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 four 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, Secretary
Ms Amemiya is a multi-faceted artist whose work has been widely exhibited throughout California. As a professional designer she has brought her skills to bear on commercial products, movies and other commonly seen icons and images. She has taught at Junior Barnsdall Art Center Art Partners in Los Angeles, Laguna Art Museum Children's Workshop and Comision de Femenil Gifted Children Program at the 2nd Street School in Boyle Heights.
Richard Amromin, Artistic Director
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.
Joe Berardi Joseph
Berardi is a Los Angeles-based performer and composer. As a percussionist, he politely sidesteps the traditional role of mere timekeeper, bringing his own characteristic approach to color, rhythm and texture to every musical situation. His unique style and use of miscellaneous percussive objects and found sounds within the traditional drum kit have made him a fixture on the Los Angeles experimental and improvised music scene.
Berardi came to prominence as a member of the critically acclaimed avant-pop group the Fibonaccis. This ground-breaking L.A. band recorded several LPs and film soundtracks, and performed countless live shows, building a large following of devoted fans. Since this band's demise, he has busied himself with a wide assortment of projects, from experimental to pop to points between and beyond. Non Credo, his ongoing collaboration with Kira Vollman, highlights his compositional and multi-instrumental skills, playing marimba, keyboards, electronics and the occasional accordion, cello and viola. He is also a member of surf-spy experimentalists Double Naught Spy Car, the metal/found objects percussion group The Obliteration Quartet, Weill/Eisler, the Eastside Sinfonietta and the bent blues band The Mentones.
Berardi has been the drummer/percussionist of choice for a diverse group of notorious performers, including recordings, tours and collaborations with such notables as: Megan Mullally's group Supreme Music Program, ex-Bongwater/performance diva Ann Magnuson, Rufus Wainwright, punk poetess Lydia Lunch, James White and the Blacks, Congo Norvell (featuring ex-Cramps Kid Congo Powers), folk legend Donovan, ex-Pixies Frank Black & Joey Santiago, Algerian vocalist Rimitti (with Robert Fripp & Flea), chamber ensemble Motor Totemist Guild and Los Angeles improvisers Nels Cline, G.E. Stinson, Alain Johannes and microtonalist Kraig Grady.
Berardi has also been active in live theatre in the Los Angeles area. In Feb/March 2000 he was musical director for the Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA) production of Kurt Weill/ Bertolt Brecht's "Happy End". In 1999 he performed in Megan Mullally's one woman musicale "Sweetheart". In 1998 he was solo percussionist with the touring production of "The Square Root Of Terrible" for the Mark Taper Forum.
Beth Block, President
Beth Block is multi-faceted media artist, traversing experimental, documentary and commercial mediums. Her boldly personal, experimental films, such as Just for Fun, Vital Interests, and Twelve have been exhibited at festivals and museums throughout the country, are included in the Library of Congress and toured internationally. Her credits as a Senior Composite Artist, Optical Effects Supervisor and Post-Production Supervisor include general release films like The Last Action Hero, Toys, Terminator 2 and Ghost. She has served as President of Filmforum and was the curator of film/video for the CalArts Alumni Exhibition. She is a member of the International Photographer's Guild and the Writer's Guild of America, West. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Kent State University, where she graduated Cum Laude, with department honors in Cinema; and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from California Institute of the Arts, where she was the recipient of the prestigious Melnick Scholarship Award.
Susan Braig, Treasurer
Ms. Braig received her BFA and an MA in Art Education from the University of Cincinnati, as well as an MA in Drawing and Painting from CSU, Fullerton. Her ongoing art project COMA: County of Orange Museum of Art is a satirical multimedia installation about a fictional art museum that was established for all the wrong reasons. COMA’s 20-year history on and off life support reflects the challenges individual artists and nonprofit organizations experience in their financial and professional survival struggle. COMA’s video “mockumentary” and installation have been shown at LACE, Women in the Director’s Chair Festival (Chicago), New Angles International Video Festival (New York), California Works competition (Sacramento, 1st prize in New Genre), the Fringe of the Fringe Festival (Claremont), the 3rd Annual Woman’s Video Festival (Tucson, 3rd prize), Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School, Fullerton Museum Center, John Wayne Airport Gallery, The Woman’s Building (LA) and various NewTown Pasadena events.
She has been a grant writer and development consultant for artists and arts organizations since 1992. She completed the intensive Program Planning and Proposal Writing training at The Los Angeles Grantsmanship Center. Believing that humor can be an effective educational, communications and therapeutic tool, she teaches a grant writing workshop called “The Agony and the Ecstasy”, which gives individual artists and arts organizations a comprehensive introduction to the ongoing challenge of supporting one’s art habit.
Jim Bumgardner is a software designer, computer artist and composer. He has taught at Art Center and UCLA extension. He currently is a senior software engineer at Topspin Media in Santa Monica. 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.
For over thirty years, Ellen Burr has explored new directions in composition, performance practices for flute, and multi-genre experiments in an eclectic career throughout North America and Europe. She is also a talented teacher and clinician, an energetic and entertaining flute performer and improviser, and a composer for concert, theater, dance, film and television.
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.
Leo F. Hobaica
Leo F. Hobaica, Jr., Assistant Dean of the Film/Video School (formerly Associate Director of Character Animation) at California Institute of Art, completed the BA in Literature, Philosophy, and Religion; and received the MFA in Fiber/Installation/Mixed-media Sculpture from Fiberworks, Berkeley, Ca.
His extensive professional record reflects regional, national and international exhibitions. His teaching experience includes positions at Syracuse University, University of Hawaii, Earlham College, San Francisco State, Grant Mac Ewan (Canada); and for twelve years he was a member on the Visual Arts faculty for the California State Summer School of the Arts.
He continues producing commissioned works for private and public settings, has been awarded several public art projects, and has completed temporary site specific installations in France, as well as the United States. Mr. Hobaica was awarded an artist-in-residency at the UCGJ, Paris, 2003-2004.
At CalArts, he teaches Color/Design I, II; Concept and Design in Animation; Art Appreciation: Paris; and manages two CAP animation sites one of which has produced 15 short animated pieces with 4-5th grade students--the last three projects all of which have been accepted into international film festivals for films made by children.
Stanton Hunter has worked in clay and other materials for over eighteen years. He exhibits his work nationally, is in public collections on both coasts, and has been a guest lecturer/teacher at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He teaches beginning and advanced ceramics at Scripps College, Claremont, and has taught beginning and advanced ceramic sculpture at Citrus College, Glendora. His work includes vessels, sculpture and installation, both indoors and outdoors. He is currently Associate Professor of Art (ceramics and sculpture), Chaffey College.
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 is a socio-political artist whose works encompass installation, film and video, and performance art. Her film, Seven Lucky Charms, won a student Academy Award and Best Experimental Film award at the Atlanta Film Festival. Mann is a Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellow. Since 1998, she has taught animation in the Division of Animation and Digital Arts at USC School of Cinema-TV. She received her MFA in Experimental Animation from CalArts and a BA in Art from Brown University. She served as a curator and projectionist at Filmforum from 1991-’94 and she has been a NewTown Board Member since1996.
Christine Panushka (on leave of absence)
Ms Panushka's animated films have won numerous awards at festivals throughout the world. She currently is a Professor in the animation department at U.S.C.. Prior to that, she was Associate Director of Experimental Animation at Cal Arts. Her most recent project, commissioned by Absolut Vodka, has brought 12 of the finest experimental animators in the world to over 750,000, via her Web Site, Absolut Panushka (http://www.absolutvodka.com). In addition to her many artistic accomplishments, she is a tireless crusader for arts education for young people.
Pat Payne is a Caribbean-American multi-media installation/performance artist, poet, visual artist, reluctant shaman, and self-avowed troublemaker transplanted from Brooklyn to L.A. 'The Velvet Hammer’ holds the 2002 and 2003 World Poetry Bout Association’s World Heavyweight Championship Titles, besting Saul Williams and Willie Perdomo, consecutively, in Taos, N.M. Among the 11 poets holding the Championship over two decades of the event, Payne is the third woman to take the Championship, and the second woman, after Anne Waldman, to retain the Title. Her one-woman shows (Xipe/Skin; A Body Condensed Light; Clearest, Brightest Blue Eyes You’ve Ever Seen; & Perfume) have been presented at The Los Angeles Children’s Museum, Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival 2000 and 2003, Sushi Performance Space and Gallery (San Diego), Dixon Place (New York), the Electric Lodge and Highways Performance Spaces (Santa Monica). She has been a featured poet at numerous venues and events, including the Austin International and Seattle Poetry Festivals, UCLA Hammer Museum, Expresso mi Cultura, J. Paul Getty Museum, La Pena Cultural Center, Gene Autry Museum, Self-Help Graphics, World Stage, and the Nuyorican Poet’s Café. She currently a mentor for WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that mentors high school girls with a passion for writing.
Lisa Schoyer, Vice President
Ms Schoyer is an experimental installation artist whose work investigates the relationship between perception and conception. Born in Hong Kong, she received her Bachelors Degree from Yale and MFA from CalArts. To date she has had 11 solo shows and been in over 60 group exhibitions in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon and Texas, London and Germany.
Paul Shepherd (aka Huckleberry Lain), Associate Artistic Director
Huckleberry has been making films for over 8 years with more than 10 films completed within that time. He usually sticks to experimental and animation, but he has made documentaries, live-action comedies, stop-motion tragedies and many other styles and genres. He has performed in the films of underground film legends Mike and George Kuchar, rising filmmaker Marie Losier and established artist Katja Loher as well as other individuals.
Huckleberry has shown his films in many festivals including USC’s First Look Film Festival, the New York Underground Film Festival, the South Bronx Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the Antimatter Underground Film Festival, the Lower Westside Film Festival and many others. He has had films included in screenings around the United States including the LA Film Forum at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema in New York City and the Artist Television Access in San Francisco among other places.
Steve Shoffner, Web Master
Steve Shoffner is an artist/designer based in Los Angeles, California. In 2003, he received his Masters of Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University with an emphasis in photography and digital media. He is currently founder of fefifolios, a design lab creating online portfolios for artists and galleries. He is an active collaborator with The League of Imaginary Scientists.
Outside of his design work, Steve exhibits his art projects in public environments and galleries when invited. His interactive installations 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.
Kara W. Tomé
Kara W. Tomé is currently Media Director for GYST-Ink, as well as an independent curator and arts writer. Kara has experience in making and exhibiting art, teaching art, arts programming, fundraising, grant writing, marketing, PR, event management, and more. Past positions in two states include: Director of Education and Public Programs, Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, FL; Director of Program Development, Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach, FL; Youth Program Director, Friends of the Junior Arts Center, Los Angeles, CA; Marketing and PR Manager, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA; Program Manager, Inner-City Arts, Los Angeles, CA. She received her MFA from CalArts in 1994.
Kara spent the last decade living in Palm Beach County, Florida where formed ArtSite Projects to create, curate, produce and publicize innovative art exhibitions featuring emerging artists. Shows included one-night, site-specific, multi-media installation exhibitions and performances in settings such as a boutique hotel, a self-storage unit facility, a Laundromat and empty residential houses. Kara’s shows were the only alternative exhibitions occurring in the area and they became renowned. Her most popular Showtel exhibition ran annually for eight years, had a 1000% percent increase in attendance (from 200 the first year to 2,000) and substantial local press coverage. Her accomplishments in FL earned her a MUSE nomination from the Palm Beach Cultural Council and a Mastermind Award from New Times Magazine. Check out her web site for more info: www.artsiteprojects.org