2023 Kent Island Federation of Arts Board of Directors

THREE COCHAIRS share collaborative leadership roles in place of the traditional President, Vice President and Treasurer for 2023. 

Chair of Volunteers, Rebecca Placek (Cochair of Board)
Chair of Programs, Maria Sage (Cochair of Board)
Chair of Finance, Margaret Tessier (Cochair of Board)
Secretary, Darlene Conley
Director, George Hall
Director, Laura Keene
Director, Joel Purcell
Director, Vicki Spinelli
Director, Judy Tucker
Past President, Maureen Wheatley
Director, Stephanie Zeiler

Cochair of Board, Chair of Volunteers: Rebecca Placek is a photographer and has been a KIFA member for eleven years and a docent for ten years. In 2019, she served as the Corresponding Secretary, Docent Coordinator, and Gift Shop Coordinator. She served on the Publicity Committee and Art House Campaign. She continues to serve as Docent Coordinator.  She does photo journalism for KIFA with The Bay Times and The Capital-Gazette. Her passion is photography. She founded the Kent Island Photo Club ten years ago and still serves as President.  

Cochair of Board, Chair of Programs:  Maria Sage, M.Ed., is an art educator for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. She has served Queen Anne’s County for eleven years and was a 2017 Teacher of the Year finalist. Maria also works with several organizations on Eastern Shore including Academy Art Museum, Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, and Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s County. Maria brings gallery experience and education to KIFA as well as art education. Her special interest is bringing art to seniors and children with physical challenges. She was President of KIFA in 2021and steered our nonprofit safely through COVID. Maria enjoys spending time with family and traveling to experience art in different cultures.

Cochair of Board, Chair of Finance: Margaret Tessier is an emerging oil painter and applauds the 60 years of volunteers who made KIFA the strong arts center that it is today. Margaret has held leadership positions on local nonprofit boards and has worked as an executive director with strengths in governance and grant award winning. Formerly employed as a community college educator and costume designer for 28 years, Margaret is now retired and employed parttime as Director of Development at QAC Centre for the Arts/Arts Council.

Secretary Darlene Conley is an artist and teaches card making at KIFA. She is interested in being involved in the planning of art shows and other KIFA projects. Currently Darlene is an ART EAST member as well as a member of the Queen Anne’s Garden Club where she provides Flowers for Hospice. Darlene has strong skills in marketing, desktop publishing and other computer skills needed for layout and design. She is interested in cultivating skills on the workings of the board and especially how the planning and organization take place. Darlene is an active member of the Thursday Painters, has been active assisting with tasks related to the recent painting of the gallery walls, and is an active member of the 60th Gala Team. Currently she serves as Cochair of the Small Works and Miniature Gallery Exhibition.

Director George Hall is a musician. Before retirement, George served as a Managing Supervisor Engineer at the Maryland State Highway Administration. He brings strong leadership skills to the Board and would like to help with KIFA’s many current projects, provide music for some events, and possibly inspire and develop a strong Music Division within KIFA. George has 45 years of musical teaching for training, 35 years of public service for strategic planning, and 25 years of management skills. George is qualified to teach history and music theory, can help students develop fine motor skills, and provide cognitive learning skills through music. 

Director Laura Keene is a local potter and real estate agent. Laura lives on Kent Island with her husband Michael. Previously, Laura has served on the KIFA board and has been instrumental in house and grounds improvements. She is particularly interested in helping with the planning of the Carole Cascio Clay Center which needs the attention of people familiar with the care and management of a pottery studio. 

Director Madison Little is a Kent Island resident who would like to join the Board of Directors to connect with her local community, and bring people of all backgrounds, ages, and cultures together. She is currently affiliated with Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland where she works as a realtor. Madison would like to give back to the community that she grew up in while gaining an understanding of what it takes to run an organization. She is looking to develop skills in board development, strategic planning, community networking and marketing. 

Director Joel Purcell, MBA CPA has served as a loyal and active board member for many years. In his previous life, he has served over 25 years as a Financial Director of Non-Profits Arts organizations, including a major Washington Museum, Opera Company, a Montgomery County Theatre and Education Foundation. Prior to that, he worked for a major Aero Space Corporation. His interest today is in photography. His professional training is in Finance and Accounting. His wife Penny is also a loyal KIFA member of many years, and has worked and supported the Quarter Auction Fundraising Event, along with Joel.

Director Vicki Spinelli is an artist. Since Vicki has become a member of KIFA, her interest in art and painting has grown. As a board member, she would like to give back to KIFA for all the knowledge and enjoyment that KIFA has provided for her.  Vicki is also a member of ART EAST and the Princeton Museum of Art. She would like to experience being on the board and would like to provide input that would develop new outside interest in KIFA that would contribute to its growth. Vicki has been active assisting with receptions, is an active member of the Thursday Painters, and currently assists in keeping the Gift Shop in good order. 

Clay Center Manager Maureen Wheatley has been a passionate supporter of arts in the community of Stevensville for many years.  As a working artist and a member of KIFA for 29 years, Maureen has served as a paid Gallery director for 10 years, Exhibit Coordinator, helped with fund-raising efforts as well writing grants, taught classes for all ages, participated in shows and Art Fairs at KIFA, and coordinated with the Historic Stevensville Art & Entertainment District Board. As a member of different arts organizations, Maureen brings insight on the history of art activities in classes and gallery shows, and ideas on new events for KIFA. 

Director Stephanie Zeiler is a 25 year educator in QACPS Schools and serves as the county’s
lead visual arts teacher. She is also the National Art Honor Society Advisor at Queen Anne’s
County HIgh School where she annually oversees Community Arts Projects with her students,
something near and dear to her heart. She was a 2011 Teacher of the Year finalist, received the
2012 Meritorious Award from the QAC Character Counts! Advisory Committee, was a 2020
MSDE Arts Leader Spotlight honoree, is a 2022 Scholastic National Gold Key Educator and
most recently was named the 2023 recipient of the national NAEA Outstanding National Art
Honor Society Sponsor award. She is a member of the Academy Art Museum, and the QAC
Arts Council where she has exhibited work and is also a member of Chestertown Rivers Arts. As
an artist, Stephanie gravitates towards creating both 2D and 3D mixed-media pieces, and often
works in watercolor, ink, and clay. She also creates unique custom ceramic mugs.

KIFA on Facebook

Copyright © 2024 Kent Island Federation of Arts, All rights reserved.

Kent Island Federation of Arts, or KIFA, was founded in 1963 as a small non-profit community organization, built on making the arts accessible to Kent Island and the surrounding environs.  

KIFA’s story began in the 1960s when a number of artist residents, realizing that there was no place locally where artistic work could be exhibited, formed a group to meet and mount annual shows of their work. The first show was in 1962, and by 1972, as a result of the enthusiasm of the original group, the Kent Island Association was formed.  In 1979, The Association was officially incorporated as the KENT ISLAND FEDERATION of ARTS (KIFA).  With 93 members, KIFA opened its first art gallery on Kent Island in an old house across the street from Christ Episcopal Church in Stevensville.

Exhibit space was limited to two rooms, so in 1983 the gallery was moved to its present location at 405 Main St., in Stevensville.  In 1985, KIFA purchased the lovely Victorian style house and became a landmark in Historic Stevensville.  By 1995, with 140 members, and the mortgage paid, KIFA was mounting eleven art exhibits a year with emphasis on art education and service to Queen Anne's County.  With a membership today of over 200 artists, artisans, craftspersons, and others who love and support the visual arts, KIFA continues to be a staple of the artistic and historic community.

KIFA’s main mission is to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to better appreciate the visual arts and to develop their own creative and artistic skills. We host exhibits as well as hold classes, member events, fun fundraisers, and summer art camps for children.  We pride ourselves on friendliness and inclusiveness.  

We operate with the support of volunteers and especially with the help of our Docents who keep the doors open!  KIFA also has a newly expanded gift shop featuring beautiful handmade items by our local artists.

All KIFA events are open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to come and find out what we’re all about. For more information contact KIFA at 410-643-7424 or email us at info@kifa.us

Kent Island Federation of Arts, Inc.

MISSION: KIFA is to enhance the cultural and artistic climate of Queen Anne’s County through diverse programming in arts education and arts exhibits, and by encouraging participation in and promotion of the visual arts, performing arts, and literary arts. We will provide equitable access to our people including Special Needs folks, Seniors, Veterans, and minority members of our community. Our aim is to assist in developing artistic skills through education and exhibits, and to improve the quality of life for all people in our community through the arts.

VISION: To increase our organization's presence in the Queen Anne's County community as an active "hub" and expand our contributions to our artistic community through improved opportunities for artists, art students, and those who simply love art. Along with other county arts organizations, the

KIFA on Facebook

Mission, Vision, Goals, and Core Values

Kent Island Federation of Arts envisions a community where the arts play an essential role and people are transformed by the power of art and artistic expression.


  1. Improve and expand educational opportunities in a diverse population of youth and adults, with distinct attention to Special Needs people, Seniors, Veterans, and Minority children.
  2. Expand scholarship fundraising efforts and budget allocations via grants and local donations to include more scholarships for high school students going to college and summer camp youth.
  3. Generate new membership to include diverse demographics by targeting events and classes. Engage with community leaders, artists, and organizations from less represented areas or communities to better understand and respond to their needs.
  4. Train new people for grant writing to increase the number of KIFA grant writers. Apply for new grants. Strengthen efforts to increase diversity through existing grants programs.
  5. Share information on a regular basis with Historic Stevensville Arts & Entertainment district, Kent Island Heritage Society, the QAC Chamber of Commerce, ART EAST, CBEC, The QAC Historical Society, and the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council for strong community partnerships and expansion of opportunities for the people of Queen Anne’s County and surrounding environs. Reinforce contact with organizations to enable sharing of information.


  • We believe in providing arts education to a diverse population of youth and adults, believe in being a good steward in our community, and believe in continuing to grow our youth and adult membership.
  • We value our local artists and wish to provide gallery space for their exhibits. We value our volunteers, members, docents and people in our community.
  • We believe in working together with community organizations and partners in pursuit of mutual goals for the arts.
KIFA on Twitter