Who We Are
Cynthia Tom - Founder/Director
Cynthia Tom, a visual artist for 20+ years and curator for 10+ years, she combines her belief in art for healing with an understanding of the long-term implications of unaddressed trauma in individuals, families, and communities. A Chinese American, with a family history of human trafficking, she is a domestic violence survivor.
By unraveling family patterns and using techniques that are part of PLACE today, she has largely overcome her trauma. A product of an S.F. multicultural upbringing, she credits her ethnic roots art to African American artist, JoeSam, her mentor and Latin American artist, Cris Matos. Her feminist art is inspired by Remedios Varo, and Lenor Fini. Growing up in the Mission and Visitation Valley, she is more at home with the Spanish language rather than Chinese. 20 years ago she discovered her Asian identity through her pro bono work with Asian American Women Artists Association as Board President/Curator/Director.
2015 AAWAA's 25th Anniversary, photo Cris Matos
l to r: Natalie Sacramento, Nancy Arvold, Susan Almazol, Cynthia Tom, Sigi Arnejo, Reiko Fujii, Adrienne Yan

Faculty
Reiko Fujii  MFA - Art Instructor , MFA Studio Arts - John F. Kennedy University, BA Psychology, University of CA, Berkeley.  A found object, mixed media installation artist, she has been creating, exhibiting and teaching art since 1989.
Manon Bogerd Wada - Art Instructor,  BFA Community Arts from California College of the Arts. Landscape and humanity are significant threads in her art practice. Within found objects, Manon discovers hidden stories and is intrigued to divulge the unseen and overlooked. 
Kelsay E. Myers - Art Instructor , is a writer, artist and teacher.  MFA degrees in Nonfiction and Poetry-Saint Mary’s College of Ca and Chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program Advisory Board. Her interests are in identity construction, personality theories and  creative expression and aestheticism for personal growth and transformation. 
Irene Wibawa - Art Instructor ,  has been participating in PLACE since 2010. Irene began her fascination with found objects and dioramas in childhood while playing with Snoopies and Legos.  She enjoys discovering uncommon uses of common items to craft scenarios based on memories, as well  her imagination.

Amy Grace Lam, Ph.D . - Advisor , Community Mental Health Consultant, a poet-musician, mother, community advocate and intuitive energy healer. Her life's work is dedicated to personal and collective healing. She believes in the power of art to express and heal what words alone cannot.  
Nancy Arvold, Ph.D. - Advisor, who received her PhD in psychology at 68, is a psychotherapist, college teacher and social justice activist who gives workshops on white privilege/racism and sings with the Rainbow Women’s Chorus. 
Sigi Arnejo C.C . - Advisor, is a life coach specializing in grief and loss coaching. She is part of the Kaiser Permanente Hospice team and facilitates drop in grief groups regularly. She leads the Daughters Who've Lost Mothers group, combining grief processing with storytelling.
Susan Almazol - Advisor, is an Oakland-based artist and Silicon Valley-centered businesswoman. Her work is influenced by the cultures she was born into (Philippines), where she began school (Japan), and where she grew up (North America).  She creates sculpture, writes creative non-fiction pieces, and dances from her reflections as a child of war, an immigrant outsider, lover of textiles, and celebrant of movement. Her sculpture graces the cover of the art and literary anthology, Cheers to Muses.  
  
 
Faculty
Cynthia Tom  - Lead Workshop Facilitato r
Maggie Yee - Co Art Director/ Curator/Workshop Facilitator ,  a painter, assemblage/collage and theatrical scenic artist, was a graphic designer for seventeen years and published a limited edition, “Folio 94, Conversation for Those Who Create” in Honolulu, a portable gallery style of hand bound images, 3-D design, and poems from 1992-1998. She was born in Honolulu in 1955 and lives in a surf shack in Santa Cruz, California.
Natalie Sacramento - Workshop Facilitator, joined the PLACE family as a resident in the A Place of Her Own Fall 2014 cohort. She works in occupational health and HIV prevention. She has aspirations to improve the health outcomes of her community, people of color, and immigrants. Natalie is excited to continue her exploration of public health through the lens of community healing and art.  
​Judith Nehei LMFT - Meditation Facilitator, Advisor


   
Cynthia Tom and Maggie Yee - 2015 PLACE exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center, SF