Meet Our Board


Connie Axton
Axton has been the owner/director of Ventana Fine Art on Canyon Road since 1983. She is as passionate about community involvement as she is about her gallery, actively participating on the Canyon Road Merchants Association, Santa Fe Gallery Association, Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Community, Better Business Bureau, and Chamber of Commerce. She has been on the ARTsmart Board since in 1996, serving as Treasurer (2002-2008) and President (2010-2012, and 2014). In 2008, she received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and her contributions were acknowledged in the Santa Fe New Mexican’s “Ten Who Made a Difference.” She also received the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Santa Fe Gallery Association.

Patrick Gendron
Vice President
Born and raised in an artist community in southern New Mexico, Gendron has been a part of the art scene all his life. He has a BA from UNM in intercultural communication with a minor in anthropology. He currently works as a financial advisor at the Rikoon Group, Santa Fe, with a focus in environmental and socially responsible investing. Gendron is a self-taught landscape photographer and volunteer for many organizations including YouthWorks, Volunteers for the Outdoors, and the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. He is fluent in Spanish and feels that working locally is the best way to make change on a global scale. He joined the ARTsmart Board in 2017.

Susan Hallsten McGarry
A native Minnesotan, McGarry moved to Santa Fe from Houston, TX, in 1998. She was the Director of the national group Plein-Air Painters of America (2000-16) and was Editor-in-Chief of Southwest Art magazine (1979-97). She received her MA in art history from the University of Minnesota and has authored more than 30 monographs, survey books, and catalogs on American artists and contributed to many more. Since 2005, she has been an ARTsmart volunteer and contributor to media projects, and in 2014 she joined the ARTsmart board.

Linda Vieira
Born and educated in Santa Fe, Vieira is a New Mexico State Legislature Committee Assistant seasonal employee, where she has spent five years on the House Education Committee. Prior to this she was an auditor for the New Mexico State Land Office in the Oil, Gas & Minerals Division. She is involved with the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, where she served as State Treasurer and Vice Regent. She is a member of the City Different Retirees Educator Association and enjoys volunteering for her church. She joined the ARTsmart board in 2015.



Bill Baker

Baker has worked for USAF, Texas Instruments, University of Texas at Dallas, and Raytheon. He spent thirty five years in operations and electronics manufacturing and ten years in sharing knowledge and organizational evaluations. Moved to Santa Fe in 2006 and is married to an artist. Has written two business books and edited a quarterly non-profit magazine for five years. He joined the ARTsmart Board in 2017.

Cheri Briscoe

Briscoe moved to Santa Fe in 1977 with a young family. She was employed by local Santa Fe bank and trust companies and in 1994 she became a certified financial planner, furthering her expertise in trust administration. She retired in 2016 but has served many organizations in the capacity of a Board member, including the United Way of Santa Fe County, American Cancer Society, Financial Woman’s International, and Santa Fe Estate Planning Council. She is currently on the Board of El Castillo Continuing Care Retirement Residences. She joined the ARTsmart Board in 2017.

Gail Edmonds

Edmonds is a life-long artist and arts educator. A CT native, she received her MALS in painting from Wesleyan University and a BA in arts education from the College of New Rochelle in NY. Her career has spanned 36+ years including extensive experience as both teacher and administrator in her position as K-12 Visual Arts Coordinator for the Middletown Public Schools. Additionally, Edmonds worked as a consultant for the CT State Department of Education specifically in the areas of curriculum design and assessment. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants for her artwork as well as her contributions to arts education at the state and national levels. Widely exhibited in the Northeast, her works are included in numerous public and private collections. Edmonds continues to be a practicing artist, a very integral part of her life. In 2010, she established a home and studio in Santa Fe where she looks forward to continuing her own artistic pursuits. She joined the ARTsmart Board in 2017.

Virginia Henry

Henry was born in Albuquerque. Her mother had her making art by age of 6. Her grandfather started Broome Furniture, often trading furniture for art with Santa Fe artists such as the Cinco Pintores, building an art collection. Her family moved to the East Coast where Virginia grew up and married into a family that was also known for the arts, allowing Virginia to build her own art collection. A real estate agent with Keller Williams, Henry and her business partner Claire Brouillette organized the 2017 ARTsmart Home Tour. Henry has raised three children with five college degrees among them. She joined the ARTsmart Board in 2017.

Debra Hughes

Hughes is the author of Albuquerque In Our Time: 30 Voices, 300 Years (2006). Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Tierra: Contemporary Short Fiction of New Mexico (1989) and Walking the Twilight: Women Writers of the Southwest (1994) and in New Letters (Vol.61. no.2. 1995), Blue Mesa Review (no. 5. 1993), and in New Mexico Humanities Review (no.36. 1992). A native of New Mexico, Hughes writes about the region’s land and conservation.  Her work on such topics was awarded an International Regional Magazine Award (2001).  Her writing has appeared in Narrative Magazine (2006-2011), Huffington Post (2011), The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook (2011), Telling New Mexico: A New History (2009), El Palacio Magazine (2006), New Mexico Magazine (1994-2001), Dallas Times-Herald (1985), and other publications. She is a former founding advisory board member of Narrative Magazine and a member of The Author’s Guild. Hughes lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she currently is at work on a novel. She joined the ARTsmart Board in 2017.

Mike Johnson

Johnson is a retired Naval Officer who served in a variety of military and civilian positions including commanding officer of the nuclear powered submarine USS Sturgeon. He has worked in environmental cleanup around the US and UK, finally serving as president and project manager of a nuclear waste cleanup company in Richland, WA, from which he retired in 2013. He was also the executive director of Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness. Johnson served on a variety of civic and charitable organizations in the UK, South Carolina and Washington State, including the White Haven Sea Cadets, Aiken Center for the Arts, Joye (formerly Julliard), and Columbia Basin Foundation. Since 2004, he and wife Carol have lived off and on in Santa Fe, where they recently built their retirement home and now live full time. He joined the ARTsmart Board in 2017.