Staff & Board of Directors

Meet Our Staff

Michael Bosarge | Vice President of Finance & Operations
Michael Borsage
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Contact Michael for finance, operations, and human resources

Michael is an experienced finance and operations professional.  He has exemplified years of successfully helping lead organizations in high-level accounting, budgeting and audit compliance.  His keen understanding of accounting procedures and software systems is evident in his work. 

Several times throughout his professional career, he assumed additional responsibilities and was promoted internally.  His thought leadership is blended with his compassion for the well-being other people, which has also helped him excel in human resource director roles throughout his career. He has also helped lead information technology strategic planning and general operational strategies and compliance. 

Michael graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama.  While attending college, he was active and held various student leadership positions including President of the Student Programming Board, Financial Director for the Student Programming Board, Student Government Senator for the College of Business and President of the campus chapter of Circle K International, which is a collegiate service organization that is a leadership program of Kiwanis International.

Michael has over ten years of leadership experience in the non-profit sector as a member of the executive management team at South Arts and previously at Technology Association of Georgia.  With both organizations, he has served as the executive officer for the finance and operations sectors of the organizations. 

Sara Donnelly | Director, Jazz

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Contact Sara for Jazz Road

Sara Donnelly is a veteran arts administrator, connector and advocate with a specialty in jazz for many years. She recently joined the staff of South Arts in Atlanta, GA as its first Director, Jazz, to launch the forthcoming Jazz Road initiative in 2019. She will telework from her Washington, DC base. Donnelly has held more than a few grant making positions in the national jazz and arts funding arenas including the National Endowment for the Arts (Jazz Fellowships, Multi-Music Presenters); National Jazz Service Organization (Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest National Jazz Network); Association of Performing Arts Professionals (Continuing Education/Arts Partners); and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (Jazz Next, French-American Jazz Exchange, Jazz Touring Network).

Having served on the 2020 NEA Jazz Masters panel, Donnelly has enjoyed panel work for the National Endowment for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital, USA Fellows, Jazz Congress, International Association of Jazz Education, and JazzTimes, along with various regional and state arts agencies.

More recently she consulted for the DC Jazz Festival, launching DCJazzPrix, the festival's inaugural competition to award emerging, excellent jazz bands from across the U.S. She has co-produced concerts for Jazz at the Johns Hopkins Club in Baltimore, MD and Transparent Productions in Washington, DC. Donnelly is a founding Board member of CapitalBop, Inc. in Washington, DC.
Nikki Estes | Director, Presenting & Touring

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Contact Nikki for Performing Arts Touring grants, Literary Arts Touring grants, Express grants, Professional Development and Artistic Planning grants, Dance Touring Initiative

Nikki Estes, program director at South Arts, has worked in the Atlanta nonprofit arts community for over 25 years. She joined South Arts in May 2003 and manages the grants program which awards more than $550,000 annually to presenters within a nine-state region. She also manages special initiatives that support the presenting and touring dance field. Her main responsibilities include program design and evaluation, database management, panel coordination, and technical assistance.

Prior to her work at South Arts, Nikki was the Grants Supervisor at the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA).  While at the OCA, Nikki also assisted with the management of the youth arts program and music festivals.  She has worked at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and High Museum of Art – two of Atlanta’s most prominent visual arts organizations, and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Georgia Council for the Arts, Kentucky Arts Council, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Mississippi Arts Commission, South Carolina Arts Commission, Fulton County Arts Council, and Woodruff Arts Center.

Nikki has served on the Board of Directors for Atlanta Celebrates Photography and the Advisory Board for the Foundation Center-Atlanta. She has a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies for Arts Administration and a Master of Public Administration for Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University.
Teresa Hollingsworth | Director, Film & Traditional Arts

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Contact Teresa for Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Arts & Culture, Folklorists in the South, Traditional Arts Touring grants

Teresa Hollingsworth is the Program Director for Film and Traditional Arts. She recently launched a three-year project, In These Mountains, Central Appalachian Folk Arts & Culture that includes arts education, fieldwork, fellowships, and master artist/apprenticeship program expansion working in Appalachian Regional Commission counties in Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee. She also oversees the Traditional Arts Touring Grant program. Teresa directs the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers working closely with filmmakers and screening partner organizations to present new independent films throughout the South. She is also the Film Editor for the Journal of American Folklore.

Teresa has contributed to numerous media projects, educational publications and scholarly journals, curated museum exhibits, and frequently serves as a project consultant, lecturer, festival stage manager, and grant panelist. Previously, Teresa was a staff member for the following programs: Florida Folklife Program, Maine Folklife Center, and Kentucky Folklife Program. She holds a MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, Kentucky). Teresa serves on WKU’s Potter College of Arts & Letters’ Alumni Advisory Council.

Amy Howard | Program Contractor, Traditional Arts
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Contact Amy for In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Arts & Culture, Folklorists in the South, Traditional Arts Touring grants

Amy Howard received a BA in Anthropology from Brigham Young University and an MA in American Studies and Folklore from Utah State University. She has worked on multiple folklife documentation projects in Utah, Idaho, and Oregon, doing fieldwork and participating in the organization of public programs. She most recently documented traditional Mexican music in Southern Idaho for the Idaho Commission on the Arts and folklife in the Willamette Valley for the Oregon Folklife Network. During her time in Idaho, she also worked at Idaho State University as an instructor, teaching courses in folklore, English composition, and Spanish. Originally from North Carolina, Amy is happy to be back home in the South contributing to the preservation and documentation of folklore and folklife.

Leland McKeithan | Director, Special Projects & Accessibility Coordinator

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Contact Leland for Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants and Cross-Sector Impact Grants

Leland McKeithan is the Director of Special Projects and Accessibility Coordinator for South Arts. She serves as project manager for a variety of programmatic and operational activities such as curating the Kennedy Centers’ Arts Across America Livestream Series as well as developing and implementing a centralized database and grants management system. She is the South Arts Accessibility Coordinator and manages various grant programs including the Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants and Cross-Sector Impact Grants. As a member of the Presenting and Touring team at South Arts, Leland contributes to presenting and touring programming and serves as liaison to presenter networks in the South. Prior to sunsetting the program in 2019, Leland was the Director of Performing Arts Exchange conference.

Leland has a background in philanthropy and project management. She has served as a Grants Administrator for JP Morgan Philanthropic Services, a Program Officer for Southern Partners Fund, and a Grants/Project Management Consultant for many clients including the Southeastern Council of Foundations. Leland grew up in Winston-Salem, NC; studied at Boston University, School of Fine Arts, and Sarah Lawrence College, where she earned her B.A. in political science. She made New York her home for nine years before settling in Atlanta, GA in 2006.

Leland has a performing arts background in musical theater, voice, and dance. She has been the lead vocalist for the community big bands Capitol City Xpress and Broad Street Jazz, and she currently leads her own jazz combo The Standards Project. Leland is also an avid social Latin dancer.

Ethan Messere | Assistant Director, Presenting & Touring

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Contact Ethan for Emerging Leaders of Color, Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grants

Ethan Messere is the Assistant Director of Presenting & Touring. He administers professional development programming for arts professionals, liaises with presenter networks and other members of the presenting and touring field, and provides assistance for many of South Arts' programs. In this role, he has also been responsible for registration and showcases for the Performing Arts Exchange.

Ethan holds a Masters of Music in Orchestral Performance from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in music performance from Syracuse University. Prior to his work in arts administration, he worked as a freelance trumpet player in Atlanta and in his home region of Upstate New York. A lifelong fan of all things basketball, Ethan cheers on the Syracuse Orange whenever he can.
Dmitry Ponomarenko | Accounting & Operations Manager

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Contact Dmitry for finance, accounting, accounts payable, and office management

Dmitry Ponomarenko received a B.A. in Economics from Georgia State University and is currently on track to graduate in August of 2020 with B.B.A. in Accounting from Georgia State University. He spent ten years working as a Data Analyst for LifeLink of Georgia, a non-profit organization which specializes in Organ and Tissue transplantation.  Dmitry is also in the process of earning his CPA license in the state of Georgia. He has a keen mind for numbers and wants to use his experience and knowledge to help people properly plan their financial future.

In his spare time, Dmitry runs a small wholesale distribution company which helps local tattoo artists get the supplies they need to perform their art. As his company motto says, “Leave the art to the artist and let us handle the rest."

Somalia Ra-min | Program Assistant

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Contact Somalia for Jazz Road

As an emerging singer, songwriter, and art administrator, Somalia understands the complexity of what it means to be an artist today. Her passion for helping individual artists is what lead her to South Arts. She serves as the program assistant for Jazz Road and assists in additional South Arts programming. While working with the Jazz Road Tours grant program, she's assisted in administering grants to mid career jazz artists to tour across the country. She has previously worked for local arts organizations like C4 Atlanta and Atlanta Celebrates Photography. Somalia holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Women's Studies with a concentration in performing arts from Spelman College. 

Ivan Schustak | Director, Communications

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Contact Ivan for media relations, web/social media, and South Arts' communications as well as the South Arts Resilience Fund

Ivan Schustak oversees the communications and fundraising activities for South Arts. Prior to joining South Arts, Ivan served as Marketing and Communications Manager with the Pasadena Symphony and POPS and held the inaugural position of Guest Service Manager at Phoenix’s new Musical Instrument Museum. Ivan has also held positions with the Georgia Institute of Technology Office of the Arts, Arizona Opera, and the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts. As a formerly active performer, Ivan specialized in the euphonium and trombone, holding first-chair positions in the Rutgers University Wind Ensemble and the Rutgers University Jazz Ensemble II. Ivan holds a BM in Music Education from Rutgers University, and an MA in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University.

Cheri Snyder | Vice President of Advancement

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Contact Cheri for donor relations, fundraising, and sponsorship opportunities

Cheri Snyder joined South Arts in the fall of 2020 as Vice President of Advancement. Cheri’s 17-year career as an advocate for arts and culture philanthropy includes over a decade as Vice President of Development with the Atlanta History Center where her work supported all areas of the museum's fundraising initiatives including annual fund and membership programs, exhibition sponsorships, education and outreach programs and major capital funding efforts including the historic Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama restoration completed in 2017. Prior to her work with the Atlanta History Center, Cheri began her development career as a gifts officer with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

A Florida native and trained musician, Cheri holds a Bachelor of Music from Stetson University and completed graduate studies in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Suzette M. Surkamer | President & CEO

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Suzette "Susie" Surkamer began as the South Arts chief executive in 2012. Previously, she had been the Executive Director of the South Carolina Arts Commission until she retired in 2009. Her past service includes president of  the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), treasurer of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, member of the Coca-Cola Scholarship National Selection Committee, member of the National Arts Education Partnership Steering Committee, member of the Winthrop University Board of Visitors, member of Clemson University’s President’s Advisory Committee, and on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and other organizations. Winthrop University awarded her its Medal of Honor in the Arts (2006), and NASAA recognized her with the Gary Young Award (2008). Susie earned a MEd in dance education from George Washington University and a BA in dance from the University of Maryland.

Jordan Young | Communications, Film & Media Manager

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Contact Jordan for Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers  

Jordan Young is an interdisciplinary media artist, educator, and arts advocate based in Atlanta, Georgia. As Communications Assistant, Jordan handles media design and helps determine communication strategy. Jordan also helps coordinate the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. Jordan is the Co-founder and Creative Director of Fort Psych Media & Events and holds an MA in Media Arts from University of South Carolina and a BA in Production Studies in Performing Arts from Clemson University.

Joy Young | Vice President of Programs

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Contact Joy for programmatic strategies and services for constituents

Joy Young, Ph.D. has more than 25 years of experience in the arts as an entrepreneurial performing artist, arts administrator, and academic. Joy’s work as a performing artist included owning a successful music studio and performing as a recitalist, sanctuary soloist, studio and background vocalist. Her 14-year tenure with the South Carolina Arts Commission was highlighted by serving on the executive leadership team as the agency Director of Administration, Human Resources, and Operations. Joy also implemented a variety of programs at the South Carolina Arts Commission to include arts/artist entrepreneurship; nonprofit leadership and organizational development; cultural tourism; statewide conferences and convening; and the AIR Institute. Joy’s contribution to the arts at the national level include service as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, member of the Committee for Individual Artists with Grantmakers in the Arts, and a mentor for the NASAA DEI Mentorship Program.

Most recently, Joy served the Executive Director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Her work saw her committed to a team who worked together implementing innovative programs, developing and executing proactive and quantifiable arts and culture initiatives, and broadening relationships with new networks and stakeholders. Joy found tremendous success capitalizing on the power of public-private partnerships as a strategy to significantly increase the Cultural Council’s earned revenue.

Joy enjoys sharing her experiences from the field in the classroom by preparing the next generation of arts administrators in the Master of Arts in Arts Administration at Winthrop University to be adaptive leaders. Joy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Master of Arts in Voice Performance, and the Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. Her research interests include arts leadership, program assessment and evaluation, and organization and leadership adaptations amid dynamic environmental paradigms.

Board of Directors

Our Board represents leaders from our nine-state region and beyond. They work across sectors in business, government, and the arts. We're proud to have these thoughtful and accomplished leaders leading and advancing South Arts. 


Ben Rex
Columbia, SC

Neil Barclay
Vice Chair
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Detroit, MI

William McKinney
Office of NC Governor
Raleigh, NC

Elliot Knight
Alabama State Council on the Arts
Montgomery, AL

Board Members

Cathy Adams
Fernandina Beach, FL

Alejandro Aguirre
Aguirre Consultants, Inc.
Miami, FL

Christopher Cathers
Kentucky Arts Council
Frankfort, KY

Elmore DeMott
Montgomery, AL

John T. Edge
Southern Foodways Alliance
Oxford, MS

Sonya Halpern
Atlanta, GA

Kurt R. Hilbert, Esq.
Hilbert Law Firm, LLC
Roswell, GA

Glenda E. Hood
Hood Partners
Orlando, FL

Wayne Martin
North Carolina Arts Council
Raleigh, NC

Nina Parikh
Mississippi Film Office
Jackson, MS

David Platts
South Carolina Arts Commission
Columbia, SC

Anne B. Pope
Tennessee Arts Commission
Nashville, TN

Dennis Scholl
Oolite Arts
Miami Beach, FL

Sandy Shaughnessy
Florida Division of Cultural Affairs
Tallahassee, FL

Sarah Story
Mississippi Arts Commission
Jackson, MS