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Who We Are

Inspiring a Vibrant Toledo

Who We Are

The Arts Commission is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded
 in 1959 to foster Toledo’s heritage in the arts. The organization is the longest-standing arts commission in the state of Ohio, serving youth, artists, arts organizations, and the general public. Since 1977, The Arts Commission has managed the City of Toledo’s One Percent for Art program, the first in the state of Ohio and among the first in the nation, and maintains Toledo’s impressive collection of public art.

Arts and culture are at the core of strong and vibrant communities.

Arts Commission Staff

Airen Meyer

Creative Placemaking Coordinator

​​Airen Meyer joined the Arts Commission in 2021, fulfilling a longstanding aspiration to contribute to her community in a meaningful way. Airen is a painter, printmaker, and parent who is particularly interested in the intersection of physical and mental health and the arts. Aside from traveling extensively abroad, she is proud to be a lifelong resident of Toledo, volunteering with local nonprofits and activists. In her role as a Creative Placemaking Coordinator, she focuses predominantly on the UpTown area, working to connect residents to resources that foster creativity and community, promote equity, and improve quality of life.

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Andrea Price

Artist Services Manager

As the Art Services Manager for The Arts Commission Andrea Price is able to help local artists advance their careers by planning, developing, coordinating, and managing various grant programs. She is an advocate for artists having the professional resources they need to succeed. Her introduction to The Arts Commission began during her time working at the Economic Community Development Institute, a non-profit that helps small businesses. Price is passionate about social justice, equity, and helping others. She is an eclectic artist and business owner of Andrea & Her Art and Healing Conversations which mirror her interests. She is a recent graduate of The University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2-Dimensional Studies in 2020. Andrea Price is excited to serve our local community.

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Crystal Phelps

Marketing & Communications Manager

Crystal is a prominent advocate for arts and culture in Toledo, OH. Driven by the spirit of collaboration, she works with community partners to enhance constituent engagement to support the mission and values of The Arts Commission. From festival production to communications strategies, her strengths in logistical organization run the gamut from macro to micro-projects. Crystal’s marketing and communications approach features a broad skill set including social media content creation and implementation, yearly data-driven strategic planning, and a nimble approach that embraces flexibility along with time sensitivity. She develops program campaigns, creates content, and delivers messaging with a top-of-mind approach to engage a variety of audience segments. Crystal is an artist and curator whose work focuses on the nexus of humor and body politics. She is a 2017 Master of Fine Arts recipient from Maine College of Art and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from Arizona State University in 2008.

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David Ross

Creative Placemaking Coordinator

Dave Ross is a community artist turned advocate for youth and creativity. He is an alumnus of The Arts Commission's Young Artist at Work and an artist leader and founder of the charity Dunkin 4 Donations. He has a heart for mentorship, which he utilizes as a boxing coach for Soul City Boxing Club. Ross has been a member of The Art Commission's Creative Placemaking team for two years, working to connect visual art and social issues, with a focus on youth against crime, art and health, and honoring local legends Art Tatum and Jon Hendricks to inspire our community. Ross also works with the City of Toledo Youth Commission to build creative engagement opportunities for young people.

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Emily Finkel

Office Manager

Emily joined The Arts Commission staff in 2008. Emily leads administrative coordination among staff and manages communication. She serves as the executive assistant to both the Chief Operating Officer, and President and Chief Executive Officer, and works closely with managing events, fundraising, and personnel strategies for various programs and services, including Young Artists at Work, and Hot Glass. Emily received her B.A. in the History of Art and Architecture from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In addition to her work at The Arts Commission, Emily works building and restoring stained glass art, and volunteers for the Toledo Opera.

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Emily Horst

Cultural Assets Research and Mapping Coordinator

Emily Horst is the Cultural Assets Research and Mapping Coordinator, joining The Arts Commission as a LISC/AmeriCorps member. After graduating from The University of Toledo in May of 2018, she moved to Colorado for a ceramic apprenticeship at an art gallery. Upon returning in March of 2020 as the pandemic hit, she knew she wanted to find a way to get involved with community outreach and engagement.

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Hope Hooper

Momentum Festival Manager

Hope Hooper joined the Arts Commission as the Momentum Festival Manager and has a background in fine arts, event planning, and marketing. Hope grew up in the Toledo area and has enjoyed participating in Arts Commission programs throughout her life as well as being a part of several group and individual exhibitions and volunteering for art organizations. She received a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and an MBA in marketing from Tiffin University all while working in the hospitality industry. After graduating with her MBA, she moved to northern Arizona for several years where she worked as an arts and culture coordinator for a parks and recreation department. Through her work in Arizona, Hope built her skills in project management, event planning, customer service, communications, and arts programming. In late 2020 she moved back to Toledo to be closer to family and to pursue a career in the arts serving this community. In her spare time, Hope enjoys working on her art, spending time with her family and pets, and growing her houseplant collection.

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Jennifer Jarrett

Chief Operating Officer

With over 25 years of experience in non-profit administration, Jennifer became a member of The Arts Commission staff in 2007. Her primary responsibilities include fundraising and development efforts to support The Arts Commission’s programs and activities. Jennifer has worked in the arts community in Toledo since 1999. She serves on the boards of Scrap4Art, Northwest Ohio Community Shares, and Toledo Sister Cities International. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from the University of Toledo.

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Jesse Heider-Ayling

Art in Public Places Coordinator

Jesse joined The Arts Commission as the Art in Public Places Coordinator in early 2021. She studied Art History and Interior Design at Bowling Green State University and has her BFA in New Media Design from the University of Toledo. Prior to joining the Arts Commission, Jesse worked as a graphic artist for 10+ years in the Toledo area, as well as engaging in community work with the Uptown Association and Village on Adams boards. She has a strong desire to work with the arts community in and around Toledo while taking some time to focus on her own crafts and hobbies.

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Kelly Rose Hirsh

Development Director

Kelly joined The Arts Commission in 2018. As the Development Director, Kelly is responsible for the implementation of fundraising events, campaigns, and corporate sponsorships. Prior to joining The Arts Commission, Kelly worked for over a decade in Chicago, primarily focused on public policy issues in the field of women’s health. Her experience includes volunteer management, community organizing, and community education, as well as electoral campaign work. Kelly earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Miami University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Northwestern University. She also serves on the Board for the Perrysburg Schools Foundation.

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Lindsay Akens

Creative Placemaking Manager

Lindsay Akens joined The Arts Commission as a LISC/AmeriCorps Member in 2015 and moved into the new position of Creative Placemaking Manager in late 2016. In her previous role as Community Engagement Specialist, Akens worked closely with neighborhoods in the central city to provide artistic opportunities for residents, and to increase volunteerism through event planning and creation of new community partnerships. Akens furthers that work in her new position, using art to build bridges between local organizations and communities. She states “a wide range of community needs can be met through creative placemaking, especially when we share resources.” Akens earned her BFA from Bowling Green State University and MPA from the University of Missouri. She serves as a committee member at the Ohio Theatre, and is actively involved in both the Toledo International Film Festival and the Glass City Film Festival. Akens spends part of her time at Handmade Toledo, where her creative work can be found under the name Artsshark.

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Marc Folk

President & Chief Executive Officer

President and Chief Executive Officer, Marc D. Folk, began with The Arts Commission in 1996 as an instructor in the Young Artists at Work program and has since worked with passionate dedication to advance the arts, culture and community development in the Toledo region. Marc represents The Arts Commission on various national and regional committees to advocate for and promote the development of the arts. He served for three years as the president of the Ohio Citizens for the Arts, is past co-chair of the Toledo Area Cultural Leaders (TACL) and is an active member of the United States Urban Arts Federation. He is a 2006 recipient of the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, the 2009 winner of the Ohio Arts Council's Governor’s Award for Arts Administration and in 2010 he was recognized as the University of Toledo’s Outstanding Alumnus in the Arts. In 2018 he was awarded the Ray Hanley Innovation Award by the Americans for the Arts in recognition of outstanding individual contributions to arts and culture in American cities. He has served as a four time grants panelist for the National Endowment for Arts, most recently for CARES Act. Marc is a 1998 graduate of the University of Toledo, with a BFA in Sculpture and a minor in Printmaking. He is a DJ and avid record collector and lives in Toledo’s Old West End with his son Holden.

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Marcia Culling

Financial Manager

As part-time Financial Manager for The Arts Commission, Marcia is responsible for the fiscal and human resource management of the organization. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo and 30 years of experience in public business administration.

Natalie Gray

Youth Services Manager

Natalie Gray is a recent graduate from the University of Toledo with a B.A. in Communication. Gray first got involved with The Arts Commission through volunteering for Artomatic 419! and the Art Loop. With a focus on creative nonprofits, her experience includes development work at Toledo School for the Arts as the Alumni Relations Liaison and a summer at The Toledo Museum of Art in the Special Events department. In 2016, Gray started on The Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking team working to connect artists to neighborhood residents. In 2018, Gray took on the role of Youth Services Manager, including the Ninth Congressional District Invitational Art Exhibition and Young Artists At Work programs. She also sits on the board of Toledo SOUP.

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Natalie Tranelli-Jacobs

Art Loop Manager

Natalie Tranelli-Jacobs is the Art Loop Manager for The Arts Commission and leads the organization’s volunteer and internship programs. Natalie is a community based artist and educator and photographer by trade. As a Fulbright Scholar Natalie has worked internationally, collaborating with communities in Brazil, Azerbaijan, Nicaragua and Chad, teaching with National Geographic Photo Camp. Natalie is currently adjunct faculty of Photography at Owens Community College, having previously taught at The Art Institute of Michigan in Detroit. She holds a BFA in photography at Pennsylvania State University and a MFA in Community Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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Nathan Mattimoe

Art in Public Places Director

Nathan Mattimoe has worked as a project manager for nine years. Nathan joined The Arts Commission as the Art in Public Places Coordinator in 2013. Nathan administers the City of Toledo’s One Percent for Art ordinance through The Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places program. This includes managing new public art projects and overseeing the maintenance and conservation of the City’s more than 40 public art pieces, with additional focus on public art education and community outreach.

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Ryan Bunch

Community Initiatives Director

Ryan A. Bunch is the Community Initiatives Director at The Arts Commission. Ryan manages the Creative Placemaking Program, focuses on community programs, performing and literary arts, and strategic implementation and partnerships. He has proudly served and presented on panels for the American for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Community Development Association, and Cleveland’s Community Partnership for Arts and Culture’s Creative Workforce Fellowship. With more than fifteen years experience coordinating and organizing community events in the area, Ryan serves on the City of Toledo’s Human Relations Commission, Community and Neighborhoods Committee, the Toledo Design Collective, and has served as the Vice President of the UpTown Association CDC, co-founder of Toledo SOUP microgrant program, co-founder of Spoken Toledo storytelling program, trustee at Toledo's Frederick Douglass Community Association, committee member at the Ohio Theatre, trustee at the Village on Adams, founder of the Adams Street Zombie Crawl, and volunteer organizer, event planner, and MC for a number of other programs and events. Ryan has worked to elevate and promote local arts and artists as the former Arts & Entertainment Editor at Toledo City Paper and Music Editor at and was a 2016 recipient of Toledo's '20 Under 40' Leadership Award. Ryan studied nonprofit administration through The Washington Center program in Washington D.C. and creative writing and humanities at the University of Toledo. He is a poet, writer, and spoken word performance artist whose works have been published both in print and online nationally and internationally, and has been featured at numerous regional arts events. In his free time, he is (very) slowly restoring a 1964 Chrysler Imperial named Pricilla.

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