Wildwood Artist Series

About Us


The success of the Wildwood Artist Series is based largely on the dedicated services of its volunteers. We are looking for persons to serve in the areas of Corresponding Secretary, Vice President, Marketing and Publicity, Fund Raising, and Grant Writing. If you are interested in any of these positions, please call 651-426-3640.

Jeannine Befidi – Fund Raising
David Bennett – MAEF representative
Staci Bennett – Fund Raising
Angela Bodensteiner – Fund Raising
Ellie Bruner – President
AJ Fossen – Technical Director
Rhiannon O’Connor – Ticket Chair, iContact
Kim Ozzello – Assistant Treasurer
Trudy Ozzello – Marketing Chair
Jon Schimnowski – Treasurer
Kathy Schwister – School Residencies
Members at Large
Julie Conzemius – Member at Large
Donna Ernster – Member at Large
Roxanne Hardy – Member at Large
Lucy Payne – Member at Large
Rob Pontious – Member at Large
Reid Smith – Member at Large

The Wildwood Artist Series is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1990 as a committee of the Mahtomedi Area Educational Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt foundation. The goal of Wildwood Artist Series is to present quality, diverse, family-appropriate arts events, and to encourage an appreciation of the fine arts in the community.

A small group of volunteers collaborates to make the series sensational year after year, and each person’s passion for the arts is what ensures that every performance is special and enjoyable for all who come to watch.

Among the many notable entertainers who have performed on the Chautauqua Fine Arts Center stage are: Arlo Guthrie, The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats, Cirque Zuma Zuma, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary), John McCutcheon, Cherish the Ladies, Pat Donahue, Billy McLaughlin, The Okee Dokee Brothers, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus ( the latter two were co-sponsorships with St. Andrew’s Church and performed in their Sanctuary).

Providing educational opportunities in the performing arts is a primary goal of the Wildwood Artist Series. We have done so by awarding performing arts scholarships and by setting up educational outreach programs in the schools where students learn directly from performers on our evening series.  In 2016 WAS initiated the Wildwood Artist Series Professional Performing Artist Residency Program which funds extended residencies by professional performing artists (clinicians, composers, arrangers and artists of various cultural backgrounds) who work closely with students in each of the four District 832 schools. In 2016 students at Wildwood Elementary School learned Swedish and American folk songs and dances under the tutelage of Ross Sutter.  In 2017 JD Steele motivated 3rd – 5th grade students to find their “inner voice” and gave them an understanding of Black Gospel Choral style and culture.  In 2018 Dr. Scott Agster worked with Middle and High School Band students, focusing on learning musicianship and improvisational skills, and this year (2019) Kyle Pederson will be encouraging Middle and High School students to see themselves as composers and lyricists as they compose their own pieces of choral music.  Each residency concludes with a concert for the public which is videotaped and put into a media library for all teachers to access. Donations to the above initiatives are gratefully accepted.

We recognize the ability to teach, intrigue, and transform through the power of the performing arts, and we welcome you to join us as we embark on this journey that is the Wildwood Artist Series. If you would like to become a member of the committee that plans each season’s events please contact Ellie at 651-426-3640 or email me at ebruner@comcast.net.

Thank you! Ellie Bruner