About Us

Santa Cruz County Arts Commission


The Mission of the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission is to promote, expand and plan for the cultural life of Santa Cruz County and to bring artists and arts organizations together with government for the benefit of all the residents of the County.

Arts Commission Meetings

Commission meetings typically occur six times each year, generally on a Monday from 4:30-6:00 P.M.
Check the links below for more information about Arts Commission Meetings!

Public Participation
  • Please check the meeting agenda to learn details about how to participate in the commission meeting.
  • If you need special accommodations, please call 454-2772 or TDD: 711 (California Relay Service) at least 48 hours before the meeting.
  • To contact staff to the Arts Commission, please e-mail kathy.dewild@santacruzcounty.us
Meetings & By-Laws
  • Commission meetings are scheduled up to six times each year, typically every-other month on a Monday at 4:30 PM
  • Meetings are held in person at the Parks Department upstairs conference room – 979 17th Ave., Santa Cruz.
  • The Commission may call for special public meetings in order to conduct timely Commission business
  • Commission By-Laws PDF

Arts Commission Members

Arts Commission Members:

  • Paula Woods, District 1
  • Arthur Solway, District 1
  • Adele Gardner, District 2
  • Cynthia Kilian, District 2
  • Aura Oslapas, District 3
  • Joanna Phillips, District 3
  • Judy Stabile, District 4
  • Parl DeWorken, District 4
  • Lynda Phillips, District 5
  • Margaret Niven, District 5

Learn about Santa Cruz County Arts Commission members by clicking their district below!


Paula Woods, District 1

We were that family in the spring of 1989 driving our VW Vanagon up HWY 17holding up traffic, loaded to the max with two cats, three kids and our belongings excited to make Santa Cruz our new home. We knew it would be a great environment to raise our family–the Beach, the Redwoods and so much nature. At that time, we had no idea about the artistic talent in this community. With so many fabulous artists, every year we looked forward to the fall because it meant Open Studios was soon to follow, exposing our kids to so many different art mediums. Perhaps this was the inspiration for one of our daughters enrolling in The Art Institute in San Francisco, another daughter enrolling in film school in NY. Over the years, we collected much art from local artists. I am honored to join the Arts Commission and like the idea of bringing fresh and stimulating art to public spaces.


Arthur Solway, District 1

Arthur Solway’s poetry and essays have appeared in The Antioch Review, Barrow Street, BOMB, The London Magazine, Salmagundi, Southern Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Tupelo Quarterly and elsewhere. His work has also been featured by the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day and Poetry Daily. A finalist for both the 2021 Donald Justice Prize in Poetry and the Anhinga Press Robert Dana Award, his critical reviews and cultural essays can be found in Artforum, Frieze, and ArtAsiaPacific magazines. Living and working in Shanghai for well over a decade, he was the founding director of the first contemporary art gallery from New York to establish itself in mainland China. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, he is a poetry editor for The Shanghai Literary Review and presently lives in Santa Cruz, California. His debut full-length collection Friday Night, Shanghai will be published in June 2023 by Finishing Line Press.


Cynthia Kilian, District 2

Cynthia has lived in Santa Cruz County for 33 years, has been a self employed realtor for 23 years. She attended Weber College of Nursing and University of San Francisco B.S.O.B. Serving the Muse - Cynthia served as board president for the San Francisco Pickle Family Circus, Tandy Beal & Company for 9 years. She is currently a director and previously served as marketing VP for the Santa Cruz County Symphony. Cynthia is a founding board member of the Aptos Academy, a director for the past 14 years. As part of the Monterey Symphonic Chorus, she has traveled to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of IONA, seat of Celtic Spirituality; in summer 2009, the chorus sang at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. for President Obama. Serving Community - During the summer months, Cynthia serves as a nurse, part of a medical/dental team at Little Flock orphanage in Southern India . She walked 350 miles across Northern Spain on a pilgrimage - The Camino Santiago de Campostella - in 2004. She climbed Wayan Picchu, the mountain near Macchu Picchu, Peru in 2005. Cynthia worked as a loan executive to the United Way of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties for five years during her 17-year career with Pacific Bell. Cynthia was part of a Katrina Animal rescue team, rescuing 100 animals flown into Monterey Airport from Iberia, Louisiana, helped care and transport them to a shelter facility in Santa Cruz. Serving Family - Cynthia has 3 great adult children. Melanie is an artist, a comedian with Second City, has an MBA and is working on her PhD. Adam served as an army ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan; he is now a Los Angeles County firefighter. Ashley graduated from Menlo College in Atherton. CA, manages a medical office, and has a California Real Estate License.

Adele Gardner, District 2

As a teacher and founder Santa Cruz Children's School the arts and children have been central to my life for many years. Taught sculpture, pastel, watercolor, and silk painting. Directing and producing children's theater has been a passion. Integrating art, expression, and beauty are essential to a healthy happy life. I live in Aptos and am inspired by the beauty of our area. Artists, musician, poets,dancers and actors enrich our community life. Supporting creativity in all of its forms is my motivation in serving on the Arts Commission. The Commission advocates for public funds to create artistic opportunity in our county. I am proud to be a member!

Aura Oslapas, District 3

No description.

Joanna Phillips, District 3

Joanna was born and raised in Fresno, California. She graduated from Cal State University Fresno, majoring in Speech Communication. She went back to school to do graduate work in Education of the Deaf, working in the local school district as a teacher. In 1972 Joanna moved to San Jose and began a new career in Real Estate. After successfully owning a Century 21 franchise from 1980 – 1986, she began her training career by becoming the Director of Recruiting and Training for Better Homes and Gardens in San Jose until 2000. When she got a call from Robert Bailey, the CEO of Bailey Properties in Santa Cruz, CA to inquire if she would like the same job in Santa Cruz, and live in her beach house, the answer was YES! Power Training was born and Bailey Properties continues to be the field-testing facility for all updates to this course. Joanna is a mother and the grandmother of Sara. Joanna enjoys spending time at the beach, playing with Sara and traveling. Joanna served on the City of San Jose Art Commission from 1996-2002. This experience gave her a great deal of background on the arts programs in the City of San Jose. She also has performed both in theater and as a motivational speaker. She joined the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission in the hopes her past experience would be of benefit to the residents of Santa Cruz County.

Judy Stabile, District 4

I have been an artist for 22 years, and enjoy working in a variety of media and processes including sculpting in stone, casting in bronze and glass; printmaking; fabric collage; and painting with acrylic, oil and encaustics. As a volunteer, I have curated and co-curated twelve visual art exhibits for the Pajaro Valley Arts Council: served as a mentor to other curators; and have served as a Gallery Committee member for PVAC for nine years. For the past three years, I have co-curated (for PVAC) exhibitions of sculpture for an outdoor venue at Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens. This exhibit was pivotal to my interest in public art. As a result, I applied to be a member of the Public Arts Commission.

Paul DeWorken, District 4

In addition to serving on the County Arts Commission, Paul serves on the City of Watsonville Public Art Commission. He owns and operates a small business in Watsonville, Monterey Bay Murals. For over seven years he has been a Behavior Technician, working with Autistic students in a special day class at Rolling Hills Middle School for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Paul recently completed a mural at Rolling Hills, “Maya Time,” which is in the style of a mandala; more on this mural and others that he has worked on can be seen at: www.montereybaymurals.com. Paul, a lifelong resident of Watsonville, is a graduate of Watsonville High School, a graduate of Cabrillo College with an Associated Arts Degree, and a Cal State University of Monterey Bay (CSUMB) graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Visual and Public Art, with an emphasis in Mural Painting and Arts Education. Currently, he is in the Cal State Teach Program at CSUMB where he is working on obtaining his certification in teaching multiple subjects. His goal is to receive a Masters in Arts and Arts Education and, if possible, a P.H. D in art. Paul is honored to serve on the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission. His vision is to beautify the city of Watsonville, along with the County of Santa Cruz and the world, through art. He believes in making art accessible and affordable for all to see and experience, and he values public interests and ideas that pertain to art and beautifying our environment.

Lynda Phillips, District 5

Though born in Hollywood, I moved with my family to Cupertino when my father was transferred by Lockheed to its new facility in Sunnyvale. I worked 32 years at Lockheed in the Computer Information field and retired in mid-2002. I earned a B.A in Bus Admin / CIS (Computer Information Systems) from California State University at San Jose and a MBA in CIS / Project Mgmt from Golden Gate University. I purchased a home in Boulder Creek in March 1990 and never looked back. I became a member of the Boulder Creek Historical Society in 1996 and was Secretary / Treasurer when it was purchasing property to establish its museum permanently. In January 2003 I became the Executive Director of the San Lorenzo Valley Museum. As Executive Director I have worked with my Board to incorporate many positive changes in the fundraising, operation, and partnering with the local community and other non-profits. I was involved with listing the San Lorenzo Valley Museum church building on the National Register of Historic Places and changing the 501C3 name from Boulder Creek Historical Society to San Lorenzo Valley Historical Society. I was a founding member and Chair of the Santa Cruz County Museums Partnership, which included 32 museums and art galleries in its initial year and grew. I have worked with the San Lorenzo Valley staff to partner with artists for an annual art exhibit on the Community Wall located at the Santa Cruz County Government building. I am the Chair of the Santa Cruz County Historic Resources Commission and am very excited to be a member of the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission.

Margaret Niven, District 5

In 1983, one year after earning my Master of Fine Arts degree from UC Berkeley, I left my hometown and moved to Santa Cruz. Those of us who live here know what a special place Santa Cruz County is. I am very grateful to call it home. Nature has always been the primary inspiration for my artwork. Images of our county’s abundant natural world fill my paintings, drawings and prints. For all my adult life, I have taught art, the past twenty-two years at community colleges. I am on the faculties at Monterey Peninsula College and West Valley College where I teach painting, drawing, watercolor, 2D design and color design. Teaching art, connecting with people through art and watching their minds open in ways that only art can make happen, is the most rewarding job I could hope for. My home and workspace are in the Artspace Tannery Lofts where I am among the building’s first tenants, a group that bonded while camping out in November 2008 to assure that we each got a place in the new live-work development. This past fall and winter, with the support of the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County, I organized a series of Tannery Talks with the theme of Art and Identity. Based on the 2010-13 Tannery Arts Lecture Series the new series emphasized the role of the arts in social justice. A second season is in the works for 2019-20. I am proud to join the Arts Commission and to be a part of bringing more art into the public space and recognizing the valuable contribution that Santa Cruz County artists make to our quality of life.

Contact Us


(831) 454-7901

Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, except holidays

Our physical office is open, but staff availability is limited.