Tanisha Brandon- Felder, President
Tanisha is the director of equity and family engagement in the Shoreline School District. Through her previous work in the Seattle Public Schools, she co-founded The Race Forum- a safe place for discussions around race that involved both school families and staff, co-created and produced Words of Power- a short film designed to help kids talk about race, created Many Cultures, One World- a cultural event created to help students feel empowered about who they are, and founded The SEED Plot- a social justice conference for Middle School students. In 2015,Tanisha received her Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Policy. For 3 years, she has been an active participant in the Arts Corps’ Creative Schools Initiative, an arts integration program that aims to influence student engagement, classroom instructional practices, and school culture. Her passion and desire is to engage in the conversation around race and equity, and to empower others, while continuing to empower herself, to move those discussions into actions towards positive outcomes for youth.
Hilary is a silo-buster, dot-connecter and philanthropy geek. She has spent the past 15 years shepherding philanthropic consulting firm, Arabella Advisors, from start-up to leader in the social sector. Hilary has a passion for effective giving and, in particular, deploying equitable practices, advocacy, and cross-sector partnerships to achieve greater good. She holds a BA in sociology from the University of Colorado and an MA in public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit and public management from Indiana University. Hilary lives in West Seattle with her husband and rescue pup. When she is not working, you can find Hilary trying out new recipes in the kitchen, enjoying live music and adventuring around the PNW.
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Adam Collet has been taking photographs and making art since childhood. Adam went to school in Seattle, also attended Seattle Central Community College and the UW where he earned a BFA in Photography. In 2008, he began teaching and passing on an interest in art and design to the next generation. Still living in Seattle with wife, children, and cat.
Besides Adam’s photography and illustration work he’s also a Teaching Artist specializing in Visual Art with a focus on integrating Art and STEM disciplines. In addition to Arts Corps, he’s taught classes, and online content for King County Library System; Seattle Public Library; stArt Exploring, a project of Sound Transit; Seattle Parks and Rec; High Point Neighborhood House; Yesler Terrace, Youth Tutoring Program; Family Learning Program; and various schools in Highline and Seattle Public Schools.
Recent projects include Essentially Seattle – photographing essential workers for City of Seattle/SPU, from the Office of Art & Culture; Public Art Program – photographing publicly sited artworks for City of Seattle, from the Office of Art & Culture. Ethnic Artist Roster, Seattle; Creative Advantage Arts Partner Roster, Seattle; ShoreLake Artist Roster, Shoreline.
Kris Evans Bien
After graduating with a B.A. in Communications/Broadcast Journalism, Kris spent the first part of her career working in live, network television production in LA and NY. Transitioning to the tech sector was a natural progression to combine a love of content creation and storytelling with creative writing, UX design, and TV programming while envisioning the future of television by creating interactive television prototypes at Microsoft. Kris’ work was published in two books. Once she had children, she transitioned to teaching K6 visual arts as an art docent in the Northshore School District, working for the Northshore Schools Foundation, and then as an art docent trainer for parents.
Kris connected with Arts Corps to develop a new docent curriculum for the district, after partnering with the Museum of Women in the Arts, focusing on equity, diversity, and gender parity. She worked on Arts Corps’ Learning Immersive Technology pilot by recruiting an advisory board and trained as a teaching artist at ArtsWA’s TAT Lab. Kris served as Lead Ambassador for Arts Ed Washington, advocating for arts education across Washington state. She sees an education as incomplete without the arts and thinks districts must create more arts equity in schools. She misses her time with students in the classroom and has three children: one in college and twins finishing high school.
As a child, Donte Felder was diagnosed with disgraphia (a writing-related learning disability) and spent five years in special education. Born and raised in Seattle, Donte now teaches dramatic writing to middle school children in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. He earned his B.S. in Education from Grambling State University in Louisiana and his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, where he studied Screenwriting with Neil Landau and Darrah Cloud. He has produced several short films and plays with his drama team and won the W.E.A. Humanitarian Award for his play dealing with race relations and school integration, “First Day.”
Stone Gossard plays rhythm guitar in Pearl Jam along with playing and producing music through his own label Loose Groove Records. He is a lifelong Seattle resident and continues to make his home here with his wife and four daughters. Stone is an active member of the local nonprofit community and has been a vocal advocate for those experiencing homelessness in King County. Having supported Arts Corps since its inception, Stone believes in the importance of sharing art and vision and the critical need for young people to have that experience today.
Sally is a Seattle based visual artist, freelance graphic designer, and community volunteer. Most recently, she has served on the board of Gallery 110, a nonprofit gallery in Pioneer Square, and on granting committees with Social Justice Fund NW and Washington Women’s Foundation. She loves doing art with K-5 students, design and marketing for nonprofits and small businesses, and promoting emerging artists. Sally is passionate about getting more arts into the schools and about Arts Corps’ overall mission and programing – especially the Creative Schools Initiative. Her top priorities in terms of social justice are working towards equity in education, and prison “reform”/ or rather the abolition of prisons as we know them. Sally lives in Columbia City with her husband and two children, and dog.
Erica Merritt began singing and performing at 5. In middle school, she was featured in a band called “Starlighters,” which consisted of three student vocalists and a few members of the faculty. At 14, she joined theatre and music performance groups at Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. She studied voice and music in college, and began teaching choir through Northwest Folklife in 1998. She has continued to teach voice, songwriting and choir intermittently through various art organizations over the last 10 years. Erica has also worked in the field of social and human services for over 15 years and has enjoyed the amazing opportunity to combine her passions of social well-being and music through the art of teaching.
Kelly Rondou, Treasurer
Kelly has been a volunteer with Arts Corps since 2011, working as Stage Manager and Technical Director for La Festa del Arte and the Student Showcase. Kelly is currently the Executive Support Manager at Northwest Regional Primary Care Association, a nonprofit supporting community health centers in the Northwest, previous to that she was the Director of Executive Projects for PROVAIL, a disability services provider for the Puget Sound area. Combining her background in visual and performing arts with her career in healthcare and serving the underserved has led Kelly to believe strongly in the utmost importance of arts in social justice and creating whole, healthy communities.
Keenan is a 4th-year at Seattle University majoring in Public Affairs with a focus on Urban Development and Equitable Community Sustainability as well as minoring in Philosophy. He believes that, at any age, a connection to the arts is an invaluable resource that not only builds but emotionally fortifies communities through the intimate connections art brings. In his own life, he follows and supports Asian and Asian-American artists that use their work to build a noncentralized community through shared socio-cultural experiences.