Active Commission Members

Marc Beechuk, Chair

Marc is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and University of Georgia with degrees in the field of Urban Planning. He has been an Athenian since 2006 often cooking in local establishments and wandering through our parks with his dogs. Marc believes visual art, performance and discussion are sensible tools for community development, not to mention that we should all lighten up a little bit.

Holly J. Alderman, Secretary

Holly has been active in arts programs throughout her lifetime. She served on the Athens Public Art Task Force in 2010 to design the public art policy. She also helped develop an inventory of local public art.

Linda Ford

Linda is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She was elected an Athens-Clark County Commissioner in 1999 and was Mayor Pro-tem in 2001. She has served on various boards, including the Classic Center Cultural Foundation, the Citizens SPLOST advisory committee, Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build, the Georgia Federation of Women’s Club, and the Classic Center Authority. She co-chaired the “We Let the Dawgs Out” public art project, which continues to bring Athens artists and businesses together to benefit non-profit organizations. Linda currently is a business analyst and trainer for PCC Technology Group, a software development company.

Jan Hebbard

Jan is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and Clemson University with degrees in the field of History and Public History. Since 2008 she has worked as the Outreach Archivist at the Richard B. Russell Library at UGA, a political archives focused on preserving and sharing collections that document the intersection of politics, policy, and culture in Georgia. Her focus there is creating engaging programs and exhibits that help the public connect with history, and building collaborations across the campus and Athens community. She loves bingo, themed costume parties, and exploring local parks and trails with her husband Adam and dog Clarke.

Laura Hoffman

Laura brings to ACAC her experience as an artist (dance, film, theater), producer, fine arts administrator, development officer, dance movement therapist, and graduate of the UGA Landscape Architecture MA program. She’s lived in Athens 14 years; longer than any of her other many locations including NYC, LA, Chicago, Santa Fe, Brattleboro, VT. Her diverse background reveals a dedication to personal and community expression via the arts, and the built environment.

Matt Justus

Matt is Graduate a of UGA. After a career in banking, he currently works for the finance department of Athens-Clarke County. His volunteer civic contributions have included the Greater Athens Chamber of Commerce L.E.A.D. Athens Class of 2015, past board member of Nucis Space, United Way Allocations Panel and the Athens Chamber of Commerce University Relations Committee.

Helen Kuykendall

Helen relocated to Athens in 2009 from Denver, Colorado after working for over 20 years as a landscape architect specializing in park planning for the National Park Service and the City of Denver Parks and Recreation. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin (BS) and the University of Colorado (MLA), she has gradually over the years shifted focus from science and environmental planning towards garden history, yoga, painting and photography. Art has always been a part of her life, collecting, making and appreciating. She strives to make art part of daily living.

Melissa Lee

Melissa is an alumna of the University of Georgia and Florida State University with degrees in painting and nonprofit arts administration. She returned to Athens in 2015 having gained experience with mural projects, museums, and arts organizations. Professionally, Melissa works in donor relations at the UGA Foundation, but she continues to exhibit paintings at local venues. When she is not working or in the studio, she can be found enjoying the Athens community with her puppy, Hubble, and bluegrass picking boyfriend, Dan.

Sarah Traub

Sarah Traub came to Athens in 2014 to pursue a master’s in social work, and now works in town as a child and adolescent counselor.  As an undergrad, she studied studio art, concentrating in photography. Sarah attended Waldorf schools as a child and credits them for her lifelong joy in making art a part of daily life.  She is passionate about using art in her professional practice and believes in the positive power that making and viewing art can bring to individuals and communities. Sarah loves the vibrance and originality of the Athens community, and looks forward to continuing to contribute to it.

Grace Huang

Grace is a classical pianist, educator, and advocate for the performing arts. She holds degrees in piano performance from Vanderbilt University (B.M.) and the University of Minnesota (M.M., D.M.A.). She has taught on several pre-college and college music faculties, most recently at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and was also on the faculty of summer programs such as Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and University of Illinois Summer Youth Music program. She has been a member of Music Teachers National Association since 2005 and continues to serve in various community engagement, professional development, and arts education roles for local and state chapters of MTNA. Grace currently owns and operates an independent piano studio in Athens, where she teaches students of all ages and ability levels. 

Andrew Salinas

Andrew brings to ACAC a background in public humanities and nonprofit management and has worked on public history projects for the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Andrew has an MA in Folklore and Literature from The Ohio State University. He moved to Athens to pursue an MBA in 2014 after working at the Amistad Research Center, a hybrid archive/library/museum in New Orleans documenting the ethnic American experience. He works in the Terry College of Business at UGA and is on the board of the Athens Latino Center. Andrew and his cats like to collect vernacular art from the Deep South, and he enjoys trail running and working with his hands.

Liaisons, Advisors and Staff

Brian Seagraves, Athens Clarke County Unified Government Arts and Nature Division Administrator, liaison to ACAC
Marilyn Wolf-Ragatz, Advisor and Founding ACAC Chair
Leon Leathers, Advisor
Tatiana Veneruso, ACAC Administrative Assistant