Meet some of the art world professionals who will share their expertise and guidance with Kipaipai participants.
Sanie Andres, MA
OJAI, JOSHUA TREE
Sanie Andres, MA is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist. He is currently Program Director for College Community Services – CalWORKs in Anaheim, CA and Adjunct Psychology Professor at National University. For the past 15 years, Andres has been a practicing therapist in private practice, community mental health and hospital settings. Previously, he was Core Faculty at Phillips Graduate Institute and Guest Lecturer at Antelope Valley College. In 2015, after six years of dedicated service, He was honored with emeritus status as Board President of The OUTreach Center, the LGBTQ community center in Lancaster, CA. In 2012, Andres was presented the State Farm Good Neighbor Award by Equality California for his grassroots activism supporting LGBTQ families in rural Northern Los Angeles County. He served on the Lancaster Museum and Public Art Foundation from 2011 to 2012. Andres is in his second year singing bass with the West Coast Singers - the LGBTQ Chorus of Los Angeles.
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Ray Beldner has worked in art education and marketing for the last 20 years with the goal of inspiring people to create, value, and support the visual arts. As an artist, he has exhibited in more than 15 solo shows and over 100 group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, and his artwork can be found in numerous public and private collections including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the Federal Reserve Board, Washington DC; the Saks Fifth Ave Collection, New York; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, among many others. At several Bay Area colleges and universities, he taught courses in sculpture and installation art, conceptual art, and professional practices for artists. Ray is also a fine art appraiser, art collection manager and artist advisor.
Robert Benitez began his career with the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in 2009 as a volunteer and officially joined the museum’s education team in 2010. As one of the museum’s education specialists, Benitez led the organization’s flagship outreach program, Discovery Trunks, connecting thousands of students to art and history through object based presentations. Additionally, Robert developed the museum’s Young Artist and Family Matters Workshops. In 2014, with the acquisition of MOAH:CEDAR, the Museum of Art and History’s primary community engagement space, Benitez began curating solo and group exhibitions and developing programming that is increasingly accessible to both local artists and the community-at-large. Benitez’s vision for MOAH:CEDAR is to create a space that fosters emerging artists and reflects the community in which it serves. In keeping with this idea, Benitez created the museum’s first community engagement focused artist-in-residence program, which has hosted both local and international artists. Benitez also launched the Andrew Frieder Creative Space, which functions as a community art studio that offers art making equipment, materials and space to the public at no cost. Robert worked to expand the museum’s annual high school exhibition to a daylong arts festival known as, CedarFest. Robert created the Young Curators Program, in which students from the Antelope Valley’s high schools, introduced to principles regarding curation and exhibition design. Currently, he oversees the operation and programming of the museum’s three facilities: MOAH, MOAH:CEDAR and the Western Hotel. Most notably, Robert spearheaded the successful effort to designate downtown Lancaster as a California Cultural District. Lancaster enjoys this designation along the with fourteen others, including Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo and San Diego’s Balboa Park.
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Kimberly Brooks is an American painter whose work integrates figuration and abstraction to explore a variety of subjects dealing with history, memory and identity. Brooks has solo exhibitions throughout the United States and her work has been showcased in juried exhibitions including curators from the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For two years, Brooks maintained a weekly column, entitled First Person Artist which then led to her founding the Huffington Post Arts Section. She founded Griffith Moon publishing which focuses on artist monographs. Brooks received her BA at UC Berkeley and studied painting at Otis and University of California, Los Angeles. A coffee table book of her work will be available Fall 2018 (Vivant Publishing).
Betty Ann Brown, PHD
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Betty Ann Brown, PHD is an art historian, critic and curator. She received her Ph.D. in the History of Art in 1978, joined the California State University, Northridge faculty in 1986 and was honored with Professor Emeritus status in 2015. Brown has curated retrospective exhibitions for Hans Burkhardt, Roland Reiss, Linda Vallejo, June Wayne and John White, as well as numerous themed exhibitions, including Time, Space & Matter: Five Installations Exploring Natural Phenomena (Lita Albuquerque, Suvan Geer, George Geyer, Mineko Grimmer, Tom McMillan and Christine Nguyen) and Fantastic Feminist Figuration (Jodi Bonassi, Bibi Davidson, Enzia Farrell, Laura Larson, Dierdre Sullivan-Beeman, Tslil Tsemet and Lauren YS.) Her exhibition of the work of Betye, Alison and Lezley Saar opened at MOAH in February 2018.
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Andi Campognone has over 30 years of arts experience in the southern California region. She is the Owner/Director of AC Projects, a private consulting organization focused on promoting arts and culture. Projects include developing museum exhibitions, public engagement, mentoring programs and book and film publications of historically relevant southern California artists. Campognone is also the Museum Manager/Curator for the City of Lancaster. She is responsible for the development and maintenance of partnerships and community engagement initiatives with local artists, local businesses, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles County Supervisors office and higher-level institutions. She develops curatorial direction for exhibition and educational programming and is directing the Museum accreditation process for MOAH. She has previously served the City of Pomona as Cultural Arts Commissioner where she co-wrote and implemented the City’s Master Cultural Arts Plan and the adopted Arts in Public Places Policy. Campognone is on the Board of the Lancaster Museum and Public Art Foundation and served on the Board of the Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture. She volunteers as a regular speaker and mentor to art students at both the undergraduate and graduate level and is on the advisory boards of Start Up Art Fair Los Angeles and Los Angeles Arts Association. She is a current member of ArTTable.
Diane Costigan provides executive, career, life and health coaching to individuals who want to enhance themselves and maximize their performance. Diane’s approach to her work centers around the development and leveraging of emotional intelligence—particularly self-awareness and self-assessment. How we choose to implement self-knowledge is at the root of sustainable behavioral change. Diane gives clients the tools to make positive, productive choices at every level. Diane earned her B.A., cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the College of the Holy Cross and her M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College. She has a certificate in Organizational and Executive Coaching from NYU, is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation and is a Certified Health Coach (CHC) through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is certified in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Meridian Tapping).
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Alex Couwenberg, a graduate from Art Center College of Design and The Claremont Graduate School, worked under the guidance of Karl Benjamin, one of the leading figures in the southern California based school of Hard-edge geometric abstraction. Benjamin was instrumental in the early development of Couwenberg's painting style, process and philosophy. A southern California native, Couwenberg naturally embraced the sensibility of his birth place and applied it to his art making practices. By instilling the discipline and rigor associated with the fundamentals of painting and abstract language, the paintings began to mature and develop an aesthetic voice unique to Couwenberg. The vocabulary references the dedication toward craft, process and the progression of concepts and techniques. Couwenberg's paintings have been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. His work can be found in numerous public, private, corporate and museum collections around the world. Couwenberg was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for his achievements in painting and was recently featured as the subject of Los Angeles based film maker Eric Minh Swenson's film La Fonda, which focuses on the artist's life and studio practice in Los Angeles. Couwenberg exhibited a body of paintings in a two person show along with his mentor Karl Benjamin. The show was part of the Getty Museum's Pacific Standard Time project highlighting southern California artists and their contributions towards art making.
Shana Nys Dambrot
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Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic and curator. She is based in Downtown Los Angeles, Dambrot is currently LA Editor for Whitehot Magazine, contributor to KCET’s Artbound, Flaunt, The Huffington Post, The Creators Project, Fabrik, VS. Magazine, Palm Springs Life and Porter & Sail. She studied Art History at Vassar College, writes loads of essays for art books and exhibition catalogs, curates and/or juries a few exhibitions each year, sometimes exhibits her original photography and publishes short fiction, speaks in public at galleries, schools and cultural institutions nationally.
Crista Dix is the Founder and Director of wall space creative. After years as a photographer and collector Crista decided to put down her camera and focus on artists who transcend the medium of photography and expand the ideas of photographic arts. Her background in science, business and creative arts has helped her created a gallery space that celebrates the artists' vision. wall space is located in Santa Barbara, California. Focusing on work that intersects art and science, wall space has a unique point of view, focusing on the objectness of photography and art. The gallery has gained an international reputation for finding and showcasing new artists and exposing new ideas. Dix has written essays about photography, introducing creative artists work to a broader community. She has been a member of numerous panels and discussions, juried creative competitions and has participated in major portfolio reviews across the country in cities like Houston, Portland, Los Angeles, Santa Fe and New Orleans.
Aria Corinne Gannon
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Aria Gannon, the founder of aPR Creative Marketing Management, has over twenty years of experience consulting on brand building, brand management and with marketing strategies. Aria’s public relations outreach has secured thousands of editorial placements in high-profile national and international media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Conde Nast Publications, Time-Life, Inc., Hearst Corporation, Grazia Japan, Pan Pacific News and Huffington Post. She has also initiated and secured exhibitions in major national museums and galleries for the artists she represents. She has cultivated a global network of key media figures, tastemakers, major curators, leading educational institutions, and national and international media figures. This network, combined with significant marketing expertise and her unique brand strategy, has provided high-profile exposure and brand awareness opportunities for her clients.
Aria travels extensively, organizing venues and events related to her clients, and researching and compiling information to serve her clients. Highly regarded in her field as an expert advisor and strategist, she has secured museum exhibitions and high exposure art installations across the nation and was the keynote speaker at the 2010 Canadian Trade Commission's “Business of Fashion” seminar in Vancouver B.C. Aria is an active member and committee participant of ArtTable, a leadership organization for professional women in the visual arts. Philanthropy is an important aspect of Aria's work, and she has consulted to develop programs for various non-profit entities such as LA’s Best's after-school enrichment program, United Way of Orange County, Mama Earth and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office in New York City. Aria was owner and director of the North Spring Street Gallery in Los Angeles's Chinatown for seven years, exhibiting unique works by international contemporary artists and designers. Aria resides in Los Angeles with her family of three beautiful children.
A natural entrepreneur, Shannon has run creative businesses for most of her career. From starting a decorative home services company, Finishing Touches, to hosting shows on national television and smart channel platforms, producing creative marketing video series’ for national channels and international brands, and creating Plein Heir, a line of home furnishings and custom art commissions. Shannon exhibits her paintings locally. Her artwork and color advice have been featured in Esquire, Elle Décor, Dr. Oz’s Good Life, and Sunset magazines. Her work has been commissioned by Carlos Santana’s Universal Tone Management and highlighted in a documentary for SKB (South Korean Broadcasting) about low-tech artists who thrive in high-tech communities.
As Business Development Director, Shannon works behind the scenes at stARTup to build relationships, develop operational systems, and create unique experiential programs.
Caroline Killhour has 25 years of executive level experience, she leads Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center — Maui’s only studio based community art center. Each year, the Hui offers around 300 educational classes, workshops, exhibitions, and events for locals and visitors. Killhour's talents are grounded in her own studio practice and her background in marketing and community engagement. She has more than 20 years of professional design experience directing everything from technical product design to branding, merchandising strategy, and product conceptualization and development for companies such as L.L Bean, Red Sky Design, Entertainment Properties, and Sanroy. She holds a BFA from Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art, an Associate Degree in Design from New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology and is a post-graduate student of Maine College of Art and University of Chicago’s Graduate School.
Donna Napper has worked in the field of contemporary fine art since 2000 as a gallery owner, curator, and art consultant. She founded and directed a gallery in Los Angeles for eight years, and then moved to the Bay Area to work as the Curator and Director of Public Programs at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. She has been invited to curate and serve as juror for several Bay Area non-profit art organizations including Djerassi Artist Residency Program, Root Division, Embark Gallery, SF Artist Network, Pacific Art League, Pacific Rim Sculptors, and Silicon Valley Arts Council Artist Laureate Award. Napper presently serves on the Executive Committee for ArtTable, Northern California Chapter and works as a curator and corporate art consultant.
Walter Maciel has established himself as an arts professional who has worked in contemporary art galleries for the past 26 years. After a brief introduction to gallery operations as an intern at Gallery Paule Anglim, Maciel became the Associate Director of Braunstein/Quay Gallery from 1992 through 1998. He then became the Director at Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco from 1998 through 2005. He moved to Los Angeles to create a program for his own space that opened in March 2006. The gallery is located in the Culver City district in Los Angeles among many of the top galleries on the west coast. The gallery expanded in 2015 taking over the entire building with 4,000 square feet of space. A second gallery space at the Pacific Design Center was in operation in 2010 and featured the work of gallery artists and special projects. The gallery has participated in several international art fairs including Pulse Art Fair Miami/Miami Beach 2005-2007, 2014-2015; Pulse Art Fair New York 2006-2008; Pulse Art Fair London 2007; Swab Art Fair Barcelona 2007; Aqua Art Fair Miami 2008-2009, 2011; NADA Art Fair Miami Beach 2010; Miami Project 2012-2014; Volta Art Fair New York 2009, 2012-2013; Art on Paper New York 2016-2017; NEXT Art Fair Chicago 2010; Edition Chicago 2013; San Francisco International Art Exposition 2010; San Francisco Art Market 2014-2017; San Francisco Art Pad 2012-2013; Art San Diego 2012.
Maciel has served on many boards and committees including Southern Exposure, Headlands Center for the Arts, Hospitality House and the San Francisco Art Dealers Association. He has been on lecture panels at University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Berkeley; San Francisco Art Institute; California College of the Arts; University of Missouri, Kansas City; Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University; San Francisco State University; Mills College, Oakland and Institute for Contemporary Art, San Jose. Walter has been on the Selection Committee for the stARTup Art Fair for both the San Francisco and Los Angeles venues.
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Mike O’Connor has been training, counseling and leading workshops with Financial advisors throughout the Mainland, Hawaii and Guam for over 20 years. His focus is on the person identifying their own story and how they can use it to become a more effective advisor and sales person. O’Connor’s mantra for his workshop is “to learn your story and learn to tell it effectively.” He not only guides his clients through the storytelling process, he also spends time on presentation skills and warding off that innate fear of public speaking. He uses the same direction he shares with the finance world to motivate and encourage artists. O’Connor’s introduction to the Fine Art world came 45 years ago when he met a Grad student attending Otis Art Institute in LA. They married and he has been carrying on a primary and secondary career in the fine arts since. Mike’s presentation, Sell Yourself Through the Fine Art of Storytelling was developed to aid artists, gallerists and museum directors on the importance of the “why,” not the “how” or the “what” of the creative process.
O’Connor was a presenter for the two Kipaipai workshops at the Donkey Mill Art Center and is still counseling many of the attendees on perfecting their story and their delivery skills. He is a frequent stage presenter at “The Moth” where he develops stories on the fly based upon a prescribed subject and presents them in an entertaining manner.
Mark Zimmermann, an American artist and writer, was born to a military family in Munich, Germany, in 1967 and grew up in Hawaii and the southern United States. Since 1998, he has exhibited his paintings in 18 solo shows and numerous group exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe.
Zimmermann’s paintings are based on the marriage of meditative fields, architectonic structures and an organic gestural line. In discussing this work, the editor and writer, Larry Qualls noted, “…a majestic landscape narrative… they illuminate the nature of painting itself. In a sense what these paintings do is bring a synthesis of the conceptual and the realistic; it is as if there is the conflux of two grand traditions: the purely abstract and the purely objective.”
In 2000, Zimmermann became the first American artist to exhibit in a commercial gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 2009, he was commissioned to create of suite of monumental paintings for the VIP Lounge of the Palazzo Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2010, he was photographed by Andres Serrano, in a project documenting New York artists. Most recently, Zimmermann has been the subject of 3 short films by Los Angeles filmmaker, Eric Minh Swenson and London based filmmaker, Lawrence Berry.
As a writer, he has widely published poetry and short fiction, as well as essays and critical works on painting, photography, sculpture, architecture, theatre, and film throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. His writing has been translated into six languages. He lives and works in New York City and Encino, California.