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, Executive Director

In 2023, after 7 years as Director of Operations, Tania was promoted to Executive Director of The Arts Partnership. She is 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.

2023-24 Board of Directors

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. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Melissa worked at the University of Wisconsin Law School and practiced intellectual property litigation at a national law firm. Originally from Fargo, Melissa graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. in English and received her J.D. from the University of North Dakota. She is particularly interested in focusing on accessibility and inclusion in the arts.

Dr. Danielle Gravon*

Danielle is Director of Art Exhibitions at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) and an adjunct instructor in Studio Art and Art History at MSUM, Concordia College and Minnesota State Community and Technical College. She completed her PhD in Art History from the University of Manchester in 2021 with support from the Belgian American Educational Foundation Fellowship, the JB Harley Fellowship in the History of Cartography, and the Henriques Fellowship. Danielle received her MFA in printmaking and book arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2013 and has a BFA from Concordia College.

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,

Shyla has worked for Microsoft since 2003 as a technical writer, content strategist, release manager, and now as a lead of a team of technical program managers. Shyla has served as the Communications and Marketing committee lead for TAP and was Vice Chair of the Board in Fiscal Year 2023. She is an enthusiastic supporter of all the programs and opportunities that happen with TAP, including CSA, Aptitude and more. She is one of the few CSA shareholders who has held a share for the entire length of the program. She received a B.A. in Physics and Print Journalism from Concordia College in Moorhead.

Tyler Fischbach

Tyler serves as Vice President of Communications for the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. He leads the Chamber’s communications and marketing department with a mission to enhance and evolve the organization’s brand, strategy, tactics, impact and awareness in the region. He holds a BS in Graphic Communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). Tyler serves as a board member for CCRI, Inc. and Eventide Senior Living Communities, and as an advisory member for the MSUM School of Communications and Journalism and Fargo/West Fargo Public Schools Career and Technical committee. He is passionate about being engaged with this great community he has lived in since 2010.

Anna Johnson*

Anna is a Native American artist who seeks to bridge the gap between the world she lives in and the culture she came from. She serves on the City of Fargo’s Arts & Culture Commission and on the board of Stonewall Sports, a LGBTQ+ sports group. She is also a tandem truck driver at Aggregate Industries. Originally from Bismarck, Johnson is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and has lived most of her life in North Dakota. She received her BFA in printmaking and drawing from NDSU and has been creating and exhibiting art in Fargo – and across the state – ever since.

Scott Seiler*, Treasurer

Scott is a Marketing Manager for Razor Tracking, the founder of Seiler & Company Marketing and a fine art photographer. He began his professional career as a broadcast journalist at WDAY-TV in Fargo and transitioned into marketing. He has more than 30 years of experience, most recently working for Sanford Health and as a consultant. His photography has been exhibited widely throughout the Midwest and he was recently the featured artist at the ND State Capitol. Seiler is board president and a premier artist member of Gallery 4. He previously served as a board member of the FM Visual Artists. Given that he has one foot in the business sector and one foot in the arts sector, he has a keen focus on helping businesses and communities engage with the arts.

Jillain Veil-Ehnert*, Secretary

Jillain Veil-Ehnert*, Secretary, is Director of Foundation Relations and Research Grants at Concordia College. Previously she worked as the Grants Manager at Trollwood Performing Arts School. Jillian's community service currently includes serving on the boards of the Grant Professionals Certificate Institution and the Cass County Electric Cooperative Foundation. She previously served on the boards of the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists and FM Ballet. Jillian anticipates receiving her EdD in 2024 from the University of North Dakota; she has an MA in Higher Education from North Dakota State University and a BA from Concordia College.

Aaron Hill

Aaron co-founded Fargo Brewing Company in 2010 where he currently serves as Board Chair. He is also a licensed real estate agent with Goldmark Commercial Real Estate in Fargo. In 2022, he was elected to the Fargo Park Board. Aaron is a member of the St. John’s University Alumni Board, the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties and an active volunteer for the Fargo Theatre. Aaron received a B.A. in Political Science from St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN), and an M.S. in Strategic Leadership from University of Mary (Bismarck, ND). A north Fargo resident, he and his family love spending time outdoors. He also enjoys a variety of performing arts.

Dr. Christi McGeorge

Dr. Christi McGeorge has been a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at NDSU since 2003. She earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota in Family Social Science with an emphasis in Couple and Family Therapy, her master’s from Colorado State University in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Couple and Family Therapy, and her BS from the University of Arizona in Family Studies. 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. Being a CSA shareholder has allowed her to know the FM art sector better. McGeorge is interested in increasing access to arts for marginalized and under-served communities.

Shelley Szudera

Shelley Szudera (Past Chair) has worked for Choice Bank since 2013 and currently serves as AVP, Brand and Marketing. Inspired by Choice Bank’s core value to “better the places we live,” Shelley worked with The Arts Partnership to launch a #SupportLocalArt debit card campaign that featured local artists’ work and raised donations for arts councils in North Dakota. In addition, she advocated to implement TAP’s ArtWORKS program in four of their metro locations. Shelley currently serves on the BIO Girls board of directors and previously on the AAF-ND (American Advertising Association of North Dakota) board.
* 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


Tania Blanich - Director of Operations - The Arts Partnership

Contact Communications

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


Contact Christina

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


Christina Johnson - Project Manager - The Arts Partnership