Our Board of Directors


Jon Blinder | President

With 20 years of Board experience, Jon was President of the Board of Directors for The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley for almost 9 years out of his 13 in service. He has deep experience working in Public Benefit Corporations, including organizational, fund development and public outreach. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Hospice of the Foothills, and of the Board of Directors at Nevada County Economic Resource Council – representing the arts community through his role with NCArts. Originally from New York, Jon has lived in Nevada County for almost 30 years and currently lives in Nevada City. He is the only remaining founding member of Nevada County Arts Council (NCArts) in its current form. Jon chairs our Executive, Fund Development and Board Development Committees.

Brian Buckley, Vice-President

Brian is an Educator. He has been a teacher, coach, professional development specialist, principal, and Superintendent in Nevada, Mendocino, and Tulare counties. He has served as a board member for NCArts since 2010, as well as serving as Executive Director between 2013-15.  Other Nevada County Board memberships include the Friendship Club, North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center, Nevada County Composers Cooperative, and Advisory Board Memberships with Music in the Mountains and InConcertSierra. Brian currently chairs our Education Committee and is program lead for our expanding Artists in Schools Program initiatives.

John Bush, Treasurer

John is Treasurer of NCArts and he also performs its bookkeeping function.  His expertise is in financial and general management of for-profit and non-profit organizations. He is also an experienced counselor and business coach and has served in leadership roles with Nevada County Arts organizations, including The Center for the Arts, Music in the Mountains and The Foothill Theater Company. John chairs our Finance and Auditing Committees.

Michelle Amador

Michelle Amador is member of the Board of Directors for Nevada County Arts Council. She is an artist and experienced arts leader, currently serving as Director of Development for the Mark Morris Dance Group in New York. Prior to this, she provided interim leadership for Issue Project Room as it grew from an experimental arts organization into an influential cultural hub. She has worked for award-winning string quartet ETHEL and San Jose and San Francisco jazz organizations on the West Coast. As a published singer-songwriter and performer, she has been featured at BAM Cafe, Pete's Candy Store,and LA's Hotel Café, among others. Her music has been featured on NPR, Swiss Television, and radio stations worldwide as well as through collaborative art works at the Laumeiere Sculpture Garden and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. She is a member of Women of Color in the Arts. Her website can be found here.

Catharine Bramkamp

Catharine Bramkamp is Chief Storytelling Officer for various organizations across California, including - closer to home - Nevada County Economic Resource Council. She is also a writing coach, author of 15 books, a poetry anthology editor and conference organizer. She and her husband Andrew Hutchins, raised two boys in Sonoma County where she worked for United Way of the Wine Country, Sonoma State University, the wine industry and taught at three universities. A world traveler, her favorite countries invariably include a thriving wine and beer culture. 

Jonathan Collier, Secretary

Jonathan attended the University of Colorado, where he focused his studies on business, philosophy, the behavioral sciences, and poetry. A social and spiritual entrepreneur, his business consulting practice utilizes holonic integration to cultivate a harmonic and prosperous balance between self, social, ecological and spiritual interactions. Jonathan’s role with Nevada County Arts is to leverage opportunities that connect with, and support, the emerging cultural paradigm most clearly associated with our millennial generation, and he has joined our Marketing Committee to help steer this focus. Jonathan sits on the Board of Directors of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance and the Origins Council. He is also a Board member at BriarPatch Cooperative, a founding sponsor of Nevada County Arts Council’s Annual Sierra Poetry Festival.

Shelly Covert

Shelly joins our Board in July 2017 as our newest member. She is Secretary and Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Tribal Council; Nisenan Coordinator at the Nevada County Firehouse No. 1 Museum; and Executive Director, California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP). In these roles, respectively, she nourishes the cultivation of Nisenan culture, ensures the documentation of Tribal histories and genealogies; and oversees research, documentation, preservation and protection of California Indigenous culture more broadly. In relation to the Nisenan, Shelly also directs the annual Nisenan Heritage Day at Sierra College in Grass Valley and, in her spare time, is a musician – performing regularly with her band in Nevada City, Grass Valley and Truckee.

Jesse Locks

Jesse Locks was born and raised in Nevada City, CA.  She is a communications specialist with fifteen years of experience in publishing, film, radio, and multimedia. Currently, Jesse is the Festival Director of the award-winning Nevada City Film Festival, founder of Folk Trails Hiking Club, and owner of Locks Media Group, a creative marketing, communications and multimedia firm that works with non-profits, arts organizations and social good businesses. Her writing has been featured in publications such as Thrasher, Heckler, Alternative Press, Tape Op, Seattle Weekly, Arthur Magazine and ESPN. She was named one of the top 25 “New Creatives” in Northern California by Sacramento News & Review, one of 50 “Emerging Sages” by the Center for Non-Profit Leadership, and is an alumni of the National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture Leadership Institute. Jesse graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Literature and Journalism.

JoAnn Marie

JoAnn is Chair of our Literary Arts Committee, and one of the most networked people locally in terms of writing, poetry and the literary arts. Her background, however, is book selling and real estate lending – she’s a consummate businesswoman. Currently President at the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County, she is also Chair of Citizens Oversight Committee at Nevada County Library, a member of Nevada County Reads & Writes, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and County Libraries, and the Civil Grand Jury. JoAnn Marie is at the core of our work towards maintaining and growing a flourishing literary arts culture in Nevada County, starting with the continuation of our new flagship program, the annual Sierra Poetry Festival.

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