Deb Polich


734.213.2733 ext. 701

Deb Polich has served as president/CEO since February 2012. A founding board member of The Arts Alliance, Polich has 30+ years of professional arts administration experience, including service as the president/CEO of Artrain, Inc. for 23 years and managing director at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor for seven years. Under Polich’s leadership, Artrain received the 2006 National Medal for Museum Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums. Polich earned a B.S. in arts administration from Eastern Michigan University (EMU). She serves/has served on the boards of numerous nonprofit arts and community organizations, including Creative Many Michigan, where she is currently treasurer, the Southeast MI Workforce Development and EMU’s College of Arts & Science Advancement Board, Masters of Public Administration Advisory Board and the Nonprofit Alliance Advisory Board. She serves on the Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing and community grants committee. She is a University of Michigan and EMU Arts Management guest lecturer.

Natalie Hensel

Business Manager

734.213.2733 ext. 704

A knack for numbers with a passion for the arts brought Natalie Hensel to The Arts Alliance as business manager. She has been an active patron and administrator of the arts and culture scene in Washtenaw County since 2000 with previous experience at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater as finance and administration assistant, box office manager and children’s programs administrator. As a student, she promoted arts and entertainment events through Campus Life at Eastern Michigan University, where she graduated with a B.A. in public relations.

Lauren James

Communications Manager – E-newsletter and Social Media Editor


A native of Fayetteville, Ark., Lauren James received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Arkansas and will be working on her M.A. in journalism from the University of Memphis in the fall. She moved to Ann Arbor in 2016 after serving as the communications manager at Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the Arkansas’ largest professional regional theatre. Her work in journalism includes positions as the social media coordinator and associate editor for, special sections writer at Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and staff writer at The Daily Record. In addition to her work at The Art Alliance, she is a marketing communications specialist at the University of Michigan Office of Research, where she assists the Fast Forward Medical Innovation, Biorepository and Data Office teams with marketing collateral, social media management and content.

Paula Popa

Graphic Designer


Paula Popa earned her B.A. in liberal arts with an emphasis in graphic design and a minor in marketing from Concordia University in Ann Arbor. She volunteered and was contracted as a graphic designer for two years before being asked to join The Arts Alliance’s communications department. She is also a freelance graphic designer and has designed content for various organizations. Popa is a supporter and advocate for the arts and enjoys doing fine art in her spare time.