Rita Verde – President
My name is Rita Verde and currently the President of the Arts Consortium. I have had the pleasure of serving on the board for the past eight years. I retired a few years ago after a career in education. During my career in education, I saw firsthand the importance of the arts in a child’s life. I found that some children who had problems adjusting to school, found solace and acceptance by participating in artistic endeavors. On a personal level, both of my children were involved in musical theater during elementary, middle school and high school. Through their involvement in the arts they found confidences and abilities they didn’t know they had. My introduction to the Arts Consortium was through my daughter. She founded the Visalia Opera Company which is a special project under the umbrella of the AC. I am thankful to the Arts Consortium for the opportunity they have not only given my daughter, but to the many other gifted and fantastic artists in this region. The Arts Consortium’s mission is to “advocate, promote, provide opportunities to create, and celebrate the arts” in this area. For this reason, I am thrilled to be a part of the Arts Consortium.
Michael Kreps – Treasurer
Michael is an architect in Visalia. He grew up in Tulare where his family had a clothing store, Safarjan’s Mens Store. Michael graduated from Tulare Union High School and received a BA degree in business, psychology and art from San Diego State University. After college, he decided to pursue his desire to be an architect and began a series of apprenticeships with various local architectural firms. During college, he had attended a lecture by Bruce Goff, an internationally famous architect who designed unique and artistic structures. After a few years working in Visalia, he drove to Tyler, Texas, where Mr. Goff was practicing and begged to be taken on as an apprentice. He spent three years in Goff’s studio, where he met and interacted with a variety of artists and architects from around the world and worked on some amazing projects. His experiences there solidified his love for art and design. Michael has practiced architecture in Visalia for 30 years. He also loves gardening, volunteering in the community, and traveling.
Christina Thorin – Secetrary
David is a full-time instrumental music educator in Tulare, California, having previously held teaching positions in Las Cruces, New Mexico and East Lansing, Michigan. As a classically trained oboist he has performed internationally as a member of the Las Cruces Symphony and the Orquesta Sinfónica de la UACJ in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. David holds a Master of Music degree from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Music degree from The University of California, Irvine. David also owns and operates Absolution Woodworks, a full-service woodshop, out of his home in Visalia. He specializes in live edge furniture and geometric cutting boards, drawing inspiration from American furniture designer Greg Klassen and the New Bauhaus School of Design. David is particularly drawn to works by urban underground, new contemporary, and outsider artists such as Ron English, Tyree Guyton and Wesley Willis in addition to more well-known artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso. His favorite musical artists include Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Mewithoutyou, Paramore, and The Chariot.
Leslie Caviglia – Advisor
Leslie has no artistic talent, but a great appreciation for the arts! She became involved when she was assigned by the City of Visalia to staff the Cultural Plan development for the City of Visalia in 2007. She was enthralled by the potential for the Arts to be an economic and cultural stimulus in our community and has been active with the Arts Consortium ever since. She is the Assistant City Manager, is involved with several farming operations and enjoys volunteering in the community.
Hello, I’m Brent Hudspeth and I’m originally from Porterville, CA. I am a commercial artist featuring works in illustration, digital imaging, and graphic design. I am also a fine artist specializing in figurative oil painting. In 1989 I received a BA degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. After college, I lived and worked in the greater Los Angeles area as a freelance commercial artist as well as a few full-time positions for some fantastic creative companies. I was blessed to have worked for people such as photographer Mario Casilli as well as designer Jerome Gould. A friend and mentor is figurative artist Harry Carmean who has greatly influenced my painting, drawing and composition skills for the last twenty years. A few years ago I moved my studio back to the Porterville area to be with family and continue my passion for creative work. Other interests of mine include hiking, woodworking, history, and just about anything to do with horses.
Mary Jo Eastes
Volunteer Fundraiser – Community event planner – Art Appreciator
My volunteer work is centered on Arts Visalia and fundraising for children’s art classes and gallery exhibits. Projects include “Art on Fire”, local artists painted 21 fire hydrants on Main Street Visalia, Artscape: New Garden Visions for a Waterwise Visalia which mixed artists and homes with low volume water usage, and painting of Trash Can enclosures downtown Visalia.
Other fun events, Co-chair for St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Waiters Race, both held downtown Visalia. Also a good helper for many other events my Breakfast Lions club organize.
I have been enjoying playing Pickleball, my new favorite sport to participate in.
Current Board and committee responsibilities:
– Board member for Arts Visalia
– The University of Minnesota Crookston College Advisory and Advancement Board (CAAB)
– Taste The Arts committee member
– Member of the Visalia Breakfast Lions Club
– Advisory Board member for Salvation Army
– Visalia Senior Games Committee member
– Honored as outstanding alumni from the University of Minnesota, Crookston 2009
– Torch & Shield Award Recipient from the University of Minnesota, Crookston 2015
Kate Stover – Honorary board member
Brent Mosley – Past President
Ampelio Mejia Perez – General Manager
Ampelio Mejia Perez grew up in Porterville and has lived the majority of his life in the Central Valley. He received a Bachelors of Art Studio in 2008 from the California State University in Chico, with a split emphasis in Sculpture, Painting, and Printmaking. After school, he traveled near and far after university and returned to the area to work as a paralegal and brief writer for a local non-profit while doubling as a community arts educator for all ages. He joined the Arts Consortium in 2016 as the Program Assistant and is currently the General Manager of the Arts Consortium and My Voice Media Center.
Joshua Kaneversky – Marketing Coordinator
Joshua has been with the Visalia Arts Consortium since August 2017. After living in the coldest city in the nation, he decided to move back home to Visalia – during the heat of July. His inaugural F1rst Friday show was fittingly titled “I’m Melting.” Josh enjoys living in Visalia and when not at the Arts Consortium he is writing music while currently pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling – working towards a music therapy certification. His musical influences include Vince Guaraldi, Mark Camphouse, Sonny Rollins, Artie Shaw, and Dan Barrett. Two of which he has had the privilege of performing with. Joshua studied piano in the line of Beethoven and enjoys sharing his talents during F1rst Friday!
Olivia Garza – Peer Support Specialist
Olivia has been working as a peer support specialist for the My Voice Media Center since 2012. She loves to write poetry and paint and finds it very therapeutic. Although she struggles with a mental illness she doesn’t let it get in her way, and she does the very best she can every day. Olivia uses techniques she acquired at UCLA’s 2017 Arts and Healing Conference to lead participants through a wide variety of short-term art exercises.
Eddie Reveles – Graphic Designer
Eddie was born in Visalia and graduated from College of the Sequoias in 2017, where he received Associate’s Degrees in Graphic Design and Art History. During his time at COS, Eddie won the 2015 Art Consortium’s Taste The Arts Poster Design Contest and has shown his work during the First Friday and Taste the Arts events. He is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design with an emphasis in Interactive and Multimedia Design from Fresno State University. On his free time, he enjoy’s photography, hiking, running and spending time with his family.
Pam was born and raised in Visalia. She moved to Los Angeles upon being accepted to U.C.L.A. Film School. After graduation, she worked in the film and television industry. One of her first jobs was assisting the general manager of Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios, then on to other positions at Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount and talent agencies such as William Morris and ICM. She eventually ended up at Turner Network Television as Manager of Development for Movies and Mini-series, working alongside talent such as Patrick Stewart, Tom Selleck, Ron Perlman and Anjelica Huston, creating films for TNT that included The Mists of Avalon, A Christmas Carol and Animal Farm. She also received a Writer’s Guild internship that gave her the opportunity to work with the writing staff of Star Trek: DS9. After pitching stories to the producers, she sold story ideas that went on to become TV episodes. She currently devotes her spare time to rescuing animals from shelters and the streets. Two of her menagerie includes her favorite con artist, a terrier mix named Shenanigans and his Chihuahua sidekick, Harley.