Palo Alto Art Center Foundation  

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Meet the Board
The board of directors, drawn from Palo Alto and neighboring cities works to enhance programs and develop new sources of funding. The Foundation seeks board members who are committed to the Palo Alto Art Center’s mission in the visual arts, who have both connections to the community, and diverse skills such as marketing, public relations, and fund raising.
Palo Alto Art Center Foundation Board

Bern Beecham, President
Marcia Pugsley, Vice President
Karen Valladao, Treasurer
Maria Koretz, Secretary
Roxane Mehta, Governance
Stephanie Anderson
Melissa Baten Caswell
Judy David

Cristiana Cunningham Freed
Sally Glaser
Arlene Gutowski
Carol Kenyon
Rene Morgan
Rebecca Nelson
Bonnie Packer
Larisa Usich

Stephanie Anderson has been a resident of Palo Alto for over 20 years, and an active schools and community volunteer for much of that time. She graduated with honors from Princeton University and has an MBA from Stanford, but the arts are a true passion of hers. She grew up in Hong Kong and Japan, and collects Asian art, especially Japanese woodblocks, porcelains and textiles. Her 2 daughters enjoyed taking Japanese brush painting classes through the Art Center during their elementary school years. Stephanie firmly believes that the arts are a fundamental part of a child's development, and will work to ensure access to art for all children. Her hobbies are travelling, cooking, reading and gardening.
Bern Beecham is a former mayor and council member of Palo Alto. He has a business background in Silicon Valley and continues to be involved in technical efforts, such as bringing Fiber To The Premises in Palo Alto, and other volunteer efforts such as improving Palo Alto libraries and Stanford University's hospitals.
Melissa Baten Caswell has lived in Palo Alto with her family for the past 21 years. She has a BA from Dartmouth, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Economics, and an MBA from Dartmouth with a focus on Organizational Behavior and Marketing. She has worked on Wall Street and in high-tech marketing, business development, corporate development and strategy in companies across the Silicon Valley. Since 2007, Melissa has been an elected member of the governing board of the Palo Alto Unified School District. During this time, she has served as both Vice President and President of the Board. Prior to joining the PAUSD Board of Education, Melissa played an active role in PTA leadership at Duveneck School, across the entire Palo Alto Unified School District and she spent 4 years on the Board of the 6th District (Santa Clara County) PTA. She has served as PTA Council President, PTA Council EVP and PTA Council VP of Communications, PTA Unit President, Parliamentarian, Secretary, Chair of Communications and eNews Editor and as a member of the 6th District Out of Council Leadership team. Melissa is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Youth Community Service Organization, she is a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, a Family Resources Ambassador. Melissa is also trained as a Junior Great Books Leader, and as an Instructor for the Biz World and the Meet the Master's education programs.
Judy David brings to the board extensive professional experience working with technology start-ups in the U.S. as well as internationally. She has lived and worked in Mexico, Hong Kong and Japan where art served as a bridge to understanding the local culture. She has also served on the board of a Peninsula dance company.
Cristiana Cunningham Freed has 10 years teaching experience in both Asia and in the Bay Area.  She received her Bachelors in Art History from Mills College, and her Masters in Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. During the last five years she has been consulting on curriculum development and parent education with two East Bay school districts and the non-profit, Safe Passages. When not consulting with individuals and school districts, she loves taking classes at the Art Center. Some of her absolute best parenting moments have happened while enjoying the artistic process with her boys in various art classes at PAAC! Cristiana believes in the transformative power of the arts and, as a board member, hopes to further the mission of the PAAC as the place to “experience and create art.” She lives with her family in Menlo Park
Sally Glaser has been a Palo Alto resident since 1973.  She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in epidemiology and has worked as a cancer researcher for almost 30 years, focusing on studies of lymphoma and breast cancer.  For most of this period, she has been at the Cancer Prevention Institution of California in Fremont, where she served as CEO in the period 2008 through 2013, and has led the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry since 2005.   She has been active in local children’s music and dance organizations while raising two children with her husband, David Bower.
Arlene Gutowski has lived in Palo Alto and Los Altos for over 45 years.
For most of this time she has been involved with, and worked in, the arts and crafts in this area. There have been many adventures along the way, among those, owning a woolen Spinning Mill, managing an Arts and Crafts Gallery, also a Tribal and Folk Art Gallery, followed by other adventures, and finally, managing the lovely store at The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. Arlene is still actively working in the arts and is excited to be able to lend her experience to the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation.
Carol Kenyon was born and raised in Salt Lake City and graduated from the University of Utah in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. Carol married her husband, Don, after graduation and moved immediately to Palo Alto where Don was born and raised and owned a family business. She taught school in the area for 4 years, raised 2 children and was a homemaker. Carol became a full time volunteer for an educational foundation, Creative Initiative/Beyond War and was an active part of that organization for 20 years. She and her husband lived in Pasadena for 5 years during that time period. Carol's other volunteer activities include: Palo Alto PTA, Planned Parenthood Mir Mar, Democratic politics, Emily's List and sheis currently working with Inn Vision at the Palo Alto Food Closet. Carol is a member of the Palo Alto 'Y" and considers exercising regularly one of her priorities. Carol's 2 children are adults and live in Palo Alto. She has 2 teenage grand children. Carol is honored to be a member of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation Board and wishes to contribute to the on going activities of the Art Center as it continues to grow. She is a firm believer that the arts are basic in our complex world today and Palo Alto needs an active vibrant art center for both adults and children.
Maria Koretz is a long time resident of Palo Alto, comes to the Board with a background in both the sciences and in the arts. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry in clinical development and strategic marketing. After an early retirement, she decided to follow her passion in pursuing a career in sculpture. She has become a professional figurative sculptor with nationwide distribution of her work. Maria is strong proponent of the importance of art for people of all ages and backgrounds. She was active in the Pacific Art League for many years including being on the Board, raising funds, organizing classes and curating shows. Maria's interests, in addition to the arts, include travel and reading.
Roxane Mehta is a passionate advocate for the crucial role that art and design education can play in the intellectual development of children, no matter what career or interests they may pursue as adults. Her joy is in observing and helping to nurture the creative instinct that is present in every child. Roxane serves on the Board of the Palo Alto Council of PTAs as Arts Chair, and lives in Palo Alto with her husband and three children. Reading and cooking are two of her favorite pastimes.
Rene Morgan was born and raised in Chicago where her parents encouraged her, as a young child, to visit and attend workshops and classes at the Art Institute. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Rene lived in Florence, Italy where she continued to study art and architecture, particularly the art of the Renaissance. As a young adult. Rene always felt that both art and music enrich the soul and that the arts must be available to as many people, particularly children, as possible. Rene was fortunate to live for two years in Paris, France where she studied French language as well as French civilization - with a strong emphasis on the importance of Art and architecture in the development of French culture and history. Rene has additional degrees from the University of Denver: a Masters degree in English language and literature and a J.D. Degree. More recently her husband Don Morgan and she lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan where she taught American Constitutional Law to Japanese students. Rene also took classes in Japanese screens and made many trips to Kyoto where she studied Japanese gardens, screens and the importance of art to Japanese philosophy. Rene is a passionate advocate of art and music and she is honored to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. She truly believes that "everyone is an artist" and that art and the humanities are essential for everyone and that every effort must be made to attract as many young people to the Art Center as possible.
Bonnie Packer is a long-time Palo Alto resident and former attorney, came to truly appreciate the mission of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation as an employee of the Foundation from 2005-09. Bonnie currently serves on the boards of the Palo Alto League of Women Voters, the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto and the Palo Alto Housing Corporation. She has also served on the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission and the boards of the Palo Alto Family YMCA and Palo Alto Community Child Care and PTA Council. The Saturday morning watercolor class at the Art Center has awakened Bonnie's love of "doing art." In addition to her love of the visual arts, Bonnie enjoys chamber music, reading, birding and crossword puzzles.
Marcia Pugsley is a retired human resources professional with the energy and desire to support her community and the arts. While touring the Palo Alto Arts Center 22 years ago she came upon a group of plein aire artists and decided she wanted to do that too. With the help of several fine teachers and classes at the Center, Marcia was launched into a dedicated and continuing art practice. Marcia grew up in New England and earned a Masters of Social Work at Boston College and headed West upon graduation. After 25 years as a clinical social worker it was time to change careers and Silicon Valley provided the opportunity to enter the business world. Her previous volunteer activities were with the Palo Alto Mediation Program and she is currently a Bloch Preparedness Coordinator  for the City and an usher at the Bing Center. Marcia is honored to be part of the Palo Alto Art Center Board and to work along side these accomplished board members to continue to make art available in all its various facets to the citizens of Palo Alto. 

Larisa Usich
Karen Valladao is a Bay Area native and has worked in Palo Alto for 9 years. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a BS in accounting and a minor in Spanish. She is a CPA working with individuals and venture funds on income and estate tax planning, including charitable giving planning. Art develops creativity that can be used in all facets of life. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, getting exercise, and watching the San Francisco Giants.

 

 

     
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