Stephen Butler is in his 14th year as Executive Director of CNY Arts. He has transformed the organization from a $700,000 three-county operation into a $4.3 million regional arts council serving six-plus counties. It is the largest geographic regional arts council in New York State.
Under his leadership, CNY Arts received notable awards such as Ovation TV/Charter Communication's National Stand for the Arts Award, Central New York Community Foundation’s "What Matters to You" Award, and CenterState CEO's Economic Engine Award.
Mr. Butler is a native of Onondaga County and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Oswego State University and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Stephen spent many years in New York City in roles such as the Executive Director of Creative Alternatives of NY, the Executive Director of the Nyack Center, Director of Public Affairs at the Alliance of NY State Arts Councils, and the Director of Programs at the Alliance of Resident Theaters/New York (A.R.T./New York). Stephen is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient in Strategic Planning and was an AEA stage manager.
Stephen has served on the boards of the Association of Teaching Artists and the Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights. He was an adjunct professor for several years at the inception of Le Moyne College's Arts Administration program and still guest lectures at colleges and universities today. Stephen is the president of the Advisory Board of the School of Communications, Cinema, Media, and the Arts at SUNY Oswego. He is the past President of Arts NYS, an arts advocacy organization and for several years served as the State Captain for Americans for the Arts National Arts Advocacy Day.
Most recently, Stephen has been awarded the Community Commitment Award by Joined Artists, Musicians & Singers, Inc. (JAMS), an arts organization committed to supporting artists of color in Central New York. He also is a recipient of a State University of Oswego Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his overall career and contributions to the arts including those in Central New York.
Director of Grants and Programs
Hannah Frieser is a curator, writer, and arts administrator with extensive knowledge of modern and contemporary art practices. Hannah has established herself with a passion for the arts, a collaborative spirit, and an unwavering commitment to diversity and equity. She is a frequent lecturer on photography and contemporary photographic practices, whose essays have been featured in publications such as Contact Sheet, exposure, Nueva Luz, and various monographs. Prior to her appointment as Director of Grants and Programs at CNY Arts, Hannah held various senior administrative positions, including Executive Director of the Center for Photography at Woodstock and Director of Light Work.
Born and raised in Germany, Hannah holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Texas Woman’s University, where she graduated with a photography-based thesis exhibition on cross-cultural heritage, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Alex Korman is a native of Syracuse, and graduate of Colgate University (BA, History) and Syracuse University Maxwell School (MS, Public Administration). He began his career in entertainment performance and production, including network television, nationwide touring theater, and studio feature films.
Formerly a Program Officer, Alex is thrilled to return to CNY Arts as Director of Communications and Marketing, and looks forward to promoting the cultural and creative vitality of Central New York. Alex is passionate about service-oriented work, and in his free time he enjoys hiking, skiing, travel, and painting.
Senior Finance Manager
Jon Wilson, a native of Buffalo, graduated from Binghamton University with a BA in Theatre. Jon’s professional career has ranged from working in NYC at Playwrights Horizons in the production office and Playwrights Horizons Theatre School as the registrar and bursar, to working locally as general manager of Syracuse Stage, artistic director of Appleseed Productions, adjunct professor for Syracuse University VPA, and administration manager at CNY Arts (before leaving and coming back in his current position).
Jon has also produced, directed, designed, stage managed, and/or performed in over 175 productions in NYC, Minnesota, Virginia, New Orleans, Ithaca, Binghamton, Buffalo, and locally with just about every community theatre company in the Syracuse area, including two high schools.
Elizabeth (Liz) Lane is a native of Madison County and a graduate of Purchase College with a degree in Arts Management. She has lead the grant programs at CNY Arts since 2013. Prior to CNY Arts, Liz had gained experience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City Ballet at the New York Choreographic Institute and George Balanchine Trust, and the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, as well as locally, at Syracuse City Ballet and the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. In Liz's spare time, she likes to attend arts events across the region and volunteer. She recently rolled off a two-year term as the Nominations Chair of the Junior League of Syracuse.
Regrants Program Officer
Ben is originally from Buffalo, NY and graduated from Le Moyne College with a BA in History with Honors and a MS in Arts Administration. During his Arts Administration program, Ben met Steve Butler as a professor and worked at CNY Arts with school ticket sales for Dasher’s Magical Gift. From there, he joined Irish Classical Theatre, where he ran the box office and acted as the public face of the theatre. Ben has also been a swim coach and a certified meet director for multiple teams, both in Buffalo and Syracuse, working with athletes of all ages. Currently, Ben is also the Assistant Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving Coach at Le Moyne College.
Suly Jaggers is a resident of Liverpool and graduate of Bryant & Stratton College (AAS, Business). She was educated in the Liverpool School District through 8th grade, and then was homeschooled throughout high school earning her high school diploma from Abeka Academy and then went on to graduate from Bryant & Stratton College in April of 2023. Suly has spent the past two years working seasonal jobs for the Syracuse Mets, Kohl's and Dick's Sporting Goods. Suly started as an intern at CNY Arts, and thereafter became an Arts Leadership Fellow. She is now a full-time administrative assistant. Her hobbies include playing drums, guitar, attending various sporting events and volunteering for a dog rescue organization.
Project Space Coordinator - Art in the Atrium
Scott Herrmann is a visual artist who works in drawing and collage. An art history major at Syracuse University, he has had the opportunity to exhibit his work all over the region, most recently at the Upstate Cancer Center. He has twice been accepted by the Schweinfurth Art Center's annual Made in New York juried show. For the past thirteen years he has served as the President of the Board for Open Figure Drawing, a non-profit group that specializes in providing the region with figure drawing opportunities. Scott is also a former director of the Westcott Community Art Center. He enjoys reading, hiking, cycling, trying new restaurants with his wife, and really weird films and music.
Film Fund Program Officer
Tony Filosi is an Onondaga County native who graduated with a BFA in Film from Syracuse University and is currently working on his MFA in Film at Syracuse as well.
In addition to his work at CNY Arts Tony is also a local filmmaker who has directed and produced several short narrative films and is a part-time Instructor at Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts where he runs equipment demos and teaches all elements of narrative filmmaking.
Arts Leadership Fellow
Sofia Gutierrez (they/them) is a senior architecture student with a minor in Political Science. As a McNair Scholar (2022-24), and SOURCE Fellow (2023-24), they are pursuing the research project “Defining the Self-Built Landscape of Mexico City” with SOURCE & Directed Research Faculty Advisor Edgar Rodriguez. They are passionate about fostering community and promoting diverse perspectives in the arts. As a Fellow with CNY Arts, they hope to sharpen their grant-writing skills, advocate for underrepresented voices, and connect with local artists.
During their time as a Peer Advisor and long-time NOMAS Syracuse Chapter Executive Board member, they have planned and executed an array of cultural events. They have worked to create a space for students to voice their concerns and ideas to the student body, faculty, and administration. Outside of academia and advocacy work, Sofia is an avid reader, sketch artist, amateur cook, and devoted friend.
Arts Leadership Fellow
Miguel Bustamante is a graduate of Alfred University with B.A. in History. There, he and his colleagues published a new edition of the Kanakadea Review, an academic journal that circulates each year on campus. After graduating, Miguel moved to Syracuse with his loving partner and completed an internship at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse.
Miguel first met CNY Arts Executive Director Stephen Butler during a chance encounter while working retail. After learning about CNY Arts, Miguel was moved to apply for a fellowship. Miguel has always been passionate about art, heritage, and the stories that inform our history. At CNY Arts, he believes he can help preserve and promote these narratives.
In his spare time, Miguel enjoys Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and other geeky subjects. Miguel looks up to J.R.R. Tolkien as a hero and inspiration, and wishes, like Vincent van Gogh, for people to know how deeply he cares.
Arts Leadership Fellow
Margaret McKinnis is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she pursued a degree in writing with minors in honors and linguistics. Her involvement in community arts includes her internships with the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County and the New Voices Literary Festival. Margaret is excited about working for CNY Arts as their mission of making the arts accessible aligns with her value for the many forms of art and their dissemination. She is in the process of becoming a licensed therapist with a specialization in art therapy.