Creating Connection is led nationally by:

  • Arts Midwest: a nonprofit that promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to communities and enriching people’s lives
  • Metropolitan Group: a social change agency that crafts and integrates creative and strategic services that empower public purpose organizations to build a just and sustainable world 

Local leadership teams have been assembled to advise and provide guidance to state and regional pilot and exploratory efforts. These local teams include:

California (San Jose)

  • Chair: Kerry Adams-Hapner, San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs
  • Marilee Jennings, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
  • Lisa Mallette, City Lights Theatre Company
  • Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez, MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana
  • Larry Hancock, Opera San Jose
  • Rick Jenson, San Jose Downtown Association
  • Brendan Rawson, San Jose Jazz
  • Joan Phillips, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
  • Lisa Vollendorf, San Jose State University
  • Wisa Uemura, San Jose Taiko
  • Tamara Alvarado, School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza
  • Connie Martinez, Silicon Valley Creates
  • Andrew Bales, Symphony Silicon Valley


  • John Beck, ArtsBoston
  • Blair Benjamin, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art 
  • Nick Capasso, Fitchburg Art Museum
  • Richard Chacon, WBUR
  • Cathy Edwards, New England Foundation for the Arts
  • Jen Erickson, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Allyson Esposito, The Boston Foundation
  • Jay Finney, Peabody Essex Museum
  • Priscilla Kane Hellweg, Enchanted Circle Theater
  • Justin Kang, City Awake
  • Giles Li, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
  • Greg Liakos, Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Wayne McWorter, ArtsEmerson
  • Celina Miranda, Hyde Square Task Force
  • Myran Parker-Brass, Boston Public Schools
  • Ann Smith, Featherstone Center for the Arts
  • David White, The Yard
  • Matt Wilson, MASSCreative
  • San San Wong, Barr Foundation


  • Chair: Julie Vigeland, immediate past chair Oregon Arts Commission
  • Adam Davis, Oregon Humanities
  • Andrew Apter, Umpqua Valley Arts Association
  • Brian Rogers, Oregon Arts Commission & Oregon Cultural Trust
  • Brian Weaver, Portland Playhouse
  • Carol Shepherd, Liberty Theater
  • Chuck Sams, Confederated Tribes of the Umatila
  • Crystal Muno, Ross Ragland Theater Performing Arts Center
  • Cynthia Fuhrman, Portland Center Stage
  • Eloise Damrosch, Regional Arts & Culture Council
  • Freda Casillas, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
  • Gayle S. Yamasaki, Klamath Falls City Schools
  • Jeff Hawthorne, Regional Arts & Culture Council
  • Jordan Anderson, Oregon Public Broadcasting
  • Kregg Arntson, Portland General Electric
  • Martha Richards, The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation
  • Phil Ortega, LIFE Art
  • Soo Pak, Portland Parks & Recreation
  • Suzanne Gray, Portland State University College of the Art