The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture Announces Three New Directors

On April 1, 2018, the Alliance for Media Arts + Culture welcomes three new members to its national Board of Directors.  Andy Beach is Principal Software Development Engineer at Microsoft with the Communications and Media Team based in Portland, Oregon. Emily Verellen is a media executive, philanthropist and strategy consultant based in Los Angeles and Chris Johnson is a photographer, former Chair of the Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission and co-Founder and Vice-Chair of the City of Oakland Public Art Advisory.  


Andy Beach works at Microsoft as a Principal SDE with the Communications and Media Team. With more than 20 years of experience, Andy Beach is a respected industry voice in online video and streaming media. Founder and Principal at Techgeist, Inc., Andy consults with companies that touch every part of the Over The Top distribution ecosystem, from encoding and compression to delivery and playback. Andy Beach was the Director of Product Management at Inlet Technologies, and prior to joining Inlet, he served as the Director of Product Development at Magnet Media where he oversaw the creation of Zoom In Online. His expertise in video postproduction, compression, and interactive design has attracted clients worldwide, including: Apple Inc., Adobe Systems, British Design Council, V2 Records, Universal Music and Paramount Pictures, to name a few. Andy has spoken at industry conferences including NAB, Web Video Summit, and WWDC, has been featured in industry magazines, and has taught digital filmmaking and encoding at the School of Visual Arts. Andy was also a lead mentor at the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies at BAVC.



Emily Verellen Strom is a senior media executive with fifteen years of diverse experience developing stories, curating content, building partnerships and creating social action strategy.  In addition to running a strategy consulting agency, Emily was co-founder of The Helm, a community and venture fund reimagining how people invest in female entrepreneurs.  From 2008-2017, Emily was Senior Director of Programs at The Fledgling Fund, supporting an award-winning slate of films, and directing the Fledgling Engagement Lab, an incubator for documentary filmmakers.  She is respected voice within the documentary community and a frequent speaker and writer about the ability of story to fuel social change. Prior to her tenure at The Fledgling Fund, Emily co-founded Binti Pamoja, a women’s rights and reproductive health center for teenage girls in the Kibera slum of Nairobi.  In 2006, she published LightBox, a book featuring the photographs, stories and autobiographies of the young women from the Center.  All of the funds raised through the sale of the book support a scholarship fund for the girls in the Center.  The book sparked new conversations around the world about the real lives of young women living in poverty.  Binti Pamoja continues to thrive today.


Chris Johnson studied photography with Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham and Wynn Bullock and has been the recipient of grants from the Rockefeller Foundation (w/Hank Willis Thomas); AICA Mellon Foundation Grant for Photography and Polaroid Foundation Artist Grants, among many others. Chris is the creator of the Question Bridge project and co-Director w/ Hank Willis Thomas of QuestionBridge: Black Males, Winner of the 2015 ICP Infinity Award. Chris has work in the collections of Smithsonian Institution, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Oakland Museum, and Center For Creative Photography. He is the author of The Practical Zone System: for Film and Digital Photography; currently in its 5th edition published by Focal Press in the West and Zhejiang Photographic Press in China. From 1999 – 2005 Chris served as Chair of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission and from 1997 to 2000 he was Director of the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography. He is currently a tenured Professor of Photography at the California College of the Arts  and was a founding member and Vice-Chair of the City of Oakland Public Art Advisory Committee.