Board of Directors

Beverly Lowry | Board President

Writer/Professor

Born in Memphis, raised in Greenville, Mississippi, the author of nine books–six novels including Daddy’s Girl and The Track of Real Desires and three books of nonfiction, including Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life  and Crossed Over, a Murder a Memoir, Lowry has lived in Austin since 2006 and has been a board member of Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre since 2012. She has published many articles, book reviews, short stories and feature pieces in such periodicals as the New York Times, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Granta, the Los Angeles Times and Texas Monthly. A past winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones award for fiction, she has also been the recipient of an NEA grant, a Guggenheim fellowship and a writing residency at Bellagio awarded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Her teaching career began in the first years of the MFA program at the University of Houston and continued for the next 30 years at colleges all over the country, including the University of Montana and George Mason University, where she designed and oversaw the creation of a Nonfiction Track in the MFA program. Currently, she sits on the board of the PEN-Faulkner Foundation and is teaching at the University of Houston at Victoria as a Distinguished Visiting Writer and having received a Helene Wurlitzer residency fellowship, will soon be spending a number of weeks writing and reading in Taos, New Mexico. She is currently working on a book about Austin’s 1991 Yogurt Shop Murders, to be published in 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf.

In Austin she lives on the East side of town and enjoys going for walks on the hike-and-bike trail along Lady Bird Lake with her beloved pup, Walter. She also goes to readings at Book People, attends various music and dance events, swims regularly at Barton Springs and is proud to hold the record for swimmers 70 years and over in the Deep Eddy Mile-Plus event. Her tuna melts and lamb tangine have received many compliments.


 

Molly Browning | Board Vice President

Arts Advocate

A native of Ft Worth, TX and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Molly spent her early career in advertising before moving into the nonprofit sector. As the first Marketing/PR Director of Austin Lyric Opera her creative expertise helped lead the Opera to be recognized as Austin’s premier arts organization. She began promoting dance when she worked as the Marketing Director for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City and continued her work in the arts at Connecticut Opera and the Greater Hartford Arts Council in Hartford, CT. In a move back to Austin, she again assumed the role of Marketing/PR Director for Austin Lyric Opera until her retirement.

Molly serves on the Board of Austin Classical Guitar and the Advisory Board of the Armstrong Community Music School. When not advocating for the arts she spends time at her residence in Travis Heights with her husband Jim, working on home and garden projects and devotes as much time as possible to entertaining her four talented, darling grandchildren.


 

Claudette Lowe | Board Director

Political/Neighborhood Activist 

Claudette was born in the piney woods of East Texas and was first recognized for her skills as a drum major for her high school band. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA degree. Her career included teaching high school, serving as an Administrative Aide to George Kosmetsky at UT, working as a diligent social worker and a  long and successful stint as a Realtor. Throughout her life she has championed neighborhood and political issues. She was on the board of the Salvation Army, was a member of “Preservation Austin” and served on its board, is a past president of the South River City Citizens and now is an area coordinator. With her husband Hugh, she has meticulously restored a praised historic structure, The Academy, which has been the site of numerous friends’ weddings, fund raisers and parties. In her spare time she enjoys swimming at Blue Hole and Barton Springs, spending as much time as possible with her grandchildren, and taking long walks with Hugh and her pup, Boo.


 

Pati Griffith | Board Director

Writer/Professor

Patrcia Griffith is a writer and professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC. She was born in Ft. Worth, Texas and grew up mainly in East Texas. She has worked as a journalist and a publicist.

She is the author of four novels, one of which, The World AroundMidnight, set outside Dallas in the “metroplex,” was named one of the outstanding books of the year by the American Library Association. She has also had three plays produced by Equity theatres in New York and Dallas. Two of her short stories have been included in the O. Henry Prize Stories, stories originally published in Harper’s Magazine and The Paris Review.

She teaches creative writing, playwriting and contemporary drama in D.C. and is a former co-chair and former president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation which awards annual prizes for the outstanding fiction of the year. She originated the Writers in Schools Program where PEN/Faulkner takes noted writers into classes in the public high schools of Washington.

She is now working on a play commissioned by Theatre Three in Dallas and is also working on a novel set in the 1930s in East Texas. She is proud to be a part of Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre organization.


 

Nancy F. Smith | Board Director

Writer/Editor

Nancy has spent the past 35 years as an editor and journalist for a wide range of national magazines and newspapers. Her work has appeared in Barron’s, Self, Town & Country, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, MORE, Real Simple, and Smart Money, among others. She served as Managing Editor of Texas Monthly and Smart Money; Editor in Chief of The Atlanta Journal & Constitution Magazine, and Houston Home & Garden; and Executive Editor of Business Month and Self. While at Self, she was instrumental in launching the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness and “Women’s Health Day” in cooperation with the Columbia University School of Nursing. She was an adjunct professor of business journalism at New York University, where her students produced a Webzine called “BER Business Times.” She also consults as a book editor, most recently on Bill White’s America’s Fiscal Constitution: Its Triumph and Collapse. In recent years, the balance in her life has shifted more toward volunteering, dog walking, gardening, and consulting. She graduated from the University of Texas where she did research in behavioral genetics. She currently resides in Houston, Texas.


 

Charlotte McCann | Board Director

Development and Grant Writing Specialist

Charlotte spent her early professional career as a librarian before moving into nonprofit and social justice work. Currently, she is the Development and Grant Writing Specialist for Migrant Clinicians Network. Prior to joining MCN, she led a capital campaign for the Friends of Libraries & Archives of Texas, worked for many years for The Texas Observer as publisher and development director, and before that for the Human Rights Documentation Exchange/Central America Resource Center as director and research coordinator, documenting persecution, and violence against women, in order to support refugee claims for asylum or temporary protection. An experienced editor and copyeditor, she held the position of associate editor of The Washington Spectator and has served on the State Bar Committee on Laws Relating to Immigration and Nationality, the City of Austin Task Force on Immigration, the Canada-U.S. Human Rights Information & Documentation Network Advisory Board, and the board of the Political Asylum Project of Austin. She is the chair of J Street Austin, committed to a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Originally from New Hampshire, with a BA from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, Charlotte is an almost-naturalized Texan, having gone to grad school in library and information science at the University of Texas and lived and worked in Austin since then.