Celtic Junction Arts Center is a Twin Cities-based arts and cultural center formed and organized to provide a central gathering place to educate its audiences about Celtic cultural legacy for the benefit of all ages and for future generations, and to engage in any lawful activity that celebrates, supports, promotes and/or preserves cultural arts and community.
Board of Directors
Cormac is a Dublin native with a 50 year legacy behind him in Irish dance, music and language. An original cast member of Riverdance, The Show, he is the founder of both the Celtic Junction (2009) and O’Shea Irish Dance (2005) and performs around the world on accordion for major Irish Dance championships. He has been the Celtic Junction venue’s concerts and booking manager for ten years, bringing master artists and world-class touring bands to St. Paul. Cormac has twenty years of touring production experience and a decade of managing commercial construction projects. Cormac brings all of his experience to bear when he and his wife purchased and remodeled the building known as The Celtic Junction and continues to do so as CJAC’s Building management and operations. Cormac is also a member of Dublin’s An Coimisiún, serving as the representative to the MidAmerica region.
Write Cormac at Cormac@celticjunction.org
Jo Ann Vano is a media consultant committed to supporting community organizations. She previously served as president of the board at KFAI radio and is a founding board member and president of the board of the African Development Center of Minnesota. She also serves on the board of the Center for Irish Music and is chair of CIM’s Harvest Home and Minnesota Irish Music Weekend. Jo Ann serves on the Celtic Junction Arts Center Board of Directors as its Vice-President and also provides additional assistance with marketing and print media. Jo Ann is a dedicated student of the Irish button accordion and plays regularly in sessions around the Twin Cities.
Write Jo Ann at email@example.com
Nathan recently joined the Celtic Junction Arts Center Board of Directors as Treasurer. Nathan is currently working as the church administrator for the University Lutheran Church of Hope near the University of Minnesota campus. Nathan previously spent the last 30 years managing stores in the college bookstore industry in the Twin Cities. He has helped transition physical store locations and train management teams in over a dozen locations during his career. He is a guitar enthusiast and has always loved Irish music and culture. He is currently volunteering as a photographer for Irondale Bands and Irondale Nordic Ski Team. He also volunteers as a swim team coach for a local school. Nathan is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys teaching canoeing, kayaking and outdoor/environmental wilderness skills with his family and friends.
Write Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim brings years of interaction with the Minnesota Irish community. An award-winning journalist, he worked for nearly 30 years at the St. Paul Pioneer Press as both an editor and reporter, among which duties he was an entertainment reporter covering pop, rock and country music, which lead to an appreciation for traditional ethnic music of all types, including Celtic music. He holds both Bachelor and Master of Science Journalism degrees (with an emphasis in popular-arts criticism) from Iowa State University. As a freelancer, he also edited and wrote music and record reviews for the St. Paul-based Irish Gazette newspaper. His other journalistic experience includes being editor of The History Channel Magazine (a licensed publication produced in the Twin Cities area with and for A&E Television; was also executive director of The History Channel Club), and editing a B2B magazine for the Industrial Fabrics Association International. His other volunteer work includes reading for clients of the Minnesota State Services for the Blind. Tarbox also announces shows for various local and regional “pageantry arts” competitions, including the annual Youth in Music marching-band competition, which includes the Minnesota state high-school championships. He also serves as drum major for St. Paul’s Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band, with which he has performed since 1975. His past board experience includes serving with the Minnesota Media and Publishing Association and Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps.
Donna Dingle is a long-time volunteer supporting the Celtic Junction Arts Center and the Minnesota Boychoir. She serves as administrator for O’Shea Irish Dance and manages the school’s social media accounts. Previously, she served as chair of Communications on the board of the PTA for Stonebridge Elementary School in Stillwater.
A lifelong St. Paul resident, Donna lives with her husband and their three children in the house she grew up in. She is a passionate advocate for in-home elder-care, and with her family served as a caregiver for her father during the last 14 years of his life. The proud parent of three open-champion Irish Dancers, Donna loves to travel with her family, frequently to and from Irish Dance competitions, finding unusual and historic sites and roadside attractions.
In her professional life, Donna is a Senior Paralegal in the legal department of a Minnesota-based manufacturer. She has over 30 years of experience working as a key member of in-house and law firm legal teams. Donna provides strategic and tactical direction to outside counsel involved in claim-related investigations, legal research, and case review. She has strong interview, negotiation, and assessment skills honed through years of interviewing, evaluating
and retaining outside counsel, assessing risk and mediating lawsuits toward resolution. Donna brings extensive experience as a director and project manager overseeing in-house teams in litigation-involvement review and regulating document productions and litigation holds. She possesses expert analytical skills working with costs and reporting on trends and supplying potential solutions to reduce risk and costs associated with litigation and claims management.
Steven Griffith taught in the theatre and dance department at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota for 27 years. For many of those years, Steve was chair of the department. While at Gustavus, he taught courses in Irish theatre and history, theatre design, stagecraft, and arts management. Steve has designed for over 150 theatre productions. He lived in Dublin in the early 1990s while doing research on the Abbey Theatre. Steve has led 10 college study abroad tours to Ireland and visited the island many more times. He has a BA and MFA in theatre, and a Ph.D. in higher education policy. From 2006 to 2016 Steve served as Senior Vice President and Academic Dean at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. He currently teaches drama classes in the Celtic Junction Arts Center's Irish College of Minnesota and is serves on the board of Out of the Irish Mist Celtic Theatre in St. Paul.
Over his 40-year career, Dennis has served in executive and fundraising leadership roles for nonprofit arts, social service and medical organizations in New York, Indiana and the Twin Cities area. He recruited and developed voluntary boards and worked with them to achieve their fundraising and organizational development goals.
Dennis's affiliations include the Jasper (IN) Community Arts Commission, where he oversaw the development and construction of a major addition to the Jasper Civic Auditorium; White River State Park Arts Festival (Founding Director); American Red Cross of the St. Paul Area, where he led the St. Paul area's $11 million campaign for disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina; Minnesota AIDS Project; Historic Murphy’s Landing, and others. Most recently, Dennis served as Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Medical Association Foundation.
As a volunteer, Dennis was a founding board member of the Indiana Association of Arts Councils, the Indiana Presenters Network and the Midwest Presenters Network. He has served on the boards of Park Square Theater and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) - Minnesota Chapter, and in various volunteer roles with Indiana Arts Commission, Minnesota State Arts Board, and others.
Now retired from the demands of a full-time career, Dennis has renewed his creative interests in theatre and music, acting in local theatre productions and performing rock and roll classics with his band Buster Phelan.
Mary McCormick spent her career in international business law. She began with the law firm of Baker & McKenzie. For seventeen years, she was in-house counsel, first as Asia Pacific Group Counsel for Honeywell, Inc. (computer and controls divisions), and eight years later, International Counsel for Cray Research, Inc. (supercomputer manufacturer). Thereafter, she had a private solo practice and served as an international arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. She taught International Contracts for five years at the University of Minnesota Law School, and Legal Aspects of International Business for three years at Metropolitan State University. She has lived in England and toured Ireland three times. She has been taking writing classes for the past ten years.
Ruth is a former Accountant with the State of Minnesota.
Ruth has served on various nonprofit/community boards for over 25 years and previously served on the boards of the Irish Music and Dance Association as well as The Center for Irish Music. Ruth is a longtime volunteer for the Irish Fair of Minnesota and has also spent a number of years studying Irish through Gaeltacht Minnesota.
When not supporting or volunteering you can find Ruth playing flute, singing in a choir, knitting, spending time outdoors and traveling to visit family and friends.
Steve and his spouse Lissa recently moved to Minneapolis from Colorado, where they lived for 23 years, in order to be near their daughter and her family. A second daughter lives in Scotland. Steve is a retired United Methodist clergy.
Steve has been involved in community theater for many years acting, directing, and set-building, and served on the board of Westcliffe Center for the Performing arts and the board of Solvista Behavioral Health.
He continues to host a radio show called Celtic and Beyond for the community radio staton in Westcliffe, Colorado, streaming Mondays on KLZR.org from 5:00 to 7:00, broadcasting live from his home in Minneapolis. His great interest in all things Celtic lured him into volunteering to serve as a board member at Celtic Junction Arts Center. He and his spouse have attended the Milwaukee Irish Fest, the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Festival, Celtic Colours in Cape Breton, and Fleadh Nua in Ennis, Ireland.
His skills are primarily in personal relations, and he is keen to help with event planning and coordination. His favorite instruments to play (though still learning) include mountain dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, and concertina.
Natalie is co-owner and founder of The Celtic Junction, a cultural center for traditional arts in Saint Paul and the Executive Director of the Celtic Junction Arts Center (CJAC), a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to the operation of CJAC and its programs as the Irish Cultural Center of Minnesota, including the Eoin McKiernan Library, the Irish College of Minnesota, the Celtic Junction Concert Series, and the Irish Outreach Coalition. She is also the founding Vice President of both Theater M, New York, NY, and of The Center for Irish Music, St. Paul, MN. Natalie owns and instructs for O’Shea Irish Dance, and is the creator and director of three ongoing stage productions: Get Up Your Irish, Kickin’; It Irish, and the Celtic Holiday Hooley. Natalie is a member of Irish Network Chicago, the Midwest Irish Cultural Centers Association (MICCA), and Network of Irish Cultural Centres of North America (NICCoNA), representing Minnesota nationally and internationally.
Write Natalie at email@example.com
Brian has been active in the Irish music world for over 20 years and he continues to perform with the Lost Forty, Two Tap Trio and the acclaimed Chicago-based band Bua. He is an authority on the history of Irish music in the Upper Midwest—work that has earned him the Parsons Fund Award from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and five grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. He received his Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Write Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick is an Irish-born educator, literary historian, writer, editor, theatre director, and Arts Week producer dedicated to fostering Irish cultural heritage in Minnesota. For twenty years he has been an English faculty member at Normandale Community College. He earned his Ph.D. from University College Dublin in 2010 on “The Irish Roots of the Guthrie Theater,” and subsequently co-edited the eighteen-author anthology The Harp and the Loon: Literary Bridges between Ireland and Minnesota. Since joining CJAC as its Director of Education in 2017, he has founded and edited its quarterly online arts magazine, The Celtic Junction Arts Review; founded its annual free Colloquium lecture series; founded the Celtic Phoenix community theatre group; and founded the Irish College of Minnesota (which came on stream in January, 2019 giving deeper definition to the classes he had coordinated since 2017). He regularly teaches classes on Irish mythology, history, and literature for CJAC’s Irish College.
Write Patrick at email@example.com
Carillon is an arts administrator with a variety of web platform and CMS proficiencies which she has used to support local arts nonprofits and their diverse patrons since 2008. She manages the Celtic Junction website and all associated assets since its inception, and also holds primary responsibility for event promotion via media outreach and through CJAC’s own social media and newsletter campaigns. Carillon has served on the board of the Center for Irish Music and is a founding board member of Bollywood Dance Scene where she served as their grant writer. She is a parent to one current OID and CIM student, and two former ones. Carillon holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Art from Kent State University and studied Ceramics and Museum Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Write Carillon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Equity and Inclusion Statement
The Celtic Junction Arts Center (CJAC) strives to be an inclusive environment for all and does not tolerate harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, age, ability, or class. Furthermore, we strongly oppose the appropriation of Irish/Celtic culture, history and symbols by those who promote discrimination, hate, violence, or injustice.
Child Protection Policy
The Celtic Junction Arts Center (CJAC) has a zero-tolerance policy for incidents of child abuse. We understand that protecting children is our most important responsibility and that our programs serve no positive purpose if we do not ensure their safety. In EVERY case, the report of molestation and any other abuse, or suspected such activity, will be treated with absolute priority, and CJAC will do everything in its power to ensure the successful prosecution of the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law.
Everyone working with children at CJAC must agree to and sign this document.