Our focus is to promote, support, and sponsor performing arts in Southeastern Arizona through our School Residency Program and public performances.
President: Tom Green
Secretary: Leslie Campos
Treasurer: Lori Rhinehart
Grants/Residency Chair: Paulette LeBlanc
Membership/Hospitality: Janice Evans
EAC Liaison: Dr. Gary Sorensen
Ed Liaison/Social Media: Chip Cheney
Graham Liaison: David Himelfarb
Greenlee Liaison: Barbara Ahmann
Gila Valley Arts Council (GVAC) was formed in 1985 to support and sponsor performing arts in the Gila Valley. During its 36 years of existence, the mission of GVAC has focused on exposing the counties’ youth to the world of the arts. Services are provided in a variety of ways. See our Outreach page for more information.
Tom Green is the owner of Brand Source Appliance in Safford. He is a Safford High School graduate, Class of 1971 and Northern Arizona University graduate, Class of 1979 with a B.S. in Spanish Education. Tom is a member of Eastern AZ Alumni Association, Northern AZ Alumni Association, Safford City-Graham County Library Friends (SAGLIF) and Graham County Chamber of Commerce. (Joined 1987)
Lori Rhinehart is a Registered Tax Preparer/Accountant who lives in Thatcher. She is a long time member of Boy Scouts of America Advancement Committee, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and National Night Out. (Joined 2009)
Leslie Campos is a retired high school administrator from Connecticut. She is an Associate Broker at Tierra Antigua Realty. She is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Alumni Committee and sings soprano in choral groups in Safford & Tucson. Long a believer in professional advancement, she is a Certified Residential and Smart Home Specialist, Accredited Buyers Representative, Safe Home Certified, and is a licensed Realtor and Broker Instructor. (Joined 2007)
Paulette LeBlanc served 38 years in public education as a teacher, guidance counselor, school psychologist and curriculum director. She is the President of EDSUPPORT, LLC; as an educational consultant and grant writer. Paulette also serves as Education Service Agency Coordinator for Graham/Greenlee County School Superintendents. She is president of Safford Friends of the Library and a member of AAUW and AZ Retired Teachers. (Joined 2006)
Janice Evans is a retired music teacher. She is a member of the First United Methodist, having served as choir director and alternate worship accompanist. She is a student at Eastern Arizona College in the Music Department. Janice also does extensive work in personal growth and development, group leadership and youth empowerment. (Joined 2015)
Having spent his professional life in Latin America, southern Africa and the middle east, David Himelfarb brings a diverse/multicultural perspective to Gila Valley Arts Council. David previously served on the board of the United Way of Graham/Greenlee Counties, where his experience in grants management and strategic planning strengthened this vital organization. He currently volunteers at the Safford Public Library and enjoys metal sculpting and blacksmithing in his free time. (Joined 2019)
Barbara Ahman taught ceramics and sculpture at Eastern AZ College, before leaving for the Middle East, where she taught art in Kuwait for two years, then resided in Saudi Arabia for 3 years working as director of the American Community in Riydah. She is the founder of Colors of Copper, art show and wine tasting in Clifton. She is also founder of the newly formed nonprofit art council in Greenlee County, Art Depot. Barbara is currently vice-mayor of Clifton. (Joined 2018)
Dr. Gary Sorensen is Dean of Students at Eastern Arizona College. He is a former music educator and band director at Pima Schools, Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, BYU-Hawaii, and Eastern Arizona College. Gary also serves as a member of the Thatcher School Board. (Joined 2007)
Chip Cheney is currently employed as an orchestra director in the Safford Unified School District. He earned a Master’s degree in Music Education and has been teaching in public schools since 2007. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education and the Arizona Music Educators Association. He serves as the principal violist in the Eastern Arizona College Community Symphony and the Saguaro String Quartet. (Joined 2018)
Jack Kukuk is a former music teacher and Director of the Washington State Cultural Enrichment Program. He also served as the Director of Education at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Wash. D.C.) and Managing Director of the Festival in the Sun (U. of A. Tucson). Jack is currently Artistic Director of the Gila Valley and Gold Canyon Arts Councils and Artistic Director of Voices Without Borders and Children of the World in Harmony International Choir & Dance Festivals (Michigan). He has produced international arts festivals and other cultural exchange programs in twenty-five countries on five continents.