top of page
Art Gallery Grand Rapids 12.jpg

Leadership and Faculty

We are an artist-led arts organization, and education is the heart of everything we do.  Cultivating conversation and empathy in our gallery work, creativity and growth in our fine art courses, and community and artist education in our artist resource center. As a team of artists and educators, our goal is to ignite a passion for art and learning through our community-minded practices.

Our leadership is composed of our core team members.  With a diverse range of experience and expertise, this group understands contemporary gallery practices, curation, new media and foundational studio art practices, volunteer support, and arts administration. 

Our teaching faculty is composed of certified art teachers and professional teaching artists.  Through one-on-one, small group, and differentiated instruction, our teaching faculty knows and appreciates each student's unique interests, strengths, goals, and learning styles. They honor each student and foster a sense of belonging in the space.  We approach our practices with a shared mission: to cultivate growth, creativity, and community. 

See additional people on our Faculty and Leadership

Cultivate Core Team 

Mallory Shotwell.jpg

Mallory Shotwell

Mallory Shotwell (she/her) is the Founder and Director of Cultivate, a role she has passionately embraced to merge the realms of contemporary art and community engagement. Her commitment to this mission is rooted in over 20 years of experience as an educator and a decade each as an interdisciplinary artist and curator. Mallory's journey in the arts and education has been significantly shaped by her time in Madison, WI, where she collaborated with local, county, and state arts councils for 8 years, deepening her commitment to arts and artist advocacy and support.

Before launching Cultivate, Mallory dedicated herself to education as a Montessori teacher, fostering creativity and independence among her students.  Her curatorial practice includes working with organizations like Arts and Literature Laboratory, Lansing Art Gallery, the Bubbler, and most recently the Arts Council of White Lake. As an interdisciplinary artist, her work is rooted in sensorial engagement and storytelling, working with organizations like Pod Save America and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and has exhibited at the Indiana Green Invitational and the Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art, underscore her influence in contemporary art.

Beyond her professional life, Mallory is a mother to a 15-year-old son, an artist himself, and she enjoys spending her time as an avid reader and dual-state Master Gardener, illustrating her belief in the nurturing power of art, education, and community.

Annmarie Ventura.jpg

Annmarie Ventura

Annmarie Ventura (she/her) comes to Cultivate most recently from the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University where she was the Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Public Programs. She worked closely with local and international artists to facilitate educational programming for all ages with an emphasis on building bridges; Working with culture bearers, underserved members of the community, and forward-thinking dreamers is her passion. 


She brings with her 15 years of wide-ranging experience within the arts realm. She has worked at the Stark Museum of Art in southeast Texas, Christie’s Art Auction House, NYC, and the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University. She also teaches Arts Administration and Art Appreciation at the college level. She received her BA in Fine Art and English from Alfred University and her MA in Museum Studies from Seton Hall University. 


Annmarie is also a practicing visual artist living in Grand Rapids with her two loves, her fiancé and her cat.

Corey Bordo.jpg

Corey Bordo

Director of Finance 

finance@cultivategrandrapids.org

bio coming soon

Brian Criner.JPG

Brian Criner

Brian Criner (he/him) is a video producer who has worked in the OTT broadcast sector in various large metro markets for over 15 years. He has collaborated with a plethora of organizations, corporations, governments, dignitaries, and celebrities, such as NPR, EPA, Stanford University, and Google.

 

Brian is also a musician and visual artist, working with video, pencil, and digital manipulation. He has released three singles under his moniker b.Lamrouex and is currently on creative sabbatical, working on new songs and a found footage edit titled “Do You Copy?”.

Ryker Huizinga Headshot.jpg

Ryker Huizinga

Volunteer and Events Coordinator

volunteer@cultivategrandrapids.org

Ryker Huizinga (he/him) is a creative marketing professional and art enthusiast based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 


Professionally, he has worked with digital marketing teams specializing in multimedia storytelling and brand-building. Personally, he explores interests in photography, video, music, creative writing, and graphic design.

 


Ryker studied communication at Grand Valley State University — focusing on media literacy — and is fascinated by how the stories we tell inform our understanding of the world around us, each other, and ourselves. 

 


He also curates the Murals of Grand Rapids Instagram account, highlighting murals throughout the city and striving to create a space of appreciation, celebration, and support for local artists. 

 


Ryker is the Volunteer and Events Coordinator at Cultivate and is passionate about creating engaging, meaningful opportunities for people to get involved and connect with the arts community. 

 

(Photo credit to Rachel Britton).

Eric O Headshot.jpg

Eric Osborne

Design and Communications Coordinator

communications@cultivategrandrapids.org

Eric Osborne (he/him) is part of the first wave of volunteers at Cultivate, where he has found inspiration in the stories shared and the artistic growth among students of all ages. Eric’s early education in design and illustration was self-taught through books, observation, and experimentation.

 

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in University Studies with a focus in Graphic and Printing Sciences from Western Michigan University. Eric is enrolled in the Master of Architecture Program at Kendall College of Art and Design. His interests lie in how design is used to tell stories, record history, and enhance elements of our lives. In his spare time, he practices art through illustration, sketching, and photography. His initial inspirations came from the comic books he read as a child, and he remains an avid reader of graphic novels, comics, and manga.

Hannah Stevenson.jpg

Hannah Stevenson

Arts Outreach Coordinator

artsoutreach@cultivategrandrapids.org

Hannah Stevenson is a recent BFA graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design and an emerging multidisciplinary artist whose material usage specializes in painting and fibers. Her achievements include earning her place on the university president’s list from the years of 2019-2023 and being named the 2023 fine arts excellence award winner.

She participated in the Michigan Arts in the Legislature Program, a juried exhibition where her work was displayed in the Michigan Legislature Building for a full year and is a current participant in the Bridgework mentorship program.


Stevenson takes a conceptual yet explorative approach when creating her artwork, stitching together juxtaposing elements that contribute to an ongoing conversation about womanhood, female sexuality, and objectification. With a strong emphasis on traditional women’s craft, Stevenson strives to be taken seriously in the contemporary art world (and as a self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady”), despite her humorous handling of serious topics.

Head shot.jpeg

Veronica Polniak

Collage Club Facilitator

Veronica Polniak (she/her) passionately believes that engaging in hands-on creation is a reliable path to a life brimming with wholehearted joy. As the visionary behind Little Art Park, a community playgroup born during the pandemic, she advocates for local families to embrace creativity, playfulness, and outdoor activities.


Drawing from her background in hospitality and culinary arts, Veronica has mastered the art of hosting, infusing gatherings with her contagious enthusiasm that leaves hearts fulfilled.


Veronica approaches art with a playful spirit, regularly changing materials and encouraging everyone to tap into their inner artist through interactive material play.


Beyond organizing events, Veronica dedicates her time to raising her daughter, supporting her husband in managing his businesses, and indulging in outdoor running and visiting local libraries, parks, and thrift shops.


For a glimpse into her joyful journey, you can follow Veronica on instagram at @littleartparkgr 

bottom of page