Miri Hunter, Ph.D., Founder --
Miri is an Adjunct Associate Professor at St. Mary’s College, where she teaches in the Liberal Education for the Arts Program (LEAP). She is also an Adjunct Professor in Theatre Arts at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree. She is the Producing and Artistic Director of the Hi Desert theatre Company, Thought Theatre and co-producer of the H-Desert Fringe Festival. As Founder of the non profit organization Project Sheba, her focus has been on using the arts, (visual, performing and literary) to transform culture through the use of storytelling in order to access individual wisdom. This, she believes, creates a culture of critical thinking and a healing for individuals and communities. She moved to the Hi Desert in 2013 and since has produced concerts, theatrical productions and festivals.
Ann Van Haney, MBA (Co-Producer, Actor, Community Advocate) --
Van Haney is Co-Founder and Co-Producer of the Hi-Desert Fringe Festival. She has appeared on stage and screen in Seattle, Los Angeles and the Morongo Basin. She has an MBA in international business and business ethics and is a teacher and mentor in global health grants management and research administration capacity building. She works with universities, non-profit organizations and government agencies in developing countries to cultivate sustainable practices for managing funding portfolios for health care research and delivery. Areas of focus include maternal-child health, cervical cancer, HIV and vaccine programs. When she’s not on stage, on set or on a plane to Nairobi, Ann loves exploring the high desert with her husband and daughter.
Adia Jolle, BA (Actor, Filmmaker) —
As the child of two professional actors/singers/dancers, it was only natural for Adia Joëlle to follow in their footsteps. She was born to perform! An alumnus of Guildford Conservatoire in England, she studied musical theater for three years. While in England she had the incredible opportunity to work with British directors Paul Brennana and Jay Villiers on Women Beware Women and Much Ado About Nothing.
Thrilled to be back home in Los Angeles, Adia has been fortunate enough to continue her career on the stage, on television and in film, including the award-winning independent film, Amnesia. Her passion for storytelling has grown and she’s expanding her creative horizons, boldly stepping into the role of director, producer and writer on her projects; documentary film, To Her Own Rhythm, and short films, D.R.A.M.A. Series, Act 1 and Act 2. There are more projects in development and Adia is enjoying every moment of this creative journey.
Thom Merrick, BFA (Visual Artist, Musician) --
Thom Merrick is a Contemporary artist born in Sacramento, CA (US) in 1963. He is the advisor and director of visual arts programming and development as it pertains to the Institute for Cultural and Spiritual Studies. Thom Merrick’s first one-person exhibition was in New York City at the mythic American Fine Arts in 1988, and the most recent exhibition was MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE ET CONTEMPORAIN in 2020. Thom Merrick has exhibited in Switzerland, Germany, United States, Russia and elsewhere. Merrick has had over 20 solo shows and over 50 group shows over the last 33 years Important show are Documenta 9 Kassel, MoMA in New York City, Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) in Frankfurt.Thom Merrick’s art is important historical museum collections worldwide. Thom Merrick is ranked among the top artists globally.