Meet NLAA's Board of Directors

Our hard-working, all-volunteer board keeps NLAA a vibrant source for all types of arts activities. 

We welcome volunteers who would like to help us by serving on committees to assist us in delivering quality arts offerings.

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Dafne Caruso, Chair

Dafne is a visual artist, active in a variety of media, including jewelry-making. Dafne owns and operates a local art supply store, the Art Corner, here in Ely, where she also teaches and coordinates lessons and artists sessions. Dafne and her family also own and operate Custom Theaters, The Amici Event Center, and the Ceremony Hall. Dafne is a passionate advocate for the arts and believes that art is for everyone!  

Morgan Sauls, Vice-Chair

Morgan Sauls moved to Ely in 2015 from Duluth to escape into the Northwoods. With a love of nature and wildlife, Ely seemed like the perfect fit for her! She worked numerous jobs around Ely before starting at the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital. Morgan has been in theater productions since she was 5 years old, with experience in all types of shows. She is ecstatic to be involved in the theater here in Ely and excited to be a part of the NLAA Board. 

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Laura Moberly, Secretary 

Laura and her husband moved to Ely after traveling the country in an RV for over a year. One of the main reasons they selected Ely was because it had a thriving artist community and a supportive organization in NLAA. They both became involved in NLAA; Laura’s participation has often times been to offer assistance where it is most needed. She has volunteered at events, coordinated activities, offered her home and participated as a host to visiting guest artists. She has also been the Treasurer and acting Secretary during previous terms as a Board member, chaired committees and continues to work on the theatrical productions. Laura has also been a choreographer, costumer and prop mistress as well as volunteering to help in any capacity to keep NLAA viable.

Caroline Owens, Treasurer

BA in Sociology from Grinnell College and MBA from George Mason University and Certified Public Accountant. Auditor in public accounting firm and Controller and Chief Financial Officer in for profit organizations. Retired in 2003 and moved to Ely from Washington DC area with husband, returning to Minnesota after many years. Member of NLAA for 13 years; serving on board as a new member.  Appreciate artistic talent, and believe the arts are important part of a community. A supporter of the following non-profit organiztions:  Girl Scout Council of the Nations Capital, North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity (past president, secretary, treasurer), AAUW Ely Branch (past treasurer, secretary), AAUW Minnesota (past co-president), Grace Lutheran Church (past treasurer)

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Tom Bennett

Tom attended Ely Memorial High School and later graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Theatre and minor in Mathematics. Currently,  Tom works in Ely as a real estate appraiser. Tom enjoys acting, playing music, and boxing, and he also helps coach high school track during the spring.  

Vince O’Connor

Vince has appeared in and directed numerous plays for NLAA over the years. He has been a published writer since fourth grade, when his poem about protozoa was first published. Over the years he's published poetry in various print and online publications, including Satori, Main Channel Voices, Studio One, SP Quill Quarterly Magazine, The Talking Stick, Clean Sheets, Poetry Super Highway, and The Pilot-Independent.  He's also written articles for numerous magazines, including A+, inCider, Compute!, Inside dBASE, Inside QuickBASIC, DBMS, Data Based Advisor, and Computer User, and is a former columnist for Computer User Magazine and The Babbitt Weekly News. Additionally, he has a play, "Nearly Departed", published by Players Press, a book "Pushing AppleWorks To The Limit" published by Compute! Books, a forthcoming poetry chapbook, "Lessons From Life", to be published by Local Gems Press.

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Billie Rouse

Billie Rouse is an actress and singer and is active in youth activities, theater, church and community. She is often found supporting her husband, Mike, who teaches music in the Ely Public Schools and at church in Babbitt and Ely. Billie and Mike coordinate the Boundary Waters Choral Festival here in Ely each Spring. Billie also manages the Alder Inn of Babbitt and cheers on performers of all ages. 

Mary Setterholm

Mary joined the NLAA Board after relocating to the Ely area. Although she claims she is not an artist herself, Mary is an avid arts supporter and active volunteer in the community. NLAA is grateful to have her insight and energy joining the Board of Directors. 


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Sara Skelton

Sara teaches Humanities and Fine Arts at Vermilion College, is a singer, actor and local performer in concerts, musicals, opera and stage plays, and acts as the Artistic Director for the Ely Community Spring Musical. Sara received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from St. Olaf College, an MFA in Theater from the U of MN, and an English and Theater Secondary Ed degree, also from the U of MN. Sara is a devotee of all of the arts, especially the performing arts, loves the outdoors, and lives with her family on one of the area lakes. Sara finds local the combination of outdoor adventure, artistic vibrancy, and natural beauty a gift and an inspiration

Andrea Strom

Andrea and her husband Brian settled in Ely 14 years ago, after living in lots of beautiful places around the country teaching environmental education.  They lived in Ely for a couple winters before finally buying a parcel of land and building a home.  One of the draws to permanently settling in Ely was a thriving arts community in a small town bordering on one of the most beautiful places in the country.  Andrea participated in several of the spring musicals and fall plays in her first years in town, and is looking forward to serving on the board of the organization helping to keep the arts alive in Ely.  Now Andrea and Brian own a growing granola company (best granola between Tower and Winton!) and are raising two young children.


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If you have an interest in serving on the Northern Lakes Arts Association's Board of Directors, please contact us.

Nominations must be submitted prior to the Annual November Membership Meeting.

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