Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Sharon Watkins, President

  • Teacher, elementary & high school
  • College social worker
  • UMC Pastor
  • Training facilitator, workshop planning; personal development
  • Watercolor artist

Anthony Szep, Vice President

  • VP, financial services software company, retired
  • Amelia Arts Academy, Past President, Board of Directors
  • Gilmer Arts, Gallery Director
  • Community Chorus, Potter

Betty Reece, Treasurer

  • CPA (GA-1972),  Retired
  • Controller, software industry
  • Board Member, large homeowners association , past treasurer, past VP
  • Specialist in data analysis, practical approaches and drawing conclusions

Theresa Miller, Secretary

  • Business background/MBA
  • Fundraising  & volunteering for American Heart Association, Literary Action and various schools and other organizations
  • Board Member, neighborhood associations

Sharon Stokes, Literary Arts

  • Assistant United States Attorney (Northern District GA), Retired
  • Owner, Ellishack Collectibles
  • Experienced mediator
  • Speaker manager, Decatur Book Festival

Steve Jones, Live Music

  • Landscape ecologist
  • Clemson University faculty (past)
  • Owner, Meanders River Restoration, Inc
  • Musician (mandolin & harmonica), member of band Downtown Roy

David Richey - Member at Large

John Kilpatrick - Volunteer Coordinator

James Weaver - Member at Large

  • Songwriter/Producer/Performer with 2 Top Five Finalist awards in the "VH1 International Songwriting Competition"
  • Served on the Board Of Directors for the Atlanta Songwriters  Association for three years.
  • More than 40 years teaching Children and Adults Piano, Guitar and Ukulele.

Joe Strickland - Member at Large

  • Retired Educator, Hall Co. Schools
  • Former Member Georgia Mountain Players, Gainesville GA
  • Past President - Theatre Wings, Gainesville Theatre Alliance

Lydia Bassetti - Member at Large

Elizabeth Vititoe - President-elect

Betsy Sheppard - Member at Large

Jennifer Johnston - Vice President-elect


Debbi Friend, Gallery Manager

  • Owner, Hummingbird Lace - designer and technical editor
  • General manager, 25 years experience managing large scale and high rise homeowner associations
  • General business experience, MBA
  • Theater - acting, directing and stage management.


Jesus Morales, Receptionist