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2023-2024 Board Members

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Erin Canada-West

President

Board Member since 2017

Erin Canada-West (she/they) has been a massage therapist for 14+ years and a lifelong lover and collector of the art. She spends time doing art projects with her daughter and learning new art and craft techniques on her own. Although she has no formal art training beyond public school she has a deep appreciation for the power and beauty of art in all it’s forms. She has been on the Ada Arts Council Board for 5+ years and is the current Vice President.

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Aaron Rumley

Treasurer
Board Member since 2023

Aaron Rumley (he/him) is an Oklahoma native originally from the Chickasha area who moved to Ada in 2006 to attend East Central University, and finally decided to get a business degree in 2018. Upon graduation, Aaron worked for the Chickasaw Nation in Headquarters Accounting for 5 years before going into insurance. Aaron’s interests primarily focus on literature and music, but appreciates all art. Always searching for the next great book or the next song/band obsession, his own creative expressions are usually a result of his woodworking/general purpose hobby shop. In high school, he did try some painting, it just happened to be on cars at the local tech center’s body shop classes. Aaron is excited to join the AAC and help manage the more “corporate” side of artistic creation to allow those that do it best to do it more, and help create a world of beauty for all of us to enjoy. He and his wife Julia have 4 cats, and are the devoted servants of a 12-years-young Corgi.

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Michelle Lastrina

Board Member since 2017

Michelle Lastrina (she/her) is originally from Wethersfield, CT.  In 2006, she earned a BA with a major in Mathematics and minor in Studio Art from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.  She then went on to earn a PhD in Mathematics from Iowa State University in 2012.  After one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, she moved to Ada, OK where she now lives and works as an Associate Professor of Mathematics at East Central University.  While most of her career in higher education has focused on mathematics, Lastrina also has a background in art and particularly enjoys the beauty and interdisciplinary nature of mathematical art.  As a student she was thrilled to have the opportunity to take a Math Sculpture course at Smith College in Northampton, MA and as a professor she enjoys incorporating artistic visualizations into the various mathematics courses that she teaches to university students.  As a board member and current President of the Ada Arts Council, Lastrina hopes to spread her passion for art throughout the Ada community and she is very excited to be involved with the Council's developing Art Box project for area schools.

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Cynthia Mellon-Parsons

Board Member since 2020

Cynthia Mellon-Parsons (she/they) graduated from East Central University with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications. She has worked as a graphic designer for the Chickasaw Nation Arts & Humanities Division for almost 10 years. She assists with classes on gorget carving and antiquity-era Mississippian iconography. Cynthia's Taurusean passion for the visual arts, music, and dancing started at a young age. She began painting with acrylics -- on either found objects or canvas -- at the age of 13, entering art shows and contests throughout high school. She has taken lessons in both belly dancing (American cabaret and American tribal style) and ballet in her adult years. Above all, Cynthia is an avid consumer of the arts in all forms, particularly styles that lean on the dark and surreal side. She enjoys alternative dance music, long neighborhood walks, playing tennis and golf, traveling, architecture, Gilded Age history, and all things strange and unusual.

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Jamie Pittman

Vice President

Board Member since 2017

Jamie Pittman (she/her) earned a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication with a Minor in Art from East Central University. Pittman has served on many creative teams in the role of project manager for both print and digital delivery in a corporate setting since earning her degree. She graduated from the local university and attained a career in her field of study in her home town. She feels very fortunate. She is a working artist in her spare time working in acrylics and multi-media collage. As a board member of Ada Arts Council Pittman serves on the scholarship committee and the events planning committee. I think art affects our lives every day, from the billboards we pass on the way to work, the clothes we wear and to the magazines, we flip through in our downtime. All must be created by an artist. Working in the corporate setting provides an opportunity to work with talented artists share in the innovations and direction of the projects.

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Maria Ruiz-Blanco

Board Member since 2018

Maria Ruiz-Blanco (she/her) is a 3rd-grade teacher at Washington Grade Center. She has lived in Ada for 10 years with her husband Steve Benton and their three children. Maria was born in Colombia, grew up in Argentina, and graduated from high school in Spain.  She then entered Pontificia Comillas University in Madrid, where she earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Education. She met her husband in Madrid, and after getting married, they moved to China, where they taught English for four years.  In 1998, they moved to Chicago where Maria taught in three different elementary schools and completed her National Board Certification. She was nominated for the Drive Award and the Golden Apple award and was also a featured teacher in an Annenberg Media documentary about using Book Club pedagogy in the classroom. Growing up, Maria was surrounded by art and music and was encouraged to take art and music lessons, but she never felt that she was herself an artist. She doesn’t want her students to feel that way, though, so she always tells them “everyone is an artist,” and she strives to create lessons that integrate science and art in her reading classes.  

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Anna Wood

Board Member since 2022

Anna Wood (she/her) is a staff attorney at PPLSI. She attended East Central University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies and Political Science. While attending ECU, she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha where she served as the Community Service Chair. She went on to attend the University of Oklahoma College of Law where she graduated in 2021 with her Juris Doctorate. She serves on the board of the Ada Regional United Way and is excited to be involved with the Ada Arts Council to promote knowledge and appreciation of the fine arts and humanities the community.

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Erica Eppler

Board Member since 2023

Erica V. Eppler (she/her) is a proud Mississippi Choctaw, Shoshone-Bannock, Irish,and Lithuanian mixed human. A love of art and learning empowered her to graduate with honors from East Central University and achieve a Bachelors in Fine Arts. She is a member of the Ada Arts Council and volunteers her time to help the local art community flourish. She has received several awards for her art and has had art displayed in galleries. In her spare time she can be found in the garden with her chickens or spending quality time with family.

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If you are interested in joining our board or supporting the Ada Arts Council email us at adaartsok@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Ashlee Ray

Secretary

Board Member since 2020

Ashlee Ray (she/her) is a current Exhibits and Gallery Coordinator and has a B.A. in Art History with a minor in Anthropology from the University of North Texas and a M.A. in Museum Studies from the University of Oklahoma. During her graduate career she interned at various Dallas museums including the Nasher Sculpture Center and Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. At the same time, she also took part in multiple summer archeology fieldwork courses in Mississippi (the Chickasaw homelands). While studying her focus remained on Southeastern indigenous art, as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, and as an artist this has heavily influenced her own style and creative process. Her current work focuses on digital illustration and utilizing Southeastern First American iconography with modern graphic styles.

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Kellie Cooper Turner

Board Member since 2019

Kellie Cooper-Turner (she/her) is originally from southern Arkansas, moved to Oklahoma in 2002. She and her husband, Nate, a local blacksmith, came to Ada in 2010 for Kellie to pursue a degree in Graphic Arts at East Central University. In 2014 she became a Graphic Designer for the Chickasaw Nation and decided to make Ada her permanent home. Since coming to Ada, she has witnessed first-hand the growing involvement of the community in local art, music, and theater which, in turn, has moved her to become more involved, herself. She soon started participating in local music shows and even acted for the first time with the Chickasaw Nation Theater Company in 2016. “With the local passion for the arts continuing to grow, it’s a great time to be an Adan Artist.

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Nickey Wylie McEwen

Board Member since 2022

Nickey (she/her) is native Texan who moved to Ada in 2002 to be the manager of the ECU Bookstore. After 16 years she
stepped away to pursue other interests. She is a seamstress/quilter/creator with textiles who also loves to cook. She didn’t realize I was “creative” until she was in her 40’s. She wants to encourage all people to find and nurture their own creative talents. She is excited to be part of a dynamic group of women who are passionate about sharing art. Nickey is a mother of 4, grandmother of 1, dog mom of 2, cat mom of 4. She is currently the Communication and Administrative Assistant at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Assistant at Vintage Revival Gardens (at the re-Finery), and owner of Nikita’s Epiphany.

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Anne Capshaw-Howard

Board Member since 2023

Anne Capshaw-Howard (she/her) moved to Ada in 2007 to go to ECU on a music scholarship for the oboe where she met her now husband. Growing up she was involved in band, orchestra, choir, drama, and mixed media arts. Being surrounded by music and other arts has made a huge impact on her life and she wants to help promote more in the community. Anne was a floral designer for three years at Ada Forget Me Not Floral before becoming a stay at home mom in 2018. During the pandemic she picked up cross stitch and has enjoyed finding a new outlet to create art for herself and to share with others

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Dr. Audra Cook

Board Member since 2023

A native of Oklahoma, Dr. Cook (she/her) is a board-certified family medicine physician with over 16 years of experience serving patients of all ages and backgrounds. Dr. Cook received both her undergraduate and medical degrees from Oklahoma University, and she completed her residency in family medicine at the OU Department of Family Medicine in 2005. She then went on to practice in Duncan and Moore, OK before moving to Ada, OK in 2014 where she served patients at Mercy Clinic.

Dr. Cook lives in Ada with her husband, Clint, and their three sons, Keith, Blake, and Caleb. When she's not serving her patients, she can be found cheering on her boys on the baseball field and basketball court, or cooking, gardening, and enjoying the outdoors.

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