Jenni Rebecca Stephenson - Executive Director
A native of Houston, Jenni Rebecca Stephenson has been a student of dance and theatre, as well as vocal and instrumental music. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Houston, Jenni Rebecca studied vocal performance with Katherine Ciesinski and received her bachelors of music from the Moores School of Music. She was a frequent soloist with the Moores Concert Chorale and performed such musical theatre/opera roles as Carla (Nine), Jenny Diver (Threepenny Opera), the Baroness (Barber’s Vanessa), and Arcetro (Peri’s Euridice with Ars Lyrica). Jenni Rebecca later received her Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre Directing at UH, where she directed for the Stuart Ostrow Musical Theatre Collaboration and the Edward Albee New Playwrights Workshop, as well as three full-length operas at the Moores Opera Center: The Impresario, La finta giardiniera, and Die Fledermaus. Additionally, she was assistant director of several productions for The Ebony Opera Guild at Miller Outdoor Theatre under Buck Ross, as well as the most recent production of Cats at Theatre Under The Stars.
In 2006, Jenni Rebecca co-founded Nova Arts Project, a nonprofit theatre company dedicated to recreating classics and inspiring new works in a fearlessly theatrical way. With Nova, Jenni Rebecca directed Antigone in Oedipus3, as well as The Joy Luck Club, a collaboration between the Asian Pacific-American Heritage Association and the Houston Public Librariess for the NEA’s Big Read Campaign. As a performer, she has appeared in the roles of Gertrude (Hamlet), Last Day Girl/Ma/Fran (TempOdyssey), and Lady Lillian Loveworthy in Love Loves a Pornographer. In January 2009, Nova's founders won one of the first annual Houston Press MasterMind Awards for the company's work. Jenni Rebecca joined the board of Spacetaker in September 2007 and became Managing Director in July 2008 and Executive Director in January 2010. In the fall of 2011, she initiated and navigated a successful merger between Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition, ushering in a new era for the combined organization-- now known as Fresh Arts. Along with her Fresh Arts responsibilities, she regularly contributes to 002houston Magazine, as well as blogs with the Houston Chronicle (Chron.com) City Brights. In other news, she has an affinity for Star Trek, rabble-rousing, and spontaneously breaking out into song and dance.
Sarah Schellenberg - Program Manager
Ms. Schellenberg comes to Fresh Arts with a background in fine art and non-profit arts management. For Sarah, working in support of the arts is a logical outgrowth of being an artist. She wants to live in a thriving arts community therefore, it is her responsibility to help build it.
Sarah has been involved with the arts in some capacity for most of her life. After graduating cum laude with a bachelor's degree in fine art, she was an art instructor for two years before transitioning full-time into arts administration. She served in a variety of positions at Art League Houston from 2005-2010, including administrative assistant, education coordinator, and exhibitions manager, and supported ALH with their communications, graphic design, and website management. She is very excited be an advocate for the arts community through Fresh Arts programs and services.
Ariel Jones - Manager of Marketing and Membership
Ariel Jones is a recent recipient of a Masters of Arts Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. As an individual, all of her ambitions are defined by a passion and fervor for the provision and support of excellence in fine arts. Prior to, she received her bachelors, with honors, from Howard University in Journalism with a minor in Theatre Arts. Most recently, Ariel served as a Teaching Assistant for graduate level communications courses. In addition to her Teaching Assistant position, Ariel was a participating member of a team working on a project for the Oglebay Institute, analyzing the current arts environment of their region and identifying mechanisms to deeply engage a greater audience. In 2012, Ariel was an intern for South Arts in Atlanta, GA and from 2009 until 2011 she worked as the Ticket Services Supervisor for the Fords Theatre in Washington, DC.
In the future, she hopes to leverage her experience in marketing and communications to aid Fresh Arts in the deepening of their relationships within the Houston area arts community.
Caroline Barba - Administrations and Operations Assistant
Caroline Barba returned to her home state of Texas after graduating with distinction from the University of Virginia with a bachelor's degree in Arts Administration. Caroline first encountered the arts as a young girl in dance classes, but her ever-lasting love was solidified when she discovered art history. Growing up as a dancer with a passion for modern and contemporary art, arts administration seemed like the obvious career choice. During her college years, Caroline took multiple courses on non-profit management, which sparked her interest in arts non-profits.
Caroline has previously interned with the education departments at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Austin Museum of Art in Austin, TX. She also interned as gallery assistant at Les Yeux du Monde, a contemporary art gallery in Charlottesville, VA. As the Administrations and Operations Assistant, she is available to answer any questions and helps ensure smooth operations in the office. Caroline is excited to be a part of the Fresh Arts team and is always ready to help support and expand Houston's thriving art scene.
Anthony Thompson Shumate - Online Systems Manager
Anthony Thompson Shumate, a multimedia artist and designer, has an M.F.A. from the University of Houston (2005) and a BFA from the University of Texas in San Antonio (2001). From 1999 to 2002, Anthony Shumate was the founder and editor of Texas Storyteller.com, an online Texas Music Magazine and community that helped to network independent artists, venues, and fans by providing an online outlet for calendars, reviews, and message boards for the grassroots movement. Texas Storyteller.com was on the forefront of mainstream the grassroots Texas music genre introducing many venues in Central Texas to whole host of rising stars such as Pat Green, Cory Morrow, Bob Curry, and Wesley Cox.
Shumate is the recipient of several arts and advertising awards including a 2006 New Works Fellowship for Emerging Artists from the former Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County, support from the Houston Endowment through ARTpix for LAS POZAS: STEPS & FALLS, a cd-rom produced in partnership with Robert Ziebell, six ADDY awards from the American Advertising Federation, and two Bronze Quill awards in excellence in design.
David A. Brown - Founder of Spacetaker
Marita Fairbanks - Founder of Fresh Arts Coalition
If you are interested in employment or internship oportunities at Fresh Arts*, please forward us your resumé and information.
* Fresh Arts refers to the organization created from the merging of Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition in 2012.