MCA is governed by an all-volunteer board. Members are elected for three year terms, and are eligible for a second term. The Board of Directors meets once a month, with the exception of December. MCA’s Annual Meeting of the Corporation is held in January when MCA members elect new board members, receive the annual report, and learn about MCA’s strategic direction.
Lisa is originally from Merritt Island, FL and has been an Ocala resident since 2003. She’s a numbers geek and counts sprinkles for a living at Signature Brands, LLC (translate that as “she’s in the Finance department and looks at spreadsheets all day and likes it!”). Lisa has always enjoyed art; taking drawing and painting classes up through high school, singing in her church choir and holding season tickets to Broadway shows in Orlando. A big Star Wars fan since forever, she has a room decorated with all kinds of memorabilia from the movies. Lisa also loves to read, cook and bake (all her cookies get rave reviews).
Favorite art quote: “[Art] is very, very involved. It requires the passion and commitment, the research and the dog-mindedness just to bludgeon your way through it and make it happen”
– Lawrence Noble (creator of the Yoda statue at Presidio Park)
Growing grown up in Marion County, then moving to other areas, I came back in 1989 to find the Appleton Museum! Since I moved back here from Washington, D.C. where I had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful exhibits, it was a marvelous surprise.
Over the years there have been arts activities in Marion County…now there are ARTS ACTIVITIES IN MARION COUNTY! Much of that is due to Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA), partner artists and organizations, and the community. As a non-artist, I am so grateful to be associated with the arts movement in the area by being on the MCA board.
I have had a wide variety of work adventures, and have been selling real estate in Marion County since 1989. It is so nice to be able to talk about the growing arts community to folks who are moving to the area. It’s work that will continue to offer artists and non-artists the ability to support this lovely place to live.
Ellen Amatea is currently serving as Treasurer of MCA, MCA Public Art Chair and is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida where she taught courses in child, marriage and family counseling for many years. In her academic research she explored how the quality of school, family and community relationships influences children’s and academic achievement and emotional development. She recently retired and is now exploring the many forms of watercolor painting and is especially interested in the impact of public art in under-resourced neighborhoods.
My favorite art quote: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton
Crystal Fernung is a lifelong horsewoman, active in the Florida Thoroughbred industry for over 40 years. She started her career in various positions in 1976 with Lasater Farm including pedigree research and assistant office manager. In 1989, Crystal and her husband Brent established their own company, Journeyman Bloodstock Services, Inc. Fernung has served as vice president of that company since its inception. Journeyman Bloodstock is a full-service bloodstock agency. Over the past 18 years they have purchased, as agent for various owners over 13 million dollars’ worth of horses in public auction as well as selling more than 900 horses.
Cystal spent the 80’s and early 90’s painting and showing her work, and has been commissioned for artwork by such notables as George Steinbrenner and Barry Shipp, owner of Jovan cosmetics.
David A. D’Alessandris creates artworks in acrylics, watercolor, and mixed media, emphasizing color, vibrancy, texture, and perspective. His materials of choice are recycled paper, boards, various fibers ,wood, canvas and glass. (also found recycled and repurposed objects).
His award winning paintings, drawings, and mixed-media/ decorative arts have been featured in group/ solo exhibits and International Juried shows including Lynn Kottler Galleries, 225 Gallery, and DIFFA , New York City; Around the Coyote, Chicago, ILL.; Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA.; Shady Side Arts Festival, PGH. PA, .The Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, Pittsburgh, PA.; Greenburg Museum Of Art, Greensburg PA, Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West VA.; Cornell Museum of Art, Delray Beach, FL; Gallery 221, Boca Raton, FL; Gallery East, Webber Gallery (CF Campus) Ocala, FL., Kevro, Gallery, Delray,FL.; Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, FL; Marion Cultural Alliance, Ocala, FL.,FAFO, Ocala; FL., ArtRestoration, Dallas,TX, Artspace, Miami,FL.
David is the recipient the Annual “Conch Awards” from the Burdines Department Store for Home Fashion/Design,(89,90,91) National Accessory Design/ Home Fashion Awards from the Dallas Buyers Mart: 1991/92/93. International Color-Marketing Award 1998, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, product design.(93,94,95)
Who’s Who in American Art.(2000).
David has more than 30 years experience in home fashion and product design. His work in that field has been featured at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta , Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh; PA ,Merchandise Mart, High Point, N.C., Dallas Merchandise Mart, Dallas; TX. Chicago Merchandise mart. He credits his international travel and retail experience as a major influence on his fine art and home designs.
He earned an Associate of Science Degree in Commercial Art, Beaver Co. Community College/1974, Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, design, and studio arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1976. Graduate study in the Master of Fine Arts program at Carnegie Mellon University/Huntingtom Museum, West VA., and holds a dual MFA in Fine Art/Design and Art/Product Marketing 1980.
David is a member of the following organizations:
Ocala Art group, Visual Artists Society, Marion Cultural Alliance (Board member), Delray Art League, Gainesville Arts Association, Florida Society of Artists, Gallery 22, Boca Raton, Society of Artists, Pgh. PA., National Watercolor Society. Smithsonian Invitational.
In 2011 David’s design “Forest King” was chosen to be part of the second generation of “Horse Fever”. Angie Lewis Insurance sponsored David’s piece and it sat on their grounds for several months.
Received the 2017 Service Award from Applaud the Arts, City of Ocala /National Endowments of the Arts for his active service to the arts in the city of Ocala.
“To be an artist is to believe in life.” – Henry Moore
Lisa Midgett, a native of Miami, FL, has lived in Ocala/Marion County since 1994. Her work experience has included management roles in both for profit and not for profit organizations. Lisa also owned and operated a coffee shop, a fitness studio, and a hair salon.
Lisa has been married to David Midgett for 27 years and has two grown children and a grandchild. When not horsing around at her farm, Lisa focuses on her philanthropic work, traveling with David, and learning new things.
“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”
Vincent Van Gogh
Here she is on the top of the SpringHill Suites by Marriott, the newest hotel to be added to the HDG Hotels profile and the site of MCA’s Over the Edge rapelling event March 30…which she is also chairing! (Have you signed up?!)
Before joining the HDG Hotels team in 2016 as Chief People and Culture Officer, Lisa worked in a leadership, local advocacy and mentoring capacity with nonprofits, financial institutions, arts organizations, high profile events, higher education, start-ups, and with individual executives. She has led organizations through overhauls of vision and mission statements, conducted board development trainings, and represented brands as a spokesperson, primarily in Florida and New York.
Lisa also served as Director of Development at the College of Central Florida Foundation and Campaign Counsel for the Central Florida Y’s DeLuca YMCA – helping each raise their single largest gifts at that time. She is a co-founder and instructor at the Performing Arts Conservatory and currently serves as chair for the Marion Cultural Alliance, (which she declares, “the best board EVER”) a micro-volunteer for Dance Alive National Ballet, and the Executive Leadership Team for the AHA Heart Walk.
She has an incredible partner in all this, Adam Lombardo and two sons, Caleb (13) and Luke (10) who can’t imagine a life without the arts. An Ocala native, she and Adam returned to Ocala 13 years ago to be near their parents and sisters who all live in this great community they so proudly call home.
When asked what inspires her, she answers, “people,” and she believes the first step toward progress is a person having clarity of purpose. Lisa received a bachelor of arts in Communication Studies from Furman University in South Carolina and a master of arts in Public Administration from the University of South Florida. Lisa remains involved in advocacy for the arts through the Marion Cultural Alliance, which she chairs; and also the hospitality industry.
Jo grew up in Miami, Florida, and after trying out half a dozen other states, moved back to Florida in 2007. She received a B.S. in Audio Engineering and Music Education from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, and a Master’s of Educational Leadership from Saint Leo University. She has worked as a studio vocalist and sound engineer, and has been in the education field for 18 years. Jo has taught chorus, general music, orchestra, percussion, piano, science, and math; and is also the Director of Music Ministries at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
Jo spent ten years teaching in the Marion County Public Schools, and is currently serving as the Fine Arts Program Specialist for the Marion County Public Schools. She facilitates collaboration between our local schools and the community, and utilizes Marion County’s diverse arts resources to benefit the students of Marion County including, but not limited to, Fine Arts for Ocala, the Ocala Civic Theater, the Marion Cultural Alliance, the City of Ocala’s Cultural Division, and the Appleton Museum.
Ms. Crowder is a strong advocate of a well-rounded education, and believes that the fine arts are an essential element of child development. Her mission is to ensure that all of Marion County’s students are receiving excellent instruction in the Fine Arts, and that students are given varied opportunities to experience and interact with the arts. She was recognized as the Fine Arts Educator of the Year in 2017 by the Marion Cultural Alliance for her advocacy of Fine Arts in Education.
Jo is proud to call Ocala home, and is especially impressed with Ocala’s love for the arts and the quality of the arts offered in the community.
The arts are fundamental to our common humanity. Every time we attend the theater, a museum or a concert, we are literally feeding our souls, and investing in and preserving our collective future. – Julie Andrews
Devon Chestnut, born and raised in Ocala, is the communications manager for Cox Communication’s Southeast Region. In this role, Devon manages internal communications for the region’s 1,900 employees in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. If that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she also manages Cox’s community relations efforts for the Ocala market.
Devon is known for her creativity and innovative thinking dating back to the numerous commercial art and journalism classes she took in high school (she was an Ocala Star Banner Silver Garland Award nominee for Journalism and a proud graduate of North Marion High). When she’s not working in the office or out in the community, she enjoys spending time with her husband, a firefighter/EMT with Marion County Fire Rescue, and their two children. She also enjoys photography, baking and posting on her blog, Beauty Tips from a Busy Mom.
Mary Delancey has been an “arts enthusiast” from the first time she took a crayon in her hand and drew pictures on the underside of her grandmother’s kitchen table. Her love of all things creative has been nurtured by classes in drawing, painting, music and dance from a very early age. And all these experiences have given Mary an appreciation of artistic expression and an understanding of how art enriches our lives. She is grateful for the arts community here in Ocala and to be part of MCA’s work to support art and artists.
Mary came to Ocala 10 years ago after a 30 year career with the Department of Veterans Affairs, living almost all those years in San Francisco. Currently she is on the clergy staff of Grace Episcopal Church where she serves as Chaplain for Grace VPK. Art is an essential part of learning and development for these children and it is her pleasure to nourish a love of the creative as they learn. Mary is also a Coordinator for the Orlando Volunteer Team of International Justice Mission. As passionate as she is about art, Mary is also passionate about ending modern day slavery and works locally, regionally and globally to this end. These two passions converge in Mary’s conviction that both are working toward seeing the world as God intends it to be.
Daryl was born in Kentucky and grew up in Fort Pierce, Florida before migrating north to Tallahassee where he attended college. He received both his Bachelors and Master’s Degrees from Florida State University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He began his career with Price Waterhouse & Co. and in 1978 founded his own Certified Public Accounting Practice in Ocala. His expertise spans a wide array of industries as well as financial statement design and analysis. He created a six hour course on understanding financial statements for FASTTRAC, a nationally known entrepreneurial program sponsored by the University of Florida. Daryl has served in the capacity of president at his accounting firm for over 40 years and continues to work full time.
Daryl and his wife of more than 50 years, Dee, raised their family in Ocala and have always been actively involved within the community, serving on many boards and sponsoring community events. They have always considered everyone having access to the arts of the utmost importance and believe it enhances the community as a whole. Daryl’s love of art is on full display as he shares his office with many forms of art, each speaking to him uniquely.
Art Quote: “Art speaks where words are unable to explain.” ~ Unknown
Francia Torres, a new comer to the Ocala art scene, considers herself an artist in the making. A gypsy at heart she has traveled to various countries in Europe and Latin America. She strongly believes the arts are essential to living a well-rounded and happy life.
She has previously worked for alternative gallery spaces in Philadelphia and California. Currently, she maintains the trophies at the Florida Breeders’ Museum in the heart of horse country.
Art Quote: “More and more I think about the role of the arts, and as an artist, I think that it’s important that I share the love and peace.” ~ Yayoi Kusama