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Join Shantel and Tommy

Help your recently announced Conference Co-chairs by getting involved with planning for Indianapolis

Please welcome Tommy Hensel and Shantel Dow, your co-chairs for the 2018 Arts Midwest Conference in Indianapolis, September 5–8, 2018. Tommy is managing director of the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois, and Shantel is president of Dow Artists, Inc. in Chariton, Iowa. Both are passionate advocates for the performing arts and leaders among their peers in the field, and they will work closely with Arts Midwest staff in the coming year to plan the Conference.

Learn more about the Conference


Shantel meets with colleagues in her booth at the 2015 Conference in Kansas City. Photo by Joshua Feist.

What do co-chairs do?

The co-chair role changes from year to year depending on the person’s background, interests, and expertise, but there are some things we ask our co-chairs to help with each year:

  • Guidance. Co-chairs are tasked with representing their colleagues and helping guide planning decisions.
  • Ideas. The expertise and perspectives of the co-chairs are cultivated for programming ideas ranging from professional development to showcases.
  • Enthusiasm. Co-chairs help us promote the Conference to colleagues in the field and identify potential new attendees through word of mouth as well as targeted outreach.
  • Feedback. Given their visible leadership in the year leading up to the Conference, co-chairs frequently receive questions, suggestions, and concerns from other attendees, and this feedback is regularly discussed with Arts Midwest staff.


Tommy leads an Illinois Presenters Network meeting at the 2017 Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Terry Gilliam.

Who are Shantel and Tommy?

Shantel Dow

Shantel Dow

President, Dow Artists, Inc., Chariton, IA

Shantel Nelson Dow has worked for seventeen years as a talent agent/entrepreneur and for thirty years as a grant writer for non-profit organizations and schools across the country. Dow Artists, Inc. was established in 2003 focusing on partnerships to bring the arts to people across the country and internationally.

She has been an advocate for Iowa entrepreneurs and woman-owned businesses for several years and is a two-time recipient of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Domestic Trade Assistance grant for international exporting. Shantel was also a finalist in 2015 for the Iowa Entrepreneurial award program “Dream Big, Grow Here.” Her work as an Economic Developer, Chamber/Main Street Director, substitute teacher, orchestra manager for the famed Greater Twin Cities’ Youth Symphonies and independent grant writer has helped her to become well-versed in many aspects of “community” and finding ways to work together for the greater goal.

In 2015, Shantel collaborated with presenters and other agents and managers to established “Nightcap Theatre: Cocktails & Characters”, an independent showcase opportunity for one-person and small theater productions at APAP and the Arts Midwest Conference. The goal is to accentuate the timeliness of these historic, moving and emotional shows.

Shantel is the proud mother of five adult children and one incredible grandson. She is honored to be a native of Minneapolis, MN, a graduate of the College of St. Benedict and is currently, a very happy Iowan living in the small town of Chariton.

Tommy Hensel

Tommy Hensel

Managing Director of the Fine and Performing Arts Center, Moraine Valley Community, College Palos Hills, IL

Tommy is the Managing Director of the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley Community College, a position he has held since January 2008. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, he has worked for more than 30 years as a professional actor, singer, stage manager and director. He holds a B.A. in music and a B.A. in communication from Florida State University and an M.A. in theater from the University of South Carolina. He currently serves as Chair of the Illinois Presenters Network and is a board member of NAPAMA.
 
Prior to his move to Chicago, Tommy was an 11-year resident of the Seacoast region of New Hampshire where he served as Executive Director of the Rochester Opera House and sat on several non-profit arts boards. While in New England, he produced and performed frequently in cabaret shows throughout the region and was co-producer of the annual Cabaret by the Sea festival in Ogunquit, Maine.
 
Tommy has served on grant review panels for the New England Foundation for the Arts, New Hampshire Arts Council, Vermont Arts Council, and Illinois Arts Council. During his years as an arts presenter, he has also served on the juried showcase panels for the Arts Midwest Conference and Performing Arts Exchange.
 
Among his many theater credits, Hensel was the founding artistic director of the Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival (now part of the Gamut Theatre Group in PA). He has over 50 professional directing credits to his name and an extensive resumé as a theatrical performer and cabaret singer.

Help plan the Conference

Here are some ways you can get involved: