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Board of Directors

Meet Cultural Connections' dedicated, all-volunteer board below. The board is made up of professionals in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, who represent a diversity of experiences and backgrounds within free-choice learning fields. Each board member serves a two-year term, taking part in collaborative program planning and ensuring that Cultural Connections meets its mission and goals.

Cultural Connections Board 2021-2022

John Alexander (He/Him)

John Alexander has devoted himself to museum work for 25+ years. Between the Museum of Modern Art, Morgan Library & Museum in New York and more recently at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), he has worked extensively on a variety of exhibitions as well as collection stewardship topics. He has lectured on museum subjects at universities in New York, Connecticut and Valladolid, Spain and participated in museum-related symposiums in Boston, Houston, Madrid and London. John holds a BA in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin and pursued graduate studies also in Art History at the City University of New York, Hunter College.

In multiple roles at MoMA, he worked on exhibitions focusing on such artists as Yayoi Kusama, Alvar Aalto, Willie Cole, Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Hitchcock and Alberto Giacometti.  Also, during this tenure, he participated in a professional work exchange involving spending three months working at the Centre Pompidou on the exhibition Dada:  Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris.  The show was a tripartite effort between the Pompidou, MoMA and the National Gallery, Washington DC. At the Morgan, John brought about many changes to the institution’s exhibitions and collections policies as part of the senior staff.  This included all aspects of installation, design, budget oversight and contract negotiations. These included such exhibitions on the artists Philip Guston, Monika Grzymala, Martin Puryear, and Betye Saar as well as the topics of Surrealism and Frankenstein.  John also oversaw multiple touring exhibitions with numerous international partners such as the Louvre, Uffizi, Jeu de Paume, Fundación Mapfre, Albertina and Gemeentemuseum as well as multiple domestic venues like the Getty Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Hammer Museum, Menil Collection and BAMPFA.

Since joining BAMPFA, John has worked to bring the underrecognized artists of all categories to the walls of the museum such as Kay Sekimachi, Candice Lin, Caroline Kent and retrospectives of Alison Knowles and Amalia Mesa-Bains. The Knowles exhibition has plans to travel to three European venues in Norway, France and Germany and is accompanied by a substantial publication that John contributed significant administrative oversight toward. The Mesa-Bains exhibition has plans to travel to California, Texas and possible venues in Mexico and will also have a momentous catalogue to commemorate the artist’s work to which John also provided meaningful assistance. Other responsibilities John was involved in the permanent collection of out-going loans to other institutions and, most primarily, a robust acquisition process. Four times annually, John plays a key role in the planning and implementation of gifts and purchases to the BAMPFA collection. This involves donor relations, the maintenance of acquisition funds and meeting coordination as well as the supervision of an ongoing document of potential new works for consideration.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2022

Mercy Bertero (She/ Her)

Berkeley/Oakland born and raised, Mercy received her BA in Communication Studies from the University of San Francisco where she studied Critical Intercultural Communication, Intercultural Relational Communication, and Critical Communication Pedagogy. She is the co-author of Crisis Pedagogy: A Case Study Exploring a Clean Water Access Project During COVID-19, a forthcoming book chapter detailing the work done in a nonprofit-based service learning class with community organizers and Communication Studies students.

Mercy has worked for various art and community-based nonprofits in the Bay Area and began as a Visitor Insights Specialist at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) in September of 2021. In her role, she conducts audience-based research projects and various evaluations of museum programming, events, exhibitions, and content. Working in both a museum frontline position and behind-the-scenes, Mercy’s work aims to bridge community needs and organizational goals together. She is also an active member of multiple task-force and learning teams working to develop equitable and accessible resources for all museum staff and visitors.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2022

Cara Dodge (she/her)

Cara Dodge has been a museum professional since 2007, and has enjoyed a number of different positions in science-focused institutions. She has written programming for The Tech Interactive, helped launch the Exponential Center at the Computer History Museum, worked on social media campaigns for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and is now Engagement Lead and Exhibit Manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center. 

She also explored the potential within museums through her masters program, earning both an MA in Museum Studies and a Masters in Business Administration from John F Kennedy University. Her Master’s Thesis "Humor me a moment: The power of humor in science museums," explored how positive emotions, like humor, can be impactful for individuals, even those who are perhaps not interested in science. The results of this research encouraged her to continue to explore how to connect people with science, as there are still underutilized ways to do so, and trying new and innovative techniques can have powerful results.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2019

Anna Lisa Escobedo, (SHE/HER/ELLA/ELLAS)

Anna Lisa Escobedo is a visual artist, muralist, activist, event producer, cultural worker, and networker. Born and raised in Central Los Angeles, and since 2008 has been living in San Francisco. She is a founder of Calle 24- Latino Cultural District and chaired the Cultural Arts Committee. Graduated with her BA in Latina/o Studies and Art: Studio and Art History and later, Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies and MBA. She has led numerous projects from cultural and film festivals, literary events, fundraisers, and helping campaign for Prop E: Arts for All. Currently, works as the Senior Manager of Artist Engagement & Impact at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. And is an advisor for The New Monument Taskforce. Anna Lisa's goals are to pay artists and to continue the arts and culture ecosystem in the Bay Area. 

A personal glimpse: The saying "you can take a girl out of the hood but you can't take the hood out of the girl" is so true about me. I am a traveler, foodie lover, I love cooking for people and I love working out. I have an awesome earring and scarf collection. Trained in the art of tasting for coffee, chocolate, mezcal, and ice cream and in the art of good conversation.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2019

Maria Kristina Guillen (She/Her)

Maria graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a BA in Anthropology and Integrative Biology focusing on osteology and zooarchaeology. Her interests in biological anthropology along with her passion for creating spaces for discussions on race, ethnicity, and society directed her to pursue a Museum Studies MA and MBA dual degree from John F. Kennedy University. She has experience in public programming, collections, event coordination, marketing, and nonprofit management. 

Maria’s currently employed at the Stanford Archaeology Center as the Student Services Officer. 

Joined Cultural Connections in 2021

Joanne Sidlovsky Grant (She/ Her)

I’m originally from Connecticut, but I’ve been living in the Bay Area (San Francisco and now Oakland) for 19 years. My Instagram handle is: @joannesidgrant. My twitter handle is @JoanneGrant814. Find me on LinkedIn as Joanne Sidlovsky Grant.
In May, I earned my Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University, where my coursework focused on collections management, curation, exhibition design, and archives.
Prior to returning to school, I spent 15 years in archaeological consulting – I have always loved learning about and caring for objects from our collective past! Since December, I have been employed as a Collections Manager/Studio Administrator for Art Conservation de Rigeur (ACdR Conservation) in San Francisco. I manage the studio’s social media account, document incoming objects, maintain project databases, and assist with object cleaning and rehousing.
Last fall, I was a Curatorial Intern at the Camron-Stanford House, under the guidance of Executive Director Iliana Morton (who also introduced me to Cultural Connections)! I remain an occasional volunteer there, and am helping to design a new exhibit that will showcase the house’s history as both a private residence and a public museum. I’m also a volunteer at the Oakland Aviation Museum, where last summer, I designed an exhibit showcasing Amelia Earhart. I currently manage the museum’s collections, library, and archives. 
I am grateful for all of these opportunities to build my new career, and I look forward to being a part of the Cultural Connections board!

Joined Cultural Connections in 2022

Michèle Jubilee (she/her)

Michèle Jubilee is the Education Curator at New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU), located on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone, building community through youth and exhibition programming. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in both Art History and Visual Arts from the University of British Columbia (UBC), located in Vancouver, Canada, on the unceded territory of the Musqueam People. In Vancouver she worked at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG), and Gallery 1515. Michèle is also a multidisciplinary artist and illustrator making art about the body and soul, our relationships to ourselves and each other, emotions, and our unique journeys of growth as human beings. “I see my work in museum programs and my own art practice as integrally connected, and all part of one path of learning. The arts are so special because we can share our individual and collective experiences, and the deepest parts of who we are.” 

A personal glimpse: Michèle loves a good cup of tea, a bowl of pho, talks with friends, and taking walks to appreciate flowers and trees. Born in Montreal, Canada, Michèle grew up in the heart of San Francisco, right next to the De Young Museum. She used to walk over to the museum regularly and spend hours just admiring all the art. Museums and art making have always been a huge part of her life.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2022

Terri Le, Treasurer (she/her)

Since 2010, Terri has developed her career in the public and non-profit sectors to promote arts, culture, and humanities as a museum educator, program manager, communications, and social media coordinator, and development associate. She’s worked for notable museums and institutions in Washington D.C. and SF Bay Area, including The Phillips Collection, VisArts at Rockville, Charles M. Schulz Museum, and San Francisco Heritage. In 2016, she graduated from John F. Kennedy University with an M.A. in Museum Studies and an M.B.A.

She is currently employed at the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) as the Institutional Giving Manager. Concurrently, she supports the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) as the Development Coordinator and is the Co-Founder & Principal Coach of Resourceful Roots LLC, a nonprofit freelance and coaching service.

A personal glimpse: I love playing board games, baking with alcohol, and expanding my cultural knowledge through binging tv shows/movies/docuseries, reading, and discovering new exhibits. I also enjoy hosting board game nights and White Elephant Friendsgiving Parties.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2020

Lia Maksoud (She/ Her)

Lia has expanded her career in human resources for the past decade working in both the local government and non-profit sectors. Prior to her career in Human Resources, she worked in education and direct services assisting and supporting transitional age foster youth.

Lia Maksoud is the Human Resources Director with the Asian Art Museum. She oversees all aspects of Human Resources and Volunteers for the museum. She is excited to serve and support Cultural Connections with other highly dedicated individuals who bring their wide-ranging expertise.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2022

Ruby Ming, Secretary (she/her)

Ruby aims to provoke unconventional connections to art across cultures, time, and technology. Involved in visual arts education for over 20 years, she has presented engaging professional development workshops for teachers about arts integration for the National and the California Art Education Associations and the Santa Clara County Office of Education. She received her B.A. in Fine Arts from Brown University and her M.A. in Museum Studies, with an emphasis in Programming, from San Francisco State University.

Currently teaching in the Museum Studies Program at SFSU, Ruby has worked on a wide range of projects for a variety of nonprofits. She produced a 2-day teacher seminar focused on modern China and created virtual summer art projects for 3rdto 8th graders. She led tours for English Language Learners at the National Portrait Gallery. A former docent at the Asian Art Museum, she designed private, public, and school group tours. In partnership with UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project, she launched a week-long teacher institute in summer 2022 for the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles focused on integrating textile arts in the humanities. She is a popular speaker, presenting richly illustrated talks around the Bay Area highlighting cultural exchange and transmission.

A personal glimpse: I enjoy traveling and experiencing daily life in other parts of the world and look forward to someday using my passport again. I also enjoy crafting with friends, movies, theater, and trying different foods.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2021

Gretta Stimson, President (she/ her)

Gretta is Acquisitions Registrar at the Computer History Museum based in Mountain View. She tracks all new artifacts and archival donations from initial contact with the donor through archival packing once the material is acquired. Gretta developed her skills working for the Hayward Area Historical Society in Hayward, California, and the Maryhill Museum in Washington State. 

Gretta achieved her BA from the University of Hawai’i, where she studied Anthropology and English Literature with a minor in Theater. She went on to receive her MA from the University of Leicester, Museum Studies Department. In her spare time, Gretta is involved with the Bay Area theater community, regularly performing in and watching theater. 

A personal glimpse: Gretta is an avid reader of both plays, literature, and non-fiction. In her spare time she enjoys participating in community theater.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2020

Christina Young (She/they)

Christina Young is a painter and an arts and cultural worker with a particular interest in creating spaces that empower individuals and drive connection. Currently the Associate Director of Visitor Experience at Oakland Museum of California, Christina has a rich background in Bay Area arts and cultural institutions, with multifaceted experience ranging from programming and development, to education and visitor experience. From her work at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, and OMCA, she has developed a deep understanding of how all aspects of the institution impact community experience- and that strategizing around this interdependence is the only way to fully realize institutional social impact and fiscal objectives. Finally, she is passionate about frontline staff advocacy and people centered work, recognizing that empowered and engaged museum staff empower our communities/audiences best.

Joined Cultural Connections in 2022

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