Benjamin Mefford - Interim Executive Director
Benjamin Mefford is an interdisciplinary artist based in the Pacific Northwest, where he draws inspiration from the natural environment. His formal education includes a B.A. in Studio Art and an M.A. in Interdisciplinary studies. As a production assistant he has worked on video, stone, textile, and public art projects for master artists. Benjamin has unique expertise in sculpting stone for public art commissions, and trained as an apprentice for 4 years carving site specific granite sculptures. He has been invited to two artist residencies in Portland, Oregon and one in Toyota City, Japan. Major works include site-specific public art commissions for Lake Oswego, Oregon and the Underwater Museum of Art in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Through material exploration, he examines fluid dynamics and how these patterns are captured in solid materials. Symbolically, he looks for themes of interconnection and universal meaning. Dreaming, visualization, and experimentation are central to his process. Benjamin is represented by Blackfish Gallery in Portland's Pearl District. Visit https://www.benjaminmefford.com/ to see his work.
WACC Board of Directors
Jenni Kadwell - President
Jenni Kadwell is a nature landscape photographer. A film 35 mm Minolta was her first camera to accompany her to Europe and other adventures. “The ability to film wildlife while backpacking in Glacier was awe inspiring.” Her creative spirit led her to earn a dual Bachelor of Arts from Carroll College, Montana. After teaching in Japan, never keeping her camera too far, she returned home and completed her Master of Education, Oregon State University.
With a 16-year professional career as a language teacher, cross cultural / STEAM curriculum writer, and consultant, her passion for volunteering and supporting our community continues. Jenni is president emeritus of the Charbonneau Art Association, served as a board member after establishing its non-profit status in 2015.
Currently, Jenni has returned to pursing her artistic life, focusing on family, Make-A-Wish kids, and gardening. Jenni’s Garden is not only educational, her motto, “Let’s Grow Together,” focuses on helping others, especially those with special needs, seniors, and veterans.
Joan Carlson - Secretary
Joan Carlson lives in Wilsonville and has chickens in her backyard. She was the Artist-in-Residence at Boones Ferry Primary School in Wilsonville for over 20 years and has also worked in many of the other primary schools in the WLWV school district. She recently retired in 2019. Joan was the school liaison for the Beauty & The Bridge tile mural project under I-5 along Wilsonville Road. She worked with over 1,000 students in all five of the Wilsonville's K-12 schools during this project. Joan has been serving on the board of the Wilsonville Arts & Culture Council and on the planning committees for the Wilsonville Festival of Arts (WFA) for over ten years.
Joan’s artwork is inspired by her unruly garden, the feathered ladies in the backyard, her journals of life, and her love for family. She is a working artist, volunteer art teacher, gardener, and grandma to a growing tribe. Acrylics, watercolors, collagraph prints, colored pencil, and mixed-media are her favorite mediums. Joan has shown her work in local cafés and coffee shops, corporate offices, and retail spaces.
Joyce Liden - Treasurer
Joyce Liden is currently working at Wilsonville High School as their Attendance Administrator. This follows two years as their bookkeeper and eight years as the office manager at Athey Creek Middle School. She has lived in Wilsonville for almost 30 years. Both her children are graduates of the WLWV School District.
Joyce graduated from University of Utah with a BS in French. Being the daughter of immigrants, Joyce also speaks Dutch, her parent’s language. She also speaks German and some Spanish.
Joyce lives with her husband, two dogs and a cat in Wilsonville. She loves animals. She and her husband have 'rescued' many pets the last few years. And hope to rescue more.
When she was in 6th grade an art teacher told her “You don’t have an artistic bone in your body.” She has spent the past 55 years proving that teacher wrong.
Jasleen Kaur Bhullar - Graphic Design
Jasleen Kaur Bhullar is a graduate from Wilsonville High School. Instructed by ChristopherShotola-Hardt and Angenette Escobar, she was awarded Outstanding Fine Arts Student of her graduating class of 2020 and continues to pursue higher artistic education at CCC. She has an extensive history of volunteering for the City of Wilsonville, having contributed to the cover design of the electric bus fleet which transports the citizens of Wilsonville daily. She is primarily a painter and horticulturist, and has interest in pursuing ceramics, music and tattoo artistry. She works in her family’s Indian food cart called Platter Division on the weekends, which is located in the heart of Sellwood.
Angennette Escobar, M.F.A. - WLWV School District Arts Liaison
Angennette Escobar is a working artist and teacher living in Milwaukie, Oregon. Escobar has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Sculpture and a minor in Art History. Escobar also studied for her MFA at the University of California, San Diego with a focus on Sculpture and Performance Art. Escobar has exhibited her work in the Portland area, as well as California, Texas and Washington; she is currently represented by Blackfish Gallery in Portland's Pearl District (www.blackfish.com). Escobar holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from George Fox University and is the Artist-Teacher & Art Director at Wilsonville High School, teaching Sculpture and 3D Design.
Escobar is a Mexican-American artist that was raised along the Mexican border in South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Her most recent work often involves Mexican religious iconography, specifically Milagros, small metal charms that represent miracles. She uses body imagery intertwined with religious objects to explore her cultural identity and heritage as well as her corporeal reality as a human being. Escobar rarely sculpts full figures, instead she treats the body in parts or pieces like the Milagros. She often sculpts or paints onto found objects and combines them with other media like clay or plaster. Oftentimes, she embeds religious objects into the surfaces of her work. Escobar also uses memories and events from her childhood as subject matter in her work.
Brooke Lords - WLWV School District Arts Liaison
Brooke Lords is an illustrator and designer from the Wilsonville area. She graduated from George Fox University with a major in Illustration and a minor in Graphic Design before getting a Masters's in Arts in Teaching in 2021. She is a freelance artist and stays busy working on many commissions. In the local area, Lords has recently exhibited her work at the Wilsonville Fred Meyers Starbucks Gallery.
Lords teaches Fine Art & Photography at Wilsonville High School, from where she graduated in 2016. Lords has worked in acrylic paint, drawing, sculpture, and digital media. Her work often features whimsical stories and narratives, drawing inspiration from animation and children's books.
Troy Mathews - WLWV School District Arts Liaison
Troy Mathews is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. He is an art educator who currently lives, works and creates in Portland, Oregon. Troy graduated from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2016 with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts with a focus on painting and curation. While getting his undergraduate degree he also started a graduate degree in Art and Teaching which was attained in 2018 from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Troy's Art is focused on ideas of social justice and equality. He often blends scientific theories and historical ideas with current issues to create a conversation about the world in which he navigates. The paintings are not necessarily answers but more often questions that challenge the viewer to think in a new way. It is his drive and passion that transcends his love of simply making and bleeds into every part of his life.
Kit Whittaker - Registered Agent
Kit Whittaker attended Whitman College and the University of California at Berkeley. Kit has been a Wilsonville area resident since 1975 and has watched the community grow and prosper. Over the years she has taken part in city projects and initiatives and has participated in many local organizations, including the Wilsonville Arts & Culture Council since 1999.
Professionally, Kit has been a school teacher, reporter and editor of the Wilsonville Spokesman community newspaper, and worked for the Oregon State Representative serving the Wilsonville area. She retired from a position as Clackamas County’s public information and citizen involvement director, where she learned the strength of personal commitment and group participation to build community and effect change.
All the arts have long held a central place in Kit’s life. She appreciates, creates and collects both fine art and handcrafted art, and enjoys cultural experiences of all kinds. In retirement, Kit pursues her horticultural passions in the family vineyard, orchard, perennial border, native plant hedgerow and raised bed vegetable garden. She and her husband Tom have travelled extensively, and also enjoy exploring Oregon’s lakes, rivers and ocean estuaries in their home-built wooden kayaks.
Christopher Shotola-Hardt, M.F.A. - Ex-Officio
Christopher Shotola-Hardt served as Artist-Teacher & Art Director at Wilsonville High School and served in the WLWV School District for 32 years before retiring in 2020. He is the founder of the Wilsonville Festival of Arts and served as the Festival Director for the first three years. He has served on the WACC board since 1999, with only a two-year hiatus while serving as President of Oregon Art Education Association. In 2021 and 2022, he has served as committee chair and curator for WACC's Wilsonville Summer Performance Series.
A painter, Shotola-Hardt is represented by Blackfish Gallery in Portland, OR. You can see his artwork at www.christophershotola-hardt.com. A lifelong musician, composer and performer, Shotola-Hardt's main focus is with the world-influenced, progressive folk ensemble Bug Toast (www.bugtoastmusic.com).
Shotola-Hardt lives in Wilsonville with his wife, children, and cats.
Theonie Gilmore - WACC Founder & Executive Director Emerita
Following a twenty-five year career as a music educator in the David Douglas School District (Oregon), Theonie Gilmore continued as an advocate for the arts and became and arts administrator. Gilmore was a founder of three pivotal arts organizations: the Center for Endangered Arts - MUSIC (CEA-MUSIC), the Clackamas County Arts Action Alliance, and the Wilsonville Arts & Culture Council. In 2008, she was awarded “Wilsonville Citizen of the Year” by the Rotary Club of Wilsonville.
“My basic essence is arts. I want the city of Wilsonville to be nurtured in the arts. They enrich one’s outlook and being. People involved with the arts do better academically. They have an open outlook, a more flexible perspective. Arts develop the creative side of our lives. It’s important for pre-school kids to be exposed to music, dance, theater and literature. It starts with that first crayon.
“I’m committed and passionate about this and I seek volunteers who share my passion,” Gilmore says. “It’s not about having your name on a list of board of directors. It’s about people taking action.”