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

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 Snyder

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
Gold Hill Winery in Placerville

Country Roads

Travel spending is a solid source of income for the state’s major cities, but for rural counties in the Capital Region, it is king

In a part of the state with seemingly boundless natural assets, tourism is the number one industry for counties beyond Sacramento’s city limits. Aided by the rise of culinary travel, the farm-to-fork movement, and the craft beer and wine industries, this decade finds rural counties a bigger economic driver for the state than ever.

Feb 9, 2016 John Blomster

The Endangered Blue-Collar Worker

While policymakers focus on the need for more grads with bachelor’s degrees, middle-skill jobs go unfilled

Douglas Stricker of Folsom, 58, knows all about the need for skilled laborers. In 1992, he launched Golden Development, a company that built storage tanks and other structures for refineries and chemical companies. He had a crew of between 20 and 40 workers but never could find enough reliable welders — even in jobs that paid up to $30 an hour.

Jan 11, 2016 Steven Yoder

‘Tis the Season to Support Small Business

A year after opening, Display: California rings in the ‘HollaDays’ once again

One year ago, the husband-and-wife team of Roshaun and Maritza Davis opened their Display: California pop-up retail store, selling holiday gifts from about 30 artists in the Sacramento area. They called it, “The HollaDays.” The “HollaDays” are back at the shop’s location on 34th Street and Broadway in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood. But Display isn’t simply a seasonal gift shop. 

Dec 16, 2015 Joan Cusick
Alexandria Goff opened her own practice right out of law school. She specializes in estate planning, probate and equine law.

The Contemporary Counselor

Law schools are responding to the gap in entrepreneurial education that up-and-coming lawyers need

Traditionally, the path from law student to full-fledged lawyer has been fairly straight-forward: A student starts out with a summer internship at a law firm, graduates and passes the bar exam, then gets hired at a law firm. In a secure and supportive work environment, law graduates can make good money, meet professional mentors and learn the skills required to be a real lawyer. This is the standard route, the one most students embark on every year. But more graduates like Alexandria Goff are choosing to buck tradition in the name of independence.

Nov 10, 2015 Russell Nichols

Industrial Titan

Titan Gilroy is on a mission to eliminate offshore outsourcing and boost manufacturing back home

When Zinola Manufacturing owner Kevin Zinola took a chance and offered convicted felon Titan Gilroy an entry-level job in his small Sunnyvale machine shop, he had no idea where the relationship would go. In the years to follow, Gilroy reformed his life, worked his way up through several companies and finally, established Titan America Manufacturing.

Oct 13, 2015 Laurie Lauletta-Boshart

NeighborWorks Paint the Town

Nearly 150 volunteers spent Saturday, September 19, sprucing up 10 homes in South Oak Park during the 26th annual Paint the Town event, sponsored by NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center Sacramento Region. 

Sep 21, 2015 Joan Cusick

Selected Artists Tour Golden 1 Center Site

Artists in hard hats toured the Golden 1 Center construction site during the first week of September to get a first-hand look at the locations selected for four public art projects. Shelly Willis, executive director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, led four orientation sessions for the 17 artists who have been selected to submit proposals in late October.

Sep 8, 2015 Joan Cusick
The owners of About a Bite Bakery and Downtown & Vine are sharing space on K Street, across from the IMAX Theater. About a Bite Bakery creates bite-sized desserts, and the new Harvest Bar will offer “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch items.

Photos: About a Bite and Harvest Bar

Harvest Bar will offer healthy grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items as well as a juice bar. About a Bite will serve bite-sized cooks, artisan chocolates and other sweets. 

Jul 14, 2015 Joan Cusick