Activate Fellows

In 2015-16 a total of 95 people finished the ACTIVATE fellow program over two strands: Arts Education and Cultural Policy. Below you can learn more about these fellows and their advocacy projects.

Kenny Allen
Cultural Policy Fellow
Long Beach

Kenny Allen, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Long Beach, has been working to position himself within the Arts Council Advocacy Committee for the City of Long Beach in order to help increase accountability regarding the implementation of the city’s Cultural Plan and identify priorities for arts advocacy in Long Beach. Having met with the Executive Director of the Long Beach Arts Council, Kenny has worked to re-launch a sub-committee of the Arts Council Board, which includes members of the community. Ultimately, Kenny hopes to gain a position on the Long Beach City Arts Council, where he will serve to inform Long Beach City Hall’s priorities regarding arts programming and advocacy based on his work with local stakeholders on the Arts Council Board sub-committee.

Catherine Amizi (formerly Davis)
Cultural Policy Fellow
El Segundo

Catherine Davis, a Cultural Policy Fellow from El Segundo, has ben working to build a coalition of local arts leaders to help develop a new Cultural Plan to El Segundo City Council. Davis has worked to build connections among arts leaders in the El Segundo community and gain a broader sense of the cultural assets within the city, the position of City Council on arts development, and the level of community engagement and activism that currently exists. Ultimately, Davis hopes to lead a renewed Cultural Planning Process and update the Cultural Plan for the City of El Segundo to increase the capital made available to artists in her community.
Link to Project


Donna Artukovic

Arts Education Fellow
Los Alamitos USD
Donna Artukovic, an Arts Education Fellow from Los Alamitos Unified School District (Orange County), has been working to identify, inspire, train, and situate an Arts Chair at each of the 21 PTA Councils that comprise Orange County. By creating the Arts Chair position on these PTA Councils, Artukovic intends to elevate the voice of parent stakeholders in district and county-wide conversations about arts education. Artukovic hopes to see Arts Chairs installed in most of these PTA Councils as early as the onset of the 2016-2017 academic school year.


Charles Babb
Cultural Policy Fellow
Culver City

Charles Babb, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Culver City, has been developing BRIDGE, a STEM project summer program designed to assist teenagers and adults in securing positions in technological fields by supplementing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) instruction with the Arts exposure. The program focuses on web, mobile, video game, virtual reality, and augmented reality development and weaves in arts instruction and classic arts methods to inform and improve these digital arts mediums. Babb hopes the program will help address the lack of knowledge regarding arts related technological careers and encourage members of the burgeoning local technological community to incorporate art mediums into next generation technologies. Babb also hopes to secure funding from the Culver City Arts Commission to expand the BRIDGE program from a summer course into a formal, full-year program in the near future.
Link to Project Site

Manon Banta
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Manon Banta, an Arts Education Fellow working in LAUSD 2, has been developing a task force that will serve as a liaison between industry experts and teachers at local high schools in order to develop instructional programs around media literacy. Banta has been working on recruiting teachers, industry partners, and local leaders to gather and examine data regarding the availability of knowledgeable industry partners and an inventory of unused equipment in media classrooms. In conjunction with members of this task force, Banta intends to develop an effective curriculum at LAUSD 2 high schools to ensure that students receive proper instruction utilizing the equipment already in place, most of which had previously been donated to schools under the Arts Equity Index.
Link to Project


Selina Barajas
Cultural Policy Fellow
Inglewood

Selina Barajas, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Inglewood, has been working to develop a series of community events in the underused playhouse space at Edward Vincent Jr. Park in Inglewood. Barajas is looking to transform the space into a more creative site and take advantage of the social aspect of the park’s use to develop productions and programming that reflect the diversity of Inglewood’s demographics. The grand re-opening of the playhouse, scheduled for the end of the Summer of 2016, will coincide with the larger renovation project for the Downtown Inglewood area and will not only increase the opportunity for residents to be exposed to the arts, but will also allow local artists join the larger community or artists operating in similar theater spaces in the greater Los Angeles area.
Link to Project


Alexander Barrera
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Tiffany Bong

Tiffany “Jimini” Bong is a world-class, Hip Hop dancer and educator with a strong repertoire of original Hip Hop/Street dance forms. Her titles include being the two-time world Locking champion for Hip Hop International and the North American Locking Champion and representative at the renowned R-16 World Battle in Seoul, Korea. She is a founding member of the female dance crew, The Syrenz - who have performed beside commercial artists such as Justin Bieber, Usher, and Rihanna, and a member of World Dance Crew - founded by Janet Jackson’s iconic choreographer, Anthony “Bam Bam” Thomas. She continues to contribute to the global Hip Hop dance community by performing, judging, and teaching around the world. Tiffany has two bachelors’ degrees in Dance and Psychology, along with a Professional Designation in Arts Education. She is a teaching artist and presenter for prestigious organizations such as The Music Center, LA County Arts Commission, and Culture Shock LA. She is the founder and executive director of UniverSOUL Hip Hop - a community-based, K-12 cultural education company that brings cutting-edge Hip Hop programs into diverse school communities. In August 2016, Tiffany will be joining the faculty team at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance as a Lecturer in Hip Hop dance.


Karen Brown
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Estelle Campbell
Cultural Policy Fellow
Sierra Madre

Estelle Campbell, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Sierra Madre has been working to revive Sierra Madres Cultural Plan. Campbell has created a three-step process to create a task force that will develop and implement the city’s currently dormant cultural policy plan. Campbell has aligned with local non-profit organizations and elected officials to develop a more in-depth cultural agenda that aligns directly with community stakeholder interests. Ultimately, Campbell intends to host a public forum event at the end of November 2016 to discuss ideas accumulated via community surveys to inform the redevelopment of the city’s Cultural Plan.

Roberto Carlos
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Roberto Carlos, a Cultural Policy Fellow representing Los Angeles, has been working in partnership with the Child Guidance Clinic in South Los Angeles to provide the South Los Angeles community with accessible dances classes. Carlos’s 10-week dance course not only offers dance instruction, but also focuses on health, community unity, and social responsibility. By building relationships with city officials in Los Angeles City District 9, Carlos hopes to formalize his volunteer-based dance course into a city-sponsored program that provides free or low-cost dance classes to the South Los Angeles Community on a year-round basis.

Dana Carroll
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Sylvia Chavez
Arts Education Fellow
Wiseburn Elementary School District

Sylvia Chavez, an Arts Education Fellow from Wiseburn Elementary School District, has been working to increase arts education offering in Wiseburn Elementary USD. Chavez has met with the district Superintendent and has been included in the process of planning and developing strategies to fill gaps in arts education continuity from K-12. Chavez has also developed a grant proposal to secure funds to increase the number and type of visual and performing arts courses at district schools that lack this kind of programming. Chavez ultimately hopes her work will serve to increase arts access equity across the Wiseburn Elementary School District.
Link to Project

Linda Chong
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Caitlin Clark
Cultural Policy Fellow
Santa Monica

Caitlin Clark, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Santa Monica has been working to develop a new employment union that will represent the thousands of museum educators working in the greater Los Angeles area. To achieve this, Clark has met with representatives from other local unions and work groups, such as the Local 99 Service Employee International Union as well as museum education groups such as the Museum Educators of Southern California, in order to develop a framework for the union’s mission statement, bylaws, goals, etc.. Clark has also gathered information regarding the cost of museum education degrees, museum education job market viability, etc. to inform this process and hopes to see the establishment of a dedicated union that will serve and protect museum educators across the greater Los Angeles area in the near future.


Melissa Constantino
Cultural Policy Fellow
Glendale

Melissa Flavia a Cultural Policy Fellow from Glendale, has been developing a music program, “Stop and Listen”, which features street performances by local musicians throughout Glendale. Flavia has been engaging and organizing local musicians to perform as part of her program and has documented the process of producing these performances on her blog and program website (www.stopandlistenmusic.com). Flavia ultimately plans to use her blog as part of a presentation to City Council to secure funds to formalize “Stop and Listen” into an ongoing program.
Link to Project
Link to Project


Jennifer Cowan
Arts Education Fellow
Santa Monica-Malibu USD

Jennifer Cowan, an Arts Education Fellow from the Santa Monica - Malibu Unified School District, has been working to ensure that a parental perspective is incorporated in the district’s new strategic plan and redesign of the VAPA Department standards and District Arts Committee website. Cowan has been working to gather ideas and commentary from focus groups of invested parent stakeholders to inform conversations regarding the state of the current strategic plan and identify actionable items that can be followed up on now or incorporated into the new strategic plan as the school district moves forward. Cowan hopes to provide a clear voice for parent stakeholders to provide insight regarding how the current district strategic plan has functioned and promote the continued implementation of the Arts for All Strategic plan beyond the initial timeline.
Link to Project

Jasey Crowl
Arts Education Fellow
Hacienda La Puente USD

Jasey Crowl, an Arts Education Fellow representing Hacienda/ La Puente Unified School Districts, has been working on gathering data regarding how many students in his district are involved in arts programs and how this exposure can improve these students’ overall academic performance (as reflected in yearly CASSPP scores). By gathering information from various high schools, Crowl is working to develop a quantifiable database that will allow him to compare the academic performance of students receiving arts-based educations to those who are not actively involved in arts programs and identify gaps in equitable arts access across the district. Crowl intends to present his findings to school board members and superintendent with the hope of bringing about the adoption of more language to support the Arts in the district’s LCAP standards.
Link to Project


Jennifer Cuevas

Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Jennifer Cuevas, a Cultural Policy fellow representing Los Angeles, has been working in partnership with two other ACTIVATE Cultural Policy Fellows, Ella Turenne and Tiffany Judkins, to create pathways to financial stability in a creative economy for at-risk youth. Cuevas, Judkins, and Turenne have partnered with the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network to develop a pathway from juvenile incarceration to creative careers via job training, apprenticeships, and artist opportunities. An exhibit featuring art by at-risk youth in their program pipeline (ages 16- 24 years old) is set to debut in June. Ultimately, Cuevas, Judkins, and Turenne plan to fold documentation of the youngster’s progress and projects into a proposal to partner with Mayor Garcetti’s New Jobs Program and utilize the city program’s framework and resources to help carve out creative career opportunities for formerly incarcerated youth.
Link to Project 1
Link to Project 2
Link to Project 3
Link to Video


Maria Dean
Cultural Policy Fellow
Valencia

Maria Dean, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Santa Clarita, has teamed up with Michael Dean, another Cultural Policy Fellow, to develop the newly named “Alliance for the Arts” into an Arts and Business Leadership Council as outlined under the City of Santa Clarita’s recently approved Arts and Cultural Master Plan. The Deans’ work is a continuation of Stephanie O’Connor’s (ACTIVATE 2014-2015 Fellow) work to revive the Santa Clarita Arts Coalition and host a convening of local cross-sector stakeholders. Together, the Deans and O’Connor have built up a group of local arts, business, and community leaders to help plan and, ultimately, participate in a second Santa Clarita Convergence in the fall, which will be modeled on Arts for LA’s LA Convergence. The Deans intend for the Alliance for the Arts council to help uphold and continually develop Santa Clarita’s Arts and Master Cultural Plan for years to come.
Link to Project

Michael Dean
Cultural Policy Fellow
Valencia

Michael Dean, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Santa Clarita, has teamed up with Maria Dean, another Cultural Policy Fellow, to develop the newly named “Alliance for the Arts” into an Arts and Business Leadership Council as outlined under the City of Santa Clarita’s recently approved Arts and Cultural Master Plan. The Deans’ work is a continuation of Stephanie O’Connor’s (ACTIVATE 2014-2015 Fellow) work to revive the Santa Clarita Arts Coalition and host a convening of local cross-sector stakeholders. Together, the Deans and O’Connor have built up a group of local arts, business, and community leaders to help plan and, ultimately, participate in a second Santa Clarita Convergence in the fall, which will be modeled on Arts for LA’s LA Convergence. The Deans intend for the Alliance for the Arts council to help uphold and continually develop Santa Clarita’s Arts and Master Cultural Plan for years to come.
Link to Project

Cristina Delgado
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Veronica Diaz
Cultural Policy Fellow
Montebello

Veronica Diaz, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Montebello, has been working to develop a Cultural Plan for the City of Montebello. Diaz has been working to organize a group of local stakeholders to develop a Cultural Plan for the city that will be presented of City Council. Diaz hopes the information and ideas she has gathered will ultimately inform the new Cultural Plan for the City of Montebello and bring about an increase in arts and cultural programming in Montebello.

Angela Dyborn
Arts Education Fellow
Culver City USD & Los Angeles USD

Ronnie Finn
Cultural Policy Fellow
Claremont

Veronica Finn, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Claremont, has been working to increase the presence of the visual and performing arts in Claremont’s 2016 Cultural Festival. Finn has met with members of the Claremont City Council to present and discuss ideas to create a cross-cultural event that engages residents not only on the day of the festival, but also in the planning of the event. Currently, Finn is helping with the planning of the festival, helping to secure music, art pieces, and performing groups for the event, include community members’ ideas, and provide opportunities for local artists and performers to be showcased at the 2016 Cultural Festival in September.
Link to Project


Malena Fuentes
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Malena Fuentes, an Arts Education Fellow from Los Angeles, has been working with local libraries in the San Fernando Valley to establish a reading program that promotes stronger Spanish language literacy among immigrant and second generation, bilingual students. Fuentes’s program will host weekly Spanish language readings for kids as well as bimonthly workshops for parents of bilingual students regarding bilingual educational programs and bilingual child development. Fuentes hopes this program will help native and bilingual Spanish-speaking students develop a deeper knowledge of and pride in their cultural and linguistic roots as well as improve overall language and literacy skills that will allow these students to transition smoothly into English language classrooms.
Link to Project


Michael Gomez Burton
Cultural Policy Fellow

Veronica Gonzalez
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Veronica Gonzalez, an Arts Education Fellow from LAUSD 4 has been developing a workshop series in collaboration with the Hollywood High School Performing Arts Magnet Program and New Media Academy that provides practical instruction and industry insight the next generation of music professionals. Gonzalez’s program aims to partner experienced music industry professionals and recording artists with students to teach students about the recording process, songwriting, and the music business as well as how to take advantage of the equipment available for student use in the Performing Arts Magnet Program at Hollywood High School. As part of the workshop series, Gonzalez has partnered with live Nation and LACER to bring professional recording engineers to campus and teach students to use the recording equipment available and plans to formalize the workshop series into a program that can be expanded to other LAUSD schools.
Link to Project 1
Link to Project 2


Addy Gonzalez Renteria
Cultural Policy Fellow
Panorama City

Addy Gonzalez Renteria, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Panorama City, has been working to identify and mobilize team to secure a permanent facility for her non-profit organization, 11:11 A Creative Collective. Gonzalez Renteria has been working with stakeholders, board members, and facility committee members of 11:11 to find a suitable space that will serve the organization as it grows. Ultimately, Gonzalez Renteria hopes to have 11:11 become a major player in transforming the San Fernando Valley into a culturally enriching destination.


Jacque Herman
Arts Education Fellow
Glendora USD

Jacque Herman, an Arts Education Fellow representing Glendora Unified School District has been developing an art installation, entitled “Beautifully and Wonderfully Made: Me on Display”, in collaboration with the Glendora Unified School District and the New York City-based Heidi Latsky Dance Company. The installation, which will feature performances by students with disabilities and coincides with the 25th anniversary of Disability Awareness, will challenge the perception of beauty and ability and give students with disabilities a platform to demonstrate their artistic talents. Herman has also partnered with Chris Neil (LA Film School graduate) to create a documentary on the workshops leading up to the installation, which will be completed in time for the December Disability Awareness celebration and launch of similarly-themed installations nationwide.
Link to Project