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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.

To facilitate activities showcasing national and area artists

To grow public and private financial support

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

To provide arts in education for all ages.

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

Goals

Staff

Kristin Reese

Executive Director

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.

Monica Eilts

Mono County Arts Education Coordinator

Monica was born into a Mexican-American home in San Diego, California. Although she and her family did not speak Spanish in their household, her father felt it very important to embrace their Mexican heritage and learn his native language. Monica remembers learning Spanish from her father and her Nana (grandmother), at a very young age. Once she was old enough to attend school, her parents enrolled her in a bilingual program where she learned how to speak, read, and write in Spanish.

Monica moved to the Eastern Sierra in 2002. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs. Some of her interests include skiing, running, camping, being creative, and listening to live music. She has a BA in Early Childhood Development, with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She loves working with children and she is encouraged by their use of imagination and creativity.  She has always had an interest in the arts, and she is very passionate about the arts in education.  She is also thankful that she is able to reach out and communicate with Latino families within our community.

Daria Sur 

Mono County Arts Education Coordinator

Born in Russia, Daria moved to California several years ago, and has been a Mono County resident since 2019. Daria studied academic drawing from the age of ten, and grew up  experimenting with mixed-media and graphic design. She found her artistic edge in creating immersive art installations for public spaces. Her work was exhibited in Portugal, Hungary, Spain, Czech Republic, and the United States. 


Daria's artistic path has been closely intertwined with the career of a teaching artist. She taught AP Studio Art in an Oakland public high school, and art classes in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Colorado, and New York. Daria believes that through the study of art, youth grow into critical thinkers, intelligent learners, and creative influencers. An important part of Daria's teaching practice is dedicated to eliminating social biases, honoring equality, and instilling learning processes into the everyday life experiences of her students. 


Daria designed and led the standards-aligned curriculum #MONOMAKESART for Mono Arts Council after COVID-19 school closures in March of 2020. In this hybrid-learning course, students used design-thinking, technology, and basic artistic techniques to tackle real-life problems and create impactful solutions. Daria also engaged creative professionals from around the world as guest speakers during the course, and has maintained a sustained connection with local families. Daria continues her cooperation with MAC by building the curriculum and teaching the Arts Act and the Digital Arts programs in Mono County schools.

 

Daria holds a Master of Arts in Education, Emphasis on Teaching (MEET) degree from Mills College. She is passionate about sailing and motorcycles. Daria lives in June Lake with her husband George and their dog Jack.

Janet Hunt

Treasurer

Janet is a UC Riverside graduate with a BA in Studio Art. She has been an Eastern Sierra resident for over 25 years. She has been a teacher and is now the Director of Alternative Education at the Mono County Office of Education. Immersed in arts and education she continues to pursue the arts through personal practice and public service.  She especially appreciates the ability of the arts to foster community through creative expression and shared experience.  Janet is an advocate for youth, and public music and arts. She is the coordinator for the MAC sponsored June Lake Jam Fest, which had its inauguration September 2015. The event has been designed to bring a quality music event to Mono County, as well as serve as a benefit to support music programs for school-aged Mono County students. She is happy to support and be a part of the MAC arts in education and community arts programs.

Steve Wright

Board Member

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.

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.
 

Deja Charles

Mammoth Arts Education Coordinator

Deja is originally from southern California, specifically the San Fernando Valley area. She attended Merced College where she received an AAT in History, Anthropology, and Social and Behavioral Science. She then transferred to Sacramento State University where she completed her Bachelor's of Arts in History with a minor in Anthropology. 

 

She began visiting the Sierra on school field trips when she was in junior high school and quickly became enchanted by the mountains. After finishing college in 2017 Deja moved to Yosemite National Park, where she had the opportunity to work with children and adults through her jobs as a Preschool teacher and as an Interpretive Naturalist. She then moved to the Mammoth Lakes to continue learning about and enjoying the Sierra. 

 

Deja enjoys many outdoor activities such as alpine skiing, birding, camping, hiking, bouldering, paddle boarding and pretty much anything that gets her outside. She also enjoys yoga, theater, dancing, drawing, and watercolor painting. One of her goals while working with MAC is to create classes and programs that integrate nature and art. 

Board of Directors

Kristen Shipke

President

Kristen is a Connecticut native and graduate of Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. She has been living in Mammoth Lakes since 1995 and joined Mono Arts Council in 2008 serving as Secretary, Vice President and now President. For over 20 years, Kristen has worked as an independent artist and teacher in addition to working at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in food & beverage management.  She achieved success in revitalizing Mono Arts Council by rebranding and developing programs such as Art & Wine while also enhancing MAC’s summer art festivals.  Inspired by the beautiful Eastern Sierra, she continues to be an advocate for the arts and its power to strengthen communities and ensure quality of life.

Stacy Corless

Vice President

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.

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.

Michelle Quirsfeld

Secretary

Melissa Reeves

Board Member

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.

Christopher Platt

Board Member

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.