Rena Blades - Cultural Council President & CEO

Rena Blades

President & Chief Executive Officer

Rena joined the Council in May 2004. Previously, she was Executive Director of the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science (MOAS) in Tallahassee, where she shepherded the organization from its infancy–with a budget of a few thousand dollars and one full-time staff person–to an institution with a $1.7 million dollar budget and over 24 staff members that serves more than 100,000 visitors annually. In Houston, Rena was Alumni Director for St. John’s School and owner of R M Gallery, where she managed careers for over 20 artists from the Southeastern U.S. An expert on outsider art, she was a guest lecturer on contemporary and folk art at Rice University. Rena earned a B.A. in Art History from Connecticut College and an M.A. in Art History from Rice University. She served as President of the Florida Art Museum Director’s Association and graduated from Getty’s prestigious Museum Leadership Institute.


Trish Halverson

Manager of Arts and Cultural Education

Trish Halverson received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University. She is also Montessori trained for 6-9 year olds by the Princeton Center for Teacher Education, Princeton, New Jersey. Trish has been teaching visual art and arts integration to diverse populations in New York, Boston, and South Florida for 15 years. She has worked with various grants and programs that have fostered strong community relations in Palm Beach County for the past 10 including work with The Center for Creative Education, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Family Central, The Armory Art Center, Department of Children and Families, Primetime, and Blue Planet Writer’s Room.

Artist Services

Nichole Hickey

Manager of Artist Services

Nichole joined the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County in 2011 as they transitioned into their permanent residence at the Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building. Nichole started her career in the arts in 2001 at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Union Art Gallery. Moving to Florida in 2005, she worked as Assistant Director and Registrar at Eaton Fine Art in downtown West Palm Beach for over six years. She currently manages the Artist Services department at the Cultural Council curating exhibitions, scheduling programming and working with all professional artists in the county.

Finance and Visitor & Administrative Services

Kathleen Alex

Chief Financial Officer

Kathleen joined the Cultural Council in February 2008 after 20+ years as the CFO for various companies, including a REIT listed on the NYSE, an SEC registered investment advisor to large state and corporate pension funds, and various realty management, mortgage banking and servicing companies. Prior to that she was an auditor with a New York state public accounting firm. She graduated from SUNY at Buffalo in 1978 with a B.S. in Accounting-Management. She is a CPA, holds the Charted Financial Analyst® designation and is a member of the AICPA and CFA Institute.

Jean Brasch


Marlon Foster

Visitor Services and Music Coordinator

Helen Hood

Administrative Assistant

Gloria Rose


Paul To



Jan Rodusky

Chief Grants Officer

The Cultural Council’s funding priorities are grants to cultural organizations, artists and nonprofit organizations serving children’s culture and/or multiculturalism. Before joining the Council, Jan spent nine years establishing and growing a grantmaking program for a healthcare foundation. Prior to that, she spent ten years securing gifts and grants for health focused organizations as a professional fund raiser in northeast Ohio and southeast Florida. She is extremely active in her community as a representative of the Council as well as a leader through her personal involvement and volunteerism. She serves on several boards and committees for organizations such as Leadership Palm Beach County and the World Affairs Council of the Palm Beaches. Jan is an alumnus of the German Marshall Fellowship Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Kent State University.

Wendy Boucher

Grants Coordinator

Kate Rhubee

Grants Administrator

Development and Membership

Mary Lewis

Director of Development

Mary has over 18 years of professional experience in the successful management of capital campaigns, annual campaigns, corporate and foundation relations, as well as marketing and communication strategies, and board development. She has written successful grant applications for numerous major organizations, including the State of Florida, Kresge Foundation, Palm Healthcare Foundation, Quantum Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Mary has worked for the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Palm Beach County Public Affairs Office, Hanley Center Foundation, The Academy of the Palm Beaches (now Palm Beach Day Academy), St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, and the Montreal Expos Baseball Team. Mary received her BA degree in Communications from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is also a guest lecturer across the state on Corporate and Foundation Relations and Campaign Strategy.

Debbie Calabria

Membership & Special Events Manager

Kodie-Ann Walcott

Development Associate

Shani Simpson

Executive Assistant and Administrative Support

Marketing and Public Relations

Marilyn Bauer

Director of Marketing and Government Affairs

Marilyn Bauer is a marketing communications expert with extensive experience in cross-platform marketing including advertising, public relations, print and video content production, social media, strategic special events, branding and project management. She is also an award-winning journalist and two-time National Endowment for the Arts fellow with more than 20 years of experience working for editorial and business departments at major metropolitan newspapers, national magazines and websites. She has been an arts advocate for most of her life and has written about the business and importance of the arts in numerous outlets and has been featured as an art critic in publications that include ARTnews, Art & Antiques, Western Art & Architecture, Art in America and the Cincinnati Enquirer, where she was the art and architecture critic for six years. Marilyn attended graduate school at New York University in arts administration and has held senior marketing positions at Harper’s Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Cartier and American Express. She serves as a member of the board for the Carbonell Awards, which recognizes excellence in theater, and sits on the communications committee for VISIT FLORIDA.

Daniel Boudet

Website and Online Marketing Manager

Judith Czelusniak

Public Relations Coordinator

Bama Lutes Deal

Cultural Concierge

Nick Murray

Marketing Coordinator

Grazie Prokopetz

Design and Digital Communications Coordinator

Victoria Van Dam

Marketing Manager

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