Hannah Ayasse

Program Manager
Hannah is the main liaison with artists to support bringing their vision to stage within CounterPulse’s program models.  She oversees the day-to-day management of programs and front of house operations to ensure that producing and attending events feels smooth from start to finish. An Oakland born/based artist, Hannah’s practice explores Relationship as a discreet third thing between any pair. Grounded in community building and creating, she co-curates a performance series to support marginalized artists and has presented her own work at Joe Goode Annex, SAFEhouse Arts, Albany Bulb, and various DIY spaces throughout the Bay Area. Hannah holds a BA in Dance and Psychology from GWU and loves breakfast with a perfect cup of coffee.

Rick Darnell

Neighborhood Arts Manager

Rick brings over 30 years experience in dance, theater, social work, and activism to his role as the Neighborhood Arts Manager. Rick has lived, worked and made art in the Tenderloin neighborhood since 1995. During this time, Rick, has facilitated a number of social practice art based projects with special populations in the Tenderloin and other communities. Through CounterPulse’s Neighborhood Arts program, Rick works to identify and engage a wide range of Tenderloin stakeholders through Block Fest and other shared arts activities that foster community-building.

Justin Ebrahemi

Communications Director

Justin designs strategic marketing activities to tell the story of CounterPulse’s compelling mission and work. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from CSU Monterey Bay and M.A. in Environment & Community from Humboldt State University. He works closely with artists to create compelling content on their artistic process, while his background in social science research spearheads the organization’s analytics. As a writer, his works have been published in InDance and SFMOMA’s Open Space platform, in addition to publishing a book of poetry. On the weekends you can find Justin biking through the city, getting down on the dance floor, or at a sushi buffet.

Zerena Diaz

Associate Director of Operations

As Associate Director of Operations, Zerena organizes day to day financials and supports facilities management at CounterPulse to support its transition into a new space and expanding programming. Zerena holds a B.F.A from UC Berkeley. She is a practicing performing and multimedia artist based out of Oakland and her work has been exhibited at YBCA, SOMArts, and CounterPulse. In her professional and personal life Zerena seeks to creatively problem solve, educate, and act to recreate our reality. She spends her free time at drag shows, queer orgs, punk concerts, and art spaces.

Kevin Lo

Technical Director

As Technical Director, Kevin oversees the operation of CounterPulse’s theater and studios. Alongside working at CounterPulse, he maintains a choreographic and compositional practice in Oakland, and is a PhD candidate in Music at UC Berkeley with a designated emphasis in New Media. He is one half of the interdisciplinary performance duo DROUGHT SPA alongside alex cruse. They have performed and exhibited in SFMOMA’s Open Space, San Francisco State University’s Poetry Center, Brown University’s Interrupt, B4BEL4B Gallery, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and Gauss PDF, among others.

Julie E. Phelps

Artistic & Executive Director

Through CounterPulse, Phelps intersects grassroots community responsiveness with practices borrowed from tactical urbanism, placemaking and social innovation to co-create transformational experiences. Phelps recently spearheaded the process of acquiring and renovating a new building as the pilot project of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST). In collaboration with Jensen Architects Phelps designed a facility that is acclaimed by the public, press and featured in architectural reviews. Phelps has led the enterprising team of CounterPulse in funding and launching an acclaimed program of performing arts events, community-based programming, and international exchange projects. Phelps tours nationally and internationally as a speaker, U.S. representative, and dance artist.