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Sara Steffens is a St. Louis native. She received her Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography and a Minor in Art History at Missouri State University in Springfield of 2014. Additionally she had the pleasure of working with a lead photographer in advertisement and a curator of a museum. Sara also attended a semester in Florence, Italy at Santa Reparata International School of Arts for photography and mixed media. Sara drew inspiration from the diverse cultures presented in Italy. At the end of the semester, Sara had an exhibition containing portraits of strangers she met on the streets of Italy. Her most recent photography exhibit, My Room, consisted of intimate portraits of children in their rooms. This exhibition centered on bringing back feelings of nostalgia, imagination, and space for the viewer. Steffens is immensely delighted to have accepted the position of Director for The Arts Council of the Southeast Region. It is her prerogative to fill out the mission of the council, provide opportunities to artists, and be a main resource for artists in our region.

Kelly Downes grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and moved to Cape Girardeau in 2015.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities (Fine Art/History) from Michigan State University, and is now pursuing a second Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from Southeast Missouri State University.  Kelly is also a RYT 500-hour trauma-informed yoga instructor, with additional training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.  She is passionate about the cross-section of art and activism, and is particularly interested in the ways that the Humanities can be utilized to create self-sufficient economies, and sustainable prosperity for all living beings. She is very excited to be a part of the arts in the Cape Girardeau community, and hopes that her enthusiasm for all of the arts translates into community participation with the Arts Council.   Her life’s greatest work is her son, Bob.




Originally from Cape Girardeau, MO, Ashley Sexton will receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Sculpture from Southeast Missouri State University in the Fall of 2019. While at Southeast Missouri State she served as the Gallery Manager at Catapult Creative House and had the opportunity to curate an exhibition in that space titled What do we do with all this_______?. That exhibition featured works across media from Generation Y artists from all over the nation. Additionally Ashley is an active member of the Catapult Press team assisting with workshops and print projects through that space. Her personal work ranges from large-scale outdoor sculpture to public art practices to elaborate performance. This background in contemporary artwork as well as hands on experience with the public sets her up to be a great addition to the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri staff!



Board Chair: Nona Nan Chapman
Immediate Past Chair: Mark Moore

Vice-Chair: Sarah Holt
Treasurer: Joni Hand
Secretary: Barbara Morgan

Board Directors:
Brian Alworth
Diana Conroy
Jamie McDowell
Val Ochs
Dr. James Palen
Jamie Phillips
Kirby Ray
Craig Thomas
Helen Towner