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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 residents of the County.
Commission meetings typically occur six times each year, generally on a Monday from 4:30-6:00 P.M.
Check the links below for more information about Arts Commission Meetings!
Arts Commission Members:
Learn about Santa Cruz County Arts Commission members by clicking their district below!
Information coming soon!
A native New Yorker, my husband and I moved to Santa Cruz in 1994 after residing in Honolulu for many years. I hold a B.A. in Biology, a certificate in Nonprofit Management, and a M.A. in Museum Studies; all of which reflect on my wide-ranging interests and curiosity in who and what makes the world go 'round. During my 20+ year career in museums, I've considered it a great privilege to manage the acquisition and care of biological, cultural and technological artifacts at the Computer History Museum, National Steinbeck Center, Bernice P. Bishop Museum and the Vanderbilt Museum. As an independent curator, I designed the 25th anniversary exhibition for Shakespeare Santa Cruz at the MAH (2006), and collaborated on exhibitions regarding public perceptions of Burning Man (Berkeley, 2005) and of graffiti (Seattle, 2004). As a published author, I have and continue to be fascinated by the building of and collecting from spontaneous memorials, which at first glance are the antithesis of formally vetted museum exhibitions and public art installations, yet communities establish profound collective memory from these collaborative, layered installations. During my near three decades in the County, I've served on the board of the Friends of Long Marine Lab during the formative years of the Seymour Center; volunteered for BeachCOMBERS at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories; and for state and regional museum associations. Home life includes "genealogizing," tending a pollinator garden, becoming a birder, hiking the Chaminade trails, and occasionally traveling far and wide. My Ukrainian-American heritage inspires my artistic endeavors writing pysanky and similarly decorated eggs and proud membership in the Ukrainian National Women's League of America (NorCal Branch 107). I'm excited to now serve the County as an Arts Commissioner.
Info coming soon.
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!
Valéria (“Val”) Miranda is the executive director of the Santa Cruz Art League and of Pajaro Valley Arts in Watsonville. She is passionate about the power of the arts and culture to change individuals, communities, and society. Val has worked in and with arts organizations since 1992. Though she dabbles in drawing and photography, dance has been her core artistic expression since she was a little kid in Rio de Janeiro, where she was born and raised. She is deeply committed to equitable access to all in the arts.
She was the Director of Education at the San Jose Museum of Art and at the Monterey Museum of Art. Val taught graduate and undergraduate art and museum education at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for 7 years. She also consults in equity, diversity, and inclusion, nonprofit administration, education, strategic planning, executive coaching, and fundraising. Her desire to help arts organizations move from surviving to thriving led Val to pursue an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. She is a trained facilitator of Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists, through Springboard for the Arts.
Val is a 2019 Americans for the Arts’ Leaders of Color Forum Fellow, a 2017 National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Leadership Fellow, a 2013 graduate of the Multicultural Artists Leadership Institute at the School of Arts & Culture @ Mexican Heritage Plaza, and a 2001 graduate of the Packard Foundation’s Arts Leadership for the Future. Val serves on the board of Arts Council Santa Cruz County, Tannery World Dance Cultural Center, Visit Santa Cruz, and is an Arts Commissioner with the City of Santa Cruz.
Taj Leahy is a family man and a community leader who has his hands in many arenas. His current goals are supporting The Arts through events that get people together and talking.Taj is an accomplished DJ and has a passion for getting crowds moving. He believes that there are many ways to strengthen community and dancing together is a big step in the right direction. Overall Taj is excited about The Arts and wants to bring his broad vision to the Arts Commission.
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.
Info. coming soon
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.
In 1983, one year after earning my Master of Fine Arts degree from UC Berkeley, I left my hometown and moved to Santa Cruz. Those of us who live here know what a special place Santa Cruz County is. I am very grateful to call it home. Nature has always been the primary inspiration for my artwork. Images of our county’s abundant natural world fill my paintings, drawings and prints. For all my adult life, I have taught art, the past twenty-two years at community colleges. I am on the faculties at Monterey Peninsula College and West Valley College where I teach painting, drawing, watercolor, 2D design and color design. Teaching art, connecting with people through art and watching their minds open in ways that only art can make happen, is the most rewarding job I could hope for. My home and workspace are in the Artspace Tannery Lofts where I am among the building’s first tenants, a group that bonded while camping out in November 2008 to assure that we each got a place in the new live-work development. This past fall and winter, with the support of the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County, I organized a series of Tannery Talks with the theme of Art and Identity. Based on the 2010-13 Tannery Arts Lecture Series the new series emphasized the role of the arts in social justice. A second season is in the works for 2019-20. I am proud to join the Arts Commission and to be a part of bringing more art into the public space and recognizing the valuable contribution that Santa Cruz County artists make to our quality of life.
Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, except holidays
Our physical office is open, but staff availability is limited.