Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut Newly Appointed Board Members

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 "You win by working hard, making tough decisions and building coalitions". - former governor of Michigan, John Engler

The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, looks to strengthen its support to the region (Danbury, Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, and Sherman) with five new Board members, selected to build on its strong foundation. Executive Director Lisa Scails, now serving on the Private Sector Network Advisory Team of the Americans for the Arts, is enthused by the future. "With our welcomed new Board members, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut is poised to expand partnerships with business, increase access to and equity for the arts, and strengthen our key commitment to regional arts promotion", she says. 

The pARTnership Movement, an initiative from the Americans for the Arts to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage, has inspired the Cultural Alliance's next steps. Partnering with local Chambers of Commerce is among its prime goals. The opportunity for growth and the potential to create dynamic, mutually beneficial partnerships that diversify audiences and build sustainable support networks, rooted in local communities, is ever increasing, and the Cultural Alliance has adopted this model.

The new members to the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut's Board of Directors, who support the concepts of partnership with and for business, are: 

 NICOLE ALMEDIA - Owner, Arthur Murray of Danbury

Born in Danbury and raised in Brookfield, Nicole graduated from UMASS Amherst with a degree in Communications in 2005.  As a way to stay active while looking for her career job, she started a training class at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Danbury in May of that same year (the business was started by her parents in May of 1979) and she never looked back. She became a franchisee in 2008, and then started a second business, Dance Dynamix, in January of 2016 - especially to apply her love and knowledge of dance to focus on children.  She also is a mentor through Danbury Youth Services and a member of the newly created group, Danbury Select, which is a group of entrepreneurs focused on the growth and expansion of Downtown Danbury.

ROBERT CRAWFORD - Professional Artist

A resident of Woodbury, Robert is an illustrator and fine artist, working in his own unique style influenced by magic realism and

the regionalism of post-World War Two artists like Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton. His work has been featured on the covers of major magazines such as Fortune, Business Week, The Atlantic,  U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek and Rolling Stone. He recently finished his fourth children’s book. A previous book, The Legend of the Old Man of the Mountain, reached #1 on the regional best-seller list. He includes two LL Bean Christmas covers in his portfolio and was chosen by the German car maker, Volkswagen, to do six paintings for a book which

celebrated Volkswagen's 50th anniversary. He's participated in a United Nation's show on the environment, that painting featured on CBS's Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.

HAL KURFEHS - Vice President of Coldwell Banker Commercial Scalzo Group, Bethel

Hal oversees commercial, investment, industrial sales and leasing, development, and has worked in commercial real estate sales for 26 years. Hal is a multiple recipient of the prestigious CoStar Power Broker Award for the Westchester/Southern Connecticut market. He is a past President of the statewide Commercial Investment Division (CID), Connecticut Association of Realtors, a state director of CID, and a past president of the Greater Danbury CID. He is also Chairman of the Western Connecticut Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA), Chairman of the Brookfield Economic Development Commission, serves on the Advisory Board and is a Corporator for Fairfield County Bank and was past Vice Chairman of the Brookfield Planning Commission. 


JENNIFER MALONE-SEIXAS - Vice President of the Filosa Facilities, Danbury

Jennifer A. Malone-Seixas has been the Administrator of Hancock Hall since June 2011. She was named long-term care “Student of the Year” from the University of Connecticut, School of Business, in April 2011.  Earlier in her career, Jennifer worked as an educator and program coordinator for the Museum of Modern Art and as a sommelier at various restaurants in NYC.  While the area of healthcare takes Jennifer a distance from her training in the arts and education, joining the team at Hancock Hall and Filosa has proven to be the right choice, continuing to bring the arts to the elderly and home bound.



IVAL STRATFORD-KOVNER - Professional Artist

Bethel resident, Ival  has been an artist and arts educator for many decades, teaching in various universities and museums in the New England Area.  Receiving a BFA from Boston University and after starting graduate studies, a position as Art Director for St. Croix Country Day School in the US Virgin Islands opened up,  and Ival spent several years teaching and scuba diving in the islands.  Colorful watercolors with a tropical feel resulted from those years where she taught art for grades 1-12. She returned to earn a Masters in Education and a Masters of Fine Arts at WCSU, while teaching full time in Harlem NYC at Public School 92.  Her work has been exhibited internationally at Oxford University, France, Italy, Germany and Scotland, and she hopes to exhibit at the 70th Anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival.  Art therapy and equine therapy remain ongoing concerns of Ival. Her most recent show was at Danbury City Hall through the Cultural Alliance's Accessible Art program where she exhibited her large scale charcoal horse drawings from her days as a trooper/historian for the Governor’s Horse Guard in Newtown.

The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut depends largely on community support for its programs and services.  Contact Lisa Scails to volunteer or to donate at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For more information,  call (203) 798 0760 or visit

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Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut
287 Main Street
Danbury, CT 06810

Tel 203.798.0760


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