The nine-member Board of the Nevada Arts Council (NAC) is appointed by the Governor of Nevada. Board members serve terms of four years and are selected for their knowledge of and experience in the arts, and to ensure geographic and ethnic representation of all areas of the state. The NAC Board advocates on behalf of the arts and arts education in Nevada and promotes policies and viewpoints to benefit members of the creative industry and residents throughout the State of Nevada. The NAC Board attends meetings to receive public comment, develop recommendations for cultural policies and priorities for the State of Nevada, and approve grant allocations.
Gail Rappa, Chair, Tuscarora
Gail is a professional artist who creates one-of-a-kind wearable art and sculpture from precious metals, hand carved elements, and semi-precious stones. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, articles, and group shows throughout the country. Founder and president of Friends of Tuscarora & Independence Valley, Rappa has served on the Elko Arts and Culture Advisory Board, taught for Very Special Arts in its youth detention program, served on the board of Elko Family Resource Center, and both helped create and held the position of gallery curator for the Great Basin College Art Gallery. She presently teaches metal fabrication classes part-time at Great Basin College.
Rappa moved to the small northeastern Nevada town of Tuscarora with her husband, plein-air painter Ron Arthaud, in 1997. They live and work year-round with their two young children in a brick house and assay office from the 1870’s that they have restored. If you are unfamiliar with Rappa’s artwork, check out “Wild Women Artists” at: http://www.wildwomenartists.com/
NAC Board Member since 2016: Term – 6/30/2023
Jerry Schefcik, Vice-Chair, North Las Vegas
Jerry has been a Las Vegan since 1961. His college career took him to Brigham Young University where he earned his BA in Art and Design, and on to the University of Denver for a MA in Art History and Museum Training where he interned with the Denver Art Museum. He worked as curator of Visual Arts for the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, CO, and then moved to the Amarillo Art Center, Amarillo, TX as its Curator of Art. From Amarillo he returned to Las Vegas. Schefcik joined the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1989 as curator of the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery; he was promoted to its director in 1991. He concurrently served as Exhibitions Curator for Nevada Institute for Contemporary Art for more than a decade and curator for the McCarran International Airport Arts Advisory Sub-Committee for five years.
As Director of Galleries, Schefcik oversees the Donna Beam Gallery and five satellite galleries throughout the UNLV campus, teaches the three-part Gallery Practices series and supervises the gallery internship program. In addition to his responsibilities at UNLV, he currently serves as a Commissioner for the City of Las Vegas Arts Commission and as a member of the RTC Arts in Transit Advisory Council. A central figure within the ever-growing Las Vegas art scene, Schefcik demonstrates his dedication to the past, present and future art endeavors of this city by contributing much of his time as an advisor, juror, and mentor to numerous arts organizations in Las Vegas and the Western Region.
NAC Board Member since 2013: Term – 6/30/2021
Karen Michaels, Treasurer, Henderson
Karen has been singing, performing, and playing piano since she was a small child. She auditioned and became a YoungAmerican in high school and the creative bug was cemented. She became a Citrus Singer – a choir known for both classical and pop training and performances. Karen holds an Associate Arts degree in Music Performance and has performed all over the United States. She has worked and lived in Nashville at Opryland, lived and worked in New York City doing special events and studying with the likes of Betty Buckley, and has lived and worked in Seattle on harbor cruise ships fronting her jazz pop band. She has traveled the United States to nearly every state in the National Tour of “The Riverboat Ragtime Revue” paying tribute to the great American Songbook.
NAC Board Member since 2018: Term – 6/30/2020
Dr. Javon Johnson, Las Vegas
Javon Johnson is an Assistant Professor and Director of African American & African Diaspora studies and holds an appointment in Gender & Sexuality Studies in the Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He received his Ph.D. in Performance Studies with a certificate in Gender Studies and Cognate in African American Studies from Northwestern University in 2010. Dr. Johnson’s scholarly interests include performance, blackness, African American literature, black pop culture, slam and spoken word, black feminist theory, black queer theory, masculinity studies, black sexualities, and ethnography.
Dr. Johnson’s first book, Killing Poetry: Blackness and the Making of Slam and Spoken Word Communities (Rutgers University Press 2017), unpacks some of the complicated issues that comprise performance poetry spaces and argues that the truly radical potential in slam and spoken word communities lies not just in proving literary worth, speaking back to power, or even in altering power structures, but instead in imagining and working towards altogether different social relationships.
Having recently completed his first book of poems, Aint Never Not Been Black (Button Poetry 2020), Dr. Johnson is a creative scholar who has mounted exhibitions at the California African American Museum where he managed the History Department. A renowned spoken word poet, he is a three-time national poetry slam champion, a four-time national finalist, and has appeared on appeared on HBO’sDef Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café, TVOnes Verses & Flow, The Steve Harvey Show, The Arsenio Hall Show, United Shades of America with Kamau Bell on CNN, and co-wrote a documentary titled Crossover, which aired on Showtime, in collaboration with the NBA and Nike.
NAC Board Member since 2020: Term – 6/30/2023
Andy Lott, Las Vegas
Growing up, Andy wanted to be a dolphin trainer. But when he figured out engaging with audiences and mc-ing the Sea World show wasn’t actually the job, he decided to pursue a career in the performing arts instead.
Andy’s internal monologue is that of a creative thinker, problem-solver, and collaborator at the highest level. His passion for humans and helping people tell their stories means he’s adept at seeing multiple perspectives at once and making space for the power of possibility to work its theatrical magic. A graduate from the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, he went on to earn his BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. He toured nationally with “The Wizard of Oz,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and was the equity guest artist for The Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s 2017 production of “Peter Pan,” playing the title role. Andy previously taught and directed inside the nationally awarded Rainbow Company Youth Theatre, the City of Las Vegas company he spent his youth growing and developing his artistic point-of-view. A public high school arts educator for four years, Andy has a particular understanding of the triumphs and challenges of the southern Nevada arts education landscape; he believes strongly in the value of collaboration to develop meaningful creative learning opportunities for all students.
Andy continues to work with individuals and groups to help them find themselves in their stories. And while training dolphins is no longer at the top of his list – he remains open to new possibilities for collaboration in our community.
NAC Board Member since 2019: Term – 9/30/2023
Mark Salinas, Carson City
Mark is the founding Director of the Department of Arts & Culture for Carson City. Before relocating to Nevada in 2016, Salinas lived in New York City for 19 years having worked for the Pace Wildenstein Gallery, the Marian Goodman Gallery, the Brooklyn Art Museum, and the World Trade Center Site Memorial Design Competition. Salinas holds degrees from Washington University (Sculpture), Parsons School of Design (Fashion Design), and Central St. Martins (Tailoring).
He has been awarded public art commissions in Times Square and artist residencies in Scotland and France. In 2019 Salinas received the Nevada Humanities Rising Star Award and was selected as the first Nevadan inducted into the National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC) Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
NAC Board Member since 2017: Term – 6/30/2021
Yale Yeandel, Las Vegas
Yale’s unique and detailed sets have been bringing shows to life throughout Las Vegas since the mid-1990’s. He has designed the environment for productions from UNLV to College of Southern Nevada and high schools throughout Las Vegas, the outdoor refugee camp in the middle of Sandy Valley’s back roads to Spring Mountain Ranch, and theatre companies throughout the valley. Some of his favorite sets have been “Pump Boys and Dinettes” at CSN, “A View From the Bridge” on the Las Vegas Little Theatre mainstage, which was nominated for the Las Vegas Valley Theatre Awards Best Scenic Design, “Annie” at Spring Mountain Ranch, a fundraising production, for Super Summer Theatre, “Spring Awakening” at Majestic Repertory Theatre, which was also nominated for Best Scenic Design for the Las Vegas Valley Theatre Awards, and the Summer Melodramas for the City of Las Vegas Parks and Recreation.
Yale works at Le Reve, where, since 2004, his scenic painting, set and prop work can be seen five nights a week. His professional work includes innovative magic design with Penn & Teller, and back-stage work up and down the Strip for the Stratosphere, Cher and Debbie Reynolds. Creating the backdrop for great performances offers both artistic and professional opportunities, and Yale has been proud to volunteer at numerous Las Vegas high schools, training students on scenic design, painting, and construction.
A Midwestern transplant, Yale found his way to Las Vegas from South Bend, Indiana after graduating with a B.A in Theater from Indiana University at South Bend. Yale and his wife Jennifer love to travel to see their beloved Chicago Cubs take the field at the Friendly Confines and across the country.
NAC Board Member since 2019: Term – 9/30/2023