Staff List

Robert Birman (Executive Director) joined Centrum in 2013, having served as a senior executive in the orchestra world for more than 20 years in San Francisco, Louisville, Santa Barbara, Boston and elsewhere.  He is a former arts administration fellow with the National Endowment for the Arts; an ISPA fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach; and worked two summers at the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder.  Mr. Birman has been a member of numerous national boards and is Past President of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras.  He has served on grants panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Washington State Arts Commission, Kentucky Arts Council, and The Heinz Endowments and is a former presenter and participant in programs of the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Leadership Academy.  Rob is a percussionist and has a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Temple University and graduate training in arts administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 111.

Beth Bradley (Director of Advancement) joined Centrum in March 2016, bringing with her more than twenty-five years of dedication to the vision and values of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. A resident of Port Townsend since 2013, Beth previously served as executive director, chief fundraiser, and consultant for organizations and associations in the arts, academia, and healthcare. Representative employers include the Arts & Business Council for Greater Los Angeles (ARTS, Inc.); Western States Arts Federation (in Santa Fe, NM); Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC); University of California, Irvine. Beth has participated on numerous local, regional, and national boards and panels and was past recipient of the L.A. Artcore Award and the Eureka Community Leadership Program’s Flora Thornton Fellowship. Beth holds a B.S. in Education and a Life Teaching Certificate from University of Missouri, Columbia as well as photographic studies certification from Parsons School of Design. She began her career touring worldwide as a contemporary dancer.

Gigi Callaizakis (Director of Human Resources) joined Centrum in May of 2011. She relocated to Port Townsend from Denver in 2006 with her husband. Gigi’s Human Resources background includes independent consulting for higher education, medical manufacturing and non-profit human services organizations. Beginning her HR career at ADP’s payroll service processing unit in Denver, she also went on to lead the HR Departments in the pharmaceutical, casino and youth services nonprofit industries. Gigi holds a PhD in psychology and an MA in Organizational Management. She currently consults in Human Resources services and offers coaching, mediation, energy work services and particularly enjoys working with the Enneagram of Personality to facilitate teamwork and personal growth., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 121

Lucinda Carver (Artistic Director, Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival) was appointed in late 2009.  Called “a first rate conductor” by the New York Times, she is active as a conductor / pianist and her orchestral appearances have included the National Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Opera conducting credits include the Minnesota Opera, New York City Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  Lucinda received her doctorate in musical arts from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California where she currently teaches piano, harpsichord and conducting and was appointed Vice Dean in 2013.  She served as music director of the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra from 1991 to 2002.

Kerry Christianson (Finance Associate). Kerry joined Centrum in 2017. She has a background in theater, was an executive assistant at Amazon for 6 years, and the office manager for Hengst Studio/Little Red Studio in Seattle from 2007-2010. She attended Carleton College and Cornish College of the Arts. (360) 385-3102 Ext. 113

John Clayton (Artistic Director, Jazz Port Townsend) leads Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend festival and workshop. A Grammy-winning bassist, composer and conductor, Clayton has written and arranged music for Diana Krall, Milt Jackson, Quincy Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Whitney Houston and many others. He served as the Artistic Director of Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl from 1999-2001. His compositions have been performed by ensembles throughout the US and Europe, including the American Jazz Philharmonic and the Carnegie Hall Big Band. Clayton is the co-leader, along with his saxophone playing brother Jeff, of the Clayton Brothers Quintet.

Karen Gose Clemens (Director of Development) joined Centrum’s staff in late 2009. She has been an arts administrator and fundraiser for 23 years, eleven of those years devoted to major gift work in annual fund, capital and special fundraising campaigns.  She served under the Honorable Mike Lowry as Executive Director of the Washington State Arts Commission; as fundraising consultant with C.W. Shaver & Company; in consulting and executive capacities to regional cultural organizations including The Capital Theater in Yakima and Northwest Sinfonietta; and as Major Gifts Manager at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and loves her cockatoo, dogs and family; giving people presents; mysteries (reading and writing); and travel., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 132

Jordan Hartt (Writers’ Program Manager) joined Centrum in 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Washington University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Idaho. Jordan works as the program manager for the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference and believes in the power of reading and writing to transform lives.

Mary Hilts (Program Manager, The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival/Development Manager) joined the Centrum staff in 2003. Mary manages all administrative aspects of the PT Acoustic Blues Festival; and assists with aspects of resource development, Centrum’s donor database and coordination of donor events. A graduate of Washington State University, Mary also completed Jazz Studies at Shoreline Community College, and holds a degree in Music Performance from Los Angeles Harbor College. Prior to working at Centrum, she was in artist relations and management, coordinated booking and promotions, as well as contract negotiation, public relations, and tour management.  A musician, artist, and advocate for social justice, Mary moved to Port Townsend in 1981., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 116

Katya Kirsch (Development Officer) joined Centrum in February 2015 after 36 years of work with Alaska conservation organizations, including over 3 years as the Executive Director of Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. A skilled facilitator, she has also consulted for Alaskan outdoor education and humane non-profits. Katya holds a B.S. in communications from Skidmore College. (360) 385-3102 Ext. 140

Samuel Ligon (Artistic Director, Port Townsend Writers’ Conference) is the author of Drift and Swerve, a collection of stories, and Safe in Heaven Dead, a novel. His new novel, Among the Dead and Dreaming, is forthcoming in 2016. His stories have appeared in The Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, StoryQuarterly, New England Review, and elsewhere. His essays appear monthly in the Inlander. Ligon teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, and is the editor of Willow Springs.

George Marie (Development Associate) joined Centrum in 2017 and assists with donor activities and volunteer management.  In Port Townsend since 2013, she worked at in art sales at Simon Mace Gallery, marketing management at Conservatory Coastal Home, and as Editorial and Development Intern at Bedouin Books. George has bachelor degrees in English Literature and Cultural Studies from Marylhurst University. She is a Ford Opportunity Scholar and the recipient of the Jackie Mosier Emerging Writer Award. (360) 385-3102 x103

Peter McCracken (Program Manager, Fiddle Tunes, Voice Works, Uke) has served at Centrum in various capacities, including Arts Program Director and Traditional Arts Program Manager. In 1992, he started the Blues workshop and festival, bringing five National Heritage Award recipients to Fort Worden to perform and teach. McCracken led the initial curatorial project for Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes Preservation and Stabilization project in 2000, producing Volume 1 of the Fiddle Tunes Archives. The CD “A 20th Anniversary Festival Sampler” captures twenty-two performances from the festival’s twentieth gathering. The long-term project received initial funding from the National endowment for the Arts, along with generous donations from individual donors., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 127

Jacqueline Mention (Operations Associate) joined the Centrum staff in 2011. Since that time her work for the organization has included assistance in Youth and Residency Programs, Volunteer Coordination, Box Office Management, Graphic Design, and managing Centrum’s Print Collection.  Originally from Los Angeles, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.  She enjoys dancing, eating, and rearranging furniture.  She cannot ride a bike., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 118

Gregg Miller (Program Manager, Jazz, Choro, Chamber Music) first came to Centrum in 1978 as a student in the Chamber Music camp. In the early ’90s, he returned for three years as a faculty member at Jazz Port Townsend. In the fall of 1999 he became Program Manager for Jazz and Classical Music and now runs Jazz Port Townsend and the Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival. Gregg is active as an adjudicator and frequently serves as a grant panelist for the NEA, Chamber Music America, the Washington State Arts Commission and other organizations. He enjoys skiing, motorcycling and working with his hands, including driving and repairing wheat combines in eastern Washington., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 109

Bonnie Obremski (Part-Time Marketing & Communications Manager; Part-Time Assistant for Jazz Port Townsend, Chamber Music & Choro) Bonnie grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., with a B.A. in Journalism in 2004. She reported for various news publications including the L.A. Times and the North Adams Transcript. An avid adventurer, her career path took a turn toward the sea and she partly-owned and managed an historic tall ship charter business in Key West, Fla. She came to Port Townsend in 2014 to accept an apprenticeship as a sailmaker for Hasse & Co. Two years later, her passion for writing and the arts beckoned her to Centrum., (360) 385-3102 x130

Jerron Paxton (Artistic Director, Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival) was born in 1989 but his talent is beyond his years. He plays in the true songster tradition: ragtime, hokum, old-time, French reels, Appalachian mountain music and blues and more. Paxton is yet unsigned to a record label, his biggest fame has been found through the Playing for Change Foundation video II, which gave him international fame. Frank Matheis, publisher of said, “The virtuoso is a joyous entertainer, humorous with a smooth vernacular, dazzling wit, a terrific storyteller, exuding an affable excitement. He’s witty, fast rhyming, poetic, fun, exciting and wonderfully skilled as a musician and a fine singer, he is the continuation of a proud tradition.”  Phil Wiggins refers to Jerron Paxton as “a musical genius” and offers his blessing on Jerron taking the helm he once held.

Hali Miller (Registrar) relocated to Port Townsend at the age of five when her father, Bill Ransom, founded and directed the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference at Centrum. Hali has been a PT “local” ever since., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 114

Lisa Waipio Werner (Director of Operations) is an alumni of the University of California at Irvine, and has owned and managed a variety successful businesses. In 2008 she came to Port Townsend from Kapa’au Hawai’i to work as volunteer coordinator and residency program manager at Centrum. Raised in a family of musicians and ocean sports enthusiasts, her hobbies include playing flute and guitar and racing outrigger canoes. In 2012 Lisa and her partner moved into the house of their dreams, a compact sustainable home designed and built for them on Discovery Bay., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 128

Martha Worthley (Program Manager, Young Artist Project//Artist Residency Manager) joined Centrum in 2007. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, she studied at the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA 1977) and also studied textile design and printing at the Rhode Island School of Design and Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. Martha has been deeply involved in changing attitudes towards arts education. She began working in the Port Townsend Schools in the early 1990s teaching Talented and Gifted classes in visual arts for elementary students. This work evolved as the Port Townsend School District and PT Artscape, funded by Washington State Arts Commission, worked to develop sequential arts education for the district, aligned with state academic learning requirements in the arts. For Centrum, she designs the Young Artists Project with a vital, contemporary and diverse group of artists who will guide and inspire young artists throughout the year., (360) 385-3102 Ext. 120