The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, announced today the appointment of Dawn Wallace as chair of its board of commissioners. Wallace assumes the position previously occupied by Mark Feldman, who served as board chair for 11 years.
Established as a state agency in 1967, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is governed by a 15-member board of Governor-appointed commissioners. Commission members serve terms of three years and are chosen for their demonstrated ability, good judgment, and experience in arts-related fields.
“I am honored to be selected to fill this role and look forward to working with my fellow board members and the staff of the Arizona Commission on the Arts to leverage the incredible power of the arts and culture sector in service to Arizona’s residents and communities throughout the state,” said Wallace.
Wallace directs the nonpartisan Flinn-Brown Fellowship and its annual seminar series, the Foundation’s cornerstone initiative to strengthen civic leadership in Arizona. Flinn-Brown was launched in 2011 under a partnership between the Flinn Foundation and Thomas R. Brown Foundations of Tucson.
Previously, Wallace served in the office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey for more than four years and led the development of the governor’s P-20 education agenda. She also served as a liaison to executive departments and planned and managed large public events, including Ducey’s second inauguration ceremonies and the memorial service for U.S. Senator John McCain. Her previous experience includes serving as director of government relations for the Maricopa County Community College District and policy-advisor roles in the Arizona House of Representatives and State Senate. Earlier in her career, she was a budget analyst for Govs. Jane Dee Hull and Janet Napolitano.
Wallace holds an MBA, with an emphasis in accounting, from the University of Phoenix, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Arizona State University.
“We are excited to welcome Dawn to our board of commissioners,” said the Arts Commission’s Interim Executive Director Jacky Alling. “Her wealth of experience working in state government and her deep commitment to civic service and leadership make her an ideal fit to lead our board.”
Wallace’s appointment follows Mark Feldman’s long and distinguished tenure as board chair. Appointed to the board by Governor Janice Brewer in 2009 and as its chair in 2011, Feldman’s 13 years of board service is among the longest runs in the agency’s history.
“Mark Feldman served the agency extremely well during his 11-year tenure as chairman. His servant-leader style provided solid support, while encouraging creativity among the board and team,”” reflected Robert C. Booker, who directed the Arts Commission from 2006 – 2017. “Personally, I enjoyed both his respect for my work, and his encouragement to build an agency that serves all Arizonans.”
Feldman stepped into the role of board chair at the tail-end of the great recession, during which the Arts Commission’s budget saw severe reductions through budget balancing efforts in the legislature. As chair, Feldman supported the agency’s staff as they reimagined their grantmaking and service to the sector. This work resulted in new frameworks that centered the residents of Arizona as the agency’s ultimate beneficiaries, leveraging limited funding for maximum impact in communities large and small, throughout the state.
In 2012, and again in 2022, Feldman and his board supported successful efforts by agency leadership and citizen advocates to secure the Arts Commission’s reauthorization in the legislature.
“As board chair, Mark was a true partner, generous with his time and knowledge, encouraging the staff to think big and working with the board to ensure we’d have the support we needed to realize our ambitions,” said Alex Nelson, Deputy Director of the Arts Commission since 2017. “It has been a pleasure working with him and we at the Arts Commission feel deep gratitude for his years of service.”
Professionally, Feldman is Principal, Head of Tax Services, at CAPTRUST. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Arizona Community Foundation (Chair of Investment Committee), the Board of Trustees for the Phoenix Art Museum (Co-Chair and Treasurer), Valley Beit Midrash (Treasurer and Past-Chair), and Temple Chai (Board President). He is past Co-Chair of the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix, past Chairman of the Board for Free Arts of Arizona, a past Board and Executive Committee member for the Arizona Science Center, past Chairman of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern and Central Arizona, and a past Trustee of the Desert Botanical Garden.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the Arizona Commission on the Arts alongside my fellow board members and the agency’s incredible staff,” said Feldman. “I feel tremendous pride for what we have been able to accomplish as a team these past 11 years and anticipate great things to come under Dawn’s leadership.”