jim pepper
The Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival’s MISSION is to improve access to music education in Jim Pepper’s name in these several ways:

~ Fundraising and awarding Jim Pepper Remembrance College Scholarships to worthy music and dance students in Jim’s home neighborhood, the Parkrose School District, and to Native American and First Nations students living on or off reservation anywhere in the USA and Canada.
Providing performing opportunities for student musicians at the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival.
~ Providing a free all-ages concert for the community at Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon.
2015 Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival Board Members
Sean Aaron Cruz, Executive Director
sean cruz The seeds of the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival were planted in 2005, when Sean drafted Senate Joint Resolution 31, honoring the life and achievements of Jim Pepper (Kaw, Creek) (1941-1992), in his capacity as Oregon state senator Avel Gordly’s chief of staff. It was while researching the resolution that he became aware of Jim Pepper’s remarkable, transformational body of work, his highly original artistic voice and the scope of his influence, reaching throughout Indian Country, from Alaska to Oklahoma to New York City, and across Europe. Jim’s music, the very sound of his saxophone, had its roots in time immemorial, and its destiny is to live forever.

Sean realized that there were many musicians, composers and songwriters and performing artists, Native and non-Native, who remembered Jim Pepper with great respect and affection, who loved his music and personality, who had been moved and influenced by him and were thus part of his legacy, and who would answer the call when invited. He also realized that there was a hunger among Jim Pepper’s audiences to hear his music again, to be in the zone with him once more, and that these audiences spanned genres from jazz to blues to rock to Native Church to powwow singing to World music to styles yet to be born.
Sean promised Jim Pepper’s mom, Floy Pepper, (photo above) that he would do all he could to see that her son received the recognition he deserves, and that is the mission he is on, organizing the Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival in Jim’s home neighborhood while reaching across Indian Country and into Europe, seven generations deep.
michael conway Michael Conway, Board Treasurer
Michael is a trained chemist (bachelors and masters from OSU) and currently works at OMIC USA, a food testing laboratory in NW Portland. He has lived most of his life in Oregon, including Madras, where his stepfather worked as vice principal at the high school and his mother worked in Warm Springs as a child counselor.

Michael discovered Jim Pepper’s music through a coworker and, wanting to learn more about him, attended both “The Jim Pepper Project” a play about Jim Pepper’s life by Triangle Productions in May 2014 and, a few months later, the 2014 Jim Pepper Native Arts festival.

At both events he was inspired by the artistic performances and meeting a community of people dedicated to connecting Jim Pepper’s musical legacy to a service and promotion of artistic talent in the community. Michael brings a love of music (all kinds) and an enjoyment of working with spreadsheets.
Mingus Mapps Mingus Mapps, Board Secretary
Mingus Mapps, Ph.D., is a political scientist and the Historic Parkrose District Manager. He received his Ph.D. from the Government Department at Cornell University, and has held teaching or research positions at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University and Portland State University.

Historic Parkrose is a “non-profit, community-led group…formed to strengthen the economic competitiveness of our business district through community-led actions and projects.”
2015 Festival Sponsors