Staff & Board

Board of Directors

Mario L. Aniles, Chair
Finance Director, Housing Authority of Maricopa County

Jamie L. Halavais, Vice Chair
Attorney, Lewis Roca Rothergerber Christie

Alvaro Sande, Treasurer
Chief Operating Officer, Sencorp USA

Michelle Taylor, Secretary
Regional VP of Enterprise Sales with One Medical

Jack Lytle, Immediate Past Chair
CEO, Theater Works, Peoria (Retired)

Linda Alexander
Commissioner, Phoenix Women’s Commission, City of Phoenix
Site Based Leadership Team, Madison Heights

Trustee Standing Committee, Development, Phoenix Country Day School

Carla Logan
Owner, Carly’s Bistro

RJ Muller
Community Relations Manager, Cox Communications

Angela Rodela
Brand Manager, Bar S Foods

Antoine O. Skinner
Branch Manager, US Bank


Joseph Benesh
, Director
Lauren Henschen, Deputy Director
Lane Black, Operations Manager
Jessica Valiente, Programs Manager
Jessi Black, Engagement Manager
David Drescher, Technical Coordinator
Lindsey Krause, Thunderbird Class Manager
Kelly Fitzharris, Patron Services Associate
Sonya Tarango, Youth and Community Coordinator
Mirinda DiBiase, Marketing Associate
Melissa Smallwood, Business Associate
Matthew Dieckman, Development Intern
Crystal Alulema, Programs Intern
Paige Shoemaker, Engagement Intern

To contact a staff member you may send an email to: the first letter of their first name dot last name (at) (no spaces).

Joseph Benesh Phoenix Center for the Arts
Joseph Benesh

Joseph Benesh has served as Director of Phoenix Center for the Arts since 2011 and has been working in nonprofit management since 2001. He carries a Master’s Degree in Arts Management from New York University. Joseph’s current community activities include Valley Leadership, Phoenix Office of Arts & Culture (Commission Member), Artlink (Board Member) and Hance Park Conservancy (Board Member). In his free time, Joseph enjoys biking, jogging, surfing, and working on his ’79 VW bus. Joseph says, “I love the diversity of people in our world – diversity of cultures, ages, genders, scientists, artists, and everyone in between.” Joseph hopes to be able to listen to the needs of the community and help create an arts center that delivers solutions to those needs for the betterment of the world.

Joseph’s Superpower: Hugging.
Office Hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 302

Lauren Henschen

Lauren Henschen
Deputy Director
Marketing, Sales, Events,
and Co-Community Liaison

Lauren Henschen serves as Deputy Director for Phoenix Center for the Arts and has been working in marketing, public relations, and web/graphic design since 2005. Lauren also sits on the Marketing-Communications Subcommittee of the Hance Park Conservancy and has led the arts venture incubation marketing workshop for Arizona State University’s PAVE Professional Sustainability Program since 2014. Lauren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Arizona State University (summa cum laude), having been awarded both the ASU Provost’s Scholarship and the Katherine K. Herberger Fine Arts Scholarship. Lauren is also a published songwriter (BMI, Fervor Records), with music featured in television programs including “Parks & Recreation,” “Entertainment Tonight,” and “Bones.” Her personal heroes include Fred Rogers, Jim Henson, and Joan Ganz Cooney. Lauren is an Arizona native and committed to making Phoenix an amazing place to live.

Lauren’s Superpower: Learning
Office Hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 304

Lane Black

Lane Black

Operations Manager

As Operations Manager for the Center, Lane ensures that classroom and rental spaces are well-maintained and fully functional. She has been working in professional theaters across the country since 2003, filling roles in all aspects of technical theatre for companies such as American Repertory Theatre and Blue Man Group (Boston). Lane obtained her Master’s of Fine Arts in Technical Production from Boston University in 2012. She is delighted to be back in the Valley after a brief, five-year hiatus. As Facilities Coordinator, Lane strives to find creative solutions to overcome obstacles. In her spare time, Lane enjoys hiking and backpacking with her husband and dog, cooking, and working on a never-ending list of home improvement and organization projects around the home. Lane hopes to help aid in the expansion of the Center and its reach into the community that surrounds it.

Lane’s Superpower: Carpentry
Office Hours:
9am-5pm Wednesday-Thursday
1pm-9pm Friday-Sunday
Not available Monday-Tuesday
Subject to change based on production needs
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 306

Programs Manager
Jessica Valiente

Jessica Valiente is a powerful Latina! She was born in San Francisco and raised in “La Phoeniquera.” When she isn’t being awesome as Phoenix Center for the Arts’ Programs Manager, she is busy doing awesome things in her community. As a business owner, Jessica focuses on connecting talented Phoenicians to unexpected audiences, by creating memorable events and productions. She is also a core member of the Isac Amaya Foundation; an organization that raises scholarship funds for students who are undocumented. In her free time, Jessica enjoys meeting new people, engaging in various cultural events, and learning about new and upcoming trends. Her favorite quote (which her mother repeated many times throughout her childhood) is ” dime con quien te juntas, y te digo quien eres” (translation: “tell me who you surround yourself with and I’ll tell you who you are”). Jessica takes pride in making sure that she is always surrounded by powerful and determined individuals. Her inspirations come from those who keep fighting the fight to achieve their goals and their dreams.

Jessica’s Superpower: She’s a Multipotentialite
Office Hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 303

Engagement Manager

Jessi Black

As the Engagement Manager, Jessi facilitates programs tailored to specific sites and populations, such as artist residencies in schools and creative wellness classes at the center. Hailing from the Quad Cities, Iowa/Illinois, she joined the staff in 2016 with more than ten years of professional experience in arts administration. As a volunteer, Jessi chaired a United Way committee, served on several arts advisory boards, and was a Big Sister for eight years. Her background also includes a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in Studio Art, and she is working toward a Master of Arts in Arts Administration through Goucher College in Baltimore. When she isn’t studying, Jessi is an avid consumer of visual arts, dance, music, theatre, and any other fun the community offers up.

Jessi’s Superpower: Connecting
Office Hours: 9am-5pm Monday-Friday
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 307

David Drescher

Technical Coordinator
David Drescher

As Facilities Technical Assistant, David oversees the general operation of the Theater and general maintenance of the facilities. David attended Arizona State University, concentrating in Theatre, Design, and Production. David joins the Center family with a extensive theater background, specializing in stage management, venue operations, and lighting and sound. David is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, the union for Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. David has worked on numerous productions across the Valley, and out of state, including festivals in San Diego and Los Angeles. David has stage managed plays, musicals, dance, opera, and music festivals. David is happy to be a part of the Center family and feels at home here.

David’s Superpower: Controlling the chaos (he’s a Wizard)
Office Hours: Schedule varies based on production needs
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 308


Lindsey Krause
Thunderbird Class Manager

Lindsey Krause

Lindsey Krause is a long-time volunteer and teaching artist at the Center. As the class manager at the new Thunderbird location, she is inspired to offer unique and diverse programming for the community. Lindsey is personally and professionally passionate about art and believes it can be used to heal, empower, and enact social change and connection. Lindsey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a minor in Studio Art (Magna Cum Laude), and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Humanities. Lindsey is a practicing artist, proficient in oil painting, and enjoys depicting the human form. She has exhibited and received awards for her work in Pennsylvania, her home state. In her free time, Lindsey is in her studio enjoying all things ART!

Lindsey’s Superpower: Building rapport
Lindsey’s Office Hours:
11:00am-9:00pm Tuesday-Thursday
9:00am-2:00pm Friday
8:30am-1:30pm Saturday
Contact: 602-293-3267

Kelly Fitzharris
Patron Services Associate

Kelly Fitzharris

Kelly is a recent transplant from New Jersey and is thrilled to be a part of the Phoenix Center for the Arts team! As Patron Services Associate, Kelly looks forward to connecting with all the staff, instructors and students who frequent our classes and events in order to ensure a fun and fulfilling experience. Kelly has worked in various fields including managing an organic juice bar, working in an independent bookstore, and being a Spanish teacher! She has volunteered for numerous years in places like Guatemala, Argentina, Chile & Guyana. She also spent four years in Spanish Harlem, NYC. She thrives on connecting with people and loves learning new skills. In her free time, you can find Kelly hiking, dancing, reading, writing, practicing yoga, and checking in students!

Kelly’s Superpower: Positive energy
Office Hours: 1-9pm Monday-Friday
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 309

Youth & Community Coordinator
Sonya Tarango

At the very core of Sonya Tarango’s passion lie the collaborative interactions that serve to build a more inclusive and diverse community. As a young Chicana, native to West Phoenix, Sonya was not afforded exposure to the arts and culture spaces she has grown to know and love in recent years. Through her arts experiences civic action was born, and sparked her drive to help youth and communities of color to experience arts and culture. When she is not working on youth programing you can connect with Sonya at various community events surrounding arts, culture, and social justice. Sonya strives to listen to the needs of the community and help foster safe spaces at the Center, promoting creative cross-cultural conversations through the arts.

Sonya’s Superpower: Finding the silver lining
Office Hours: 8:00am-3:30pm Tuesday-Friday
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 305

Marketing Associate
Mirinda DiBiase

Mirinda is currently finishing her senior year of college at Arizona State University for a Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Communication. She has several years experience in the graphic design industry and has an extreme passion for all things creative. As a Marketing Assistant, Mirinda helps create and update the graphic design materials used for Phoenix Center for the Arts and Thunderbird Arts Center. Originally from Tucson, she came to Phoenix to pursue her dreams of finding a way to contribute her knowledge and enthusiasm to the art community. When not in school or at work, she can be found exploring new mediums and methods for creating all forms of art. Her favorite quote comes from Mark Twain, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” She is grateful that PCA has given her the opportunity to do what she was born to do.

Mirinda’s Superpower: Making others smile
Office Hours:
9:00am-12:00pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday
6:00pm-9:00pm Monday & Wednesday
Contact: 602-254-3100 ext. 309