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
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.
Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Nicole naturally gravitated towards visual and performing arts at a young age. These formative experiences in arts education galvanized her to eventually pursue a career in the arts. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Art History at Seattle University and moved to Mammoth Lakes following her graduation in 2016. She became a Teaching Artist for Mono Arts Council, where she taught the Meet the Masters curriculum and assisted with Summer Camps. Her role as an educator with the Mono Arts Council would later inform much of her professional career.
In 2018, Nicole’s time in Mammoth Lakes was cut short as she moved to Washington D.C. to attend American University and complete her Master of Arts in Art History. Her research focused on portrayals of race and gender in nineteenth century French portraiture by women artists. While attending school, she held positions at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. These roles further fueled her passion for arts accessibility and museum education. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, she returned to her hometown of Sacramento after completing her coursework and thesis. She assumed the role of Education Manager at Verge Center of the Arts, a contemporary non-profit art gallery and education center. Her return to Sacramento increased her interest in community partnerships, collaborative art practices, and building inclusive visual arts programming for all ages.
Nicole is thrilled to be back in the Eastern Sierras to engage with the Mono County community through visual and performing arts. She is especially honored to be part of the Mono Arts Council, where her earliest moments as an arts educator began. In her free time, Nicole enjoys staying active through rock climbing, cycling, running, and hiking. She balances her active days with rejuvenating rest days, which typically involve quality time with her pet rabbit Glen, plenty of coffee, a book, and a sketchpad.
Kristi was born and raised in Sweden, but you’d never know since she doesn’t have an accent. She moved to Southern California in 2016, and after almost 1.5 years living in a van traveling all over the Western US and Canada, found Mammoth Lakes.
She attended a visual arts and sculpture high school and later went on to earn a Bachelor of Graphic Design and Communication degree from the University of Linköping. Graphic design has been Kristi’s main job for the past ten or so years, while art took more of a back seat.
Kristi is excited to be back in the world of art and feels honored to be able to teach and share her passion for everything art. She loves working with kids and their fascinating imaginations. Kristi enjoys the creation process and getting messy with anything from paint and glue to clay, wood, and metal.
She enjoys pretty much everything outdoors - downhill skiing, uphill skiing, cross-country skiing, climbing, hiking, biking, running, swimming, backpacking, horseback riding (dressage mainly). Indoors Kristi enjoys cooking yummy things, baking sourdough bread, and playing nerdy games with her wife, Molly, and friends.
Annemarie was born in Ontario, Canada where she grew up on a small farm with horses, lush woods to explore, and lots of free time and open spaces. She learned to build structures like cottage decks and tree forts with her dad and brother, draw and paint with her mom, and garden and bake with her Oma. The daughter of German immigrants, Annemarie was the first in her family to go to college and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in French and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. During her public-school years, she was involved in dance, theater and art, but she also loved her science and math classes.
In college, she realized how much having exposure to the arts helped her see the world in a more connected and whole way as she pursued her technical degree in Landscape Architecture. She could easily express her ideas on ‘a napkin’ with pencil in hand and saw how art education critically shaped her ability to see spaces in three dimensions. Exposure to the arts also taught her how to communicate clearly with clients and other professionals like engineers and architects. Her 30- year career was spent creating beautiful private gardens and large public spaces in the OC, San Diego and LA, as well as exhibiting her oil paintings in local galleries.
But every chance she and her family had, they ran away to the mountains to play in the snow and sage. Annemarie is thrilled to be part of the Mono Arts Council Gallery team as the Artist Liaison and Gallery Curator. Her goal is to promote local Eastern Sierra Artists, provide for a variety of art styles and media, and make the Community Arts Center a welcome place to come paint, paste and pour. She wants every visitor that enters the gallery, young and old, visitor and local, to be inspired by the art in the gallery and feel how art can touch the soul.
Julia Contaldi moved to Mammoth right after a giant snowstorm in January 2006 with a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a hamster bouncing up and down on a mostly unplowed road. Luckily everyone arrived safe & sound. That winter was a memorable one, and quite a start to their adventures in the Eastern Sierra. “I love that we found this wonderful community, we were able to raise our children here, and that I get to see people I know every day when I’m out & about in the community.”
As a child, she spent every Saturday at the Jeanne Down studio in Northridge, California learning how to paint with oils, and then spent middle and high school years in advanced art programs studying various medias, ceramics and art production. She attended California State University Northridge and enthusiastically studied illustration and color with a goal of becoming a comic book artist. (A fun side benefit is that she has over 50 original early issue Wolverine comics.)
Although raising kids and running a local business slowed down her artistic pursuits, now that both kids are grown and in college; Quinn at University of Reno and Logan at Cerro Coso Community College, Julia now has time to return to her artistic roots. “My favorite thing about art is that there can be no rules, I love to mix media and create something unexpected & unique. Art challenges my limits and expands my perceptions”
In her personal time Julia enjoys fly fishing with husband Joe, a professional fly-fishing guide, family camping trips, recreational boating, day hiking, and anything that involves reading, coffee or cats!
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.
Peggy Sage Armenta
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
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.
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.
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.
Susi was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and earned her B.A. in Psychology from California Southern University. She grew up in a family of painters, woodworkers, and textile artists, so creating art was always encouraged and supported. As a child and young adult, she spent many of her summer vacations camping and hiking in the Eastern Sierra. Even then, she knew the meaning of “The Mountains are Calling,” and vowed to someday make them her home. Fast forward to the year 2000, and her dream became reality.
After more than a decade of working in the crisis intervention field with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, Susi formed a non-profit organization - SHINE – in 2017. SHINE is dedicated to assisting underserved and marginalized populations in Inyo and Mono Counties and provides community education focused on mental health first aid.
Susi is also a stained glass artist and owner of Owl Moon Studios. As a little girl, she was fascinated by the beauty and intensity of the colors and light that glass has to offer. In her late 20s, she took a community workshop to learn the basics of building leaded glass windows. She instantly fell in love with the process and has been committed to the craft ever since.
Susi believes that emotional, psychological, and social well-being are vital components of good mental health; creativity and the arts are necessary to help us handle stress, relate to others, and build a strong community.
Susi splits her time between California's Eastern Sierra and Montana's Flathead Valley. When not creating art or working in the community, you can catch her outdoors regardless of the weather.
Lauryl was born and raised in Ventura, California, and often vacationed in Mammoth with her family as a child. She graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BFA in Art & Design in 2010. After a brief stint in Austin, Texas, realizing she didn’t like the heat, she went for the opposite and settled in the snowy mountains of Mammoth Lakes in late 2014. She immediately accepted the position of Graphic Designer for the Marketing
Department at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and has been there ever since. She has always been passionate about children’s education, believing that investing in arts, music and theater programs for K-12 is crucial for child development and for the community.
Kasandra Montes, pronouns are she/they/them, is a Mammoth Lakes native and recently a community outreach partner within their position at Mono County Behavioral Health. They graduated from Mammoth High School in 2011 where Kasandra ventured off to Santa Barbara, California to pursue a career in psychology at Cal State Channel Islands. Throughout their journey in beautiful SoCal, they learned to appreciate art, from the "basics" of paper and pencil, to sculpting, and to many other hands-on crafts. Kassandra has been lucky enough to have a lot of skilled artistic friends who taught them about art, and the many ways it comes and benefits in many aspects of our lives. Since Kasandra moved back to their hometown in 2019, they have found time to explore our beautiful Eastern Sierra through either a drive, a bike ride, or walk throughout nature while listening to their favorite podcasts.
Steven M. Shatkin is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside with a B.S. degree in Psychobiology. Post-college he worked as a lab supervisor for the organic testing department at E.S. Babcock & Sons, and then as a senior research chemist for CPI, Inc. where he was awarded two patents in chemistry.
Mr. Shatkin has served as the president of the Riverside Junior Chamber of Commerce from ’90-’94, and as an ambassador to Sendai, Japan for the Junior Chamber sister city program in 1991. He chaired the Environmental Beautification Committee for the Riverside Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the UCR Citizens University Committee. Mr. Shatkin is currently a Life Member of the UCR Alumni Association and works closely with the UCR Guardian Scholars for Foster Youth Program. He is also an Advisory Council Board Member for Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra in Mammoth Lakes, CA.
Mr. Shatkin joined Tortoise Industries, Inc., a design manufacturing firm, in 1994 where he currently serves as president and creative director. He is a regular guest lecturer at the Art Center School of Design and has collaborated with many notable architects, artists and galleries. He is also the curator / director of The Mark at Tortoise, a fine art gallery whose mission is to help aspiring young artist promote and exhibit their work.
Mr. Shatkin is married to his alligator Tracie and they have four children and three dogs between them. Mr. Shatkin is an accomplished pilot, violinist, artist and chef. In his spare time he enjoys skiing and hiking as well as managing Mammoth Lake’s popular coffee and donut shop, Mammoth Coffee Roasting Co.
“I am honored and humbled to be part of this amazing organization and will make every effort to carry forward the goals and mission of the Mono Arts Council.”
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.