What We Do

Mission

Mission

The Community Arts Foundation advocates and funds arts learning experiences for people of all ages in the Walnut Creek Center for Community Arts.

Vision

Vision

We believe that Arts learning is essential to human development and our community's quality of life. Through public and private partnerships, we are committed to creating an environment that promotes a diversity of culture, thought and artistic expression.

Importance of Arts

Importance of Arts

Arts learning has been tied to academic success and shown to be fundamental to healthy biological, emotional and educational development.

About the Community Arts Foundation

Founded in 2006 as the Friends of Civic Arts Education Foundation, the recently re-named Community Arts Foundation is a passionate advocate for the arts and the importance of providing access to arts learning and creative experiences for all members of our community.

Our primary purpose is to raise funds that are used to provide scholarships for children, teens, adults and seniors with financial need who want to participate in art, music, dance, drama, photography, ceramics and other arts programs offered by Center for Community Arts.

In addition, the Foundation supports grants for Arts equipment, facility improvement, and advocates with the City of Walnut Creek, funding grantors and others in support of “Arts for All”.

Board of Directors

Meet our directors and click to learn more about each of them and why they believe in Arts for All.

Glynnis Cowdery
Rob Stankus
Yama Jamili
vanderjagtlinda
Sandra Jacobsen
Meta Paola
Meta Paola
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Michael Weiner
Glynnis Cowdery

Glynnis Cowdery President

"I believe in Arts for All because I have seen the benefits of participating in creativity enhancing opportunities in my own family, in the young children I have taught and in the testimonies of the individuals who have received Foundation Scholarships enabling them to participate at the Center for Community Arts. As a community that supports arts and arts education we must ensure that anyone who wants to participate in an arts education has the opportunity regardless of their financial status."

Glynnis has lived in Walnut Creek for 23 years and is proud to be part of a community that is supportive of the arts and arts education. She has an MA in Early Childhood Education and Applied Behavior Analysis and has worked in the field of early childhood education and special education for over 30 years. She is co-author of a text book, The Exceptional Child. She has also taught elementary school art. Her community involvement includes serving on the PTOs and PTAs in the Walnut Creek School District and on the Walnut Creek Education Foundation for 10 years. She is in her final term as a Walnut Creek Arts Commissioner, serves on the Walnut Creek Civic Pride Foundation and has been on the Community Arts Foundation since 2014. She is married with two very creative children both who are “graduates” of the Center for Community Arts program. In her “free time” Glynnis enjoys reading, cooking, dabbling in creative activities such as mosaics, photography & collage.

Doug Rowe

Doug Rowe Director

"I believe in the Arts for All because as an artist I believe that a creative spirit lives in everyone and that one's self-expression is an important part of being human. Art education, like early childhood education, embraces the early domains of learning from social/emotional development to cognition understanding that the Arts are integrated into each and are vital to all aspects learning and the development of the whole person."

Doug is native Californian, born in Berkeley and raised in Southern California. He spent 2 years at Santa Barbara City College/UCSB and received a BFA in Painting/Printmaking CCAC 1972 and an MFA in Ceramic Sculpture/Painting 1976 University of Montana. He later received a Early Childhood Credential from the University of Oregon. He has worked as an Early Childhood teacher/director in Headstart programs, Montessori, Private School programs in Oregon and California since 1978, and served ten years as the Director of the Preschool Kindergarten program at the American School in Japan. He worked for 14 years as a Program Supervisor at the Shadelands Art Center for the City of WC (Director of FAP). He currently teaches art and Early Childhood Education at Los Medanos College. He was active in the development of the Foundation. He is married with one child and resides in Martinez. His interests include surfing, wine and travel.

Yama Jamili

Yama Jamili Treasurer

I believe in Arts for All because growing up in an immigrant family we didn’t always have the resources to participate in extracurricular activities such as arts and music. The arts were something I was always interested in and wanted to get more exposure to as a child. This was my main motivation for joining the Foundation and I am proud to work in an organization that is committed to providing underprivileged children the opportunity to be exposed to the arts.”

Yama was raised in the Concord / Walnut Creek area, received his BA in Economics from the University of California, San Diego, and is currently attending Cal for his MBA (expected graduation date 2019). He holds Series 6, 7, 63, 66, and insurance licenses. He joined the board in 2013. He is married with two boys, ages 8 and 4 years. He is the Regional Manager for Bank of the West's Wealth Management group (Northern California and Northwest Regions).

Linda VanderJagt

Linda VanderJagt Secretary

“I believe in Arts for All because I was fortunate to grow up in a home where music, art, dance and theater were an important part our lives. My mother was an accomplished pianist; my father played trombone in a dance band and during his two deployments in the Army. My siblings and I all learned to play several instruments, as did my children and grandchildren. As a life-long educator, I am a strong advocate for arts education. Early access to art, music, drama and dance helps children explore their creative talents, develop an appreciation for the arts and learn to appreciate different points of view. Research is clear about the strong ties between academic success and involvement in the arts.”

Linda moved to Walnut Creek seven years ago, following her retirement. She was born and raised in the Detroit area, where she learned to love the arts at an early age. She earned her BA in Secondary Education, an MA in Counseling & Personnel, and post-graduate studies in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University.. Her professional experiences included serving as a counselor at Hope College, a middle and high school counselor, basketball and track coach, Middle School Assistant Principal, Elementary Principal, Director of Guidance and Testing, Director of Community Services, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Assistant Superintendent of Instruction in several suburban Grand Rapids school districts. Linda co-chaired three district-wide day-long arts celebrations, served as the district liason to the Community’s Cultural Arts Committee, Young Authors Committee and the Educational Foundation.

Linda was an active board member for several non-profits including the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Gilda’s Club, Grand Rapids Rotary Club East, Leadership Grand Rapids, Southeast YMCA and the Institute for Healing Racism. She also held leadership positions in the Michigan Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Kent Curriculum Council, Kent County Negotiators Association, Michigan Association of College Admissions Counselors and the West Michigan Personnel and Guidance Association.

Linda’s husband is a talented artist who has been very active with Community Arts and the Clay Arts Guild. Their oldest son, daughter-in-law and two grand daughters have lived Walnut Creek for 9 years and both girls have been involved in art, music, dance and theater classes through Community Arts. Their youngest son and his wife live in Los Angeles and work in the arts.

Sandra Jacobsen

Sandra Jacobsen Director

"I believe in Arts for All because whether we are the creator or the viewer, art takes us on a journey, often to unexpected places. It makes us think, stretches our imagination, frees us to try new things and offers an opportunity to completely focus on the task at hand blocking out the myriad of other things that keep us busy all day. Walnut Creek has a thriving arts community and I fully support the Community Arts Foundation vision to fund arts learning experiences for people of all ages within our community and to promote a diversity of culture, thought and artistic expression."

Sandi has lived in Walnut Creek for over 20 years. She is a strong community advocate having served on the Contra Costa County Local Planning Council for Early Care and Education promoting quality childcare throughout the county, the Walnut Creek Park, Recreation and Open Space Commission and the Board of the Walnut Creek Civic Pride Foundation. She was involved in Girl Scouts as a young girl and later served the Las Trampas Service Unit as a troop leader and staff member at local Girl Scout camps.

She strongly believes in having accessible, affordable community art programs. Sandi has a BS degree in Horticulture from Michigan State University and a MBA in International Business Administration from DePaul University.

Paola Meta

Paola Meta Director

“I believe in Arts for All because I have seen firsthand the personal enrichment and developmental benefits of arts programs for children, and I support the goal of expanding access to all members of the community. I joined Community Arts Foundation in June 2017 and look forward to sustaining and expanding the mission of the Foundation as a parent and community member.”

Paola has been a Bay Area resident since 2007. She is the daughter of an Italian father and an Italian-American mother, who taught her lifelong lessons about the immigrant experience and the power of opportunity and education. She was born in New Jersey and raised in Rome, Italy. She earned her bachelor's degree in International Affairs in Italy, and soon after left for Washington, DC where she continued her education with a Master's Degree and started her career in international development with the World Bank. She switched careers to Finance and Energy after earning her MBA and has been working for Chevron since 2003. She has been involved in community service throughout her life, most recently serving a 3 year stint as a volunteer ESL teacher with the Diablo Valley Literacy Council in Concord. She is married with a young child, who attends music classes through the Community Arts programs.

Jennifer O'Neill

Jennifer O'Neill Director

"I believe in Arts for All, because arts, specifically dance has been the one constant in my life for over three decades and I know firsthand the benefits of having an artistic outlet. Confidence, a voice, strength and joy are all direct benefits of being involved in any art form. As a performer, teaching artist and mother of young aspiring artists, I feel deeply that arts access, education and opportunities should be available to ALL. ALWAYS. In my over twenty years of teaching dance and movement, it never ceases to amaze me the growth I see in my students year after year-physically and emotionally. I know that without the arts, this growth may not have been fostered in these dancers. Not only do the arts help them to find their voice but it nurtures them as they learn to use it and explore what they are meant to communicate to the world and to themselves. Now more than ever, we should all be in a position to discover what the arts can do for ourselves, our communities and our futures."

Jennifer O'Neill began her dance training at age four in Los Angeles, studying ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip hop, and gymnastics. After performing and competing throughout Southern California, Jen moved to the Bay Area to continue her dance education, graduating from Saint Mary's College of California with a BA in Dance. After graduation, Jen was offered an adjunct position at Saint Mary’s teaching dance majors and minors and spent two years working with the talented students and faculty there. Jen has been fortunate to teach in various settings over the last twenty years, including higher education, public and private schools, arts enrichment programs and private studios. Jen is currently on the dance faculty at Center for Community Arts where she has been integral in building and growing the dance programs and will be taking on the role of Artistic Director of the Community Arts Dance Ensemble, in Summer 2019. She is also on faculty at Ace Dance Academy in Walnut Creek. Jen is an active member of the National Dance Education Organization and the California Dance Education Association.

In addition, Jen has trained and performed with choreographers and companies in L.A., New York, and the Bay Area. Jen is very excited to be joining the Community Arts Foundation and looks forward to continuing to work to bring arts access and education to all. Jen and her husband Justin live in Pleasant Hill with their two young, busy children. When she is not in the dance studio, you can find Jen reading, baking and having epic dance parties with her family.

Rob Stankus

Rob Stankus Vice President

"I believe in Arts for All because my 30-year career in creative services has shown me the value and impact that creative expression can have in advancing positive change. My Education Foundation experience showed me how creative engagement improves children's learning skills – and how at risk arts funding is today and how great the need is for passionate advocates. In my personal life, I've seen the joy, fascination and sense of accomplishment that my daughters experienced attending the Arts, Adventure and Academics Summer Camp for many years; how in their late teen years and early adulthood art provided a calming outlet in a crazy, over-connected world; and the satisfaction my 96-year-old grandmother enjoyed in her late-life discovery of painting – everyone should have similar opportunities."

Rob is a 20-year Walnut Creek resident and marketing communications business owner whose civic involvement has ranged from Trustee on the Walnut Creek Education Foundation board, to President of the Walnut Creek Soccer Club, and member of the Walnut Creek Centennial and numerous school bond campaign steering committees. He's a CERT team member, graduate of the Walnut Creek Citizens Institute, and volunteers his time and business's print and digital design services to many community events and initiatives. Rob graduated from Santa Clara University with a BA in Philosophy, is married and has two daughters.

weinermichael

Michael Weiner Director

"I believe in the Arts for all because art represents the foundation of every civilization and thus reflects the creative energies of each individual. Art represents the means by which all of us focus our higher purposes in life and express our desires to express and mold our understanding of our surroundings, from the minute to the universal. Art simultaneously brings us together and makes us distinct and unique human beings."

Michael graduated from Amherst College, cum laude, in 1970 and from New York University School of Medicine in 1974. After spending a year as Resident in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, he completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1978. He subsequently served at Assistant Chief of Ob/Gyn at Valley Medical Center in Fresno, CA and was appointed Assistant Clinical Professor of Ob/Gyn at the University of California, San Francisco. Michael also spent several years in private practice in Fresno, CA before moving to Alamo, CA in 2002.

Over the years he has supported his communities by serving on several boards of non-profit organizations. These have included the boards of the Fresno Art Museum, several Jewish organizations and congregations, The California Symphony, The Friends of Civic Art Education Foundation, and Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.