The five-member Arts Commission meets on the second Thursday of the month, at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 1st floor of City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita, CA. (view map). Members of the public wishing to address the commission regarding an agenda or study session item may do so by completing a speaker's slip upon arrival at the meeting. There is a three minute time limit per person. For more information, contact the Commission Secretary at (661) 250-3787.
Due to construction at City Hall, the Arts Commission meetings will be held at the Newhall Library, Community Room, during the months of April through October.
Susan Shapiro, Chair
Term Expires: 2014
Susan came to Santa Clarita in 1993 to manage the local public television channel, SCVTV. Susan designed and equipped the SCVTV Media Center in Newhall, developing it into a communications venue showcasing the talents and activities of the City, local schools, and a variety of nonprofit arts, music, and community service organizations.
After graduating from Stanford University in the 1980s with a degree in English literature with an interdisciplinary emphasis on art, Susan earned a teaching credential from Arizona State University. She taught video production, broadcast television, mass media, and film aesthetics to high school students in Phoenix, developed educational programs for television networks (Bravo, NBC Universal) and worked in production and post-production for Tri-Star Pictures, ABC International, and others.
As the cable company's Community Television Manager in Santa Clarita from 1993 to 2007, Susan developed and provided support for hundreds of individual programs and series related to the visual and performing arts. Early on, she fostered relationships with video production instructors in the William S. Hart Union High School District and COC, turning SCVTV into a classroom laboratory for students.
Today Susan lives in Santa Clarita and produces a live daily television program for Time Warner Cable's Southern California viewers. Local public service positions include the Santa Clarita Repertory Theatre board (2003-04), Newhall Redevelopment Committee (2002-09), City of Santa Clarita Citizens Public Library Advisory Committee (2010-11) and William S. Hart Union High School District ROP Advisory Committee (2000-present).
Gary Choppe', Vice-Chair
Gary has lived in Santa Clarita since 1964, arriving at the age of 4 when his parents relocated to our valley and commenced their jobs in education. Gary's mom, Jane was a school teacher for the Sulphur Springs School District and dad, Gene a Principal for the Saugus Union School District both were very active in Santa Clarita before passing away. Gary attended a variety of local elementary schools and ended up graduating from Canyon High in 1978 with honors. He continued his education at Pepperdine University, Cal State Northridge and received his BA at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara on 1983.
John Dow, Commissioner
1983 were milestones for Gary as he not only opened his business; Creative Image Photography located in Newberry's Department Store in Canyon Country but also married his wife, Robin. For almost 30 years Gary has been a committed community man, he has served as a past President of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, on the board of The Historical Society, Family & Child Development Center and continues to grow his local ties serving on the current board of Family Promise of Santa Clarita
After 25 years as a successful advertising photographer and graphic designer, five years ago Gary decided it was time to grow, and Choppé Advertising Group was born. He has assembled a team of talented and established industry veterans to help his clients grow. Today Gary relishes the diversity of his client list and enjoys working with client's locally in Southern California and as far away as Costa Rica. Gary is currently working with The Castaic Lake Water Agency as lead agency for their water conservation outreach program and handles marketing for many local clients. He also continues to be the "photographer" of the movers and shakers in Santa Clarita!
Gary's family grows as one of his three sons; Jesse serves in the US Army in Germany and has a 12 month old son, another son Richard works in Colorado and Cody who just graduated High School.
Giving back to Santa Clarita is one of Gary’s top goals and he is looking forward to promoting the Arts in Santa Clarita, along with his fellow Commissions, City Staff and Council.
Term Expires: 2016
John is President of The Dow Group, a boutique management consulting firm located in Santa Clarita that specializes in business process design, marketing, and general consulting to small and mid-size companies. John specializes in growing companies from concept to reality.
Prior to starting his own company, John was a senior executive in Accenture’s Financial Services Strategy & Business Architecture practice, where he planned and delivered major initiatives throughout North America.
John has a passion for art and music. “It is my fundamental belief that Art has the power to make a community better. Art has the power to create awareness within the City of Santa Clarita, as well as beyond its four borders. It has the power to connect the community by presenting ideas that everyone can relate to in a universal way. Pragmatically, Art can be a tool to help market and sell Santa Clarita and drive economic growth.”
John is very active in the community. In addition to being the Board President and Director of Marketing for the Santa Clarita Symphony, John serves on the Boards of the SCV Boys & Girls Club, Repertory East Playhouse (Advisory) and actively participates in numerous local charities.
John earned his degree in Finance and Economics from USC. John lives in Newhall, where he has been a resident since 1992, with his wife Michelle and son Jackson, age 7.
Dr. Michael Millar, Commissioner
Term Expires: 2014
Music Industry Professional
Michael Millar is a musician, educator, consultant, grant writer, and public speaker. He is a member of the music faculty at Cal Poly – Pomona and served as Director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music at the University of Colorado. He holds the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Arts Administration from Claremont Graduate University, where he studied management with Peter F. Drucker. A Grammy Award-winning bass trombonist, Dr. Millar's credits include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Harry James, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Barry Manilow, Artie Shaw, and Ray Charles.
An active arts advocate since moving to Santa Clarita in 1993, Dr. Millar served with the City's Arts Advisory Committee and with the Santa Clarita Symphony (Board of Directors 2000-05; Executive Director 2005-07). Michael and his wife Dava are the proud parents of Emily and Matthew, who have benefitted from the excellent music programs at Meadows Elementary, Placerita Junior High School, Hart High School, and College of the Canyons.
"My fellow commissioners and I wish to thank the City Council for their vision and leadership in establishing the Arts Commission. Through the arts, we are committed to developing meaningful contributions to the quality of life and to the economic vitality of Santa Clarita. We welcome a dialogue with all of our citizens whose lives are touched by the arts.
Patti Rasmussen, Commissioner
Term Expires: 2014
Patti Rasmussen is a freelance journalist who has resided in Newhall since the mid-70s. She has a great respect for the arts – performing and visual – and has focused her philanthropic efforts on cultural arts and youth programs. Several local groups have benefited from her donations of time and talent, as well as the fundraisers she has hosted at her home.
Patti worked as the Education Reporter for The Signal newspaper and has served on various school committees as president of the Peachland PTA and chairman of the Newhall Site Council. She was the co-founder/president of Theatre Arts for Children Foundation that raised funds for the restoration of the historic Newhall Elementary School auditorium. She also served on the board of the SCV Historical Society as the Educational Outreach Chair and was an original member of the Arts Alliance. The Rasmussen backyard was also used as theater space after the 1994 Northridge earthquake while Hart High repaired its auditorium.
Most recently Patti served as President of the Board of Directors of the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival and was the President of the SCV Senior Foundation.
“You can tell a lot about a community that values art,” Rasmussen said. “Just look around. The placement of artwork throughout the valley draws in businesses and enhances neighborhoods. We have live theater and concerts in the park. It’s a great place to live and raise a family.”
Patti and her husband Charlie have four sons and two grandchildren.
Email the Arts Commissioners