Day-to-day operations, research, and special projects are led and carried out by the Center’s Director, and are informed by a special Advisory Board.
Kristin moved to Washington from Maryland in 2016. In her east coast life she was the Director of Exhibitions and Research at an arts and heritage museum, and a partner folklorist for Maryland’s state folklife program, Maryland Traditions. She holds a PhD in anthropology and Master of Applied Anthropology degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a BA in Religious Studies from North Carolina State University. Throughout her studies she has always had a strong interest in cultural and natural heritage, and how people share this among themselves and with others.
Kristin lives in western Washington with her husband and young daughter, and enjoys traveling, singing, starting (but not always finishing) art projects, and baking fancy things for fun.
Contact Kristin at (206) 682-1770 x107 or by email.
Julieta Altamirano-Crosby Founder and President of WA-GRO (Washington-Guerrero) Foundation
Julieta received a Ph.D. in Social Communication and a Master of Communication Science degree from the University of Havana in Cuba, as well as a Museology & Exhibits Certificate from the University Complutence of Madrid (Spain) before emigrating to the U.S. from Mexico. Here she began the WA-GRO (Washington-Guerrero) Foundation, an organization that assists Latino/a/x and indigenous Mexican students and families bridging barriers to academic success in Washington State as they navigate life in their new home. Julieta believes that individuals’ identity and growth are closely tied to their understanding and appreciation of culture and language; consequently, she has run several arts and culture programs for students of all backgrounds that increase cultural awareness of and among Mexican/Latino/a/x immigrants. She also is the host of the radio program “Conexion Contigo” at KSVR 91.7FM Skagit Valley Community Radio and is a member of the American Anthropological Association
Ryan Booth Ph.D. Candidate, Washington State University; Trustee, Humanities Washington
As a Ph.D. candidate and enrolled member of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, Ryan’s areas of historical interest are the American West and Native Americans. His dissertation topic explores the U.S. Army Indian Scouts from 1866 to 1942. Ryan has also served as a Paraeducator for Wenatchee Public Schools, a History instructor for Wenatchee Valley College and Heritage University, a Special Events & Outreach Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Virginia, and a Park Ranger in the North Cascades National Park. He holds a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Loyola University, Chicago, and an M.A. in History from Central Washington University, and brings a regional indigenous perspective on Washington’s unique cultural and natural history, and its impact on the present.
Karen Capuder Archaeologist, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation History/Archaeology Program
As a Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) person and applied cultural anthropologist, Karen is keenly aware of the vital role that cultural traditions play in maintaining and strengthening identity, fulfilling ancient and inherited responsibilities, and building community resilience. She has worked extensively with a number of Coast Salish Nations before coming to her current role, as she earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington in Seattle, a M.A. in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and a B.A. in Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies from The Evergreen State College in Olympia. She has a strong interest in the ways that traditional cultural and land-based practices and strong identities are at the core of Indigenous resilience, healing, and resurgence.
Debbie Fant Independent Folklorist
Very recently retired from her position as Folk & Traditional Arts Program Coordinator for Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Debbie brings decades of public folklore experience to the CWCT Advisory Board. In addition to her work with the Parks, Debbie held several positions at Northwest Folklife for nearly a decade. Prior to that she acted as Folk Arts Program Director for the Fresno Arts Council, Programs Manager for the Western Folklife Center, Coordinator for the Community Residency Program at Texas Folklife, Director of Folk Arts Programs for the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and Folklorist with the Florida Folklife Programs. Debbie holds an interdisciplinary master’s degree in English and anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Mark Miyake Assistant Professor of Music and Society at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Mark has been teaching and advising students at Fairhaven College and leading their program in Audio Technology, Music, and Society since 2015, in which time he has also served as President of the Northwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology and on national award and funding panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. Prior to joining Western Washington University’s faculty, Mark served as Assistant Professor of The Arts and Social Sciences at Empire State College of the State University of New York and as the college-wide faculty convener for their Arts programs. During his time on the East Coast, Mark also served as the Chair of the Folk Arts Panel of the New York State Council for the Arts and as the President of the Middle Atlantic Folklife Association. He holds a MA and Ph.D. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. Mark’s family immigrated to the U.S. when he was two years old; this has greatly influenced his approach to understanding the arts in their cultural contexts.
Latha Sambamurti Festival Director; Commissioner, ArtsWA (Washington State Arts Commission)
Latha is the Artistic Director of several large festivals of arts and culture in the Seattle area, including Ananda Mela and Festival of Color in Redmond, and Diwali: Lights of India in Seattle. She also holds board positions with Northwest Folklife, Kirkland Performance Center, and Seattle Latino Film Festival. She served on the Redmond Arts and Culture Commission from 2003 through 2010 in various roles including Chair of the Commission. From 2005 through 2011, Latha was on the Arts Advisory Board of 4Culture. She is a trained musician in the Carnatic (southern Indian) tradition, and a teacher, lecturer, and singer with a number of solo and ensemble performances in the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and India. She is also the founder and leader of the band Chai Tea Latte. In addition, she has written, directed, and choreographed numerous productions for children based on the heritage and culture of India. She is also modeling for various international arts and cultural organizations and designers. Latha has a master’s degree in English literature.
Willie Smyth Independent Folklorist
Willie is currently an independent folklorist working in Washington. For over two decades he led Washington’s state folk arts program as Folk Arts Coordinator the Washington State Arts Commission/WSAC. Prior to that he managed folk and traditional arts programs for the State Arts Council of Oklahoma for over four years. He holds a M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and an M.A. in Folklore and Anthropology, and Ph.D. in Folklore and Theatre Arts, from the University of California, Los Angeles.
(Image: Skagit Valley tulip fields. Photo by Selbe Lynn via Flickr)