Advisors & Proposal Reviewers

Groundwork Advisors 

Groundwork: Healing within Community Arts Education is designed in deep collaboration with five advisors—field practitioners whose core values and work align with The Pillars of Embedded Community Practice: accountability, connectivity, structural equity, accessibility, and transparency. These Pillars were developed by our 2020–2021 Rootwork Cohort.


Ashley Hare headshot

Ashley Hare (they|them) is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Their career has shifted and expanded from stage management and teaching artistry, to arts therapy and arts administration. Now, they work to integrate wellness, joy, community organizing, elder and ancestral knowledge, and CYD youth-led practice together. They have facilitated programming within shelters for youth who are homeless, and in group homes, rehabilitation facilities, juvenile detention centers, public and private schools. Ashley is the Deputy Director of Equity and Human Development for the National Guild for Community Arts Education. They are a co-founder of InSite Consultants AZ, a racial equity group centering wisdom at the margins, and have served as arts director for city government and nonprofit arts organizations. Ashley supports Re:Frame Youth Arts Center as a co-founder and adult accomplice who shares leadership power with a 50% youth staff and 50% youth board. They also serve as a board member for Mass Liberation AZ, an organization working to abolish incarceration for youth and adults.


Calida Jones headshot

Calida Jones (she|her) is an accomplished musician, social justice advocate, and educator with more than 20 years of experience in performance planning, workshop and curriculum development, volunteerism, project management, and teaching in private and public institutions. Working with arts and cultural organizations across the nation, she has led efforts in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. Passionate about intentional purposeful teaching and community engagement, her personal mission is to ensure that children with limited resources have access to musical opportunities and activities. She is also committed to correlating the art of teaching to life skills and community building. Calida is currently a Vice President at Arts Consulting Group. She is also a founder and managing partner at CNJ Associates and previously served as the Director of Engagement of The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. She has served in other leadership capacities with Music Matter, the Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra, and with El Sistema-inspired programs such as PROJECT MUSIC and Waterbury Symphony Orchestra’s Bravo Waterbury! Calida serves as President of the Connecticut Arts Alliance and as Board Clerk for El Sistema USA, where she also chairs the Racial Diversity and Cultural Understanding Committee. She has received numerous honors during her career, including a scholar fellowship at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Fellowship, Grammy Music Educator Award nomination, 2018 Connecticut Arts Hero Award, and the Father Thomas H. Dwyer Humanitarian Award for her work in Waterbury, Connecticut. Ms. Jones holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in violin performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master of music degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy from The Hartt School..


Paula Ortega headshot

Paula Yamilet Alvarado Ortega (she|her) is currently enrolled at Phoenix College where she is working on her Criminal Justice and Theatre degrees. She is the CYD National Youth Coordinator​ for the Creative Youth Development National Partnership. She is the youth co-founder of RE:FRAME Youth Art Center, a transforming artistic collaborator at Rising Youth Theatre, and an alumni of the 2019 National Young Artists Summit (NYAS). She loves and admires NYAS because it brings communities together from different forms of arts and leadership from across the country. Within all her work as an artist and community organizer, she focuses on completely shifting the way young people are included and valued. Alongside her peers, she ignites new norms where young people are recognized as leaders, compensated for their time, and work alongside adults equally.


Karla Estela Rivera headshot

Karla Estela Rivera (she|her) is a writer, performer, activist, and arts advocate who has leveraged her gift of storytelling ​to uplift and create opportunities for, with, and in underserved communities​. She is the Executive Director of Free Street Theater and a company member of 2nd Story in Chicago. Karla has served non-profit organizations for over a decade in roles spanning from teaching artist and youth worker to systems-level leadership in public affairs. She recently served as the co-chair of the Illinois Fine Arts Indicator work group which developed the nation’s first weighted accountability measure for the arts as part of the Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act plan. She is a native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and holds a BA from Columbia College Chicago with graduate studies at New York University.


Cynthia Tom headshot

As a mixed-media, installation artist, painter, and curator, Cynthia Tom (she|her) identifies as a Cultural Surrealist, Visual Artist, and Community Curator with over thirty years or work in the making. She produces art workshops to help womxn unravel from layers of chronic heartache, and her art and curatorial projects are recognized for themes of healing, empowerment, feminism, and centering communities of color. Cynthia’s most recent exhibitions include the Smithsonian’s What is Feminist Art? and with the San Francisco Legion of Honor, De Young Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, amongst others. She is the Founder of A PLACE of HER OWN, an arts-based healing program and is the Board President Emerita of the Asian American Womxn Artists Association.

Proposal Reviewers

The Groundwork advisors and Guild staff are joined by a team of sector colleagues to review submitted proposals for the Groundwork virtual gathering.

Patricia Ford (she|her) or "Pstylzz" is a master hairstylist at King of Kings Studio Arts and Entertainment and a Fashion Refiner at Still Life's Journal Beauté. She is also a Dancer and a Director of Programs with The Legacy Arts Project and has performed at many venues around Pennsylvania. Health and Wellness has become her priority personally and for the organization, hence the term "Arts for Wellness". After at least 15 years in the Arts business, her love of Hair and the Arts has been the perfect mix, this has exposed her to many opportunities in the Arts and Fashion communities in Pittsburgh. The work she does keeps her very engaged, and she finds it very exciting to see Pittsburgh's Art and Fashion Community continue to grow.


Jeff Mather (he|him) is a community-based public artist & environmental sculptor & interdisciplinary teaching artist based in Decatur, GA. He has served since 2012, forty five days every semester, as STEAM Artist in Residence at Drew Charter School. Jeff also travels to Logan, Utah twice a year, where he is the lead artist for the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Access program, a full inclusion arts program that serves students with disabilities. Jeff will be serving as the design coach for a new urban agriculture project in Atlanta this year. He’s been a member of Alternate ROOTS since 1992. Several of his public art projects were partially funded by ROOTS' Community/Artist Partnership Program. Jeff will be leading an ITAC, International Teaching Artists Collaborative, Think Tank and work group on STEAM partnerships this fall.


Jordan C. Medley (he|him) is the current Marketing & Communications Manager at The Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County. In addition to his work with the Arts Council of Winston Salem Forsyth County, Jordan currently serves as a community leader and advocate for LGBTQIA+ BIPOC creatives. Additionally, Jordan currently serves as an advisor to a nonprofit, Paige Johnston Thomas Giving Tree, and on the Board of directors for Dance Project Inc., Jordan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he received the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in contemporary dance. Jordan is also a Master of Arts in Arts Administration candidate at Winthrop University, where he expects to complete his degree in the spring of 2023. Since graduating from UNCSA, Medley has been a North Carolina-based dancer, choreographer, and community leader. From managing his own dance company, Medley of Moves, to becoming a co-founder of the first Black Creatives Revival cohort in the state of NC. Jordan is a believer in dismantling the status quo, centering LGBTQIA+ BIPOC creatives, and working to create an abundance of leadership opportunities for the latter.


Barbara Mumby-Huerta (she|her) is an artist and community organizer—both passions stem from her upbringing in California's rural Central Valley: as the youngest of five raised by a single mother, the arts became an integral part of her life while her passion for social justice was deeply influenced by her family's Native American heritage and work as migrant farmers. In the philanthropic field, Barbara has designed equity-based grants programs for early childhood education, workforce development, social services, and arts & culture. She is the Vice President of Programs and Partnerships for the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and an alum of the Open Society Racial Equality Fellowship where she is developing a tool kit to address racism in public art. Barbara holds bachelor’s degrees in studio arts and Native American studies from UC Berkeley and master’s degrees in museum studies and business administration from John F. Kennedy University.


Recognized as a “Luminary” by the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco in 2011, and more recently as “Excelencia Latina” by LAM and Mundo Fox, Martha Rodríguez-Salazar (she|her) is a singer, flutist, conductor, and producer who has brought Latin American folk, classical, and contemporary music to the Bay Area for over 20 years. Born in Mexico and classically-trained at Mills College, she has served as faculty at Community Music Center (CMC) since 2000. As a founding choir director of CMC’s Older Adult Choir Program, Ms. Rodríguez-Salazar bilingually conducts three choirs in the city’s Mission District with repertoire based in Latin American music. Additionally, she teaches in the San Francisco school district’s mariachi program, delivers private lessons and group classes, and played a leading role in CMC’s team for the Community of Voices research study (led by the University of California, San Francisco) on the impact of choir participation for older adults.


Winter Smiley (they|she) is a Filipino multidisciplinary DIY-er born/based in San Diego. A babysitter and youth organizer, their work is grounded on the belief that powerful things happen when younger generations and their elders collide to create visionary + critical futures. Winter is committed to creating alternative learning structures that divest from the academic industrial complex, using genuine care, collaboration, and curiosity as their guide. Currently, they are part of Homegrown Youth Collaborative, an intergenerational, experimental co-learning space for young people in the San Diego and Tijuana region.