Ashley S. Jordan, Director Arts & Cultural Programming

Ashley S. Jordan is Director of Arts and Cultural Programming for Black Arts MKE responsible for the creation and execution of culturally relevant arts programming.

She values the work and ongoing tradition Black Arts MKE is building and continuing to set the tone for creative greatness, educational growth in our schools through the arts and more. 

Ashley is currently pursuing her MBA at Alverno College. She served as a Lead In-House Program Coordinator at PEARLS for Teen Girls. She had the joy of being a Lead Teaching Artist, Recruitment Coordinate, and Community Engagement Associate for Milwaukee Repertory Theater for the August Wilson Monologue Competition now known as Next Narrative Monologue Competition. She considers herself an advocate for equality and justice working with Leaders Igniting Transformation and African American Roundtable. She was Co-founder of Lights! Camera! Soul! While bridging the gap with the theater community at Alverno College and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ashley holds an Associate Degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College in Marketing Management and a B.A. in Leadership from Alverno College. She is a proud alum and owes all of her gratitude to the fine women and aunts in her life. She continues to create and promote theater to bring a powerful change and impactful conversations to the MKE community. 

 

Barbara J. Wanzo, Executive Director

Barbara Wanzo has invested over 25 years in the corporate sector employing her leadership expertise in new business start-ups, technology, sales and marketing.  Making the move to the arts nonprofit sector in 2012, she worked to help organizations with modest resources, enhance their social footprint, brand value and achieve significant community impact and scale. 

Barbara seized the opportunity to launch a new nonprofit arts organization when hired as Executive Director for Black Arts MKE.  Black Arts MKE’s mission is increase the availability and quality African American arts and culture.  Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Barbara is an exceptional business leader, public speaker and change agent.  She serves on Black Arts Fest MKE and Next Door Foundation boards.  Barbara holds an Executive MBA from Marquette University. 

 

G'Toya Blackmon, Education & Outreach Coordinator

G’Toya Blackmon is Education and Outreach Coordinator responsible for supporting the development and implementation of education programming and arts-based community engagement.

She is a multidisciplinary artist and creative entrepreneur with a passion for the healing arts. She attended Young Leaders Academy and studied theatre, poetry, dance and music. In high school, she performed in various independent films ‘That High School Life’, ‘Affliction’ in the Chicago Film Festival 2014, and ‘The Godfathers’ (unreleased). G'Toya pursued the creative arts with the college campus’ ‘Creatives’ performing hip hop dance, spoken word, and at the Arkansas Theater Festival. 

G'Toya is double majoring in criminal justice and psychology with concentration in public policy. She is experienced in relational organizing at Metcalfe Park Community Bridges, electoral campaigns with For Our Future Action Fund and various managerial positions along with event coordination. She grounds herself in culturally relevant and historically accurate information to address disparities in these institutions and the effects on society. She is utilizing her studies and entrepreneurial pursuits to focus on art therapies interconnected with healing modalities to extend these services to trauma survivors, incarcerated persons and the education system. She is determined to offer these services because it opens our communities to opportunities embracing a holistic perspective of our struggles, providing options for advocacy and transmutation.

 

Rebecca L. Owen, Chief Development Officer

Rebecca is the Chief Development Officer for Black Arts MKE responsible for strategic fundraising and development.  She brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of philanthropy. Rebecca will advance Black Arts MKE's mission to mentor youth of color in underrepresented nonprofit management career fields including the dynamic and rewarding fundraising/development sector.

Rebecca has served as the Development Director for Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Deputy Director, Development at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and Vice President of Development for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.   She  served as a member of the Board of the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra and Bookwork Gardens and belongs to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, FUEL Milwaukee and REV Collective.  Rebecca has a Masters of Art in Museum Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in History.

In her spare time, Rebecca loves to spend time with family and friends (especially her dog!), traveling, reading, writing, playing music, photography and volunteering.

 

Sheri Williams Pannell, Producing Artistic Associate

Sheri Williams Pannell is a founding member of Bronzeville Arts Ensemble and Producing Artistic Director. Pannell has performed or directed at a number of Milwaukee’s theaters including Skylight Music Theatre, First Stage, In Tandem, Florentine Opera, The Rep, and Milwaukee Chamber. Beyond Milwaukee, she has worked at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Old Lyric Rep (Logan, UT), Children’s Theater of Madison, University Theater and University Opera (UW Madison). A playwright, her work has been produced at First Stage (Welcome To Bronzeville), The Rep (Miss Williams, Harlem Nocturne, The Care Package), Milwaukee Arts Museum (An Evening At Chez Bricktop’s, With Hand And Heart), Theatre X (Singing In A Strange Land) and African American Children’s Theater (Baby Dearest, The Freedman’s Child). Pannell is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Peck School of the Arts. In addition, Pannell is an Artistic Associate at First Stage and co-directs the drama ministry at Calvary Baptist Church. A graduate of Spelman College, Pannell also holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Love to Don and Don2.