagen is an attorney at Cadwell Sanford Deibert & Garry LLP. He graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in English Literature. While teaching high school, he obtained an M.Ed from Montana State University and then attended law school at the University of South Dakota. Alex’s interest in the arts is wide-ranging. He has edited and contributed to poetry anthologies published by Scurfpea Press and has been published in webzines such as the Awl and the Classical. He is a South Dakota native and currently lives in Sioux Falls with his family.
Molly McCarthy joined the Arts Council board in 2010, serving as Vice President. During her 2 years as President, she was privileged to serve on the Design Team for the Meldrum Park mural project and participate in the cultural planning process. She is Secretary of the LifeScape board of directors, transitioning from the Children’s Care Hospital and School board. Married to Ken Berger, she is the mother of two.
Charlotte Carver’s interest and service to the arts at the community, state, and regional level began with the local symphony. Appointed executive director of the South Dakota Arts Council from 1967 to 1988, she currently serves as emeritus board member of the Sioux Falls Arts Council.
Anita Kealey Brannian is president of The Design Studio, Inc., an entrepreneur, and multi-disciplined designer. She is Creative Director for fashion and interior design studies at the Institute of Design & Technology of SD. Her 30+ years of business experience includes employment as a development professional, as well an advocate and volunteer board positions in arts, cultural heritage, and preservation. She has received recognition for her achievements for creative design solutions. Her work featured in many publications such as House Beautiful, Midwest Living, kitchen & bath publications along with her historic loft and studio as featured on HG-TV. Her interest in preservation and passion for the environment are apparent in her innovative use of sustainable textiles. She is a master tailor and the designer behind multiple apparel lines.
Clara Hart was born in Mozambique in southeast Africa during the period of Portuguese Colonialism. Her family moved to several countries as refugees. In 1989, she made Sioux Falls her home. Clara studied Social Work at Augustana University and Political Science, History & International Relations at the University of Sioux Falls. She has served on the board of directors for Lutheran Social Services, Board of Trustees for Killian Community College, League of Women Voters, The Banquet, LSS Refugee and Resettlement and was President for the National Board of Refugee and Immigrant Women’s Network based in Atlanta, Georgia. She also co-founded the Refugee Women’s Association here in Sioux Falls. After a career in social service focusing on immigrant and refugee populations, Clara continues to be active in our local community as well as serve as a member of the national Refugee Congress.
Joy Schroeder graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA with a degree in accounting. She has previously worked as an accountant at POET and the Sioux Falls Catholic Schools and is currently working as a credit analyst at The First National Bank in Sioux Falls. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, sewing, reading, bowling, swimming and playing volleyball.
Sharon Hunt is currently the Executive Director of Cancer Services at Sanford Health. She was previously Executive Director of Women’s Services and Director of Clinic Services at Sanford Clinic. Sharon has served as a Board Member of SurviveIt, and been member to the Medical Group Managers Association, the American College of Medical Practice Executives, and the South Dakta MGMA. In 2005, she was awarded the Sioux Valley Clinic Service Excellence Sound-Off Award.
Kira Dylla is the training manager at DocuTAP. She graduated from Augustana University with a B.A. in Mathematics and Secondary Education. During her time as a math teacher, she was the South Dakota recipient of a national teaching award and received her M.A. in Educational Technology from the University of Michigan. In college, Kira sang with the Augustana Choir and Chamber Choir for four years, and as a teacher, she advised student groups associated with the arts. Kira is an active member and past President of Sioux Falls Rotary – South, and she and her husband enjoy volunteering with the club.
Boyd Perkins Dr. Boyd Perkins serves as Coordinator of Fine Arts in the Sioux Falls School District in South Dakota, where he oversees all aspects of the visual art, music, theater, speech, and debate education programs. Prior to his position in the Sioux Falls School District, Perkins served as Director of Bands and chair of the Department of Music and Theater at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In addition to his collegiate work he has served as a K-12 school music educator at the secondary and elementary levels in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. Perkins earned his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Arts degrees from The University of Iowa as well as his Bachelor of Science in Music Education with both an instrumental and vocal emphasis from South Dakota State University. He holds his national certification in online distance education design and delivery through the Online Learning Consortium.