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AME Leadership


Dr. Stan Renard

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Dr. Stan Renard is Associate Dean and Arts Management and Entrepreneurship Coordinator, and Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma. He is the Director of the Arts Incubation Research Lab (AIR Lab), a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab. The lab’s research team studies the intersection of the arts, entrepreneurship, and innovation at its incubation stage with a research agenda that intends to understand the economic potential of artists as non-conventional entrepreneurs and the impact of the digital divide upon arts-based entrepreneurs. In addition, he is a touring and recording artist, and the founder and arranger of the Grammy-Nominated Bohemian Quartet. He is the Executive Director of the Monteux School and Music Festival in Hancock, Maine. Dr. Renard holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA) from the University of Connecticut as well as a Doctorate in International Business (DBA) from Southern New Hampshire University. Previously held collegiate appointments include Colby College, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Providence College, Eastern Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, the University of California at San Diego, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Renard is a member of the Yamaha Master Educator Collective, Music Business & Entrepreneurship Group.

Email: stan.renard@ou.edu
Office: Reynolds Performing Arts Center, 2260


Dr. Lucia Colombari

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Dr. Lucia Colombari is Assistant Professor of Art History and Arts Management in the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma. A native of Bologna, Italy, she specializes in twentieth-century art history and visual culture, exhibition practices in museums and world’s expositions, transnational exchange, and cultural diplomacy. She built a career in cultural organizations, including the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum and the Corriere della Sera Foundation in Milan, with a focus on leadership, curatorial practice, and public engagement. She now works fluently across disciplines and sectors and at the intersection of theory and practice. Dr. Colombari returned to the academic world to earn a Ph.D. in Art and Architectural History at the University of Virginia. She holds an M.A. in Art History from the University of Bologna; an M.A. in Art Administration from the Cattolica del Sacro Cuore University in Milan; and a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Bologna. An Ivano Becchi Award supported her work at the Denver Art Museum and first brought her to the United States. She serves as a committee member for the Italian Art Society, devoted to the study of Italian art and architecture.

Email: lucia.colombari@ou.edu
Office: Reynolds Performing Arts Center, 3251


Dean Mary Margaret Holt

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Dean Mary Margaret Holt, an award-winning educator whose leadership has gained recognition for OU’s School of Dance as one of the top three dance programs in the country, is dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma. Holt earned a bachelor of fine arts in dance and master of fine arts degree in drama with dance emphasis at OU, and studied under prima ballerina Yvonne Chouteau and principal dancer Miguel Terekhov, who together established the dance program at OU. Chouteau and Terekhov were instrumental in bringing Holt back to OU to join the dance faculty in 1982. She was appointed chair of the Department of Dance in 1990, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts in 1991 and interim dean of the College of Fine Arts in 1997. Holt was appointed a Presidential Professor in 1997; a Regents’ Professor in 1998 and in 2002 was appointed John W. and Mary D. Nichols Chair of Dance serving as director of the School of Dance. Under her leadership, the Department of Dance was elevated to the School of Dance in 1998. She has also served as acting director of the Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama. As director of the School of Dance, Holt initiated the Saturday Youth Program, SummerWind Youth Ballet, Once Upon A Dream, performances in the public schools, the Call Board newsletter, the Dance Partners support group, and on-campus audition days, as well as planning for the dance wing of the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center, which opened in 2005. Holt has taught every course in the ballet curriculum at OU and has led Oklahoma Festival Ballet on numerous international tours to China, France, Ecuador, Mexico, Taiwan and Austria. The most recent tour was to the Internationale Haydntage in Eisenstadt, Austria, for which she co-created original choreography for Haydn’s The Seasons. Holt’s professional training began with a Ford Foundation grant leading to an apprenticeship with the San Francisco Ballet at the age of 15. Two years later, she was awarded an additional Ford Foundation grant to study at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, where she performed with the New York City Ballet for two years. In 1972, she joined the Houston Ballet as a soloist and danced a wide variety of solo and principal roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire. The recipient of many awards, including the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Award, she has choreographed over 40 ballets. Her choreography is in the repertoire of over a dozen companies in the United States, and it has also been seen in Great Britain, Europe and South America. She has also served as a guest artist, choreographer, consultant and teacher with more than 30 ballet and opera companies across the United States.


Max Weitzenhoffer

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Max Weitzenhoffer is an independent producer of New York and London theater productions and currently owns six theaters in the West End in London. He has been nominated numerous times for Tony Awards and has won for The Will Rogers Follies and Dracula on Broadway. Additionally, he has won Drama Critics Awards and an Olivier (Britain’s equivalent of a Tony Award). He is routinely named among the top 10 most important individuals in British theater by The Stage newspaper. Mr. Weitzenhoffer graduated from Casady High School and studied at the University of Oklahoma. While there, he became interested in theater and participated in everything from acting to designing and building sets. He then served as company manager at the La Jolla Play House, directing children’s theater and getting his equity card. After many years of producing on Broadway, Mr. Weitzenhoffer’s professional focus shifted to London as the cost of producing plays in New York escalated. His shows in London include A Moon for the Misbegotten with Kevin Spacey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Swimming with Sharks, both starring Christian Slater, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Kathleen Turner. He still participates in Broadway shows occasionally, most recently as a producer for A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. Mr. Weitzenhoffer has served on the board of regents for the University of Oklahoma, Cameron University, and Rogers State University, having served on the board of the OU Regents from 2003 to 2017, twice as chairman. At the University of Oklahoma, he has provided major support for the athletic department, the College of Fine Arts, Schools of Drama and Art, and he created the Department of Musical Theatre, which bears his name. During the 1990s, Mr. Weitzenhoffer returned to Oklahoma to raise his family. In 1994 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and has received many awards from the University of Oklahoma, including the Regents’ Alumni Award, the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Citation, and an honorary doctorate. 

AME Faculty


Seth Gordon

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Seth Gordon is Professor of Performance at the University of Oklahoma Helmerich School of Drama, where he teaches Directing and Theatre Management. At OU he has directed productions of Ms. Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Mad Forest, and Radium Girls. Prior to moving into academia, he was a national leader in new play development and a highly regarded director throughout the United States. He served as Associate Artistic Director at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Cleveland Play House, and Associate Producer at Primary Stages in New York. In St. Louis, he created Ignite!, a new play festival. At the Cleveland Play House, he created FusionFest, a multi-disciplinary arts festival that had a new play festival in it; and at Primary Stages, he created the New American Writers Group. He has directed plays at these three theatres, Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, AK, Shakespeare and Company in Massachusetts, Syracuse Stage, the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, the St. Lou Fringe Festival, Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, American Stage in Florida, and in New York, at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Theatre of the New City, and countless other places. He directed the Arabic premiere of Our Town in Cairo. He received the 2004 and 2006 Northern Ohio Live Award, the 2014 Houston Theatre Award, and numerous nominations by the Houston Theatre Awards and the St. Louis Theatre Critics Circle Awards for his direction. He currently serves as management and executive search consultant for non-profit theatres, and he is on the Board of Directors of Oklahoma City Rep. He considers himself a lucky man.

Email: sethg@ou.edu


Dr. Amy Kweskin

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Dr. Amy Kweskin has presented strategic planning workshops for artists, arts managers, and Board members, and authored a chapter in their book Business of Art: AnArtist’s Guide to Profitable Self-Employment. Amy's non-profit expertise was honed as Director of Arts & Business Partnerships at the Business Arts Council, an in-house affiliate of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Currently Amy is the Director of Professional Development at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco.

Email: amy.l.kweskin-1@ou.edu


Dr. Steven Crane

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Dr. Steven Crane has over two decades of designing and implementing sustainable change strategies for social enterprises by aligning financial management, relationship development, and organizational behavior. He has a passion to identify strategies that strengthen the financial position and resilience of various types of enterprises that serve the common good, including those in the creative arts. He specializes in sustainability, sustainable financial management, change management, strategy implementation, program design, delivery, and assessment. He is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Oklahoma.

Email: steven.m.crane-1@ou.edu


Dr. Erinn Gavaghan

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Dr. Erinn Gavaghan is the Executive Director of the Norman Arts Council where she’s responsible for a variety of administration and leadership. Under her leadership, the Norman Arts Council began managing the MAINSITE Contemporary Art gallery space. Gavaghan coordinated the exhibitions committee and works with featured artists. The Norman Arts Council also takes the lead in community arts advocacy and distributing hotel and motel tax funded-grants. Erinn holds an MA in Art History from Webster University, St. Louis where her thesis focused on Hans Holbein and a Ph.D. in Arts History from the University of Oklahoma. Not new to contemporary art, Gavaghan worked in donor relations the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, MO from 2005 until 2009. She served as Emerging Curator for Momentum OKC in 2011 and is a Board Member for the Cultural Development Corporation of Central Oklahoma. Prior to that she worked at the Ballet Oklahoma directing special events and volunteers and spent several years teaching photography at City Arts Center.

Email: erinnfgavaghan@ou.edu


Dr. Christina Giacona

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Dr. Christina Giacona is a Lecturer on Native American, World, and American Popular Musics and affiliate faculty for the Film and Media Department at The University of Oklahoma, a Smithsonian Folkways-certified World Music Pedagogue, and holds the Janice and Allyn Donaubauer Clarinet Chair with the Fort Smith Symphony. Fiercely dedicated to producing the music of our millennium, Christina Giacona is the former Executive Director and clarinetist of the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble and a session producer for film, classical, and popular recordings with work featured on the Centaur, TBD Records, Azica Records, and Hit City U.S.A. labels, and on movies including The Bygone, Chickasaw Rancher, and The Mustard Seed. Her current research is focused on music revivals through her work creating the Jack Frederick Kilpatrick Collection and Archive housed at the University of Oklahoma’s Western History Collection. Her textbook, The Indigenous Music of Turtle Island: Native American Music in North America, is currently available through Kendall-Hunt Publishing.

Email: cgiacona@ou.edu
Office: Catlett Music Center 001


Sonia Dawkins

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Sonia Dawkins, founder and artistic director of SD/Prism Dance Theatre, is a graduate of The University of the Arts and earned a Master’s in Dance/Kinesiology & Choreography from SUNY Brockport. A faculty member at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle (the first African American female teacher, 12 ½ years) and Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., she has also been an Artist-in Residence at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School; University of North Carolina School of the Arts; University of Oklahoma; Cincinnati Ballet School; and Jones-Haywood Dance School. She has performed extensively with choreographers and companies in the United States and the National Dance Company of Jamaica. Her national and international choreography credits include: Village Theatre (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, My Heart is a Drum); Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre (Pullman Porter Blues); Seattle Repertory Theatre (Three Musketeers, Brother Size, The Breach); Seattle Children’s Theatre; Pacific Northwest Ballet; Nevada Ballet; Seattle Theatre Group (Dance This); and Broadway Bound (13 the Musical, Bye Bye Birdie, God Lives in Glass). She choreographed her dancers to perform at the Iliev Foundation at the Bulgaria Dance Festival and the Mexican International Festival. At Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, she choreographed and coached winning participants in the Youth Grand Prix and the Young Arts Recognition. Ms. Dawkins has received the Gypsy Rose Lee Award for choreography for Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, 2019; Brother Size, 2011; and was nominated for the same award for Pullman Porter blues, 2012. A recipient of the New Directors Choreography Lab from Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation, she has also been selected to present a new musical at the New York Theatre Barn. She has served on the faculty of Ballet Academy East, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet summer intensives, as choreographer and faculty at SLK Ballet, and is very honored to have choreographed an excerpt of the world premier ballet on PHILADANCO, Pieces of My Heart, based on unpublished poetry by August Wilson. SD/Prism has presented workshops at dance schools in Barcelona, 2017-2019, at Studio Harmonica in France, 2017. She served as a Judge for the World Cup Dance Competition in 2019. Currently, Ms. Dawkins serves on the Dance/Film Association Board; is a member of the Stage Directors, Choreographers Society; and teaches at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre School/Fordham University.


Dr. Susan Adams-Johnson

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Dr. Susan Adams-Johnson is the Artistic and Executive Director at Scissortail Productions, Inc. In that position Susan has orchestrated a remarkable journey from a volunteer-run entity to a thriving non-profit with a budget exceeding $345K, taking pride in spearheading successful grant initiatives, securing vital funding, and expanding community engagement by 50%. Susan holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Fine Arts Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Her dissertation, titled "Undergraduate Music Student Recruitment," reflects my commitment to bridging academia and real-world application. Susan thrives on building bridges—bridges between non-profit growth and academic rigor, between artistic expression and community impact. Her experience has honed my skills in multi-channel fundraising, stakeholder management, and high-performing team development. 


Eric Walschap

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Eric Walschap is the Administrative Coordinator / Manager for the School of Music at the University of Oklahoma, as well as an Adjunct Professor teaching Experiencing Music and Arts Mangement. In addition to his administrative and teaching duties at the University, Mr. Walschap is the Program Director of the Jazz in June Festival, serves on the Board of Directors for Friends of Music, the Board of Directors for the National African American Jazz Legacy Foundation, volunteers as a Faculty Sponsor for the Friends of International Students program, is the Faculty Advisor for two student organizations, and has also worked with Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma. Mr. Walschap is the host and creator of the critically acclaimed Resonance Series, a guest lecture series that works in collaboration with the Recording Academy and the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, which brings world-class musicians to campus and connects them with students. Since 2020, 37 guests have appeared on the series including 19 GRAMMY winners, Pulitzer Prize Winners in Music, Oscar Winners Emmy Winners, and many others. Panelists range from GRAMMY winners to Professors, Directors, and Deans of Music or Colleges of Fine Arts from OU and surrounding universities. Prior to working and teaching at OU, Mr. Walschap was the Executive Director of Infinity Music & Arts Academy and the Manager of Axent Music.

Email: e@ou.edu


Emily Comisar

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Emily Comisar is an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Oklahoma. She is also the General Manager of the Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre. Prior to her position with the OKC Rep, she was the Development Associate with the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, where she managed development operations for the small but mighty team fundraising on behalf of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, the state's largest professional theatre company. Emily has a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Studies from the Northwestern University School of Communications, with specialties in critical studies, adaptation of narrative for the stage, and multimedia performance.  She also holds a Master of Arts in Italian Language and Media from Middlebury College and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management & Producing from Columbia University.

Email: emily.r.comisar-1@ou.edu