Richard Wilhelm, President, Portland, OR 
Richard earned his BFA and MFA in Visual Design and Photography from the University of Oregon, and then established a design studio in Seattle, which he directed for 14 years. In addition to his films with Hare in the Gate, and his design work for hundreds of clients, Richard’s photography has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and is in many public and private collections. He taught photography at the University of Oregon, Central Oregon Community College, and Elderhostel for 10 years, and he has conducted over 50 photographic workshops.

Carolyn Law, Vice President, Seattle, WA
Carolyn’s public art projects range widely ­­ from design team collaborations with designers and/or engineers coupled with extensive interface with agencies and community groups, to artworks integrated into a specific project area. Her award­-winning projects involve a myriad of places – ­ civic plazas, parks, and infrastructure (such as bridges, public transit, wastewater treatment and streetscapes). Her art planning efforts include conceptual and practical outlines for incorporating public art into a wide variety of sites and locations. Civic engagement with a focus on the public arena has also been a priority. Carolyn’s studio work has been shown regionally and nationally. Currently her focus is on drawings as a visual journal of her thinking, interests and research, and temporary sculptural installations in outdoor settings. Finally, she writes on the creative process and public art. 

Jim Walls, Treasurer, Lakeview, OR
Jim retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service after 33 years.  He served as Executive Director for the Columbia­ Pacific Resource Conservation and Economic Development District for 15 years. From 2002- ­2015, Jim served as Executive Director of Lake County Resources Initiative  ( working on the conservation and economic development of natural resources in Lake County. Jim facilitated the Lake County Renewable Energy Working Group in developing a renewable energy implementation plan to make Lake County a net exporter of renewable energy, offsetting 93% of fossil fuel emissions in the county. In 2012, Jim was a speaker at Oregon State University’s TED program on climate change. He has testified before both Congressional and Senate committees concerning renewable energy and climate change impacts on forests and rural areas. Jim has served on the Governor’s Renewable Energy Working Group, the Oregon Way advisory committee to the Governor and currently the Governor’s South Central Oregon Solutions Team.

Becky Evans, Secretary, Bayside, CA
Becky is a land­-based artist. Her recent solo exhibits explore the unique bioregions in the Klamath Knot, the State of Jefferson, and the edge of the Great Basin. She exhibits her work regionally and nationally. She recently participated in the State of the State of Jefferson Conference at the University of Oregon, organized by the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon and the Department of Geography at Humboldt State University. Her artist residences have included the Morris Graves Foundation, (Loleta, California), PLAYA (Summer Lake, Oregon), and the Earthwatch Institute (Skagit River, Washington). She was a faculty member of the Art Department at the College of the Redwoods (Eureka, California) for 30 years. She has her home and studio near Humboldt Bay, California.

Robert Benson, Bayside, CA
Bob lives near Humboldt Bay, California. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State and an MFA from the University of Illinois, Champaign/­Urbana. He taught painting at the College of the Redwoods from 1974-­2007. Recent exhibitions include “Robert Benson”(Piante Gallery) and “River as Home” (Morris Graves Museum) among many others. He served as Curator of the Redwoods Collection of Native American Baskets and Objects, College of the Redwoods.

Paul Brown, Eugene, OR
Paul Brown has long been a fan and supporter of PLAYA, whether it be purchasing special opportunity weekends with PLAYA naturalists or just frequenting a part of the world he has come to love. When he visited PLAYA, he was very helpful with suggestions and guidance regarding steering PLAYA in the right direction well before the possibility of a Board position was in the offing. Now that he has an official capacity, he will further benefit PLAYA with the combination of his love of PLAYA and his business acumen. Recently retired, Paul moved in 2005 from Colorado to Oregon to take a job as an investigator with the Federal Public Defender’s office in Eugene. It was during the first few months in Oregon that he discovered what was to become PLAYA. “I was bowled over by the beauty of the place and determined that I would find some way to forever be a part of it in one way or other.” He and his partner, Dr. Martha Reilly, a practicing OB/GYN in Eugene for 20 years, are avid outdoorspeople and travelers.

Charles Goodrich, Corvallis, OR
Charles is the author of three volumes of poems, A Scripture of Crows, Going to Seed: Dispatches from the Garden, and Insects of South Corvallis, and a collection of essays about nature, parenting, and building a house, The Practice of Home. Charles also co­edited the volume, In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens. His poems and essays have appeared in Orion, Northwest Review, Willow Springs, The Sun, and Best Essays Northwest among many other publications, and his poems have been read a dozen times by Garrison Keillor on “The Writer’s Almanac.” To support his poetry writing habit, Charles worked for twenty-­five years as a professional gardener – for a convent, a residential treatment facility for troubled teens, and for the historic Benton County Courthouse. He recently retired as Director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, at Oregon State University, a program that hosts writers’ residencies, literary readings, and symposia at the intersection of literature, environmental science, and ethics.

Attila Jurecska, Portland, OR
A few months ago, an energetic man would regularly come pedaling down Highway 31 on his road bike to attend PLAYAPresents. In learning more about Attila Jurecska, of his new-found love of Summer Lake, and of PLAYA’s residency program, it seemed a natural to invite him to consider a Board position. Attila is an R&D engineer at Mentor Graphics, a business of Siemens. He earned his first MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Budapest, Hungary and his second MS in Informatics in Milan, Italy. He conducted research at UC Berkeley and has worked internationally in R&D. Thanks to the recent purchase of a home in Summer Lake, he now splits his time between Oregon’s Outback and Portland. Among his many interests are astrophotography and hiking.

Lori Noack, Oakland, CA and Portland, OR
Lori is the latest addition to PLAYA’s Board. Lori brings with her significant nonprofit and development experience, notably her seven years as the executive director of the Sunriver Music Festival. She currently serves on the Board of and helps produce “In A Landscape’, a concert series that takes pianist Hunter Noack , her son, and his grand piano to remote locations for free concerts. Noack’s previous professional positions include Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, an international program for women in Afghanistan that includes both online and local writing workshops in seven Afghan provinces and Midsummer Mozart Festival in San Francisco.

Sheryl Sackman, Portland, OR
Sheryl is currently the Development Director of Forest Park Conservancy in Portland, OR. Sheryl has nearly 30 years of experience directing development, communications and grassroots organizing programs, and has a strong commitment to environmental protection in Oregon. Past positions include MRG Foundation, Friends of Trees, Oregon NARAL and OLCV. Sheryl has lived in Portland since 1986 and is a fair-weather birdwatcher and bike rider.

Pepper Trail, Ashland, OR
Pepper is an ornithologist, conservationist, writer, and photographer.  He began watching birds as a boy in upstate New York, and traces his incurable love of travel to a family trip to Mexico when he was twelve. Since then, Pepper has studied birds around the world, from the rain forests of Amazonia to the coasts of Antarctica. Pepper lives in Ashland, where he is the ornithologist at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. He is involved in many regional environmental issues, especially the establishment and protection of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and is a regular contributor to Jefferson Public Radio, the Jefferson Monthly and High Country News. His poetry has appeared in Windfall, Kyoto Journal, Borderlands, The Atlanta Review, and other journals. He is the author of two poetry collections, Flight Time and Cascade­-Siskiyou, and the photo­essay, Shifting Patterns: Meditations on the Meaning of Climate Change in Oregon’s Rogue Valley.

Becky Hatfield Hyde, Beatty, OR
Becky Hatfield Hyde ranches, writes and consults from Beatty, Paisley and Brothers, Oregon. She’s spent the past 20 years focused on the economic, ecologic and cultural health of the Klamath Basin’s rural land-based communities, working with Tribes, NGOs, elected officials and the agricultural community. She deeply loves her husband Taylor and their children Lizzie, Jack, Henry, Levi and Maggie. You’ll find her happiest when she’s with her family, working outside in our stunning landscape, watching 1A basketball in old wooden gyms, and sharing ideas with new and old friends across the rural/urban divide.


Advisory Committee

  • Liz Ahl, NH
  • Renee Couture, OR
  • Eloise Damrosch, OR
  • Ann Focke, WA
  • William Fox, NV
  • Jack Herring, WA
  • Dan Mayer, AZ
  • Jane Otto, CA
  • Robert Schrimer, NY
  • Margot Voorhies Thompson, OR
  • Catherine Woodward, NY

PLAYA’S Increasing Growth

“It now ranks among the best residency programs in the nation and attracts an increasing number of international artists.”
– PLAYA Board Chair Richard Wilhelm

PLAYA 2016 Annual Report
PLAYA 2017 Annual Report