Sarah Kalvin, Artist - Curator

I've enjoyed creating and curating the Fragile Sands project and exhibition because it involves educating the community about our fragile natural environment and how important it is to keep it safe from threatening forces. I have been a lover of the natural world since I was a child, lying on the grass, looking up at the clouds floating by, watching comets, planets and stars in the night sky. That is why I put aside painting for so many years. I thought, "how self-centered we are to think we can create something better than what nature has already formed before our eyes."

I realize now of course, the value of personal creativity, especially when it is framed in the spirit of humility. And what better way is there to express one's appreciation for life than to give back to it a little of the same inspiring beauty.

All through my childhood I was drawing and took mostly art classes throughout my school years. As an adult I studied and taught classes at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas, and collaborated with the notable surface designer, Jane Dunnewold. In the late 1990s, I picked up my brushes and canvas and started my lifelong desire of painting with oils.

I created the Spirit of Ventura landscape and landmark collection of oil paintings, which I produce in limited editioned, archival prints. I'm experimenting with watercolors as well as digital art, and have a studio at the WAV on Ventura Ave. in Ventura, California.

In the 1980s I created the clothing company Ix Chel, and was its primary designer. In the late 1990s I worked in the Upper Westside of Manhattan as a professional Astrologer, and gave talks at the Esoteric Society of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria.

Sometimes it's hard to juggle the many faceted aspects of my life, but I'm grateful for the full life I've been given, and enjoy sharing the fruits of my accomplishments.

Nina Danza, Creator of Shellie the Shopping Cart
Pictured with daughter, Acacia

Nina Danza learned "the shopping cart is the indicator species of the urban river" many years ago as a volunteer with Friends of the Los Angeles River. As a young activist, she poured energy into building the scrappy, shoestring organization toward its current status as a continually funded grass-roots environmental organization. "I met my future husband in FoLAR", she laughs, "and he showed me how working inside the 'enemy' company, be it the city, or developer, and contributing to decisions in a positive manner is the best way to effect change for the future."

Many river clean ups and California native plantings later, she moved a few hundred feet from the banks of the Santa Clara River. "Ventura is gifted with an ingrained environmental ethic", she remarks, "and I remember long ago standing at the County boundary dreaming of living and contributing within it one day". For a few years, she helped design and publish the Friends of the Santa Clara River newsletter.

Now she and her husband teach their two little kids everything they know, from bird watching to stargazing; recycling and composting to organic backyard vegetable gardening. Less active with politics for the moment, she is more active with the Buenaventura Art Association. Her desire to save the Earth a little at a time still shows up in her jewelry and accessory design business, Pretty Cheap Jewelry, which incorporates recycled and natural materials.

Visit her at:"

Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson's hometown roots are in the Mad River Valley in the Green Mountains State of Vermont. Emily grew up swimming, fishing, tubing, canoeing, adventuring around and tromping thru the Mad River. From picking fiddle heads in the spring, to building rock pile damns with friends or just lazing around the cool flowing waters during hot and humid summers, the river was a constant recreational, inspirational and relaxing medium to the lives of those who lived in the Valley.

Emily attended Wheaton College in Norton, MA where she studied art, and from there she moved to Providence, RI. There the temperate weather, due to its close location to the ocean, was an intriguing new climate which differed greatly from her green mountain home. Migrating again, but to a still more temperate weather in Ventura, California, Emily finally found her home with an inspirational view of the Pacific Ocean. In California, Emily is intrigued by the hillsides that are green only a few months out of the year, and river waters flowing only when the rainy season has filled them. Rivers are an important part of Emily's life and she is excited to be involved with the local river project Fragile Sands.

Emily shares her love of art and creative thinking with children through various classes she teaches in Ventura. Her first job in Ventura was with Island Packers where she was a crew member, a naturalist and in customer service and marketing, and for two and a half years was Sales and Marketing Assistant with the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau. At present, Emily is Executive Director of the Buenaventura Art Association.