Board of Directors

Sasha Bakaric, Board Chair                                                        Sasha is a member artist of FRANK. With an advanced degree in applied mathematics, Sasha had a successful career in management and finance before devoting herself to ceramics. Originally from Croatia, she now lives in Chapel Hill with her husband and two daughters.
                                                                                         Shelly Hehenberger, Artist Membership Chair                      Shelly has been a working and teaching artist since completing a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting (1994) from the University of Cincinnati, where she taught basic drawing for two years.  She has exhibited widely in the Carolinas since moving South in 2000, venues include The Umstead Hotel in Cary, Frank Gallery in Chapel Hill (where she is an active member), the SunTrust Gallery in Durham (DAC), and the National Humanities Center in RTP. Her work focuses on patterns and imagery inspired by the Natural Sciences explored through the processes of drawing and painting. 

Diane Amato, Treasurer                                                    Diane is originally from Massachusetts where she worked as a Program Manager for General Electric. After moving to North Carolina in 1996 she became very involved in art and philanthropy. She opened a photography studio, photographing artwork for local artists as well as making and exhibiting her own work.  
Diane works at Preservation Durham and is currently the Chair of the board of Liberty Arts.  She served on the board of Durham Habitat for Humanity Restore as Treasurer and then President and also joined on the board of Chatham County Arts Council as Treasurer. In 2009 she founded The Art of Giving, a giving circle committed to granting money to non-profits in the Triangle whose programs benefit women and children.  Since its inception, $120,000 has been awarded.

Mike Keyes, Secretary                                                                Mike has had a successful career in art operations, serving in executive positions with,, and Circle Graphics.  Currently he consults with a number of e-commerce companies in improving their overall performance.  Mike has a degree in Physics from Miami University and an M.B.A. from Duke University.   Mike and his wife enjoy volunteering locally and living the empty-nester life in Cary.

Danny Bell                                                                                   Danny is an active and enrolled member of the Lumbee and Coharie American Indian Tribes of North Carolina. He recently retired after 18 years as Program Coordinator for the Curriculum in American Indian Studies at UNC. Danny served to support the awareness and inclusion of American Indians in Carolina’s mission and activities.   Danny was employed by the NC Commission of Indian Affairs for 14 years, serving in cultural, education, employment and community programs, with continued involvement with the annual Indian Heritage Month Celebration. Danny is a retired military veteran, US Army 440th Army Band.

Lisa Brown
Lisa has been involved with nonprofit fundraising her entire career, with a special focus on client services, major gifts, and fundraising processes management. She has a degree in Art History and Political Science from Emory University, specializing in the Classical era and archaeology. Originally a Texan, she married her high school sweetheart, who as new faculty brought her to Chapel Hill in 1998. They have two teenage boys with whom they enjoy snow skiing, summer biking and hiking, and all kinds of music.

Megan Gardner
Megan is an executive with a Chapel Hill-based software company with a primary focus on client services, marketing, and operations. Originally from Maryland, Megan called the Northeast home for many years while working in professional sports in Boston. Megan holds an undergraduate degree from Villanova University and a graduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and now calls Chapel Hill home. 

Brand Fortner
Brand is teaching professor at North Carolina State University and adjunct professor of physics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is considered an expert in accessible scientific visualization and in technical data formats. He previously was chief scientist of the intelligence exploitation group of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, and is the founder of two scientific software companies: Spyglass, Inc, the original publisher of the Mosaic web browser, and Fortner Software LLC, a leading developer of Macintosh based scientific visualization tools. Dr. Fortner previously held positions at NASA and at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and has written two books on color vision and technical data: Number by Colors, and The Data Handbook. He holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Illinois and funded a chair in astrophysics at that university (along with a second chair in physics at North Carolina State University). He also co-sponsors a film festival at that university. Brand is active on both corporate and nonprofit boards.  He is an art collector and a big fan of FRANK Gallery.

Alan Hecht
Alan is a President of Multi-Chanel-Marketing, a marketing consulting company that he started in 2001, after a successful marketing career at Saks Fifth Avenue, Gray Advertising and Bloomingdale's. Alan holds BA in History from Queens College, an MBA in Marketing from New York University. He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife who is an artist and owner of Top Dog Art.

Gordon Jameson
Gordon is a member artist and one of the founding members of FRANK. Gordon has been a professional artist for over three decades. He has extensive experience in working with arts organizations. Gordon is one of the founding members of Orange County Artist Guild and he served on Board of Directors of Orange County Artist Commission since 2000. Gordon lives in rural Orange County with his wife where he enjoys gardening, cooking and fine dining.

Towny Ludington
Towny had a long and successful career as a professor of English and American Studies at UNC. He holds bachelor’s degree from Yale and a doctoral degree from Duke University. Towny is the author of 11 books on American literature, arts and culture. He is currently chairman of North Carolina Humanities Council. He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife.

Cathy Pierce
Cathy has been the managing Editor of a medical magazine based in Europe since 2005. Although originally from California, Cathy graduated with a B.A in English Literature from The University of Kansas in 1998. After graduating, she lived Milan, Italy for 13 years before deciding to return to the states to make Chapel Hill her home. She has experience in public relations, event coordinating and fundraising.  

Gabrielle Rousso Gabrielle Rousso has lived in Chapel Hill for two years. Gabrielle has worked in the arts in both non-profit arts management and administration, as well as design, throughout her career in Illinois. She was the Executive Director of a Fine Art School with multiple community Galleries in the Chicagoland area. Throughout her career her focus has been on the creative, as well as business side of the arts.

Dennis Szerszen
Dennis has had a successful 35+ year career in software market development,  first with IBM, andagain in his second career with a number IT startups. He has been an avid photographer since his youth. He volunteers his time in order to share his love of photography with various groups, including Frank's community outreach program and Duke's OLLI program. Dennis and his wife Kate are longtime residents of the Durham/Chapel Hill area. 

Barbara Tyroler
Barbara is a photographer and a member artist of FRANK. She holds degrees from University of Massachusetts in Amherst and University of Maryland. Barbara is a native of Chapel Hill and before returning to her hometown she was on the faculty of the University of Maryland. Barbara’s interests are in community organizing. She is a recipient of over 25 community development grants.

Deborah Zionts
Deborah Zionts is a versatile artist, who has been fascinated by the arts since she was a child. Deborah is an artist educator, who has devoted herself to learning about and creating many forms of artistic expression, including jewelry making, mixed media assemblage, knitting, and her current focus, weaving.

Gallery Manager

Natalie Knox


Natalie joins FRANK at the end of November, 2017. She holds a BA degree from University of Texas at Austin in European Studies with a minor in Art History.  She has extensive experience in retail management and merchandizing, and is a mosaic artist.

"I am so excited to be working with the Frank Gallery, members of the board and all the artists. Not only is Frank a welcoming and beautifully diverse art gallery but the members are so socially aware and allow the gallery to act as a major player in community outreach programs. 

Being in an environment exposed to so many creative and entrepreneurial people is such an inspiration and I truly believe that the potential for Frank is limitless and I am so excited to be a part of its growth!"

Advisory Board

Bonnie Layman, retired, CPA
John Warasila, Alliance Architecture
Jeffrey York, Director, Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission
Dan Ellison, Attorney