Smart Inc. Board of Directors

Sara Balbin – President

My focus as a professional artist and art’s advocate is deeply rooted in my Cuban born heritage and daily immersion in the inspirational Chequamegon forested environment of my home in northwestern Wisconsin. Having earned both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Art Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, I am a registered art therapist with the State and National Credential Boards. Since 1987 I have worked from my Dragonfly Studio/Gallery on Blue Moon Road in Drummond, Wisconsin. My commissions have come from museums, colleges, businesses, town governments, tribal entities, nonprofit organizations and private individuals.  My work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Wisconsin Arts Board, Wisconsin Humanities Committee, EAA Aviation Museum, Chequamegon Bay Arts Council, as well as foundations, and patrons of the arts. As an artist, it is my long friendship with the Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) community of Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO), the Anishinaabe, that inspired my most historical work. The LCO Tribal Government commissioned thirty-two tribal elder oil portraits representative of the generational heritage of the First People. With biographies and illuminating essays, which I co-authored, my art was shared in the book Spirit of the Ojibwe; Images of Lac Courte Oreilles Elders, published in 2012. Since its inception, I have served on the Board of Directors to the Cable-Namakagon Historical Museum as curator. My activity as an advocate across a large region has helped open new opportunities for artists.  As founder and first president of the Cable Hayward Area Regional Arts Council (CHARAC), I helped bring a focus for community arts activities to Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer, and Washburn counties. In 2008, I co-founded See My Art, Inc. (SMART), which acquired a not-for-profit 501c3 corporation status in 2012. I am passionately aligned with SMART’s mission of “Unlocking Doors and Opening Minds through Art”. In January, 2020, I was honored by the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters as a Fellow, celebrating their 150th year Anniversary. The Academy, whose mission is to gather, share, and act upon knowledge for the betterment of Wisconsin, recognized my accomplishments as an artist, art therapist, author and community activist. I closely adhere to their guiding values of: Curiosity, Critical thinking, Creativity and Civil discourse. To learn more about the Wisconsin Academy visit: https://www.wisconsinacademy.org . For further details of my life’s work in the arts visit https://sarabalbin.com . I’m honored to work with my kind and compassionate fellow Board Members, and the SMART volunteers who remain dedicated to the organization’s mission and vision.

“Unlocking Doors and Opening Minds through Art”

Christie Carlson

See My Art, Inc – Vice President Christie Carlson relocated to the north woods of Wisconsin in 2006 with her husband, Leo, and daughter Emma (14), when Leo took a position with Norvado, then Chequamegon Communications. Since that time, Leo and Christie have added two boys, Isaac (7) and Noah (5), 3 dogs, and 2 cats to the family. Over the past 11 years, Christie and her family have settled in and made the Cable/Drummond area their home, enjoying all of the beauty and tranquility that comes with living in the forest. When she isn’t working alongside Leo to homeschool Emma, Isaac, and Noah, she is publishing the latest edition of Forest & Lakes, Monthly Magazine, Christie enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, quilting, and reading. Christie’s background and education are in web and graphic design, marketing, and brand development.

 

Lisa Seiffert

I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with the SMART board to continue to empower and inspire people with disabilities through art. I have spent my life working with students with disabilities. I retired four years ago working 36 years as a high school special education teacher and seven years as a Director of Special Education at the Mellen Public Schools. I, then, went back to work part time as Director of Special Education for two more years in the same district. I believe that the main question is “What is in the best interest if the child?” I am pleased to say that after all those years I keep in contact with many of my past students. I live in Drummond, Wisconsin with my husband. We travel quite often with children and grandchildren living in lower Michigan, Washington, and Nevada. If one was to ask me my hobby – travel would be it! We belong to the Cable Lion and participate, regularly, in many local fundraisers for the community and local school district. I serve as a Director for the Cable Lions. As an observer, I believe that See My Art, Inc. has validated the artistic talents of those with disabilities. I’ve purchased cards and looked at items made by the disabled at varies art venues. I’ve seen the pride the artists have in their work. This, indeed, opens doors for the community in so many ways – Keep SMART Strong indeed!

Anita Warren      

I love the north woods, the arts, and have a desire to help enrich the lives of folks with disabilities. My son Alex Mann is in the autism spectrum. Alex joins Sara Balbin on radio interviews, and has blossomed as a radio personality promoting SMART’s annual events and mission “Unlocking Doors and Opening Minds through Art for individuals with Disabilities”. In particular, for SMART I’m honored to manage the sale and distribution of the artists original greeting cards. I look forward to continuing and developing this role through internet sales as it grows in our beautiful north wood’s communities, and world.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Boles

I have made my home in the Cable/Namakagon area since 1988. My professional work is in the field of natural resources, ecological landscape design and wildlife ecology.

I love our home and community. I served for 17 years on the Namakagon Volunteer Fire Dept. as a Captain and EMT, I retired in 2020.  

I believe in SMART’s mission and have supported SMART with membership and monetary contributions since its inception. At this writing I am still working professionally so my time to commit as a Board Member is limited. 

My interest in dance/movement began with formal dance classes in Tap, Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Middle Eastern Folk.  This interest has expanded to learning methods that are adaptive to include people with physical and mental challenges.

These modalities contribute to the Brain, Body and Spirit connection and really bring Joy and a sense of accomplishment for everyone that is involved.  

 

Nancy Hall board member

 

Nancy “Nan” Hall

After retiring in 2017, my husband Terry and I moved to Drummond from the Twin Cities. In our time here, we met have made many wonderful new friends. For many years, I have wanted to volunteer contributing to the community in which I lived.. With my administrative skills and compassion for children and those with other abilities, I would be honored to support and serve See My Art, Inc. to make a positive difference.

 

 

Elizabeth Schoone-Board of Directors memberElizabeth “Liz” Schoone

I am honored to serve on the SMART Board of Directors as an extension of my commitment to promoting healing-centered arts. I retired from a 31-year teaching/administrative career with Milwaukee Public Schools in 2018 and worked as a Data Coordinator/Artistic Team staff member at Express Yourself Milwaukee (a youth-serving therapeutic arts organization) from August of 2018 through January of 2020, having served as Board Member and Vice President for the organization from 2006 – 2017. I intend to apply my experience and skills to our work on the SMART Board as we “unlock doors and open minds” through the universal language of community art. My husband and I moved to Seeley in December, 2020 and we have fully embraced our new life in the Northwoods and enjoy all that this beautiful area has to offer.  As we say, “We are Up North. For GOOD.”