Springfield Area Arts Council

Springfield Area Arts Council

image of a crowd sitting on the grass in downtown springfield waiting for a concert to begin.

Mission Statement

The Springfield Area Arts Council enriches the community by promoting and supporting all art forms and providing creative opportunities to participate in and enjoy the arts.

Our History

Founded in 1975 and incorporated in 1976 as a private, nonprofit organization, the Springfield Area Arts Council (SAAC) serves the greater Springfield area within Sangamon and Menard counties by providing community arts excellence through programs, events, and outreach to underserved populations. SAAC is governed by a Board of Directors.

 
Our mission umbrellas the many aspects of SAAC’s programming. We foster cooperation among arts organizations, encourage development of arts services and programs, provide economic opportunities to artists, enhance school curriculum through Arts-in-Education, and re-grant designated funds. In these, our mission is achieved.
 
Over its 48-year history, over 200 individuals have served on the SAAC Board of Directors, more than 6,000 individuals have volunteered for SAAC programs and events, and countless artists have benefitted from SAAC’s commitment to enriching the community through the arts.

Recommitment to Equity

In the sweep of pandemic and protest, the Springfield Area Arts Council renews our commitment to encourage, embrace, and celebrate diversity. SAAC affirms our pledge not to discriminate in any way by reason of race, color, religion, national origin, income, mental/physical ability, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression and to listen to those who know better than we do where discrimination lingers in our society.

 
The visual, performing, and literary arts in the greater Springfield area should encompass all creative efforts. Therefore, SAAC stands ready to ally with those who seek to educate and to find community-led solutions. As SAAC nears our 45th anniversary, we will endeavor to help the community imagine, engage, heal, and move forward.
 
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama”

The Springfield Area Arts Council is partially supported with funding from the Illinois Arts Council. illinois arts council logo

Administrative Staff              

A color photo of BELLA SZABO smiling. She has brown hair with bangs, glasses, and a red cardigan.

Bella Szabo is a visual artist, curator, and arts administrator. In addition to working at the Springfield Area Arts Council, she is an instructor at the Springfield Art Association

Bella Szabo

Executive Director

Bella Szabo is a visual artist, curator, and arts administrator. In addition to working at the Springfield Area Arts Council, she is an instructor at the Springfield Art Association

A color photo of Sheila Walk smiling into the camera.

Sheila Walk has worked with the Springfield Area Arts Council for over 16 years. She is a former teacher at Ursuline Academy and continues to educate the community in her new role as Education Director.

Sheila Walk

Education Director

Sheila Walk has worked with the Springfield Area Arts Council for over 16 years. She is a former teacher at Ursuline Academy and continues to educate the community in her new role as Education Director.

Photo of smiling blond woman

Jodie Owen is a self-employed accountant with a focus on nonprofit accounting. Jodie’s career began at the Illinois State Museum Society as a bookkeeper after she graduated from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 1997. Since then she has expanded her business to include several nonprofits in Illinois including the Illinois Audubon Society, the Illinois State Academy of Science, and the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She enjoys laid back mornings and spending time with her husband, four daughters and three dogs. She homeschools her daughters and lives in rural Taylorville, IL with her husband of 29 years.

Jodie Owen

Bookkeeper

Jodie Owen is a self-employed accountant with a focus on nonprofit accounting. Jodie’s career began at the Illinois State Museum Society as a bookkeeper after she graduated from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 1997. Since then she has expanded her business to include several nonprofits in Illinois including the Illinois Audubon Society, the Illinois State Academy of Science, and the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She enjoys laid back mornings and spending time with her husband, four daughters and three dogs. She homeschools her daughters and lives in rural Taylorville, IL with her husband of 29 years.

Sidney smiling at camera holding a pair of sunglasses.

Sidney DeLeonardo is a visual artist and all around creative person. She holds an MA in English and is currently back in school pursuing a degree in social work.

Sidney DeLeonardo

Website and Social Media Manager

Sidney DeLeonardo is a visual artist and all around creative person. She holds an MA in English and is currently back in school pursuing a degree in social work.

Alaina has been performing in musicals since she was in the 4th grade. She has performed at the Muni, Hoogland, and Theatre in the Park. She grew up in Athens and graduated high school this year. Alaina is attending Mizzou in the fall where she will be studying journalism.

Alaina Taylor

Intern

Alaina has been performing in musicals since she was in the 4th grade. She has performed at the Muni, Hoogland, and Theatre in the Park. She grew up in Athens and graduated high school this year. Alaina is attending Mizzou in the fall where she will be studying journalism.

Hailey Higgins has been drawing and painting since elementary school, and her love of art has grown tremendously over the years. Hailey has exhibited at the Springfield Art Association, the SIUE gallery, and the Old Capitol Art Fair among others. She plans to pursue a career in the arts.

Hailey Higgins

Intern

Hailey Higgins has been drawing and painting since elementary school, and her love of art has grown tremendously over the years. Hailey has exhibited at the Springfield Art Association, the SIUE gallery, and the Old Capitol Art Fair among others. She plans to pursue a career in the arts.

Board of Directors

 

A color photo of Steve Rambach smiling for the camera as he rides a racing bicycle. He is wearing a white helmet, glasses, a black and white graphic shirt with colorful details.

“I believe in service and have been with the Springfield Arts Council going on six years during two intervals.” Steve Rambach was a teacher and counselor at Lanphier High School for 52 years. Married to Libby Larison Rambach for 50 years, they have three children and six grandchildren.

Steve Rambach

Officer: President

“I believe in service and have been with the Springfield Arts Council going on six years during two intervals.” Steve Rambach was a teacher and counselor at Lanphier High School for 52 years. Married to Libby Larison Rambach for 50 years, they have three children and six grandchildren.

Selfie of Corrine smiling at the camera

Dr. Corrine Hinton is the dean of English and Humanities and Lincoln Land Community College.

Corrine Hinton

Officer: Secretary

Dr. Corrine Hinton is the dean of English and Humanities and Lincoln Land Community College.

A color photograph headshot of Douglas Holt smiling into the camera. He has a short beard and is wearing a khaki polo shirt.

Douglas Holt is an Artist, Actor, Writer, Entrepreneur, Photographer, Private Diplomat, International Award-winning poet, and National Senior Olympian. He has been a Community Activist for more than 30 years, serving on local and national boards.

Douglas Holt

Director

Douglas Holt is an Artist, Actor, Writer, Entrepreneur, Photographer, Private Diplomat, International Award-winning poet, and National Senior Olympian. He has been a Community Activist for more than 30 years, serving on local and national boards.

Melinda Kaye is a former Adjunct Instructor of Music at Lincoln Land Community College. She studied Community Arts Management at University of Illinois at Springfield.

Melinda Kaye

Director

Melinda Kaye is a former Adjunct Instructor of Music at Lincoln Land Community College. She studied Community Arts Management at University of Illinois at Springfield.

A color photo of Ron Silver speaking into a microphone to someone off-camera.

Ron Silver, a composer and performer, is the Director and Producer of NEW MUSIC SPRINGFIELD and Adjunct Instructor at UIS leading the Make A Noise Ensemble. Before moving to Springfield he was the Director and Producer of New Music New College in Sarasota, FL, and before that the lead singer, songwriter, and keyboard player in the alternative rock band No Radio in New York City.

Ron Silver

Director

Ron Silver, a composer and performer, is the Director and Producer of NEW MUSIC SPRINGFIELD and Adjunct Instructor at UIS leading the Make A Noise Ensemble. Before moving to Springfield he was the Director and Producer of New Music New College in Sarasota, FL, and before that the lead singer, songwriter, and keyboard player in the alternative rock band No Radio in New York City.

A color headshot of Allison Lacher looking into the camera. She is wearing a dusty rose blazer over a black tshirt with white letters.

Allison Lacher is a visual artist and curator based in Springfield, IL. She is the Director of the University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery and she is a Co-Director at STNDRD. She was a founding member of the artist-owned gallery Monaco in St. Louis, MO and she served as Co-Director of DEMO Project until its demolition in 2018.

Allison Lacher

Director

Allison Lacher is a visual artist and curator based in Springfield, IL. She is the Director of the University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery and she is a Co-Director at STNDRD. She was a founding member of the artist-owned gallery Monaco in St. Louis, MO and she served as Co-Director of DEMO Project until its demolition in 2018.

Makai standing at a podium and smiling. He is wearing a blue suit and tie.

Makai Trees-Gant is a life long resident of Springfield, participating in many community events around the city. He currently works for the Illinois Senate President, and is a graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield, receiving a Bachelors Degree in Public and NonProfit Administration.

Makai Trees-Gant

Director

Makai Trees-Gant is a life long resident of Springfield, participating in many community events around the city. He currently works for the Illinois Senate President, and is a graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield, receiving a Bachelors Degree in Public and NonProfit Administration.

Close up of Tony smiling at the camera wearing a brown suit jacket and blue shirt.

Tony Rubba is a visual artist, working primarily in watercolor, and a retired business owner who has lived all over the United States. He is inspired by the natural world and the unique characteristics of the many places he has called home.

Tony Rubba

Director

Tony Rubba is a visual artist, working primarily in watercolor, and a retired business owner who has lived all over the United States. He is inspired by the natural world and the unique characteristics of the many places he has called home.