Advisory Board

Advisory Board members are luminaries in their respective fields. Their knowledge and expertise will help Artists United build a worldwide network bringing artists, and those who appreciate them, together.

Jim Becket

Jim Becket

Advisory Board Member

Jim Becket has had a varied career as journalist, human rights lawyer, development economist, international civil servant, author, and filmmaker.  He was the Director of Public Information for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  As a writer he’s produced numerous articles, three books including the first Amnesty International Report on torture.  As a filmmaker he’s written, produced, and directed seven feature and television movies.  He’s also produced more than twenty documentary films.  He’s lived more than two decades abroad, been in some eighty countries, and speaks five languages. He was educated at Williams College, Harvard Law School, and the Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva).  He currently lives in Ojai CA.

Michael Behrens

Michael Behrens

Advisory Board Member

Michael A. Behrens is an award-winning artist, nonprofit business consultant, and film producer with 20 years’ of experience. Currently, he is the Chief Financial Officer for the Narrative Track Venture, consultant to the Documentary Film Institute and Virtual Veteran Project at San Francisco State University. His clients have included Paramount, Disney, Volkswagen, Fox, San Francisco State University, Emergency USA, Burger King, National Theatre of Finland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many others. Recently he helped produce Jeff Rosenblum’s first documentary The Naked Brand (2012) for the Questus Agency (Ad Agency of the Year 2011). From 2008-2012 he ran the San Francisco Film Society’s Professional Development Program. Since its inception the program has helped hundreds of media makers create and complete their films. Previous award-winning films Michael has produced: My Garbage My Neighborhood (2011), Kunjo(2010) and Climate Change (2009). He is currently producing the documentary film, 780 Frederick and the short film Jaime’s Car. Michael holds a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco and has lectured at Saint Mary’s College, California Art Institute, The National Acting School of Finland, Illinois State University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Zhu Hai University and others. He was awarded the Rex Rabold Fellowship, USF Merritt Scholarship, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, US State Department and the People’s Republic of China.

Randolph Belle

Randolph Belle

Advisory Board Member

Randolph Belle is the principal of RBA Creative, a design, communications and public affairs firm. In over 25 years as an artist, entrepreneur, arts administrator and community development consultant, Randolph has launched several innovative arts efforts, including Oakland Art [dot] Com in 1998, the first art gallery in the now-bustling Oakland Uptown Arts District, and Support Oakland Artists, a nonprofit organization focused on the creative economy and policy initiatives. Born and raised in San Francisco, Randolph has deep and long-standing relationships in business, government, and community, which enable him to build strong partnerships and support for meaningful initiatives. Some of the initiatives he has worked on include community benefits agreements centered on real estate and the arts, and a family-centered community arts program called 100 Families at several locations throughout Oakland and San Francisco. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Randolph has served in numerous civic capacities as director, commissioner or advisor.  Present affiliations include board of director member of the Oakland Film Society and advisory committee member of the Crucible.  Past organizational affiliations include co-chair of the City of Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission, president of the board of directors for Pro Arts and board member at the Museum of Children’s Art.

Gray Brechin

Gray Brechin

Advisory Board Member

Gray Brechin received a B.A. in Geography and an M.A. in Art History from the University of California at UC Berkeley. After a stint as a journalist and TV producer in San Francisco, he returned to the UCB Department of Geography in 1992 to get a Ph.D. His dissertation, Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin, was published in 1999 by the University of California Press and is now considered a classic of urban studies. In the same year, UC Press published his collaboration with photographer Robert Dawson, Farewell, Promised Land: Waking from the California Dream. Dr. Brechin is the founder and Project Scholar of the Living New Deal, a team effort to inventory, map, and interpret the public works legacy of President Franklin Roosevelt’s innovative initiatives to lift the U.S. from the Great Depression. The project is sponsored by the UCB Department of Geography where he maintains an office. Its long-range goal is to create the first museum and study center of the New Deal’s vast but largely unknown accomplishments. Dr. Brechin is especially interested in what he calls the lost ethical language of New Deal public works and service and what that language has to teach us today. 

Frances Causey

Frances Causey

Advisory Board Member

Frances Causey is a journalist and documentary filmmaker.  Ms. Causey began her career with CNN where she was a producer and a senior member of a team honored with News and Documentary Emmys for their coverage of the Oklahoma City and Olympic Park Bombings. Ms. Causey has produced several feature length documentaries for television and theatrical release including her latest documentary THE LONG SHADOW. The film chronicles how our failure to end slavery at our founding defined our nation, creating grave consequences for African-Americans throughout our history and in the present. THE LONG SHADOW recently won the 2016 San Francisco session of the prestigious CINE PitchFest Presented by A&E. Ms. Causey was honored with the Women’s International Film and Television Jury Award for her work on Heist. Frances sits on the Board of the Arizona Center for Investigative Journalism.  Ms. Causey lives in Tubac, Arizona with her partner Cathy.

Anita Chang

Anita Chang

Advisory Board Member

Anita Chang is an artist who works with various media forms, including film, digital video, photography, installation and the web. Her works have screened and broadcast internationally, and been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Walker Arts Center, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and National Museum of Women. They are distributed by Women Make Movies, Third World Newsreel, Center for Asian American Media, Taiwan Public Television, and Kanopy Streaming. Chang received her BA in American Studies and English at Tufts University, an MFA in Cinema at San Francisco State University and her doctorate in Film and Digital Media from University of California at Santa Cruz. She has worked as a community activist, an urban youth counselor, civil rights investigator, and education director for a non-profit San Francisco-based media literacy organization. As an educator, Chang has taught media production and studies in San Francisco, Nepal and Taiwan, including the Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication at National Dong Hwa University. Her essays have published in positions: asia critique, Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies and Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies. Her latest essay “Altered States for a Critical Cosmopolitanism” was published in 2016 as part of Routledge’s AFI Film Readers series book, Teaching Transnational Cinema and Media: Politics and Pedagogy. She has received grant awards from Creative Capital, Fulbright Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, National Geographic and the KQED Peter J. Owens Filmmaker program. Chang is currently teaching film and media studies at the University of San Francisco and University of California at Santa Cruz. For more info: http://anitachangworks.com

Constantine Costes

Constantine Costes

Advisory Board Member

Constantine Costes is an entrepreneur who divides his time between Kunming, China, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. In the past, he has worked in software, finance, and education. He enjoys watching community theater and fondly remembers participating as an actor a couple of decades ago. He has visited six continents and lived in six countries. He obtained a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1994.

Doug Densmore

Doug Densmore

Advisory Board Member

Douglas Densmore is a Kern Faculty Fellow, a Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering Junior Faculty Fellow, and Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University. His research focuses on the development of tools for the specification, design, and assembly of synthetic biological systems, drawing upon his experience with embedded system level design and electronic design automation (EDA). Extracting concepts and methodologies from these fields, he aims to raise the level of abstraction in synthetic biology by employing standardized biological part-based designs which leverage domain-specific languages, constraint-based device composition, visual editing environments, and automated assembly. He is the director of the Cross-disciplinary Integration of Design Automation Research (CIDAR) group at Boston University, where his team of staff and postdoctoral researchers, undergraduate interns, and graduate students develop computational and experimental tools for synthetic biology. His research facilities include both a computational workspace in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as experimental laboratory space in the Boston University Center of Synthetic Biology (CoSBI). His research interests include Computer Architecture, Embedded Systems, Logic Synthesis, Digital Logic Design, System Level Design, and Synthetic Biology.

Margo Dunlap

Margo Dunlap

Advisory Board Member

Margo Dunlap is an arts advocate, maker and mother. She creates and leads community development initiatives across sectors for greater social impact.  She aligns people with resources, generates opportunity, and accelerates capacity and learning for organizations.  As Executive Director of Pro Arts she produced major artistic exhibitions, organized East Bay Open Studios, launched the 2 x 2 Solos Commissioning program for Bay Area artists, and scaled arts education district-wide in Oakland. Her team’s work engaged over 5,000 artists, and reached audiences over 1,000,000. She is passionate about scaling creative enterprises that generate connection and meaning across communities and culture.

Jonathan Flowers

Jonathan Flowers

Advisory Board Member

Johnathan Flowers has over fifteen years of experience in integrated marketing on both the Client/Corporate and Agency side of the industry and has comprehensive hands-on experience in SEM/SEO, social networking, marketing automation and a deep knowledge of video integration. During his agency tenures, Johnathan has worked with numerous tech and retail companies doing Brand Management, Integrated Marketing, Product Marketing, Mobile and Digital Strategy, encompassing SaaS, PaaS, B2B and B2C capacities, and has run his own IP branding and development company. He is a former US Army Staff Sergeant and has served in Panama, Grenada, Africa, and the Middle East. Johnathan played football at San Jose State University where he graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts and Graphic Design. He was also a comic book artist and cartoonist. He then later played Safety for the Los Angeles Raiders and actively does community work with the NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter. He is the father of two amazing kids: a son who is now serving in the army and a teenage daughter who is a volleyball superstar.

Joseph Galata

Joseph Galata

Advisory Board Member

Joseph Galata has 44 years of international and national performances as a dancer, ethnic dancer, actor, and storyteller. He has 37 years as writer, director, and producer for theatre, television, radio and as a television and radio journalist/host. He was a University faculty member in a medical clinic for 23 years, worked for 5 years as Executive Director for a hospice foundation, and 8 years as the Executive Director for a state agency serving abused and abandoned children/teens. Joseph also has 32 years as a Fundraiser and Grant Funding writer/administrator. For 4 years he held an appointed position — Representative on the Socio-Economic Council of the United Nations, NYC and Geneva. And he has 31 years service on over 50 international/national/state/local boards of directors for media, arts, health, education, social services non-profit organizations. Joseph’s education includes:  4 degrees and 8 post-graduate certifications in Financial Literacy Education and Coaching, Logotherapy, Grief and Bereavement Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Multi-Cultural Counseling, Community Arts Management, and Business Administration.

Lee Glickstein

Lee Glickstein

Advisory Board Member

Founder of Speaking Circles International, Lee is an authority on authentic power and presence in public speaking. He delivers keynotes, seminars and private coaching with a unique combination of inspiration and step-by-step innovation. Offering speaking coaching to clients ranging from top professional communicators to “non-speakers” with severe stage fright, he is committed to facilitating ease, power and effectiveness for anyone who needs or wants to address groups. He is author of Be Heard Now! Tap Into Your Inner Speaker and Communicate with Ease (Broadway Books) , Be Heard Now! How to Speak Naturally and Powerfully in Front of Any Audience (Sounds True Audiotapes), and the Ebook: Speakers’ Guide to Authentic Connection: The Alchemy of Influence through Relational Presence.

Neal Gorenflo

Neal Gorenflo

Advisory Board Member

Neal Gorenflo is the co-founder of Shareable, an award-winning news, action, connection hub for the sharing transformation. An epiphany in 2004 inspired Neal to leave the corporate world to help people share through Internet startups, publishing, grassroots organizing, and a circle of friends committed to the common good. During this career shift, Neal worked with startups including peer-to-peer asset sharing platform Moogul.com, an online DVD exchange, a spinout of Cisco’s corporate asset sharing platform, and white label asset sharing platform Divvy.com. To build community in the space, he co-organized The Abundance League monthly salons in San Francisco between 2005 and 2010.

Through his exploration of sharing, Neal met those who would co-found Shareable with him. Subsequently, Neal has become an expert on sharing through 10 years of entrepreneurship, thought leadership, and as an avid practitioner. He has consulted with Institute for the Future, Stanford University, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and numerous startups. His expertise has been featured by The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Sunday Morning, Wired, Fast Company, Christian Science Monitor, and Sunset Magazine. He is a sought-after speaker with recent appearances at SXSW, Sustainable Brands, and SOCAP.

His writing is featured in YES! Magazine, 7x7 Magazine, The Urbanist, and the anthologies The Wealth of the Commons, Open Design Now, and Enabling City. He is co-editor of the books Share or Die: Voices of The Get Lost Generation in the Age of Crisis and Policies for Shareable Cities, the first sharing economy policy guide. In addition to his work at Shareable, Neal is an adviser to the US Solidarity Economy Network, OuiShare, Peers, Mayor Park of Seoul, South Korea and is a former Innovation Fellow for Mayor Lee of San Francisco. Neal earned a masters with distinction from Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture & Technology program and BAs in American Studies and English Literature with distinction for George Mason University.

Rex Grignon

Rex Grignon

Advisory Board Member

Rex Grignon is a pioneer in the field of computer animation. Currently, he is a co-founder and the CEO of Nimble Collective, a company founded in 2014 by high-profile industry animators out to democratize and simplify the complex and costly process of creating animation, for both professionals and amateur animators alike. Rex has been the Head of Character Animation on five blockbuster DreamWorks films: Antz (1998), Shrek (2001), Madagascar (2005), Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012) earning more than $2B at the box office.

He was responsible for the design and delivery of all animation on each film, including preproduction design, testing, planning, and creative oversight of all production work, supervising as many as 78 animators across three studio locations. It was his responsibility to ensure consistency, on-time delivery, and the highest quality animation standards that have come to define DreamWorks films. He is regarded as a strong, passionate, creative leader who brings out the best in his team and delivers under pressure.

His innovative thinking has helped forge the production processes at DreamWorks and contributed greatly to a culture of strong yet collaborative problem-solvers. In addition to his career as animation director, Rex has taught the craft at conferences, festivals, colleges and universities around the world. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Rick Guidotti

Rick Guidotti

Advisory Board Member

Rick Guidotti, an award-winning photographer, has spent the past eighteen years collaborating internationally with advocacy organizations/NGOs, medical schools, universities and other educational institutions to effect a sea-change in societal attitudes towards individuals living with genetic, physical, behavioral or intellectual difference; his work has been published in newspapers, magazines and journals as diverse as Elle, GQ, People, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, The Lancet, Spirituality and Health, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly and LIFE Magazine.

Rick is the founder and director of Positive Exposure, an innovative arts, education and advocacy organization working with individuals living with genetic difference. Positive Exposure utilizes the visual arts to significantly impact the fields of genetics, mental health and human rights. The Positive Exposure photographic exhibition premiered at the People’s Genome Celebration, June 2001, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and continues to exhibit in galleries, museums and public arenas internationally. Positive Exposure is the subject of critically acclaimed Kartemquin Film’s ON BEAUTY. Positive Exposure’ s powerful collection of imagery, film and narratives celebrates the richness and beauty of human diversity and dignity.

Skyler Jett

Skyler Jett

Advisory Board Member

Skyler Jett is an award-winning, Grammy Recognized vocalist and one of the most sought after Singer/Songwriter and Background Vocal Producers in the Music Industry. Skyler’s impressive resume includes some of the biggest recording artists of our times. His accolades include receiving a Grammy Award-embossed plaque from NARAS for singing with Celine Dion on the Grammy-winning hit song “My Heart Will Go On” from the blockbuster hit film “Titanic.”

This was also Record Of The Year (1998) and is still the highest grossing movie theme song of all time. Skyler’s other movie credits include Background Vocal arrangement on “I’m Every Woman” from the blockbuster hit film “The Body Guard”, also Movie Of The Year (1992), featuring Whitney Houston; “Tap” with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.; “A Smile Like Yours” with Greg Kinnear; Disney’s “Hercules”; James Bond 007 “License To Kill”; “Big Bully” with Rick Moranis and Tom Arnold; and “Ghostdad” with Bill Cosby.

From 2003-2007 Skyler also played a pivotal role in reintroducing Sly Stone back to the World Stage for a European tour. Skyler performed with Sly in such venues as: The Montreux Jazz Festival; North Sea Jazz Festival; Cannes; Olympia, Paris; The Love Box Festival in London and the George Wallace Show, Las Vegas.

Jacqueline Kabat

Jacqueline Kabat

Advisory Board Member

Jacqueline Kabat recently moved to a three-acre ranch in Aromas, California after 17 years in New York City and Brooklyn. She has been involved in all aspects of stand-up comedy, comedy improvisation, and sketch writing since 1997. For a brief stint, Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler was her teacher, and she worked with Sex in the City’s Mario Cantone while warming up studio audiences at ABC Studios. Jacqueline has mc’d and done stand-up comedy at popular New York clubs like Gotham Comedy Club and Caroline’s on Broadway. She performed with New York-based improv troupe, Rash Behaviour, whose sketches received honorable mentions at the New York Independent Film Festival and can be seen on the Independent Film Channel.

Jacqueline has also written for Time Out New York and was featured in Body and Soul Magazine’s October 2007 issue in an article about the healing power of comedy improvisation. She teaches comedy improv at Fortune 500 corporations, medical centers, human potential centers, and high-end destinations spas around the country and Mexico. She has mc’d corporate events and has done comedy improv team building workshops with companies such as Bank of America, Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, Intuit, Southwest Airlines, eBay, and McGraw Hill.

Jacqueline has also worked at the Deepak Chopra Center, The Esalen Institute, Mount Madonna Center, and the Omega Institute. Currently, she is producing concerts at her ranch and sharing this little piece of heaven with other artists, teachers, and corporations who want to offer and have a place to collaborate with the philosophers, the visionaries, the artists, and anyone who wants to improve the human condition. Jacqueline’s passion is building and being part of creative, compassionate, and conscious communities. Her philosophy is: Creativity + Nature + A Supportive Authentic Community = Magic.

Kristian Kabuay

Kristian Kabuay

Advisory Board Member

Kristian Kabuay was born in the Philippines and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent his college years in the Philippines where he honed his knowledge about the native ancient writing system, Baybayin. Kristian is a self-taught artist influenced by calligraphy, graffiti, abstract art, indigenous culture, technology and Asian writing systems. As a leading authority for the propagation and instruction of the Philippine script, he developed a modern performance style of the writing system called Tulang Kalis (Poetry of the Sword) and introduced it as Filipino Calligraphy with a series of live demonstrations and lectures at the Asian Art Museum in October 2012.

He has spoken at numerous schools and institutions such as Stanford University, UC Berkeley, SF State University, University of the Philippines, National Anthropology Museum of Madrid, and Tokyo University. Currently based in San Francisco, Kristian has been tirelessly advocating a reawakening of the indigenous spirit through decolonization and Baybayin. Conscious of the role he plays, Kristian launched his own company around the script specializing custom art, translations, books and apparel. This lead to collaborations with t-shirt, hat and skateboard companies. Kristian completed a European tour of Paris, Madrid, London, and Brussels in July 2013 and is currently working on his 4th book, documentary and online school.

Linda Kahl

Linda Kahl

Advisory Board Member

Linda Kahl is a passionate and experienced advocate for biotechnology in the public interest. She currently serves as Senior Counsel and Director of Ownership, Sharing and Innovation for the BioBricks Foundation, where she works with members of the scientific research community, industry leaders, policy makers, legal professionals and other stakeholders to create legal frameworks, policy initiatives and infrastructure supporting open innovation and social impact in field of synthetic biology. Linda is also a Policy Fellow with the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge, and serves on the Policy and Practices committee for the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition.

Originally trained as a research scientist, Linda received her B.S. degree in Biology from UCLA, her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Princeton University, and completed postdoctoral studies in genetics at UC Berkeley. Linda transitioned to law and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Santa Clara University School of Law, with an emphasis in Intellectual Property Law, and has been admitted to practice in California and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Linda founded and directs SciScript Communications, a consulting firm providing strategic planning and scientific writing services to biotechnology companies, government agencies, universities and research institutes in the areas of biomarker discovery, cancer research, genomics, infectious and chronic disease, medical economics, molecular diagnostics, and synthetic biology. Linda has received numerous awards and her work is helping shape the policies and practices of government, research institutions, funding organizations, and publishers that impact ownership and access to foundational biotechnologies. When she’s not working to promote biotechnology for public good, Linda enjoys cooking for her family and camping along the Pacific Northwest with her husband Jeff.

Marilyn King

Marilyn King

Advisory Board Member

Marilyn King is a two-time Olympian in the five event Pentathlon. Her 20-year athletic career includes five national titles and a World Record This extraordinary experience and resulting research led to a 35-year career as an expert in the field of exceptional human performance. Her work focuses on systemic change in the areas of business, education and peace. Marilyn’s participation in an international, five- year business think tank led to a career conducting programs for senior executives with global responsibilities at Fortune 500 companies.

Her corporate clients include: AT&T, IBM, Ikea, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, Starbucks and Wells Fargo. Marilyn has also presented at over 200 national and international education conferences with academicians and researchers who are designing the schools of the future. Her most pioneering work, a joint Russian-American venture called “The Peace Team” resulted in two opportunities to speak at the United Nations and an invitation to create a U.N. sub-committee on the role of sport in peacebuilding.

Tony Klinger

Tony Klinger

Advisory Board Member

At school in the UK Tony won two national prizes from writing competitions and with some pals ran a successful underground school magazine. By the age of 18 Tony was making his own small professional films that received wide public distribution. Klinger worked on the iconic TV series “The Avengers” and in the following years wrote and/ or produced films all over the world such as “The Kids are Alright”, “Deep Purple Rises Over Japan”, “The Butterfly Ball” and many more. Over a distinguished, award-winning career Tony served as company President or Chief Executive for media companies in the UK and USA.Tony later worked in partnership with his father, the legendary film producer, Michael Klinger, who made such films as “Get Carter” “Repulsion” “Cul-de-Sac” and worked together with him on “Gold” “Shout at the Devil” and “Rachel’s Man” and several others Tony made with others such as “Full Circle”.

He knows what it’s like to work with stars having done so with people like Jack Nicholson, Peter Ustinov, Lee Marvin, Sir John Gielgud, Roger Moore, Deep Purple, Barbara Parkins, The Who, Peter Finch, Susannah York, Michael Caine and many others. Tony has led more than a hundred productions ranging from documentaries to cinema feature films and TV movies of the week in various leading roles in more than thirty countries.Klinger is also a Founder / Director of “CREATIVE DEN” a creative industries Angel Investor group. Tony’s next two feature films are the story of “Havana”, a girl whose growth into a woman is warped by circumstances beyond her control; this is her opportunity to change the world around her. He is the founder of Give-Get-Go – a force for creativity underpinning an enhanced work experience and performance. Tony, who was born in London, has won many international awards for all aspects of his work among which are The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Education, The London Film Festival, The San Sebastian Film Festival and many Fuji and Kodak prizes.

Garth Lewis

Garth Lewis

Advisory Board Member

Garth Lewis is a Principal at Samsung Research America where he is helping to create the products and services of tomorrow. Prior to joining Samsung, he worked at Microsoft, Apple, HBO, and various Silicon Valley startups. He received his M.A. in Journalism at U.C. Berkeley with an emphasis in documentary filmmaking. His credits include “Sorority” which won the Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival and “Hillside” a ground-breaking improvisational drama for Disney. He has worked on innovative media products including the world’s first consumer handheld device, digital video recorder, and interactive TV service.

Kristine Maltrud

Kristine Maltrud

Advisory Board Member

ArtSpark’s CEO/Founder is a life-long dance and theater artist, director and producer with a passion for the arts and creativity. She is committed to arts support networks and mechanisms, including new business models that work for artists and creators, the intersection of art and technology, social impact investing, philanthropy, and creative entrepreneurship. Kristine has been a community facilitator for over 20 years, including leadership development, strategic planning, fundraising, curriculum development and program evaluation. The inspiration for ArtSpark came from many years of being successfully funded as an artist in NYC – which often turned out to be gigs that paid pennies per hour.

Deb Marois

Deb Marois

Advisory Board Member

Deb Marois believes that change begins when our hearts are touched and our imaginations are sparked. She specializes in facilitating collaborative action to create healthier communities and a more just world. As the founder of Converge Consulting Research and Training, Deb leads a variety of collaborative planning, implementation and research projects on issues ranging from mental health innovation, obesity prevention, and youth engagement to poverty alleviation, climate adaptation, and regional equity. She works with clients to convene diverse participants, create shared goals and advance toward a common vision.

Not one to walk a traditional path, Deb sees beyond polarities and listens deeply to clarify issues, discover desired outcomes and make new connections. She offers expertise in complex community change initiatives and collective impact; civic engagement; consensus decision making and conflict resolution; and program evaluation and qualitative research.

Over the last 25 years, Deb has trained hundreds of government and nonprofit staff, health and human service professionals, educators, advocates, youth, faith-based and neighborhood leaders in asset-based community development, participatory strategic planning, collaborative leadership and group facilitation skills. A lifelong learner, Deb holds a Master’s of Science degree in Community Development from UC Davis and recently completed teacher training in Open Floor, a mindful movement practice that uses dance, music and inquiry to cultivate presence, optimal health and conscious embodiment.

Rina Mehta

Rina Mehta

Advisory Board Member

Rina Mehta began studying Kathak under internationally renowned Kathak master and guru, Pandit Chitresh Das in 2000. Since joining the Chitresh Das Dance Company shortly after, she has performed in such critically-acclaimed productions such as Pancha Jati, Shabd, and Sita Haran. She has received the Alliance for California Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant and twice been nominated for an Isodara Duncan Dance Award for Company performance as part of the Chitresh Das Dance Company.

She has performed as a soloist and with the company at such prestigious venues/festivals nationally and in India as REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theater), Meany Hall for Performing Arts (University of Washington), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, UCLA’s World Festival of Sacred Music, National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, and the Shaniwarwada Dance Festival in Pune.

Rina Mehta’s original works include Chandanbala, the classic Jain story interpreted through the Kathak tradition and Speak, a collaboration with Rachna Nivas (kathak) and tap dancers Michelle Dorrance and Dormeisha Sumbry-Edwards. Rina is the Executive Producer of UPAJ, a documentary on Pt. Chitresh Das’ groundbreaking collaboration with tap star Jason Samuels Smith, India Jazz Suites. Rina Mehta is a 2013 Fulbright Scholar in Kathak dance. She received her Bachelor of Arts in immunology and her Masters in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Betsy Morris

Betsy Morris

Advisory Board Member

Betsy Morris is an equity planning, sustainable community development researcher and consultant for 25 years in the Bay Area. She is also affordable housing advocate, researcher, and innovator; frequently asked to speak and present in public forums. With her husband, she managde the 4400 member East Bay Co housing Meetup, the largest intentional communities meetup in the world.

She is currently advising: Youth Spirit Artworks Tiny Home Village Project; Phoenix Rising Community/Ecovillage, Lake County, CA, ShadeTree Artists Cooperative, and Permanent Real Estate Cooperative; developing a cooperative loan fund with several partners, with small grant from People’s Life Fund. For more information see www. BetsyMorris.com, or profiles on Facebook and Linked-In.

Spence Murray

Spence Murray

Advisory Board Member

Turtel Onli

Turtel Onli

Advisory Board Member

Onli is a creative artist whose career has touched upon a variety of disciplines in fine and applied visual art. He has been an art therapist, educator, and illustrator. He has also distinguished himself in painting, drawing, illustration, publishing, fashion, and multimedia production. This includes an extensive exhibition and publication record. He is known for having coined the term Rhythmistic in the 1970s to interpret his stylizations which fuse primitive and futuristic concepts. This was manifested with several solo exhibitions at Chicago’s innovative Younger Gallery during that prolific period.

Onli earned a BFA and MAAT from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago which included studies in Paris France at the Sorbonne and the Centre Pompidou. He has work in the collections of The Cool Globes Public Art Exhibition, The Chicago Children’s Museum, The DuSable Museum, The Johnson Publishing Company, The estates of Mile Davis and Alice Coltrane, along with freelancing illustration for the Rolling Stones, McDonalds, Motown, MODE Avant Garde Magazine, the Paris Metro Magazine, and Holt, Rinehart, &Winston to name a few.

He has received many awards including Honorable Mention in the Salon Show at the Munster Center for Visual and Performing Art and the Prix Arts Electronica, a Laureate in the Concours des Dessin with the Foyer Internationale Accueil de Paris. His artwork was selected for presentation at FESTAC 1977: The Second World Festival of Black and African Art and Culture in Lagos Nigeria. Between 1990 and now he is a regular Visiting Artist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a three time solo exhibitor at the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago.

Michael Pankow

Michael Pankow

Advisory Board Member

Michael S. Pankow is the Director of the Art of Dying Institute and Director, Institutional Advancement at the New York Open Center, the premier urban center for integrative education, professional advancement and personal transformation. Michael also manages a private consultancy practice with a focus on executive coaching, board leadership, partnership development and working with start up initiatives and organizations experiencing managed change/growth situations.

He has 19 years of experience as a frontline fundraiser cultivating and maintaining strategic funding relationships; connecting major individual, corporate, and foundation donors with an organization’s vision/mission; developing and managing boards and donor committees; researching, writing, and creating tailored opportunities for investors to engage, including private, issue-based investment opportunities; cultivation events; partnerships; crowdfunding, and other membership and donor activities. Prior to joining the Open Center and the Art of Dying Institute, Michael worked at Village Health Works, Peace Direct, Geneva Global, HIV Law Project, and Human Rights Watch among others.

Gordon Quinn

Gordon Quinn

Advisory Board Member

Artistic Director and co-founder of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 years. With his first film Home for Life (1966) – which Roger Ebert called “extraordinarily moving” – Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making cinéma vérité films that investigate and critique society via the unfolding lives of real people.

At Kartemquin, Gordon has created a legacy of making high-quality, social-issue documentaries. such as Hoop Dreams (1994), the PBS series The New Americans (2003), and the Emmy Award-winning films The Interrupters (2011), The Trials of Muhammad Ali (2013), and Life Itself (2014), and The Homestretch (2014). Whether as a director or as an executive producer, Gordon has helped creatively shape over 60 Kartemquin films, and been integral to the creation of countless more documentaries from around the world.

A lifelong supporter of public and community media, he has served on the boards of several organizations including The Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago Access Network Television, and The Public Square Advisory Committee. He was also a key leader in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. In 2015, the International Documentary Association (IDA) honored Gordon with their Career Achievement Award in recognition of his services to documentary filmmaking.

Janet Saad-Cook

Janet Saad-Cook

Advisory Board Member

Janet Saad-Cook’s art lies at the intersection of light and space and time. Honored as a pioneer and groundbreaker in the field of transdisciplinary art, she invented new ways to create art by fusing sunlight, time, reflection and motion. Working with pure wavelengths of light coming from the sun, Saad-Cook combines ancient sun marking techniques with 21st century technology to create Sun Drawings, solar sculptures that attune viewers to the cosmos, revealing glimpses of the grand order of the universe and creating a link with all humanity. To experience Sun Drawings is to see brilliant images of light soar across walls, evolving and dissolving as the sun makes its daily sweep of the earth. The changing images evoke a calming sense of connection to the natural world, to silent rhythms of the earth and sky, marking hours, days and seasons.

Each Sun Drawing works with the path of sunlight relative to the point on earth where it resides, orienting viewers in time and space. Her art is distinguished by nearly four decades of collaboration with scientists, engineers and architects, along with independent research in the field of Archaeoastronomy. She has presented papers about her work at scientific institutions such as MIT, The Royal Institution of Great Britain, The Santa Fe Institute, and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), among others, and lectures extensively in the US and abroad.

Her art is in permanent collections of major public institutions such as MIT, the Smithsonian Institution, and Boston University, as well as in private collections in the USA and abroad. For nearly forty years Saad-Cook has been harnessing the sun to create art that inspires the human spirit, focusing the connection of all humanity through the cycle of the sun. Individuals who experience her art are moved to look at their world in new ways, seeing time as motion in harmony with the earth and sky. She draws upon the certainty of the sun’s daily and seasonal return to create hope in our lives and a sense of human connection by showing that the cycle of the sun is a bond shared by all humanity. Images of her art can be seen on her web site: www.janetsaadcook.com

Paul Saltzman

Paul Saltzman

Advisory Board Member

Paul Saltzman is a two-time Emmy Award-winning, Toronto-based film and television director- producer known for over 300 productions. He’s also known worldwide as an educator and mentor. In 1968, he learned meditation at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India, an experience that changed his life. There, he photographed the Beatles, Mia Farrow, Donovan and Mike Love. In 1968-69 he assisted in the birth of a new film format as second-unit director and production manager of the first IMAX film, produced for the Osaka 1970 World’s Fair.

In 2008, he made his feature-film directorial debut with Prom Night in Mississippi, a feature documentary with Morgan Freeman, which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, 2009. In 2011, he founded the non-profit organization Moving Beyond Prejudice to work with students, youth-at-risk, community groups and police forces utilizing Prom Night in Mississippi and The Last White Knight. In December 2011, Paul was invited to the White House to screen his prom movie and hold a Moving Beyond Prejudice discussion with the audience. Paul is a member of the Director’s Guild of Canada and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Tom Schlesinger

Tom Schlesinger

Advisory Board Member

Tom Schlesinger facilitates storytelling trainings at Pixar, Lucas film, the American Film Institute, the WGA, and the DGA. He also facilitates human potential workshops like: Art as Transformation at UCLA; Myths, Dreams and Movies at the Esalen Institute and The California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology; and Creative Flow: the Inner Reaches of Outer Space, at the Academy of Art in Munich and the Working Group in Toronto. Tom was story consultant on the Academy Award-winning Nowhere in Africa and the HBO documentaries A Small Act and Prom Night in Mississippi, featuring Morgan Freeman.

Joan Sieber

Joan Sieber

Advisory Board Member

Joan Sieber is professor of psychology at Cal State East Bay emerita, editor-in- chief emerita of Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, and co-Executive Director and President of Paintbrush Diplomacy, Inc.. She is embarking on her third career as an artist, and currently completing her second year as a returning student in the Studio Art Department at College of San Mateo. She has been very active in bringing art to students at Hayward Unified School District, teaching teachers to integrate art into the regular curriculum, and is currently deeply involved with HUSD in developing a master plan for a sustainable K-12 visual and performing arts curriculum with strong ties to the community and to artists around the country and world.

Marc Smolowitz

Marc Smolowitz

Advisory Board Member

Marc Smolowitz (IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0810625/) is a multi-award winning director, producer and executive producer with 25+ years of experience across all aspects of the entertainment and media business. His career focus has been powerful social issue filmmaking across all genres. His long list of credits includes films that have screened at top-tier festivals – Sundance, Berlinale, AFI Docs, IDFA, Tokyo, Melbourne, Viennale, among others – and been released worldwide theatrically, across all forms of television, and on VOD/Digital/Educational platforms.

Jim Sorensen

Jim Sorensen

Advisory Board Member

John Sorensen is coordinating director of the Conscious Elders Network. As a youth he heard the aerospace call and followed it for 45 years of engineering design and entrepreneurial experiences. Twelve years ago John heard another, deeper calling – time to re-invent and dedicate himself to humanitarian service. He uses earlier experiences to fulfill that calling as an elder strategist for social and environmental justice.

Carol Tang

Carol Tang

Advisory Board Member

Carol Tang, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of San Francisco’s Children’s Creativity Museum. Since she joined the museum in January 2015, the museum has opened four new exhibitions and attendance has increased by over 15%. In previous positions, Carol was a Program Officer at the Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation leading its local out-of-school time STEM (science, technology, engineering and math education) and national character development grantmaking strategy. Early in her career, Carol was a professor of paleontology and a NASA astrobiologist, and her publications include articles on the Jurassic Period for the Encyclopaedia Britannica online.

Alfredo Vergara-Lobo

Alfredo Vergara-Lobo

Advisory Board Member

With backgrounds in education, social work, organizational change, and systems coaching, Alfredo brings years of experience with nonprofit and public entities domestically and abroad to his work with organizations and individuals. He received his MSW from the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and his BA from San Francisco State University. An expert in nonprofit partnerships, he was a founding consultant for the Strategic Solutions project, a national initiative to advance the field of nonprofit partnerships and fine tune knowledge and practice in that area.

Throughout his tenures as senior consultant at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and La Piana Associates, Alfredo has trained, coached, and consulted with hundreds of nonprofits, businesses, foundations, and government entities domestically and abroad, in English and in Spanish. His areas of expertise include strategic and business planning, board development, strategic partnerships, leadership development, succession planning, cultural competency, systems coaching, and organizational assessment, restructuring, and transformation.

Lucero Wallace

Lucero Wallace

Advisory Board Member

Lucero has been with the University for 14 years and has held the position of Director of University Scheduling for 9 of those years.She was one of the cofounders of our GANAS program and felt proud as she watched students in the GANAS program graduate this year. She has a background in IT and with her husband Michael, who works in the art gallery here on campus, created an art finding and mapping mobile app called Tuux. She is on the Board of Directors for Hopalong Animal Rescue whose mission is to eliminate the euthanasia of cats and dogs through rescue and spay/neuter programs. During her downtime she loves gardening, cycling and walking. She is a member of our LEEP Taiko group and really loves playing the Taiko drums!

Michael Wertz

Michael Wertz

Advisory Board Member

Michael Wertz is a a noted illustrator, printmaker, Assistant Professor at the California College of the Arts, and friend to all four-pawed creatures. He hails from the gently rolling hills of Northerncalifornialand. His work has been recognized and awarded by Communication Arts, American Illustration, and 3 x 3. He has worked with museums like the Oakland Museum of California and the de Young, publications like the New York Times and Marin Magazine, and bands like Camper Van Beethoven and ALO. His images start with the pencil, and finish as digital collages, monoprints, letterpress prints, and screen prints. He loves bold, bright color in all formats. See Michael’s work at wertzateria.com.

Marty Weybret

Marty Weybret

Advisory Board Member

Martin “Marty” Weybret is the retired publisher of the Lodi News-Sentinel, a 10,000 circulation daily newspaper which his family owned from 1959 to 2015. A 1975 graduate of the Department of Journalism at San José State University, he was a newspaper reporter and copy editor before beginning work on the business side of the Sentinel in 1979. He served on the board of the California Newspaper Publishers Association for 20 years before joining the board of the California Press Foundation in 2015. He and his wife Christi have two grown sons.

Kari Wishingrad

Kari Wishingrad

Advisory Board Member

Growing up in New York City, Kari was heavily influenced in the arts by her fashion designer/artist father, David and her mother, Shirley, a writer. Weekend visits to the many galleries and museums New York City had to offer while attending a performing arts grammar school near Lincoln Center, led Kari into a world of artistic passion. Kari began performing on stage in musical and dramatic theater and dance at an early age also while studying art in various mediums at summer camp, grade school and then at SUNY New Paltz.

Kari continued performing in theater when she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area landing a role in “Tokens: A Play on the Plague”. Produced by Whoopi Goldberg, written by David Schein, and directed by Robert Ernst. “Tokens” ran for 32 extended performances at Theatre Artaud and won eleven Bay Area theater awards. In 2002 Kari turned her focus to film, voice over, industrials, television, print and commercials. She has acted in dozens of features and short independent films. Kari is currently producing a narrative film and documentary based on her poem, “SHE,” that celebrates the women of the Beat Generation.