Board of Directors
East Village Arts is a non-profit collective of artists and community leaders. Currently, all positions are volunteer.
Ladonna Smith: President and Founder
LaDonna Smith (born 1951) is an American avant garde musician from Alabama. She is a violinist, violist, and pianist. Since 1974 she has been performing free improvisational music with musicians such as Davey Williams, Leland Davis, Michael Evans, Gunther Christmann, Anne Lebaron, Derek Bailey, Eugene Chadbourne, Misha Feigin, Michael Evans, David Sait, Jack Wright, John Russell, Sergey Letov, Toshi Makihara, Andrew Dewar and many other of the world's major improvisers. As a performer, she has toured the US, Canada, Europe, including Russia and Siberia, Korea, India, China and Japan.
Her music is documented on dozens of CD and LP recordings, including Say Daybew Records - of Fred Lane & the Debonaires. She produced concerts and festivals in Alabama and the Southeast, including the Birmingham Improv Festival and the improvisor festival.
She serves on the Board of Directors of I.S.I.M., the International Society of Improvised Music. In 1976, LaDonna Smith co-founded TransMuseq Records with Davey Williams. In 1980, The Improvisor magazine began as an extension of I.N.: The Improvisor's Network, a grass-roots organization in New York City that attempted to connect improvising musicians across the U.S. LaDonna is editor-in-chief and publisher of The improvisor. She is a member of the Fresh-Dirt collective (Alabama Surrealism).
Ladonna Founded East Village Arts (then Art Town at East Lake) in 2017 and has worked tirelessly to help it grow.
Lauren Frances Evans: Vice President
Lauren Frances Evans came to Samford from Iowa City, IA where she taught as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa, was the Visual Arts Coordinator for Project Art at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, was the curator for the Times Club Gallery at Prairie Lights Bookstore, and served on the board of directors for the local community arts non-profit, Public Space One. She also taught as a Visiting Professor at Grinnell College.
In addition to her work in the arts, Evans served as the Assistant Director for Geneva Campus Ministry at the University of Iowa, where she helped develop and lead a fellowship program, funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, for students supporting a theological exploration of vocation. Evans holds an MFA in studio art from the University of Maryland as well as a BA in studio art and a BS in business administration from the College of Charleston. Evans' creative work is primarily sculptural, ranging from meticulously layered collages to large mixed-media structures. In her research, she investigates the meaning of the creative act, matters of origin, symbolic centers, and the significance of the maternal experience.
Andrew J. Douglas: Treasurer
Andrew's interest in electronic music goes all the way back to his 1972 Moog Sonic. He has produced seven CDs with the band Dreamwind. Andrew founded the Birmingham Alabama Electronic Music Group in 2017.
Dana Smith: Secretary
Dana enjoys painting and jewelry making as well as volunteering her time to help the local art scene.
Julie Shum: Executive Director
Julie met Ladonna through her voice teacher and notable local soprano, Diane McNaron, and fell in love with Ladonna's vision and energy. She is excited to help EVA grow!
Julie has worked as a teacher, producer, and performer in Birmingham since 2002 when she relocated here from Champaign, IL with her husband Corey and many cats, having earned a BFA in Music Theater from Millikin University. She currently is working on original music and coaching young singer/songwriters, as well as teaching guitar, keyboard, and voice online and at her home studio.
Julie directed youth choir, orchestra, and music theater classes at the Scrollworks Music School in downtown Birmingham for over 10 years and served as their operations manager during the pandemic. Julie has also worked for Mason Music, the Alabama Waldorf School, Community Education South, Highlands United Methodist, and has served on the boards of the Birmingham Arts Association and Girls Rock of Birmingham, AL.