Gregory Z. Smith, Executive Director

Greg Smith joined DAAC as executive director at the start of 2020, but his support for the Arts Council extends back into the last century.  As collectors of art, as appreciators of the arts in many forms, and as lovers of this community, Greg and his wife, Allison, see DAAC as a catalytic part of reaching a bright future in the Mesilla Valley.
Greg started life in El Paso, later in the same year that Dwight Eisenhower began his first term as president.  From there, he and his family traveled as far north and west as Alaska and as far south and east as Argentina.  After living in places as diverse as Anchorage, Monterrey, Buenos Aires, San Salvador, the Panama Canal Zone, and College Station, the Smiths moved to Las Cruces.
After studying architecture and getting a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree, Greg embarked on a twenty year career teaching in Austin. That was followed by a return to Las Cruces and architecture before an eight year stint as City Councillor for District 2 on the Las Cruces City Council.
Throughout his life, the arts have played an important role, not surprisingly because his mother is an artist, but also because he views good architecture as a form of interactive art.
Greg looks forward to the Doña Ana Arts Council and the arts continuing to play an important role in our region’s future.

Contact information for Gregory Z. Smith:  or 575-523-6403


Kathleen Albers, Communications Director

Kathleen Albers currently serves as the Communications Director for the Dona Ana Arts Council.  Before accepting this part-time position in October 2019, Kathleen served as Executive Director for the previous seven years.  Prior to this, Kathleen served as the Education Administrator for the  Las Cruces Symphony Association, then General Manager for the organization from 2005 – 2009.

Kathleen grew up in Oklahoma and Texas, then attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville for an undergraduate degree in economics.  Later, she secured a masters degree in administration from Ohio University in Athens.  Kathleen and her husband moved from Denver, Colorado to Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1987 and have made their home here ever since.

Kathleen is passionate about arts education for children and has been a champion of this cause in the greater Las Cruces area with the Dona Ana Arts Council and the Las Cruces Symphony since 1998.

Contact information for Kathleen Albers:    or  575-523-6403


Karen Conley, Program Manager

Karen Conley grew up and attended Clarion State College in Clarion, PA. After graduation, she moved to Las Cruces, NM, before joining the United States Army as a Transportation and Public Affairs Officer. After a career in the Army, she and her husband made their way back to Las Cruces. Karen recently completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at New Mexico State University, and before this earned a Master’s in Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. 

Before joining the Dona Ana Arts Council staff in the spring of 2020, she was the Volunteer Educational Coordinator at the New Mexico State University Art Museum and taught OutsmART Children’s workshops. She also serves on the Friends of the University Art Museum Board. Karen is very active in the local art community and has been the driving force behind several large-scale successful Pop-up art shows in the Las Cruces downtown.  

Karen considers herself to be a multimedia artist but gravitates to oils more than any other medium. Her work has been shown at the NMSU University Art Museum, Las Cruces Art Museum, Art Obscura, the Rokoko Gallery, and in the ArtForms Annual Member Show.

Contact Information for Karen Conley:   or    575-523-6403

Photo Credit is Will Keener

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