Meet the Arcata Arts Institute faculty and staff:

Director, Founder and Media And Visual Arts Faculty Anne Bown-Crawford


Anne Bown-Crawford received her B.F.A. in Design from Northern Illinois University. Shortly after she obtained her M.F.A. in Design from California College of Arts and continued on to get her M.A. in Education from U.C. Berkeley. She is a conference presenter on school to career curriculum, VAPA standards based program development, and project based learning. Within the scope of the AAI she is an SSP Demonstration Site Director and a Carl Perkins Demonstration Site Director. She also has been a California State Mentor Teacher for 2/3 of her teaching career. Anne is the creator and director of the Arcata Arts Institute. The past several years she has dedicated herself to teaching within and directing AAI, a unique and innovative art program. Anne has worked as a free lance graphic designer for 2 decades in both print and web design. One of the companies she works with is the information technology/GIS company HostGIS. In addition to being a visual artist she is also a tenor player in a performance based steel drum orchestra, Pan Dulce, which has produced 2 CDs.

Visual Arts  Johanna Mauro

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Johanna graduated from UC Santa Cruz as an art major in 1992. She then worked as a photographer and graphic artist for a number of years in Humboldt County. She chose to peruse a career working with children, and decided to become an art teacher. She attended HSU and received a high school art teaching credential as well as an elementary teaching credential. Johanna has taught art at Arcata High School and McKinleyville High School since 1998. She started teaching photography in 2007. She has two children (5 yrs. & 9 yrs.) which has given her a special appreciation for the way young artists explore creatively and develop artistically. She is currently working on a portfolio of infra red photography.

Music Josh Kieselhorst


Joshua Kieselhorst was born in Arcata California. He began his study of percussion in the 6th grade at Crescent Elk middle school and continued through 8th at Trinidad Elementary playing drum set in the Trinidad Dragon band. Throughout high school Josh was involved largely with rock bands outside of the high school setting composing original music.
At Cabrillo College Josh became interested in Jazz vibraphone after studying with Trumpeter Ray Brown. While attending college of the redwoods Josh maintained the drum set chair with the CR Stage band under the direction of Gerry Moore and Ed McCan. While performing with the big band and smaller combos Josh became increasingly interested in world music. After studying with Dr. Gerry Moore, Josh also became fascinated by percussion.

After moving to Humboldt State Josh studied classical and world percussion with Dr. Eugene Novotney. While at Humboldt State he performed with the PM Jazz band, Humboldt Choral, Humboldt State Calypso band, HSU percussion Ensemble, HSU Symphony, and the HSU Wind Ensemble. While also at HSU Josh helped develop and write and record original music for a surf rock band Surf Bound as well as a Latin fusion band Zumba. In addition, Josh performed with two smaller steel drum groups, Pan Techtonics and the HSU small Steel Band.

After graduating from HSU with a BA in music education Josh returned to Humboldt State to complete his teaching credential in 2000. After completing a long term sub position in Freshwater Josh taught in Mendocino County for six years establishing a music program at the local elementary and high school. Josh is now teaching for his third year at Northern Humboldt Union school district developing the ArMack Concert band, ArMack Jazz Band, MHS world percussion steel drums class, AHS African Drums Class, and the AAI music institute.


Melanie grew up in Three Rivers, a small town at the base of Sequoia National Park, where she initially began her pursuit of theatre arts.  She spent a short jaunt of time in Los Angeles where she received her undergraduate degree from Occidental College in psychology and theatre while working both onstage and backstage for theater and film companies.  In 2002 she found her way to Arcata and shortly after began to perform within the local theater, dance, spoken word and performing arts circles. She has been involved in performances with North Coast Repertory Theatre, Redwood Curtain Theatre, A Reason to Listen Poetry Collective, 2Left Feet Dance, BigNorthWest Dance, Chakra Nation Hoopers, Circus of the Elements, Nightshade Serenade, and Free the Beasts.  Melanie has been teaching math and performing arts since receiving her credential from Humboldt State in 2003. In addition to teaching and performing, Melanie actively choreographs pieces for local dance productions. She is a certified Chakra Nation Hoop Dance Instructor who may currently be seen with the Redwood Rings Hoop Troupe and Kitty Inferno Fire.

English JoAnn Moore


JoAnn has been trained in architecture and design, business, accounting, mathematics and English. Her most recent degree is an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. For the past 17 years she has taught high school English, thirteen of which were in Vermont. Now as a California transplant, when not teaching, she writes poetry, loves her very big dog, admires the ocean and continues to be awed by the magnificent Redwoods.

English Susan Clark-Luera

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Susan Clark-Luera has been an English teacher at Arcata High School for 18 years.  She has been the Junior English teacher for the Arcata Arts Institute for 10 years. She is a graduate of Humboldt State University, where she earned her teaching degree in English, and a supplementary authorization in art.  Susan is a lover of family, nature, farming, art, teaching and the written word.  Her aspiration in life is to make her community stronger and healthier through education, art and locally produced food.

Visual Arts Donovan Clark


Donovan Clark is co-founder of the Humboldt County art collective, Empire Squared. He has been showing art for Arts Alive and Arcata consistently since 2001. Local venues where his work has been featured include the Morris Graves Museum of Art and First Street Gallery in Eureka. He received his B.A. in studio art from Humboldt State University and was a recipient of the Martin Wong scholarship in painting in 2005. He possesses a single subject credential in art. Donovan has been teaching art for
the Arcata Art Institute since 2008. He is an art teacher for the Studio School, an art program for youth at Humboldt State University. And, Since 2009 Donovan has been teaching art for the Mattole Valley Charter School.

Figure Drawing  Joyce Jonte


Born in Berkeley, California in 1957, Joyce moved to Arcata in 1974 to study art at HSU. She graduated in 1979 with an emphases in life drawing, representational drawing, and watercolor painting. Her paintings have always been inspired by the exquisite world we live in. The subject matter varies, but her response to form, contour, light and shadow remains constant.
She studied the human form since she was 16, intent in her pursuit to express the vitality and mood of every gesture. Her work with the students of AAI allows her to share inspiration with young artists.

Music  Howie Kaufman

Howie Kaufman is the director of the Humboldt Drum Academy and has been teaching percussion for over 20 years with a bachelors degree and a K-12 Music Education Certificate from Humboldt State University (HSU). Since 1993 he has taught percussion at the Department of Music at HSU, including classes in percussion techniques, beginning and intermediate percussion, percussion ensemble, world percussion ensemble, Afro-Cuban drumming, percussion studio lessons and more. He is a founding member of the Humboldt Calypso Band and he has performed throughout the west coast, Mexico, Cuba, Trinidad/Tobago, Brazil, and throughout Europe. Mr. Kaufman is the founder and director of the Explorations in Afro-Cuban Dance & Drum program at HSU, known throughout the world as the premiere Afro-Cuban folkloric workshop in the United States.


Music  Ruben Diaz

Ruben F Diaz was raised in LA and grew up in a family surrounded by musicians. He fell in love with guitar at a young age and was playing beautifully by the time he was a teenage boy. With the help and teachings of his father Nino Ricardo(master of the reqinto guitar)he grew up and attended the Musicians Institue of Technology where he hohned his licks and studied to became a fluent and creative player in any idium. After graduating from MIT he began playing with many great musicians over the years such as Bobby Vega, Ray White, Garrett Sayers. Mike Emerson, Jimmy Sanchez, Melvin Seals, Carlos Rios, Oscar Seaton, Mo Pleasure, Prairie Prince, Garaj Mahal, The Blue Turtle Seduction, BIAS, Moo-Gotu, Don’t Push the Clown, Three Card Monty,The former JGB & The Avalon Allstars just to name a few!!! Ruben goes beyond the common standard of guitar as we know it, with his fluent riffs and amazing chord comping techniques he adapts to any musical enviorment and makes himself a part of it. When not out on the road rocking the socks off the audiences he enjoys teaching guitar lessons in Humboldt Coutny, Ca where he resides during his downtime.

Composer, Sound Design Tim Gray

Composer, sound designer, audio engineer and musician, Tim is the resident composer and sound designer for the Dell’Arte Company.  His recent credits with the company include Mary Jane: The Musical, Blue Lake: The Opera and Three Trees  Other credits include Amerika, Or the Disappearance at Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minneapolis,  and I Afton Skrack och Skratt at the Kulthurhuset National Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden.  Mr. Gray also composes and records music for film and television and is the owner of Myrtletown Records recording studio in Eureka, CA.  Tim Gray is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers 2005-2007 and his work from Paradise Lost: The Clone of God has been awarded with inclusion in the United States National Exhibit to the Prague Quadrennial 2007.  Nominee – 2006 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards – sound design, Tartuffe, Marin Theatre Company.

English Julie Angles
Julie Angles has been teaching English at Arcata High School for 20 years. She graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she earned a B.A. in English, a minor in music, and a secondary teaching credential in English. Since moving to Humboldt County in 1991, Julie has performed in numerous theater productions, taught aerobics classes, and participated in a variety of educational organizations. Julie taught senior English with the AAI program during its first two years and is very glad to have returned last year. She is well aware of the power of the arts in education and is pleased to be surrounded by such talented students who inspire her. In fact, Julie was so inspired last year that she and a few of her colleagues formed a teacher band called “JuJu and the Plague.”  It is always a joy when the student becomes the teacher, and in AAI, that is a frequent occurrence.

Illustration, Painter, Book Designer Erin Hamilton

From her personal blog, “I’m a visual artist, motivated by the fairly gritty spectacle of humanity, our collective narratives, and the emotional impact, delivery, and sincerity of our experiences. Primarily I paint and draw using traditional and digital mediums, working on figurative paintings, picture books for kids, and freelance illustration.”

Master Pattern Drafter Renee Thompson



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Renée Thompson has lived in Humboldt County for 22 years where she received her BA in fine art and her MFA in theatrical costume design. Renée has worked as a creative and technical designer for the past 12 years. She has worked independently as a freelance designer as well as with several established apparel companies. She was a technical designer for Shakespeare Santa Cruz and a designer for Kokatat Watersports Wear as well as Lucy Activewear. She now lives in Humboldt County where she is raising her daughter and running her own design company, POPPY.

Fashion Designer, Margaret Uemura

Margaret grew up in Arcata. She attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and graduated from Arcata High School in 2004. After Arcata High Margaret moved to sunny Burbank, California and attended Woodbury University School of Architecture and Design. There she studied Marketing, Fashion Design, and Textile Design. In 2006 her weaving work was selected for display in the Art on Cloth exhibit at the Judith Tamkin Fashion Center in Burbank. She brings to AAI her knowledge in sewing, pattern making, fashion figure drawing, weaving, and silk screen printing.

She is a member of Artists’ Resistance Movement for Dignity, a local artists’ collective that has done work for events such as Day of the Dead celebrations and youth education art workshops. She recently became a Gallery Exhibition Commissioner for the Ink People Center for the Arts at the Ink Annex. She is currently doing research for and developing a collection of apparel that wastes no fabric and anticipates bringing these zero waste skills to the classroom.

She recently bought a bottom whorl drop spindle and is teaching herself to spin yarn for weaving. Margaret believes that clothing design is a survival skill that everyone should have. Without it,we would all be naked and a little cold.