The Team

Laurie Phillips

LAURIE PHILLIPS, Director, Co-founder, Master Guide and Trainer, loves helping people find answers to life challenges through artworks and historical objects. Laurie is an artist whose art asks the question, "what's it like to be you?" Laurie has worked as a life coach for women who feel overwhelmed by their job, their health or their relationships, and, besides working in major museums, has led workshops for institutions like Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Adler School of Coaching, American Death Education Council, St. Paul’s Monastery, and the Minnesota Jung Association.
612-460-1382  |

Jon head shot small.jpg

JON SPAYDE, Co-founder, is a solo performer, writer, editor, and a good guy. He's been on stage since he was 3 months old (playing a baby, to rave reviews), 29 years in journalism and a love for spirituality, literature, art, culture, and history. He studied East Asian languages at Harvard then flunked out of Stanford where he studied Comparative Literature. He was a writer and editor for Utne Reader magazine for thirteen years, covering all of the above and more. He currently writes about art for Public Art Review magazine. He's pretty good at taking a complex topic and making it accessible and intriguing for his audience.

SUSAN GANGSEI, Master Guide and Trainer, is an artist, author, and marketing professional.  “Museum Sage came into my life as a healing force after my husband passed away from Parkinson’s. Today I'm energized by sharing Museum Sage with the world as a guide, trainer and program developer.”  Susan is a tapestry weaver and printmaker. Her tapestries have been exhibited in art galleries as well as educational and faith-based organizations. She was also a family caregiver for her husband, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000 and passed away in 2013. From that experience she has written two books, The Light in the Middle of the Tunnel: Harrowing but Hopeful Stories of Parkinson’s Family Caregivers and Stuck With It, Not In It: Redefining Life with Parkinson’s Disease. Susan has a Masters in Training and Development from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

KAREN OLSON, Master Guide and Trainer, is a coach, workshop leader, writer and editor who helps people create more elemental, artful lives and a more peaceful, healthy world. Since she accidentally set a wildfire—and was in a flood, a tornado, an explosion in a cave, and lost at sea—Karen has been fascinated with elemental and energetic balance and has studied permaculture, holistic health, tarot, feng shui, and leadership development. Karen is the executive editor of Public Art Review, which covers international art in the public realm, and was formerly editor-in-chief of Utne Reader. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing and a B.A. in art history and literature, and writes about art, culture, the environment, health, home, food, and spirituality for numerous publications. She also coaches people who want to live freely as their most natural, powerful selves, develop resilience, and turn their big ideas into real-world impact.


KAREN HALL, Master Guide, has spent over 20 years as a professional trainer and mentor. She's also been a textile artist for over 30 years and is passionate about all the arts. You might see her at quilt shows with a dreamy look in her eyes, or wandering around an art museum greeting artworks as if they were old friends.


CAROL WICHERS, MA, LICSW, LMFT, Master Guide, is a therapist who believes everyone has the capacity to change and create a more fulfilling life. She brings the benefit of many years of experience. A wide range of clients have told her that her strongest asset is her ability to connect deeply. Carol has helped produce a documentary on aging and is a poet.

PAIGE TIGHE, Master Guide, is an artist who weaves creative knowledge into caring for the aging. With a Master's in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design, she brings community organizing skills to events, exhibits and institutions. Trained with ArtSage and as a Wellness Coach through the Mayo Clinic, she's trained to teach and coach adult learners. She co-organizes Feminist Video Quarterly, a video screening held in Minneapolis. Her practice ranges from painting to video to performance. Her most extensive art piece is Walk with Me. She looks forward to enjoying the surprises placed inside a thoughtful question asked of an artwork or historical object while walking with you during a Museum Sage session. 

KATHERINE J. POHLMAN, Master Guide, is a nurse attorney/holistic coach/artist/author who lives and practices in the Twin Cities. In her integrative law and holistic coaching practices, she helps health care providers transform difficult legal challenges — including medical malpractice and licensure complaints — into opportunities for personal healing and professional growth. She brings heart and mind to the art of practice, partnering with clients to help them identify and realize their goals and to see themselves as whole and empowered.  She is dedicated to promoting wellness and resiliency, believes passionately in the power of art to heal, and weaves those values throughout all that she does.

KAREN MUELLER, Master Guide, feels lucky to have worked in the arts for over 25 years in a variety of positions.  She directed the general operating support program at the Minnesota State Arts Board for ten years and more recently worked as a national consultant to small and mid-size arts nonprofits, helping them with strategic planning and capacity building. Karen began her career in arts education at the Minnesota Museum of Art in St. Paul.  She is currently managing director at History Theatre, which commissions and produces new theater work about Minnesota and the Midwest.

Joy Yoshikawa web.jpg

JOY YOSHIKAWA, Master Guide, is CEO of The Design Company, a graphic design firm in St. Paul, Minnesota. A docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, she has been conducting formal tours there since 2005 as well as various “pop-up” tours throughout her travels. She is known for engaging her audiences in lively discussion as they explore the world through art: the creative expression of what it means to be human. Her presentations are aimed at empowering viewers to “trust their eye” and to make connections with one’s community and oneself. 


KRIS WOLL, Master Guide, is a writer, educator, and instructional designer. Her essays and stories on family, food, home, and little histories have appeared in Edible Twin Cities and as part of the Listen to Your Mother Twin Cities show, and she leads workshops on building a creative writing and journaling practice.