ArtWorks News

ArtWorks Announces New Board President, Members

Pictured (from the left): Joe Muraca, Rocco D’Ascenzo and Lauren Hannan Shafer. 

ArtWorks is excited to announce the appointment of Joe Muraca as the organization’s president of the board of directors.  

Joe is a phenomenal and dedicated leader,” said Colleen Houston, ArtWorks CEO and artistic director. “ArtWorks is fortunate to have his steadfast guidance. We have a great partnership and shared values which will move our core mission forward. 

Muraca is an assurance partner at Ernst & Young’s Cincinnati officeThroughout eighteen years of public accounting experience as a CPAMuraca has worked for clients in a diverse range of fields including life sciences and manufacturing.  

“I’m excited for how our new leadership lineup will take ArtWorks into the next 25 years,” Muraca said. “It’s been energizing for us, as the board and staff carry the organization into its new chapter.” 

Prior to becoming board president, Muraca served on the ArtWorks board for four years and became vice president in 2018. Muraca is also currently a board member for the St. Mary Sports Association as the boys’ basketball commissioner. He is a member of Leadership Cincinnati’s Class 41.  

Muraca received bachelor’s from Methodist University and a masters of accounting from the University of Notre Dame. 

In addition, Rocco D’Ascenzo of Duke Energy has joined the board.  

D’Acenzo is the Deputy General Counsel for Duke Energy Business Services where he represents Duke Energy’s Ohio and Kentucky gas and electric utility operating companies in regulatory proceedings before state Commissions. Prior to joining Duke Energy, he was Counsel for Cinergy Corp succeeding his role as an associate with a personal injury litigation firm in Columbus, Ohio. D’Ascenzo is a graduate of Capital University Law School and earned a bachelor’s from Otterbein College. 

Lauren Hannan Shafer, ArtWorks’ outgoing CEO, has rejoined the board. Because of her generosity to the region’s youth, Shafer is matching gifts to ArtWorks’ Apprentice Promise up to $50,000. She began her involvement with ArtWorks in 2015. She was a leading supporter of the mural, The Early Bird by Bongang. Shafer has also been involved as a parent of an ArtWorks youth apprentice. 

Also remaining on the ArtWorks Board: Eric AvnerRon BatesRic BoothTim ElsbrockAgnes Godwin HallMike HoetingGarry HortonRon HouckLaura HumphreyValerie JacobsJohn KornPam KravetzEmma Off, Andrew PetersKen PrayRJ SargentRandy Smith, and Molly Weissman. 

About ArtWorks 

ArtWorks is an award-winning Greater Cincinnati nonprofit that transforms people and places through investments in creativity. The organization creates jobs for youth, ages 14-21 with the majority from underserved households, providing competitive 21st-century career-readiness skills through mentorship by professional artists. Since 1996, ArtWorks has employed more than 3,600 youth and 3,200 creative professionals, and the organization has completed more than 12,500 public and private art projects that include 190 permanent outdoor murals, contributing to the region’s global reputation as an arts destination. Learn more at