Cara Goger, Executive Director
Cara Goger joined the Mariposa County Arts Council in 2012 as the Executive Director. She has over ten years of experience working in the fields of Arts Education and Arts Administration. Prior to her work at the Arts Council, Cara was the Lifespan Learning Coordinator at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego where she served as the primary artist-in-residence for the Museum’s older adult programming and as the lead instructor and curriculum developer for the organization’s School in the Park’s 5th grade program. Additionally, she has worked with the AjA Project, a non profit arts-based organization providing photography-based educational programming to refugee and displaced youth in California.
Cara earned a B.A. in Political Science/Foreign Policy from Sonoma State University and a M.A. in Political Science/International Relations from San Diego State University.
Alicia Rodriguez, Manager of Operations
Alicia Rodriguez joined the Mariposa County Arts Council in 1998 and serves as the organization’s Manager of Operations. Alicia holds a degree in Accounting and is a trained and licensed Emergency Medical Technician.
Anna Friedland, Education and Public Programs Coordinator
Anna Friedland joined the Mariposa County Arts Council as a teaching artist in 2012, and then as the Education and Public Programs Coordinator in 2014. Anna is an artist and graphic designer who has worked with many local organizations taking photographs, illustrating, and doing small-business and non-profit marketing. She also has a strong background in dance, theater, and yoga. Anna holds a B.A. in Art from San Francisco State University.
Board of Directors
Les Marsden, President and Founding Music Director/Conductor of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra
Formerly: London/Los Angeles/Manhattan-based professional actor and director. Internationally recognized (nominated for or won many honors including London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Award, London Critics’ Award, etc) and classically-trained stage, television and film actor. Experienced arts administrator/producer. Retired and moved to Mariposa after becoming disabled in an onstage accident in 1999. Classically-trained instrumental musician, composer, conductor with world premiere performances of his orchestral music held in Mariposa with guest soloists of international renown. Loving husband, proud father and the servant of every whim of his Husky master, Yukon Jack.
John Stewart, First Vice President
A long time resident of Mariposa County, John has managed many local institutions including the 49er Market, the Miners Inn, and Pioneer Market. For the past twenty-four years he has worked for the Mariposa County Unified School District and served on the California School Employee Association’s State Board of Directors. Currently John is the President of California School Employee Local #609, President of the Economic Development Corporation of Mariposa, and sits on the Mariposa County Fair Board. John graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Ashford University. He believes the arts are an essential part of any culture and a vital part of our education.
Mandy Vance, Second Vice President
After securing a B.A. in English, Mandy started her career providing adventure-based education in wild places. Her travels led her across the United States and around the world, and eventually she settled in Mariposa County in 2001. Professionally she now serves the Sierra Nevada Conservancy by coordinating and facilitating complex collaborative projects. Her passion for the Arts runs throughout all she does, and she enjoys experiencing as well as creating art, including writing, dance, music, and the visual arts. Her favorite art pieces either elevate and transport everyday events into the realm of the extraordinary, or cast new light on a critical issue by giving us a different and startling view of it. She believes that art can and does change the world. It certainly has changed hers.
Chris Thorpe, Secretary
Chris moved from Southern California to Mariposa County in 1974 to work for the National Park Service and live in her beloved Yosemite National Park. In 2002 she became a charter member of the newly formed Mariposa Symphony Orchestra, rekindling her love of performing in a musical ensemble. Joining the Board of Directors for the Mariposa County Arts Council in 2012, she was able to funnel her energies in support of the Arts in Mariposa County.
Chris strongly feels the dynamic presence of both the performing and visual arts in our community are a key component in Mariposa’s desirability as a place to visit or to live. After 30 years employed by the National Park Service in Yosemite, Chris retired to Mariposa with her husband, Al, and dog Monica.
James Mason, Treasurer
James Mason was born in San Francisco, CA and raised in the East Bay City of Piedmont. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 1963 and received an M.S. from the University of Southern California in 1965.
Following college, Mr. Mason served four years in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, including one year in Vietnam, attaining the rank of Captain. Following the army he went to work for the Santa Clara County Health Department where he held positions of Assistant Mental Health Administrator, Director of Alcoholism Services, Emergency Medical Services Administrator and Public Health Administrator, retiring in 1993.
Post retirement, Mr. Mason has worked as Regional Safety Manager for TCF/ATT Broadband, Park Aid/EMT at Henry Coe State Park, and Emergency Room Technician at John C. Fremont Hospital in Mariposa. Interests include volunteering with the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, Henry Coe State Parks, the Mariposa County Arts Council, Mariposa County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Board and Post 6042 Veteran’s of Foreign Wars.
Carol Johnson, Director
Born in the Salinas Valley, Carol grew up on a working cattle ranch. Each year she, with her mother and father, participated in the Salinas California Rodeo, where three generations of Carol’s relatives were involved from the 1920’s to the 1960’s.
Carol joined IBM in 1962 and worked her way up the corporate ladder until her retirement in 2002 as a Senior Engineer. Carol spent most of her career in disc development at the San Jose IBM facility. However, driven by a longing for her roots, she purchased 30 acres in Mariposa in 1983.
Blissfully retired, Carol now has time for all the things she wanted to do for forty years but could not. She is involved in photography and is on the Board of Directors for the Mariposa County Arts Council, the Economic Development Corporation of Mariposa County, and the Mariposa County Fair and Homecoming.
Charles Phillips, Director
Photographer Charles Phillips enjoys the process of taking photos to record the light and color of nature’s canvas and to preserve western traditions for future generations. He specializes in western and nature photography, as well as photojournalism. His work has been featured in New York’s Kodak Times Square Gallery, on national TV news, and in national and international magazines. Phillips’ work has also been in the National Day of the Cowboy and National Geographic publications. His work was selected by the California State Senate for the 2011-2012 Art collection/show as a unique California artist. Locally, his photographs are on exhibit at the downtown Mariposa’s Sierra Artists’ Gallery.
Phillips serves on numerous not-for-profit boards, which include the Mariposa County Arts Council, Mariposa Butterfly Festival, Go West Festival, Mariposa County Fair, and Sierra Nevada Geotourism. He is active in supporting other local community groups with fundraising and as a volunteer.
Leonard Bullock, Director
Leonard has been a resident of Mariposa County and a member of the Arts Council since 1995. His passion is for Arts & Crafts era hand-hammered copper. His log cabin studio is located atop Mount Bullion, where he hammers raw copper into works of art that range from jewelry and vases to lamps. In addition to his own works, Leonard has amassed a collection of pieces dating back over 100 years. Before moving to Mariposa from Silicon Valley, Leonard worked in the wine and high-tech industries, as well as in the culinary arts, and holds degrees in history and business from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California.