Cultural Connections Board 2021-2022
Sal Bell Alper (they/them)
Sal loves learning and believes in the liberatory possibility of museum spaces. Sal works to foster inclusive and engaging learning experiences for young people visiting the Exploratorium for over 10 years. They collaboratively build a team of educators to be responsive to visitors' interests and needs in a dynamic space. Sal also engages in institutional efforts for equitable internal and external practices. Sal recently completed a MA in Education focusing on bridging social justice, education, and museums.
Amy Cohen, Treasurer (she/her)
A Chicagoland native, Amy has worked in nonprofits and museums for over 15 years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Exhibit Envoy, a nonprofit that travels exhibitions for small and mid-size institutions across California and the U.S. In this role, she works with curators, artists, and institutions to develop exhibitions that help small museums connect with their communities, as well as manages the tour logistics of 30+ exhibitions and all fiscal duties. Each year, Amy is proud to partner with 50+ museums, libraries, and cultural institutions to bring California stories to their visitors.
Since entering the museum field, Amy has been a panelist/presenter at multiple museum conferences and served as an external grant reviewer for statewide organizations. Amy has a B.A. in History from the College of Wooster in Ohio and her M.A. in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley.
Cara Dodge, Secretary (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 a new initiative at the Computer History Museum, worked on social media campaigns for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and is now an Exhibits 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.
Maria Egoavil (she, her, hers)
Maria believes that art is the most powerful tool to bring people together. Since the beginning of her professional career, she has been an advocate for cultural institutions to create more inclusive and welcoming spaces that puts people at the center of their work.
She currently works as the Public Programs Coordinator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (de Young and Legion of Honor). She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Liberal Studies major and two minors in Education and Museum Studies.
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, she works as the Engagement Project Manager of 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.
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 is currently employed at the Stanford Archaeology Center as the Student Services Officer.
San Francisco born and Bay Area raised, Danielle received her BA from the University of California Santa Cruz. She began her career as a museum professional in 2010 at the Exploratorium and later the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She is currently the director of membership at the Asian Art Museum.
As co-chair of the Bay Area Membership Managers Association (BAMMA), she enjoys connecting with colleagues at all levels to share her skills in DEIA initiatives, fundraising, stewardship, innovative community programming, and memorable events.
Jessica Johnson (she/her)
Jess received her B.A in Art History from New York University and her M.A in Egyptian Art History and Archaeology and a Graduate Certification in Museum Studies from the University of Memphis. Her interests include ancient Egyptian Demonology and narrative constructions within religious texts, tombs, and temple wall decorations. Jess is also interested in Museum Studies and Digital Humanities. She has experience working within the museological field for the past ten years within university settings, galleries, and auction houses. She has worked at, most notably, Christie's Auction House, the National Civil Rights Museum, and now serves as the Assistant Curator at the Badé Museum of Biblical Archaeology in the Bay area. She pursues Digital Humanities through consulting on the creation of 3D models for the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and incorporating the conversion of 2D images into 3D models for her forthcoming dissertation.
Terri Le, Co-President (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 Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) as the Development Manager. Concurrently, she volunteers with the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) as the traveling exhibit project manager. Not only is it a privilege to work with these amazing Bay Area organizations, but it is also a rich experience connecting with so many individuals who continue to inspire her passion.
Ruby Ming (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, the Development Manager at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, Ruby has worked on a wide range of projects for a variety of nonprofits, including producing a 2-day teacher seminar for 1990 Institute focused on modern China; designing gallery activities for students at the Global Museum at SFSU; creating virtual summer art projects for 3rdto 8th graders for Eastside Community Arts; and leading 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, and presented talks around the Bay Area highlighting cultural exchange and transmission.
Iliana Morton (sher/her)
Iliana is the Executive Director at Camron-Stanford House, a historic house museum in Oakland, California. She is most excited for the opportunity to help lead the museum in re-imagining the potential of historic house museums in modern, urban communities. Prior to taking on this leadership role, Iliana worked in collections management and also helped lead program and exhibition development at Camron-Stanford House. She has served on the Emerging History Professionals Committee for the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH), and was an active board member of Broadway Children’s School of Oakland for several years.
Iliana holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from California State University, San Marcos, and a Master’s degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University, where she focused her studies and thesis work on the intersection of community engagement and historic house museums and other local heritage sites.
Russell Nauman (he/him)
Russell Nauman is the Operations Manager for the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. In his role at AIISF, he supports the stewardship and interpretation of the U.S. Immigration Station – a 14.3-acre National Historic Landmark – and its two museums on Angel Island. Before joining AIISF, Russell worked for non-profits/cultural organizations in Central Florida and Southern California, including the Orlando Science Center, Orange County Regional History Center, Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, Paley Center for Media, Annenberg Space for Photography, and USC Pacific Asia Museum.
Recently, Russell was involved in curating three permanent exhibits for the Angel Island Immigration Museum and designing four virtual exhibitions related to Angel Island’s history. He received his B.A. in Anthropology from Rollins College and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Museum Studies at San Francisco State University. When he is not at work or school, he volunteers at the Museum of the San Ramon Valley and on Alcatraz (his other island home in the bay).
Natasha Reichle (she/her)
Natasha Reichle is the Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. At the museum, she has curated exhibitions on a wide range of subjects including Javanese puppets, Asian performing arts, batik textiles, Southeast Asian jewelry, and the first major US exhibition on the arts of Bali (Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance, 2010) Her early research focused on esoteric Buddhism in Indonesia (Violence and Serenity: Late Buddhist Sculpture from Indonesia (University of Hawai’i Press, 2007). More recent endeavors have focused on art and global trade in the seventeenth century (China at the Center: Ricci and Verbiest World Maps, 2015), Philippine art (Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories, 2017), and art and shipwrecks (Lost at Sea: Artwork Recovered from Shipwrecks, 2019). After studying literature at Yale, she received her Ph.D. in the History of Art from U.C. Berkeley.
Morgan Schlesinger (he/him)
Morgan is the Collections Manager and Registrar for the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University. He stewards the museum’s wide-ranging collection of photography, video art, works on paper, paintings, mission-era artifacts, and more.
Morgan received an MA in Museum Studies from the University of San Francisco and an MBA from Willamette University. His journey into the museum field started as a child when he absorbed all he could about dinosaurs and fossils from natural history museums. A San Francisco native, Morgan has worked in various Bay Area museums since 2015 in collections management, exhibitions, registration, and development. During his internship with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Morgan explored the long-term financial and social impacts of traveling exhibitions on host museums. This research sparked his interest in redefining how museums engage with their communities through exhibitions that both explore challenging ideas and support local businesses.
Gretta Stimson, Co-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.