Board Members

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, to develop recommendations for cultural policies and priorities for the State of Nevada, and to approve grant allocations.

Resources for Board Members Board Members Full List


Joe O’Neill, Chair, Las Vegas

Joe is committed to promoting arts advocacy and providing leadership that supports, strengthens and delivers quality arts experiences that are accessible to all residents of Nevada and the City of Las Vegas. He studied Vocal Performance and Dance at the University of Alabama and began his career as a dancer and performer for Walt Disney World Entertainment. From there he transitioned into arts administration and is currently a Sr. Cultural Specialist with the City of Las Vegas and responsible for managing marketing, communications and grants for the Office of Cultural Affairs. Joe is a member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals Emerging Leadership Institute (Class of 2017) and a graduate of the city’s Sponsored Employee Advanced Leadership (S.E.A.L.) Program.

NAC Board Member since 2016: Term  – 6/30/2019


gail-rappa-photo-web-opt-196x300

Gail Rappa, Vice 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 teaching 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 award, check out “Wild Women Artists” at: http://www.wildwomenartists.com/

NAC Board Member since 2016: Term – 6/30/2019


Ryrie Valdez, Treasuer, Reno

Ryrie is the former gallery owner of Ryrie’s Art & Home, in Reno, NV. As the storyteller for local and regional artists, she took great pride in connecting the artist with the customer by sharing details about the artist and their works. Valdez’s art education began in the cultural-rich city of Berkeley in the 1960’s and early 70’s. She attended UC Berkeley, taking undergraduate work in fine art and earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Art History. After graduation, she moved to Tahoe City, CA, taught art in the elementary schools and learned the art of picture framing. In 1980, she started the gallery/frame shop, Frames by Ryrie, which was a source of personal and public pride for 27 years. Valdez was very active in the art community in Tahoe City, and was a founding member of Sierra Artist’s Network, currently named, North Tahoe Arts, a non-profit organization that promotes the arts in North Tahoe.

Valdez was also a member of the Board of the Tahoe-Truckee Gallery Association, which united the galleries in the North Tahoe, Truckee, and Incline areas. In 2006, Valdez and her husband moved back to city life, in Reno, and a year later embarked on the journey of creating a new business, Ryrie’s Art & Home. Valdez continues to share her passion for the arts with her community and looks forward to new adventures.

NAC Board Member since 2012: Term – 6/30/2019


edward-estipona-photo-web-opt-196x300Edward Estipona, Reno

Edward has guided his agency, Estipona Group, from its founding in 1993 as a two-man design shop into a full-service marketing agency. He has overseen dozens of branding and communications programs for healthcare, nonprofit, arts and education, tourism and service-industry clients. Honored with a host of marketing awards for his firm, Estipona was named “Reno Advertising Person of the Year” at the age of 25, “Marketer of the Year” by the American Marketing Association’s Northern Nevada Chapter, and one of the “Top 20 Business Leaders Under 40” by the Reno Gazette Journal. In 2008, Estipona Group was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Arts Award in recognition of its support of the arts.

NAC Board Member since 2013: Term – 6/30/2021


Karen Michaels, Henderson

Karen has been singing, performing and playing piano since she was a small child. She auditioned and became a Young American 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


Mark Salinas, Carson City

Mark is the Director of Arts & Culture for Carson City. Prior to relocating to Nevada, Salinas lived in New York City for 19 years, where he worked at PaceWildenstein Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery, and White Columns. He holds degrees from Washington University in St. Louis (Sculpture), Parsons School of Design in New York City (Fashion Design), and Central St. Martins in London (Tailoring). Salinas is a practicing visual artist and has been awarded public art commissions in Times Square, artist residencies in Scotland and France, and numerous individual artist grants.

In 2005, Salinas launched Arrows Up, a commercial design and fabrication business catering to the Fashion/Film/Fine Art industries.  Clientele included Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, Chanel, Museum of Art & Design, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Zac Posen.  In 2013, Salinas founded 7Train Murals, a non-profit volunteer mural organization dedicated to revitalizing vacant and vandalized public spaces in neighborhoods along the 7Train subway system in Manhattan and Queens. His community service has been personally recognized by New York City Senators, City Councilmen, and the Mayor. Salinas served as a NYC Community Board member and was appointed to the Arts & Culture Committee by Queensboro President Melinda Katz.

NAC Board Member since 2017: Term – 6/30/2021


7.15.13-j.schefcik2_380x420_4cJerry Schefcik, 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


Eric Strain_grayEric Strain, Las Vegas

Eric is the Principal and lead designer of assemblageSTUDIO, an architectural and planning firm. Presently a member of the Clark County Public Art Committee, Strain chaired the Las Vegas Arts Commission, and served on the boards of the Neon Museum, Contemporary Arts Collective, Gateway Arts Association, AIA Las Vegas, AIA Nevada and the Goldwell Open Air Museum. He also served as the executive director for the Nevada Institute of Contemporary Art. This level of commitment, coupled with his extraordinary design work, has garnered many accolades for Strain, including the Young Architect Citation from AIA Nevada, the Western Mountain Region AIA and the National AIA; the AIA Nevada Service Award; the 2009 AIA Nevada Firm Award; and most recently the 2011 AIA Nevada Silver Medal. His résumé notes turns as lecturer, panelist, design award juror and grant recipient. Prior to forming his firm, Strain was an adjunct professor in graduate and undergraduate design studios in the UNLV School of Architecture for four years. He has also taught at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo College of Architecture, University of Utah, and in the UNLV Landscape Department.

NAC Board Member since 2012: Term – 6/30/2019


img_20141107_114218_resized_againAnnie Zucker, Reno

Annie is a native Nevadan, born and raised in Reno. She attended Oregon State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, then went on to achieve certification in nonprofit management from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her character traits and educational background are well-directed in her current position as Manager of Community Impact for Renown Health, the region’s largest non-profit healthcare network, to which she has directed many years of energy and talent.  Annie works closely with the Community Development team to develop and maintain impactful relationships with local nonprofits. She also oversees Renown’s community benefit partner grants.

Prior to her current position at Renown, Annie served as Executive Director of the Sierra Arts Foundation building bridges between local artists and art groups to collaborate more effectively. She brought a wealth of business savvy to this role, having served just prior to that as a Development Specialist for the Renown Health Foundation. There, she administered the Renown Healing Arts Program since the early 1990s, while she also coordinated internal and external fundraising communication campaigns. During that time, Annie managed a cadre of more than 750 artists, musicians and volunteers who engaged with patients, performed for the public, maintained gardens and offered pet therapy to provide emotional support to patients and their families. Under her direction, the American Hospital Association listed the Healing Arts Program at Renown as a best practice in 2014.

If not sharing her love of the arts and community with her husband and two young children, Cooper and Kinsley, they can be found outside hiking and biking the beautiful northern Nevada trails.

NAC Board Member since 2012: Term – 6/30/2019