Santa Cruz County Arts Commission
The mission of the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission is to promote, expand and plan for the cultural life of Santa Cruz County and to bring artists and arts organizations together with government for the benefit of all the citizens of the County.
Meets six times each year, on a Monday, at 4:30 P.M.
Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz
Have a question? Send us an email.
Arts Commission Members
James was raised in Detroit, Michigan, has lived in Santa Cruz County since 1987, has two grown children and two grandchildren. He has been a board member of the California Grey Bears. His hobbies include creating visual art, hiking, and long-distance backpacking. James has an AA in studio art, a BS in wildlife management, MPA in public administration, and MA in zoology. He worked 20 years as a wildlife biologist and 13 years as a biologist/agriculture inspector. Jim joined the Commission to expand the Commission's role in showcasing our county's high quality arts, to increase the amount of good art in public places, and to help make our county an essential destination for people seeking excellence in visual and performing parts.
Peggy was raised in Palo Alto, California but has lived in Santa Cruz since 1972. She graduated from University of the Pacific with a Bachelor of Music, then went to Stanford for her Master’s degree in Music. She taught performing arts at the high school level, specializing in choral and orchestral music as well as directing numerous musicals. Following her high school teaching career, Peggy and her husband owned a marketing and printing firm which specialized in high end marketing materials and art lithography. At that time she also taught music part-time at Cabrillo College. Peggy has been on the Cabrillo Music Festival Board and has continued to be involved in her own musical pursuits of piano, harpsichord and celtic harp. Now retired, Peggy is active in the Rotary Club of Santa Cruz Sunrise, and has been involved in starting their Arts in the Afternoon project, which has been a supporter of arts programs at the Middle School level. With the electronic pianos, power supplies and headsets purchased by Sunrise Rotary, Peggy teaches classroom piano at the Middle School level. Peggy and her husband Jim have two daughters and one grandson. They live in the Santa Cruz mountains in a home that they built themselves. Since retiring they planted a small vineyard and now market their wine under the label “Alberti Vineyard”. Besides music, Peggy’s interests include gardening, travel, quilting, knitting, reading and cooking.
Joanna was born and raised in Fresno, California. She graduated from Cal State University Fresno, majoring in Speech Communication. She went back to school to do graduate work in Education of the Deaf, working in the local school district as a teacher. In 1972 Joanna moved to San Jose and began a new career in Real Estate. After successfully owning a Century 21 franchise from 1980 – 1986, she began her training career by becoming the Director of Recruiting and Training for Better Homes and Gardens in San Jose until 2000. When she got a call from Robert Bailey, the CEO of Bailey Properties in Santa Cruz, CA to inquire if she would like the same job in Santa Cruz, and live in her beach house, the answer was YES! Power Training was born and Bailey Properties continues to be the field-testing facility for all updates to this course.
Joanna is a mother and the grandmother of Sara. Joanna enjoys spending time at the beach, playing with Sara and traveling. Joanna served on the City of San Jose Art Commission from 1996-2002. This experience gave her a great deal of background on the arts programs in the City of San Jose. She also has performed both in theater and as a motivational speaker. She joined the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission in the hopes her past experience would be of benefit to the residents of Santa Cruz County.
I have been an artist for 22 years, and enjoy working in a variety of media and processes including sculpting in stone, casting in bronze and glass; printmaking; fabric collage; and painting with acrylic, oil and encaustics. As a volunteer, I have curated and co-curated twelve visual art exhibits for the Pajaro Valley Arts Council: served as a mentor to other curators; and have served as a Gallery Committee member for PVAC for nine years. For the past three years, I have co-curated (for PVAC) exhibitions of sculpture for an outdoor venue at Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens. This exhibit was pivotal to my interest in public art. As a result, I applied to be a member of the Public Arts Commission.
As a teacher and founder Santa Cruz Children's School the arts and children have been central to my life for many years. Taught sculpture, pastel, watercolor, and silk painting. Directing and producing children's theater has been a passion. Integrating art, expression, and beauty are essential to a healthy happy life. I live in Aptos and am inspired by the beauty of our area. Artists, musician, poets,dancers and actors enrich our community life. Supporting creativity in all of its forms is my motivation in serving on the Arts Commission. The Commission advocates for public funds to create artistic opportunity in our county. I am proud to be a member!
Cynthia has lived in Santa Cruz County for 33 years, has been a self employed realtor for 23 years. She attended Weber College of Nursing and University of San Francisco B.S.O.B.
Serving the Muse - Cynthia served as board president for the San Francisco Pickle Family Circus, Tandy Beal & Company for 9 years. She is currently a director and previously served as marketing VP for the Santa Cruz County Symphony. Cynthia is a founding board member of the Aptos Academy, a director for the past 14 years. As part of the Monterey Symphonic Chorus, she has traveled to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of IONA, seat of Celtic Spirituality; in summer 2009, the chorus sang at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. for President Obama.
Serving Community - During the summer months, Cynthia serves as a nurse, part of a medical/dental team at Little Flock orphanage in Southern India . She walked 350 miles across Northern Spain on a pilgrimage - The Camino Santiago de Campostella - in 2004. She climbed Wayan Picchu, the mountain near Macchu Picchu, Peru in 2005. Cynthia worked as a loan executive to the United Way of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties for five years during her 17-year career with Pacific Bell. Cynthia was part of a Katrina Animal rescue team, rescuing 100 animals flown into Monterey Airport from Iberia, Louisiana, helped care and transport them to a shelter facility in Santa Cruz.
Serving Family - Cynthia has 3 great adult children. Melanie is an artist, a comedian with Second City, has an MBA and is working on her PhD. Adam served as an army ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan; he is now a Los Angeles County firefighter. Ashley graduated from Menlo College in Atherton. CA, manages a medical office, and has a California Real Estate License.
In addition to serving on the County Arts Commission, Paul serves on the City of Watsonville Public Art Commission. He owns and operates a small business in Watsonville, Monterey Bay Murals. For over seven years he has been a Behavior Technician, working with Autistic students in a special day class at Rolling Hills Middle School for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Paul recently completed a mural at Rolling Hills, “Maya Time,” which is in the style of a mandala; more on this mural and others that he has worked on can be seen at: www.montereybaymurals.com.
Paul, a lifelong resident of Watsonville, is a graduate of Watsonville High School, a graduate of Cabrillo College with an Associated Arts Degree, and a Cal State University of Monterey Bay (CSUMB) graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Visual and Public Art, with an emphasis in Mural Painting and Arts Education. Currently, he is in the Cal State Teach Program at CSUMB where he is working on obtaining his certification in teaching multiple subjects. His goal is to receive a Masters in Arts and Arts Education and, if possible, a P.H. D in art. Paul is honored to serve on the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission. His vision is to beautify the city of Watsonville, along with the County of Santa Cruz and the world, through art. He believes in making art accessible and affordable for all to see and experience, and he values public interests and ideas that pertain to art and beautifying our environment.
Leslie was born in the Bay Area spending her first few years living in San Francisco with a move to Marin County. Eventually she lived in the Napa Valley for several years and then returned to the West Marin Coast. The move to Felton occurred 13 years ago. She has 3 adult children and 6 delicious grandchildren. Leslie has a B.A. in Multi-Cultural Studies with a double emphasis on Latino Studies and West African History. She has been an active member of the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party serving on the Executive Board for the past 8 years and is currently the Chair of Ways & Means. Leslie has been the Sales Manager for 17 years for one of the most iconic winemakers in the United States and has her own business, Coastal Celebrations!, which implements fund-raising events for Democratic candidates as well as non-profit organizations.
While living in Bolinas, Leslie was the Assistant Director for the Bolinas Museum and Galleries, working with artists on a daily basis. Included in her duties was the installation of art exhibits every 4 to 6 weeks within 3 galleries, coordinating volunteers, planning and setting up artist receptions and implementing fund-raising events. She developed a monthly program to bring art into a school for "at risk" boys with the first artist being Phil Frank, the writer and artist of the famous Farley comic strip. Another artist worked with the boys over a period of time building a very large and meaningful totem pole. She also developed and led art and history tours for grade school children. Her emphasis was and still is on bringing the world of art to children.
Leslie realizes full well the impact art has on our everyday lives and is in awe of the creative spirit. When art is placed within a space, one finds calm. When sculptures are presented in public spaces, she is convinced this allows people to move their minds from the haste of everyday life into a mind space which is much more quieting. From the gift of music to photography, theater and the fine arts, the art realm is extremely crucial to the well being of humanity and therefore, to our community.
Though born in Hollywood, I moved with my family to Cupertino when my father was transferred by Lockheed to its new facility in Sunnyvale. I worked 32 years at Lockheed in the Computer Information field and retired in mid-2002. I earned a B.A in Bus Admin / CIS (Computer Information Systems) from California State University at San Jose and a MBA in CIS / Project Mgmt from Golden Gate University. I purchased a home in Boulder Creek in March 1990 and never looked back.
I became a member of the Boulder Creek Historical Society in 1996 and was Secretary / Treasurer when it was purchasing property to establish its museum permanently. In January 2003 I became the Executive Director of the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.
As Executive Director I have worked with my Board to incorporate many positive changes in the fundraising, operation, and partnering with the local community and other non-profits. I was involved with listing the San Lorenzo Valley Museum church building on the National Register of Historic Places and changing the 501C3 name from Boulder Creek Historical Society to San Lorenzo Valley Historical Society. I was a founding member and Chair of the Santa Cruz County Museums Partnership, which included 32 museums and art galleries in its initial year and grew. I have worked with the San Lorenzo Valley staff to partner with artists for an annual art exhibit on the Community Wall located at the Santa Cruz County Government building.
I am the Chair of the Santa Cruz County Historic Resources Commission and am very excited to be a member of the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission.