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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Abramson Names Jelsma Special Liaison for the Arts

Thursday March 31, 2005

Mayor Jerry Abramson has appointed Sherry Jelsma to the $1 per year position of Mayor’s Special Liaison for Arts and Culture.
Jelsma, a long-time community arts advocate, will advise the Mayor on issues pertaining to Louisville’s various professional and non-profit arts organizations.

“The arts play such an important role in shaping our community’s quality of life as well as our attractiveness to businesses considering locating here,” Abramson said. “Sherry has committed many years to working with and supporting the arts organizations in our hometown and we are fortunate to gain her insight as part of our team.”

Jelsma served as Governor Brereton Jones’ Cabinet Secretary for Education, Arts and Humanities from 1991 to 1995, and then became vice president of Louisville’s Fund for the Arts from 1996 to 1997. Later, she served as named interim director and CEO of the Kentucky Center of the Arts, while a permanent director was sought.

Jelsma currently is co-chair of the volunteer group drafting the “Cultural Blueprint” for Louisville.

“We are for the first time taking a comprehensive approach to charting the future course of culture in this community,” Jelsma said. “I look forward to working with the Mayor and his administration to maximize the positive impact the arts can have on Louisville, both in terms of culture as well as economic development.”

Jelsma is a member of the Kentucky Opera’s Honorary Council and the Speed Art Museum board, which she chaired from 2002 to 2004.

She is a former English instructor at the
University of Kentucky and taught in Louisville, Baltimore and New York City public schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College at Harvard University, and a master’s degree from New York University.

Jelsma, 66, is married to Lawrence F. Jelsma, M.D., and has a son, Franklin and two daughters, Thomassen and Becky.