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
  • Sarah Dickinson, Festival Intern

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 The Denovati Group.

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.

Prior to joining the Festival, Carol worked at the Washington Hospital Center for twelve years as a medical assistant for the chairman of the Department of Orthopedics, and also in the Office of Public Affairs and Marketing. Carol notes that the stress levels of the Festival do not compare to those of a large urban hospital.

Carol holds a Master Gardener certification from Penn State Cooperative Extension and Emergency Medical Technician certification from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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.

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!

Sarah Dickinson, Festival Intern


Sarah Dickinson joined the Festival staff as an intern for the summer of 2015. She is a rising junior at Penn State, seeking a degree in Advertising/Public Relations from the College of Communications. She is also earning minors in Business and International Studies from the College of Liberal Arts. On top of her academics, Sarah is involved in the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, the Phi Chi Theta Professional Business Fraternity, and the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Sarah was born and reared in Southampton, New York, and is an only child. After attending a small high school, with only 150 people in her graduating class, she was looking for the big school college experience, consisting of things like football and Greek life. After visiting a few schools, she decided that Penn State was the perfect fit.

Sarah has had an interest in the arts throughout her adolescence, and spent much of her time in school developing her creative side. She took various art classes throughout her four years at Southampton High School, including studio art, drawing and painting, ceramics, and even a class in which she created a portfolio for college applications.

Since coming to Penn State in the fall of 2013, Sarah has not had much time to practice her hobby of drawing and painting. She is very excited to intern with the Arts Festival, and be back in a creative environment.