Governor appoints two new members, four returnees to MAC
The Montana Arts Council welcomes two new board members – Angela Russell of Lodge Grass and Corby Skinner of Billings. Russell replaces Lynn Montague, who was appointed in 2015 and served one term, and Skinner fills the vacated term of Arlene Parisot, which ends in 2023.
“Lynne brought the perspectives of an artist, an active member of the cultural community, and a profession as an advocate for children and juveniles to the arts council,” says MAC Executive Director Tatiana Gant. “Lynne served on several MAC committees, including the monthly review of Strategic Investment Grant applications. She thought deeply about every comment she shared – I'll miss working with her.”
Gant also expressed the Council’s sadness over the loss of longtime council member Parisot, who died Nov. 23. “We will miss her warmth, brilliance and humor,” she wrote in the winter issue of State of the Arts. “She listened carefully, spoke honestly, and the council respected her insight.”
The two new members, Russell and Skinner, add a valuable perspective to the council.
“At recent meetings, the council has been looking at ways to address the inequity of access to cultural resources across Montana,” Gant says. “Having two new members from the eastern part of the state will help us understand the priorities of the residents in their communities.”
She notes, “Corby has been so deeply involved in the cultural community of Billings, and Angela has accomplished so much around both preservation and encouraging contemporary expression.
Gov. Steve Bullock also reappointed four members: GB Carson, Sean Falcon Chandler, Mark Kuipers and Jean Steele will serve until 2025.
“This has been such an extraordinary group of leaders, and our new members will add so much,” says Gant.
Corby Skinner, an independent marketing professional in Billings, is regarded across Montana for his capacity to assess issues and create positive, effective messages. He’s worked in all aspects of performing, visual and literary arts.
As director of The Writer's Voice since its beginning in 1991, Skinner has coordinated seven Big Read programs for the National Endowment for the Arts and 17 consecutive High Plains Book Festivals featuring authors from a seven-state region and three Canadian provinces.
He led the marketing and programming for the Alberta Bair Theater for 18 years and served as Arts and Humanities Field Coordinator for the National YMCA of the USA for eight years.
Skinner is currently on the boards of the Alberta Bair Theater, Art House Cinema and Billings Cultural Partners. He served as the chair of the Yellowstone Art Museum's annual art auction in 2019 and 2020. Skinner is also cohost of the arts and culture radio program, “Resounds," which airs on Yellowstone Public Radio.
In 2009, he was awarded the Montana Governor's Humanities Award, and in 2015, he received the Philip M. Fortin Humanitarian Award.
Skinner received his BFA from the University of Montana and an MFA from Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CA.
Angela Russell, a member of the Crow Tribe, has spent her life involved in health, social and political issues for the Crow Nation and the State of Montana. She served four terms in the Montana House of Representatives, one term with the newly created Crow Tribal Legislature, and served as Chief Judge for the Crow Tribal Court.
Russell actively participated in the National Council of Native American Legislators and served as an officer of the Native American Court Judges Association.
She was a co-organizer of the Apsáalooke Committee for the Arts, which promotes and supports local artists and craftspersons, and published the Apsáalooke Calendar for 30 years, which featured early Crow photographs and history, poetry and artwork.
Public service has included serving as chair for the Friends of Chief Plenty Coups, trustee of the Big Horn County Library Association, and as a member of the Montana Board of Crime Control.
Russell received a bachelor's degree and a juris doctorate from the University of Montana and a master's degree from Tulane University.
The full council convenes June 5-7 in Whitefish.