The City and County of Sacramento encourage and promote participation by citizens in their decision making process. Most notable is the appointment of citizens to a number of standing Commissions to advise the City Council and County Board of Supervisors on specific issues. Current Arts Commissioners are listed below in alphabetical order.
Celestine Syphax was appointed to the Arts Commission in 2016. She is a long-time advocate for the arts and arts education. A mother, wife and community volunteer, Celestine has lived in the Sacramento area with her husband and children for over 35 years and serves on the boards of the Crocker Art Museum, the California Musical Theatre and the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP) advisory board. She served as past chair of the St. Francis High School Revelry Auction in 2013 and was an actively engaged in Jack and Jill, Inc. of Sacramento. Celestine previously worked for the State of California for 15 years in disaster recovery services, policy analysis and criminal justice. She enjoys engaging diverse audiences in experiencing the cultural richness of the visual and performing arts in Sacramento.
David Sobon was appointed to the Arts Commission in 2016. Please check back for a photo and bio.
Doni Blumenstock was appointed to the Arts Commission by the County of Sacramento in 2012. Doni currently serves as the Consulting Program Director for Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program. She was the American Leadership Forum (Mountain Valley Chapter) Executive Director from April 1997 to April 2008. She has also served in leadership positions at Advocates for Human Potential (Sudbury, MA), and the Coalition for a Drug Free Mobile County (Mobile, AL). She is the volunteer convener and facilitator of the Sacramento Professional Arts Leadership group, chairs the Friends of Area Congregations Together, and is a member of the Civic Amenities Committee with Valley Vision/Metro Chamber.
JASON SILVA, VICE-CHAIR
Jason Silva was appointed to the Arts Commission by the County of Sacramento in 2015. Silva is a partner and design principal at Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects and has served as Creative Director for TEDx Sacramento. He is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and attended Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Consortium. He is Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs for the American Institute of Architects, California Council and has lectured nationally on environmental and technological innovations. Silva grew up and now lives in Sacramento. Silva describes his approach to design--and to architecture--as “performance-based.” As a leader in communication and environmental design, he envisions a world that can engage in discussion leading toward a reality that is greater than perception.
LOUIS A. VISMARA, M.D.
Dr. Louis Vismara was appointed to the Arts Commission by the City of Sacramento in 2014. Dr. Vismara started his career as an interventional cardiologist, dedicating himself to issues of child development, learning differences, diversity and access to health care for under-served populations. Dr. Vismara is a founding member of the First 5 California State Commission, which has raised over $10 billion for early childhood development and education. In 2000, Dr. Vismara changed careers, retiring from his medical career to work as a full time senior policy consultant for the California Senate. Subsequently, he is one of the most senior staff members of the Legislature and has served as a senior policy consultant for the last three consecutive Presidents of the California Senate. Dr. Vismara is a senior member of Sen. Darrell Steinberg’s (President pro Tem) staff, and also serves as the chief consultant to the Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders. He has won numerous awards including the UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Association’s 2013 Humanitarian Award. In 2013 Dr. Vismara resumed classical violin studies, which he had undertaken as a youth, and is currently a member of the violin section of the Camellia Symphony Orchestra.
Marie Mertz was appointed to the Arts Commission by the County of Sacramento in 2014. Marie is the owner and chef of the Todo un Poco Bistro (named "Best Restaurant" by multiple publications) in Elk Grove. Her restaurant doubles as a gallery for local artists and reflects her own personal style as a cultural "citizen of the world". Marie embodies and embraces international influence in her cooking and her other artistic pursuits. Born in a cosmopolitan town in Jalisco to a Mexican mother and a German father, Marie came to Northern California as an exchange student and fell in love with Sacramento. She is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento and a member of the Multicultural Diversity Committee for the City of Elk Grove. She was named 2013 Woman of the Year by the Elk Grove Citizen for her contributions to the community.
Maya Wallace was appointed to the Arts Commission by the City of Sacramento in 2016. Maya Wallace was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Riverside County, but has lived in Sacramento longer than anywhere, and considers it her adopted hometown. A dedicated community advocate, Maya has served on the City of Sacramento Citizens Redistricting Advisory Committee, on the boards of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates and Next Move, a homeless services agency, and helped found the Sacramento State Hornets Policy and Politics alumni chapter at her alma mater. Professionally, Maya has worked to improve accountability and effectiveness of multiple state and local agencies, advocated for sustainable communities, and worked with local governments, nonprofits, media, and civic organizations to address homelessness in Sacramento County. Her experience also includes nonprofit capacity building and designing science curriculum. Maya has always been steeped in the arts. Beginning with destroying her mother’s paintbrushes in her youth, studying classical guitar in high school, befriending a number of actors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians in college, she continues to support the arts community as a volunteer, patron, and friend. Maya hopes to contribute to the Arts Commission’s advocacy efforts and support the growth and development of Sacramento’s diverse arts community. Maya holds a Bachelor's degree in Cognitive Science from Northwestern University and a Master's in Public Policy and Administration from Sacramento State. Maya also holds a certificate in collaborative governance from the Center for Collaborative Policy and was awarded the Rising Star award from the Sacramento chapter of the American Society for Public Administration in 2015.
DR. MICHAEL MARION, JR.
Dr. Michael Marion, Jr. was appointed to the Arts Commission by the City in 2016. Dr. Marion is Associate Vice Provost at Drexel University Sacramento. As a senior administrator in higher education, Dr. Marion's responsibilities and expertise span a wide-spectrum of areas in education and leadership across an array of educational settings. Not only has Dr. Marion established himself as a leader in higher education, serving students in private and public universities, but also in the community. Dr. Marion promotes a strong commitment to civic engagement and recruitment and retention initiatives within the region, and has sat on many, committees, boards and commissions throughout his professional career. Dr. Marion has been a major art supporter through his work and leadership within Metro EDGE, Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program and the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce Executive committee. He has also enjoyed supporting local art projects like i.e. Portal, Bright Underbelly, “Own it” mural on J Street, Character on K and even sat on the board for the organization formally known as (La Raza Galeria Posada), currently known as The Latino Center of Art and Culture. When Dr. Marion’s not with his wife Tanika, (who also is an educator) and their son, he enjoys taking part in his own creative art expression within a local car club and various other interactive art initiatives and projects in the region. Dr. Marion earned his Associates in Arts, as well as his Bachelor and Master degree from San Diego State University and a Doctorate degree from the University of Southern California, and was just accepted into the prestigious Harvard University Summer Leadership program. He is a native of Portland, Ore., but calls Sacramento home.
REBECCA GARRISON, CHAIR
Rebecca Garrison was appointed to the Arts Commission by the County of Sacramento in 2012. From 2009 - 2014, Rebecca was the Owner/ Director of the Sacramento Temporary Contemporary Art Gallery, which was located in the Uptown Arts District. She is currently the Executive Director of the 50 Corridor and the Point West Transportation Management Associations.
DR. L. STEVEN WINLOCK
Dr. L. Steven Winlock was appointed to the Arts Commission by the City of Sacramento in 2014. Dr. Winlock is the executive director of Sacramento County Office of Education, Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute works with leadership development for aspiring, beginning and continuing school administrators in the Sacramento region. Dr. Winlock has been an educator for over thirty years, as teacher, school principal and district administration. Dr. Winlock also serves as the art liaison for the Sacramento County Office of Education to support arts education. Dr. Winlock has be involved in community arts through his work on arts boards, and as a local performer in the arts. Dr. Winlock has worked in a variety of venues to support the integration of the arts into education, our lives and community. Dr. Winlock was born and raised in Sacramento.