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Supporting the Arts in Mono County

 

Mono Arts Council’s mission is to facilitate and encourage art appreciation through education, advocacy and art-inspired programs and events.

Goals

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To facilitate activities showcasing national and area artists

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To grow public and private financial support

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Continued advocacy for the arts and fostering regional partnerships in the Eastern Sierra

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To provide arts in education for all ages.

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To become a resource for artists and the public leading to lifelong awareness of the arts and culture in our community

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Staff

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Kristin Reese

Kristin Reese is a long-time resident of the Eastern Sierra, arriving with her parents in 1976. While she spent her youth mostly learning the performing arts, she was constantly exposed to all the Arts from having painters, photographers, musicians and dancers in her family. She left the area to obtain her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Sonoma State University but couldn’t stay away for too long. Upon returning from college, she quickly re-connected to the Eastern Sierra arts community. She co-founded Sierra Classic Theatre in 1999, and worked at the Edisto Gallery & Tea Room in 2003, where she was introduced to many of the Mono Arts Council local artists. Kristin is honored to lead Mono Arts Council and will work towards ensuring that every child in Mono County has access to the arts.  She hopes to connect more artists and patrons of all arts to this long-standing organization. She is currently the singer and percussionist for the local band, Bodie 601, enjoys backpacking, kayaking, jogging, and x-country skiing, loves taking pictures and learning new art mediums, and resides in the Mono Basin with her husband, and fellow musician, Russ.

Dani Guthrie

Gallery & Art Center Director

dani@monoarts.org

760.914.2909

Dani Guthrie is a PNW native, but found her true home in Mammoth Lakes a few years ago. Growing up in Seattle, art and music became an incredibly vital part of her life. She photographed bands in the area and at live shows, among other artistic mediums such as painting, drawing, crafting and hand sewing. Photography and art are her true outlets in life. One of her favorite things to photograph are candids of people, and micros with a fine art feel. She enjoys photography for it’s organic nature and honesty. She also hand makes coasters, greeting cards and absolutely loves exploring her passions with watercolor! 

She has a strong background in client relations. She loves working with people, and shaping their experience to be the best it can be. She is looking forward to working with the community in a connective effort for the Gallery & Art Center. Opening the door for new artists to feel welcome and excited to be seen, and for current artists to feel honored in their wonderful growth and history with the Gallery. Cultivating this space as a welcoming and nurturing environment for all artists and crafters is her biggest goal as the new Gallery & Art Center Director.

She loves to travel, hike, take photos, kayak, and create with her hands.

 

This position is new to her, yet she is grateful and excited for the opportunity to be a part of the growth and potential that Mono Arts Council  and the Gallery has to offer.

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Ally Tapley 

Executive Assistant/Teaching Artist

ally@monoarts.org

760.914.2909

Ally was born in North Carolina and moved to California when she was a child. She began training in dance, theater, and cheerleading at the age of six.   Ally is married and has three kiddos.  Her family loves living in Mammoth Lakes, and she is ecstatic to bring the love of arts to the community. 


Ally’s goal is to inspire a lifelong love of the arts for students of all ages. Her instruction focuses on individual expression and artistic abilities while allowing growth for confidence and acceptance.  Her main belief is that there is no student too young or too old, disability or ability, race or gender, or sexual preference that can’t learn the love of dance. Ally is conscious of creating options for each student to access the lesson plan in a way that is in alignment with their background, level, and learning style.   


As a teacher, she builds strong authentic relationships with her students.  Ally offers a safe, loving, and free environment, where the students are able to accept themselves and their peers.  In addition, she believes in building positive relationships between her students by providing connections for collaboration and team projects.  

 

Continuing in her own education and reflecting on her own practices, is essential for her growth with Mono Arts Council.  Her philosophy on how she teaches wouldn’t be possible if she did not continue to grow emotionally and in her dancing career.  It is vital for her to stay relevant on methods of teaching, reflecting on her curriculum, lesson plans, and accepting herself as an artist. 

Miguel Angel Flores

Teaching Artist

miguell.angel@live.com

Miguel Angel Flores is a Mexican American artist born and raised in Mammoth Lakes California. As a lifelong resident; his devotion and passion for art started at a very young age. Miguel grew up drawing almost every day of his life. Always inspired by music, culture, nature, and of course, 

the “strange and unusual”.

During the summer of his junior year of High School, Miguel attended California State Summer School for the Arts in Valencia, CA. There, he was a chosen recipient of the Scholarship for Young Emerging Artists that put $40,000 towards his college tuition.  

Graduating high school, the following year, Miguel made his next leap into the art world by attending UCLA for their undergraduate fine arts program. In 2016, he completed his bachelor's degree in fine art. His focus was in painting, photography, sculpture, all while he received an introduction to a world of new subject matter. Miguel developed a comprehensive set of disciplines and technique that enriched his artistic practice. 

His whole idea of creation began to evolve as time passed. Miguel started to realize the true potential that art and creativity are capable of. He created more as a mode of sharing and connecting rather than turning inward. Through practice and patience, he collected the tools necessary to help him materialize experiences for people through works of art. 

Shortly after college and city living. Miguel returned to the mountains and began teaching Art and Wine classes with the Mono Arts Council. Now, he has taught a multitude of classes focused on acrylic painting techniques, varying in subject from landscapes inspired by the Eastern Sierra to date nights and pet portraits. Miguel loves teaching these classes because of how different everyone’s paintings turn out. He likes that it reinforces the idea that there is beauty in everything and everyone regardless of how vastly different things may seem. Miguel is most thrilled when he is able to spark inspiration and self-confidence in his students' abilities in art.

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Peggy Sage Armenta

Teaching Artist

peggy@monoarts.org

Peggy Sage Armenta has been coming up to Mammoth from Southern Cal since she was old enough to stand on skis, making this beautiful community her summer destination since her parents happily opted to retire here almost 30 years ago. Raised on a steady diet of public school music, theater and art programs, Peggy carried the inspiration forward into her college career, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater with a minor in music, at the University of Southern California. She earned her Actor’s Equity Union membership hoofing it through two seasons of Summer Stock in Michigan, playing violin in the pit orchestra then running upstairs to complete dance numbers on stage. Combining her musical and theatrical skills, she considers her top professional experience a show in which she was called on to play violin, flute and saxophone all while trying to keep a straight face while dancing in a poufy wig and horn-rimmed glasses in a Chicago production of “Oil City Symphony”.

 

Opting to move on to a steadier life-style, Peggy turned to her other love, teaching. Over the next 30 years she has shared her love of art, music and theater with children and parents in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.  Combining her skills as an educator, performer and musician, Peggy found herself a mainstay with libraries and bookstores all over Orange County, winning her an OCParent magazine’s “Best Story Time” recognition and getting her more deeply involved in spreading a love for the arts in both public and private programs. Peggy spent several years putting together both art and theater experiences for preschool through middle school children as the director of after-school programs, moving on to teach elementary school music and launching large-scale annual Christmas and Spring concerts.

 

In 2019, Peggy completed her teaching credential while finishing up the infamous 2019/2020 school year teaching classes via Zoom, opting to teach remotely from Mammoth to keep her dad company. By the summer of 2020, Mammoth at long last became Peggy’s permanent home and she found herself volunteering to help out at MAC’s July 4th Art Festival.  In addition to being covered in paint at the Splash Booth, Peggy has happily found a new community of like-minded art enthusiasts and with great delight is now teaching art and theater arts programs at Mammoth Elementary and Middle Schools, all funded through the Mono Arts Council.  Peggy is also an enthusiastic member of Mammoth Lakes Rotary, a volunteer with Mono County First Five and delighted to be a member of the Easter Sierra Chamber Orchestra through Cerro Coso College. She lives in Mammoth with her dad, Don Sage, her youngest of three sons, Ben Armenta and their dog, Hazel.

Board of Directors

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Christopher Platt

Board Chair

cplatt@monocoe.org

Christopher was born and raised in Bishop and has degrees in French Literature from UC Santa Barbara and Library and Information Science from the University of Washington.  He spent many years in and around New York specializing in library collection development, launching the “BookOps” shared collection services center supporting the 158 locations of the Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library, and finally serving as Chief Branch Library Officer of New York Public Library.   Yet when the mountains started calling again he gave up big city life to return to the Eastern Sierra in 2018 as Mono County Library Director.   His experience working in public libraries makes him a firm believer that the synergy of literature and arts at the local level can bring about delight, inspiration, comfort, understanding, and a sense of connectedness -- all indicators of a healthy community.  

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Stacy Corless

Vice Chair

stacykcorless@gmail.com

Stacy grew up in Lancaster, CA, making the drive up highways 14/395 for ski trips several times each winter as a kid. Stacy was drawn back to the Eastern Sierra in her twenties after earning a B.A. at UC Irvine and M.A. at UC Berkeley, where she also did Ph.D. work and taught undergraduate courses. Like so many locals, Stacy came to Mammoth for a season and ended up staying and making a home here. She spends as much time as possible outside in the mountains (on foot and on skis), connecting with nature.

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Michelle Quirsfeld

Secretary

mrquirsfeld@gmail.com

Michelle grew up in Los Angeles. After earning her B.A. at UCSD, she moved to Taos, New Mexico. In Taos, Michelle met her husband to be and developed a love for the mountains despite growing up as a beach girl. After spending some time in New Mexico, Michelle decided to pursue a degree in education. Michelle earned a M.A. Ed. at Pepperdine in 2000, got married and moved to Mammoth full-time. Michelle worked for Mono County Office of Education for a few years, and then transitioned to a position with Mammoth Unified School District. Michelle has been teaching for 20 years and has especially enjoyed the arts in education.

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Steve Wright

Treasurer

steve.p.wright@outlook.com

Steve is a new resident in the Eastern Sierras moving to Walker in 2018 as the new owner and operator of the Andruss Motel. After high school he accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of the Pacific where he studied engineering and mathematics before developing a desire to serve others. After his studies he began a lifetime of community engagement ranging from serving in law enforcement, working both domestically and abroad in the nonprofit world and culminating with his appointment as the Executive Director for the Sierra Law Enforcement Chaplaincy. It was during his nonprofit work that Steve returned to study Business Administration at Indian Wesleyan University in order to help organizations function in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Steve believes the Arts are an essential part of both an individual’s sense of self as well as a community’s identity and is passionate about arts education, awareness and promotion in his new adopted home of Northern Mono County.

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Melissa Reeves

Board Member

mmmothgirl@yahoo.com

Melissa was born and raised in San Diego and moved to Mammoth in 1993. She recently returned to college, earning an AA in Studio Arts at Cerro Coso and BA in Arts Administration from UMass Amherst. She was involved in nonprofit administration work for over 4 years at Mammoth Lakes Foundation/Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre and is currently employed at Mammoth Community Water District. Her passion for the arts includes jewelry-making and ceramics. She believes in promoting the arts, making them accessible, and appreciates the value the arts bring to our community.

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Sofia Carolina Flores Garcia 

Board Member

scflores21@gmail.com

Sofia is an immigrant from Ixtlahuacan del Rio, Jalisco, Mexico. She moved with her family to Mammoth Lakes in 1996. To keep their culture and roots alive, the Flores siblings started a folkloric ballet group in 1998. At an early age of 6, Sofia began dancing on stage with her siblings. After receiving her BS in Child and Family Development from San Diego State University, Sofia returned to Mammoth Lakes and offered no cost folkloric ballet classes. She wants to share her culture and keep dance accessible in the Eastern Sierra. Now, her group can be found dancing under the name Ballet Folklorico De Las Flores. Sofia is currently working on her MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and uses art to promote wellness. Sofia loves being outdoors, and you can usually spot her hiking or running the trails with her dogs. Sofia is happy to support and be part of MAC. She believes that art is important for individual and community wellbeing and should be accessible to all. 

Mono Arts Council Statement on Racial Equity & Anti-Racism

As a leading community organization through the arts and a County partner in arts advocacy and education, Mono Arts Council is committed to racial equity and anti-racism both within our organization and throughout our programming and community services. 

 

Mono Arts Council is committed to a nondiscriminatory and anti-racist approach to provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement in all of our departments, programs, events, and worksites. We respect and value diverse life experiences, heritages and orientations. We strive to ensure that all Mono County voices are valued and heard.  We will also work toward decreasing barriers and amplifying the BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ voices in our community. 

We understand that as a rural arts organization operating on now occupied traditional and present Northern Paiute, Shoshone, and Monache lands, we must continue to make a concerted effort to enhance and amplify Indigenous voices, to strengthen and preserve creative practices and to better engage and represent our entire community.

 

Mono Arts Council believes that bringing our organization together with community partners with differing backgrounds and life experiences, will enhance our ability to increase opportunities for all Mono County artists, artisans, art students, and arts & cultural organizations to succeed. 

Mono Arts Council is committed to modeling diversity and inclusion for the entire arts industry of Mono County, and to maintaining an inclusive and anti-racist environment with equitable treatment for all.

Mono Arts Council ensures that every policy enacted will reflect the principles of equity, justice, and anti-racism. We are committed to acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and will continually update and report organization progress. Policies, programs, and activities will be administered to identify and stop discrimination, racism, and barriers to access, and to halt all disproportionately high and adverse effects on communities of color.

 

Mono Arts Council is dedicated to the just and equitable disbursement of resources, including programs,scholarships, supportive funding, and all Mono Arts Council services. To ensure that all disbursements and decisions are made in an equitable, anti-racist, and non-biased manner, Mono Arts Council will rely on the Decision Support Tool, as provided by the California Arts Council.

 

Diversity, inclusion, equity, and anti-racism are connected to our core values and critical to ensure the well-being of our staff, volunteers, contractors, board members, and the overall arts and cultural communities of Mono County.

We expect all employees, volunteers, contractors, and board members to embrace these principles and to express them in all Mono Arts Council interactions and in everyday practices as representatives of the Mono Arts Council.