Staff, Board & Committees
Whether a painter or potter or an accountant or attorney, Richmond Art Center staff, board and committee members bring their expertise, talents and passion to the Art Center each and every day.
Richard (Ric) Ambrose
Ric brings his extensive experience in art administration and strategic planning which includes fundraising, donor cultivation, marketing, facility operations and program development to the Art Center. In more than twenty-eight years, Ric has managed or curated more than 200 exhibitions in art, science and history in a variety of multimedia formats. He is a practicing artist and has taught studio art at several colleges. Ric is represented by Hespe Gallery in San Francisco. His only unchanging part of the workday is having a can of soup for lunch, as Andy Warhol reportedly did throughout his life.
Richard@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.6772
Studio Education Coordinator
Lukaza is a graduate from California College of the Arts in printmaking and works in a wide range of media. She was the Screen Print Studio Manager at CCA and taught art classes at Chabot Elementary School and at Camp 2545, a youth summer camp she founded and ran. Lukaza has worked with the education department at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and has been an Artist in Residence with the Richmond Rosie’s Girls Program. She is extremely interested in the conversation between social justice and the arts and believes that art has a very important role in making this world a more just and equitable place. On her free time, Lukaza loves collecting art books and trying out new dessert recipes!
lukaza@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.1245
Marisa started throwing on the wheel in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since. She works primarily in porcelain because she loves its smooth, luscious quality and ability to portray softness, delicateness and organic form. A 2011 Niche Award winner, she has exhibited her work across the Bay Area. She earned a BA in sociology from UC Santa Cruz and studied ceramics at San Francisco State University. Marisa likes ice cream and collects birds’ eggs and animal skulls.
Marisa@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.1245
Rebeca is a Puerto Rican painter. She studied printmaking on the island, came to San Francisco in the 1980s and fell in love with the Bay Area. She pursued graduate studies at the University of San Francisco and continued painting. Rebeca supported herself first as a teacher and then a professional development provider, eventually becoming a nonprofit administrator. She exhibits her work and teaches painting at the Art Center. Her favorite Richmond spot is the top of Nicholl Nob, where she can often be found with her dog, Kafka.
RGarcia@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.5543
Art in the Community Coordinator
An arts educator at heart, Cristina brings her enthusiasm and love of collaboration to her work as the Art in the Community Coordinator. She has a B.A. in Art History from Sonoma State University, and before coming to the center worked as a Senior Teaching Artist for the de Young and Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. There she worked to develop projects and curricula for students, teachers and visitors. A Bay Area native, and a current Richmond resident, Cristina loves exploring new places, fostering dogs in need, and working to create spaces for all individuals to explore their own curiosities and connections to art.
cristina@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.5539
Development and Marketing Director
Jess just moved back from Sydney, Australia where she kept busy working, surfing and creating social enterprise to help combat intergeneration poverty in inner-city Sydney. She has over ten years of experience building marketing, communications and fundraising campaigns for many non-profit organizations, but her heart is in the intersection of social justice and the arts. She holds an MBA from Mills College, a BA in Multi-Media Art and Design from the University of Oregon and is currently enrolled in Hadas Tal’s Portrait Painting class at the Richmond Art Center. Please stop by Jess’ office anytime with advice, input or a friendly chat. She is always delighted to connect with people who care about the Art Center as much as she does.
jparker@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.6780
For more than 25 years Carolyn has been in financial management for the software, high-tech, architecture and design industries and then for nonprofits. Perhaps more inspiring is Carolyn’s past life as a ceramic artist. Her work was featured in a two-year traveling exhibition “American Ceramics Now” and some of her pieces are in the George & Dorothy Saxe contemporary crafts collection. When she’s not working, she’s probably gardening or out walking in nature.
Carolyn@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.6775
Severo “Pete” Rodriguez
Severo is a native of Richmond, CA and a graduate of Richmond High School. Severo loves traveling to his native country, Mexico to learn more about his culture and family. Severo joined the Richmond Art Center team as a volunteer, then soon after, he became an addition to our staff. Severo is very family oriented and looks forward to sharing the Richmond Art Center and it’s rich culture with his family!
Severo@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.6772
Art in the Community Programs Director
A Richmond native, Rachel brings her first-hand experience as a teaching artist in our Art in the Community program and summer STEAM camps. Rachel holds a BA in Visual Arts from Oberlin College and a Masters in Education from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, where her work was focused in the Community Arts Practices program. Rachel is a practicing, interdisciplinary artist who has worked in fiber arts, installation, sculpture and performance. She also enjoys using her creativity to experiment and create homemade herbal products in her kitchen apothecary.
RSchaffran@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.5999
Ted likes learning new things, using his hands and creatively solving problems — all of which come in handy working at the Art Center. His varied work background includes custom photography lab work, steel fabrication, foundry work, architectural salvage and landscaping. He has been interested in photography since he was seven when his grandfather gave him a Kodak Instamatic. He majored in architecture at UC Berkeley where he also took classes in photography, furniture making, drawing, painting and sculpture. Around 2004 he moved to El Cerrito, learned about the Art Center and the rest is history. Recently he’s taken to screen printing and has exhibited his work in the Art Center’s Annual Members Show.
Ted@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.6772
Erin M. Wheeler
Studio Education Director
Erin grew up attending classes at the Richmond Art Center. She was a teen volunteer in the education program and worked as an Exhibitions Assistant throughout high school and college. She has an extensive background in nonprofit and museum educational programming and has worked for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and others creating programs that engage kids and adults with art and design. Erin is a graduate of El Cerrito High, holds a BA in Art History and Studio Art from Beloit College and an MFA from California College of the Arts. She works in jewelry, textiles, and collage and makes a lot of art projects with her 3.5 year old daughter.
Erin@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.6773
Exhibitions Director and Curator of Art
Jan has taught painting and drawing and lectured in California and Europe. She has organized and facilitated lecture series, symposia, and a mentoring program. Her interest in a forum for contemporary art has fueled her passion for curating, public programs, and documentation. As an artist, Jan has exhibited internationally and her work is in museum collections in the United States and Europe. The Richmond Art Center encompasses the many elements of art that she finds most meaningful.
JWurm@nullRichmondArtCenter.org or 510.620.1252
The Richmond Art Center is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board, which is elected by our members, is responsible for the organization’s financial health and achievement of its mission. Check out our Events Calendar for meeting dates and times and read Board minutes here.
Donna Brorby, Board President
Donna grew up in Richmond. She attended Grant Elementary School, Granada Junior High School and John F. Kennedy High School. She says her first positive experiences of artistic creation were in ceramics classes at the Richmond Art Center. Donna graduated from Harvard University and earned her JD from Boalt Hall Law School at UC Berkeley. She is a mediator and civil rights lawyer.
Inez Brooks-Myers, Vice President
Inez recently retired after 38 years as a curator at the Oakland Museum. She lives in Richmond where she was born and raised. Her mother knew our founder Hazel Salmi well. She earned her AB in decorative arts and MA in design from UC Berkeley where she worked as an associate curator for eight years. Inez served on Richmond’s Arts and Culture Commission in the late 1980s. She remains active in the field of costume history, helping to arrange a symposium for the Costume Society of America, Mining the History of Costume: Fantasy and Fact.
Connie Tritt, Secretary & Treasurer
Connie is a CPA with her own practice in Point Richmond specializing in tax preparation, financial statements and nonprofits. She joined the Board of the Richmond Art Center in 2011 soon after moving to the East Bay from Atlanta to satisfy her never-ending need to volunteer. Connie also volunteers with the Richmond Rotary, where her efforts support a project to bring potable water to 26 small communities in Ecuador. Connie spends her non-work time hiking on Mount Tam and helping animals.
Danny studied art history and economics at UCSB and UC Berkeley, graduating in 1979. He is a lifelong fan and patron of the arts with a particular passion for works on paper and is a longtime fan of the Richmond Art Center. Danny is a serial entrepreneur and he has created several successful companies in manufacturing, distribution and training. Now, he is focusing his professional attention on the challenges of globalization and cross-cultural communications. Danny has served on several for-profit and non-profit boards, lending his experience and expertise in business organization and planning. He has lobbied local, state and federal government agencies on various issues and taken an active role in urban planning in his community.
Anna retired as the deputy superintendent of West Contra Costa Unified School District in 2000 after a long career in Richmond Unified and WCCUSD. She has since mentored and supervised student teachers and worked as a teaching performance assessor. Anna served on the board of the Richmond Art Center in the 1990s.
Susan owns Brand Design, a graphic design firm working with a variety of businesses and organizations including Wells Fargo, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation and City of Richmond. She is an instructor at UC Berkeley Extension in the graphic design program. Susan lives in Richmond with her husband, teenage son and a border collie mix who gets her out of the office at least once a day for a walk up the hill and through the fields.
Alisha is a founding partner and executive director at BLOOM Educational Enrichment, which develops and provides out-of-school time, esteem-building programming for school children. A California native, Alisha went south to Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, where she received her B.S. in psychology. She did graduate work in Washington, D.C., and taught her first elementary students there, which ignited her passion for elementary education. Immediately before founding BLOOM, Alisha worked for almost three years in China, including as Lead Foreign Trainer for Walt Disney Company in Shanghai, China, developing and implementing programs and curricula for students aged 3 – 11 years. Before that, she was the English Education Coordinator for the Heilongjiang Health College in Jiamusi, China.
A native of Richmond, Sue has managed and directed the City of Richmond’s Information Technology Department since 1991. Sue worked on the selection committee for the Civic Center ART project and participated on the board for the Richmond Police Activities League for seven years. She has taken classes at the Art Center, loves the arts and is dedicated to enriching the Richmond community.
Matt D. Jacobson
Matt is the managing partner of Jacobs & Company, an investment management firm. He began working there in 1979 as an Associate and became a partner in 1987. Before joining Jacobs & Company, Matt was a reporter and feature writer for the Richmond Independent/Berkeley Daily Gazette newspapers. He earned a BA in urban economic geography from UC Berkeley. Matt lives in Richmond. His mother is a long-time supporter of the Richmond Art Center where Matt regularly visited in his youth.
Bernadette is a native of the East Bay and attended classes at the Richmond Art Center as a child. She has more than twenty years’ experience in human resource management. Bernadette brings a thorough knowledge of employment law and human capital management to the board. She has served on the board of directors of the Vallejo Arts Foundation. Bernadette continues to love and support art through her community involvement.
Edric is the public works director/city engineer in Moraga and lives in Pinole. Formerly, he was a city engineer for Richmond. He has a long history of active involvement in nonprofits and civic groups. Edric is the Richmond Art Center’s events committee chair. He is a systematic problem-solver, a great communicator and is known for his fabulous soup.
Juliann is an Employee Relations Specialist at the University of California, Office of the President. She helps design and implement programs to support UC Systemwide’s 180,000 employees. Prior to that, she was the Director of Gift Management at UC Berkeley, where she managed gift and fund administration. Ms. Martinez has consulted with numerous San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit organizations and other higher education institutions on gift management and identifying fundraising prospects. Ms. Martinez also has a background in tax and is enrolled to practice before the IRS. She has an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, lives in El Cerrito, and her two children have both attended WCCUSD public schools. While serving on the board of the Harding Elementary PTA, she assisted with fundraising efforts to support art instruction in WCCUSD public schools.
Ellengale Toki Oakley
Ellengale grew up in a local family of artists with Leslie Ceramics as the family business. She and her brothers spent much of their childhood connected to the Art Center. Her mother served on the board. One of her brothers served as board president. Ellengale’s husband, Owen, is a Richmond Art Center student. Ellengale has volunteered as a court-appointed special advocate for foster children. She earned a PhD in early childhood math education and a BA and MA from UC Berkeley.
James recently retired from an 18-year financial career with U.C. Berkeley. In his last position, he was Budget Director for the U.C. Berkeley Development Office, responsible for a $35 million annual budget during a recent successful $3.1 billion, seven-year fundraising effort. He is a longtime East Bay resident and an El Cerrito high school graduate. He tutored Hispanic parents in English during the 1970s in Richmond. A Richmond Art Center course, “Poetry in the Gallery,” rekindled his interest in writing poetry and led to an invitation to join a group of poets at IMUNURI. In 2012, he read in Portland during the group’s Northwest tour. Jim is married to Joyce Shon, a longtime printmaking teacher and volunteer at the Art Center.
Susan has a long history of working to improve the education and well being of West Contra Costa County children. She was founding executive director of the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund (Ed Fund) for 25 years, founding member of the Building Blocks for Kids (BBK) Collaborative and served as an alternate commissioner on the Contra Costa County First 5 Commission. She has designed and managed programs and raised millions of dollars to provide services and meet the needs of children throughout the county.
Committees, comprised of Board members and community volunteers, engage in meaningful work to ensure our success. Our Committees work alongside the Board of Directors and staff and share the organization’s values and commitment to art and creativity. If you’re interested in serving on a committee, please contact us at email@example.com.
Communications and Marketing
Susan Brand, Chair
Development and Sustainability
James Wheeler, Chair
Susan Wittenberg, Chair
Donna Brorby, Chair
Inez Brooks-Myers, Chair
Sue Hartman, Chair
Connie Tritt, Chair
Donna Brorby, Chair
Bernadette Jones, Chair
Donna Brorby, Chair