John Berger

 John started working with DDSO in November of 2000, previous to this he had no experience working with this population. He was recruited as an art facilitator by some of the staff at Short Center North (SCN). He had been a practicing artist in the Sacramento community for about 10+ years and his day job was selling and merchandising wine for a local distributor, and doing some landscaping jobs on the side. John did have previous knowledge of SCN and it’s artists prior to being hired: he had seen several of their art shows, had visited the center, purchased art work, and had a few friends that worked for DDSO.

The first time he was exposed to SCN’s art and artists he was blown away! The art was genuine and pure and came from a place few artists only wish they could access. The artists themselves were the most amazing sincere people he had ever met. SCN also had (and still does) an amazing and dedicated staff. The combination of the people and artwork made the transition towards his new occupation very easy. Since being at SCN/DDSO he has worn many different hats and loved every moment of it. Upon arrival to SCN he also discovered the St. Marks Campus also had a greenhouse and a vegetable garden (one of his other passions). Neither of these had been used in a while and with the permission of former Program Director, Kathy Powell, he began to get it all functioning again. Today that same garden provides occasional produce to 3 local Sacramento restaurants.

In 2005 John became the Assistant Program Director under Rik Tillson, and in 2009 he became the SCN Program Director.

“My role at SCN has changed and I am not in the classroom like I used to be, I am motivated to empower and provide our consumers as many possibilities as I can. My staff and I are always searching for venues and opportunities in our community to display their art work. Over the years I have curated several shows outside of SCN and I have always made it a priority to integrate SCN artists into these shows. My future agenda for SCN is to keep integrating our clients into the community and have them be viewed as an integral part of the Sacramento area and beyond. I believe that the arts provide a perfect vehicle for this, and allows people to view our clients as competent artists and not a person with disabilities.”