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Jim Barber - Executive Director
BRAC Executive Director
Jim Barber accepted the position of Executive Director of the Branson Regional Arts Council in April 2017. His background in the arts is varied, and includes everything from the visual arts (drawing, cartooning, sculpture, photography, painting, puppet and ventriloquist figure making), the performing arts (acting, theatre design, ventriloquism, magic & illusions), as well as the musical arts (singing, percussion, drums, guitar, banjo). His on-stage performing career has taken him around the world multiple times as an entertainer aboard major cruise lines and entertaining our military troops with the USO.
He was voted the NACA Comedy Entertainer of the Year for his performances at nearly 2,000 college campuses across the country in the late 80’s and early 90’s, followed by featured spots on many top Branson theatre productions including the Glen Campbell Goodtime Show, the Eddie Rabbitt Show, The Osmond Family Theater, The Tony Orlando Show, Jimmy Osmond’s American Jukebox Show, and also at his own Hamner Barber Variety Show and theatre for 10 years. Over the years, Jim’s comedy has been featured on many national television networks including A&E, CBS, FOX, ABC, TNN and RFD-TV, with his favorite appearance being on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Jim also has extensive background in multimedia production and marketing, having earned his BA degree from the University of Minnesota as well as an Associate’s Degree from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He has personally developed marketing and advertising campaigns for many Branson area businesses. Jim has served on many non-profit boards including 6 years for the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. In January 2018, Jim will complete fourth and final year of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute of Organizational Management to earn his IOM accreditation.
Lisa Murphy - President
Lisa Murphy currently serves as President of the Branson Arts Council. She has dedicated her life to promoting Art Education in Southwest Missouri. After graduating from MSU with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Art and Library Science she started working towards a Masters Degree at Drury University, where she studied Secondary Art and Gifted Education. Her professional career includes teaching Art at the Springfield Art Museum for five years and teaching in the public schools for over thirty years. The majority of her career was devoted to teaching Art in a small rural school that was named one of the top five high schools in Missouri and awarded the National Blue Ribbon. Her professional awards include: National Recognition in Who’s Who Teacher of the Year, seven times and the Outstanding Teacher Award by the Missouri Fine Arts Academy twice in her career. Currently she teaches Art at The Summit Preparatory School in Springfield.
Lisa has been proud to call the Ozarks her home for over thirty years. During that time she has been involved in numerous musical theatre productions in Branson in a variety of roles. She has been a Performer, Producer, and Marketing Coordinator for the following plays: “Hello, Dolly!”, “Jekyll and Hyde”, “Once Upon a Mattress”, “Clue”, Damn Yankees, Shakespeare Abridged, and Yes, Virginia. With all of these accomplishments in her career she still believes the greatest accomplishment in her lifetime to be her family. She feels very fortunate and proud to have their love and support. She and her husband have two daughters. Jenna who graduated from Drury University last year and received a fellowship at Arena Stage Theatre in Washington D.C. and Michelle who graduated from George Washington University and works for the State Department. She feels honored to have the opportunity to promote all of the arts (music, literature, dance, theatre, and visual art) for people of all ages in our community by serving on the Board of Directors of the Branson Art Council.
Kim Hale - Vice President
Kim has been working as a physical therapist at Mercy Branson Therapy Services for over 14 years and currently is the Clinical Coordinator for Mercy Branson Therapy Services. She is an orthopedic physical therapist with specialty in Dance and Performing Arts Medicine providing rehabilitation to dancers and performing artists working professionally in Branson. She has a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology. She also serves on the board of Tri-Lakes Community Theatre (TLC ) as Vice-President.
She has co-produced “Hello Dolly” and the Gala Celebration for TLC. She organized and collaborated with Forsyth High School administrators for the induction of the Forsyth International Thespian Society chapter and currently serves as Booster Club President. In addition, she has served as production manager for the productions of “The Sound of Music”, “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” for the Forsyth High School. She is passionate about continuing to bring awareness to the importance of arts education to the youth in the Tri-Lakes area.
Denise Jones - Chief Financial Officer
BRAC Chief Financial Officer
Denise’s background is in accounting and computers. Past positions have included Production Coordinator for SII McEvoy, Houston Texas, manufacturer of oil field equipment, Accounting Manager for PharmaTech Industries, Div. of Life Medical Systems, a private label packaging company, St. Louis location, Bookkeeper, EDCO Information Systems, Springfield, MO, computer sales and service. Several years ago, she accepted a bookkeeping position at National Art Shop, Springfield, MO, and it opened up a new world. It has been a wonderful opportunity to experience visual arts in all forms and from all perspectives: from children and students to teachers and professional artists. This position has evolved over the years into Administrative Assistant. In that capacity, she has picked up various other duties such as website development and social media which has led to also becoming BAC’s new social media coordinator. Although this is her first foray into non-profits, she brings a variety of skills to this position. Locally, she attended classes at OTC and Drury University. She has been a Den Mother, Brownie Leader, Little League Baseball and Softball Coach. She and her husband, Don, recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have been blessed with many children and grandchildren. Denise has always encouraged her children to explore their creativity in all forms of art and now enjoys these activities with her “very talented” grandchildren.
Darlene Graham - Secretary
Darlene is a retired teacher. During her 25 years of teaching she taught English, Drama, Speech, Journalism and Broadcasting.
Most recently, she directed the 2014 production of “Once Upon a Mattress” for Tri-Lakes Community Theatre in Branson.
She learned a lot about improvisation when she worked as a street entertainer at Silver Dollar City. She also performed in plays (“Private Lives”; “Sweet Charity”; “Folio Follies” and various children’s theatre traveling productions) and reader’s theatre workshops at Missouri State University as well as working backstage (stage director, props, costumes, sound, lighting) on almost every production in which she was not acting. She brings many skills to BAC but we are particularly excited about her years of experience “of operating on a shoe string budget” as a teacher and in the theater. She is a member of the Nixa City Council and works for Nixa Chamber of Commerce.
Robert Cohn - Board Member
BRAC Board Member
Robert came to Missouri from Newton, Iowa where he served as President of the Rotary Club, Retail Merchants Bureau, Jaycees and Community Theatre Association.
Robert and wife Barbara moved to the Branson area in 1997. He has been an active board member of the Branson Arts Council for 19 years, having served as Chief Financial Officer for twelve years and two years as the Board President.
His efforts to develop a juried fine arts event for the Branson Convention Center eventually led to the development of the Convention Center Gallery Show which just completed it’s first year of operation. Robert’s fiscally conservative approach to this and other arts council projects have helped to develop praise and trust from our Branson City Administrators and Aldermen.
Robert and Barbara were presented with the Branson Arts Council ‘Arts Citizens of the Year’ award in 2013. We commend them for their many years of service to growing the arts in the Ozarks.
Clint Cross - Board Member
BRAC Board Member
Born and raised in the Kansas City and Lake of the Ozark area, Clint is proud to call Missouri his home. He attended University of Missouri/Columbia and University of Missouri/Kansas City, graduating with a BA in Business Administration. After a successful twenty-four year career with Montgomery Ward in the retail industry, Clint made a career changed to join the hospitality industry. Opportunities with international hospitality corporations have taken him throughout the mid-southwest regions of the US. Currently, as Assistant General Manager for Hiltons of Branson, Clint enjoys serving on the Blue Energy Committee. This national program requires his participation at the local level with monthly service within the community. Local youth and charitable organizations plus two area schools benefit from his committee’s drives and collections.
Clint is proud to have been involved in the Artist in Residence program at Inn & Spa at Loretto, Santa Fe, NM, where he served as the property liaison for the program to increase the exposure of regional artists and provide live demonstrations for hotel guests. In Kansas City, Clint served as co-chair for the American Cancer Society- Heartland Division’s “Academy Award Gala”, utilizing skills of retail presentation, event planning and fund raising for this annual event. Clint is active in the Branson Chamber of Commerce and serves as a deacon in his church, the Branson Christian Church Disciples of Christ. During his spare time, Clint enjoys movies, travel, hiking, and boating as well as spending time with extended family and friends in the Branson area and throughout the world.
Hayden Head - Board Member
BRAC Board Member
Hayden Head has been a professor of English at College of the Ozarks for eighteen years. He and his wife, Sue, came to Branson from Irving, TX, after Hayden completed his doctoral studies in the Institute for Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas.
Hayden is an educator with a theatrical background, having written theatre scripts and lyrics throughout his life. He wrote a script and lyrics for The Hunchback of Notre Dame in his twenties, long before Disney created their version. He loved the Ozarks story of The Shepherd of the Hills so much, he created and produced a new musical version in collaboration with renown musician, vocalist, arranger and composer Stan Beard, who developed the emotionally moving score.
Hayden and Sue have two children, Heno and Lanie. Hayden intends to pursue some longtime creative aspirations upon his retirement.
Bonnie Herrmann - Ex Officio Board Member
BRAC Ex Officio Board Member
Bonnie has faithfully served as the Executive Director of the Branson Arts Council from 2006 – 2017. She continues to serve the organization as a valued member of the Board of Directors.
Before moving to the Branson Tri-Lakes area, she was the Director of the University of Wisconsin Extension Office in Racine, Wisconsin as well as a full professor teaching in the Non-Profit Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
She was also Director of the 4-H Program for Milwaukee County for 20 years and held national 4-H offices for eight of those years.
Her administrative and grant writing skills have served the Branson Regional Arts Council well for many years.