Staff & Board of Directors


Cara Goger
Executive Director

[She, Her, Hers] 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
Director 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.

Daisy Phillips
Director of Communications

[She, Her, Hers] Daisy is a social practice designer and visual artist with extensive experience in non-profit service. With a background in Art History and International Relations, she holds a vibrant energy toward crafting collaborative strategies and addressing inequities through community-based program management and ethical design. She applies an empathy-forward approach to all facets of her work, whether in visual storytelling, graphic design, art illustration or creative planning, for organizations that practice her shared values of social and environmental justice, public health, accessibility and equity.

Ava Burns
Director of Programs and Project/Lead Teaching Artist

[They, Them, Theirs] Ava Burns joined the Arts Council as Projects and Programs Manager and Lead Teaching Artist in 2022. They grew up in rural England, earned a BSc in Biology from Leeds University and a Ph.D. in Freshwater Ecology from Lancaster University. Ava brings considerable experience in community building, arts and environmental education. After moving to California in 2004, they worked as a mentor teacher at NatureBridge Yosemite before founding the Beat Harvest music education program in 2010, where they taught students of all ages to perform, create and express themselves. As a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Ava performs as a solo artist and with various ensembles.

Clay River
Director of Programs and Project/Lead Teaching Artist

Clay Muwin River joined the Arts Council as Lead Teaching Artist and Projects and Programs Manager in 2022. River has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Youth Education and a Master of Arts degree in Indigenous Education & Curriculum from Goddard College in Vermont.

River has a wide-ranging background deeply rooted in their Indigenous culture and works directly with culture keepers, cultural artists, tribal governments, tribal consortia, federal agencies and national and regional organizations impacting Indian country. River’s experience areas include cultural arts revitalization, Native education, curriculum, program development and implementation, social services, native wellness and community health, environmental protection and restoration, management and leadership, grant writing and positions held on cultural arts steering committees and boards.

River has served Native communities for most of their life, providing traditional education, cultural training and intergenerational guidance to build resiliency. River has traveled, lived and worked in many Native communities across Turtle Island and honors the knowledge learned from hundreds of traditional teachers and elders. Whether they are providing youth leadership training, assisting Elders healing from historical trauma or helping to bring indigenous wellness back to remote native communities, River shares their passion for being positive and proactive. River is a cultural arts activist, mural painter, poet, storyteller, weaver, beader, quilter, land steward, and water protector.

Board of Directors

John Stewart, President

Flora Savage, 1st Vice-President

Jesse Chakrin, 2nd Vice President

Shane Sweeting, Secretary

James Mason, Treasurer

Lizz Darcy,  Director

Polina Pivak,  Director

Derek Huele, Director

April Kunieda, Director