Kent Cultural Alliance Welcomes New Board Members

From left to right, Sue Matthews, Zita Seals, Stephanie Spencer and Laurie Walters.

The Kent Cultural Alliance is welcoming four new board members for the 2023 Fiscal Year, according to director, John Schratwieser. “We are so excited to welcome Sue Matthews, Zita Seals, Stephanie Spencer and Laurie Walters to the KCA Board. Hailing from Galena, Millington, Kennedyville, and Rock Hall respectively, these four women bring not only extraordinary experience to the table, but they also help the KCA expand our own reach to areas of Kent County that have been underrepresented, and underserved until now.”

Washington College brought Sue Matthews (nee Dunning) to Chestertown in the early 1970’s. Years after graduation and having fallen in love with the community, she with her husband, Bryan, and (now adult) 3 boys, have called Kent County home for nearly 30 years. Her highly successful career as a jazz vocalist has garnered her national and international acclaim from her many recordings to performances in concert halls, music festivals and top jazz clubs, taking her from Canada to Argentina, Ireland to Hungary. She is a favorite ‘local’ performer with years of sold-out shows at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, co-producer of the highly successful Women Helping Women fundraiser, which enjoyed 15 years of sold-out performances at the Garfield Center for The Arts, has appeared many times in Chestertown’s Jazz Festival and has enjoyed performing in many local venues for the National Music Festival with Brazilian guitarist Camilo Carrara.

Zita Seals is a Millington (Kent County) resident that was elected to the Millington Town Council in the Spring of 2022. She was born and raised in Barclay (Queen Anne’s County) and attended college at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and later at the University of Maryland where she received her B.S. degree in Criminal Justice and Minor in Homeland Security. She has worked for the Maryland State Division of Corrections for the past 18 years and also manages her own catering business, Zappetizers, LLC. Zita is also a newly appointed member of the Kent County Local Management Board and volunteers as a member, youth mentor, and advocate for the elderly with several community organizations in Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties. Some of them include New Walk Community Church, St. Daniels United Methodist Church, the QAC Wellness Coalition, and Minary’s Dream Alliance. When she has spare time, Zita spends it with family, singing with various groups/bands (Friends In Faith, A Breath of Fresh Air, MiKenZi, and Sylvia Frazier and the Anointed Vessels), riding her motorcycle, and Creative Writing.Zita also enjoys cooking, indulging in Maryland crabs, listening to all types of music, traveling, and watching stand-up comedy. She is an easy-going free spirited person that believes what God has for her….is for her!

For over two decades, Stephanie Spencer has been a visual arts teacher at Kent County High School. During this time, she has been able to combine her life-long love for creating with her passion for young people. In her tenure, she has developed a highly successful Advanced Placement Art & Design program which has produced many professional artists in varying fields. She has also organized the funding, creation and installation of two mosaic murals for the high school. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, she has been the Fine Arts Department Chair for nearly 15 years, is co-advisor for the KCHS chapter of the National Art Honor Society, and assists with the production of the school’s winter musical. Outside of school, she taught five summers at the Upper Chesapeake Summer Center for the Arts, as well as various art camps through RiverArts of Chestertown. Stephanie is a life-long resident of Kent County where she lives with her husband, Bill and three children in Kennedyville.

Laurie Walters grew up on the Western Shore but followed her roots back to the Eastern Shore when she and her husband retired to Rock Hall. Having been “weekenders” since 2009 they made the move to full time residents in 2016. Prior to retirement, Laurie was an educator with the Carroll County Public Schools. She and her husband raised two sons, both of whom also now live on the Eastern Shore with their families. Laurie is active in several nonprofit organizations and is the current president of Main Street Rock Hall.

“We are thrilled to bring these talented voices to the KCA Board table” says Jason Claire, President “with all that this new fiscal year holds for KCA, including the opening of our new building and new visiting artist residency program, Sue, Zita, Stephanie, and Laurie are welcomed additions to our dedicated Board, and we look forward to their help expanding our programming and funding further across our beautiful County.”

The Kent Cultural Alliance serves the residents of Kent County supporting and creating inclusive artistic and cultural experiences designed to connect communities through shared conversations. It is the vision of the Kent Cultural Alliance that all residents of Kent County engage in important civic and social conversation using creative experiences as a conduit for connection.