MEET THE TEAM
Jessica at VALA - photo by Marisa Mouton Provo
Jessica Kravitz, Founder and Treasurer
Jessica is a Washington Bar Candidate (recent law school grad) and visual art curator. She serves on the OneRedmond Foundation Board of Directors and is a partner at Ryan James Fine Arts Gallery. As a former City of Redmond Arts and Culture Commissioner and docent at the Seattle Art Museum, Jessica is in touch with current and historical artistic and cultural sensibilities. Jessica strives to advocate for art both in our daily lives and as a method of self-expression available to anyone who wants to create it.
Crystal A. Edwards, President
Crystal started with VALA in 2012 as the first ever VALAnteer steward, and due to her passionate belief in VALA's mission, she has continued to work with VALA throughout the years. She is a local mixed media artist who has a BA in Painting, and in Advertising Design. She is highly active the local art community as the Surface Design Association Eastside Area Leader, as VALA's IT consultant, and as the current acting President of the VALA board. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks on the Sammamish River Trail, and hanging out at local coffee shops. You can see her artwork on: crystalaedwards.com.
Crystal in her Studio - photo by Crystal A Edwards
Laura Lee at VALA - photo by Marisa Mouton Provo
Laura Lee Bennett, Events Coordinator
Laura Lee Bennett is a writer, editor, and poet. She is a past board president of the Redmond Association of Spokenword (RASP) and has been involved in many local poetry events. Laura Lee has been a "VALAnteer" since 2016, and recently joined the VALA Board as Events Coordinator. She believes in the galvanizing power of close literary and arts communities.
Sweety Saradha, Board Member
Sweety Saradha is an avid member of the Greater Seattle area community. She is a business owner, artist, arts educator, and an agent for change. She has an MBA in Finance, and worked at MetLife as a Senior Business Manager in India. She completed her certification from Harvard in Higher Education Teaching and is a certified Bob Ross instructor. In 2013, she founded an art school, Sweety Saradha Arts, in Redmond, Washington, and Expressions Arts―a non-profit organization. In 2022, Expressions Arts was approved as an official certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Sweety Saradha – photo by Zoya Eshwar
Latha Sambamurti - photo by Katherine Wickhorst
Latha Sambamurti, Artistic Development Director
Latha Sambamurti is the producer and Artistic, Outreach and Development Director of several large-scale arts and culture festivals in Washington. She is an educator, trained musician , band leader, and winner of Kirkland Performance Center’s You Rock award for community service. Sambamurti has been a Washington State Arts Commissioner and currently a Redmond Arts & Culture Commissioner. She serves as a board director for several state and regional cultural organizations. Sambamurti holds a master’s degree in English Literature.
Lavanya Venkateswar, Treasurer
Lavanya is an artist with a passion for crocheting and painting. Her commitment to serving the community through art led her to create Meaningful Actions along with her daughters, a charity organization that teaches crocheting and donates baby hats to Neonatal ICUs. She serves as an adult mentor at Expressions Arts, a non-profit that brings the joy of art into peoples’ lives. With 23 years of experience in the food industry, she also actively mentors’ youth and believes in the power of art and science through STEAM education. She is excited to contribute her skills by serving as a board member at VALA, connecting artists and the community through creativity and collaboration.
Devyani Pare- photo by Pooja Kumar
Lavanya Venkateswar- photo by Smera Venkateswar
Devyani Pare, Graphic Design Intern
Devyani Pare is currently a graduate student at Maryland Institute College of Art, majoring in Graphic Design. Her design work focuses on branding, publication, UI/UX Design, and experimentation. She has been interested
in art since her childhood and, over the years, has developed her skills. She is a graphic designer, painter, illustrator, editor, and educator. Devyani has worked on multiple community projects since 2021, such as creating and designing the Expressions Magazine and coloring books for Expressions Arts, Derby Days, and more. Devyani likes to read, paper engineer, and swim in
her free time.