ViVA Board of Directors
Renay Conlin is the Executive Director of the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation. She brings to her work a wide-ranging background of experience and accomplishments in music, theater, dance and other performing arts and a passion for painting, sculpture and all the visual arts. She is a former executive director of Napa Valley Museum and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and has served as Director of Development at the Museum of Craft and Design and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
While still a high school student in New York City, Renay attended the prestigious Juilliard School of Music at Lincoln Center and the Conservatoire de Fontainebleau in Paris. Later she earned degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. After a 20-year International career as a professional operatic soprano, she embarked on a second career, in arts administration and education.
Prior to relocating in Napa in 2010, Renay was Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and executive and artistic director of Toledo Opera. At the University of Charleston, she served first as chair of the Department of Music and then as director of development and alumni relations. While there she founded the Appalachian Children's Chorus and served on the boards of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the West Virginia Youth Orchestra.
She continues to serve as fundraising consultant for local nonprofits in whose mission she sympathizes, such as Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. Renay is married to Grammy award-winning symphony and opera conductor Thomas Conlin.
Lisa Freiman, PhD
Lisa Freiman is an internationally recognized curator and leader in the contemporary art field. She currently works as an independent curator, arts consultant, and writer, with a tenured faculty appointment in Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts.
From 2013-2018, Freiman served as the inaugural director of VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). Freiman directed all aspects of planning and implementation of the ICA, developing its vision, mission, staff, budget, exhibition and education priorities, community engagement plans, and communications strategies. During her tenure, she completed a $37 million capital campaign, launched the endowment campaign, and co-curated the opening exhibition, Declaration.
Freiman served as senior curator and chair of the contemporary art department at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) between 2002 and 2013, creating a dynamic and widely renowned contemporary art program that supported artists’ work through major traveling exhibitions, commissions, acquisitions, and publications. In 2011, Freiman was commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion in the 54th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, presenting six newly commissioned, site-responsive works by Puerto Rico-based artists Allora & Calzadilla, the first collaborative to be presented in the U.S. Pavilion. Freiman’s 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park opened to international critical acclaim in June 2010. 100 Acres offered a new model for sculpture parks in the 21st century, emphasizing experimentation, place-making, and public engagement with changing commissioned artworks.
Prior to joining IMA, Freiman worked as assistant professor of art history at the University of Georgia, Athens and served in the curatorial department of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. She earned her PhD and MA degrees in modern and contemporary art history from Emory University and has a BA from Oberlin College.
Taniecea Mallery, PhD
Dr. Taniecea Mallery is the owner of Diverse City Labs, LLC, a consulting firm providing expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion for individuals and organizations. She also provides research expertise in the areas of mathematical modeling, social network analysis, and the science of unconscious bias.
Dr. Mallery currently serves as the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In this role, she is responsible for fostering diversity among students, faculty and staff, as well as ensuring that underrepresented groups have equal access to educational opportunities and resources. She is also a member of the graduate faculty, teaching doctoral-level courses in the College of Education.
Prior to joining UL Lafayette, Dr. Mallery worked as a senior diversity research specialist at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C., and she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the U.S. Census Bureau. Her recent publications include national policy reports on diversity in the U.S. physician workforce, research in disparities driven by social determinants of health, and studies on the influence of medical school curriculum on where physicians choose to practice.
Dr. Mallery earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Loyola University New Orleans, as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics from Princeton University. She is a Chief Diversity Officer Fellow for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) and a recipient of the 20 Under 40 Young Leader Award. She is a member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Institute for Educational Management (IEM) class of 2018 and a member of the 4th class of the University of Louisiana System's Management & Leadership Institute.
She has presented on diversity and inclusion topics for numerous conferences locally and nationally. At the state and local levels, she currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the Louisiana Budget Project, United Way of Acadiana, Leadership Institute of Acadiana, Lafayette Education Foundation and the Ernest J. Gaines Center at UL Lafayette. She is also a member of Leadership Lafayette, Class XXIX.
Steven Mintz, PhD
A leading educational innovator and an award-winning teacher and author, Steven Mintz, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, is a leading authority on families, children, youth, and the life course. He has also published extensively on slavery, social reform, ethnicity, and film.
For five years, he served as the founding director of The University of Texas System's Institute for Transformational Learning, which was responsible for designing and testing new educational models and technologies that can make a quality education more accessible, affordable, and successful.
As a historian, he is the author of 15 books, including The Prime of Life: A History of Modern Adulthood, a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, and Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, which received major prizes from the Association of American Publishers, the Organization of American Historians, and the Texas Institute of Letters.
In addition, he has served as president of the Society for the History of Children and Youth, and chaired the Council on Contemporary Families, an organization of leading academics and clinicians committed to improving the public conversation on families and their needs.
A pioneer in the application of new technologies to historical research and teaching, he is past president of H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, which serves over 200,000 academics world-wide. He is also the creator of the Digital History website, which is used by 150,000 teachers and students a week and which has been named one of the Top 5 sites in U.S. history and been placed on the National Endowment for the Humanities EdSitement list of exemplary online resources in the humanities.
In addition to playing an active role in the professional development of K-12 teachers and in programs to bring students from historically underrepresented groups into the professoriate, he is a member of the Society of American Historians, whose members are chosen on the basis of literary distinction. He has also chaired the Bancroft Prize and Frederick Douglass Book Prize juries, and received over $15 million in external funding, including two National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grants.
He blogs on Inside Higher Ed and Psychology Today. His writings have also been featured in The Washington Post.
Jamaal B. Sheats, MFA
Jamaal is an alumnus of Fisk who, through his joint position leading the galleries and teaching, works with students, faculty, and the community in ways that integrate his expertise and passion for the arts, education, and mentorship. As a member of the Art Department, he has taught Sculpture, Arts and Ideas, Drawing, and Independent Study courses. In his director and curatorial appointment with the Fisk University Galleries, he successfully integrated the Arts into all academic disciplines and increased engagement with the Middle Tennessee community through novel and innovative approaches.
During Sheats’ 3-year tenure as Director and Curator of the Fisk University Galleries, he has also curated 15 art exhibitions; welcomed over 16,000 visitors from across the globe; created the Fisk University Galleries Fellowship for post-doctoral scholars; and built a continuous pipeline of charitable giving from the annual Friends of the Gallery Campaign that he instituted in 2016.
In addition to his appointments at Fisk, Sheats founded Sheats Repoussé his art gallery and studio in 2003; as well his art education organization, the Charlotte Art Project, in 2013. Within the arts community Sheats is a well-known and respected artist who has maintained a strong and consistent domestic and international exhibition record for nearly 2 decades. In 2015, he curated the Topography exhibit at Tinney Contemporary Art Gallery in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to that, he was commissioned by the city of Nashville to create his work, Eight Octaves, for Nashville’s Music City Center in 2013. Sheats was also commissioned to create works for the National Museum of African American Music, Flying Solo Nashville International Airport, and continues to receive accolades for his art. He has also been featured in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Numbers, and Nashville Arts Magazine, as well as several other arts journals, newspapers and magazines.
He maintains leadership positions within the local and national arts communities and is a board member of the Arts & Business Council of Nashville, HBCU Alliance of Museums and Galleries, Association of Academic Museum & Galleries. He also holds positions on the Frist Art Museum Education Council, the Nashville Conference on African-American History Culture Planning Committee, the Associations of Art Museum Curators Professional Practices Committee, “Plan to Play” Steering Committee for the Metro Parks and Recreation, and is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Nashville.
Jamaal B. Sheats, MFA obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from Fisk University and a Master of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Studio Art from the School of the Museum of Fine Art (SMFA)-Boston and Tufts University. He completed a postgraduate Teaching Fellowship at SMFA-Boston and Tufts University, and was a Teaching Artist-in-Residence at the Nashville Public Library.
Dwayne Todd, PhD
Dwayne Todd serves Ohio Wesleyan University as the Vice President for Student Engagement and Success, Dean of Students, and Title IX Coordinator. In these roles, Dr. Todd leads Ohio Wesleyan’s efforts to sustain a vibrant campus community for students, to support students’ learning and development goals, and to prevent and respond to incidents of gender discrimination and sexual misconduct.
With a higher education career spanning over 26 years, Dwayne previously served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), MBA Assistant Program Chair at Franklin University, and various roles in residence life and student development services at Texas Christian University. Additionally, he served as the Interim Vice President for Enrollment at both CCAD and OWU during times of leadership transition.
Dwayne is actively involved in several professional organizations, including ACPA – College Student Educators International, where he served in several Governing Board roles. Additionally, he is a past president of the ACPA Foundation and of the Ohio College Personnel Association (OCPA). He is an active alumnus with his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, previously serving as a Chapter Advisor and Regional Governor. He currently chairs the fraternity’s Higher Education Standing Committee. Additionally, Dwayne has been a member of the Columbus Symphony Chorus for 20 years, and served on their board for three of those years.
Dwayne earned his PhD in higher education administration from The Ohio State University; Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth; and Bachelor of Music from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.