Board & Staff

SOMArts staff August 2015 by Meike Gugel

SOMArts Staff


Administrative Staff:

Maria JensonExecutive Director bio

Jena McRae SchwirtzDirector of Administrative Operations bio

Sarah PritchardDirector of Communications & Strategy bio

LaVette VirdenFinance Manager bio

Tara Chandi, Gallery Communications & Events Intern bio

Creative Programs Staff:

Carolina QuintanillaGallery & Curatorial Partnerships Manager bio

Matt McKinleyInterim Gallery Exhibitions Designer & Technical Coordinator bio

René YañezDirector of Special Projects, Building Manager bio

Rio YañezDay of the Dead Co-Curator

Facilities & Event Rental Staff:

Alex LukasDirector of Facilities & Technical Operations bio

Devon NandagiriEvents Rentals Manager bio

Robert IgeMaintenance Coordinator

Cathie AndersonBuilding Manager & Technician bio

Alex CrousnillonBuilding Manager & Technician

Natalee DeckerBuilding Manager & Technician bio

Katie GilmartinPrint Studio & Building Manager bio

Ronnie Heaven, Building Manager & Technician bio

Colin JohnsonBuilding Manager & Technician

Ryan KelleyBuilding Manager & Technician

Joe MooreBuilding Manager & Technician

Dion Reiner-GuzmanBuilding Manager & Technician bio

Veronica SimonettiBuilding Manager & Technician

Alex TurnerBuilding Manager & Technician

Please note: because our staff is small, we take care to list artist and programming opportunities on our website. Please review the site carefully to familiarize yourself with SOMArts’ programming and mission before contacting us with an idea for collaboration. Inquiries that do not fall within existing programming should be sent to and will be directed to the appropriate staff member. Due to the volume of requests, we cannot guarantee a response to all inquiries.

SOMArts Board of Directors

Sherry Suisman, Board President 

Sherry Suisman has served on the SOMArts Board of Directors since August 2010. An educator for over 15 years, Sherry has provided professional development and other support to community college faculty across the state, and served as a Business Communications Instructor and Director of Academics at Year Up Bay Area. From 1999 – 2009, Sherry taught writing and reading courses in the English Department at San Francisco State. She earned a B.A. in English Literature from Washington University and an M.A. in English from San Francisco State. Sherry is committed to supporting the arts in the Bay Area and is thrilled to be a member of the SOMArts Board.

Iris FluellenIris Fluellen, Vice President & Secretary
Iris Fluellen is a Bay Area native and San Francisco resident whose claim to fame is she has lived in the 415 area code her entire life. She has been involved in the non-profit arena for many years. Previous employers include the SF Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Asian Art Museum, the Nature Conservancy, her alma mater, UC Berkeley, the Public Policy Institute of California and is now Director of Leadership Gifts for the San Francisco Parks Alliance. Iris is a board member of the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In addition to her commitment to philanthropy, she is a strong believer in the arts being the catalyst to touch the creative spirit that lies within all of us. In her spare time, Iris writes about her observations about politics and relationships between the sexes. Movies, reading, cooking and traveling are almost as important to her as her two cats, Carrie and Samantha.

Dorothy SantosDorothy Santos, Board of Directors
Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts.

She serves as a co-Editor-in-Chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism.

Nick Gomez

Nick Gomez, Board of Directors
Nick Gomez is a Senior Project Manager at Lowney Architecture in Oakland. He has over 15 years experience in multi-family housing, exhibit design, and art installation. Nick is a graduate of CCA, and has formed various art collectives over the years that have produced both gallery exhibits and public art pieces.

Nick Began working with SOMArts in 1999 as an exhibiting artist in the Dia de los Muertos shows with Rene Yanez. Rene Yanez and Jack Davis recognized that his architecture background could be useful in the exhibit planning and in 2000 Nick was asked to collaborate on the exhibit design for the “Ciudad de Los Milagros” show at SOMArts. Over the next few years, Nick moved from exhibiting artist to exhibit designer. He has designed and collaborated with Rene on all the Dia De los Muertos shows since.

Rhodessa Jones

Rhodessa Jones, Board of Directors
Rhodessa Jones is Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco acclaimed performance company Cultural Odyssey and the recipient of the 2013 Mayor’s Art Award. She is an actress, teacher, singer, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, which is a performance workshop that is designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women.



Peter SizgoricPeter Sizgoric, Treasurer
Peter Sizgoric is a transplant to the city of San Francisco and originally from the Midwest. Mr. Sizgoric has professional experience in consulting and financial services across a diverse array of industries, and nonprofit experience as both a volunteer and board member for arts organizations. Mr. Sizgoric possesses two bachelor of science degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Jane Hu, Board of Directors
Jane is a digital media executive and freelance photographer.  She is currently the VP of Monetization at Smule, a social music company. Prior to this, she spent 5 years at YouTube, building and heading up business and creative operations for YouTube Red Originals, as well as overseeing programs for YouTube’s global base of content creators. Prior to this, she started a digital studio with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.  She sits on the boards of SOMArts and Art Works for Change.  Outside of her 9-to-5, she photographs cities, performers, and movements with work appearing in local and national publications. She has an MBA, MA, and BS from Stanford University.

Peter SizgoricNathan Yergler, Board of Directors
Nathan Yergler relocated to San Francisco from the midwest in 2007. Nathan has taught computer programming in high schools, worked with technology non-profits, and helped build engineering teams in San Francisco. He is the former Chief Technology Officer at Creative Commons, and presently works as an engineering leader at PlanGrid. Nathan began printing in Chrysalis Studio at SOMArts in 2011 with Katie Gilmartin. Since then print-making has been a vehicle for personal reflection and expression. This reflection led to his participation in “We Are the Bridge”, a juried exhibition hosted at the Islamic Cultural Center in 2015.

IMG_0301Alex Cook, Board of Directors
Alex has served on the SOMArts Board of Directors since August 2016 and is currently a Senior Product Manager at @WalmartLabs in Silicon Valley. Prior to @WalmartLabs, Alex implemented several business transformation projects at Gap Inc., moving to San Francisco from New York City and Ralph Lauren Corporation, where he drove digital and ecommerce initiatives as part of the Global Ecommerce Strategic Development team. Before Ralph Lauren, Alex was an investment banker at BofA Merrill Lynch where he advised clients in the Retail & Consumer Products industries. Alex brings with him nonprofit board experience from several environmental, arts and LGBT-focused organizations and believes strongly in the enrichment and development of the arts. Alex graduated from Dartmouth College and outside of work enjoys the art, food and social scenes of San Francisco.