Board of Directors

The Murals & More Board of Directors is made up of many outstanding community members working towards the common goal of having public art in Cedar Rapids. 

   
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Aaron Loan, Co-Chairman of the Board
Aaron grew up in a family business just outside of Cedar Rapids and graduated from Wartburg College.  He now lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife, Elise, and their two children and is a Benefits Advisor with Acumen where he helps guide employers with their employee benefit plans.  He has a passion to have people see Cedar Rapids as a place they would want to move to because of what the city offers outside of working hours as much as the great career opportunities it already does offer. Aside from Murals and More, he also serves on the board of the Metro North Rotary Club, leads spiritual studies at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, and is an instructor at Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping.  He enjoys triathlons, golfing, woodworking, any kind of pie, and playing games with his family and friends.

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Mike Mesch, Co-Chairman of the Board
Mike Mesch graduated the University of Iowa with degrees in Finance and Economics. He works with  Terry, Lockridge and Dunn, an accounting and consulting services firm in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Mike has been a partner with the firm for the past 7 years and heads up the firm’s valuation and advisory services practice group. Mike is an accredited senior business appraiser with the American Society of business appraisers as well as a CPA. Since moving back to Cedar Rapids Mike has reestablished deep roots in Eastern Iowa. First and foremost by getting married and having two  children.

Mike joined the Murals and More Board in August of 2013. His interest in art and improving downtown Cedar Rapids’ cultural footprint are what drove him to join Murals and More.

BenSeyfer_Muralsandmore_300px.jpg Ben Seyfer, Treasurer

Ben Seyfer is a senior accountant at Terry, Lockridge & Dunn, Inc. Having grown up in Cedar Rapids and graduating from the University of Iowa, Ben has spent a great amount of time in the corridor. He now has a passion for making the corridor a better place to live and work. In his free time he enjoys golfing and traveling with friends.

 

Secretary, Alexis Dagit
Alexis Dagit currently works as a freelance creative communications consultant. She partners with organizations such as Orchestra Iowa, helping to curate and publish their seasonal magazine, Overture. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Alexis’ passion for the arts stem from an over-exposure to the cultural rich city during her youth. Now a resident of Cedar Rapids, she is inspired to join with her community making the town an exciting place to live, work and play. When not in front of her computer working or brainstorming her next big idea, Alexis enjoys spending time with her husband Wyatt, daughter Josephine and their three, crazy but loveable dogs. Alexis, a wine enthusiast, has also helped her family launch their Minnesota based vineyard and winery. An alumni of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Diego, Alexis graduated at the top of her class with a degree in Merchandising Marketing.

 

Committee Chairs

 

Events Planning Co-Chair, Ashley Cairy
Ashley Cairy was born and raised in the Cedar Rapids area where she and her family still reside. She is currently a REALTOR with Skogman Realty Co. When she is not working she is spending time with her Family and Friends. She enjoys the outdoors, arts, gardening, spending time with her Great Dane and when she has time she likes to take in the many arts and culture events the area has to offer. Her young daughter who is an aspiring artist was her inspiration to join Murals & More. She is very invested in continuing the advancement and beautification of our city.

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Events Planning Co-Chair, Britt Nielson
Britt Nielson is currently the Digital Marketing and Events Coordinator for 13 Hy-Vee stores in the Cedar Rapids area. She resides in Marion with her rescue dog, Gracie. In her free time, she enjoys cooking new recipes, golfing, attending concerts, and antiquing. Britt joined the Murals & More board because she has a deep love for the city of Cedar Rapids and wants to help add beauty to it through the installation of art in the downtown area. She is a passionate marketer who works with the board to help spread the word about the mural trail, with the hopes that it will become a tourist destination in the future.

EmilyGraceHeadShotMM.jpg Marketing Co-Chair, Emily Grace

Emily Grace is currently the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Geonetric in Cedar Rapids.  She graduated from Mount Mercy University with a degree in marketing in 2015.  In her free time, Emily enjoys baking a variety of cakes and cookies and spending time with family and friends.  She is excited to be a part of a great organization that is bringing art throughout the downtown districts. 

  Marketing Co-Chair, Jade Burgess

Jade grew up in Iowa City, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa where she studied Studio Art and Art History. She lives in Cedar Rapids with her two children, Leo and Mia. Jade has been involved in the Cedar Rapids arts & culture scene for several years, currently serving as the Marketing Specialist at Theatre Cedar Rapids, previously at Orchestra Iowa and the Paramount Theatre. She has been a lifetime resident of Eastern Iowa and is extremely proud of this place she calls home. She recommends never saying the words, There’s nothing to do here, anywhere near her. Jade’s primary interests include anything involving art, traveling, reading, cooking, nature, and experiencing new things. Jade is part of the Leadership for Five Seasons class of 2017 and is active with the Community Foundation’s Marketing Peer Groups.

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Artist Selection Co-Chair, Lily Allen-Duenas
Lily Allen-Duenas is the Marketing Manager of the Old Creamery Theatre — Iowa’s oldest live, professional theatre. Lily received her BA from the University of Iowa, where she served her class as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Commencement Speaker. She has volunteered in Mexico, Romania, and Greece, and she later returned to Greece on an Art Fellowship. Lily Allen-Duenas is an avid painter and photographer. She has been involved with the arts her whole life and is thrilled to be a part of Murals and More and to help bring more public art to the Cedar Rapids community. 

 

Artist Selection Co-Chair, Loxley Grafe
Loxley Grafe is originally from Nebraska. She moved to Iowa for college and after graduating from Coe in 2015, where she majored in art and minored in education, she now finds Cedar Rapids to be home. Her emphasis and senior thesis showcase was in ceramics of which several pieces have been included in local and state exhibits. She also has a background in sculpture, painting, drawing, and digital arts as well as art history. Currently, Loxley is a permanent building substitute at Johnson STEAM Academy for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year and is applying for art teaching positions as they become available for the 2016-2017 school year.

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Fundraising Co-Chair, Koby Helmle
Koby grew up in a small, Eastern Iowa town; Relocating to the Corridor area nearly 10 years ago to attend Kirkwood Community College where he received an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and PHR Certification.   He is currently an Insurance Adjuster with United Fire Group in downtown Cedar Rapids.  Koby joined Murals & More as he has developed a great liking to the Corridor and wants to be involved within the community to help make the area an even better attraction for its citizens and visitors.  Koby spends the majority of his free time with his Golden Doodle, Tate.  He also enjoys being an Uncle to his 2 nephews & 1 niece and traveling to visit his family & friends both in the Corridor and other areas of the state and country.

Fratella_Dennis-2.jpg Fundraising Co-Chair, Dennis Fratella

Dennis was born and raised in Cedar Rapids and graduated from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, NE.  He now resides in Cedar Rapids with his wife, Yvonne, and their two children and is a Benefit Advisor with Acumen where he helps guide employers with their employee benefits plans. He has always had an appreciation for modern art, getting introduced to graffiti art after watching the movie Style Wars.  He became involved because he wants to make downtown Cedar Rapids’ cultural style and wants people to see what this great city has to offer. In addition to Murals and More, he also serves on the Corridor Business Builders board, is a committee Chair for Iowa Association of Health Underwriters, and is actively involved with Horizons and their Meals on Wheels program. He enjoys playing baseball (not softball), practicing mixed martial arts, and being involved in his kid’s activities.

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Trail Development Chair Co-Chair, Brian Hoel

As a Certified Residential Specialist, Brian Hoel is more than just a REALTOR.  Don't be surprised if think you've seen Brian around the community before, you probably have.  When he's not meeting with potential homebuyers and sellers, Brian is helping to build a stronger community through his involvement with local non-profits and philanthropic organizations.  From helping find forever homes for homeless animals to connecting to area young professionals, and supporting public art, Brian enjoys being a part of our vibrant community.
Outside of work and community building, Brian enjoys taking in area events and traveling with his wife, spending time with other car enthusiasts at NewBo's Cars & Coffee and spending time relaxing outdoors.  No matter where you might see Brian, don't by afraid to stop and say 'Hi', he's excited to meet you!

 

 

 

 

 For more information on the Board of Directors, or to apply for an open position, contact us.