Board of Directors
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.
You can read Board minutes here.
Michael Dear, President
Michael Dear is Professor Emeritus in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Richmond Art Center’s Exhibitions Committee in the fall of 2107. He was co-curator of RAC’s major fall exhibition (CALIFAS: Art of the US-Mexico Borderlands, 2018), a student in drawing classes, and supporter of RAC programs. Michael has advised many cultural organizations, including The Getty Research Institute and the LA County Museum of Art. His essays were the foundation for ‘Sweet Land,’ a 2020 work by The Industry, LA’s premier experimental opera company. Professionally, Michael helped prepare amicus briefs before the US Supreme Court relating to US-Mexico border disputes, on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union; and his work provided the impetus for a decision by Europe’s largest cement manufacturer to refuse supplying cement for purposes of constructing border walls between the US and Mexico. His focus at Richmond Art Center is on increasing representation of Mexican, Chicano and Latinx artists at the center.
Lina Velasco, Vice President
Lina Velasco is the Community Development Director for the City of Richmond. She has worked for the City of Richmond since 2005. During her tenure at the City, Lina has led various community-driven planning efforts, including mobility plans, specific plans, streetscape plans, and the comprehensive Zoning Update. Her work includes obtaining grants for planning activities, as well as built-environment improvements, such as parks rehabilitations and streetscape projects. Lina believes that the arts are an important component of celebrating culture, diversity, and an integral part of community revitalization efforts. She has a B.A. in History and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and Masters in Regional Planning Candidate from Cornell University. Lina lives in Pinole with her husband and two children (ages 7 and 11).
Paul Collins, Treasurer
Paul Collins is an East Bay Area native and former Richmond resident. He lives with his partner and children (aged 10 and 13) in Lafayette, CA. Paul has a B.A. in business management from San Diego State University and works with Homeowners’ Associations in and around Richmond, as CEO of Collins Management (recently of Richmond, now in Hercules) and founder and CFO of Unlimited Property Services, Inc. in Richmond. He also founded and is CEO of Collins Management Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits communities served by Collins Management and especially workers in the HOA services sector. He believes in community and, as a businessman, he feels one of the most important things he does is invest in communities. He believes that Richmond Art Center enhances community life in Richmond and contiguous communities with art and art-making opportunities and he is honored to support that work as a board member.
Nettie Hoge, Secretary
Nettie Hoge is an East Bay resident who is deeply grateful to the staff and faculty at Richmond Art Center for her cultivation of self-expression and personal growth in and as a result of Richmond Art Center’s painting and drawing classes. Nettie brings a wealth of nonprofit experience to Richmond Art Center’s board. She has served on three nonprofit boards, including a stint as the chair of the Heyday Press board. She is a retired lawyer who has worked in many governmental and nonprofit organizations including as an executive director and a senior staff member. She served as Chief Deputy Commissioner at the California Department of Insurance during the term of Dave Jones. She provided legal assistance to victims of domestic violence as a Legal Services lawyer. While working for Consumers Union, she served on the advisory board for Health Access and litigated to establish funds for community health efforts as nonprofits like Blue Cross converted to for profit institutions. She was Executive Director for six years at TURN, a nonprofit, legal organization advocating at the Public Utilities Commission for utility consumer rights, and fare rates.
John Boychuk is a professional artist and art professor who works with a wide variety of materials and processes, both traditional and digital. Over the course of 20+ years of art making, John has shown and taught internationally as well as in the Bay Area. He is a new teaching artist at Richmond Art Center. John grew up in the Detroit metropolitan area and now lives with his family in Richmond. John has taught at Berkeley City College, SAE Expression College in Emeryville, and the University of Silicon Valley in San Jose. His greatest accomplishments as an educator are in supporting multicultural, gender-diverse, and economically challenged students to achieve their academic and personal goals. He is excited to work with Richmond Art Center to increase the creative opportunities for the communities of Richmond.
With her Master’s in printmaking from Illinois State University and background in teaching art at schools in underserved communities, as well as starting and running two successful design-based businesses, Jane Diokas’ qualifications provide real world solutions that bridge the gap between idealism and financial necessity. She believes that art can be first and foremost a joyful pursuit that naturally expresses a higher truth. She hopes to help carry on the mission of the founder of Richmond Art Center – who believed there was an artist in everyone and that art was as vital as breathing – while aligning it with both contemporary values and needs.
Helen Duhé graduated from Mills College in 2019 with Master of Management, has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Northwestern University and a Project Management certificate from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a Senior Administrative Analyst in the Contract Administration Bureau at the San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC), where she administers and procures contracts by advising on the planning, development, and implementation of contractor selection processes. Prior to her work at the SFPUC, Helen spent 13 years at the California Health Care Foundation. Her work involved delivering the Board of Directors’ Book, managing the Project Review processes as well as the development, administration, and monitoring of grants. Helen’s true passion is to serve her community and she hopes to use her deep knowledge of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy to serve the RAC. Helen has lived in Richmond since 2012 with her husband and children Olympia (6) and Blaise (4).
Susan Kuramoto Moffat
Susan Kuramoto Moffat melds the arts and the humanities and environmental design disciplines to study urban life. She is Executive Director of Global Urban Humanities Initiative and Creative Director of Future Histories Lab, two grant-funded interdisciplinary programs at UC Berkeley. She has worked in organizations ranging from small advocacy organizations (Greenbelt Alliance) to large bureaucracies (UC Berkeley) and has served on Albany’s City Council-appointed Waterfront Committee and Arts Committee in Albany. She founded a small non-profit community arts organization called Love the Bulb that brings outdoor music, dance, and theater performances and public art to non-traditional audiences. She brings an anti-racist and equity lens to all her work. Susan earned her undergraduate degree at Harvard University and master’s degrees at UC Berkeley (City Planning) and Columbia (Journalism). She has lived in Albany since 1997.
Stephen Nomura has been a credit to Richmond Art Center for several years as a studio art student and volunteer. He is a sculptor and is a retired licensed contractor and carpenter. He has a long history of volunteer work, including serving on several committees for the American Friends Service Committee (Community Resources and Finance). He lives in Berkeley and is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Botany. In addition, he attended New York University’s Film School and School of Arts and Science.
Rachel Sommovilla was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, and received her B.A. degree in biological anthropology from Harvard University. She earned her law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law, practiced law in San Francisco and clerked for numerous Federal District Court judges before joining the Richmond City Attorney’s Office in 2012. As a Senior Assistant City Attorney and Interim City Attorney, her duties included the handling of complex litigation and land use matters for the City, and advising the City Council, City Departments, and various boards and commissions. Rachel currently serves as Assistant County Counsel for Alameda County. While in the Richmond City Attorney’s office, Rachel and her two sons participated in various Richmond Art Center classes and summer programs. Rachel lives in El Cerrito with her two sons, husband and dog.
Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne
Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne retired from public service after 33 years in public libraries and last, as an assistant city manager in Palo Alto. Her work in that role focused on city operations and supporting the departments in their work, including budget and workforce development, legal support, and community engagement. Previously she served as public library director in Richmond (2004-2010) and in Benicia (1999-2004). In all three cities, she worked with elected officials, commissions, and boards, as well as directly supervising public art, art centers, galleries, and collaborative arts partnerships and education. Dr. Ziesenhenne has served on other nonprofit boards, including Rotary, and continues to be involved in national professional activities with the Public Library Association and National Arts Strategies. She has lived in Richmond for the past 10 years and has attended many events at the RAC, along with her husband and adult children.