kate ed

Katherine Johnson, PhD
Acting Executive Director
716-282-7530 ext 3

It is an honor to be named Acting Executive Director for the NACC and I appreciate this opportunity to introduce myself. As a professor of Sociology at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, NY, my main area of study is Community and Urban Sociology.
I have been involved in the NACC since April 6, 2002 when my husband, Victor Marwin and I toured the building with Kathie as our guide, looking for a studio space for Victor. By the end of the tour, I recognized the enormity of the task ahead for the NACC along with the opportunity to study, as a sociologist, the grassroots effort to save an immense building that could grow into a movement to revitalize the neighborhood. On that day, Victor left with a studio space rental agreement, and I began a new community study.

Since then, I became a member of the Board of Directors, was President for a number of years, and continued on the board as a director. I have served as the chair of the Development Committee and Opera Day for the past several years.

My role as researcher and active participant at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center has allowed me to follow the growth of the organization from its grass roots origins through its internal structural development, through its increasing significance in the larger social world. The Board of Directors brought it up that my foundation would serve the NACC well in the interim between Kathie’s passing and searching for a new Executive Director. I accepted.
Positive changes are coming to the City of Niagara Falls. The NACC is among the city’s greatest as-sets upon which to build the future. Please join us for one of our ongoing activities.


Kelly Buckley
Marketing & Development Director
716-282-7530 ext 6
716-359-5098 -Cell

Artist, Scholar, and American Culture aficionado

Kelly has been with the NACC since 2011. She has served as a volunteer, graphic design instructor, Kid’s Camp Director, Program Director, Marketing Director, and currently serves as the NACC Development Director and grant writer.

She is an experienced administrator with a strong work history in the arts and cultural sector. A business professional skilled in Publishing, Event Planning, Development, Journalism, Social Media, and Adult Education.

Kelly is an office ninja. She loves to organize! She has helped found various organizations over the years: “Society of Fine Arts” ( SOFA). “The American Cultural Studies Association”. “The Taste  of Diversity Festival”, “The Niagara Plien Air Painters”, “The Niagara Radio Players”, and most recently “Insights: Multi-Sensory Book Club”. Kelly hosts the NACC “Artfully Speaking” Radio Talk Show on WJJL 1440 AM.

When not in her office, Kelly is a bookworm, farmer, and beekeeper with 2 dogs, a parrot, and 13 chickens. She loves to travel with her husband Jason looking for adventures both grand and mediocre.

Want to partner with the NACC? Have a Good Idea? Call Kelly


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Serge Arutunjan
Financial Manager
716-282-7530 ext 8

Serge Arutunjan is the NACC Finance Manager. He comes to the NACC with over 38 years of diverse business and accounting experience. Serge lives in Niagara Falls with his wife of 37 years Lori. They have one daughter, Jennifer, who also lives in Niagara Falls. Serge is a graduate of Niagara Falls High School and Niagara University.

Serge enjoys all aspects of fitness, specifically running and hiking, and enters numerous local 5k and 10k races to support various charities and organizations. He also is an avid golfer and is very interested in national politics. He enjoys listening to “southern fried rock & roll”, and watching hockey and football.  He has just recently begun writing a book about his innermost thoughts, philosophies, experiences and ideas, and is hopeful to have it finished soon. There is perhaps no bigger fan of “James Bond” movies, and there is no question that Sean Connery is the best “Bond” of them all.


Amie Shelter

NACC Staff

Amie joined the NACC team in 2019. She is responsible for keeping our office running smoothly and providing organizational support. Her keen skills and welcoming smile are a great asset to the art center! She can help you pay your rent, find your next class, or provide you with information on what’s happening day to day. This mother of 5 can do it all!

dana tyrrell

Dana Tyrrell
Gallery Co-Director
716-282-7530 x117

Dana Tyrrell is an artist, curator, and writer from Niagara Falls, New York. A graduate of University at Buffalo (2015), Tyrrell’s artwork is held in private collections across the United States, and the permanent collections of the Castellani Art Museum, the University at Buffalo Department of Art, the Pride Center of Western New York, and the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Past curatorial projects include exhibitions with the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Castellani Art Museum, and non/profit galleries throughout Western New York.
In 2018 he was selected as Curatorial Resident as part of Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center’s “Workspace Residency.” This residency was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts toward original scholarship on queer legibilities within contemporary media art.
Published writing has appeared in Two Coats of PaintCornelia MagazineBuffalo Rising, and Peach Mag, among others.


Ray Robertson
Gallery Co-Director
Special Projects Curator

Ray oversees The NACC sculpture gardens, and maintains the aesthetic aspects of our building and grounds. The founder of the NACC’s annual Artists of Color exhibit in 2008, Ray was instrumental in the development of the “Freedom Crossing ” Underground Railroad permanent exhibit in the NACC’s Heritage Gallery, and is our most requested tour guide! 

An Artist, Sculptor & Photographer, Reginald “Ray” Robertson graduated from Niagara Falls High School in 1967.  He then went on to the University of Buffalo for a B. A.  in Philosophy.  However, his art was discovered by C. Magnus Harrell founder of the Masten Community Workshop located on the east side of Buffalo, NY, and Ray’s art career began.

“The organic form has always fascinated me from childhood.   I had a desire for collecting things, usually natural things such as rocks, leaves, wood, etc.  I would put these things together in unique ways.  My collages have since evolved from two dimensional wall pieces of wood, metal, and stone, into three dimensional floor pieces of the same material.  Today I consider myself to be a multi-dimension painter, photographer, sculptor, and collagist blending of all mediums I work in.”

You can explore Ray’s gardens and artwork everyday at the NACC, or you can ask for him when you book an Art Studio or UGRR tour.

Dave Riffel

Dave Riffel
Multimedia & Events Specialist

Danusia Nowak-Riffel

Danusia Nowak-Riffel
Digital Media Specialist


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Elizabeth LaMoy
Hospitality Manager

Liz has been one of the NACC’s biggest supporters since 2016. She started teaching meditation courses , and then opened her own “Sacred Space Studios”. A graduate of Niagara Falls High school, Liz is always volunteering and promoting the NACC to the community, so it was a perfect fit when she took the next step and become official staff!

Liz is overseeing the NACC’s new receptionist desk & coordinating volunteers. She will be making sure guests are welcome, helping to beautify the building, and can help you become a member or sign up for classes , tours, and events.


Rachel Macklin Olszewski
Media and Project Manager

Rachel Macklin Olszewski began her work at the NACC in 2012 with a mission in mind, to promote a cultural and artistic resurgence in Niagara Falls that will enhance the quality of life for it’s residents, foster interest in the city, and encourage investment in it’s future. As the former Rentals and Program Director, she managed rentals, art exhibitions, performances, programs, lectures, workshops and events. Rachel now acts as the NACC Media and Project Manager, or “Swing”, filling in as needed in administrative duties, grant writing, events, marketing, technology and website maintenance. She serves full-time as Staff Assistant and Graduate Program manager at the University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance. In recognizing the power of arts and culture as a mechanism for social and economic impact, Rachel continues to strive to make visual and performing arts experiences accessible to denizens and visitors in the Greater Buffalo Niagara region.

Rachel graduated in 2012 from Niagara University with a BFA in Theater Performance. In 2015 Rachel attained an MA in Arts Management from the University at Buffalo. Rachel is also pursuing an MPA in Nonprofits from Buffalo State. Rachel still acts and sings on stage when she can find the time, most recently she starred as “The Raven” in Patchwork Theatre’s production of Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allen Poe.

Currently, Rachel serves on several boards in Buffalo/Niagara, including nonprofits Big Easy in Buffalo, which brings New Orleans musicians to WNY, and Post-Industrial Productions of Buffalo, a new theatre company that just completed the innagural season.

Pictured right to left: Rachel M. Olszewski (Programs/Rentals/Exhibits), Kelly Buckley (Development/Marketing), Laurie Martelli

lou staff2

Louis Townsend
Finance Director, Emeritus

Lou is a “Cultural Cornerstone”. His impact on our organization and on the city of Niagara Falls can not be measured. He has made significant contributions to the NACC and the arts & cultural community in Niagara Falls. He has gone above and beyond expectations through volunteerism, advocacy, and patronage. Lou has left his mark on the foundation of this organization. He is the original founder of children’s programing here at the NACC. and has lent his business skills and acumen to our institution everyday for over 20 yrs.  Some of his accomplishments include: Creating a children’s discovery center, helping install the driveway, fixing the roof, and overseeing the fiscal and operational wellness of the organization.

Lou is still on call, and serves on the NACC board of directors.


Kathie Kudela

Past Executive Director

Kathleen L. Kudela

Kudela was an experienced arts administrator with a background in the arts, education and preservation. She had experience in long range strategic planning and managing capital projects at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC). She was extremely helpful in managing the $2.3 million Capital Campaign for the 900+ seat Grand Theater. It is scheduled to be completed in 2024, the year the NACC building celebrates its 100th year! 

One of the founders of the NACC in 2000, she was on the original Board of Directors, established the summer camp program and oversaw the positive growth of the center from its early years. She served in various capacities and became the Executive Director in 2006. With a supportive Board of Directors and Finance Director, she worked in developing a sustainable organization and business plan.

NACC Community awards included:

2017 Arts Services Initiative-SPARKS award
2014-Niagara Beautification Award –Making Niagara A Better Place to Live
2012-YWCA Tribute to Women Award
2011-Links-Trailblazer Award in the Arts
2010-Niagara Beautification-Making Niagara a Better Place to Live
2009-Niagara Gazette-Distinguished Women Award
2008-NFMMC- Good Neighbor Award