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.

Zerena Diaz

Operations Manager

As Operations Manager, Zerena organizes day to day financials and supports facilities management at CounterPulse to support its transition into a new space and expanding programming. Zerena is a recent graduate and 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.

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. As an advocate for environmental justice, Justin brings his expertise in community outreach to deepen CounterPulse’s engagement with the Tenderloin, while his background in social science research spearheads the organization’s analytics. He enjoys outdoor recreation, poetry, and gardening.

Justine Fernandez

Technical Director

As Technical Director at CounterPulse, Justine oversees the operation of our theater and studios.  Justine is currently a candidate for the Master of Arts in Museum Studies at San Francisco State University with an emphasis in Exhibition Design.  She is currently working on exhibitions at the Global Museum at SFSU and for the SF SPCA’s 150th Anniversary.  Outside of school and work, you can find Justine playing or watching soccer, at a bar trivia night, or on a trail.

Nicky Martinez

Program Manager

Nicky’s role at CounterPulse is to provide space tours, help with the House Artist Program, and manage timelines for CounterPulse’s ARC programs. Before this position Nicky worked at the University of San Francisco (USF) as a Professor Assistant to Amie Dowling. They received a BA in Performing Arts and Social Justice from USF and has worked in theaters such as the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, San Francisco Shakespeare Company, and Crowded Fire. Apart from working at CounterPulse Nicky is a native bay area actor and playwright that received a Gender Justice award for their work tackling *Trans/LGBQ issues. They are very excited to work at CounterPulse to continue their drive for promoting social justice performative art in the community.

Yetunde Olagbaju

Executive & Development Associate

As the Executive & Development Associate Yetunde assists in expanding CounterPulse’s development and fundraising capacity. With a long dedication to cultivating sustainable resource within diverse communities, they bring their passion for people and empowerment to the Development field.  As a practicing artist they have worked with institutions such as SFMOMA, Oakland Museum of California, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In their free time they can be found working on community-oriented projects with their art collective Blackmail, working on videos, and finding the next best costal vista point.

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.