Missouri Association of Area Arts Councils
Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies

MACAA is a statewide service organization dedicated to strengthening community arts agencies throughout Missouri.

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Featured MACAA Member Arts Administrator - Melissa Strawhun

Melissa Strawhun, Myrna Bruce, Representative Dave Munzel Citizens Day for the Arts in Jefferson City with (from right), Representative Dave Munzel, Friends of Historic Boonville - Myrna

Melissa Strawhun is the Executive Director of the Friends of Historic Boonville, located in Boonville, Missouri.  She has been the Executive Director for 5 years.  She remembers her first day on the job as "My first day was memorable as it was also the first day tickets went on sale for the 20th Annual Big Muddy Folk Festival.  Jumping in with both feet is definitely an understatement but it's been a pleasure since that very first day to represent this great organization."


Strawhun graduated with a Bachelors in Accounting from the University of Missouri -Columbia in 1996.  Following college, she worked on the finance side of healthcare, but has always had an admiration for the arts.  Though she is not an artist herself, "I will always admire the talent and skill of those who are!"   Both of her daughters have been dancers since the age of 3 (they are now 16 and 10) so the arts have always been a part of her family.  When the ED position with the Friends' of Historic Boonville became available, "I was excited about the opportunity to get out of the cubicle and promote and develop programs that create excitement and happiness within the community." 

One of her favorite FOHB programs is the Sundown Concert Series, a free concert series held outdoors in the Hain House Memorial Gardens.  These concerts feature local musicians, helping them gain exposure within the community.  "A couple of years ago they featured a high school garage band named "Ladder to Nowhere", featuring three juniors from Boonville High School.  This was their first official "gig", seeing the excitement among the band members was very rewarding in itself but to see the gardens fill with over 200 people, mainly other high school kids, to show their support for this group, was truly exhilarating."    

The Community Art Show is also one of her favorite programs because it features artists of all ages and skill, from Pre-K to Professional Levels.  All artwork is on exhibit during the Annual Heritage Days Festival in June of each year.  Each category, based on age, is judged and awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons; Best In Show is voted on by attendees of the art show.  There have been some friendly competitions develop over the years between siblings, retired art teachers, and other local artists that fuels the excitement each year.