Annual Conference

Arts Connection, the Arts Council of San Bernardino County, is pleased to announce that our sixth annual conference will be held on Saturday, October 5th at San Bernardino Valley College in the heart of the City of San Bernardino. Our Creative People’s Conference is an invitation to explore how the arts reconnect us through our shared humanity, cultivate a space for healing, and provide an opportunity for generative dialogue across geographic and perceived distances.

Ana CervantesAna Cervantes is an arts advocate, educator and artist specializing in multimedia painting and expressive art from San Bernardino, California. Her own work is expressive, fueled by emotion and a desire to process the deep range of human feelings and her personal experience. Through her art, Ana hopes to encourage viewers to connect with their creative selves and the many nuances of the self as the medicine with the potential to heal our families and communities. Ana enjoys teaching “art freedom”, creating for the soul and gaining power through our voice for social justice through expressive art practice.

Ana received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach where she developed her passion for creating. She has since been featured in exhibits in Los Angeles and her hometown of San Bernardino, and has displayed at the Museum of Latin American Art. Ana is currently attending Azusa Pacific University pursuing her Master’s in Art Education with the goal to create curriculum for youth uniting creative exploration and mental health.

Andrew K. Thompson lives and works in Colton, California. Thompson holds a MFA degree in Studio Art and Design from the California State University, San Bernardino, a Certificate Degree in Art Business from New York University as well as a BFA in Photography from the Academy of Art, San Francisco. His has exhibited throughout the United States including at the Klotz Gallery in New York, Gallery 1/1 in Seattle, California Museum of Photography in Riverside, CA, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO, and a solo show at the SRO Photo Gallery at Texas Tech University. Musings on his work have appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, and KVC_aRts. His published images include The Hand Magazine, Urban Italia, Rhythm Magazine, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, and Artvoices. He has written for Artvoices and Dotphotozine. Curatorial projects include The Mysterious Burial Mask: Information and Evidence at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art. Thompson is the founder of The Little Gallery of San Bernardino.

His website is
Contact at

Anthony Victoria is a former reporter, who is now helping facilitate Communications for CCAEJ. He’s built a career on being the community’s watchdog. At a time when local news is underreported by major news media, as a journalist, Anthony helped shine a spotlight on Inland Empire policymakers and government agencies and their policy positions on immigration, homelessness, job-creation and public safety. He wrote about the growth of Latino-owned small businesses, the warehouse industrial complex, and the significance of community events.

Benjamin Christmas-Reynoso is the creative mind behind social justice media and content for The Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) and works in partnership with his brother Anthony Victoria to set a standard of experimentation in education and community-organizing. Ben lives by the idea that creativity is the way we will get the masses to understand their truths and begin to work together as we grow in community. His motto for engagement: “short and sweet.”

As a teen, Ben got heavily involved in grassroots organizing with the Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC). From this Ben became an outspoken critic of all injustices and disparities between the law’s protections/intent and its actual translation to the people. Ben has been working as a part of ICUC and the SBAirport Communities coalition (loosely named) battling to establish a COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT as the law of the land and potential mitigator of warehouse development and pollution through a CBA.

Ben lived all over Southern California growing up with the majority of his childhood spent in the Inland Empire and San Bernardino specifically. From 2010-2016 Ben lived on the gulf coast of Mississippi while attending the University of Southern Mississippi where he obtained his Bachelors in English. While in MS he mobilized the gulf coast community with a public radio show known as “Revolutionary Prose” (sponsored by educators) and shortly after became the spokesperson for the Hancock County chapter of the NAACP.

Ben is currently completing his master’s in education at Loyola Marymount University and works to create more educational organizing curriculum to pair youth with the tools to assist them in shaping their own futures. Ben is a passionate leader and has never been easily moved because he can’t un-see what he’s seen growing up in SB, battling state sovereignty in MS, or in his time working in the foster care system as a group home administrator in South Central LA.

I firmly believe in knowing where you come from in order to know where you are going. This is an idea that is consistently visible in my imagery. Whether it is working on personal projects, or collaborating with other artists in the community, the idea of honoring where you come from guides my work. Through my art, I pay homage to my motherland; the beautiful facets of Mexico, the diversity of my tribe, and the many radical humans that inspire my everyday life.

Themes I explore are the various emotions humanity has to navigate through. Family dynamics, the aftermath of love, the intricacies of culture, the stories and narratives of my ancestors and the world around me, and political commentary are various subjects that have risen in my pieces. It is essential in my evolution as an artist to create work that opens a dialog and connect people to one another.

I have had an intense relationship with Frida Kahlo. She is a muse, my Comadre de las Penas, and who I draw when I need to get over my own sorrows. Frida is a constant reminder that love can take many forms and lead your life into unimaginable places. As I draw and paint her, all I feel is my own worries lift and take the form of this Mujer Chingona.

I often refer to myself as a Jack of all trades. I have explored and worked in diverse mediums including: painting, watercolor, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, and woodburning. I am a printmaker by trade and as of 2012 I have been exploring woodburning and acrylic painting. It is a medium that I have practiced tirelessly to develop and I find myself steadily working in and perfecting. In art I have found catharsis, a true companion, my most sincere form of self-expression…and most of all the vessel in which I communicate my thoughts to the world.

I am very passionate about making art accessible in our community. I believe that art is a gift that should be shared and available to everyone. In my capacity as an art educator, I am striving to make art an everyday practice in the lives of those that cross my path. I believe that art is therapy and it can heal our communities. In 2018, I co-founded Inland Mujeres with Mariana Gomez and Jessica Carrillo with the intent to make art affordable and unite womxn of the Inland Empire. This collective has taken a life of its own and it fills my heart to see so many womxn take ownership of this movement and find a space that represents them in a very intentional way.

Daniel Gohman is a mixed-media artist, photographer, and designer from Redlands, CA. He is known for utilizing a minimalistic style that is often found in pop art and mid-century advertising. Instead of putting the focus on mass consumer brands and media icons, he draws inspiration from the landscapes, spaces, and the people of California and beyond.

Daniel graduated from the University of California Riverside’s Film and Visual Culture program in 2007, where he studied cinema, film photography, video art, experimental film, and comparative media.

He has gone on to work for KESQ-TV (an ABC News affiliate), the California Museum of Photography, Technicolor, the USA Today Network, and is the former Associate Publisher of The Reader Magazine.

He is the founder of the non-profit creative organization, The Artlands, which owns and operates a gallery/shop in downtown Redlands, and currently serves as it’s Director and Curator

Born in Trenton New Jersey, Duan Kellum is an educator, artist and activist. Kellum’s predominant medium is screen-printing, however he has an equally strong affinity for editorial cartooning. He first entered the art scene in 2003 with a graphic t-shirt called, “Freedom is Slavery” based on a passage from the George Orwell classic, 1984. The primary focus of his works consists of social, environmental and political themes. His works tend to utilize familiar iconic pop themes and images. Currently he is working on incorporating elements of cartooning and multimedia into screen-printing. Many of his prints can be found at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (Los Angeles) and Interference Archive (New York). In addition, his works can also be found at the Diego Cardoso Gallery and in many private collections. He currently lives and works Redlands, California with his family and dog Mongo.

Edwin Johnson is a published author who has worked in social services for 16 years. His organization, Chords Enrichment Youth Program, offers mentoring and leadership skills to at risk and probationary youth who are attending school or institutionalized.

Edwin grew up in San Bernardino as a homeless at risk teen. His father, who is serving a 121- year prison term, fuels his passion to change his community. Through his struggle, Edwin persevered by obtaining his GED and in 2012 completing his bachelor’s degree in criminal Justice administration. Edwin Johnson’s Chords Enrichment Youth Program has served over 10,000 youth in the community through hip-hop, education, and leadership.

Jennifer Kane, Executive Director, Arts Connection

Jennifer Kane is an artist, arts advocate, and teacher from Los Angeles, CA and currently resides in Joshua Tree, California. She joined the Arts Connection staff as Executive Director in February of 2018. She received her BA in Fine Arts from Mount St. Mary’s College in 2005 and her MFA in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design, both in Los Angeles, CA in 2016.

Her multidisciplinary approach to building community engages people in unexpected, diverse environments to promote broader understanding and connection to self and place. She is a recent graduate of the Arts for LA ACTIVATE Cultural Policy Fellowship program and she is a proud board member of Californians for the Arts and the California Arts Advocates.

John Machado has been a full-time professor of art history at local Chaffey College since 2005. After completing undergraduate work in art history at San Diego State University he earned his graduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin specializing in the culture and art history of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. He has worked at various museums and galleries and taught art history at universities and colleges in California, Oregon and Texas. At Chaffey College he also serves as the Registrar for the Chaffey College Art Collection and the supervisor for the Visual and Performing Arts Resource Center.

In 2015 Machado returned to graduate school to attain a Master’s in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University, Drucker School of Management. He has recently created an undergraduate program to provide arts business management courses at Chaffey College beginning in Spring 2020.

In 2016 Machado founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization The Arts Area and currently serves as CEO and President of the Board. The Arts Area provides professional development, civic advocacy, and resource support for the creative industries of the Inland Empire, including areas of San Bernardino, Riverside, and east Los Angeles counties. The Arts Area supports creative projects and new organizations through fiscal sponsorship by extending their charitable umbrella to include these projects, sparing them the burden of securing immediate nonprofit status and providing eligibility for charitable donations, seeking grants, and institutional support. To further support the development of a broad professional network throughout this diverse region, The Arts Area also hosts the Inland Empire Arts Directory with its associated calendar and map, as a free community resource. Through his position with The Arts Area, Machado also serves on various city and county advisory committees.

Juan Delgado earned an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a Regents Fellow. His collections of poetry include Green Web (U of Georgia P, 1994), selected by poet Dara Weir for the Contemporary Poetry Prize; El Campo (Capra P, 1998), a collaboration with the painter Simon Silva; and A Rush of Hands (U of Arizona P, 2003). His most recent book, Vital Signs (2013) won the American Book Award given by the Before Columbus Foundation. He has exhibited his artwork through museums, collaborating with photographer, Thomas McGovern. He is Professor Emeritus in the English Department at California State University, San Bernardino, where he chaired the English and Communication Studies Departments and served as Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Justine Garcia currently holds the title of Management Analyst II for the City of Rancho Cucamonga and has 10 years of experience in the local government sector. After graduating from USC with a BA in Urban Planning, she began her career with the City of Covina, where her passion local government was ignited. During her time with the City of Glendora she was able to participate on the Gold Line Station Design and Art Review Committee where for the first time in her career, she was able to combine her love of public art and transportation by helping to infuse community identity within the new Glendora train station. Justine is passionate about all aspects of government and community, and looks forward to continuing her work to make our built environment beautiful and functional.

Kathryn Ervin, Board Chair

Kathryn Ervin is a professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at CSUSB. She teaches courses in Directing, Acting, Creative Drama and African American Theatre and Film and Culture. A graduate of Wayne State University and Illinois State University, she is active in numerous professional organizations. She is currently the board chair for Arts Connection, The Art Council for San Bernardino County. She is a consultant and past president for the Black Theatre Network, the national organization for artists, scholars and individuals with an interest in celebrating the beauty and complexity of black life onstage. This year she received the Kennedy Center Region VIII Gold Medallion recognizing commitment to the goals and values of the KCACTF and educational theatre.

Lucas Cuny, MFA – Lucas Cuny is an active independent film maker and published author. He’s produced video content for Cal State LA, local non-profit organizations, and his production company, Slate Inc. His program emphasis include production, writing, and directing. One of his favorite film makers is John Cassavetes.

Mark Friis San Bernardino County Public Health Safe Routes to School Coordinator Mark Friis is currently the San Bernardino County Public Health Safe Routes to School Coordinator. He has 12 years of experience in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy along with working to further active transportation infrastructure. Not only does Mark work for bike and pedestrian, but he contuse to use his bike as a primary source of personal transportation and adventure. In 2017, he crossed the US traveling 5500 miles from coast to coast.

Maura Owens Townsend, M.F.A. Artistic Director of Project21Dance, Performing Arts Consortium, studied dance at Inner City Cultural Center in Los Angeles. She received her BFA in Dance from United States International University in San Diego, and her MFA in Dance from the University of California Irvine under the mentorship of Donald McKayle. Maura’s choreography is an eclectic blend of Horton influenced and contemporary Modern, Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz and West African dance. Project21Dance has performed and was featured at such performance spaces as Women Manifest Dance, in West Hollywood, the HHII Dance Festival in Santa Barbara, “Tri Arts Festival” in San Pedro, BlakTina Dance Festival, Los Angeles, CA “Highways Performance Space” in Santa Monica, CA, The 17th Annual Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco, CA and was the guest artist for the National Ballet du Rwandan at the California Theatre in San Bernardino and Maura was selected for the “Black Choreographers Showcase” at the Los Angeles Theater Center, and also Dance Kaleidoscope. Other credits include the San Francisco Arts Festival, Laguna Beach Dance Festival, WCBPA Convention in Las Vegas, and Maura was also a guest soloist for the Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival. In addition, Project21DANCE was the featured dance company in the “Conversation on Diversity Series, Culture and Gender through Dance,” at California State University San Bernardino. Her work has been commissioned by Santa Monica College and the Claremont Colleges. Her teaching background includes Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, University of California, Irvine, California State University San Bernardino, San Bernardino Valley College, the CAHPERD Convention, Crenshaw Yoga and Dance Studio in Los Angeles, Backstreet Dance Studio in Riverside, Dance Arts Academy in Los Angeles, the Webb School of California in Claremont, and Los Angeles Unified School District Conservatory of Fine Arts at Cal State L.A. Maura has produced several dance concerts, festivals and she was also invited to teach a dance workshop in Nevis, West Indies by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. She founded and produced the “IMPLOSION, A Pairing the Arts” Dance Festival at the Los Angeles Theater Center in Downtown Los Angeles, also the Inland Empire Dance Concert Series at Cal State San Bernardino and she also served on the San Bernardino Fine Arts Commission. She is an alumnus of Lula Washington Dance Theater and has performed with such dance companies as Jazzantiqua Dance and Music Ensemble, Karen McDonald’s New Age Dance Workshop, Winifred R. Harris’ Between Lines and has performed with such productions as the Norwegian Caribbean Cruise Lines. Maura is also a BASI certified Pilates instructor.

About KayJo Creatives: KayJo Creatives is an innovative media company with a mission to create community and reveal the beauty of humanity. In addition to creating a range of media deliverables for their clients, they host joyful and engaging workshops and events that empower diverse creators at all stages of development in the Inland Empire. KayJo Creatives is currently producing its first feature-length film, I, Too. The documentary highlights a series of 100 interviews with African American Men from Florida and California.

Production Director, Dr. Natalie Graham is Associate Professor for African American Studies at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). She is also a widely-published scholar of African American Studies, focusing on race, masculinity, and regional identities who has taught cultural studies at the college level for over 12 years. She has successfully coordinated and implemented more than 10 on-campus events in the last five years, including two all-day interactive symposia with over 300 participants each: “Hip Hop’s Rarest Elements: Music, Culture, and Rhetoric” in 2015 and “Black in Bloom: A Black Arts Symposium” in 2018. She is an award-winning author and performer who has toured nationally with her collection of poems, Begin with a Failed Body. Creative Director, Keya Vance is a painter, photographer, and director. She has been invited to co-facilitate visual arts workshops at Cal State University, Fullerton and to screen her short film, “Underneath There is a Wound.” She has led group painting sessions in the San Bernardino area for more than 150 people in the last year and hopes to continue to use the visual arts to elevate marginalized voices and spark conversation around social issues.

Sam “Oxymoron” Montes

Sam is a Community Organizer, Rap Artist, Church Leader and Founder/Host of the San Bernardino Open Mic/Hiphop venue THE BREAK BREAD MIC SESH. Sam joins the Creative People’s Conference as the Host & Master of Ceremonies for our event. Sam has over 15 years of experience as a Crisis Counselor/ Mentor for At-Risk youth. Sam was drawn to Hiphop music as a fan at first at the age of 13 as a way of coping with his own anxieties, and then, later found his own voice as a lyricist as he continued to perform in churches, parks, clubs, bars, schools and prisons for the past 20 years. Sam now encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to stir up the unique and creative gift inside of every one of us to help beautify and bring life to our Inland Empire communities. Sam lives and works in San Bernardino with his wife and 2 children.

Vincent Alexander Jimenez is a 21 year old graphic design student at Chaffey college. Currently he lives in Rancho Cucamonga and is doing small project logo project and sticker designs. He recently worked with the CIty of Rancho Cucamonga to help with their community intersection project.

  • Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council
  • Redland Arts Association
  • Kristine Alexander
  • Armalyn De La O
  • Chaffey Community Museum of Art
  • KVCR
  • San Bernardino County Department of Public Health – Safe Routes to Schools Program
  • The Arts Area
  • The Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art


Are you a visual, performing or literary artist, arts organizer, arts administrator, or community or civic leader in San Bernardino County? Join us for an inspiring day highlighting how artists, municipalities, and organizations from across the county have integrated arts and culture initiatives into a sustainable, community-based approach. This conference will provide an opportunity to network and share your own work and contribute to this evolving county-wide arts dialogue. Afternoon sessions include professional practice workshops and discussions on important topics in the expanding fields of art and creative practices.

Registration is $30 for members, $60 for non-members and includes lunch!
When you click through to register you will be invited to join other arts and cultural experiences pre-and-post conference. These additional experiences are fundraisers for Arts Connection programming so please spread the word about the Sound Bath and A-Z west tour. These experiences can be booked separately from the conference registration.

  • Drs. Ernest and Dorothy Garcia
  • City of Ontario
  • Community Life & Culture
  • The Ranch Projects Publishing
  • Chaffey College: School of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (
  • Randy Polumbo
  • Lesley Elwood and Associates
  • High Desert Test Sites
  • Riverside Arts Council
  • Pioneer Crossing Antiques
  • City of Rialto
  • BoxoProjects
  • Copper Mountain College Foundation
  • Cultural Planning Group
  • Gloria Macias Harrison and William Harrison, Jr
  • Harrison House Music, Art & Ecology
  • OmniTrans
  • Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
  • Paulson Orthodontics
  • Stone Adventures

This year’s conference is scheduled for October 8th, from 9am to 1pm at the University of Redlands, Orton Center. We’ll be exploring how the arts can work across sectors to better our communities. Through presentations, conversations and the opportunity to network, you’ll be introduced to other potential collaborators interested in the role that creativity can play in solving problems and strengthening the fabric of our communities.

Collaboration allows us all to benefit: arts organizations can broaden their audiences and increase the quality of life in our county while helping other organizations address community issues. Together we can work toward social equity, become better stewards of our natural and built environment, and increase economic opportunities. Please join the conversation!

Fallen Fruit is a collaborative art project that began in Los Angeles in 2004 by making maps of “public fruit” – fruit that grows on or over public property. Since this time the projects have expanded to include diverse site-specific artworks that embrace public participation, temporary art installations, and social media focused actions. Fallen Fruit’s art works encourage the public to experience their city as a fruitful, generous place, inviting people to engage in sharing and collectively explore the meaning of community and collaboration. Recent exhibition projects include commissioned works by LACMA, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Athens Biennale, Prospect 3+, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Portland Art Museum, Wexner Center for the Arts, among others. Fallen Fruit was originally conceived by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Since 2013, David and Austin have continued the collaborative work. Fallen Fruit uses fruit and public space to change the way you experience the world. Learn more about Fallen Fruit at their website, Fallen Fruit The 2016 Arts Connection Annual Conference will be held on October 8th with a focus on collective impact through the lens of creative placemaking. We look to increase cross-sector participation in this year’s discussion, and introduce potential collaborators to the role that creativity can play in solving problems and strengthening the fabric of our communities.

Through collaboration we all benefit. Arts organizations can broaden their audiences and increase the quality of life in our county while supporting other organizations in their missions. Together we can work toward social equity, become better stewards of our natural and built environment, and increase economic opportunities.

Arts Connection, the Arts Council of San Bernardino County, was launched in 2013 and serves as the County’s designated state and local partner to the California Arts Council. A survey of our countywide arts community found a need for regular convenings to help facilitate networking and collaboration. Thus, an annual Arts Connection conference was established in 2014 drawing participants from across the region. This led to the establishment of an annual Arts Connection conference, which draws participants from across our region.

The 2015 Arts Connection Conference: Arts Creating Community will be an inspiring full-day of presentations, discussions, and workshops about creative placemaking, cultural planning and public art.

Learn more about current practices, tools and strategies available to help artists, arts administrators, arts educators, and arts organizations initiate projects that strengthen the community from within, engaging new audiences and honoring the character and quality of place.

Additionally, the conference will facilitate networking opportunities and enable attendees to exchange ideas and information with arts professionals from throughout the county.

Event Info

Our 2014 conference, “Professional Practices for Visual & Performing Artists and Administrators” was our inaugural conference, and kicked things off with an impressive lineup.

Presenters and facilitators including Visual Artist Workshop Leader, Karen Atkinson, Founder of GYST-Ink and CalArts Professor; Arts Administrator Workshop Leader, Scott Ward, Executive Director, Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena; Performing Artist Workshop Leader, Matt Walker, Artistic Director, Troubadour Theatre Company; Roundtable Discussion Facilitators, Valerie Peister, Community Outreach Programming Manager, Redlands Bowl; Michael Segura, City of San Bernardino Fine Arts Commission, Member of San Bernardino Generation Now; Paige Taylor, Education and Outreach Coordinator, RAFFMA; and Closing Speaker, Daniel Foster, Executive Director, Oceanside Museum of Art, formerly President/CEO of The Community Foundation and founding board chair of Arts Connection.

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