2015 Conference Speakers
Bruce Allen Green
Bruce Green is a native of Valdosta with a BS in biology from Valdosta State and Masters work in Secondary Education.
He, at 25, was elected to serve as a city councilman in Remerton, Georgia. That same year he bought an old house where he honed his carpentry, design and community redevelopment skills while restoring a 1906 Victorian in an urban up and coming neighborhood called Fairview in Valdosta.
Thereafter, he served as Main Street Manager in the City of Tifton, where he coordinated a very successful revitalization program for over eight years, which eventually led to Tifton being recognized as one of the Best Small Towns in America. Bruce moved to Atlanta to work as the Director of the Office of Downtown Development with the Georgia Municipal Association.
Following GMA Bruce served as the Director of Communications, Research and Rural Development with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. He then created his own consulting company – Bruce Green & Associates.
Currently Bruce serves as the Director of Tourism Product Development with the Georgia Department of Economic Development. He works with communities and private corporations and non-profits across Georgia to increase investment in and development of new tourism product.
Ashley Callahan is an independent scholar and curator in Athens, Georgia, with a specialty in modern and contemporary American decorative arts. She has written books and curated exhibitions on sisters Ilonka and Mariska Karasz, Hungarian-born modern designers based in New York, and Henry Eugene Thomas, a Colonial Revival furniture craftsman from Athens. Her next book, Southern Tufts: The Regional Origins and National Craze for Chenille Fashion, will be published by the University of Georgia Press in early 2016. She also is a contributor to Ornament magazine, which features jewelry and fashion. Callahan received her B.A. from Sewanee and her M.A. in the history of American decorative Arts from the Smithsonian and Parsons.
Addae Moon is an Atlanta based playwright, dramaturg, director and teaching artist. He is an alum of the Professional Playwriting Program at Ohio University and has worked locally with 7Stages, Horizon Theatre Company, Alliance Theatre and Working Title Playwrights. He is a resident playwright with the Chicago based theater company, MPAACT and the Director of Museum Theatre at Atlanta History Center.
David Aft is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia and has served in this role since 2003.
He has worked in the non-profit field for over twenty five years and has lived in Northwest Georgia since 1996. Aft is a recognized resource and noted speaker on charitable enterprise, civics, fundraising strategy and community development.
Aft is the father of two sons, Dakota, 24, who is a graduate of the University of Georgia and works for Shaw Industries and Carson, 20, who is a senior at the University of Georgia.
He is a graduate of the Florida State University School of Social Work where he earned a masters degree in social work in 1987.
Kevin S. Fontenot is a native of Oberlin, Louisiana. He holds degrees in history from Louisiana College and Tulane University. He taught Louisiana history and Southern cultural history for twelve years at Tulane’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS). Tulane awarded him the John Dyer Award for Excellence in Teaching. Fontenot is a widely known scholar of the history of country music, having studied with Bill C. Malone, and is a frequent speaker at the International Country Music Conference and other historical associations. He is co-editor of Accordions, Fiddles, Two Step and Swing: A Cajun Music Reader. His articles and essays have appeared in Country Music Annual, Country Music Goes to War, Shreveport Sounds in Black and White, and Louisiana Women. He is coauthor of the forthcoming North of the Ohio: Northern Fiddlers and String Bands of the 1920s, with Patrick Huber. The History Press will publish his new history of Cajun music and Zydeco in the spring of 2015. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he is employed by the Austin Independent School District.
Karen L. Paty was named executive director of Georgia Council for the Arts in 2011. Prior to being named executive director, she served as GCA’s grant director. As executive director, she is responsible for developing policies, procedures and programs, initiating statewide partnerships and collaborations to further the division’s strategic goals of supporting the role of the arts in the state’s economic and cultural development and contributing to the sustainability of Georgia’s nonprofit arts sector.
As a state arts leader, Ms. Paty has traveled throughout Georgia to engage, educate and excite audiences about the arts by speaking at local and statewide events such as the Georgia Forward Conference, the Georgia Southern University Creative Economies Conference, the Atlanta Foundation Centers’ Nonprofit Issues Forum and many others. She is also responsible for bringing more awareness and visibility to the role of the arts in assisting economic development, creating vibrant communities, and contributing to a strong educational curriculum. As the agency’s first hired director she has executed multiple programs and projects that contribute to these goals including guidance of an annual Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities, inclusion of the arts in multiple Tourism initiatives, and the development of “The Art of Georgia,” Georgia Council for the Arts’ first exhibit featuring the work of state artists at the Capitol. Upon being hired as executive director, she led the creation and implementation of a new five-year strategic plan that redefined the agency’s mission and goals to better provide an opportunity for the arts to become an integral part of the lives of all Georgians. In recognition of her valuable contributions to the arts and to the state of Georgia, Ms. Paty was named one of the 2013 “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine.
Prior to her work at Georgia Council for the Arts, Ms. Paty worked as the associate director of civic engagement at Hands On Atlanta, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building community through volunteerism and civic engagement. While there she managed numerous local community-building and social issue awareness initiatives, designed and implemented a leadership development program for emerging grassroots leaders, and worked with organizations to underscore the power of the arts as a means of outreach and social change. She is a graduate of New York University, where she was also a recipient of the university’s President’s Award for Service.
Performing folklorist Mick Kinney has been a collector of Georgia music since the 1970s. Known mostly for his preservation of regional tunes, he is a recipient of the Country Music Hall of Fame educator award and prize winning fiddler. He has recently been a contributor to the Georgia Humanities exhibit New Harmonies.