Meet AHA!

Our Purpose

AHA! formed September 10, 1975. Since then it has evolved and grown into an organization with a broad base of support for cultural and artistic events and programs. We support a vital, active cultural life as an integral component of our community; we enjoy our life as a community and take pride in our heritage and we encourage the creative spirit. In addition to our cultural and artistic enterprise for adults we support special projects for children as well, in and outside the school environment.


There are currently over 150 active members and donors of AHA! We receive additional, hands-on help from many volunteers and financial support from our business community. AHA! is also a United Way organization.

Our Board of Directors is a diverse group which brings a broad range of talents and expertise to AHA! Future projects in planning include establishing an Artists Registry, increasing our grant allowances, and to further develop educational programs for adults and children.


As of February 7 2011 - Interim Executive Committee

Executive Committee

Julie Siler, President -

Julie is actively involved in several organizations that work to enhance living in Jefferson County.  She is the President of the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown (to 6/30/2011), serves on the Shepherdstown Semi-quincentennial  Celebration Planning Committee, the Steering Committee for West Virginia Communication Outreach - Jefferson County Day, Freedom’s Run Race Committee, and she is a charter member of the Friends of Music Guild.  She served for five years as Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Fund at Shepherd University before retiring in 2010.  She is graduate of George Mason University with a BA degree in cultural anthropology and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction.  She and her husband reside in Shepherdstown and have two daughters attending Shepherd University, and son attending school in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Lois Turco, Vice-President 

Lois is a community activist in Jefferson County, having retired in 2001 from a research firm in Rockville, Md., where for 12 years she headed up the information management system and computer support. She is a member of Rotary Club of Shepherdstown, a trustee of the Washington Heritage Trail for Jefferson County, a board member of the Shepherdstown Visitors Center, co-founder of Freedoms Run and President of Two Rivers Heritage Partnership. Born and educated in the Washington, D.C., she graduated from the U. of Maryland at College Park MD with a BA degree in cultural anthropology and a M.Ed in culture and linguistics.  She held numerous volunteer jobs overseas as a member of various Department of State consular and embassy communities, taught English as a second language in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Amman, Jordan, and was the Community Liaison Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Amman.


Kathryn Burns , Secretary

Kathryn is the owner of the Bridge Gallery in Shepherdstown WV and has been a member of the community for 20 years.  She has a Fine Arts degree from the University of Maryland and an Associates degree in Design from the University of North Florida.  She is an artist and business woman.

Dana Fogle, Treasurer

Dana Fogle is a native of Frederick, Maryland, and now resides in Falling Waters with her husband Hans. She graduated from Saint James School and the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. In June 2010, Dana joined Martinsburg accounting firm CoxHollidaPrice as a staff accountant, and is currently pursuing licensure as a Certified Public Accountant. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, cooking, and her pets. Dana is also involved in the community as a member of the Berkeley county Humane Society, and volunteers for Friends in Action of the Eastern Panhandle, Relay for Life and the Red Cross.

Other Board Members:

T. Nicole Saunders-Meske
T. Nicole Saunders-Meske is an attorney who has specialized in commercial and corporate law. She was Executive Director for the Miami Council for International Visitors, Inc.

Kathryn Skinner,
Kathy has an BS degree in accounting from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from the University of Texas. She is a licensed CPA in Virginia and presently is an Associate Broker with Long and Foster Realty.

Lissa Cobetto,

Lissa is the current business manager of the Contemporary American Theater Festival.  She has a rich background in the professional theater, filmmaking and multimedia.  She has a Masters degree in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and before coming to Jeffeson County she working with the Franklin Park Performing and Visual Arts Center in Loudoun County, VA. 

Pam Parziale
Pam is a studio potter with her husband Ren. She has served on the WV Commission on the Arts, director of Arts Advocacy, a state-wide lobbying organization for the arts, and was state director of Arts Action WV. Her articles on the arts have been published in numerous arts related publications. She was recognized in 2005 for life-time achievement in the arts by Governor Manchin.

Ron Widmyer

Ron was educated at Carnegie Mellon U as an engineer, worked as a farmer in Jefferson County. He has taught science & computers at Shepherd U and in public schools.  He served as president of AHA for 3 terms.

David Lillard

David Lillard, is the editor of The Observer, a monthly newspaper in the Eastern Panhandle.  He is also the executive director of Craftworks at Cool Spring Farm, The Two Rivers region’s home for craft, art and sustainable living.  He is a writer and consultant for the National Park Service and National Heritage Areas.

Sherry Sykes

Sherry Sykes has a background in music management with a M.A. in Arts Administration from Indiana University and a B.A. from Hamilton College.  She has held positions with the Levine School of Music and the Yale University School of Music.  She lives in Sharpsburg MD and has been actively involved with children’s education fund raising.

Other AHA folks who are important to know!

George Seffers
The Writers Group meets every other Friday at the Firehall Gallery, led by George.

Don Athey
Contact Don for information on the Tuesday Painters' group at the Firehall Gallery.

Elizabeth Wheeler
Liz developed the Cultural Plan for Jefferson County under the sponsorship of AHA.