Maria Fortuna Dean chosen as LCA Executive Director!
Lewiston Council on the Arts (LCA) is excited to announce the appointment of its new Executive Director, Maria Fortuna Dean. Maria is a native of Niagara Falls, NY who has enjoyed an international career as a performing artist, educator and director. She has sung leading roles with opera companies and orchestras throughout the US and Europe, and has taught on the voice faculties of UCLA, CalArts and Carnegie Mellon University and was Director of Opera at Pasadena City College. “I’m thrilled to be coming home to Western New York", said Maria, "and I’m looking forward to continuing all the wonderful programs that Irene and Eva have nourished all these years in addition to exploring new creative possibilities with our cultural partners throughout our community.” Outgoing Executive Director Irene Rykaszewski commented “I really can’t imagine anyone better than Maria to take LCA into the future. With her experience and creativity, she will certainly bring fresh perspective and ideas as she continues to build community through the arts and with her deep roots in Niagara County, the transition will be seamless. Hiring Maria makes me very optimistic about the future of this organization.”
“Following a search and interviews with multiple strong candidates, it was clear Maria stood out and we were thrilled she accepted our offer to become the LCA's new executive director,” Board President Tod Kniazuk said. “Between the hiring of Maria and the addition of our new board directors, the LCA is ready for 2023 and beyond.”
The following new LCA board members will begin their terms in January of 2023: Michelle Kratts, Adult Services Librarian & geneology and local history research specialist Lewiston Public Library; Edward Millar, Folk Arts Curator Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University; Cynthia Sanchez, Art Teacher Lewiston-Porter High School and Chelsea Sears, Photographer and Owner of Chelsea Modern Images. They join current board members Tod Kniazuk (President), Anna Fontana (Vice President), Suzanne Brown (Treasurer), and Directors Pat MacDonald, Gene Kulbago and Marian Granfield. Board member Mary Helen Miskuly has completed her terms and leaves the organization along with the staff who will retire as of the first of the year; Irene Rykaszewski Executive Director, Eva Nicklas Artistic Director and staff members Kathryn Serianni and Tim Henderson.