ArtsFairfax Reveals New Board Members and Executive Team

Learn more about the new members here!

By: Jul. 08, 2024
ArtsFairfax Reveals New Board Members and Executive Team
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ArtsFairfax, the local arts agency that offers funding to Northern Virginia’s nonprofit arts sector, promotes local arts and culture activities, and connects arts workers to work and professional development opportunities, has announced new members to its Board of Directors and new officers to the Board Executive Committee.

New to the Board

Six community leaders join the nonprofit board’s diverse set of skills and expertise: Barry Biggar, President & CEO, Visit Fairfax; Elizabeth B. Murphy, Consultant, AMorrison Consulting; Lori Brown-Simmons, Executive Director, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston; Raea Jean Leinster, Chief Yuck Officer, Yuck Old Paint; Colonel Joseph Funderburke, Senior Military Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies within the National Defense University; and Philip Niedzielski-Eichner, President, Governmental Dynamics.

“ArtsFairfax is thrilled about this talented roster of leadership. Each enthusiastic individual joins a dynamic board with a shared commitment to celebrate Fairfax arts and culture. All of us choose to call this community home, and all of us choose to better its arts and culture vibrancy through advocacy and civic engagement,” says Scott Cryer, ArtsFairfax Board Chair and Associate Vice President and Principal at architecture firm HGA.

Executive Officers

In addition to Cryer, the newly elected Executive Committee includes Michael Liberman, formerly Director of Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services, as Vice Chair; Julie Carter, President at Carter Consulting Group, as Secretary; and Amy Ginn, CPA, Partner at Burdette Smith & Bish, as Treasurer.

“ArtsFairfax is dedicated to connecting local artists and residents to vital cultural events, resources, and opportunities. With the support of our Board, ArtsFairfax staff remain accountable to all who live in Fairfax County and its surrounding towns and cities,” says Stuart Holt, ArtsFairfax President & CEO.

ArtsFairfax serves the local arts sector in three core areas:

Funding the arts through advocacy and as grant makers with three major grant programs funded by the County in the categories of general operating support, project support, and ticket and participation subsidy.

Promoting arts and culture activities on its online events calendar, artist directory, public art locator, and through partnerships with Tysons Corner Center and Capital One Hall, among others.

Connecting arts workers to free professional development workshops, job listings, artist calls, and award opportunities including the Fairfax County Poet Laureate program.

To support these efforts, ArtsFairfax regularly conducts research, including the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study with Americans for the Arts, and their recently launched Fairfax Regional Artist Survey, which urges local working artists to share the needs and obstacles they face in living and working in the Fairfax area. The artist survey remains open and will close December 31, 2024.

More about New Board Members

Barry H. Biggar (President & CEO, Fairfax County Convention & Visitors Corporation) has been the President and CEO of Visit Fairfax since August 2008. Biggar came to Fairfax County Virginia from Bryan-College Station Texas where he held the position of President & CEO for their Convention & Visitors Bureau.  He went to Texas after serving as Vice President, Sales and Marketing for the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau in Kentucky. Prior to Lexington, Barry was with the Calgary, Alberta, Canada Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Barry has a degree in Commerce from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and prior to joining the Tourism Industry completed and received a diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, Alberta.

Elizabeth B. Murphy (Consultant, AMorrison Consulting, LLC) is a tireless advocate for the power of philanthropy. Her areas of expertise include annual giving, major gifts, event planning, grant writing, board development, interim management, recruitment and hiring, and strategic planning for organizations. She is a catalyst for change within organizations that strive to become stronger, more efficient, and focused on delivering their mission.

Elizabeth has led the Fairfax Choral Society and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, as well as Leadership Fairfax, a county-wide leadership training program. As the founding Executive Director of Educate Fairfax, she grew the organization to over $1,000,000 in donations within three years and established a strong and vibrant donor base. She has created and launched programs of all kinds, from large galas, to multiple leadership training programs, a grants program for teachers, and alumni recognition events. 

Elizabeth resides in Fairfax County, where she raised her two children.

Lori Brown-Simmons (Executive Director, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston) currently serves at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, a law firm with 16 offices across the mid-Atlantic region. Prior to Whiteford, she has held a variety of executive level positions at global law firms, including Chief Operating Officer for the global Corporate and Finance practice at Hogan Lovells, and Practice Group Director at DLA Piper.

An electrical engineer by training, Lori pursued an interest in business and earned her MBA at the Wharton School. She spent three years at Goldman Sachs in its Fixed Income Asset Management Group, working with institutional clients to help them understand the performance of their fixed income investments. After Goldman, she devoted several years to a NY-based entrepreneurial start-up and a DC-based educational publishing company before embarking on a career in the legal industry.

Lori earned her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia and her MBA with a Finance and Entrepreneurial Management concentration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

She is a long time Virginia resident, having lived in Charlottesville, Manassas, McLean and now Fairfax for 17 years, where she lives with her husband Rutledge and children Cameron, Clayton and Luna.

Raea Jean Leinster (Chief Yuck Officer, Yuck Old Paint) founded Yuck Old Paint in 20214 based on the reuse model of collecting old paint and giving the useable paint to theatre companies for set design, and to local contractors looking for a specific type of paint. Much of it is distributed overseas, to developing countries for sale in hardware stores and for humanitarian construction projects.

Raea Jean studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and has a B.A. degree in Russian and Czech Language Studies from George Mason University. Ms. Leinster has performed with the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava, Slovakia, the American Opera Festival in Graz, Austria, the Pest Symphony in Budapest, Hungary, and in Lima, Peru.  Additional engagements have included the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, Germany, the Lithuania Opera & Ballet Orchestra in Vilnius, Lithuania and the Napoli Opera Orchestra at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy. 

She also has an active career in historical art restoration and faux finishes, launching Wall Transformation Designs in 2003. Clients include the YMCA on V St., NW DC; The Federal Bankruptcy Courthouse in Alexandria, VA; Heist Nightclub in NW DC; the Sherwin Williams National Design Center in Bethesda, MD. She completely restored the art deco friezes and columns in the 1920s Sedgwick Gardens lobby on Connecticut Ave, NW DC, and was the gilding artist-in-residence at the Washington National Cathedral (2010 - 2016).

Colonel Joseph Funderburke, Ph.D. (Senior Military Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies within the National Defense University) specializes in evaluating the impact of political polarization on national security.  

Joe has a rich professional history, including his participation as a National Security Fellow in M.I.T.'s prestigious Seminar XXI, and his roles as a graduate-level educator teaching advanced leadership and strategy at Georgetown University and Syracuse University. His government service is highlighted by his tenure as the Director of Strategic Planning for the National Security Council at the White House, and as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. His legislative experience includes a fellowship in the U.S. House of Representatives. With over three years of combat duty, primarily in the Middle East with Special Operations Task Forces, he has considerable field experience. 

His academic credentials are equally impressive, with a B.S. from West Point, a M.A. from the Naval War College in National Security and Strategic Studies, a M.P.S. in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Security Studies from the University of Central Florida.

Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner (President, Governmental Dynamics - A Benefit Corporation) is a seasoned senior executive with 45 years of public and private sector experience, including senior executive service (SES) appointments in the U.S. Departments of Energy, and its National Nuclear Security Administration, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

Niedzielski-Eichner was honored to be named by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors as a “Lord Fairfax” for Providence District for his volunteer community service. His current service includes being an at-large Planning Commissioner and Commission Chairman and a volunteer truck driver for Food For Others. He is a twice-elected Fairfax County School Board member and School Board Chairman; a member of the Park Authority Board; and Chairman of three county-wide committees on police reform and use-of-force practices.

He holds a Master of Public Administration from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio and a B.S. in pre-medical Biology, John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio. 


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