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James Menaker

James Menaker

Executive Director, director@fsaf.org

On August 1, 2017, James Menaker will become the Festival’s third Executive Director. James was born and raised in Fairbanks, returning from school in 2000 to invest in his family and community. He has nearly 20 years of nonprofit experience, including the past five years in management. He also holds a Foraker certificate in nonprofit management. He is married with three children and, when not working, stays busy with freelance writing. A published author, James is thrilled to be continuing the Festival’s work empowering people of all skills and abilities to awaken their inner artist. “I am looking forward to using my skills and passion for the arts to further the Festival’s already rich legacy.” (Since 2017)


Terese Kaptur

Terese Kaptur

Past Director

Terese Kaptur returned to Alaska after being Executive Director at Fort Collins Symphony and National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado. Always passionate about outreach, early childhood and the healing powers of the arts, Terese helped pioneer new programs for Ages 0 to 3 and Music Therapy while working in Education/Community Engagement and Artistic Planning at the Pittsburgh Symphony. She has worked with festivals, orchestras, ballet and opera. Since starting her career at the Fairbanks Symphony and earning her degrees at UAF, Terese composed numerous works which have been performed internationally.The symphonies of Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Anchorage, Carolina Chamber Symphony, and Pittsburgh New Music Festival have performed her orchestral pieces. (Since 2009)


Dori Nix

Dori Nix

Artistic Administrator, dori@fsaf.org

Dori Nix is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, and is still fairly new to Fairbanks after spending most of her life on the east coast. Dori graduated with double majors in Art History and Studio Art with a focus in photography. She has developed a love for community, craft, and handmade arts over the years and now specializes in photography with a passion for non-profit organizations. Dori is excited to be a part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, and is looking forward to the development of community through the arts here in Fairbanks.


James Wardlaw-Bailey

James Wardlaw-Bailey

Artistic and IT Manager, james@fsaf.org

Originally from Michigan, James has been an Alaskan resident since 2004. He attended Albion College where he majored in mathematics and chemistry, the University of Maine, where he studied physical chemistry, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he studied music theory. James enjoys playing cello in chamber groups, and singing in choirs. His favorite parts of Festival are meeting new people, forging new relationships, and creating music together with others. (Since 2005)


Rhonda Gilbertson

Rhonda Gilbertson

Bookkeeper

A life-long Alaskan, Rhonda fell in love with music as soon as she could sing along, and has never stopped since. She also has a weakness for any percussion instrument, and can usually be found joyfully banging away. She earned a BA in Music from UAF, and started working for local arts non-profits. Currently, she is the Operations Manager for the Fairbanks Concert Association, as well as Festival's bookkeeper. In her free time, she loves gardening, reading, photography, walking, and any animal with fins, fur, or feathers.


Abby Hatfield

Abby Hatfield

Administrative Assistant

Abby recently relocated to Fairbanks from her lifelong home in Maryland. There, she worked as a Veterinary Technician and has volunteered with multiple Maryland festivals, including Artsfest, Park Your Arts and Barktoberfest, a festival for dogs! She is currently pursuing a degree at UAF and is very excited to both become more involved with the artistic community in Fairbanks and experience her first summer in Alaska. In her spare time she enjoys photography and exploring the outdoors.


Niamh Mercer

Niamh Mercer

Artistic Coordinator

A lifelong Californian, Niamh came to Alaska in 2015 to pursue her Masters in Percussion Performance at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant as well as the instructor of the World Beat Ensemble, and the Interrelation of Arts and Drama. She is an avid performer, and is passionate about percussion in its various settings, from orchestral to world music. (Since 2016)


Adam Gillette

Adam Gillette

Production Manager


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