Presenters and Speakers

Stuart-Kandell-with-hat-name-150x185.jpgStuart Kandell
Conference Keynote
Executive Director
Stagebridge Senior Theatre 

Stuart Kandell is nationally known for his accomplishments in arts and aging. He served as the founder and former executive director of Stagebridge (1978-2010). In 1996, he was the first American to receive his doctorate in Intergenerational Studies from the Union Institute in Cincinnati and is often asked to be a featured speaker at national conferences on aging. In 2000, he was nominated by the American Society on Aging and received the first Award for Intergenerational Innovation. In 2005, he was selected as one of 35 leaders for the Mini White House Conference on Creativity and Aging. In 2007 Stu was elected Treasurer for the Board of the National Center for Creative Aging based in Washington D.C.

Tammy-name-150x185.jpgTammy Hauser
ArtSage Executive Director

Tammy is founder and CEO of Blue Sky Thinking, Inc., which has provided strategic planning and facilitation, executive leadership, program management and turnaround services to 60+ nonprofit organizations since 2001.

Tammy began working with ArtSage in 2012 to help it move from a provider of arts programming to a systems change force for the field of arts & aging. Tammy ensured that the strategic vision for ArtSage became a reality by working with the Board of Directors and arts and aging experts to refine the vision and mission for the small service nonprofit, and then with her team, created the name, ArtSage, oversaw re-branding of all web and print materials, developed unique and engaging training programs and consulting services, built community partnerships and raised more than $600,000 from a variety of funders over the past three years.

Prior to launching Blue Sky Thinking, Tammy was Director of Education for the Hennepin Theater Trust, where she developed the Spotlight Musical Theater Awards, and Arts Education Program Director for the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Perpich Center for Arts Education.

Susan-Brower-name-150x185.jpgSusan Brower
Minnesota State Demographer

Susan Brower is the Minnesota State Demographer and directs the MN State Demographic Center. Susan became the State Demographer in February 2012. In that capacity, she travels the state talking with Minnesotans about the new social and economic realities that are brought about by recent demographic shifts. Susan's work applies an understanding of demographic trends to changes in a range of areas including the state's economy and workforce, education, health, immigration and rural population changes. Susan joined the State Demographic Center after working as a researcher on the Minnesota Compass project at Wilder Research in St. Paul. Prior to that, she worked at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Susan earned her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan, specializing in demography and family sociology. She also holds a master's degree in public policy from Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Suzanne-Costello-name-150x185.jpgSuzanne Costello
Artistic Co-Director
Arts & Healthcare, Arts & Educations Program Director
Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater

Suzanne Costello is the Artistic Co-Director of Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater (SPDT), an internationally-recognized performance company, founded in 1978 by Stuart Pimsler. As director of the company's Arts & Healthcare and Arts & Educations Programs, Suzanne coordinates and facilitates the many community-inclusive projects SPDT has come to be known for nationally and internationally. In 1992, SPDT introduced their groundbreaking program Caring for the Caregiver™ at the University of Florida-Gainesville. Since that time, the company has presented workshops for hundreds of healthcare providers and patients throughout the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, SPDT presented a workshop and performed at Mayo Clinic's Holistic Wellness Conference. The company’s community inclusive work has been lauded as a national model by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and its Arts & Healthcare work has been recognized for best practices by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Maria-Genne-name-150x185.jpgMaria Genné
Artistic Director, KAIROS Alive!

Maria Genné is a dancer, choreographer and educator with KAIROS. Her award winning work to create interactive dance, music and story programs for older adults is designed to tap into the artistry and creativity of older adults and invite them to be collaborators in the artistic process of dance, music and storytelling. Maria’s work at KAIROS models a new and vital role in society for the community-based professional performing artist. Her choreography is recognized for its ability to highlight the beauty of human experience through movement and story.

Melissa-Haynes-name-150x185.jpgMelissa Haynes
Coordinator and Director of Graduate Studies
Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute
University of Minnesota

Melissa Chapman Haynes has been conducting program evaluation and research since 2002. She received her undergraduate degrees in psychology and English, and her doctorate in psychological and quantitative foundations, with an emphasis in educational psychology and evaluation. Prior to joining the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute, she served as associate director of the Center for Evaluation and Assessment at the University of Iowa, and then as senior evaluator at a private evaluation consulting firm. She also has experience working at a nonprofit organization, as an instructor for undergraduate and graduate students at small and large post-secondary institutions, as a grant writer, and as a trainer for non-evaluators who are asked to conduct evaluation. Melissa is an active member of the American Evaluation Association and contributed to review of the newest edition of the Program Evaluation Standards.

Natalie Kennedy SchuckNatalie-Kennedy-Schuck-name-150x185.jpg
Program Officer & Accessibility Coordinator
Minnesota State Arts Board

Natalie Kennedy Schuck is the newest program officer and accessibility coordinator at the Minnesota State Arts Board. Natalie received her undergraduate degree from Carleton College and will be completing her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Hamline University this summer. Prior to joining the Arts Board she served as education coordinator for the Ordway where she carried out the work of a Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Access grant working within communities to extend and expand arts opportunities. Her other credits in the arts include work with Schubert Club, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the West Bank School of Music where she now serves on the board of directors. 

Iris-Shiraishi-name-150x185.jpgIris Shiraishi
ArtSage Lead Teacher—Taiko Drumming
Director of Taiko Alive!

Iris Shiraishi is a composer, taiko drummer and taiko programs director at Mu Performing Arts. Through studio classes and school residencies, she has taught taiko drumming to thousands of students of all ages and abilities. Iris originally trained as a composer, with degrees in Composition from the University of Hawaii and the University of Iowa. In addition to advanced training in taiko drumming and Japanese flute, she also has an M.F.A. in Arts Administration, and a Ph.D. in Music Therapy from the University of Minnesota. She was a founding member of the Twin Cities-based Mu Daiko and currently teaches at St. Catherine University, and heads up her own performing group, ensemble-MA, and its teaching arm,Taiko Alive!

Photo credit: Jake Armour

Catharine-Sullivan-name-150x185.jpgCatherine Sullivan
Associate Professor, Gerontology and Neuroscience
St. Catherine University

Catherine Sullivan, Ph.D, OTR/L, is an Associate Professor at St. Catherine University where she teaches a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, including in Gerontology and Neuroscience. She has been conducting research for the past few years on arts and aging with Kairos Alive! in collaboration with her graduate students and interdisciplinary colleagues in physical and occupational therapy at St. Kate’s. She has presented her research nationally and internationally and is currently on the ArtSage Board of Directors.

Jim-Tift-name-150x185.jpgJim Tift
Gerontologist, Assistant Professor of Interprofessional Education and Aging, St. Catherine University

Jim Tift is currently Assistant Professor of Interprofessional Education and Aging at St. Catherine University’s Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. He is the former Community Services Director for ElderCare Rights Alliance (ECRA), has been an adjunct faculty member, teaching gerontology, human services, and family studies courses in a number of Minnesota state universities and community colleges for more than thirty years. Jim has a Bachelor's degree in psychology and a Master's degree in gerontology.

Jane-Tygesson-name-150x185.jpgJane Tygesson
Director, Opening Doors Initiative

Jane Tygesson graduated from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois with a joint degree in Art History and Slavic Studies. She served as Gallery Director for Mongerson Wunderlich Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. Jane was a member of LeagueAires, a vocal group working with seniors for 10 years, and a Lay Care Minister for Christ Presbyterian Church. She served as a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for 19 years, where she co-founded and served as program coordinator for Discover Your Story tours. She is the author of Opening Doors to Memory and Imagination: Creating a Museum Program for People with Memory Loss, and consults with arts and senior organizations through the Open Doors Initiative ( ), to to help museums create pro­grams that engage the senses and spark conversation for people with memory loss. In addition to serving as program coordinator/trainer for arts organizations with ArtSage, Jane is on the advisory boards of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project-MN and Giving Voice: A Chorus for People Living with Alzheimer's, and has presented at numerous conferences on arts and aging.