Board of Directors

JIM WERMERS, President

A native San Diegan and enthusiastic philanthropist, visionary, and volunteer, Jim is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and has lived part-time in Borrego Springs with his wife Anne for 20 years. He is the retired President and CEO of Wermers Construction Company, a prominent San Diego firm founded by his father. Jim has been actively involved in a number of San Diego civic organizations and is a founding member and Secretary of the Borrego Village Association. He owns The Mall in Borrego Springs and has served as President of de Anza Country Club and on the Borrego Water Coalition. In 2011, Jim purchased the former Borrego Valley Foods building, donated it to the BAI, and spear-headed its stunning renovation.

KAY LEVIE, Vice President

One of Borrego Springs' long-time residents, Kay has been involved in the community since 1979. Currently serving on the Board of the Borrego Art Institute, she also served on the Board of the Borrego Village Foundation and seven years on the Board of the Borrego Springs Unified School District.She also worked as Advertising Manager and photographer for the Borrego Sun for 27 years. After attending San Diego State University with a medical career in mind, Kay changed paths to pursue her passion for photography at Grossmont College where she earned an Associate’s degree. Her first clients were professional artists and galleries, and to better serve that clientele, she continued art education at Grossmont, San Diego State University, Mesa College, and San Diego City College. With years of experience hanging shows and taking photographs for gallery brochures and advertising, Kay brings a strong background in gallery operations and knowledge of art to the BAI.


Diana is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Borrego Community Health Foundation and has been a continuous full-time resident of Borrego Springs since her childhood. She graduated valedictorian of her Borrego Springs High School class and attended San Diego State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting in May 2004. She has been with BCHF since December 2004 and has been involved with the local High School site council committee. Diana currently resides in Borrego with her husband and children.


A Borregan since 1998, Leslie is an accomplished and locally recognized working artist best known for her whimsical portrayal of desert flora and fauna. She holds a BFA from Laguna College of Art and Design, studied graphic design at the University of California, Irvine, and brings the artist’s sensibilities to the Board. She partnered with the BAI at its inception and developed the Children's After-School Art Program in 2006. Today her popular KidsArt program involves 200 children each week during the school year. In addition, she teaches occasional workshops at the BAI in various art media.


Laura was a frequent visitor to Borrego Springs for 40 years and is now a full-time resident. She grew up in an artistic family in the Philadelphia area, which gave her a deep, hands-on appreciation for music and art. A graduate of Penn State, Laura moved to San Diego and launched a 25-year career as an environmental planner. An avid learner, she then earned a Masters of Library and Information Systems from San Jose State and was a research skills librarian for a decade. Now re-connecting with her artistic roots, Laura has been an active BAI Gallery volunteer and dedicated jazz pianist, and she looks forward to earning her next degree in Music at the College of the Desert.

BOB BLUM, Director

Bob resides in Borrego Springs and Portland, Oregon, with his wife Carol. He holds a B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado and a D.Ed. from Texas A&M University. He is a founding Director and President of both the Borrego Village Foundation and the Borrego Springs Educational Foundation and serves as a Director of the Borrego Village Association. Prior to retiring in 2009, Bob enjoyed a 40-year career in education– teaching, school administration, and educational research and development. As Deputy Executive Officer at Education Northwest, a large non-profit corporation, he led an initiative to update corporation documents including Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, policies, and procedures. Committed to the arts as a way to enrich lives, Bob brings invaluable executive, leadership, and administrative skills to the BAI.


Diane has lived with with her husband Frank in Borrego Springs for more than a decade. She grew up in the Northeast and earned a B.A. from Brown University, and a Library Science master’s degree from Simmons University in Boston. Prior to retirement, Diane held positions at a number of public and private institutions focusing on the use of online systems to access information, especially in the area of medical research.  As a BAI volunteer, she has led a development drive, organized events to bring Borrego’s Hispanic and Anglo communities into closer touch, and coordinated housing and hospitality for several Plein Air Invitationals. Diane also serves or has served on the Boards of the Anza-Borrego Foundation, the Borrego Village Foundation, and the Borrego Springs Rotary Foundation and was a co-founder of the Literacy Center in Ocotillo Wells. A committed community booster, volunteer, and savvy art collector, Diane brings expertise in fostering connections between people and resources to the BAI Board.

BEN NOURSE, Treasurer

Ben owns and manages the popular Borego Outfitters store with his partners, wife Donna Nourse and Corie Loera, and is considered one of Borrego Springs' most respected entrepreneurs. Before moving to Borrego Springs in 2000, Ben founded and ran, a highly successful retail business which he sold to in 1999. Ben holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and brings a wealth of informed consumer marketing, financial, operational, and technical expertise to the Institute. He is is passionate about the vital role of the BAI in the Borrego Springs community.


MIKIA WALLIS, Director  

Mikia Graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in History and Political Science/Public Law in 2004. She went on to attend the University of San Diego School of Law and graduated  with a Juris Doctor in 2006 and was admitted to the California State Bar in June 2007. While in law school, Mikia developed an interest in public service as an intern for the University of San Diego School of Law's Center for Public Interest Law for which she wrote publications for the California Regulatory Law Reporter. She went on to become an intern for the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of California and for the San Diego County District Attorney's office. After graduation from law school, Mikia continued as a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego. She became Corporate Counsel for Borrego Health in February 2010 and continues to oversee the Borrego Health legal department. She lives in Julian with her three young boys, ages 7, 5, and 3.   


Borrego Art Institute

665 Palm Canyon Drive

P.O. Box 2383

Borrego Springs, CA  92004


©2015 Borrego Art Institute. Borrego Art Institute is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.

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