About BACC

The Benicia Arts and Culture Commission works cooperatively with council, city boards and commissions and other public and private organizations to create and promote art and cultural programs and activities within the City of Benicia.

Click here to learn more about the Commission’s meetings and membership.  





2nd Thursday of each month, 6:30 pm, Edna Clyne Conference Room, 150 East L Street Benicia, CA.  - Meetings are on hiatus until January.




Terry Scott, Chair


Terry Scott has led a very imaginative, colorful and wide-ranging life and career progressing from college hippie to college commencement speaker. He started in the advertising and marketing world and over the years retired from Hasbro, Inc. as SVP, Global Head of Brand Creative Services. Along the way he and his wife of 45 years Randi, a forensic archeologist, raised three boys and have three grandchildren. Terry is a recognized futurist working on projects for the National Endowment for the Arts, US Economic Development Agency and other corporations.  A resident since 2012, Terry joined the ACC in 2015. He is a very active volunteer in Benicia and also sits on a number of boards including The Benicia Community Foundation, The International Toy Museum and IGC in Chicago. He’s earned degrees from Kent State University and Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Susan Garske  


Originally from Hawaii, Susan moved to Washington State where she received her B.A. in Sociology from Seattle University.  After traveling with her husband, Benicia native, Joseph Garske, who was in the Air Force, they settled in Benicia. Over the course of the next 47 years, Susan raised three children, as well as obtaining her M.S. in Environmental Education and teaching and administrative credentials.  Susan retired from Mount Diablo Adult Education as a teacher and administrator in the Business/Medical/Dental Departments before working in the Benicia Unified School District as a substitute teacher.  For the past ten years Susan has been a member for the Arts and Culture Commission serving as its’ chair in 2016.  During her tenure on the commission, Susan has worked with the Benicia Film Festival, the Public Art display in the Library by artist Julius Hatofsky, and the permanent exhibit of “Wind, Water, Land” at the Community Center.  As a member of the commission and a long-time Benicia resident, Susan believes in promoting the uniqueness of Benicia with its’ small-town atmosphere and rich history while promoting a forward thinking and creative approach to arts and culture.

Neema Hekmat


Neema Hekmat joins the Benicia Arts and Culture Commission with over 20 years experience in the world music and performing arts scene and brings passion for celebrating our community's diversity through the arts.   As a second-generation Iranian-American, raised in the cross-threads of racial and ethnic tension, Neema found his calling at an early age to leverage arts as a means for raising awareness to our shared values.  In addition to having performed as a musician in over 100 multi-cultural festivals and events throughout California and abroad, Neema Hekmat has also produced and directed numerous major performing arts programs.  In 2013, Neema's track record and vision won him the prestigious Creative Work Fund grant, supporting a large diversity art development initiative.  For the past decade, he has served on the boards of non-profit performing arts organizations.  Aside from his arts and culture involvements, Neema is a seasoned medical device developer, holding an M.S. from Stanford University and B.S. from UC Davis.

Elizabeth “Bizzy” Lewis


Bizzy Lewis is a proud fourth generation Benician. She holds a BA from Hutchins School of Liberal Studies and Teaching Credential from Sonoma State University. Bizzy has taught and facilitated as a Teacher Leader in Vallejo Unified. She is a member of Benicia’s B.D.E.S. Portuguese society as well as a member of St. Dominic’s Parish. She and her husband Will are parents of two beautiful children, Pennyroyal (4) and Kenneth (1). Bizzy has always gravitated to all things art. From teaching at a heavily supported art and music based public school, receiving an art award with her second grade students, and creating school wide concerts to performing as a musician in several local spots in and around Benicia. She is a trained vocalist and guitarist as well as a songwriter. It has been a dream of hers to serve Benicia’s Art and Culture Commission.

Tamar Kirschner 

Tamar Kirschner moved to Benicia with her husband and three children in 2016, and here found inspiration through youth arts. She has taught numerous youth art workshops through Arts Benicia and is an Art Docent at Mary Farmar Elementary, having brought the program back and led it as Docent Coordinator for three years. Tamar has a Bachelors in World Literature and Cultural Studies from UC Santa Cruz, with a minor in Spanish, and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State. Currently she is the Library Technology Department Program Lead at Diablo Valley College. As a public librarian for 17 years, and specifically as Program Librarian for the Oakland Public Library for eight years, she implemented many programming and outreach projects in partnership with community arts and culture organizations, such as the Oakland Museum of California, the Museum of Children’s Art, and Berkeley Repertory Theater. She is committed to doing her part to foster the continuing arts and culture legacy in this town, for everyone.

Treva Nervis


Treva Nervis, M.Ateaches Afro-Haitian Dance and Creative Writing at Vallejo Charter School. Ms. Nervis has Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Dominican University of CA in Humanities: Ethnic and Cultural Studies. She has been inspiring VCS students with her love and teaching of dance since the school opened in 2007, where she also taught ELA/Social Studies for over 5 years. She is the Vice Chair of Vallejo Teaching Artists. She and her family have lived in Benicia for over 10 years, and enjoys the local businesses, Peddler's Faire and living near the water.


Joseph O'Malley


Joseph is a professional actor and teaching artist, specializing in live theatre and interactive motion-capture. He has performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Lajolla Playhouse and a number of Bay Area theatres, including CalShakes, Aurora Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company and CeterRep. Joseph has delivered motion capture performances for interactive (video game) projects such as the NBA2K series and Star Wars: Tales from Galaxy's Edge. He has taught acting workshops and dialect training at Stanford University, Napa Valley College, Marin Theatre Company and Marin Shakespeare Co. He holds a BA from Santa Clara University and an MFA from USC.and is an active member of Actor's Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. In addition to his artistic career, Joseph works as an administrator for Edison Grainery, a local, family-owned organic grain company located in Benicia's industrial park. He is proud to serve this thriving community he calls home.