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PLAYA Staff

Ben Shockey

Executive Director

Ben Shockey has worked at the senior leadership level across the arts sector for more than a decade. From 2015 to 2017 Ben was Executive Director at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon Coast, where he was instrumental in the acquisition of Sitka’s 80-acre Grass Mountain property, and where he worked with other staff to launch partnership residencies with Oregon State University and Blue Sky Gallery in Portland. Other past leadership roles include Executive Director of a public/private art center in San Francisco, General Manager with a dance company and training program in Vancouver, BC, and interim Managing Director roles at Presentation House Theatre and The Cinematheque in Vancouver, BC.

Ben is a founding partner of Fieldworks Consulting, where from 2017-2021 alongside co-founder Elizabeth Quinn he worked to design and launch artist in residence programs at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Upperville, VA, and The Volland Foundation in Alma, KS, as well providing strategic and operational support to several other organizations across the United States and Canada.
Ben is a Steering Committee member of CAiRN, the Cascadia Artist in Residence Network, and outgoing Board President of New Works, a dance management and presentation organization in Vancouver, BC.
In a past professional life Ben spent more than a decade as a teacher, researcher, and administrator in academia. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of California and harbors largely unrealized ambitions to return to creative and critical writing one day. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, international travel, and sporadically playing his guitar.

Carrie Hardison

Program Manager

Carrie comes to Playa with years of education and program management experience. In 2011, she transitioned from working as an arts educator to managing various community education programs including SUN community schools in Portland, residency and workshops programs at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and family communication and connection programs for Planned Parenthood throughout the NW. She is most “at home” when managing programs at the intersection of creativity and community.

She first visited Playa in 2017 for a Cascadia Artist in Residence Network retreat and fell in love with the expansive landscape. The smell of wet sage unearthed fond memories of growing up in the desert in California. She felt immediately connected to Playa and is excited to be working as the Program Manager and dig into developing programs that foster creative reflection of this magical place.

In her spare time Carrie enjoys the outdoors with her dog Rue, nurturing her personal painting and mixed-media practice, experimenting in the kitchen with (mostly) vegetarian recipes and observing and appreciating all forms of wildlife. Her goal is to quickly obtain a pair of binoculars so she can dive into observing the birdlife surrounding Playa. She’s also eager to get the garden ready to plant and experiment with new canning and pickling recipes. 

Mark Hedrick

Site & Facilities Manager

I have been a resident of Summer Lake for 23 years, and I first visited PLAYA during a fire preparedness review for the High Desert Rangeland Fire Protection Association in July 2018. After finding out that PLAYA was hiring a full-time Site & Facilities Manager, I began work here in September 2018. My expertise in decreasing fire risk will continue to be of value, now from an insider’s view. I am a seasoned wildland firefighter, former facilities/fire manager for The Nature Conservancy, and specialist in Geographic Information Systems. I am excited to be at PLAYA and very much look forward to managing the facilities and meeting new residents from all over!

Shawna Negus

Cuisine and Lodging Manager

I love my job at PLAYA because I love food and making people feel welcome. There’s so much pleasure in imagining and creating delicious entrees, salads, and desserts for the people who come here from all over. I also take pride in readying PLAYA’s cabins for new residents. I grew up in this county but have lived in many beautiful places from Alaska to Arizona. Now I’m fortunate to call this area home again, as it’s my favorite place of all, where I have a wonderful garden, family, and many friends.