Executive Director

Elizabeth K. Ahrens     aisdirector1@gmail.com   231-881-7685

Letter from Liz

Dear AIS Members-

Each time I talk with an artist, I'm reminded of the joys of serving as your Executive Director. I so enjoy my work and truly the duties are communication-centric. So, that means you are encouraged to contact me....I'm here for you! 

I want you to call or email with your questions. When you call AIS, you reach me directly. If I can't take your call, leave me a message and I'll get back with you right away. New members often have questions about exhibition guidelines -- we want to help you! 

My best days are spent with you during the Opening Week events at our Small Works and National Exhibitions. It's so rewarding to be surrounded by artists as you paint, learn and be inspired by each other. 

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

Prior to joining AIS as the first full time paid staff member, Liz 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.  

As of 2023 she is a board member of the Harbor Springs Foundation and the President of Petoskey Rotary Charities of Petoskey. 

Liz has been active in a number of organizations including 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 Mackinac Arts Council, 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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