Gerry’s involvement in leadership of Arts organizations began in 1990 as a Board member of the Sacramento Area Dance Alliance. Starting in 1992, he served 8 years as a Commissioner on the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission with 4 years as its Chair. He co-founded and was Board President for 15 years of the Metropolitan Arts Partnership, a workplace giving non-profit and a prelude to Sacramento’s Big Day of Giving. He is currently Co-President of the Sacrament Ballet Association Board and was instrumental in the Ballet’s recent transition and re-organization. He has served on boards for other non-profit and faith organizations in leadership capacities. He is a former Trustee for a private K-8 school and past commodore of the Classic Yacht Association for Northern CA. He is a past recipient of the Arts and Business Council’s Arts Leadership Award, and has served on many conference panels and speaker on the Arts. Since 1990, Gerry is the president of Kamilos Companies, a community developer for both employment and livable master planned communities in Northern CA. Gerry graduated from Cal Poly Pomona-Mechanical and Petroleum Engineering and later earned a MBA from St. Mary’s College of California, Moraga.
Monique AndersonVice President
Monique is the Director of Portfolio Solutions at VSP Vision Care where her team plans and executes 45 to 50 programs and projects annually encompassing a spectrum of VSP business initiatives. Monique holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley (GO BEARS!) in both Political Science and Rhetoric.
Monique’s interest in the arts and arts education is due to her children’s involvement in the arts in school. Both of Monique’s children are graduates of the Elk Grove Unified School District where they were extremely dedicated band members. Her daughter is planning to graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan as a Fashion Design major in 2021. Her son begins his freshman year at the Berklee College of Music in Boston this fall. Both were AP and Honors students. Band and music created an amazing learning and social environment for her children. It also taught them that there are a plethora of career choices, including the Arts! For seven years she as Secretary and President of the Pleasant Grove High Band Booster Board.
Monique’s community involvement is always focused on youth development. She has volunteered as an instructor for the Junior Achievement program, as a mentor for Rancho Cordova High School students, served as Chair of the T.R.Smedberg Middle School Site Council, as the Scholarship Committee Chair of the Folsom Lake College Foundation Board, and as a member of the Sacramento Unified School District Foundation Board. She is currently an instructor and Steering Committee Member for the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce Young Leadership Collaboration.
Monique is grateful for the arts education her children experienced and, through her board involvement looks forward to helping future students experience the same
Jeremy J. WakamiyaSecretary
Jeremy manages a financial planning practice at Northwestern Mutual. Drawing from an extensive and diverse background in business, Jeremy focuses on both business clients and individuals. Before launching his practice with Northwestern Mutual, Jeremy was the Finance Director for a local biobased chemicals company. Jeremy is a concise communicator, strategic thinker, collaborative problem solver, and empathic leader. He is also an outdoor enthusiast and avid fisherman.
Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He concentrated in both Finance and Accounting and graduated with high honors, Magna Cum Laude.
Driven to achieve and contribute, yet fascinated by the softer sides of life and creativity, Jeremy has always had an appreciation for the Arts. As a youth, if not making a mess at the pottery wheel or smearing paint on canvas with his deluxe Bob Ross kit, Jeremy was tending to a budding passion for music. At a young age he learned to read music and play the piano, later taking up instruments such as the alto and tenor saxophone. Jeremy enjoyed and performed jazz at a high level while at Arden Middle School and Rio Americano High School, both in Sacramento. Jeremy is always seeking opportunities for adventure and exploration. When he is not hiking, fishing, or exploring the outdoors with his wife, Irma, and dog, Brie, he is often found volunteering his time. He is an active committee member with the American River Parkway Foundation and serves on both the Finance Committee and Programs Committee. He also volunteers with Putah Creek Trout, a nonprofit committed to protecting heritage trout and other Salmonids in Yolo County.
Jeremy has a diverse family background and extended global network. He has traveled extensively and loves meeting people from around the world. Jeremy has a passion for giving back and leaving places in better shape than when they were found. Jeremy is happy to apply his experience and effort to benefit the community that he loves and serves, particularly when it comes to enhancing creative community assets, and providing opportunity for the next generation of local community stewards and leaders.
Melanie is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and is a Manager at Gilbert CPAs in Sacramento specializing in financial statement audits of nonprofit organizations. Melanie also sits on the Board of the Washington Neighborhood Center, an arts and culture nonprofit in Midtown, Sacramento.
Melanie holds a BA in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles; an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College, University of London; and a Master of Professional Accountancy from the University of California, Davis.
Melanie has benefitted from arts and music education her whole life and feels its value even when working in the accounting and finance industry. She enjoys travel, reading, painting, and supporting the arts community in Sacramento whether by sitting on a board, or simply being an attendee at events.
For nearly a decade, Cole Finup has dedicated his professional career to advocating for childhood education. His studies at Missouri State University sparked a desire to improve the education system in hopes of positively impacting future generations. Cole quickly turned to his own community and took a position with the Ozarks Literacy Council where he worked one-on-one with both students and adults to power through any literacy barriers. Following this work, Cole worked for LINC Housing in the Fresno area, Cole established financial literacy workshops, nutrition and wellness plans, and academic programs aiming to increase the overall well-being of more than 100 individuals in under-represented communities. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was organizing an after-school program for grades K-8 that focused on tutoring, physical education, and a healthy lifestyle.
Cole is currently the Program and Grant Specialist for the California State Parent Teachers Association. Through working with the PTA’s Arts Education Committee which advocates for a full curriculum that includes the arts, he has developed a variety of tools and resources to combat the challenges facing arts education in CA. Cole also works closely with the Legislative Action Committee of the organization where he has gained experience analyzing legislation and communicating with CA legislators. He hopes to grow as an arts advocate to continue enforcing positive change in the community.
Cole enjoys spending his free time outdoors. Running is his typical outlet, but he will take any chance to watch or play team sports with his friends. He loves to hike and camp when possible. Cole also believes in the importance of promoting his local arts community by going to theater, visiting galleries, and catching live music. If and when relaxation is an option, he has no problem spending a night watching the newest episodes of his favorite TV shows either.
Cole is extremely grateful to have the ability to give back to the city of Sacramento. He believes that Friends of Sacramento Arts provides a platform to help create a collective society that ensures every individual has access to the arts and is given the proper opportunities to succeed.
Brenda Davis is a natural resources/environmental/highly regulated industries attorney with her own practice in Sacramento that serves clients statewide, in other states and in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Davis is an avid supporter of all art forms and divides her current entertainment selections among live theater, exhibits at museums, art galleries, parks, and expositions, live music, and art house films when home in Sacramento and when traveling anywhere. For several years, she was an enthusiastic Elly Judge for Sacramento regional theater venues. She is also a huge fan of the Crocker Art Museum installations, lectures, family events, and jazz on the patio. She is thrilled to have seen live at the Crocker her first Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley art pieces.
Robin has been on faculty with the School of Music at Sacramento State University since 2003,
where she leads the Voice program that inspires young singers for careers in the performing
arts. Robin’s passion for singing was fostered at a California high school and at San José State,
where she was mentored to apply for scholarships and grants to study in Germany and Austria.
After graduate work in Vienna, she led an active career in opera and concert throughout
Europe. Robin returned to California to be a teacher and mentor to aspiring young singers.
Robin’s two sons attended San Juan Unified schools, and she was an active parent-advocate for
arts education. On behalf of teachers and students, she applied for grants to support music and
art in their schools, and she served several years on the San Juan Education Foundation board.
In 2018, Robin founded the Sac State Performing Arts Collective to link like-minded artistmentors
from the university and community with Sacramento school children in performing
arts activities during the summer. She has written and received grants from the California Arts
Council, University Enterprises at Sac State, and the Sacramento Region Community
Foundation. Her greatest passion is to connect professional artists with youth to develop their
creative voice. As a product of the California public schools, Robin knows firsthand the impact
arts education can have to change lives.
Mollie Morrison is a mixed media artist and educator. Fabric, texture, pattern and vivid colors are what drive her watercolor collage artwork. She has been teaching art for nineteen years at various schools and programs including Brookfield School, Leonardo Da Vinci, Crocker Art Museum and I Can Do That. She studied Fashion and Art at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC and worked with DKNY Jeans in both Atlanta, Georgia and San Francisco, CA. She completed her Visual Art teaching credential in 2013. She currently works at CK McClatchy High school as the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Coordinator. The CKM VAPA Program she worked to establish gives students a four-year art opportunity at the high school level. By providing this platform for students, the CKM VAPA program is establishing college and career readiness for young artists in every art form. Mollie’s focus day-to-day is in the sculpture studio, as the 3-D Art teacher for beginning, advanced and AP 3D artists. Mollie finds joy in the many discoveries students make as they explore art history. Teaching young people about the accomplishments of well-known artists, art movements and art happenings gives them permission to take risks in their own artwork. Mollie is excited to join the Friends of Sacramento Arts Board to increase students access to the arts and to amplify the need of arts education.
Brian is the Program Manager for the Youth and Family Collective, an initiative by PRO Youth and Families, Inc in which he oversees the implementation of various programs focused on workforce development (#SacYouthWorks), mental wellness (MindOneSix), and youth marijuana use awareness and prevention (#SacYouthWorks Futures).
Brian holds a deep passion for music since he can remember.
He became passionate about writing songs and poetry after an elementary school assignment. Many classmates and peers at school began purchasing his poems, which encouraged him to continue writing. Throughout his schooling years, Brian signed up for every play, dance group, and choir opportunity he was able to. He learned to play Ukulele and Guitar so he could teach his two children (currently 6 and 4 years of age.) Brian has a creative room in his home where his kids are exposed to various musical instruments, and different mediums to create visual arts (Crafting materials, paint, canvases, photography/video cameras, etc.)
Brian’s decision to join the board came from his desire to increase access to arts programs for youth in Sacramento. Aside from the arts, Brian loves to travel and learn different languages and about different cultures.
Debra’s career in government has spanned over 20 years, where she has gained valuable experience managing and delivering business solutions, with a specific emphasis in finance, accounting, human resources, and grant making. She holds a Master of Business from Capella University and has a deep passion for helping organizations build a strong foundation from which to grow.
Debra currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors of Girls Rock Sacramento (GRS), a social justice non-profit. She is also the program lead for the organization’s Youth Advisory Board that advises staff and board members on program development and community outreach. GRS empowers female-identifying and gender-expansive youth to build self-esteem through music education and performance, a supportive community of peers and mentors, and through the development of leadership skills.
Debra has one daughter who is an artist, musician, and her greatest teacher. She makes jewelry under the brand Arcana and her hobbies include hiking, reading, crochet work, and playing guitar.