Guest Host Alums
(Names from A-E)

 These bio statements are as-written at the time of the guest host takeover, so keep in mind that people's information and accomplishments will change over time. You're reading a time capsule from when their takeover was published on LA River X.

Adam Ianello and Michael Atkins (2019)

Adam Ianniello is a photographer who lives and works in Los Angeles. His images have been exhibited in New York and London and featured in American Chordata, Vogue, Vice and other publications. He explores the ever-evolving relationships between humanity and the environment, and the river has been frequently in his gaze.⁠ Michael Atkins serves as Communications and Impact Manager with Friends of the LA River. In this role, he broadcasts the organization’s vision to present projects, actions, policies, and events that grow the River community. For the past five years Michael has worked to improve the public health and environment within his neighborhood and city as an advocate committed to facilitating community-based climate change solutions.⁠

Their LA River X takeover combined photography, poetry, and exquisite attentiveness.

Adam Ianello and Michael Atkins have not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Adam on Instagram.

Amanda Leigh Smith (2024)

Amanda Leigh Smith has lived here in Los Angeles for 15 years where she is a multi-talented artist - including set painting, scenic art, and mural art. ⁠

Originally from Florida, Amanda acclimated to her new habitat by completing the Sierra Club's Wilderness Travel Course and the University of California’s California Naturalist certification, both providing ample opportunities for nature-based learning and growth.⁠

The enforced hiatus of the pandemic afforded time in the outdoors and inspiration to make nature-focused art, which Amanda shares through @SpatiumnaturaDraws and @LAisnotadesert on Instagram, as well as at markets and events where her prints, stickers, T-shirts and more are available for sale. ⁠

In 2022, Amanda collaborated with LA River X to activate a space as part of Frogtown Artwalk. One of the signatures of her involvement was a towering papercut artwork that created a stunning entry from the river bike path, each handcut detail depicting an aspect of the river’s rich natural and social ecology.⁠

In this takeover, Amanda zooms in several details in the papercut to tell us more about the piece, and about watery landscapes in her two home states: Florida and California.⁠

Amanda's takeover is being ingested into the Western Water Archives.
Follow Amanda on Instagram at LA is Not a Desert.
Follow Amanda on Instagram at Spatium Natura Draws.

Anthea Raymond (2019)

Anthea Raymond is a kayak guide and boating instructor who has helped thousands of people engage with California rivers and its coastline, including extensively on the LA River. Since 2015, she has represented Supervisor Sheila Kuehl on the LA County Beach Commission, prioritizing the issues of access and earned income. She has taught broadcast history, production, media literacy, communications, and social media at institutions including Harvard Extension, USC, UCLA, and Santa Monica and Hunter colleges. A former Los Angeles Press Club president, she has created award-winning multimedia, broadcast and print work for National Public Radio, Marketplace, the Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, and others. She has graduate degrees in law and organizations from UCLA, and a BA in literature from Wellesley College. She's also dog mom to the LA River Corgis, who lead walking tours of the river.

Her LA River X takeover shares photography and reflections about the river as a boatable and walkable urban waterway.

See Anthea's takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow Anthea on Instagram.

Avital Oehler (2020)

Avital is an Israeli-American photographer, filmmaker, and writer. She earned her Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology, worked in academia, prisons, and with law enforcement before transitioning to art. Quite the career pivot. Her artworks lie somewhere between documentary and fiction, toying with notions of reality and place.  Avital's photography bristles with complexity and beauty, and we cannot wait to spend this week showcasing her LA River photo making. Buckle up, no-one sees the river quite the way Avital does.

Her LA River X takeover notices details of the river, and uses carousel images to create stitched-together photographic panoramas pairing unlikely images together.

See Avital's takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow Avital on Instagram.
Watch Avital's video about her fascination with the LA River.

Ben Simpson (2022)

A photographer and writer, Ben started photographing the LA River in 2015 when the seemingly-endless drought prompted him to find water to photograph. Then, as COVID-19 took hold in 2020, he walked the entire river. His journey is now listenable on your favorite podcast app and watchable on Youtube. The podcast is called Hodomania, on YouTube, via, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

His LA River X takeover documented his journey in words, images, and video.

Ben has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Ben on Instagram.

Center for Biological Diversity’s Urban Wildland Program (2022)

Founded in New Mexico in 1989, the Center for Biological Diversity has for decades been defending nature through lawsuits using the Endangered Species Act, along with highly effective advocacy, outreach and petition-based campaigning. Put simply, they’re nature protectors, and the world needs them more than ever.

Their LA River X takeover shared various staff perspectives and photographs of biological diversity along the river and its tributaries.

See the Center for Biological Diversity's takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow the Center for Biological Diversity on Instagram.

Charles Levin (2022)

Since taking up photography a few years ago, I find myself increasingly drawn to urban scapes. The LA River, from what little I knew of it, promised to fulfill some of that interest. I located an accessible spot in the Atwater Village neighborhood in August of 2020 and found that it, indeed, offered much to shoot. I took up photography about two years ago after a health issue forced me to give up my life-long involvement with music. I worked as a professional musician (drums, percussion) for 18 years after earning my undergraduate degree in it. I left music for some time and pursued a 15-year career as a print journalist (newspapers). Then I retired young and returned to music for another dozen years (and also earned an MFA in jazz drums). Photography helps satisfy my creative impulses.

His LA River X takeover focussed on the Sepulveda Basin and other River locations in the Valley.

See Charles' takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow Charles on Instagram.

Craig Collins (2019)

Craig Collins is a photographer, writer, and graphic designer. He’s a past president of the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy and a founding board member of Silver Lake Forward, and serves on the LA River G2 professional advisory committee.⁠ He believes that water resilience is the key issue for our river and reservoir future, as we work to create new public space.⁠ Passionate about landscape preservation and creating images that celebrate and challenge us, his Instagram is a visual feast for eyes and minds. The river (and its contradictions) is one of his favorite subjects. ⁠As well as a stint as Oprah's photographer, Craig has worked in conservation advocacy for over 35 years, offering creative strategy and the essential image that tells the story for public space and enhancement of our landscape.⁠

His LA River X takeover provided a color-filled and conservation-minded perspective of the Los Angeles River.⁠

See Craig's takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow Craig on Instagram.

Daniel Gonzalez & Tim DeRoche (2021)

Tim DeRoche and Daniel Gonzalez are the co-creators of ‘The Ballad of Huck and Miguel’, a contemporary retelling of Huckleberry Finn, a rollicking tale that takes place right here on the Los Angeles River. Written by Tim and illustrated by Daniel, the book is a captivating, whimsical, compelling tale that insists the river be paid more reverence than being a mere flood control drain. The rough-hewn pages of this book transport us to a river of possibility, a mystical place that carries Huck and his no-good Pap, as well as friends Tom and Miguel, on a heart-pounding journey through the worst and best of being human.

Daniel Gonzalez has been a prolific visual artist since he was twelve, weaving his story-drenched Mexican American cultural heritage into murals, graphic design, printmaking and letterpress. An alum of the California College of Arts and Crafts, the San Francisco Center for the Book, Self Help Graphics & Art and UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture, Daniel describes his work as ‘a vehicle not only for culture but to also inspire a sensibility of the creative as a formidable weapon for social justice’.

Tim DeRoche has called Los Angeles home for twenty years now, lured westwards after growing up in Milwaukee. A graduate of Pomona College, Tim worked for the prestigious McKinsey & Company before moving into educational strategy, children’s television, and writing. ‘The Ballad of Huck and Miguel’ – his writing debut - arrived in the world in 2018, followed by ‘A Fine Line: How Most American Kids Are Kept Out of the Best Public Schools’ (2020), and coming soon, ‘Tales of Whimsy, Verses of Woe’, another collab with Daniel Gonzalez.

Their LA River X takeover shares illustrations and behind the scenes insights from the book.

See Daniel and Tim's takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow Daniel on Instagram.
Follow Tim on Instagram.

Don Terlinden (2022)

Don Terlinden has turned his commercial illustration and fine art skills towards LA’s favorite 51 miles, creating art that depicts the interplay between the built environment and plants.  This Long Beach-based artist uses traditional and digital media to observe the world, with a particular enthusiasm for drawing people, trees, and buildings. 

His LA River X takeover shared some of his whimsical and vibrant LA River art.

Don Terlinden has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Don on Instagram.

Dwayne Grant (2020)

Dwayne is an entrepreneur and photographer, who has been photographing the river since 2015 when he spotted it from the Broadway Bridge. He appreciates the river because it's a place to get in touch with the natural world that is ""right in our view and arms reach"

His LA River X takeover features sweeping images of the Glendale Narrows stretch of the River.

See Dwayne's takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow Dwayne Grant on Instagram.

EcoJustice Radio (2022)

EcoJustice Radio - a project of - is hosted by Jessica Aldridge and Carry Kim. They present environmental and climate stories from a social justice frame, featuring voices not necessarily heard on mainstream media. Their purpose is to amplify community voices, broaden the reach of grassroots-based movements, and inspire action. The show provides solutions for social, environmental, and climate issues that challenge human health and wild landscapes across the USA and the world.

Their LA River X takeover shared audio snippets from LA River programming on their show.

See EcoJustice Radio's takeover in the Western Water Archives.
Follow EcoJustice Radio on Instagram.

Eco Sundays (2023)

Meet Annie Baker-Young and her crew of friends who get together for EcoSundays of service, with a hefty side helping of playfulness.⁠ The EcoSundays crew have been gathering at the LA River for a few years now. The first time they went, here’s what happened:⁠

“...we found a giant muddy tent wedged between two big rocks. As we pulled it out, two catfish wriggled out. Audrey saved them with her grippy gloves and threw them back in the river. We dragged the tent up to a trashcan. Genevieve lifted the lid and together we threw the tent in! We were dirty and trash-water-wet, but we were having so much fun!”⁠

EcoSundays are an inspiring example of ecological stewardship in action, and these elementary and middle school kids are starting young!⁠

Eco Sundays has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Eco Sundays on Instagram.

El Triste and Cain Carias (2020)

Cain Carias is an LA legend, who might not know it yet. ⁠Trained in the art of marionettes by the late great Bob Baker, Cain has for almost twenty years been enthralling audiences and breathing new life into the art and science of puppetry.⁠ His closest puppet companion is El Triste, the saddest puppet in Los Angeles. 

Their LA River X takeover featured images and videos of El Triste (and La Smiley) from some of LA's best street photographers.

Cain Carias has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow El Triste on Instagram.

Elysian Valley Arts Collective (2022)

Elysian Valley Arts Collective (EVAC), the community organization responsible for Frogtown Artwalk. While Artwalk is a one-day extravaganza, EVAC holds it down year-round with their programming, advocacy, service and engagement to uplift creativity and community in one of LA’s favorite river neighborhoods, the Frogtown portion of the Glendale Narrows. 

Their LA River X takeover geared up for the 2022 Frogtown Artwalk with a retrospective on how the organization celebrates art and culture in playful, thoughtful, and vibrant ways. 

EVAC has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow EVAC on Instagram.

If you have an LA River story to tell, reach out to LA River X Founder/Curator Tilly Hinton to become a guest host. 


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