This is the second post in a series featuring each of the current members of the Arts Council’s board. We thought you’d like to get to know a few things about the people who help direct the organization, support its mission, and work to secure its future. Ours is a volunteer board of leaders from the community who are selected for their essential skill sets and personal commitment to the arts.

Debora Roberson is the current vice president of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council (LVAC) board and a member of the Arts in Education Committee.

Photo courtesy of Debora Roberson

An architect by profession, she has been an Arts Council member, along with her husband, for at least a decade, attending events and conferences hosted by the organization. She has been a board member for five years.

Debora’s answers to a series of interview questions for this post series reveal how being on the Arts Council board fits her.

Debora, what is your connection to the arts in your life and/or career?

Art is a dominant part of my professional life and my personal life.  As an architect, designing interesting and creative spaces where people live, work and play involves imaginative “out-of-the-box” thinking on a daily basis, using basic principals of proportion, scale, contrast, balance, etc. to design each unique space.  The process of creating architecture involves an artistic process of creation, development, revisions, more development, more revisions….until a final project emerges.

In my personal life, I enjoy creating art opportunities for students (through residencies and group opportunities) and wholeheartedly believe that arts integration in the general school curriculum enhances all aspects of learning.

 What attracted you to the organization at first? Why have you continued to support it?

I was attracted to the Arts Council through my relationship with Randall Forte, the arts council executive director.  Randall’s passion and advocacy for the arts is exemplary and resonates with me.

I joined  because of my strong belief in the mission of the Arts Council and my deep respect for Randall and other committed members of the board.

What are the impacts made by the Arts Council that are the most significant to you? Why? What more could be done?

The most important impact the Arts Council makes is their constant and unwavering support of local artists and art through professional development, hosting events, showcasing artists, promoting artistic venues and shows, engaging the business community with the arts and running programs in schools like the Urban/Suburban Connection.

What are the biggest challenges that you see facing the arts in the Lehigh Valley?

Non-profits have had and will continue to have difficulty with funding in the current economy.  We need to continue to offer a service and/or commodity that help us generate income and be less dependent on grants and donations.

How is the Arts Council and its board positioned to help meet those challenges?

We are increasing the size of our board and trying to populate it with a wonderful mix of artists, art patrons, business and community leaders.  The committee structure must remain strong and be strengthened with passionate volunteers.

What would you like to see happen in the next 3 years to ensure that the arts and the arts community remain viable/strong?

I would like to see the Arts Council have a permanent art presence in the city through valley-wide art awareness initiatives and by continuing to promote the work of artists through exhibitions. I would also like to see the Arts Council expand programming opportunities in K-12 schools.  Art opportunities are extremely limited for many elementary students.  Students deserve and need access to the arts.

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