MEET THE TEAM
Christina Woods, Executive Director
Member of the Bois Forte Tribal Nation
A top talent, brilliant administrator and strategist, Christina is a talented leader. Her success includes a 31 year career teaching, writing curriculum and grants, fundraising, and diversity/inclusion consultation. Christina brings an extensive range of non-profit experience as a board member, executive director and business leader. As an Anishinaabikwe and community leader, Christina appreciates breadth of human experiences. She enthusiastically leads the vision of the Duluth Art Institute as its first Anishinaabe leader. Her focus is delivered with tender attention to advocacy rooted in celebrating inclusivity and professionalism. Christina thoughtfully serves our community with a vision to the future. Christina currently chairs the State of MN Capitol Arts Committee, is President of the Duluth Public Arts Commission, and serves on the State of MN CAAPB Task force on Monuments and Statues. Christina is also on the U.S.Senate Curatorial Advisory Board. She was awarded an AARP 50 over 50 most influential people in MN award as a bias buster. She lives in Mesaabikong (Duluth, MN) with her acknowledged home in Onaminii-zaga-iganig (the Bois Forte Nation in Northern MN).
Exhibitions Director and Curator Amy Varsek joined the Duluth Art Institute in 2014, after nearly 10 years of experience installing artwork in small galleries. She aims to align each artists vision with the strengths and challenges in an exhibition space and looks for artists that evoke emotion through their work. As an artist, Varsek prefers drawing with a no.2 pencil and building sculptures with found objects. With a degree in biology, her work often represents the living world with a special interest in mammals and anatomy.
Aurora Webster is a designer and illustrator with a career-long focus integrating the worlds of fine art, illustration, and graphic design. In her six years of experience, she has worked with local print shop JS Print Group, illustrator Rick Kollath, and in a freelance capacity creating logos, personalized illustrations, murals, and book layouts. She graduated from Hamline University in 2017 with bachelor’s degrees in Studio Art and Psychology, with added Digital Media Arts classes. When she’s done with art stuff at work, she turns her attention to her other art stuff: theater, comics, video games, and creative bullet journaling.
Kaitlyn Koehler recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2022 with two Bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Spanish with a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies. She loves researching and reading about Latin American Art History and Visual Culture. Originally from Wausau, WI, Kaitlyn fell in love with Lake Superior’s beauty and Duluth’s close-knit art community. After work, Kaitlyn enjoys painting, listening to music, theatre, and attending events around the Twin Ports. Kaitlyn is thrilled to be with the Duluth Art Institute as Education Coordinator and hopes to provide captivating programs that bring the community together.
Sam moved to Duluth in 2020 and has kept himself busy as a reading tutor, warming center shelter staff, cook, and friendly grocery store checkout clerk. Now with the DAI his goal is to make Duluth's art community accessible to all, so that everyone has the opportunity to explore their creative passions. In his free time, Sam likes skateboarding, making pottery at the DAI ceramics studio, and seeing live music here in Duluth.
DeArmond comes from a long background of working in the arts and arts administration. Upon graduating from UMD in 1971, he worked as a full-time potter in the state of Virginia and then established his own shop and studio in Duluth. When the Duluth Art Institute was moving into the Depot, he was hired as the Executive Director, a job he held for eight years. From there he took the position of Development Director at KUMD, Duluth Public Radio, on the campus of UMD. He finished his career in arts administration as the Executive Director of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, a position he held for 30 years.
As the Clay Studio Manager, he mixes his organizational skills with the opportunity to get back in the studio producing pots and teaching.
Business Office: 218.733.7560