MEET THE TEAM
A top talent, brilliant administrator and strategist, Christina is a talented leader. Her success includes a 31 year career teaching, writing curriculum and grants, fundraising, and diversity/inclusion consultation. Christina brings an extensive range of non-profit experience as a board member, executive director and business leader. As an Anishinaabikwe and community leader, Christina appreciates breadth of human experiences. She enthusiastically leads the vision of the Duluth Art Institute as its first Anishinaabe leader. Her focus is delivered with tender attention to advocacy rooted in celebrating inclusivity and professionalism. Christina thoughtfully serves our community with a vision to the future. Christina currently chairs the State of MN Capitol Arts Committee, is President of the Duluth Public Arts Commission, and serves on the State of MN CAAPB Task force on Monuments and Statues. Christina is also on the U.S.Senate Curatorial Advisory Board. She was awarded an AARP 50 over 50 most influential people in MN award as a bias buster. She lives in Mesaabikong (Duluth, MN) with her acknowledged home in Onaminii-zaga-inganig (the Bois Forte Nation in Northern MN).
Exhibitions Director and Curator Amy Varsek joined the Duluth Art Institute in 2014, after nearly 10 years of experience installing artwork in small galleries. She aims to align each artists vision with the strengths and challenges in an exhibition space and looks for artists that evoke emotion through their work. As an artist, Varsek prefers drawing with a no.2 pencil and building sculptures with found objects. With a degree in biology, her work often represents the living world with a special interest in mammals and anatomy.
Kari Morgen has lived in Duluth since 2019 with their partner and bunny. You may have come across their landscape paintings this year at the Park Point Art Fair, Festival of Sail, or Art at Bayfront Park. They are currently researching the art of gyotaku, Japanese direct fish printing.
Aurora Webster is a designer and illustrator with a career-long focus integrating the worlds of fine art, illustration, and graphic design. In her six years of experience, she has worked with local print shop JS Print Group, illustrator Rick Kollath, and in a freelance capacity creating logos, personalized illustrations, murals, and book layouts. She graduated from Hamline University in 2017 with bachelor’s degrees in Studio Art and Psychology, with added Digital Media Arts classes. When she’s done with art stuff at work, she turns her attention to her other art stuff: theater, comics, video games, and creative bullet journaling.
Emma Spooner is a multimedia artist who combines performance art, fabric collage, photography, sculpture, and written work to create narrative installations. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Art and Art History from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2020. Her Art History focus reflects her interest in performance art, geopolitical border art, and visual activism. Spooner is delighted to coordinate educational opportunities that enrich the community. Her community work includes participation in the Chester Bowl Improvement Club and Myers Wilkins School, working with youth in outdoor activities and promoting accessibility. Spooner enjoys biking, listening to obscure music, playing pick-up soccer, and gardening.
Ben Liebl is a multi-disciplinary artist with experience in oil paint, installation, and digital media. He earned his BFA in 2021 from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Ben has been involved in the production of a community mural project in Mankato and is interested in using art as a mode for social change, and thus is excited to be working as the community outreach coordinator.
DeArmond comes from a long background of working in the arts and arts administration. Upon graduating from UMD in 1971, he worked as a full-time potter in the state of Virginia and then established his own shop and studio in Duluth. When the Duluth Art Institute was moving into the Depot, he was hired as the Executive Director, a job he held for eight years. From there he took the position of Development Director at KUMD, Duluth Public Radio, on the campus of UMD. He finished his career in arts administration as the Executive Director of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, a position he held for 30 years.
As the Clay Studio Manager, he mixes his organizational skills with the opportunity to get back in the studio producing pots and teaching.
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