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Nevada Arts Council Board elects officers

CARSON CITY, Nevada – The Nevada Arts Council Board of Directors elected members to new leadership roles at its most recent meeting.

Joe O’Neill was elected board chair, Gail Rappa as vice chair and Ryrie Valdez as treasurer for the board, which 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 Nevada.

O’Neill, a member of the nine-member board since 2016, is a senior cultural specialist with the City of Las Vegas and is responsible for managing marketing, communication and grants for the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

O’Neill studied vocal performance and dance at the University of Alabama and began his career as a dancer and performer for Wald Disney World Entertainment. He is a member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals Emerging Leadership Institute and a graduate of the city’s Sponsored Employee Advanced Leadership (S.E.A.L.) Program.

Rappa is a professional artist, who lives in Tuscarora in Elko County with her husband and fellow artist Ron Arthaud and their two children.

Rappa creates one-of-a-kind wearable art 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. She is the founder of and president of Friends of Tuscarora and Independence Valley 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 the Elko Family Resource Center and both helped created and held the position of curator for the Great Basin College Art Gallery. She teaches metal fabrication classes at Great Basin College.

Valdez is a longtime fixture in the North Lake Tahoe and Reno arts communities. She is the former gallery owner of Ryrie’s Art & Home in Reno, where she specialized in connecting customers with local and regional artists by sharing details about the artists and their works.

Valdez’s arts education began in Berkeley, California. She attended UC-Berkeley and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Art History. After graduation, she moved to Tahoe City, California, taught art in elementary schools and learned the art of picture framing, eventually opening her own gallery/frame shop, Frames by Ryrie, which she operated for 27 years.

In 2006, Valdez and her husband moved back to Reno and opened Ryrie’s Art & Home. Valdez continues to share her passion for the arts with her community and looks forward to new adventures.

The Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, was founded in 1967 as the state agency charged with ensuring that state and national funds support cultural activity and encourage participation in the arts throughout Nevada. The agency’s programs and services are designed to support creative expression, animate communities, diversify local economies and provide lifelong learning in the arts for all Nevadans. The Nevada Arts Council is funded by the State of Nevada, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other public and private sources.