About Us

About The Arts Partnership

The Arts Partnership (TAP) is a nonprofit organization that aims to support, advocate and promote artists, arts organizations through programs and financial support that elevate the arts in the Metro.

Founded in 1970 as the Lake Agassiz Arts Council, we changed our name to The Arts Partnership in 2009 to symbolize our partnership with arts institutions, businesses and local government.

Our Mission

To cultivate community through the arts.

Our Values

Support local art and the artists who make it.

Advocate the arts’​ role in a vibrant economy.

Promote a creatively enriched community.

Our Vision

We believe that all art forms – from the visual arts to the artisanal arts – make our community a vibrant place to live and work. We envision a community that wholeheartedly embraces and supports the arts as a valuable piece of our shared social and economic success. 

Our Team

Tania Blanich, Interim Executive Director

Tania has stepped into her role as Interim ED after 7 years as Director of Operations. She will be responsible for strategic and tactical planning for the organization, in addition to overseeing its grant-making and other programs.

Lonna Whiting,

Lonna is a freelance communications consultant who helps TAP amplify communications about the arts. She writes content highlighting TAP events, initiatives, partners and grantees, and leads our strategic communications efforts.

Christina Johnson,
Project Manager

Christina has worked on special projects for The Arts Partnership since 2017. She helps curate and install art as part of the ArtWORKS program. She also oversees the administration, programming and physical management of Aptitude, the arts incubator and artist studio space at West Acres.

2022-23 Board of Directors

Shelley Szudera, Chair

Shelley Szudera (Chair) has worked for Choice Bank (formerly Choice Financial) since 2013 and currently serves as their Creative Director. In addition, she advocated to implement TAP’s ArtWORKS program in four of the bank's Fargo-Moorhead locations. Shelley has been involved with AAF-ND (American Advertising Association of North Dakota) for over five years, and currently serves as President on their Board of Directors.

Scott Seiler, Secretary*

Scott is a Lead Marketing Specialist for Sanford Health and a fine art photographer. He began his career as a broadcast journalist at WDAY-TV in Fargo and the University of North Dakota. He moved into the field of marketing, working for many years at ABC Seamless and RDO Equipment Co. He transferred his passion for videography to still photography and as an artist, he has exhibited widely throughout the Midwest. Scott has been a board member for the FM Visual Artists and Gallery 4, where he is a premier artist member.

Cairn Reisch

Cairn currently serves as the Community Relations Manager for Marvin. As a new role to Marvin, it has been fun to bring “non-traditional” partnerships into a fourth-generation family-owned manufacturing company. She’s honored to have been invited to be a part of the Board of Directors of TAP. Her interest comes from an appreciation of art and the energy it brings into community spaces. Cairn sees this opportunity as an expansion to create a lasting impact in this community.

Shyla Thompson,
Vice Chair

Shyla is a Release Manager for Microsoft. Once referred to as a “maximizer,” she enjoys making processes and tools better. She is a gadget-geek who loves keeping up to date on the newest gadgets, tools, and software so that she can understand how she, or people who she works with, can use them to make their work more efficient. Shyla has served on TAP’s Communications committee since October 2016 and is an enthusiastic supporter of all the programs and opportunities that happen with TAP.

Melissa Burkland

Melissa is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of United States Attorney’s Office. Her practice includes civil rights enforcement and defending the United States and its agencies in commercial claims. Melissa is also a member of the Fargo School Board. She is honored to serve on TAP’s Board and is excited to invest her time and energy in promoting Fargo’s incredible arts community. She is particularly interested in focusing on accessibility and inclusion in the arts.

Dr. Marsha Weber

Marsha is currently the Dean for the School of Business and Information Technology at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead. She has been involved with music her whole life--playing piano in church, directing choirs, singing and playing in a band during college, any many other activities. Marsha intends to contribute to TAP in the area of connecting business and the arts in our communities and looks forward to doing whatever she can to promote and support the arts in our area.

Anna Johnson*

Anna is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She serves as the interim Executive Director for The Indigenous Association, is a tandem truck driver for Aggregate Industries, is board chair of the nonprofit The Human Family and a former member of the city of Fargo's Native American Commission. As an artist and partner of The Arts Partnership, she looks forward to helping TAP continue to better connect to a broader and more diverse base of artists, makers and culture bearers.

Dr. Christi McGeorge

Christi is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at NDSU. As someone with training in play therapy, she has witnessed firsthand the healing power that creating art (in all of its many forms) can have on individuals, relationships, and families. Christi is excited to explore how to increase access to arts for marginalized and under-served communities.
* Denotes a Primary Arts Partner, either as an individual artist or as a representative of an organizational Partner.

Board Meetings

Meetings of the Board of Directors of The Arts Partnership are open, according to North Dakota open meetings laws. The Board typically meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 4:30 pm during the months of September, October, November, January, February, March, April and May. The State of the Arts, the annual meeting of The Arts Partnership is held in June.

While the meetings are open to attendance by Partners and the public, they are not a platform for open discussion and do not include a public comment segment. If you have questions, comments or suggestions for the Board, please send them to Dayna and they will be passed on to the Board Chair. You will receive a written response from a Board member in a timely manner.

Please contact our team if you wish to attend a Board meeting to confirm the time and location of the meeting.


Diversity Statement
The Arts Partnership is committed to inclusivity and accessibility, and seeks to achieve diversity and cultural equity in its leadership, partnerships, grant making and programs. The Arts Partnership seeks to be a supporter and model for all arts organizations in the region, particularly in areas of board make-up, staffing, training and communications practices. The Arts Partnership carries out its region-wide mission with proactive efforts to embrace differences of culture, ethnicity, race, religion, international origin, sexual orientation, physical abilities, socio-economic status, age and gender. The Arts Partnership stands by the Statement on Cultural Equity by Americans for the Arts.

Contact Tania

Tania Blanich is the Arts Partnership’s Director of Operations

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Tania Blanich - Director of Operations - The Arts Partnership

Contact Communications

Contact our Communications team for story ideas, events and other arts-related happenings.

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Contact Christina

Christina Johnson is the Arts Partnership’s onsite manager at Aptitude Creative Arts Studios.

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Christina Johnson - Project Manager - The Arts Partnership


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