Festival of the Arts Board Members

Bruce Dilg

Mark Gifford, Big Rapids City Manager, is one of the original founding board members of the Festival of the Arts. Mark’s skills in “table setting” adds a tremendous asset to the activities of the board. He is a Big Rapids native and has been involved with many local projects including River Days, the River Walk, and the gazebo in Mitchell Creek Park.

Dr. Ed Mallett

Dr. Ed Mallett is a life-long resident of Big Rapids.  He is the founder and artistic director of Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival, held annually in Big Rapids, Michigan.  Dr. Mallett has performed as soloist and chamber musician across North America and has been a FOTA board member since its revival

Jerena Keys

Jerena G. Keys worked at Ferris State University for 20 years as Director of Customer Support; assisting students, faculty and staff with how to use computers to enhance their work and personal life. She has four terrific children and five marvelous grandchildren. She retired in 2003 to work on a Masters of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary. She is currently the Associate Pastor of the United Church. She works with STAGE-M, Tuba Bach, and GFWC to help people in the community work together.

Courtney Gilson-Piercey

Dr. Courtney Gilson-Piercey continues her work with the Festival of the Arts. She is a professional musician and brings her talents to the artist selections for the Festival. Dr. Piercey received her Bachelors Degree Cum Laude in Vocal Performance from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York College at Potsdam. Ms. Piercey went on to receive her Masters of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Boston University School for the Arts and earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice performance from Arizona State University.

Roxanne Cullen

Roxanne Cullen a Professor of English in the Language and Literature Department at Ferris State University, formally directed the Writing Center, served as Department Head of Language and Literature, served as the Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was appointed as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2005 and Associate Vice President for Operations and Assessment. She returned to faculty in 2007 and currently serves as program coordinator for Liberal arts and the Bachelor of Integrative Studies at Ferris. She is an avid collector of art herself

Marlies Manning

Miriam Andrus, Director of the Big Rapids Community Library, having BFA in Photography and a minor in vocal performance, has a great appreciation for the arts. Mrs. Andrus is an Idaho native who grew up visiting Yellowstone and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains. After finishing her degree she moved with her husband to Michigan where she finished her MSLS degree in Library Administration. She loves living in Michigan with her husband and daughter and enjoys bring arts and culture to the City of Big Rapids through the Festival of the Arts and the Big Rapids Community Library.