Open Space Soirée Committee
KANEKO would like to recognize our outstanding 2016 Soirée Committee.
Mary Lou Brasee
Mary Lou Brasee has more than 20 years of experience in fund development, marketing, and management in the non-profit sector of the greater Omaha community.
As Vice President of Marketing and Fund Development for the Visiting Nurse Association, she was part of the executive management team, managing all development programs, as well as marketing and public relations. Prior to VNA, Mary Lou worked as Campaign Director for United Way of the Midlands and Development Director for St. Cecilia Cathedral.
Mary Lou holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Management from Creighton University. Brasee currently is a board member for Nebraska Humane Society (marketing & development and board governance committees), Nebraska Shakespeare (recording secretary), Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Friends Board (advisor).
Mary Lou is married to Mark Brasee, who is a partner at Fraser Stryker Law Firm. The family cats, Simon and Sophie, are adopted from Nebraska Humane Society.
Born and raised in Riga, Latvia, Polina Schlott attended the University of Nebraska Omaha where she received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and master’s in Public Administration Management. She has worked as an Acquisition Professional for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for over fifteen years.
As a former runway model, Polina has a keen interest in fashion and textile design, as well as contemporary architecture and sculpture. She is an active member of the KANEKO board and several of its sub-committees.
Polina also serves on the Board of Directors for Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, Children’s Square USA, Lauritzen Gardens and she is a long-time mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands. In addition to her work in non-profits and passion for art, Polina is fascinated by science and enjoys spending time in her garden.
Cassie is a commercial lender at Union Bank and Trust. She is also a member of the Nebraska Angels, Women Investing in Nebraska and is a member of the Guild for the Rose Theatre. Cassie and her husband, Taylor, are members of both KANEKO and the Sheldon Young Art Circle in Lincoln.
bio coming soon
Joanna Gale recently retired as an Army Aviation Lieutenant Colonel, relocating permanently from Dallas with her husband Craig, to live in Ponca Hills near her parents. She has spent 28 years as an Army helicopter instructor and test pilot, serving in combat as Division Chief of Aviation Operations for Southern Iraq and most recently commanding a helicopter battalion and managing operations and training programs for a helicopter base.
Her professional expertise is in strategic planning, operations, training and program management. Joanna is an avid equestrian who enjoys eventing, show jumping and fox hunting. She has a passion for the arts and is looking forward to becoming an active member of our community in support of cultural, humanitarian and young leadership development programs.
John Krecek has worked and volunteered with Ree Kaneko since 1986 and, in later years, at the KANEKO. John owns a few pieces of Jun’s work and has been a fan since Jun came to the United States. John served on the Planning Committee for KANEKO’s acclaimed exhibition, Design in Motion in 2015 and currently serves on the Soirée Planning Committee.
He is owner/operator of Custom Realty, a commercial property management firm specializing in management of smaller commercial properties, here in Omaha and surrounding communities. John is an avid cyclist and runner and gets a great deal of enjoyment from artisanal cooking. He is also the Club Race Chair and Chief Driving Instructor of the Porsche Club of America, Great Plains Region.
John has two children who have both been active in KANEKO summer camps, including Architecture and 3-D printing. After attending the 3-D printing camp, John’s son, Jack, completed a yearlong project building a 3-D printer and presenting the results and predictions for the future of 3-D printing to his High School. Jack is now following in his father’s footsteps and volunteering at the KANEKO 3-D summer camp in 2016.
Karen is a co-founder of Gallery 1516, a nonprofit arts organization and exhibition space dedicated to Nebraska and Regional Artists. She received her Bachelor of Art Education Degree from the University of Kansas, then began a thirty-three year career as a high school Art Instructor with the Omaha Public Schools. During this time she received enormous personal satisfaction and numerous accolades which included the Alice Buffet Outstanding Teacher Award, the Wells Fargo Outstanding Educator Award, and the Midtown “O” Crystal Apple Award.
Karen serves on the KANEKO annual Soiree committee, and has been involved in numerous community projects including the Bemis Art for Omaha TEAM project and Opera Omaha’s Madame Butterfly’s Closet project. Committed to the Arts, Karen continues to actively support their growth and success throughout the community.
bio coming soon
bio coming soon
bio coming soon
Mikal Eckstrom was born and raised on the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho. Currently a doctoral candidate in history at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his doctoral work examines the relationships between American Indians and American Jews in the American West. Mikal is a Center for Great Plains Studies Graduate Fellow, a Rapaport Fellow at the American Jewish Archives, a Center for Digital Research in the Humanities Graduate Incubator Fellow, and a Jack Kent Cooke Continuing Graduate Scholar. His written work includes pieces in the The Wall Street Journal, the American Historical Association, and a co-authored chapter with Margaret Jacobs in Why You Can’t Teach US History without American Indians (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).
Mikal works with the Big Elk Native American Cultural Center, the Indian Land Tenure Fund, the American Indian College Fund, and the Sheldon Fellowship Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation.
Monte Thompson who will be starting her fourth year as a committee member, began her association with KANEKO in the infant years of the Bemis. Friends, Ree and Jun had started the fledgling residency program and asked Monte to share a spot on the Board of Directors.
After several years, Monte transitioned off the Bemis Board but continued to work with the organization, appreciating the vision and benefits it was providing artists.
When Ree and Jun created KANEKO, Monte offered her culinary skills and food styling experience to many events. She brings a thoughtful and smiling presence plus a practical attitude to organizational events and efforts for the KANEKO.
Nick Huff spends most of his days finding new local makers, designing interiors for homes and commercial spaces and rummaging the Midwest for the best vintage finds. Behind everything he does at hutch as co-owner, Nick tries to have his community in mind in order to make it stronger, more cohesive and supportive for everyone.
Rae Dyer is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska Omaha. Rae has given her time chairing and working on various fundraising efforts for several Omaha organizations including Creighton Preparatory School, Westside High School, Project Harmony, and Joslyn Art Museum. Along with her husband Bill, she has three adult children, Alex, Abbey, and Claire. Rae enjoys reading, travel, and cooking in any remaining free time.
Married to Stewart, my partner in life, and mom to David and Allison, soon to be a mother in law to Keenan. I can’t leave out Petunia my other child in a dogs suit. They are the joys of my life.
Stewart and I own and operate a family furniture business that is both our passion and livelihood. Allen’s Home, on 78th and L st. We specialize in well designed furnishings, lighting and service. I have done interior design in my own business as well for the past 24 years and love my work.
I feel lucky to have the KANEKO in our community. It provides a wonderful environment to explore art, design, dance, music and literature. It seems my favorite people share those interests.
Vicki Krecek has a degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was the Manager of Community Development for the City of Omaha; Vice President of Communications for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and was a free-lance writer. She retired from the Chamber of Commerce after 23 years. Krecek’s volunteer work is centered around the arts and social services, and her interests include art, music, opera, horses (fox hunting and trail riding). She and her husband David have two sons and two grandchildren.