Executive Director

Elizabeth K. Ahrens

Letter from Liz

October 2020

Dear AIS Members-

I've been "on the job" with AIS since January 27, 2020---and who would have known what these past few months would turn into quickly.  Call it fate, fortune or dumb luck, but when we all had to hunker down, my home office was already humming along quietly in Harbor Springs, Michigan.  

We are just weeks away from opening our 21st Annual National Juried Exhibition and I am so looking forward to meeting up in St. George, Utah at Illume Gallery.   Yes, we know we will have a smaller group of artists with us this year but for those artists who live nearby, it's a wonderful opportunity to gather. 

It was a privilege to meet AIS Founder, Charlotte Dickinson, at her home in Pennsylvania in late September.  We enjoyed lunch together with her daughter, Terry Proctor, also a wonderful artist and an AIS board member.  Charlotte is a delight! 

If you find yourself in northern Michigan, stop by or give me a call. My office is also our art gallery so I'd be delighted to pour you a cup of coffee or pop open a bottle of wine! 


Liz Ahrens

AIS Executive Director

aisdirector1@gmail.com   231-881-7685

About Liz

Liz Ahrens was the Executive Director/President of the Crooked Tree Arts Center (CTAC) of Petoskey and Traverse City, Michigan.  She joined the staff of CTAC as Marketing Director in 2000 and was promoted in 2005.  Her responsibilities included strategic planning, development, budgeting, human resources, grant writing, public relations, program planning, events and contract negotiations.  She led a staff of 15 full time employees, 200 contract artists, musicians and performers and managed a budget of $2,000,000.  

Liz has been active in a number of organizations including currently serving as the President of the Rotary Club of Petoskey.   She served as President of the Board of Directors of the Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and President of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2007.  She was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in 2011.  Liz served as a board member of ArtServe Michigan and the Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters Alumni Board.   Liz received the Athena Award in December of 2014 for her dedication to the community and her work in the non-profit sector. 

Liz holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University and Certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University School of Philanthropy.   She earned her undergraduate degree in Humanities from Michigan State University in 1984.


"The AIS Board is excited about this new chapter for the American Impressionist Society with the hiring of Liz as our first ever paid executive director, effective January 27, 2020. In this role, Ahrens will lead the executive operational duties, exhibitions, educational programs, communications, membership and the growth of AIS.  As you can see, she is extremely qualified with extensive experience in the arts nonprofit sector and will be a tremendous asset to AIS and our members as we move forward for the future. We are absolutely thrilled to have her on board with us. " 

Debra Joy Groesser, CEO/President, American Impressionist Society


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