Board & Staff

The Shell Lake Arts Center is governed by a 15-member board, selected to serve two, three-year consecutive terms. The board members are selected for their accomplishments in the arts, education, business, and/or public service and represent rural and urban areas from the region. The board and Executive Director work together to create an environment where adult and school age students have meaningful connections, find their voices, create art, make friends, grow and reach their full potential.

executive committee

Jeffrey Southern
Rice Lake, WI

Immediate Past President
William Taubman
Shell Lake, WI

Vice President
Sheila Aderman Squires
Shell Lake, WI

Megan Conners
Shell Lake, WI

Lynnea Lake
Spooner, WI

board members

Julie Krueger
Lino Lakes, MN

Laurie Bakkum
Shell Lake, WI

Katie Guyer
Minneapolis, MN

Pete Hopke
Shell Lake, WI

Greg Keel
Woodbury, MN

Maureen Revak
Spooner, WI

Harvey Halpaus
Ellsworth, WI

Steve Zenz
Milwaukee, WI

a message from the executive director

Master teachers ... Magic setting

This could not be more true of the Shell Lake Arts Center.  The rich history of musical and artistic excellence began with the creation of the Indianhead Arts Center under the leadership of Darrell Aderman and the University Of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  Their efforts have made this camp a destination for the study of  music and the arts in the Wisconsin Northwoods.

The names of our master teachers of the past and present are emblazoned in the hearts and minds of our campers.  Through their efforts our students become life-long, literate performers and creators of the arts--in all of their varied forms.

Our magic setting is feet from the banks of the beautiful Shell Lake with trees, smells of the outdoors, pinecones, deer, swimming, Northern Lights, and even Northwoods critters that wander through during the daily life of our community.  Our artists come ready to learn and in this environment which may be different than that of their own personal artistic experiences and homes, they create, perform, respond and integrate their past practices into new paradigms of learning and growth.

It is here that we do our best work.  Every student that enters through our doors matters and we strive for them to recognize and attain maximum growth, potential, and passion, as artists, students and citizens of the global community.

Give our master teachers a try--in this magic setting-- and we promise you one of the best experiences of your life.  At the Shell Lake Arts Center we don’t study the Arts, we do the Arts.  Are you ready to join us?


Patrick S Barnett
Executive Director

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Patrick Barnett

Patrick S. Barnett is Executive Director at the Shell Lake Arts Center in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. He is the Former Fine Arts Department Chair at Maine Township High School West in Des Plaines. He completed his undergraduate degree in Music Education at Northern Illinois University and the Masters Of Music Education degree from DePaul University. In 2007, he completed a Masters in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University. Prior to his appointment at Maine West, he was the choir director at Maine East High School for 19 years where he also directed the Variety Show. Prior to Maine, he taught junior high general music in Round Lake and Villa Park. An active participant, he has worked and performed in a variety of situations including a rock and roll band, community bands, and various churches and community organizations and local Veterans Day tributes. He is the past director of the Park Ridge Chorale and the 1998 and 2000 Illinois Ambassadors of Music Choir which toured across Europe. He has served on the board of the Illinois Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association as Director of Youth and Student activities and as Chair for the Chicagoland region. He has also served as Co-Chair of the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) District 7 Chorus, the National and Illinois State Chair for the TRI-M Music Honor Society, and District 7 President of the ILMEA.  An active clinician and adjudicator, Mr. Barnett is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Choral Directors Association, and the American Guild of Organists. Pat, his wife Lisa, and their daughter Sophie have been enjoying their family cabin on the beautiful shores of Big McKenzie Lake in Spooner for many years, which is where they are currently building their new home.

administrative staff


Alyssa Degner
Operations Manager

Alyssa Degner attended Depaul University-Greencastle and received a Bachelor of General Music. After spending most of her adult life in southern Indiana, she moved back to her hometown of Shell Lake. Alyssa is passionate about music and enjoys playing and listening to many types of music. She also loves kayaking, camping, fishing, and spending time outside and is very excited for the opportunity to work with the Shell Lake Arts Center.

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Gweni Smith
Alumni and Grants

Gweni grew up in southern Wisconsin and has been active in music since the age of ten. Playing the upright bass in school gave her many experiences with jazz festivals and music camps. Music brought her to the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire to initially study music but later changed her degree focus to Organizational Communication. Through working for the University’s jazz studies department and being the festival director of the Eau Claire Jazz Festival she found that her passion for the arts truly lies in administration. Gweni started at the Shell Lake Arts Center in 2015 as a camp counselor and would later spend four summers as the Faculty Assistant and two years as the year-round Program Coordinator. She now works as the Education & Museum Associate at Schubert Club in Downtown St. Paul, MN.

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Carmala Aderman
Interim Director of Publicity and Marketing

Carm Aderman works part time as our Director of Publicity and Communications. She was born and raised in Shell Lake before going to college (UW-Madison) and having adventures in her adult life. She worked in the Twin Cities, Wautoma, WI, Rice Lake, WI, and Omaha NE before retiring and returning to Shell Lake in late 2021. Her responsibilities here include our advertising, social media, and email communications.  

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Caroline Connolly
Camp Coordinator & Head Counselor

Caroline Connolly started her career at the Shell Lake Arts Center in 2022 as a camp counselor. She is scheduled to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in December 2023 with a Bachelor's Degree in Instrumental/General K-12 Music Education. In addition to exploring music, Caroline enjoys painting, spending time outdoors, playing video games, traveling, and spending time with her cat, Hank. She cannot wait for the summer!


Contact Caroline for any day-to-date camp questions.

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Jeff Mortensen
Facility Manager

A historic arts center like ours needs the best support. Our facilities manager Jeff works year round doing maintenance work on our campus. Jeff recently retired from the Twin Cities and relocated to the beautiful Wisconsin Northwoods. Jeff loves making the Center a great destination for campers and visitors. You can find Jeff fishing, hunting, and making maple syrup!

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Sharai Hefty
Kitchen Manager

Sharai has had the distinct pleasure of serving SLAC students, faculty, and staff since 2018. She says that each summer gets better and better because not only does she have the memories of past summers and the wonderful “friends” she's made along the way, but has enjoyed “The Most Amazing” concerts & productions from “The Most Amazing” students in the world!

She only expects the students, concerts, and of course their dining experiences to continue to be better each year!

Master teachers, a Magic setting, and Great Food!


Terri Johnson


Terri has lived in Washburn County WI her whole life. She have been a bookkeeper/accounting/bank teller in her working life. She is married to Kevin Johnson for 45 years and they have 2 grown children and 4 wonderful grandchildren. She is active in Washburn County 4-H and manages the 4-H food stand at the county fair. She and her husband have a small beef cattle farm and we enjoy going camping.  She likes sewing and crafts. Terri looks forward to helping the Art Center get the notice that it needs to prosper.


Tamara Smith
Collaborative Pianist

Tamara Smith attended UW-Eau Claire and received her Bachelor's of Music Education degree. After teaching in northwestern Wisconsin, she moved to Denver, Colorado and served as Minister of Music, taught private lessons, and enjoyed administrative work. In 2004, she moved back to her native Shell Lake with her husband and two daughters and has been very active as a free-lance musician. Tamara has worked as an accompanist for the Shell Lake Arts Center's Show Choir Camps since 1978.