Karen comes to SASSAS with a diverse and creative background. A Southern California native, Karen trained in culinary school and worked as a chef for many years before opening a cooking school in Los Angeles in 2001. Karen is dedicated to promoting the arts by supporting projects and institutions that support creative exploration, innovation, and experimentation. Karen also devotes her energies to her own work in the ceramics studio, as well as working on behalf of organizations that protect women’s rights.
Cindy Bernard has a career that spans nearly three decades. She is a recipient of grants and fellowships from the J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, California Arts Council, Creative Capital, Anonymous Was a Woman, the Harpo Foundation, California Community Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Japan, and was included in the Whitney and Lyon Biennials.
In addition to her visual practice, Bernard takes an active interest in the spaces and production of social exchange. In addition to founding SASSAS, she was a director and advisor to Foundation for Art Resources from 1985 to 1990, a founding director of the Coalition for Freedom of Expression, and co-founder of MOCA Mobilization.
Her current project is Vinland, a meditation on the complex and continually shifting relationships between spaces, social and economic structures, and personal and collective histories, centered in two small communities in Newfoundland.
Bernard is a Professor of Graduate Fine Art (Adjunct) at Art Center College of Art and Design and was appointed the inaugural Ruffin Distinguished Artist-In-Residence at the University of Virginia for the academic year 2013/2014. She was a 2015 MacDowell Fellow.
Michael Ned Holte is a writer, independent curator, and educator based in Los Angeles. He has organized numerous exhibitions including “Routine Pleasures” (2016) at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, Los Angeles; “TL;DR” (2014) at Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand; and, with Connie Butler, the 2014 edition of “Made in L.A.” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. He has written monographic essays on artists such as Kathryn Andrews, Hani Armanious, Charles Gaines, Richard Hawkins, Alice Könitz, Shio Kusaka, Roy McMakin, Ricky Swallow, and Clarissa Tossin, and has contributed to periodicals including Afterall, Artforum International, The Brooklyn Rail, East of Borneo, Pin-Up, and X-Tra. He has been a member of the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts since 2009, and has served as Co-Director of the Program in Art since 2014.
Peter Tolkin is registered architect and founding principal of Peter Tolkin Architecture, a design practice focused on residential, retail / mixed-use, and arts-related projects. In his practice Peter advocates for the social and cultural agency of architecture, an approach informed by his prior work as a documentary photographer and his studies with American artists Allan Sekula and Lewis Baltz. Peter brings ample experience designing and managing projects that enhance the public realm, such as Saladang Song Restaurant, the mixed-use project Metlox Town Square in Manhattan Beach, the Claremont Village Square expansion, and a Zero Net Energy Commercial Office building at 245 Fair Oaks in South Pasadena. Peter’s residential projects include the Sherman Residence in Encino, the Sun Glass House in Malibu, and the Branch House in Montecito. Peter’s interest in the arts has led him to collaborate with a number of artists on installations including artists Yunhee Min and Charles Gaines. He has also worked on a number of self-generated art projects such as the inflatable installation Dunnage Ball and an accessible restroom design that addresses the politics of gender identity in architecture entitled XYYXXY. Peter first rose to prominence in 2002 when Architectural Record named him one of its ten emerging international “Design Vanguard” architects. Since then the firm has been recognized with numerous AIA awards, a James Beard Foundation award, and with publications in the national and international press including The New York Times, Architectural Record, Dwell, Domus, Abitare, and Interior Design. Peter received a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Art History from UC Santa Cruz, a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from California Institute of the Arts, and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University. Peter continues to practice photography as a complement to his architectural work.
As a former dancer turned installation artist, Nina Waisman is fascinated by the critical role that movement-based modes of thinking play in forming thought. Scientists call such “physical thinking” the pre-conscious scaffolding for all human logic. Waisman’s interactive sound installations, videos and collaborative performances pose questions about embodied thinking, while focusing on related issues, including surveillance, invisible labor & machine-human feedback loops. After a year-plus run as an artist-in-residence at the SETI Institute, Nina is beginning a series of artworks exploring non-human intelligences, from animal on through to possible plant, microbial and ET intelligences.
Tashi Wada was born in New York City and lives in Los Angeles. He studied composition at CalArts with James Tenney. His works—both composed and improvised—explore harmonic overtones, resonance and dissonance through precise tuning and gradual change in pitch. Working in relation to American experimental music, microtonal music, and so-called drone music, his practice is also informed by interdisciplinary performance and artists affiliated with Fluxus. Wada’s work has been performed throughout the US and Europe, and for many years he has performed alongside his father composer Yoshi Wada. Wada runs Saltern, an imprint of Important Records, which he started in 2014.
Devon Tsuno is a visual artist and Los Angeles-native. His abstract paintings, socially engaged projects, artist books and print installations focus on the LA watershed, water use, and native vs. non-native vegetation. Tsuno is a 2017 Santa Fe Art Institute Water Rights Artist-In-Residence, is the 2016 SPArt Community Grantee and was awarded a 2014 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Art. Tsuno’s long-term interest in bodies of water in the LA area has been central to his work with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Big City Forum, Theodore Payne Foundation, and the grantLOVE Project. Tsuno has exhibited extensively in the US and abroad at the Hammer Museum Venice Beach Biennial, Current: LA Water Public Art Biennial, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, U.S. Embassy in New Zealand, and Roppongi 605 in Tokyo. He received an MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2005 and a BFA from California State University Long Beach in 2003 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at California State University Dominguez Hills.