Our Staff

Scott Mikesh, President & Executive Director

Scott came to Art Buddies in 2007 from the world of marketing & communications with a background in communications design, social psychology, wellness and diversity education.

Shortly after becoming an Art Buddies mentor, Scott joined our Advisory Board, and a few years later helped expand Art Buddies to Bancroft Elementary.

From volunteer to president

In 2013, Scott was elected President and Executive Director, succeeding Art Buddies founder Sue Crolick.

Fueled by his passion for children, the arts, and social services, Scott is continually inspired by the support and volunteerism of our creative community. He believes in the real difference Art Buddies makes in the lives of kids through the power of creativity.
 

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Heidi Rich, Executive Director-Elect

Heidi has been elected to succeed Scott Mikesh as Executive Director in the summer of 2018. She brings her energy and focus to Art Buddies in making arts education accessible to children in the Twin Cities.

As a longtime community organizer, arts educator, and an innovative non-profit fund raiser, Heidi believes in bringing together business, neighborhood, and school communities to empower kids through mentorship and arts programming.

The power of googly eyes and duct tape

Heidi is inspired by the infinite imaginations, innate wisdom and pure joy of children, by seeing a child light up as they create a costume that reflects something they connect with deeply.

The combined experience of arts education and mentoring has endless positive effects on youth, to their self-esteem, cognitive, social, and behavioral development. She is committed to bringing the power of creative expression and personal empowerment to every Art Buddies participant.

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Sydnee Bickett-Rodriguez, Program Manager

Sydnee Bickett-Rodriguez joined the Art Buddies team as a part-time contractor in July 2017, and became our full-time Program Manager in May 2018.

Along with her passion for creativity and community service, Sydnee brings her professional experience as a lifestyle photographer, business owner and entrepreneur, plus years of nonprofit program coordination with organizations like Minneapolis Photography Studio and CreativeMornings/MSP.

From mentor to manager

Sydnee first volunteered with Art Buddies as a creative mentor in 2014. I loved watching the creative process through my buddy’s eyes; guiding her, and of course being the adult who got to use the hot glue gun!” she says.

Having experienced Art Buddies first-hand from the mentor perspective, Sydnee has an intimate understanding of our program and the impact it has on both volunteers and the children we serve.

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Chelsea Rowles, Program Coordinator

Chelsea Rowles first contracted with Art Buddies as a researcher in the spring of 2017, and expanded her work to include program coordination for our fall 2017 season.

Chelsea has worked with youth since 2001, teaching art and developing curriculum. Since then, she has worked in various arts organizations, summer camps and museums, and earned an M.A. in Educational Psychology with studies in early childhood education and program evaluation.

A passion for youth and creativity

Chelsea grew up in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, where she was heavily influenced by local arts organizations like Heart of the Beast, Barebones, and Chicks on Sticks.

“Working directly with children turned out to be a strong interest and passion of mine,” she says. “I am particularly interested in how people learn creativity, what creativity means to them, and how we can assess outcomes to support creative learning in schools and other educational environments.”

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Juliann Cole, Program Assistant

Juliann Cole joined the Art Buddies team as a part-time program assistant in January 2018.

Juliann is currently a junior at North Central University studying social work and business administration. She is an Act Six Leadership scholar and has volunteered with youth-serving organizations for several years in the Twin Cities.  

Inspiring kids and volunteers

“I've always been passionate about working with and inspiring students,” Juliann says. “I'm excited to be a part of the Art Buddies team and help others discover their passion for service.”