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, Psy.D. | 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.
Jonathan Collier, Secretary
An Operations Management graduate of University of Colorado, Jonathan also has degrees in philosophy and the behavioral sciences. 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 is co-Founder of both Nevada County Community Alliance and Nevada City Sol Center. He is Chairman of the Nevada County Chapter of Emerald Growers Association and a member of the Executive Committee of the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance. He is a new Board member at BriarPatch Cooperative, a founding sponsor of Nevada County Arts Council’s 1st Annual Sierra Poetry Festival.
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. Shelly will be a key consultant for our Artists Activating Communities grant for 2017-18. We call this Belonging, a new community art program that looks at our vulnerable mountain home and the people who tend it, love it and depend on it. Working with our lead artist, a series of paintings and a film will emerge, manifesting as public art and tools for activism and bridge-building.
Originally from Guam, Isis is co-owner of The Haven Underground in Nevada City, now at the epicenter of a creative and dynamic community locally. As a producer, she draws holistic and initiatory practices into widely accessible forums, helping to bring to life global symposia and festivals such as Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis, and the Great Convergence in Egypt. Her passion for travel and learning about diverse cultures combined with her deep respect of the land and the indigenous people who inhabit it, has led to a role for Isis as a bridge builder between the younger generation and the wisdom keepers of the planet. Isis is a key member of our Marketing Committee and is helping us envisage a new model of festival, as well as more projects centered around our minority indigenous populations. Through Isis, we were able to bring Climbing PoeTree to Nevada County for the first time as part of our inaugural Sierra Poetry Festival in 2017. Isis will continue to work with us on the development of a youth oriented, diverse poetry festival culture into the future.
Liz is new to Nevada County Arts, having recently returned to Nevada County after eight years as School Arts Coordinator at Inyo Council for the Arts. There she worked with schools, and Inyo’s County Office of Education, on planning and implementing after school arts classes, professional development for teachers, performances, an art docent program, and much more. Previous to her move to the Eastern Sierras, Liz taught English and AP Government at two leading Nevada County high schools. She also served as President of the Board for the Miners Foundry Cultural Center during a successful capital campaign to preserve its historic buildings. Liz has a strong background in community service and fund development and has been honored for her work with Daughters of the American Revolution and Music in the Mountains. She joins our Board of Directors to grow into a leadership role within our Arts Education Committee.
Lisa owns Lisa Quinn Home, a design consultancy based in Nevada City serving clients across California. She is an Emmy award-winning TV host, best-selling author, and interior designer. She is a contributor to Better Homes and Gardens, Redbook, Life, and PARADE magazines; has contributed to Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, HGTV, The New York Daily News, and Oprah; and designed sets for the National Geographic Society and the Discovery Channel. "Home with Lisa Quinn" is nationally syndicated on the Live Well Network. She currently serves as spokesperson for IKEA, Kelly Moore Paints, Delta Shower Doors. Lisa loves marketing, and is helping Nevada County Arts Council in the second phase of its rebrand, with a special focus on digital media and strategic planning.
Ron is a successful self-taught sculptor from San Diego with a studio in Nevada County from where he now lives and works. He has a diverse portfolio of public and private commissions, as well as museum and commercial gallery exhibitions across the country, including – here in California – the Nofufi Gallery, California Center for the Arts, LA Art, Los Angeles Art Expo and San Diego Art Institute. His public art can be found at Port of San Diego and Bayside Park in Chula Vista, and his corporate and private collections and commissions can be found across the State. Ron has been reviewed widely in publications across the US dating all the way back to his early work in Matlock. Ron co-Chairs our Visual Arts Committee, through which our new Culture Lode salon style meet-ups are organized.
Renee has a 30-year career in human resources and labor relations within public service and is experienced in fund development through her service as a board member for non-profit boards such as Monterey Jazz Festival, Congregation Beth Israel, Jewish Food Festival, Artists Equity, Monterey County Artists Studio Tour, Pacific Grove Art Center and Sun Street Recovery Center. Since 2016 she has taught as a university professor and served as an arbitrator and mediator of labor and employment disputes through her own practice. She has an MA in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding and a BS in Business, Management and Economics and comes from a rich multi-racial, multi-faith background. She moved to Nevada County twelve months ago but spends a third of her time teaching in San Francisco. Renee will be working with us specifically on fund development as we move into a new phase of revenue diversification towards a more sustainable business model for Nevada County Arts Council.
Stan is an Educational Consultant and Chair of the Board of Directors of the John Muir Charter School. He is a Field Coach for Teaching Interns and a Coach for aspiring School Administrators through Sacramento County Office of Education. Prior to retiring he was the Associate Superintendent for Educational Services for the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office. He was Superintendent of the Twin Ridges Elementary School District which at that time had 11 charter schools throughout Northern California. He was a School Principal for 20 years and a classroom teacher and has taught at the University level at Wilkes College of Fine Arts and National University. Stan is currently an exhibiting abstract painter – and he sits on our Education Committee, serving our partnership with California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE).
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.
Jude Bischoff is a professional artist residing in Cedar Ridge. He helped our Salon Series through its transition into Culture Lode, and is an active member of both our Marketing and Visual Arts Committees. Having led our six-week intensive on Arts Marketing & Business Bootcamp for two years Jude is now co-producing our forthcoming The Business of Art Conference, scheduled for early 2108. Jude's own art is in collections throughout the country – he shows with The Society of Fine Artists in San Francisco, is actively collected in the Lake Tahoe basin and shows at various art festivals such as Sun Valley, Park City UT and Jackson WY.
A long time Gallery owner from Big Sur, Franceska worked at the Mowen Solinsky Gallery in Nevada City from 2004 to 2014 as Gallery and Sales Manager until the owner passed away. At that time, she continued the 2,500 square foot contemporary art gallery, changing its name to The Alexander Gallery in October 2014. The gallery shows and sells over 100 local, regional and national artists and craftsman. Franceska sits on our Visual Arts Committee and is lead for our Annual Nevada County Visual Artist & Gallery Guide, the inaugural edition of which will be published in late June as part of a broader vision to position Nevada County as a premier visual arts destination. With Franceska’s help we will continue to partner with Sierra FoodWineArt, thus ensuring maximum reach and distribution – in and far beyond Nevada County.
Ron is a political artist in paint and mixed media. He was an executive in the solar power industry for 35 years, actively perusing his own love of the visual arts. He has a BA in Fine Arts from the State University of New York at Stonybrook, where he enjoyed training in the visual arts and art history. He serves on our Visual Arts Committee for NCArts, and sits on the Finance Committee for South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), producers of the Wild & Scenic Environment Film Festival with whom we partner. Ron is a board member for Andalay Solar, a publically held solar company.
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.
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.