Joan Cusick

Back Photographer

Joan Cusick is an experienced journalist who started her career as a reporter and editor for The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis. From the newsroom, she moved into the corporate world, serving as a communications director for Maybelline, FedEx and Charles Schwab.

In 2013, Joan quit her “day job” to pursue her lifelong passion for photography. Since then, she has completed several long-term documentary projects, photographed dozens of weddings and events, and freelanced for Comstock’s, Edible Sacramento and Outword magazines. Joan is drawn to stories about people — especially that span generations — and captures them in both words and pictures. She is based in Sacramento. To view more of Joan’s work, visit www.joancusick.com.

Photo by Brian B. Fox

Photo by Brian B. Fox

By this person

Driving Force

Entrepreneur behind Kitchen428 Restaurant and Mojo’s Lounge has been key to re-energizing downtown Woodland

When Christy Hayes arrived in Woodland in 2004, the former U.S. Air Force heavy diesel mechanic was fresh out of active duty. She found a job as a hostess at an iconic downtown eatery, Morrison’s Upstairs. She worked her way up to bartender and then bar manager. But Hayes never expected she would one day see the building house her own restaurant.

Jul 16, 2018 Samantha Young

SACOG Regional Futures Forum

Sacramento Area Council of Governments held the Futures Forum event at the Milagro Center in Carmichael on April 30. The event included a keynote address from Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institute. Regional city officials and community members gathered to hear the Brookings report on the Sacramento region’s economy.

May 9, 2018 Joan Cusick

Capital Region Schools Get Their Own Farmers Markets

In San Joaquin County, elementary and middle school students are running farmers markets at 10 after-school sites. In Yolo County, the Yolo Food Bank runs each market held at local schools, but hundreds of students get to shop weekly for fresh produce. And in Sacramento County, a hybrid approach currently serves five schools.

May 3, 2018 Joan Cusick

FBI Academy Schools Local Students

When an FBI agent asks a roomful of high school juniors, “How many of you watch FBI shows on TV?” nearly every hand goes up. But at the recent Sacramento FBI Teen Academy, held in March, these 41 students soon learn fact — not fiction — about how the bureau works.

Apr 5, 2018 Joan Cusick

Journey to Citizenship

After years of waiting, Khaleel Yasir and his wife, Zuhal Al Ameen, became naturalized U.S. citizens on Feb. 22 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. During the monthly naturalization ceremony, 1,060 residents from 81 countries took the oath of citizenship. Yasir resettled his family to Sacramento in 2012 after nine years of service as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq. 

Mar 14, 2018 Joan Cusick

Let’s Talk About the B Street Theatre

Artistic producer Dave Pierini and executive producer Jerry Montoya talk about the company’s history and future as it prepares to move to The Sofia

In mid-December, actor and artistic producer Dave Pierini and executive producer Jerry Montoya sat on an empty stage at the original B Street location to talk about their long history with the professional theater company and their vision for the future. Here is an excerpt from their conversation.

Jan 5, 2018 Joan Cusick

In the Kitchen with Sangre del Dragon

The Sangre del Dragon project started in August 2016 when Sac High seniors Leo Lopez, Angel Roque, Benny Perez and Jordan Salvador were given an assignment to create a business plan for hot sauce.

Nov 29, 2017 Joan Cusick

A Good Vintage

In the Capital Region, wine is truly a family affair

In the wine industry, families must often handle the unique dynamics of their arrangement while running several operations at once — growing grapes, producing wine, and marketing and selling the final product. It’s not always easy. But these four wine-industry families wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oct 24, 2017 Jennifer Newman

Why Do You Want This Job?

Whitney High School seniors learn how to interview

At the beginning of the fall semester, about 450 seniors at Whitney High School in Rocklin participated in mock interviews to learn the valuable skills needed to enter the workforce. They learned how to prepare a resume and cover letter, participated in an interview class and completed a 20-minute mock interview.

Oct 13, 2017 Joan Cusick

Arts Are Good For Our Soul — And Our Economy

Can Sacramento continue to invest in the arts when public budgets remain tight and the economy continues to underperform? Wrong question. Rather, we need to ask ourselves whether we can afford not to invest in the arts. We need to change the debate away from a competition for dollars and toward building an understanding of the many avenues by which a vibrant arts scene complements and promotes robust economic growth in our region.

Aug 7, 2017 Christopher Weare

Catching a Wave

FourthWave Cofounder Cheryl Beninga on Sacramento as an emerging tech hub

FourthWave, a nonprofit accelerator program for women-led tech companies, expanded from its Los Angeles pilot to Sacramento in March and is already working with its first seven entrepreneurs. We sat down with Cheryl Beninga, who is the managing director of Beninga Advisors and who cofounded FourthWave Sacramento with Tracy Saville, CEO of Sofia Al., to talk about women in technology and the regional tech scene.

Jun 8, 2017 Joan Cusick

Plenty of Fish in the Creek

Spawning Chinook salmon have returned to Deer Creek for the first time in nearly a decade

In order for spawning Chinook salmon to return to Deer Creek this autumn, they first had to swim against the stream from the San Joaquin River to the Mokelumne River, east of Rio Vista. Then, the determined fish had to make their way up to where the Mokelumne meets the Cosumnes River, and finally, migrate several miles more to get to the shady shores of Deer Creek.

Jun 7, 2017 Robin Epley

Gettin’ Figgy With It

The peculiar world of fig traders and their trees

California fig farmers, who grow nearly all the figs produced in the U.S., harvested about 30,000 tons of fruit worth $22 million in 2015, according to the latest crop report from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. But of all those figs, there were just a handful of genetically distinct varieties. Meanwhile, almost uncountable heirloom varieties have fallen to the wayside or even disappeared.

May 30, 2017 Alastair Bland

A Sisterhood of Beer

Sacramento’s chapter of Pink Boots Society aims to give women in the brewing industry a place to call their own

Historically, the beer game has been just for men: Commercials for big brands have often shown guys clinking bottles together around a grill, or fly fishing while someone pulls a cold can out of the ice chest. The message was clear: Beer is manly, and you are made masculine by drinking it.

But, more recently, we are seeing females incorporated into this picture.

May 8, 2017 Robin Epley

New Publishers Relaunch Edible Sacramento Magazine

Edible Sacramento is back in print with a March/April edition that might be headlined “Under New Ownership.” The bimonthly food magazine is now owned and published by Reno residents Amanda Burden and Jaci Goodman.

Mar 27, 2017 Joan Cusick

A Day in the Life of a Neighborhood Precinct

Logan Leonhardt walked up to the check-in table at Poll A in Sierra 2 Center and the 4-year-old turned in his purple “ballot” to neighbor and poll worker Eric Johnson. His mother, Krystin, quickly snapped a photo of Logan’s first unofficial vote, which remained on display for the rest of the day.

Nov 9, 2016 Joan Cusick

A Slow-Growth Splash

Authenticity proves key in the growth of Amador County — California’s most approachable wine scene

Many wish their favorite places in California were deeply-held secrets. But there’s the hope that, given a little perspective, our current secrets can develop in a way that maintains the original character we fell in love with, without succumbing to the broad appeal forced by faceless investment. Right now, in Amador County, the Shenandoah Valley is at that postcard moment.

Jun 7, 2016 Tyler Forvé
Luke Spates, of NeighborWorks Sacramento, raises the banner for the Oak Park Farmers Market as it opens its seventh season in McClatchy Park.

The Market Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Oak Park Farmers Market opens for its seventh season

Oak Park Farmers Market — held at McClatchy Park — is one of 24 certified farmers markets in Sacramento County, about half operating seasonally from May through November. Joany Titherington manages this market, sponsored by NeighborWorks Sacramento, and she strives for a diverse mix of goodies including organic fruits and vegetables, baked goods and specialty items.

May 13, 2016 Joan Cusick
Walnut shells are turned into biochar at
Dixon Ridge Farms.

Soil Matters

Local farmers find a switch to carbon farming good for business — and the environment

Russ Lester’s property looks, at first glance, like that of many of his neighbors. He grows about 900 acres of walnut trees a few miles east of Winters. But at Dixon Ridge Farms, Lester never tills his land, and he keeps cover crops growing most of the time. He also laces the earth around his trees with biochar, charcoal-like leftovers from biomass energy production.

Apr 26, 2016 Alastair Bland
Kate Towson of Women's Empowerment reacts to winning the $10,000 Judges Award at SVP's Fast Pitch, an event that rewards nonprofits with a plan.

More Than A Feeling

In the quest for funding, charitable organizations need more than a mission — they need a plan

For more and more investors and would-be funders, nonprofits need to have more than a worthy cause and a compelling mission: They need a plan. Specifically, they’re now being asked to showcase the same mindset that’s required of for-profit organizations, meaning that spreadsheets, metrics and core competencies can matter just as much as pulling the heartstrings.   

Apr 12, 2016 Jeff Wilser
Claire Simon sells Girl Scout cookies

Girl Power

Business lessons in a box of Girl Scout cookies

Selling Girl Scout cookies on a rainy Saturday in Sacramento is a far cry from the Oscars, where A-list celebrities chipped in $65,243 after a Feb. 28 plug. Local Girl Scout Troop 1114 has to work a little harder for its money.

Mar 9, 2016 Joan Cusick