Sheree Boegner, who was born and raised in Brazos County and has been exposed to the local art scene since childhood, was honored recently with a reception that formally welcomed her to her new position as executive director of the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley.
Boegner joined the Arts Council in November. She is the founder of the charity fundraiser the Sassy Shoe Social and has supported the Arts Council both directly and indirectly. She noted that her home is filled with numerous handmade bowls purchased from the Arts Councils’ Empty Bowls, Jr. fundraising sales over the years.
“The volunteering I’ve done has been with their affiliates, like with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, theaters in town, the Bush Presidential Library [and Museum] ... all the museums, galleries, events, etc., I love for different reasons. ... I can’t tell you which one is my favorite, because they all contribute something important to our community, to the Brazos Valley. I don’t really think you can have a favorite.”
The Arts Council’s 50 years of community support have contributed toward the success of cultural and historical organizations throughout the local area, with $4.5 million donated toward the arts in just the past 12 years, according to the nonprofit.
Former Arts Council CEO Sylvia McMullen’s employment was terminated by the board in January 2019. Deputy Director Amy Salvaggio served as interim director while the board searched for her replacement.
Boegner said she was approached in August by Jeff Vander Woude, the Arts Council’s acting board treasurer. Vander Woude and Boegner had worked together before, and he knew of her current status with the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, where she is studying to receive a master’s degree in Public Service and Administration. He encouraged her to submit her resume to the Arts Council, and she was eventually chosen for the job.
Boegner’s grandmother owned an art shop on South College Avenue in College Station where locals could buy artwork, use gallery space or take art classes.
“Growing up with her, I even worked at the art shop through high school and college, and I got to meet a ton of local artists,” Boegner said. “I couldn’t imagine our community without each of the [artists] here, all of them working together.”
Boegner started the Sassy Shoe Social, a charity fashion show benefiting Twin City Mission’s Phoebe’s Home, in 2009 and will now be passing on her position to management. She said she feels that chapter in her life taught her to trust in and rely on the help of good people and to remain focused on a central goal. Boegner noted that she will continue to participate in the event as a volunteer.
Having acted as executive director with the Arts Council for two months, Boegner said she is still in the process of learning the ropes. Her duties include staff oversight, budgetary management, ensuring good affiliate relations, raising awareness for the nonprofit and fundraising functions and promoting the council’s central mission. Her immediate plans for the Arts Council are to continue facilitating exhibits and to increase attendance at new local galleries.
She outlined her long-term goals in an email.
“Maintain current donor relations while establishing new relationships with previously under-served groups,” she wrote. “This is the Arts Council’s 50th year of serving the community and highlighting local art and artists. [I want to] continue to work with our strategic planning committee, to ensure our organization and the arts continue in the community for the next 50 years.”