Jo Ann Emerson, Executive Director
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Jo Ann Emerson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Metropolitan State College of Denver. She made Lincoln her home six years ago. She has over ten year non-profit management experience which includes strategic planning, program development, business planning, and grant writing. She was hired as the executive director in 2007. Her vision for LUX Center for the Arts is to provide a place where the community can come together to learn about art. Jo Ann says, “We have worked hard to create an environment in which everyone feels as though they have a place. From the skilled art collector to the novice, everyone can come to the LUX to make new discoveries. Watching students’ expressions when they learn a new technique or master a challenging form has been the most rewarding part of my job here. Our students and visitors reinforce our mission everyday.”
Susan Stark-Johnson, Gallery Director
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Susan Stark-Johnson was born and raised in Arizona. She earned three Bachelor’s degrees from Northern Arizona University in Theatre, Art Education, and Studio Art with an emphasis in Ceramics. Following graduation, Susan taught Junior High Ceramics and Theatre in Mesa, Arizona and obtained her 300 hour Yoga teacher certification from the Southwest Institute for the Healing Arts. It was then that the home of her paternal family, Nebraska, called to her and she was given a ceramics residency with the LUX. As a resident artist, she spent two years with the LUX before moving to Colorado to begin life as a newlywed. In 2012 she returned to the LUX to serve as the gallery director. With a passion for art and service to others, it is with great pleasure that she finds her ongoing journey to “follow her bliss” has brought her back through the LUX’s door. She is truly honored to be a part of an organization that she says “makes art accessible to all and strives to improve lives and the community through the arts”.
Susan Soriente, Lux Museum Curator
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Susan J. Soriente earned her MA in Museum Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2002. She began working at the LUX Center for the Arts as a volunteer cataloging the LUX doll collection in 2003. In 2005, Susan was hired as Curator of the Gladys M. Lux Historical Collections. She also works as the Coordinator for Sheldon Statewide an outreach program of the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Susan said, “I believe that the LUX Center for the Arts is a great resource for our community. From the historical prints given by its benefactor, Ms Lux, to its forward thinking staff, resident artists, and classes, the LUX’s benefits and possibilities for the arts are without limit.”
Whitney Lee Perry, Operations Manager
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Whitney Perry was born and raised in Aurora, NE just an hour away from Lincoln. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in English and History in December 2012. During her undergraduate study at UNL she developed a love for the non-profit world through her internship with Humanities Nebraska. She is a firm believer in the power of art and its abilities to inspire others and help a community flourish. She is very eager and excited to share the LUX’s mission in everything she does as well as represent an organization with such a high reputation as the LUX. Whitney is an advocate of John C. Maxwell’s “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and plans to instill that belief through her work and management with the LUX.
Shelley Stoltenberg comes to LUX Center for the Arts with a background in event planning mostly in higher education but also through a variety of volunteer work experiences at various community organizations. She is delighted to be working as the Director of Education and hopes through this position she can help share the joy of creating art with many Lincoln area residents. “I find coming to the LUX is an inspiring and uplifting experience and hope that others will join us for a similar experience.” She is a watercolor and acrylic painter who truly believes in the uplifting power of creating art.
Christine Hunt’s LUX history goes back a few years as a volunteer–teaching art and working on special projects. As the LUX Center for the Arts Director of Community Involvement, Christine is now able to spend her days spreading the word about the LUX Center’s activities, classes and exhibitions, and creating both visual and written content that conveys the LUX Center’s mission and values. Prior to professionally joining the LUX Center, she worked for several local nonprofits in the environmental and health industries.
Happy to be back “home,” Christine believes that art has the power to heal, make people smarter and is a fundamental part of being human. Stop in to say, “hello,” and she’ll personally show you why she loves the LUX Center as much as she does.
Erik Dutcher, Education and Outreach Program Coordinator
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Erik Dutcher, originally from Waukee, IA., moved to Crete, NE in 2008 to pursue his BFA in Art from Doane College. After graduating in 2012, he became an art instructor with the LUX Center for the Arts, teaching various youth classes. In 2013, Erik earned his K-12 Art Teaching Certification through Doane-Lincoln and was hired as the LUX Center’s Education and Outreach Program Coordinator. Erik believes that art is an essential resource for youth and adults in any community. “My love for art education stems from the idea that unlike other subjects, there aren’t right or wrong answers. Art is a way for students to connect with the human experience through the creative process “