Florida Department of State
Terry Olson has been Orange County's “Chief Arts
Instigator” since the County authorized the creation of the Office of
Arts & Cultural Affairs in 2001. Previously he was the Executive
Director of the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Central Florida. Terry
has been involved professionally in the Arts since he completed an M.A.
in Theatre from the University of Minnesota. He moved to Florida to
help open Epcot Center bringing SAK Theatre, a company he co-founded and
managed for 21 years, Since moving to Orlando, he has helped start and
run more than a dozen other arts organizations including the Orlando
Theatre Project, the Orlando International Fringe Festival, and
Orlando’s Downtown Arts District. He attends as many as 40 arts events
each month. He has been asked to speak at various organizations
including the prestigious TEDX conference in Tampa. He is the past
President of the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals. He
served as Executive Director or Board member for a number of national or
international arts networking and support organizations.
Mr. Olson has served as an adjunct professor at the University of
Central Florida and guest lecturer at Rollins College and has worked
with composer Keith Lay from Full Sail on several projects and with Cole
NeSmith on the Creative City Project. His photographic art has been
featured at SNAP! Orlando. He has performed on many of the Central
Florida stages including the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Opera
Company, Southern Ballet Theatre, Mad Cow Theatre, the Garden Theatre
and more. Recently he has landed solos in the massive CFCArts concerts
with the nation’s largest community choir and orchestra. On more than
once occasion Mr. Olson has convened collaboration of arts organizations
across the community to celebrate a common theme such as “Orlando Goes
Wilde”, “What the Dickens Orlando, or “20 art legends of Orange County”
He received the “Outstanding theatre advocate” award from the Florida
Theatre Conference, the Downtowner of the Year and Golden Brick awards
from the Downtown Orlando Partnership, the Champion of Sustainability
award from the Healthy Community Initiative and the Humor award from
the Grant Professionals Network.
His wife and daughter are also both involved in the arts.
Hope McMath is a cultural leader, educator, artist,
and activist whose knowledge of, and passion for, the arts is matched by
a strong commitment to social justice and effecting positive change in
organizations and community. She is dedicated to connecting the arts to
community needs including education, accessibility, the environment,
wellness, and inclusion and diversity.
A Florida native, Hope receive her BFA in Visual Art and Art
History and her MAT from Jacksonville University. Hope served at the
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens for 22 years, the last eight as its
Executive Director. During her time at the Cummer Museum, from her early
years as a Museum Educator through her tenure as Director, Hope
implemented art programs, education outreach, and facility expansions
that brought increased relevance to the Museum. Her commitment to using
the arts to lift up conversations around education, race, equity, and
universal human rights has been most recently recognized with the 2016
One Jax Humanitarian Award, and a 2016 Cultural Icon Award from the
Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, The Frances Kinne Alumni of
Distinction Community Service Award in 2017, and the Educator of the
Year Award from the Atlantic Institute.
Currently, Hope is independently curating exhibitions, guest
lecturing and teaching, organizing humanities-based programs throughout
Jacksonville, and consulting for organizations in arts education,
program planning, curatorial practice, and non-profit management.
Hope is alum of the Getty Leadership Institue and the Chief
Executive Program of National Arts Strategies. She also gives her time
to a variety of organizations and causes including the State of Florida
Council on Arts and Culture, TEDx Jacksonville, We Are Straight Allies,
the Mayo Clinic Humanities in Medicine Program, and several social
justice organizations. Whether through her work as a cultural leader, an
artist, or a community leader she consistently deploys the visual and
performing arts to amplify the experiences of others and mobilize
community around human rights.
Mr. Deratany, a former Florida State Senator and
Representative, is president of Deratany Consulting, a Governmental and
Public Affairs firm. Prior to lobbying, Mr. Deratany served as Mayor of
Indialantic and Director of University Relations at the Florida
Institute of Technology.
At some point during each day, you can find Mr. Deratany painting in
his riverside art studio. An avid artist for the past ten years, Mr.
Deratany is a board member of the Brevard Museum of Art and Science and
previously served as Chairman of the Florida Seaside Art Show. He
belongs to the Brevard Watercolor Society and the Brevard Artists Guild.
For Mr. Deratany, art offers a welcome respite from the hectic world of
Katharine Dickenson has been a community volunteer
since 1973 with an emphasis on Historic Preservation and the Arts. She
served on and chaired such boards as the Boca Raton Historical Society,
the PalmBeach County Historic Preservation Board, and the Boca Raton
Junior League in early years. She went on to Chair the Florida Historic
Preservation Commission in 1988 and to Chair Florida's Council on Arts
and Culture for three terms. Mrs. Dickenson is the only Floridian to
have chaired both the Historical Commission and the Council on Arts and
Nationally, Mrs. Dickenson has served on the Boards of The
National Trust For Historic Preservation, The Edith Wharton Home in
Lenox, MA, the Robert Todd Lincoln home in Vermont, and the Manchester,
VT MusicFestival as well as The Dorset, VT Theater Festival. Serving
as Vice-Chair of the Federal Commsission to celebrate St. Augustine's
450th, Mrs. Dickenson has been involved with the Mayor and Commission of
St Augustine and the Department of the Interior who appointed her in
2010 to promote St. Augustine world wide. She also recently served on
the Strategic Planning Council For The Arts in 2005 and is currently
serving on the 2015 Council. The Lynn University Conservatory of Music
in Boca Raton recently asked her to join the Friends of The
Mrs. Dickenson resides in Boca Raton with her husband, David, an
attorney. Her three sons (who also practice law), their wives and 7
grandchildren live within an 18 minute radius of Katharine ... perhaps
one of her finest lobbying efforts.
Towson Fraser is president of Fraser Solutions, a
Tallahassee-based lobbying and communications consulting firm, and has
close to 20 years of political and governmental experience.
Most recently, Towson was a partner with Southern Strategy Group in
Tallahassee. Prior to that, he served Governor Charlie Crist as his
Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Affairs Director. As Deputy Chief
of Staff, Towson coordinated with numerous state agencies including the
Department of Environmental Protection, Department of State, Department
of Revenue, Fish and Wildlife Commission, Water Management Districts,
and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. As Legislative Affairs
Director, Towson managed the progress of the Governor’s priorities
through the legislative process including budget issues and landmark
legislation in regard to energy, health care, insurance, and property
Prior to working for Governor Crist, Towson served as Communications
Director for Speaker Allan Bense, as well as the Republican Party of
Florida, the Department of Management Services, and the Department of
Community Affairs. Towson also worked in the House Majority Office under
Speakers John Thrasher and Tom Feeney.
A native of Tallahassee who grew up in Jacksonville, Towson, his wife
Carrie, and their children Caroline, Jack, Helen and Sophie live in
Mrs. Benson is a graduate of Emory University in the
field of English. She is a former councilwoman for the City of
Pensacola, as well as a former state representative from 1992-1994.
She currently serves as chair of the Emerald Coast Utilities
Authority, chair of Pensacola Opera, and immediate past chair of
Foofoofest. She is a member of Five Flags Rotary.
Mrs. Benson is very involved in her local community, serving on the
boards of The Zoo of Northwest Florida and the Northwest Florida
Historic Preservation Board.