NewTown is a dedicated consortium of accomplished professional artists and artist/administrators – musicians, dancers, film and video makers and visual artists – all of whom donate their time to ensure new creative opportunities for their colleagues throughout Southern California. It is a leader in the resurgence of artist-run, not-for-profit organizations currently emerging in Southern California and leading the way to an art world outside institutional confines, reinstating art in the pantheon of public discourse, private pleasure and plain old fun.
Over the last 20+ years, NewTown has brought cutting-edge media, music, dance, performance and visual arts to over 100,000 people in wildly diverse sites, including the streets, alleyways, plazas, storefronts, parking lots, a hiking trail in the San Gabriel Mountains, a swimming pool and even a church basement.
Its efforts have been acknowledged with grants from The Pasadena Art Alliance, California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, the Pasadena Arts Commission, and many private donors.
Board Of Directors
NewTown’s entire Board functions as the programming body and staff for all events, as well as fulfilling traditional oversight and governance functions.
- Grace Amemiya
Grace Amemiya is a visual artist working in mixed media and digital collage, exploring art from the esoteric views for the masses. She is interested in the interaction between the individual and art. Grace studied graphic design/packaging at Art Center. For years she has worked both as a freelancer designer and art director for companies like Guitar Center, Buttercelli, EarthLink, Rhino Records, Mattel and Disney. She has taught at Junior Barnsdall Art Center Art Partners in Los Angeles and Laguna Art Museum Children’s Workshop and Comision de Femenil Gifted Children Program at the 2nd Street School in Boyle Heights. Her works as a fine artist has been shown throughout California, in Paris and Mexico.
- Richard Amromin
Richard Amromin is an arts administrator, producer, grantwriter and erstwhile composer. He was formerly Director of Development at Beyond Baroque, Administrative Director/President, Filmforum, Inc.; President, Independent Composers Association; Grant Writer, L.A. Shares; and is currently, in addition to his duties with NewTown, Development Consultant for Highways Performance Space and Development Director for Freewaves. His compositions, published by Leisure Planet Music, have been performed throughout the United States and in Europe. He has a Bachelor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music and an MFA Degree in Music Composition from CalArts.
- George Barker, Secretary
George Barker is a musician and artist living in West Hollywood, California. In addition to traditional American music (ca. 1850-1960), his focus is photography and installation art. Before settling on the West Coast, he attended Florida State University (FSU) where he studied music theory, composition and electronic music. Barker’s involvement with experimental music included being a member of the Stockhausen Ensemble (FSU) and the American New Music Collective. Becoming active in artist run projects lead him to form a non-profit organization and gallery (named CA) with artist Claudia Bucher. Approached by Steve and Hope Kurtz in 1988, Barker became a founding member of The Critical Art Ensemble. In 1991 both he and Bucher transplanted to Los Angeles, where Barker worked in the film and theatre industries for over a decade. Following this he was the Technical Director for Los Angeles Contemporary exhibitions for 5 years and the Audio Video Coordinator for the Hammer Museum for 10 years. He graduated from UCLA in 2009 in Photography, and began graduate studies/photography in 2011 at Cal. State Long Beach where he is now in the Art Education program. In 1993 he formed an art collective, BS International with Rachel C. Spencer and the collective has exhibited performative site-specific art installations throughout southern California.
- Karl Baumann
Karl Baumann is a digital artist, filmmaker, and scholar. His current work lies at the intersection of speculative design and community art. Working across cinema, games, and mobile media, his methodology is based on collaborative design and user participation that explores the future of civic engagement, urbanism, and networked technology.Karl holds an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) from UC Santa Cruz. He is currently an Annenberg Fellow in the Media Arts + Practice (MAP) PhD program at the University of Southern California. Karl works with the World Building Media Lab (WBML), the Mobile and Environmental Media Lab (MEML), the Media, Activism, and Participatory Politics (MAPP) project, and the Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL).
- Joe Berardi
Joe Berardi has had a long history in the Los Angeles underground music scene, both as composer and performer. Mainly known as a drummer/percussionist, he also plays a wide variety of instruments, from keyboards to marimba to the occasional cello and viola, along with homemade instruments and sound objects. He has been working with electronics for several years, incorporating his own circuit bent instruments along with samplers, synths and other noisemakers. Together with fellow composer/instrumentalist Kira Vollman, he formed Non Credo, which has released several CDs and composed music for film, radio and dance, as well as live performances in the US and Europe. In addition to performing his own music, Berardi has been the drummer/percussionist of choice for a diverse group of notorious musicians and performers throughout Los Angeles and beyond.
- Beth Block
Beth Block is a media artist who received her BFA from Kent State University and her MFA from Cal Arts. She worked in the film industry creating visual effects for major Hollywood films including TERMINATOR 2, ALTERED STATES, and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and was among the first generation of artists to transition to using computers to create visual effects.Her recent films exploit the ability of digital technology to be re-photographed multiple times without generational loss, enabling her to more fully explore her fascination with capturing motion depicted over time.In addition to her experimental films she is a freelance documentary director, cinematographer and editor. She currently teaches in the directing track at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and is also documentarian for the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company and the NewTown Pasadena Foundation.Her films and installations have been exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), The Cinematheque, San Francisco, Los Angeles Downtown Federal Building, Los Angeles Filmforum, Projections on Lake, Pasadena, CA, Film in the Cities, Minneapolis, MN, and festivals including the Ann Arbor, Sinking Creek, Philadelphia, Athens, and Black Maria Film Festivals.Block was a founding member and former board president of the NewTown Pasadena Foundation, where she is still an active member, and from 1985-1995 was a Los Angeles Filmforum board member and past president.
- Susan Braig, Treasurer
Susan Braig, NewTown’s Treasurer is an artist, activist, and grant writer for artists and arts nonprofits. Her satirical installations, videos, and protest jewelry comment on the commodification of art, health care, and various social issues. Since 2007, her Designer Drug Jewelry line (made with repurposed pills and medical supplies) has supported her activism in the campaign for National Health Care Reform. Inspired by her experiences nearing bankruptcy from post-cancer treatment that her insurance didn’t cover, Braig’s jewelry is a metaphor for “healthcare as luxury item.” Along with testimonies at legislative health committees, government forums and health care rallies, her story has been told in the L.A. Times, Consumer Reports, and on numerous local and international blogs, radio and TV News programs.Braig’s earlier satirical video/installation COMA: County of Orange Museum of Art, about a fictional art museum that was established for all the wrong reasons, has been presented at NewTown events, Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School, John Wayne Airport Gallery, LACE, Women in the Director’s Chair Festival (Chicago), New Angles International Video Festival (New York), California Works (Sacramento, 1st prize in New Genre), Fringe of the Fringe Festival (Claremont), 3rd Annual Woman’s Video Festival (Tucson, 3rd prize), and Fullerton Museum Center.Braig is also Secretary/Treasurer of Health Care for All-San Gabriel Valley Chapter and a founding board member of The Baseball Reliquary. She received a BFA and MA in Art Education from the University of Cincinnati, and an MA in Drawing and Painting from CSU, Fullerton.
- Jim Bumgardner
Jim Bumgardner is a software designer, computer artist and composer. He has taught at Art Center and UCLA extension. He currently develops software at Disney Interactive Labs. Jim studied electro-acoustic music at Cal Arts, which led to a vocation of using computers for creative and playful pursuits, including animation, music composition and games.An expert in social networks, Jim created the virtual world “The Palace,” a pioneer in avatar communities that won numerous awards during its heyday in the 1990s. Jim has been a guest lecturer and speaker at various venues including Bridges 2009, Good Experience Live (GEL) 2007, O’Reilly ETech 2007, Avatar and Hackers.Jim’s co-wrote the book “Flickr Hacks” for O’Reilly, and wrote a series of logic puzzle books for Ulysses Press. His puzzles are published in dozens of periodicals, including Games magazine. Jim’s websites, Krazydad.com and Coverpop.com are filled with software toys and puzzles, which Jim creates by the hundreds each year, with the intent of providing a modicum of wonder and delight.
- Chusien Chang
Ms Chang is a visual and conceptual artist whose work has been seen throughout the Southern California areas. Recently, her site–specific installation have been featured at The Arroyo Arts Collective’s “Riverwalk” and in L.A. Freewaves’ 6th Celebration of Independent Media.
- Lorri Deyer, Creative and Executive Director
Lorri Deyer is a Los Angeles based artist recently kidnapped while touring in her Idea Truck by a band of feral, leaderless creatives and made to do their bidding—writing grants, compiling opinion polls on risk, and sifting through 2 decades of accumulated ephemera, tax records and AV cables. She was last seen carrying a bag of donuts and a bottle of wine in the Altadena foothills, sniffing native plants and howling at the moon. An uncredited video recently emerged on YouTube showing Deyer duct-taped to a pleather recliner, forced to write the words ‘social engagement’ over and over while force fed foie gras for newtown arts, a nonprofit of dubious “art” activities. Deyer’s works encompass installation, photography and video, performance and sometimes raw fish. She alternates between making expansive participatory street projects and spontaneous, intimate works that challenge viewers to examine the unconsidered aspects of their daily lives. At times instigator, conductor, or collaborator, she has been a self-appointed safety officer, a street vendor of ideas, and an unsought gallerist to yard art. Sometimes she just likes to take a photo. Deyer received her MFA in Studio Arts in 2009. She has also exhibited at the Torrance Art Museum, College of the Canyons Art Gallery, Luckman Gallery Fine Arts Complex, I-5 Gallery, CSULA Fine Arts Gallery, and her own kitchen. She is the creative director of NewTown where she works tirelessly to expand the idea of where art can occur.
- Adam Hyman
Mr. Hyman is a filmmaker and writer. A native Angeleno, he has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard College in History and Science, and an Masters of Fine Arts from the USC School of Cinema-Television. He is a producer, writer and director of documentaries, primarily historical but also on cultural topics and contemporary events. He is director and programmer of Los Angeles Filmforum, the city’s longest running venue for experimental and avant-garde film and video art. He also happens to be a native Angeleno.
- Lisa Mann
Lisa Mann is a visual artist whose site-specific installations, performances, sculptures, and digital projections explore topical social and cultural issues. Her work has focused on the connection between gun violence and children, technology and nature, homelessness, the Rodney King police beating, domestic violence, and identity and culture within her own diverse community of Northwest Pasadena.Lisa often creates new objects by re-purposing, and re-contextualizing existing objects, such as tents, grocery carts, and children’s play structures. She has exhibited her work locally at Side Street Projects, the Armory Center for the Arts, the Brewery, the old LA Zoo, the old LA County Jail, and Pasadena’s Lower Arroyo Park.Lisa’s day job is as Associate Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts. She teaches traditional animation, stop motion, and media-based, site-specific installation art. Additionally, as Exhibitions Director, she manages the Animation Division’s exhibitions, events, and screenings on and off campus.Lisa received her MFA in Experimental Animation from CalArts and her BA in Art from Brown. Her thesis, Seven Lucky Charms, won a Student Academy Award. She has received a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and several grants from the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Department.Since 1995, Lisa has served as a happy and well-fed board member of NewTown. She is most proud of instigating NewTown’s Reels On Wheels, a participatory, mobile drive-in movie series.
- William Quezada
William Quezada is an LA born artist currently working towards an AA in graphic design. He received his BFA from California State University of Los Angeles in 2013. His art style invites the viewers to tap into their inner child in taking a nostalgic trip down video game memory lane. William has been exhibited in many shows within East LA and is currently presenting his work at various conventions.
- Leonard Rusch, President
Leonard Rusch is a Los Angeles based artist who has been working with ceramic materials to make large (body sized) pieces that evoke broad body gestures, and engage viewers physically, especially through touching and holding. He loves to make cups and give them away at auspicious moments.Leonard received an MFA from Cal State LA in 2012 (BA in Sociology several decades earlier). He is currently teaching art to (and learning from) adults with developmental disabilities and special needs.
- Lisa Schoyer
Lisa Schoyer, past Vice President and past President for NewTown, is an experimental installation artist whose work investigates the relationship between perception and conception. Born in Hong Kong, she received her Bachelors of Arts degree from Yale and MFA from CalArts. She was an adjunct professor for 9 years, at UC Irvine and Occidental College. To date she has had 11 solo shows and has been in over 60 group exhibitions in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon and Texas, London and Germany. A “first-round” artist in residence at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Glassell School of art, and DiverseWorks Inc. (among other residencies), Lisa is also a founding member of M.A.M.A. (Mother Artists Making Art).Lisa makes money working for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Children’s System of Care, Family and Community Partnerships/Child PEI where, among other things, she is the Countywide Regional Center Liaison for children ages 0 through school-age. She also founded and runs a nonprofit research advocacy network, RASopathies Network USA.
- Steve Shoffner, Web Designer
Steve Shoffner is an LA-based artist and designer who received his Masters of Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University. He has taught art and design at Pierce College and Santa Monica College. In 2001 he founded Fefifolios, a design lab that specializes in providing online solutions for artists, galleries, and creative folk. As a founding member of the artist collective, The League of Imaginary Scientists, Steve has created web-based and interactive media for institutions near and far, while in residency at MOCA in 2011 and at the Museum of the University of Memphis in 2013. The League has exhibited extensively, including in Manifesta7, the European biennial in Italy, at Casula Powerhouse in Australia, Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre in Ireland, Armory Center for the Arts, and the Weitz Center for Creativity in Minnesota. His solo artwork involves interactive installations that combine performance and video to create illusions that manipulate the perceptions and expectations of his audience. His work aims to reenact humorous scenarios where technology leaves us bewildered and disconnected. He continues to be inspired by the peculiarities that surround us, and are often overlooked. His public art is currently on multi-screen display at LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal.
- Rima Snyder, Vice President
Rima Snyder is a composer, singer and audio editor living in Culver City, California. She has a BA in music from Pomona College and an MFA in music composition from the California Institute of the Arts. She has over 25 years of experience in the audio industry, and worked at National Public Radio as an audio engineer from 1988 to 1999. Rima does audio post production for radio documentaries, music and arts features, and sound effects editing for film. She lives with her husband, Norb Gallery, and their Australian shepherd dog Merlin.