Five New Members Joins Board of Directors

September 25, 2023

The Decatur Area Arts Council is pleased to announce the election of several new members to serve on the board of directors for the Decatur Area Arts Council (DAAC).

Jerry Johnson, Executive Director of the DAAC, said, “The Arts Council is excited to welcome a terrific collection of enthusiastic local leaders who share a passion for the arts.”

Joining the board this summer were Emma Roark and Tonee Roper.

Emma Roark is currently Richland Community College’s Content and Communications Coordinator. She is originally from Olney, Illinois, and attended Olney Central College and Eastern Illinois University, studying Mass Communications. She is also in charge of Marketing and Publicity for Theatre 7, Decatur’s community theater group.

Roark stated, “I’ve only been in Decatur for four years and I feel like I’m learning something new every day. I am honored to expand my view of Decatur and assist the arts community through serve on the Arts Council board.”

Tonee Roper is currently a radio personality/cohost of The Bill and Tonee Morning Show on 104.9 The Wolf in Peoria, Illinois. She was born and raised in St. Louis where she began her radio career. Roper worked for Neuhoff Communications from 2019-2023. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media Studies from Saint Louis University and earned an MBA from Fontbonne University.

"When you explore what is going on in Decatur as it relates to the arts, it seems DAAC is connected with so much. I want to be a part of that," said Roper.

Beginning their service in September are Shyler Kraus, Jeremy Sarna, and Scott Wray.

Shyler Kraus has worked at Neuhoff Communications since 2019 as a program director and on-air personality. She attended Richland Community College and Millikin University. She is a Decatur native and lives in Decatur.

Kraus said, “My whole life is the arts, honestly. I am a musician, run programming for a music-based radio station, and collect art. I love being able to get more involved in the local art scene.”

Jeremy Sarna is a registered financial advisor for Palomar Wealth. He attended Richland Community College and received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media Studies from Southern Illinois University. After working in Peoria, he and his family recently relocated back to Decatur.

Sarna explained, “I believe art is a great way to express yourself and bring people from different backgrounds together. I feel DAAC combines my passion for the arts and making a positive impact on my community.”

Scott Wray is currently a visiting instructor of Stage Management in the School of Theatre and Dance at Millikin University. He also serves as the faculty advisor for Millikin’s student-run Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. Wray is from Butler, Penn., and studied at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and MFA Stage Management at Columbia University.

“The mission of the DAAC and how it aligns with my core values of growth, collaboration, inclusion, and opportunity is what interests me most about DAAC,” said Wray. “Being involved with an arts organization and continuing my own personal education is what lead to the spark of my decision to change careers and become a professional stage manager. I want to be active in finding ways to provide that spark for others.“

The board members meet monthly to oversee the council’s finances and offer creative and effective ways for the council to further its mission in the community. Each director will serve a three-year term and is eligible to serve up to three consecutive terms.


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