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connie gibbons

Connie Gibbons

Connie Gibbons has more than two decades of experience overseeing and guiding art and museum institutions in successful programmatic exhibition, fundraising, educational activities, and community outreach programs.  

Currently, Gibbons is the Director of the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, where she manages the daily business of the museum all while maintaining the standards of an AAM accredited institution and increasing engagement with the university campus and greater Topeka community.    

Gibbons’ own educational background, a BS from Drury College and an MFA from Texas Tech University, set the stage for her successful career in institutional management and founded in her a love for inspiring the public to celebrate art found only in the Midwest. 

Gibbons has served on several local and regional committees over the years but has now focused her expertise toward helping the Kansas Paraguay Partnership, the Center for Kansas Studies, and the Washburn International Film Institute, as part of the leadership.  

Gibbons is passionate about fostering a love of history, education and art in her students and each spring, she co-teaches a specialized class called Exploring Civil Rights where she takes her students on a trip through the southern United States to experience the history and art surrounding racism and the Civil Rights movement. 

The Mulvane Art Museum was founded in 1924 through a generous gift from Joab R. Mulvane. It is one of the oldest art museums and houses a collection of approximately 4,000 objects from around the world, including paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and decorative art. 

connie gibbons

Allan Holzman

Peabody and two-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Allan Holzman, has enjoyed success in feature and documentary films as both director and editor. Under the tutelage of renowned producer Roger Corman, Holzman honed his skills on groundbreaking independent movies such as Battle Beyond The Stars and his directing debut, Forbidden World (aka Mutant), winner of the Paris International Film Festival of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Holzman received the Governor’s Emmy Award for Special Achievements for the Ted Turner six-hour mini-series The Native Americans. He also won two Emmy Awards as director and editor of Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Holocaust, which was also honored with a Peabody Award for best documentary.

Holzman has numerous film projects to his credit including, Old Man River, Sounds of Memphis, Apollo 11, Dare To Be Different, Trek Nation, The Paw Project, Picasso’s Christ, World Rights Human Wrongs, My Marilyn, C-C-CUT, Autobiography of a Stuttering Director, Sheldon Leonard’s Wonderful Life, Imagining Worlds, the Art of Directing series, and the Visible Artists series.

Throughout his career, Holzman has made films about human rights and preservation of culture, including Beautiful Resistance and Beyond the Mesas, two half-hour documentaries confronting the damaging effects of the Indian Boarding School experience, featuring the Hopi people and leading Southwest Native American contemporary artists, Gullah, honoring the descendants of the original slaves who have never left their land, and From the Hood to the Hill, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the boulevard that bears his name in Washington, D.C.

Allan’s book, Celluloid Wars: The Making of Battle Beyond the Stars, is based on his daily journals during his Roger Corman years as editor and director.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Allan graduated from Bennington College and The American Film Institute and served on the Board of Directors of American Cinema Editors for seven years. He also taught film editing at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts for a number of years.

connie gibbons

Sue Vicory

Sue Vicory is an influential filmmaker who is a three-time Telly Award winner. A graduate of Washburn University, she received a master’s degree in computer resource management from Webster University.

Vicory’s first film, Homelessness & the Power of One, debuted in 2005 and helped raise over $200,000 for shelters, and won numerous awards.

Since then, Vicory’s film projects have been numerous with Kansas City Jazz & Blues: Past, Present & Future, 1898, The W.F. Norman Story, One, Down Stage, Absent, My Power of One, Finding Freedom Within, Win Place Show, Original Jayhawker, and Panic at Parq.

Vicory has also been incredibly active in championing women filmmakers and diversity in film not only with her own film and video projects but also by participating in and moderating panels at national and international film festivals. She moderated an all-women filmmakers panel called Award Winning Women Talk Film for the 2021 WIFI Film Festival. Vicory’s impact has also recently led the San Diego Film Awards, Women in Film Awards, to be renamed the Sue Vicory Women in Film Awards.

connie gibbons

Ivy Sunderji

Ivy Sunderji is a writer and producer (credited as Ivy Mariel Pruss), screenwriting professor, and evidential psychic medium. Her credits include eight produced episodes of television on two OWN series, Delilah, a critically acclaimed legal drama, and Greenleaf, the network's NAACP Image Award-winning flagship series. Prior to her work in TV, Ivy was a feature writing fellow at Universal Pictures. A graduate of Dartmouth College, she earned an MFA in Writing for Screen and Television from USC's School of Cinematic Arts, where she now teaches courses in TV drama and feature-writing. She lives in Marina del Rey, CA with her Goldendoodle, Zooey, whose nickname is "The Ambassador of Joy."

connie gibbons

Sarah Fizell

Since 2012, Sarah Fizell has been the executive director of ArtsConnect, which is a multidisciplinary nonprofit arts organization based in Topeka, Kansas.

ArtsConnect is focused on promoting the arts through building community connections and broadening the understanding of how the arts enhance our quality of life. This work has been done through massive community mural projects, management of the First Friday Artwalk and working constantly to create opportunities for the development of artists in Topeka.

Fizell spent many years living in Lawrence, Kansas, and Washington, D.C., and returned to Topeka in 2007. At the University of Kansas, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications studies with an emphasis in intercultural communications and women’s studies – but not before spending two years as a ceramics and design major.

At various times, Fizell’s professional career has focused on health policy research, political organizing, advocacy and public relations. Her current position with ArtsConnect is informed by all of this experience – as her work requires her to constantly advocate, coordinate, collaborate and think broadly about how ArtsConnect can best serve the needs of the creative sector in Topeka.