Meet Our Staff

The Center for the Arts Executive Director, Amber Jo Manuel

Amber Jo Manuel

Executive Director

Amber Jo Manuel

amanuel@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 206

Amber Jo joined the staff at The Center for the Arts in Fall 2016. She is a native of Nevada County and retuning home after working in development at not-for-profit arts organizations for the past 17 years. She most recently held the position of Director of Development at the American Conservatory Theater where she successfully led a $33 million capital campaign for ACT’s second stage, The Strand Theater, which opened in the San Francisco mid-market district in May 2015. Prior to ACT, Amber was involved with capital campaign fundraising and development efforts at both Cal Academy of Sciences and Berkeley Repertory Theater. Amber also worked as the Individual Giving Director at The Roundabout Theater in New York where she worked on the seat campaign for Studio 54 and the historic reopening of the Henry Miller’s Theatre, the first LEED-certified Broadway theatre, which later was renamed the Stephen Sondheim. Amber’s interest in the arts began on the stages of Nevada County where she was an active dancer, actress and director. She received a B.A. in Drama from UC Irvine and later earned a M.F.A. in Directing Asian Theater from the University of Hawaii.

The Center for the Arts Director of Facilities & Operations, Dave Spellman

David Spellman

Director of Facilities and Operations

David Spellman

dspellman@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 207

A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles in Technical Theater/Design, David began his artistic career as a theatrical scenic artist and lighting designer. His lighting and set design credits include 24 major theatrical productions and over 200 concerts in the Los Angeles area, as well as the design and installation of new lighting systems for two theaters. David spent 35 years as the stage manager at Caltech’s Beckman and Ramo Auditoriums, overseeing the technical production elements for more than 300 events per year at these venues.

The Center for the Arts Accounting & HR Manager, Debi Curtis

Debi Curtis

Accounting & HR Manager

Debi Curtis

dcurtis@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 203

Debi joined the Center in March 2016 after packing up her life and moving to Grass Valley from the Sacramento area.
She has over 25 years of Accounting and HR experience, including 12 years with various non-profits (WEAVE and Folsom Cordova Community Partnership). Debi enjoys working for non-profit organizations which allow her to use her business skills while still making a difference in her community. This is her first experience with performing and visual arts; so far she is loving attending the shows and expanding her music knowledge.
In her spare time she loves gardening (learning how to grow tomatoes in the foothills proved to be a challenge), knitting and crocheting, baking, being Nana to her seven grandchildren (three of whom live in Grass Valley) and exploring her new home town.

The Center for the Arts Programs Manager, Brynn Farwell

Brynn Farwell

Programs Manager

Brynn Farwell

bfarwell@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 208

Brynn Farwell was born in Penn Valley, California in 1995. In 2013, she moved from rural California, to Seattle, Washington to attend Cornish College of the Arts where she received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in 2017. She has exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions in Seattle, New York, and Nevada County. During her time in school,  she studied abroad in Rome, Italy, in the Rome Studio Art Program through the University of Washington, Bothell. In 2015 she was selected as one in fourteen students across the continent to participate in the New York Studio Residency Program in Brooklyn, NY, for the spring semester of 2016. Brynn has worked for several non-profits including the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, as a youth sailing instructor and A.I.R. (Artist in Residence) Gallery in Brooklyn, as a Benefit Coordinator. Since moving back to Nevada County, Brynn sings in a local funk band, Elevation, creates visual art in her studio, and works at The Center for the Arts in order to participate in and give back to the artistic community she has always loved.

The Center for the Arts Administrative & Rental Specialist, Peter Bevitori

Peter Bevitori

Administrative & Rental Specialist

Peter Bevitori

pbevitori@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 204

Peter Bevitori graduated from Nevada Union High School in 2002 completing courses in television production and film making. He was the co-recipient for the awards of best screenplay and best movie in the Nevada City Film Festival in 2006. Shortly after, he moved to Los Angeles and studied at various theater companies including the Groundlings Theatre, and Second City Hollywood. After writing for live sketch comedy shows and stand up comedians for a few years, he decided to move back home where he’s excited to be working with the amazing artistic community that is here in Nevada County! He is now a Membership Associate at the Center for the Arts, acting as the front of house for the office and maintaining new and renewing memberships.

The Center for the Arts Production Manager, Shane McKillop

Shane McKillop

Production Manager

Shane McKillop

smckillop@thecenterforthearts.org

Born and raised in the central coast of California in Los Olivos, Shane McKillop has spent the greater portion of his life writing, recording and performing music. Shane is among the founding members Gardens & Villa and AmoAmo, internationally touring groups that have performed across the globe including festivals like Coachella, Outside Lands, Austin City Limits, Sasquatch and Red Rocks. After performing at the Center for the Arts and Worldfest in 2018 with AmoAmo, Shane fell in love with the community of Grass Valley and decided to leave the city lights of Los Angeles for a life in the pines. Shane is an avid supporter of The Center for the Arts and is excited to share over 15 years of experience in the music industry on the artist side, now translated to becoming the Center’s new Production Manager. Shane recognizes the importance of this Center for the community and is eager to continue working for its continued success.

The Center for the Arts Production Coordinator, Kimberly Bass

Kimberly Bass

Production Coordinator

Kimberly Bass

kbass@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 201

Kimberly Bass is a versatile and accomplished vocalist from Nevada County who has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan. She is a multi-talented singer-songwriter, earning First Place honors in the 2006 USA Songwriting Competition for her song “Callin’ All Angels.”

Receiving accolades in composition and vocal performance from Humboldt State University, her time has been spent singing and tour managing with Grammy-winning vocalist Diane Schuur and Grammy-nominated vocalist Maria Muldaur.

One facet of Kimberly’s talent concerns her ability to forge meaningful and musically successful alliances with other artists. Her extensive music industry background offers a unique perspective on the logistical needs of each artist, ensuring that their Center for The Arts and WorldFest performances are memorably enjoyable.

The Center for the Arts Marketing Manager, Melissa Clark

Melissa Clark

Marketing Manager

Melissa Clark

mclark@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 205

Melissa joined The Center with over 20 years of marketing experience.  She recently moved to Nevada County from San Francisco where she was an active member of songwriter scene since.  As the host and curator of Songwriter Saturdays at the Exit Theatre, she booked and shared the stage with over 150 bay area songwriters and bands between 2011 and 2015. Melissa sings and plays guitar in indie rock band on dolphin, which launched in 2016.

Brianne Lucke

Design & Social Media Specialist

Brianne Lucke

blucke@thecenterforthearts.org

Brianne joined our team just before WorldFest 2019. Brianne studied graphic design at Drake University before moving to San Francisco in 2008. She jump started her freelancer design career working with independent musicians, and has built an extensive client list over the last 15 years including Safeway, the City of Novato, and more.

Jessica Ashton

Membership Associate

Jessica Ashton

jashton@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 212

I have always been a lover of the arts and even dabble a bit myself. I grew up in Auburn, CA, having done woodworking, art and ceramics through high school I then moved to Oakland, CA to attend the California College of the Arts.

Once my son was born, I moved to Washington, had my daughter and then went to Culinary School for Baking and Pastry. I have built and run multiple bakeries in the Seattle area, working with catering and events on the side through my 10 year tenure in Washington.

I moved back to California in 2016, getting into Grass Valley in 2017 I feel I have finally found my home. I look forward to working in the arts again and assisting members and businesses looking to engage with our community.

The Center for the Arts Front of House Manager, Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson

Front of House Manager

Michael Thompson

I have been a paperboy, retail sales clerk, bartender, restaurant owner, and concert security with Bill Graham Presents.  I was born in Barstow, Ca. and lived there for all of 2 weeks. Most of my life was spent in the SF Bay Area. 

     With deep roots in the Grass Valley area (my father was born in Nevada City and paternal grandparents were from North San Juan and Camptonville)  I always knew I would live here someday. I am very excited and happy to be a part of The Center for the Arts.
The Center for the Arts Volunteer Coordinator, Susan DeConti

Susan Deconti

Volunteer Coordinator

WorldFest Director, John Taber

John Taber

WorldFest Director, Technical Manager & Staff Photographer

John Taber

jtaber@thecenterforthearts.org

John comes with a 25+ year background in the music business and a life long passion for photography. Beginning in 1975 working for Bill Graham Presents in San Francisco and continuing there for 15 years in a variety of positions encompassing most of what it takes to produce a high quality event. From ’83 to ’89 John worked extensively with the Grateful Dead, responsible for keeping separate the folks who knew the band from the ones the band actually knew. After relocating to the Grass Valley area John has been a Volunteer Broadcaster at KVMR Community Radio for the past 8 years, hosting two shows currently. “Saturday Morning Live!” airs every other Saturday from 4 am to 7am. “Sleep if you must, Otherwise listen.” Also a monthly rotation on the station’s long running show “Dead Air” featuring Grateful Dead & related music. John also works with KVMR as Executive Producer of their long running KVMR Celtic Festival & Marketplace currently approaching it’s 18th festival in the fall of 2014.
John’s photo gallery can be seen at Liveshots12.smugmug.com

Box Office

Box Office

boxoffice@thecenterforthearts.org
(530) 274-8384 ext 209