Arts’ Nest exists to nurture and support emerging artists and arts professionals – through creating access and opportunities for learning, connections, and visibility. This is accomplished through a variety of programs including our Hatch education branch, our Fledgling new productions program, and the Kindling directory of additional resources.
Staff & Board
Jenna Papke is the Executive Director of Arts Nest, which manages the Phoenix Theater. In her free time (such as it it), she is a freelance director. For several years she was the Artistic Director of Six Elements, for whom she directed 10 shows, including: Tales of the Most Notorious Highwaymen;Valhalla,Tales from the Hall of Heroes; and Orpheus Descending – named one of the 10 best plays of 2014 by Lavender Magazine.
Eric Cohen is the Project Manager for Arts Nest and the Phoenix Theater, which means whatever it needs to mean from moment to moment. He has a background in circus, teaching, and engineering as well as 8 years in theatre. In his spare time he makes theatrical and carnival masks.
Board Chair, Education Liaison
Laura Delventhal is honored to serve as the Arts Nest Board Chair and Education Liaison. In addition to working as a director, actor, and theatre educator in the Twin Cities, Laura is the Education Manager of Theatre Arts Training at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. As an educator, Laura specializes in classical theatre, acting intensives, devised work, and early childhood creative exploration. In her spare time, Laura creates mosaic art and, along with her wonderful husband Zac, a web series called CineScrubs that examines portrayals of race, gender, and sexuality in popular films throughout history.
Sam Graber is a professional playwright, whose scripts have been performed by dozens of companies across the United States. He teaches classes at The Playwrights’ Center. His work has been published by Smith & Kraus, Original Works and Dramatic Publishing. Sam is excited to draw on his business and playwrighting background to support Arts Nest as a continued provider of knowledge and resource support to emerging artists dedicated to making a career of their art.
Willie Cherry is an influencer, musician, and urban zookeeper. His varied interests include soap making, made for TV movies, nail art, screen printing, obscure board games, celebrity downfalls, exotic animals, and vintage catalog guitars.
Rachel Parker is recently retired, but spent her career in accessibility as a freelance disability advocate and trainer. Rachel worked at PACER center and as a rehab councilor at the now-named Vision Loss Resources. She is well known in art accessibility, as one of its greatest advocates and as a patron.
Ben Harvey is a freelance projection, sound, and lighting designer in the Minneapolis area. After graduating from St. Olaf College in 2014 he spent a year in his hometown of Duluth working for the Duluth Playhouse, Wise Fool Shakespeare, the Underground, Lyric Opera of the North, Stage 2 Theater, and others. In the fall of 2015 he moved to Minneapolis, and has since done work for Gadfly Theater, Hope Theater, Imagined Theater, Market Garden Theater, and Mission Theater Company. He is very proud of the magic sheet he created for Phoenix’s light board. (The LED icons change color as you change the fixture’s color!!!)
A Minnesota native, Shannon earned her generals at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and her B.A. in Theatre from University of Northwestern-St Paul. She works as a tech manager at Minnehaha Academy and is also a freelance lighting designer in the cities. Her experience also includes sound production, installation art, acting, and theater education. Previous companies include Theatre Unbound, Lakeshore Players, Shadow Horse, Illusion, New Century, Haunted Basement, Borealis Dance, Open Window, Torch Theater, Stepping Stone, and Crescent Moon Productions.
Donors in the current Fiscal Year
(July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018)
Roz & Don Cohen
Sam & Shani Graber
Nic & Willie Cherry
Green Sea Productions
Jeri & Jon Papke
Donors to the Restroom Capital Fund
Roz & Don Cohen
Nic & Willie Cherry
Carolyn & Robert Papke
Susan Dempsey & Bob Cargill