Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum announces newest class of appointments to its Board of Trustees

Phoenix Art Museum announces newest class of appointments to its Board of Trustees

Sep, 27, 2022

Media AlertsBoard of Trustees and Leadership

Phoenix Art Museum announces newest class of appointments to its Board of Trustees

New board members gear up for strategic planning and return of first full season of programs since COVID-19 closure

PHOENIX (September 27, 2022) – Phoenix Art Museum announces the addition of five new Trustees comprising the 2022–2023 class of its 39-member governing board. Chaired by Donald C. Opatrny, Jr., a private investor and philanthropist, the Museum’s Board of Trustees serves as fiduciaries of the largest visual-arts organization in the American Southwest. The new Trustees bring a range of professional and philanthropic experiences and will continue to empower the Museum, under the leadership of Jeremy Mikolajczak, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO, to anticipate and meet the needs of its ever-evolving and diverse local, regional, and national communities. The new Trustees include Andrew Cooper; Michele Feeney; Oliver Harper, MD; Barbara Noble-Howard; and Vanessa Ruiz, each of whom will serve a three-year term renewable up to three terms.

“We are truly honored to welcome our new 2022 class of Trustees to the Board of Phoenix Art Museum,” said Mikolajczak. “These individuals join their colleagues in the fiduciary oversight of our institution, but also provide vital leadership and community advocacy experience that will support the Museum in its mission of providing robust visual-arts access and educational programming to our shared community. We are grateful to these highly respected professionals and civic leaders for the time, energy, and personal resources they donate in support of Phoenix Art Museum.”

The 2022 class of incoming Trustees include the following members:

Andrew Cooper is the senior vice president and chief financial officer for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the state’s largest electric provider. In his role, he oversees the organization’s corporate treasury, accounting activities, financial planning and budgeting, internal audit, investor relations, pension and trust investments, and tax services. He began his tenure at APS and Pinnacle West in 2020 as vice president and treasurer. Prior to his time with APS and Pinnacle West, Cooper served as the director of corporate finance at Consolidated Edison Company of New York, where he developed and implemented the organization’s capital structure and financial strategy for both Con Edison and its regulated and non-utility subsidiaries. He began his career as an investment banker, specializing in providing service to clients operating in the power and utility sector. In addition to his professional career, Cooper has been an active community member and organizational board participant, including currently serving on the board of Valle del Sol Community Health. Cooper, his wife, Jennifer, and their family have called Phoenix home since 2020.

Michele Feeney began her legal practice in 1983 as a litigator, before establishing her alternative dispute-resolution (ADR) practice in 2001, which focuses exclusively on mediation and arbitration. Along with her legal practice, Feeney also serves on the faculty of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where she directs the trial advocacy program and teaches creative writing for the legal profession. She has served on a number of boards for Valley organizations, including the executive council of the ADR section of the Arizona State Bar, the Brophy College Preparatory High School Board of Regents, The Literary Society of the Southwest advisory board, the Board of Trustees of All Saints Episcopal Day School, and the American Heart Association’s Annual Heart Ball planning committee. In addition, Feeney earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bennington College in 2022. She and her husband, Matthew, and their children have called Phoenix home since 1983.

Oliver Harper, MD is a family physician with a subspecialty in geriatrics. Dr. Harper cofounded the Arizona Medical Clinic in the West Valley. The clinic grew from a three-physician practice to a multi-specialty clinic with 120 medical providers and became part of Banner Health in 2008. He has served as a volunteer physician locally at Phoenix’s St. Vincent de Paul medical
clinic for more than 30 years. He also presently volunteers at the Mission of Mercy medical clinic and has served overseas at medical facilities in Kenya and the Dominican Republic. Dr. Harper currently serves on the board of Saint Joseph’s Hospital, the Phoenix Symphony where he is Chairman Emeritus, and the Advisory Council of St. Vincent de Paul, and he is a past member of the HALO Trust. He and his wife, Sharon, have called Phoenix their home for many years.

Barbara Noble-Howard began her career in civic and nonprofit leadership in her native South Africa, where she established the Impact Young Lives Foundation with her husband, Chris Howard, PhD. The foundation, which she led for more than two decades, focused primarily on supporting educational opportunities for South African students of color, primarily by raising funds and organizing cultural and educational tours for students at no cost. Throughout her career, both professionally and on a volunteer basis, Noble-Howard has been instrumental in growing philanthropic support for non-profit organizations, including serving as the director of development for the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma. Today, Noble-Howard serves as a University Fellow for non-profit leadership at Arizona State University, where she works with university leaders and faculty across the institution in cultural affairs, philanthropic advancement, and programming for the Arizona State University Museum. She has also served on the boards of organizations such as The Frick Pittsburgh, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children. Noble-Howard, her husband, Chris, and their family relocated to Arizona in 2022 from Pittsburgh.

Vanessa Ruiz is the Deputy Vice President for Educational Outreach within Educational Outreach & Student Services at Arizona State University. In her current role, Ruiz leads several teams creating a vision to develop and implement strategic engagement, outreach, enrollment and retention, and partnerships with students and families, K-12 schools, foundations, non-profits and corporate partners, faith-based institutions, and other stakeholders to advance the educational attainment and economic opportunity for underserved and underrepresented communities across Arizona. Previously, as Director for Diversity Initiatives and Community Engagement, Vanessa Ruiz led ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s strategy and tactical planning for recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, staff and students, as well as first-generation college students. As a three-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist, Ruiz also currently serves as fill-in anchor for PBS NewsHour West, the Western U.S. broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, which focuses on stories and issues with an origin and special interest in the western region of the United States. Prior to joining ASU in 2017, Ruiz served as a reporter, correspondent, and main anchor in a number of major television markets, including Miami, Los Angeles, and ultimately Phoenix, where she served as the evening anchor with KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate. She also now serves on a number of organizational boards, including those of ASU’s Faculty Women’s Association, Women in Philanthropy, and CALA Alliance, a multidisciplinary Latinx arts organization based in Phoenix that collaborates with artists and arts organizations to connect Arizona, Mexico, and Latin America. Ruiz was born in Miami, Florida, is of Colombian descent, and completed part of her elementary and high-school education in Mallorca, Spain. Currently, Vanessa, her husband, Sam, and their two daughters call Phoenix home.

The Board of Trustees of Phoenix Art Museum has served as the governing body of the Museum since its founding in 1959. All Trustees are nominated by the Board’s nominating and governance committee and are elected by the general Board. Each Museum Trustee serves a minimum of one three-year term, with the opportunity to renew up to three terms. The Museum’s Board of Trustees now officially numbers 39 total Trustees, including five Honorary Trustees and one ex-officio member. For more information about the Museum’s Board of Trustees or to schedule interviews with incoming Trustees or other Museum representatives, contact the press office at Phoenix Art Museum at or For a copy of this news release translated into Spanish, contact

About Phoenix Art Museum
Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art. Located in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the Museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 300,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the Museum’s collection of more than 20,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed for visitors of all ages, along with vibrant photography exhibitions made possible through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit, or call 602.257.1880.

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