Who We Are
Board of Directors
Tim Wolff, President
Katherine Rixon, Vice President
Tod Hamachek, Secretary
David Hanks, Treasurer
Tim Black | Linda Bowling | Ellen Gillespie | Kay Hardy
Judith Weiss Levy | Amber Busuttil Mullen | Brittain Palmedo
Richard Perlman | Wendy Pesky | Trina Peters | Lisa Stelck | Sarah Woodward
Kathy Abelson | Ruth Bloom | Gary Borman | Michael Engl
Marybeth Flower | Drew Gibson | Philip Isles | Glenn Janss | Carol Nie
Van Gordan Sauter | Roselyne Swig | Patricia Wilson | Jeri Wolfson
The Center Staff
Christine moved to the Valley after attending Colorado College where she earned a BA in political science and art history. Prior to The Center, Christine’s professional experience included 12 years as a marketing manager for Smith Optics. After joining The Center in 2013, she led all aspects of patron development and fundraising events for The Center including the Annual Wine Auction with a keen focus on financial goals and event sustainability. Christine has worked collaboratively with SVCA Board and Center leadership, staff, volunteers, and external service providers to deliver fundraising events that provide exceptional experiences that build patron loyalty to the organization’s mission, programs and case for support. Christine now brings her leadership and strategic vision to The Center as Executive Director to guide the organization’s strategic and operational planning and community vision for the future. Christine previously served as Chair of the Pioneer Montessori Board and is a member of their Advisory Committee.
Kristin Poole has served as Artistic Director at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts since 1997 where she leads programming for the accredited museum whose multidisciplinary approach involves exploring topics of relevancy through visual art exhibitions, humanities lectures and seminars, music and theatre performances. A curator and art historian, Poole also develops exhibitions, lectures and writes on topics related to modernism, American Craft and contemporary art. Prior to joining the staff at the Center, Poole worked as an independent lecturer, consultant, and art historian. Previous experience includes: Director of Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition; Curatorial Assistant, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago); and Director of Lill Street Gallery (Chicago). She holds an MA in Modern Art History from the University of Chicago and a BA in Studio Art and English from Denison University.
After spending 7 years in Oregon, Brooke returned to the Wood River Valley. She attended the University of Oregon, earning a BS in Environmental Studies and a minor in Business. Brooke’s professional experience has been in building and maintaining databases in the consulting industry. She’s thrilled to bring her skill set and passions together at The Center.
Interim Artistic Director, Company of Fools
Ilana comes to Wood River Valley by way of NYC, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale. A theatre director and producer, she specializes in new play and musical development and community-driven projects. Ilana has directed and developed projects at New York Theatre Workshop, National Black Theatre, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, The Lark, The Flea Theatre, O’Neill Theater Center, Columbia University, NYU, 54 Below, Disney/ASCAP Musical Workshop, Pittsburgh Fringe, FringeNYC, and the Samuel French Festival, among others, and has served as Associate or Assistant Director on projects at Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and more. Ilana serves as Artistic Director of Argument Sessions, a series of events weaving US Supreme Court transcripts with collaboratively-developed original material, and is a proud member of The Civilians’ R&D Group, Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, DirectorsLabChicago, Fresh Ground Pepper’s PlayGroup, Bastard Playground, a Playwrights Horizons Robert Moss Directing Fellow, and an Emerging Leader of NY Arts Fellow. She has a passion for the outdoors, craft beer, multi-disciplinary storytelling, education, and community building, and is thrilled to have found the perfect cross-section of these things in Wood River Valley. ilanabecker.com
After spending 12 years in Aspen, Colorado, Holly relocated to the idyllic Wood River Valley. She brings her love of the arts and culture, the outdoors and mountain town communities to her role at The Center. Holly’s previous positions as graphic designer and Director of Marketing & Communications at Anderson Ranch Arts Center position her well to bring both her visual and design sensibilities and extensive marketing experience to The Center’s marketing efforts. Originally from Connecticut, Holly graduated from Colorado College with a BA in Art History.
Director of Performing Arts
Kristine has been with The Center since 2000. She has transformed her love of attending live performances into booking and coordinating the winter and summer concert series and in bringing artists (both musicians and dancers) into our local schools. Kristine Bretall is a graduate of Middlebury College in Political Science and Spanish and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University.
Administrative and Operations Assistant
After years of bouncing from acting job to acting job up and down the Pacific Northwest, Chris decided to make a home here in the Valley after falling in love with this community that values art, beauty and a slower, steadier pace of life. A theatre arts graduate from Southern Oregon University, Chris has been involved with a number of professional companies including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the 5th Avenue in Seattle, and the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. A member of AEA and a resident company artist with the Company of Fools, Chris has had the pleasure of performing in a number of COF productions including You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Grey Gardens and Life Sucks. Additionally Chris works as a commercial actor and also lends his voice to audiobooks for Audible.com. He’s proud to be a part of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts family where he plays the role of Administrative Assistant.
Director of Education & Humanities
Originally from Colorado, Katelyn graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in Art History and completed a MA in Education from Saint Michaels College. Previously, Katelyn lived in Vermont, working as the Adult Programs Coordinator at Shelburne Museum. She also has experience working with the education department at the Denver Art Museum and the Fleming Museum of Art.
Curator of Visual Arts
Courtney Gilbert holds Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in art history from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. Most recently she worked at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, where she coordinated the planning for a major exhibition of Latin American abstract art. Prior to joining The Center, she also taught Art History at Columbia College Chicago, and Texas State University.
Jessica recently joined the energetic team at The Center. She is a Wood River Valley native and a recent graduate from the University of Idaho with a BA in Marketing. Jessica is excited to be back in the mountains and to begin actively contributing to the Wood River Valley’s incredible community. She looks forward to bringing her fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the development team.
Company of Fools Apprentice
Chris Henderson recently graduated from Boise State’s Theatre Arts Program with a Bachelor of Arts. He helped comprise the ensemble of Boise State’s Unrinetown: The Musical, assistant stage manage Boise State’s Crimes of the Heart and This is our Youth, and was one of the first graduates to present an acting showcase as a senior project. His two main passions are creating theatre and writing music.
David joined the team at the Sun Valley Center having moved from Richmond, VA. He holds an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University and was first introduced to the valley via Company of Fools back in 2007. You may recognize him from his acting work on stage at the Liberty Theatre. Prior to joining The Center, David worked as Database Administrator for Virginia Repertory Theatre in Richmond. He and his wife, actor Aly Wepplo, were thrilled to relocate to this magical place free of humidity and traffic.
Technical Director/Resident Scenic Designer
Joe received his introduction into theatre in 1995 by none other than Company of Fools. A graduate of Boise State University with a degree in Theatre emphasizing scenic design, Joe joined Company of Fools staff in 2006. Since that time, he has built all – and designed numerous – sets for the Company. Joe has been a resident of the Wood River Valley since 1994 and lives in Hailey with his wonderful wife Jen and precocious daughter Ava.
Finance & Database Assistant
Virginia recently joined the operations team at The Center. Born in Raleigh, NC and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Virginia studied Mathematics and Economics at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. After a brief stint in the corporate finance world, Virginia is excited to move back into the nonprofit realm, where the bulk of her professional experience comes from.
Special Events Fundraising Manager & Wine Auction Director
Born and raised in London, Callan studied English and American Literature at University of Sussex, with a year at Berkeley. Having always had a passion for good food, Callan joined a boutique catering company in London, planning events for groups from 14 to 400 guests. Regular visits to Sun Valley over the years in both summer and winter and as an avid skier, Callan moved to the valley permanently in 2014. She previously worked with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation assisting in organizing their annual fundraising events, The Wild West Game Dinner and the Janss Pro-Am, deepening her connection to this generous, passionate and fun-loving community. With a career which weaves her love of the arts and the appreciation of good food, good wine, and good friends, Callan has found a perfect fit with The Center, where all her passions can come into play.
A graduate of California Institute of the Arts, KO spent many years in the L.A. area working as a freelance stage manager with a number of theater companies, including the Center Theatre Group. After a long tenure with Universal Studios as an event manager and coordinator, KO followed her soul and moved to the mountains of Idaho where she has happily served as stage manager for Company of Fools since their 2005/2006 season.
Volunteer Program Manager and Company of Fools Company Manager
Kris spent a lot of time in the audience at the Liberty Theatre before she joined the staff at Company of Fools in 2010. She moved to the Valley in 1985 after earning a BA in French Language from the University of California, Davis. She has over 15 years’ experience in the non-profit sector and 20 years in the photography production industry. Kris lives in Hailey with her husband Michael and son Zachary.
Susie Quinn Fortner
Visual Art Education Program Coordinator and Teacher
Susie grew up in Ohio where she received her BFA in Art Education. After graduation, she moved to the Colorado mountains where she taught art for many years. This past June she moved to the Wood River Valley. Susie earned her master’s degree in Curriculum: Creative Arts and Learning from Lesley University and her administrative license from the University of Denver.
Education Associate and Arts & Crafts Festival Director
Sarah Stavros was born and raised in the Wood River Valley. Sarah received her BA in Spanish from the University of Idaho in 2004 and joined the Center’s staff in 2006. Sarah coordinates all Center adult and teen classes throughout the year and manages the wonderful Sun Valley Center Arts & Crafts Festival – a beloved annual community event.
Alison Van Hook
Alison has been raising support and awareness for art and arts education organizations for the past 15 years. Prior to joining the staff at The Center, she was the Executive Director of Inside Out Community Arts and the Development Officer for P.S. ARTS providing arts education to underserved youth in Los Angeles. She has also worked for the Autry Museum of the American West, the Fuller Craft Museum, and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation and has served as a development and strategic planning consultant to numerous other nonprofits. Alison has a BA in Art History from Tulane University and Master’s degree in Arts Education from Harvard University.
Born and raised in the Wood River Valley, Esther studied mission work in Belize and Thailand, became an Advanced Underwater Scuba Diver, and then lived and worked for nine months in Australia’s Sunshine Coast. After spending four years in New York City, personally assisting four children for a family based on Fifth Avenue and around the globe, she returned home to the valley and to The Center. You could say her world travel and big city culture have developed her artistic sensibility that make a great fit for her role as the Events Coordinator.