Who We Are / Staff

Artist Trust Staff

Brian McGuigan (he/him)

Program Director, 206.467.8734 x23

Bio image

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Brian came to Seattle in 2003 with the dream of being a famous writer. While his dream hasn’t quite come true yet, he’s at work on a memoir and has published in Salon, Gawker, The Stranger, and elsewhere.

Outside of his work as an artist, Brian is an advocate and instigator for artists. For a decade, he created programs and resources at Hugo House, Seattle’s literary center, before joining Artist Trust in 2015. In addition to writing and working for artists, Brian enjoys reading, running, the Yankees, and spending time with his family.

Contact Brian if you’re interested in teaching a workshop, if your organization would like to partner with Artist Trust, if you want to serve on a grant panel, or if you have questions about applying for grants.

Emily Dennis (she/her)

Annual Fund & Events Manager, 206.467.8734 x16

Bio image

Emily’s path to Artist Trust has wandered from acting to outdoor retail to Americorps to public policy, but the common thread has always been stories – how we tell them, to whom, and why. She believes in the fundamental power of storytelling to change our relationships, strengthen local communities, and make a great dinner party even better. That’s why she trusts in the work of Washington artists, and why she loves talking to donors about how Artist Trust can support their vision for Washington State.

Give her a shout at emily@artisttrust.org if you have questions about individual giving or the Benefit Art Auction.

Gems (they/them)

Finance and Operations Manager, 206.467.8734 x24

Bio image

Gems likes rocks and minerals so much that they chose to go by the nickname Gems. Artist Trust’s mission is especially meaningful to them, as they are also a working artist. They’ve dabbled in many mediums, including stone carving and performance art, but are mostly known in Seattle as a member of the band Nail Polish.

In the office, they enjoy working backstage to ensure that the organization is fully equipped and operational. They manage daily bookkeeping, IT support for staff, and act as a liaison to the Board of Trustees. Their favorite task is printing grant checks for artists.

Justine Deacon (she/her)

Development Coordinator, 206.467.8734 x18

Bio image

Justine found Artist Trust through Seattle University, where she is currently pursuing her MFA in Arts Leadership. Initially brought on board as the Development Intern, Justine is now the Development Coordinator at Artist Trust.

Originally from California, she relocated to Seattle in 2015 in pursuit of a place with all four seasons and a vibrant arts community. When not supporting all things Development, Justine can be found binge-watching TV shows, playing board games, or wrangling her two fluffs Otis and Winston.

Kristina Goetz (she/her)

Development Director, 206.467.8734 x21

Bio image

Kristina directs fundraising efforts for Artist Trust, creating the development strategies that help make our grantmaking and educational programs possible.

With nearly twenty years of experience in the non-profit sector, Kristina has served organizations representing almost every arts discipline, including visual art, theater, modern dance, performance art, and popular and classical music. She has held leadership roles at Seattle arts and culture organizations including The Vera Project and Northwest Folklife.

Prior to relocating to Seattle in 2008 she was Director of Development for the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, the second largest Fringe Festival in the United States. Kristina lives in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood with her partner, note guitar player/ composer Simon Henneman, two cats, and a dog named Lola.

Luther Hughes (he/him)

Administrative Assistant, 206.467.8734 x24

Bio image

Born and raised in Seattle, Luther has spent the past several years in the Midwest where he received his BA and MFA in poetry. While away, he has focused primarily on reconstructing editorial practices for magazines and journals, creating substantial platforms and opportunities for marginalized voices, and communicating with various artists, organizations, and schools on ways to build community outside of academia and institutions. What brought Luther back to Seattle, and ultimately Artist Trust, was the drive to support artist and create opportunities for artists in his home state.

He has written for many journals, magazines, and newspapers including, The Seattle Times, St. Louis Magazine, Poetry, New England Review, Washington Square Quarterly, and others. He loves gaming, anime, red wine, and crows.

If you have any general questions about Artist Trust or about how to get involved, please do not hesitate to email him at luther@artisttrust.org.

Lydia Boss (she/her)

Program Manager, 206.467.8734 x25

Bio image

Lydia Boss is an interdisciplinary artist with a diverse professional background rooted in teaching, curating, creative programming, and nonprofit administration. She has a long history as a teaching artist, often working with underserved communities and at-risk youth. Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Lydia graduated with a BFA from Bowling Green State University and soon after relocated to Seattle to work in the glass community. Her passion for art and design has led her to work with acclaimed artists and study at craft institutions around the world. She has exhibited her work internationally and currently has a studio in the International District.

For more information about Artist Trust programs, networking opportunities, and resources for artists of all disciplines contact Lydia at lydia@artisttrust.org.

Shannon Halberstadt (she/her)

Chief Executive Officer, 206.467.8734 x12

Bio image

Shannon Roach Halberstadt is the CEO at Artist Trust, leading the organization’s efforts to help Washington State’s artists of all disciplines thrive.

A California native, Shannon was lured to Washington State by its art, music, and culture, and she has been working in arts leadership in the PNW for over two decades. Shannon was drawn to work with Artist Trust because she’s a firm believer in the power of individual artists to inspire positive personal and community transformation. She’s thrilled to bring to Artist Trust depth of administrative experience in many disciplines and locations, including roles as the Executive Director at Spokane Arts, PNW Executive Director at The Recording Academy (the GRAMMYs), Managing Director at Seattle’s The Vera Project, as well as experience at The Old Fire House (Redmond, WA), The Henry Gallery (Seattle, WA), and On the Boards Theater (Seattle, WA).

Among her many volunteer and advisory roles, Shannon has been a member of Seattle’s Music Commission, Leadership Tomorrow’s (King County) Curriculum Committee, and a Mayoral appointee to the Seattle Center Advisory Commission, and a Board member of Reel Grrls. She currently serves on the Boards of Terrain, Spokane and the Washington State Arts Alliance.

Zach Frimmel (he/him)

Program Coordinator, 206.467.8734 x20

Bio image

Hailing from the wild world of Florida, Zach pursued a career in arts and education after receiving his BA in english literature. The socio-cultural juxtaposition of Florida lead him to Seattle in 2012. It was then he discovered and was drawn to Artist Trust’s educational programs and mission. Zach handles day-of logistics for professional development and grantmaking programs while also overseeing program outreach and listings of resources, opportunities, and events on our website.

Off the AT clock, Zach covers music for KEXP and The Stranger, hangs out in DIY communities, and treats himself to pizza on Fridays. “Life’s short, have impact” is one of his mantras.