Arts Festival Staff

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts employs three full-time staff who also produce and manage First Night State College. Scroll down to learn more about:

  • Rick Bryant, Executive Director
  • Carol Baney, Director of Operations
  • Jennifer Shuey, Director of Development

Our work is also supported by Annie and John Nelson of Brown & Associates, Inc. Bookkeeping Services, and Doris Mack, Performing Arts Consultant. Our website has been designed and is supported by Courtney Shelton Hunt of The Denovati Group, who also provides social media and other digital engagement expertise and guidance.

Rick Bryant, Executive Director

Rick Bryant joined the paid staff of the CPFA as its director of visual arts in 1999, though his involvement with the Festival dates back to 1984, when he first volunteered on the Trash Crew. Rick was named Executive Director of the CPFA in 2005.

Born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, before the county hospital moved to State College, Rick attended public schools in State College, and afterward the University of Virginia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture in 1979.

After college he toiled away in the insurance business and pursued professional education, earning a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designation in 1986. He completed the Pennsylvania Rural-Urban Leadership Program in 2013.

In addition to serving as a long-time Festival volunteer, he has volunteered for many community organizations. He has served on many committees and boards including the board of the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania, the State College Board of Health, the Board of Deacons of State College Presbyterian Church, the Community Advisory Board for Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts, and the State College Historic Resources Commission. He currently serves as the chair of the State College Design Review Board.

You can read about Rick’s adventures as a doofus hipster-wannabe at his blog, The Wandering Wahoo.

Carol Baney, Director of Operations

Carol Baney has been with the Festival for nearly twenty years. She is a native of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. After attending public school in Bellefonte, she received an associate in arts degree from the Hagerstown Business College in Maryland. She has continued her post-college education and earned an associate in liberal arts degree from Penn State in 2009.

Carol holds an Emergency Medical Technician certification from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has earned a Master Gardener designation from Penn State Cooperative Extension. For the third (and last, she claims) year, she is serving as the chair of annual plant sale for the Centre County Master Gardeners. The sale, which takes place on Penn State’s Ag Progress Days grounds, raises over $10,000 annually.

In March 2013 and again in 2014, one of Carol’s dreams–to visit Africa–came true when she volunteered at the Urkundo Home and Learning Center in the Muhanga District of Rwanda.

In her spare time, Carol creates jewelry which she has sells at festivals in the mid-Atlantic region. This is not just a creative outlet, but also gives her the opportunity to learn about the festivals business from the artists’ perspective.

Jennifer Shuey, Director of Development

Jennifer joined the Festival staff in late April 2015. Prior to that, she served almost 15 years as the Executive Director of ClearWater Conservancy, a well-respected land trust and natural resource conservation organization in central Pennsylvania. Jennifer grew up in the small village of Hublersburg in the Bellefonte area and earned a B.S. of Landscape Architecture from Penn State.

Since about 2005, Jen has been exploring her artistic side. She is a pastel painter whose work focuses mainly on landscapes of central Pennsylvania. Jennifer is a Signature Member of the Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society, the Secretary and Centre County Farmland Trust Liaison of the Farmland Preservation Artists of Central Pennsylvania, and a member of the Artists Registry of the Bellefonte Art Museum. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania.

Jen remains committed to conservation and the teaching of new generations of community leaders who are connected to nature. She serves as the Chair of the local Millbrook Marsh Nature Center Advisory Committee.

Jen lives with her high school sweetheart husband Chris in Pleasant Gap, where they are just about ready to bring two new kittens into their lives.

As CPFA’s first staff “newbie” in quite awhile, Jennifer looks forward to getting to know the people who make the Festival hum and hearing the many stories that have shaped their involvement over the years. If you’ve got a story to tell, give her a call and say hello!

Lauren Hallowell, Festival Intern

Lauren Hallowell joined the Festival staff for the summer of 2016. She is entering her senior year at Penn State as a Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management major with a focus in Commercial and Community Recreation. She grew up in the “Sweetest Place on Earth”, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Outside of academics, Lauren is involved in RPTM Student Society, Happy Valley Music Label, and Movin’ On, Penn State’s annual music festival. She is also involved with THON, the one of the largest student-led philanthropies in the country.

Lauren is interested in the live music industry, especially the logistics and promotion of concerts and music festivals. She hopes to pursue a career in this industry after earning her undergraduate degree in 2017.

When she’s not attending concerts, Lauren can be found reading, watching movies, playing tennis, or enjoying ice cream with her roommates.