Spencer Lightfoot

Program Manager

In 2018 Spencer Lightfoot became  Program Manager for the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition. Spencer has a background in arts non-profits and has previously been employed by the Phoenix Art Museum, Museum of Northern Arizona and Blue Sage Center for the Arts. She holds a BA in Art Studies from Arizona State University. Spencer is also a watercolor artist, working and showing at Second Story Studios in Paonia, Colorado.


Susie Kaldis Lowe

Board President

Susie Kaldis Lowe has worked with the NFVCC since 2011. She was the founding Executive Director (2012-2014) and is thrilled to now serve as the Board Chair. Susie has a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art media from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Professionally, Susie freelances as a graphic designer and is principal designer for her jewelry company, Theoni Designs.

Patti Kaech

Board Vice President

As resident of Paonia, a mother of three, and a grandmother of four grandchildren, my family keeps me busy. When I was eleven years old my family immigrated to the Bay Area in California from Switzerland. It’s wonderful to have called some of the most spectacular places on earth home; Switzerland, California, Islamorada in the Florida Keys, Crested Butte and Paonia.

In my free time I enjoy volunteering. I am a past board member of Friends of Montessori in Crawford, The Western Slope Conservation Center and the Lead Curator of TEDxPaonia. I spend my free time hiking, wildcrafting and searching for mushrooms. My youngest daughter and I often venture out camping in the surrounding mountain valleys and going to hot springs. My favorite mode of transportation is my trusty 1974 Schwinn three speed. I love cross country skiing on the ditches surrounding Paonia and on the Grand Mesa.

Mary George

Board Treasurer

After studying Zoology at University of New Hampshire, Mary has been self-employed for the past 27 years. She started a small café/bakery, which grew into a significant wholesale bakery operation, and is now operating as a commercial kitchen cooperative for small start-up food businesses. She moved to Paonia in 2011, opened a small coffee shop and grew it into a popular evening bistro. She is an artist working in glass, ceramics, jewelry, and fabric arts. She also works as an energy worker/healer, educated in plant spirit medicine and Mayan spiritual healing, as well as practitioner of cranial sacral work. Mary is currently working on a certification in French Aromatherapy. She is a lover of projects and new ideas.

Dave Mitchell

Board Member

Dave moved to the North Fork Valley from Atlanta, Georgia in 1993 to become a Realtor and the people, the beauty and the quality of life in the North Fork have made him never regret his decision to do so. As a Realtor, many times he introduces people moving here to what he loves about NFV and has become very aware of how talented and creative many of our residents are. He feels like developing economic opportunities for the Creative People in our area is a special privilege and takes pride as we see the North Fork Valley’s reputation grow everyday throughout Colorado and even beyond.

Nadine O’Brien

Board Member

Nadine O’Brien is an active printmaker, sculptor and painter. She was born and raised in Colorado and lives in Paonia with her husband and two children. She graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a BFA in studio art. Nadine is a proud recipient of the Reisher Scholarship which she earned for academic excellence. She is dedicated to making unique works that relate to the physical and non-physical world and uses a variety of mediums to celebrate those relationships. She is focused on building a repertoire of work that will relate to the viewer through spiritual expression.

Carol Newman

Board Member

For an art immersion, Carol Newman left a corporate career at Time Warner Cable where her tenure culminated as Senior Manager, Employee Relations.  Her interest in art began at an early age, and as an adult, mosaic art became a passion after attending classes at Colorado Free University, Denver, CO, and Ciel Gallery, Charlotte, NC.  In 2016, Carol combined her business and art knowledge by accepting an offer as Executive Director of the Blue Sage Arts Center, Paonia, CO. Their diverse programs and the thriving arts community enticed Carol’s move to the western slope.

Carol’s art advocacy began when art classes started to disappear from public schools.   Her advocacy continues after leaving the Blue Sage by becoming board secretary of the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition (NFVCC).  She has also held various board positions for the Civic and Cultural Arts Center of Pineville, NC.  Additionally, Carol exhibits and teaches mosaic art.  


Elaine Brett
Consultant & Space to Create Executive Team


Mary Hockenbery
Hotchkiss Town Trustee