Erica Felicella, Board President

Erica Felicella is a practicing artist and arts professional that has been in Dallas for over twenty year and currently lives and work in Oak Cliff. Her greatest passions are the arts, culture and community of North Texas.

She works as an artist, curator, organizer of events, and programs. Her years of advocacy in Dallas have allowed her to form a bond with the cultural community as a whole through the arts.

Her current artistic practice includes endurance and durational based performance, site specific installation, and new media works. As a curator, Felicella has had the opportunity to create unique and immersive experiences in both traditional and non-traditional spaces in and around North Texas.

Felicella joined AURORA’s Executive Team as their Executive Producer in 2019. She has been working toward expanding the organization’s growth and outreach as well as overseeing the variety of programming the organization produces with a strong focus on AURORA’s signature biennial. The journey has been a wild one ever since and they have had to reinvent themselves to adapt to a new world.

She continues her pursuit of being an arts advocate by working with other arts non-profits serving as a board member, sitting on committees, producing events and other volunteer efforts. Her excitement to be active in North Texas has no boundaries. She is constantly finding a way to dig deeper and grow not only her own practice but also to expand the careers of other artists.

Marla Owen, Vice President

Marla Owen is the Director of the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. She joined the Art Center as the Business Development Manager in 2006 with over 20 years of marketing and advertising experience. Marla Graduated from Texas Tech University with a BFA in studio art. She and her husband live in Fort Worth with their dog Bentley.

Alyssa Hawkins-Heeter, Secretary & Grants

Alyssa Hawkins-Heeter is an artist who lives and works in Fort Worth, TX. She is an alum of Texas Christian University and UT Arlington. Working in the arts field for over ten years, she sees the importance of a healthy art community at every level. “Volunteering on the EASL Board of Directors is one way I feel I can serve my community, by helping those who enrich the arts in North Texas”.

Aspen VanHooser, Treasurer

Aspen VanHooser is a Dallas based artist and illustrator specializing in corporate and commercial mixed media sculpture and installation. A UT Arlington graduate, she serves clients worldwide with Aspen VanHooser Studios, LLC, a paper goods + fine art company. Additionally, Aspen has been the lead Display Artist for Anthropologie & Co. since 2014.

Marilyn Jolly, Grants

Marilyn Jolly lives in Dallas, Texas. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She earned her MFA in Painting at the University of Oklahoma and her BFA at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. She recently retired as an Associate Professor of Painting at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she was the Painting program coordinator for 21 years. Her work has been exhibited in numerous regional, national and international exhibitions. Jolly’s work has been included in the collections of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts; Capitol One Art Collection, Richmond, VA; The Belo Corporation, Dallas, TX; Southern Progress Corporation, Birmingham, AL; Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christie, TX; and UT Arlington.

John Oakley, Social Media

John Oakley, a Texas native, received his BA in Studio Art from Ouachita Baptist University. He is currently the Communications Manager for the local nonprofit Creative Arts Center of Dallas. He is the co-founder of ArtSkool, a free and open-to-the-public lecture series dedicated to educating the uninitiated in Contemporary Art. When not working on his own visual art, he can be found performing at Dallas Comedy House.

Christian Vasquez

Christian Vasquez is a filmmaker and photographer with a body of work that shifts between documentaries revolving around social justice as well as narrative and commercial image-making. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a BFA in Art and Art History with an emphasis in Film and is also a graduate of Booker T Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. His films have screened at Slamdance, South By Southwest, the Dallas International Film Festival, and the Austin Film Festival, and his work has been featured in D Magazine and The Dallas Morning News.

Kenda North, Board Emeritus

Kenda North resides in Dallas and is Professor Emerita at UTA.  She retired in spring 2020 after thirty years and neatly avoided the challenge of teaching art on-line. She received her MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop (University of Buffalo). Her artwork is represented by Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas. She has had over fifty one-person exhibitions (national and international) and participated in hundreds of juried group exhibitions since 1977 and her work is in the public collections of over fifty museum and gallery collections. She has been a volunteer and advocate for the arts and education in Dallas since moving to the area in 1989.