PALMER ARTS COUNCIL
Board of Directors
Mike has been a member of the Palmer Arts Council since 2017, and its President for the past two years. He is passionate about the arts because they provide an opportunity for individuals to express and share stories, ideas and emotions in powerful way with their community. Mike believes that art often defines culture and is supportive of the cultural identity that exists and is growing here in Palmer. When he’s not appreciating the arts, Mike works as a civil engineer in downtown Palmer. He also enjoys playing music and singing with friends at various venues (mostly bonfires lately) throughout Alaska.
A longtime local educator, Pat Chesbro is devoting her retirement years to volunteering in local efforts to better the community. As a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and university assistant professor, she recognizes the importance of the arts to the health of all individuals. Along with the Palmer Arts Council, Pat serves on the board of the Palmer Museum of History and Art and the Palmer Community Foundation. All efforts of these groups intend to make the Palmer area a welcoming place for artists, an inspirational place for youth, and a supportive environment for all.
Howard is a retired American Baptist minister. He is honored as Pastor Emeritus at Church of the Covenant in Palmer. All three of his children are successful professionals in the arts. He and his wife, Darlene, have lived in the Valley for over 32 years.
Howard is an original member of the Arts Council board and was instrumental in its formation. He is excited about the future of Palmer Arts Council and its activities.
Andrea was born and raised in rural Minnesota, where she grew up playing piano and taking dance classes. She earned a BA in English Literature from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, where she also took art classes and enjoyed as many performances as possible from students and faculty in the school’s music conservatory. She then spent time teaching English as a Second Language abroad and in the US, and eventually earned a Master’s degree in Education, a K-8 teaching certificate. She is also a poet and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She first visited Alaska in 2000, returned for a couple summers, and eventually came back to stay in 2011. In 2014, she moved to Palmer, where she lives with her husband, son, and two stepsons. In 2018, she decided to switch careers, began learning to tune and service pianos, and opened her own small piano service business. She is looking forward to working with other members of the board to get the Bailey piano back in shape!
JOHNNY HAMMONS JR.
My name is Johnny Hammons Jr., a life-long Alaskan and I enjoy work as a Yard Lead for Spenard Builders Supply. I love writing poetry, and can very much appreciate all artforms. My first involvement with the Palmer Arts Council was helping move and build sets for our summer theatre camp for youth. I then started transporting and setting up sound equipment for concerts and annual events. I have since chosen to become a board member and I have a young daughter that I wish to be active with the Palmer Arts Council’s theatre program. I look forward to our continued facilitation of the Arts in the Valley.
Lynne was born, raised, and formally educated in Wyoming. She arrived in Alaska in 1973 to work as a Special Education Specialist for State Operated Schools assigned to the Aleutians. In 1978 she began an eight year position with UAF in a state-wide rural teacher training program (XCEED) while based in Bethel, where her son, Tav, was born. After a year of post graduate work at MSU and another teaching ESL in China, Lynne and Tav moved to Dillingham, for three years of ESL, before transferring to Aleknagik as PT for four years, prior to coming to the valley to teach special ed. Living in Palmer since 1996, Lynne is currently retired, while she continues to substitute, write adoption home studies, and provide cognitive rehabilitation for individuals with learning difficulties. She enjoys travel, reading, bicycling, xc skiing and dog walks in her leisure time.
A founding member on the original charter of Palmer Arts Council, Dean first moved to Palmer in 1967. He is a graduate of the University of Alaska and taught theatre and psychology courses as an adjunct professor at UAA-Matanuska-Susitna College.
Dean has served as Artistic Director and Board President of Valley Performing Arts and has directed and acted in many of their productions including Steel Magnolias, Playboy of the Western World, Fences and Stones in His Pockets.
He recently directed Man of La Mancha which was performed at the Glenn Massey Theatre and featured Betsy Scott as Miguel Cervantes (Don Quixote) the first time a woman has ever been cast in that role. In 2005, with the support of Palmer Arts Council, he directed Proof, which was performed at the Palmer Depot.
Dean’s three children: Sarah, Joe and Mitchell all graduated from Palmer High School. Sarah recently purchased the family farm in Palmer and launched Mountain Field Farm. She was the first donor of Farmland Forever property and now serves on the Alaska Farmland Trust Board.
Retired after years of service at the Fair, Dean hopes to facilitate bringing a small-intimate black box theatre to Palmer as part of downtown arts and cultural district. Hopefully, that facility would be a prospective home for the restored Baldwin D9 concert grand Bailey piano, a project that Palmer Arts Council is undertaking.
In his spare time, Dean operates Best Kept Secret, a BnB in downtown Palmer and is an avid organic gardener and golfer.