The LunART Festival has been a vision of Dr. Iva Ugrcic for a very long time. As a young musician from the Ex-Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, Dr. Ugrcic experienced many troubling situations that nearly stopped her from pursuing music. While poor political and economic situations were among the issues that ultimately led to her departure of Serbia, one of the most troubling problems she faced was gender inequality, an issue that would follow her through my Master studies in France and Germany.
Iva moved to the United States in 2014 to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The intent of her dissertation “Doina Rotaru – The Voice of Romania,” was to introduce this extraordinary Romanian woman composer to the U.S., giving her music the recognition it so richly deserves. The immensely positive responses Dr. Ugrcic received validated her belief that there are many women artists who have much to say, but have not had the opportunity to share their voices with the world. This was the catalyst for the creation of the LunART Festival.
Dr. Ugrcic launched LunART in August of 2017. The first-ever LunART Festival was held in June 2018 Madison, Wisc., with the mission to support, inspire, promote, and celebrate women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The LunART Festival was created with a vision of raising awareness of the position of women in the arts through engaging, accessible concerts and events. The artistic goal was to share works of women artists and ensure the progress of women in the arts will continue to flourish and grow, overcoming issues of gender inequity in the arts.
Since its launch, LunART has transformed from a three-day festival to an award-winning nonprofit organization offering year-round educational and outreach events both online and in-person, capstoned by a week-long annual festival featuring women artists from around the world. Audiences have come to expect innovative programs, representing creative women of all ages and walks of life. Since 2018, LunART has showcased over 300 women artists from various disciplines (music, poetry, dance, theater, literature, visual arts), both historical and contemporary.
In 2022 alone, LunART received a Silver Lining Award for the outstanding contribution to the community during the COVID-19 shutdown, a Programming Award from the International Alliance for Women in Music, and established LunART Chamber Music Collective, a high octane group dedicated to performing music by women composers embodying LunART's mission of supporting, inspiring, promoting, and celebrating women's creativity in the arts!
Meet Our Team
Dr. Iva Ugrcic
Founder & CEO/Artistic Director
An award-winning Serbian flutist Dr. Iva Ugrcic is one of the most exciting and adventurous flutists in the international pantheon. Described as “a natural star on her instrument,” dazzling audiences with her technical ability, musicianship, and versatility, Iva has been featured as a solo artist as well as a chamber and orchestral musician at numerous music festivals and concerts throughout Europe, and North and South America. Named Brava Magazine’s 2022 “Woman to Watch” and "Musician of the Year for 2018" by the Well-Tempered Ear, Dr. Ugrcic enjoys unique and versatile career as a performer, teacher, entrepreneur, and music advocate. As an avid supporter of new music, Dr. Ugrcic frequently collaborates with composers on the creation of new works to expand the flute repertoire. She is especially passionate about embracing diversity in her performances by elevating music featuring underrepresented perspectives and lived experiences, with a special focus on collaborating with women composers. In addition to LunART, Dr. Ugrcic serves as the Artistic Director of the Rural Musicians Forum, is a member of the Career & Artistic Development Committee of the NFA and serves at the young Artists program mentor, and holds the position of Board Liaison & Strategy Manager role at Overture Center. In 2022 alone, under her leadership, LunART received the Silver Lining Award for her outstanding leadership and creative endeavors and the Programing Award from the National Alliance for Women in Music. www.ivaugrcic.com
Educational Program Manager
Marie Pauls (viola) is a versatile freelance musician, residing in Madison, WI. Classically trained since the of age 3, she can be seen performing in venues ranging from the Overture Center to local wineries. She earned both the Bachelor of Music and the Master of Music degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a full scholarship to study with Professor Sally Chisholm. Marie is a founding member of Arbor Ensemble, a classical chamber music group dedicated to the promotion of women composers. A seasoned orchestral musician, she frequently performs with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and formerly held principal positions in the Illinois Valley and Beloit-Janesville Symphony Orchestras. Beyond the classical realm, she performs with the acoustic rock group Evan Riley Band, with whom she has recorded two original albums. As a committed string educator, she maintains a private studio and has taught at the American Suzuki Institute.
Suzan Kurry’s career has spanned professional and community theater as an actor, director, stage manager, designer, producer, and administrator, reaching into the film, voiceover, and commercial/industrial/educational video realms as well. As a long-time standardized patient, she works with medical students at UW - Madison. She also plays Gillian, the botanist, at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, provides talent coordination for Tack Video (Madison), and is writing a musical with musician Michael Massey (Madison).
Suzan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre/Drama and a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. She is also a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner® and Certified Intrinsic Coach®, as well as a certified paralegal. Suzan owns a wellness consulting business and co-owns Humming Giraffe Media, LLC with Buzz Kemper (Audio for the Arts, Madison). She is the current Artistic Director for Kathie Rasmussen (KR) Women’s Theatre in Madison, whose mission is to support women playwrights and directors.
Ava Katherine Wojnowski
Public Relations, Intern
Ava Wojnowski is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this year studying journalism and Spanish. The arts are something that is very important to Wojnowski and she understands its importance when it comes to expression. This is exactly why she is excited to join the LunART team.
Marketing & Communications, Intern
Emma Bijelić is currently a sophomore at the Mead Witter School of Music, the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a bachelor’s in communications and music performance. Being a first-generation American–as her family comes from what used to exist as Yugoslavia–Emma has sought out opportunities for herself to work alongside professionals who carry the same experiences and have faced the same hurdles as her. In her adolescent years, Emma was principal flautist for the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestra, first chair in her high school’s music ensembles, and the designated flautist in the SEMYO Woodwind Quintet. She has also established a mentorship program for her high school’s band ensemble in order to combat the effects of the pandemic, sparking another passion of hers; teaching. In addition to her double major, Emma plans to continue pursuing a certificate in teaching the arts. She’s very excited to learn all she can as a part of LunArt’s Team.
Meet Our Board of Directors
Sue Goldwomon’s career began on Halloween,1947 when she came out singing. She’s been interested in music ever since. She was active in Madison’s first feminist choir, Anna Crusis and was co-founder of Madison’s second feminist choir, Womonsong. Her women’s music distribution company, Lunacy Distributors, provided recorded music at community concerts in the 1970’s and early ’80’s. Working in the Apple Island production collective for four years (1990’s) she helped to organize concerts of national and local women artists. Sue is probably best known for hosting Her Infinite Variety, a program of women in music, on WORT-FM community radio, spinning everything from classical to jazz, folk, rock, blues and world music and interviewing hundreds of women musicians, dancers, actors, comics and poets from around the globe (1984-2009). Organizations which have recognized her for her work include The United/OutReach, Goodman Community Center and the National Women’s Music Festival. Sue is thrilled to be a lesbian and women’s cultural worker and is blessed to have Arlene Zaucha as her partner in life and in activism!
Dr. Yana Avedyan
Yana Avedan, pianist, educator, and volunteer, is originally from Kharkiv, Ukraine. She began her studies with Dr. Karen Becker at SUNY Plattsburgh in 2007 and in 2011 made her debut as soloist with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra. She completed her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Music and Accounting in 2012. Yana Avedyan was one of the winners of the Shain Woodwind-Piano Duo Competition in 2013 and Beethoven Competition in 2014. Avedyan taught private students through Piano Pioneers Program at UW- Madison, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee and Steinway Store in Madison. In 2018, Avedyan completed her DMA degree in piano performance at UW– Madison, where she was a student of Christopher Taylor. In 2018 Yana participated in an inaugural concert series of LunART festival in Madison, and as a result in the fall of 2018 performed on the Guest Faculty Series at the Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter MN, with Sarah Leuwerke and Laura Burns celebrating women in arts. In 2019, Yana won a second place at the American Protégé Competition in solo piano category and performed at Carnegie Hall. Avedyan is currently serving as treasurer and secretary on the LunART’s board of directors.
Kelly Parks Snider
Kelly Parks Snider explores contemporary cultural and social issues. Using art and words, she stimulates dialogue about targeted issues and creates social change. As a visual artist, Kelly’s work exhibits nationally through both public and private galleries. Kelly is the co-founder of Project Girl (www.projectgirl.org), a nationally recognized non-profit, award-winning
program and touring exhibition that combines art, media literacy and youth- led activism into a unique educational experience for children, parents and educators. Project girl was recently featured in Family Circle Magazine and was an awarded youth program in the new national youth empowerment and philanthropy program called Best Buy’s @15 Change Exchange project. Activism is the foundation for all of Kelly’s endeavors. Her objective is to educate young people, parents, educators and communities about targeted issues in the hopes of shaking up the status quo, creating a catalyst, examining the questions that shape and inspire all of us. Kelly lectures nationally, serves in artist-in-residence programs and produces workshops.
Dave Alcorn is a digital marketing specialist and videographer with a focus on the performing arts. He has recorded over 550 concerts and performances and has created videos and promotional material for a wide range of music, theatre, and dance groups in Wisconsin. With a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in percussion performance, Dave has a unique perspective for video creation. Dave is the Director of Digital Marketing at Overture Center for the Arts and the President of Microtone Media.
With over 25 years of science experience at several prestigious academic institutions and as a leader and co-investigator of several NIH-funded research projects, Ana is a mentor, advisor and educator in the field of translational science and research. Her hands-on science experiences as well as long time mentoring skills are combined with her passion to develop and implement science outreach community projects. She holds a dual masters degrees in Genetics and Anthropology.
Her work in underserved and diverse communities in both US and abroad have been recognized by several awards, educational, governmental and community program grants that span from science training workshops, advisory and teaching roles in various programs. Ana is a founder and president of IndiMark, Madison, WI based non-profit that supports development of collaborative, inclusive community improvement sustainable projects in underserved communities in rural areas of Maasai tribal communities in Kenya. Recently, Ana and her non-profit have partnered with Sarawarmi, Literacy-through-Art Club, an informal education project for reading engagement and development of youth scholars in the Amazon areas of Ecuador to build a local Community Center that will offer youth mentorship and provide resources for educational success and social improvement in this area of the world.