Program Advisory Committee
Arts for LA has regularly convened steering committees to help shape and develop programs and outcomes. Members of these committees represent a diverse range of stakeholders. For 2015-16, Arts for LA has established a Program Advisory Committee, whose 11 members meet four times during the year to advise and assist Arts for LA in its program development.
Tafarai Bayne is a Los Angeles native with extensive experience in the following areas: communications, promotion and outreach, constituency building, stakeholder education, project management, program development, marketing, and event production. He is considered a leader in strategic planning & community organizing issues and has worked on development and urban planning issues for over 13 years with an emphasis on the dynamics impacting working class communities. He has extensive organizational development experience having served on the board of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy during a critical executive transition and he recently served on the Board of CicLAvia, having helped spearhead expansion efforts into South Los Angeles. In 2014 he was appointed as a commissioner to the City of Los Angeles Transportation Commission. Tafarai is currently serving as the principle of EMH Creative Group, a consulting firm focused on strategic planning, communications and production. His Current clients include TRUST South LA, The California Endowment, Community Services Unlimited and CicLAvia.
Sonny Calderon is Dean of the College at the New York Film Academy. In this role, he oversees many STEAM-based projects in primary, secondary, and higher education. He also oversees the school's various community outreach programs. Sonny is a member of the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts Site Council, the Silver Lake Jewish Learning Center Steering Committee, and the Chalk Repertory Board of Directors. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Michigan.
Amanda Carlson is a freelance cultural planner. Her interest is in building better cities through community-based participation in arts and culture. In the United States, Amanda has worked on cultural plans for Chicago and Evanston, IL; on urban design and planning projects in Cook County, IL and Los Angeles County, CA; and on culture-related research projects with groups in Argentina and the United States. Central to these efforts is an exploration of themes relating to creative placemaking and placekeeping, arts as a tool in economic development, and repurposing real estate for cultural endeavors. Exploring such themes, she contributes to each project her advanced training in qualitative research methods.
A purposeful traveler and participant observer, Amanda looks to the global community for inspiration and best practices. She has worked and conducted research in Buenos Aires, Chicago, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, and Nairobi. Amanda holds an MSc in Human Geography Research from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Anthropology from Wellesley College.
Dayana De La Torre
Dayana De La Torre is a Program Assistant at Community Coalition in South Los Angeles. Through her work at Community Coalition, Dayana has played a role in ensuring residents of South Los Angeles can participate, create and be acknowledged for their work in the arts. She has helped coordinate events like the 2015 Art Festival celebrating relative caregivers and highlighting the foster care to prison pipeline and the upcoming #WeAreSouthLA PowerFest, events which draw hundreds of community members in highlighting local talent and elevating neighborhood creativity despite economic and racial barriers.
As a lifelong resident of Lynwood, Dayana is passionate about coalition building in and across communities of color. Before Community Coalition, she was a student organizer orchestrating campus-wide events aimed at developing Latino/a leadership and allyship. She hold her bachelor's degree from Williams College in History, Africana Studies and Latino/a Studies. You can follow her work on Twitter @DayanaDLT14.
Juan Devis is a creative leader in public media. Devis is currently the Vice President, Arts and Culture Programming, for the largest independent television network in the United States, KCETLink. In this capacity, Devis has had to develop strategic partnerships with funders, organizations and independent production houses to ensure a new slate of content for two stations – KCET + LINK TV - securing funds and maintaining an editorial vision and cohesiveness for the company’s new mission. Devis has also charted the stations’ new Arts and Culture initiative and is the Executive Producer of the Emmy Winner Artbound, consisting of a television series, an online networked cultural hub and the creation programmatic partnerships with cultural institutions. In addition, Devis has developed and is the Executive Producer of a slate of new productions series that are either in development, production and pre-production. Some of these include, the Emmy nominated Live @ the Ford, Studio A, Border Blaster, Departures, City Walk, Studio A, Ocean Stories, Re-Plan it and others. For over a decade, Devis has worked with a number of non-profit organizations and media arts institutions in Los Angeles serving as producer, director, educator and board member. He is a founding member and is currently a board member of the LF Charter School for the Arts, an innovative arts-integrated charter public school serving the population of North East Los Angeles. Devis’ film, television, and interactive work has been screened and exhibited across the world. In the press, Juan Devis was presented as a major “influencer” in Los Angeles by the LA Weekly, and his transmedia series, Departures, was celebrated by the New York Times as a new twist on public media. Devis has won numerous awards, including: Emmy, Webby, LA Press Awards, National Arts Journalism awards, the Japan Prize, and others.
Rudy Espinoza is the Executive Director of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN), a community development organization designing innovations to responsibly revitalize low-income, urban areas. There, Rudy manages initiatives that include a micro-lending program for healthy food entrepreneurs and a purchasing cooperative that offers procurement and distribution services for small grocers in low-income neighborhoods. Before LURN, Rudy worked in South LA providing micro-loans to street vendors. He serves on LA’s Board of Transportation Commissioners, the Board of Directors for the LA Kitchen, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, and the LA Food Policy Council. Rudy holds degrees in Business and Urban Planning.
Asuka Hisa is the Director of Education and Public Programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) producing unique education and public engagement programs for the museum since 1998. Prior to SMMoA, she taught art to youth in France and to students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Over the years, she has created a number of acclaimed programs: Wall Works, Cause for Creativity, Park Studio, and ARTransmissions. Wall Works received the 2012 Excellence in Museum Education from the Office of the California State Superintendent and the California Association of Museums.
She is a native of Los Angeles. She received her B.A. from Barnard College and her National Diploma of Art from the Ecole des Beaux Arts, France.
From 2007-2011, she served on the Arts Commission of the City of Santa Monica. She was Board President of the Museum Educators of Southern California (MESC) from 2009-2011. In 2003, she received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the Ministry of Culture of France. In 2010-11, she was part of the steering committee for the California Association of Museums’ Statewide Collaborative Learning Networks initiative. Currently, she serves on the City of Santa Monica Arts Commission’s Art and the Urban Fabric Committee. She is a board member of Automata; an organization devoted to the creation of puppetry, experimental theater, and film.
Wendy Hsu is a researcher, strategist, and educator who engages with hybrid research and organizing agendas for equality in arts, technology, and civic participation. As an ACLS Public Fellow, Hsu currently works with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to redesign the department’s information paradigms with a goal to augment digital capacity, relevance, and public engagement. She is also the founder of Lab at DCA, a city staff innovation incubator.
Hsu has published on digital ethnography, sound-based pedagogy, public humanities, open access movement, Asian American indie rock, Yoko Ono, Taqwacore, and Bollywood. Her academic research on street music-culture in postcolonial Taiwan focuses on the urban underclass experience of mobility and low-resource technology. Her civic arts data project LA Listens explores the sensory, social, and ecological aspects of Los Angeles streets by providing a creative and engagement platform for community-oriented artists, planners, and organizers. Hsu received her PhD in the Critical and Comparative Studies in Music program at the University of Virginia.
Since 2007, Hsu has designed and taught undergraduate courses in music, gender studies, media practice at UVa and Occidental College, and led graduate workshops on design research and advised MFA students in Media Design Practices at Art Center College of Design. She recently completed Mellon Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Center of Digital Learning + Research at Occidental College where she researched and taught ethnographic methodology, digital pedagogy, digital sound studies, and community-based participatory research.
Currently a member of the Claremont School Board of Education, Steven was first elected to the Board in 2007. This past May he was also elected President of the Los Angeles County Student Trustee Association, the organization made up of representatives from School Boards throughout Los Angeles County.
When the Claremont School Board developed its six goals for education, Steven proposed a goal addressing the Whole Child. This goal went beyond Language Arts and Math instruction and encompassed Visual and Performing Arts instruction and performance activities. He has supported the district’s participation in Project ARTstART which trains high school students, working with college mentors, to provide exhibit-based art lessons for elementary school students.
Steven has been a strong supporter of the arts in Claremont as a supporting member of the Claremont Museum of Art and Treasurer of the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre Company. He is also an Inner Circle Ambassador for the Music Center.
For the past 26 years, Steven has been an elementary school teacher. His first post was in East Los Angeles teaching sixth grade. He also taught fifth grade in Canoga Park. For the past 25 years, Steven has been teaching at Gerald Smith Elementary School, a Science and Technology Magnet School. During that time he has taught mostly sixth grade with stints teaching first grade and fifth grade. Steven was also the Technology Teacher on Assignment for five years helping his fellow teachers use instructional technology in their classrooms and lessons.
Elena Muslar is the Program Assistant at the Skirball Cultural Center where she supports and facilitates the production of film, lecture, music, and performing arts public programming. She also co-manages the Skirball Senior Outreach Program. In her spare time, she works as a Production Assistant for Grand Park and The Music Center. Elena achieved her BA in Theatre with minors in Dance, African-American Studies, and an emphasis in Education from Loyola Maymount University and her MFA in Theatre Management specializing in Producing from CalArts. She serves on the Leadership Council of Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles as Programming Co-Chair, the Program Advisory Committee for Arts for LA, and the Next Generation Arts Leadership Report Advisory Committee for the Hewlett Foundation. She is a member of WOCA (Women of Color in the Arts), the Next Gen National Arts Network, and was in the first cohort of the California Presenters Next-Gen Leadership Diversity Program. Some of her previous work experiences include placements at Inner-City Arts, the LA County Arts Commission, Center Theatre Group, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She also embarked on a two-month Communication and Sales Production internship in Florence, Italy at Teatro Verdi. Elena has also published articles through HowlRound and Americans For The Arts focusing on unpacking diversity in arts administration and outreach to diverse audiences. www.elenamuslar.com.
Sandy hails from Los Angeles and has over 13 years of experience in teaching artist training, curriculum development, program management, teaching artistry, and professional development. She currently works as a consultant in the area of teaching artist training/coaching and curriculum development. Sandy has worked for a wide variety of arts education organizations including P.S. Arts, Dramatic Results, Turnaround Arts: California, The Armory Center for the Arts, The Music Center Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles Opera, and The Da Camera Society. Just prior to her work in arts administration, she worked as a teaching artist in a middle school with young cellists and violinists and also worked in special education with Los Angeles Unified School District for over ten years. Sandy also currently doubles as a professional cellist, specializing in classical and jazz, and as a fiddler playing and composing Scandinavian folk music. Lastly, Sandy supports the field of arts education by serving on the Regional Advisory Council for the Teaching Artist Support Collaborative of California, the Board of Directors for the Association of Teaching Artists, the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, and the Board of Directors of the Culver City Symphony Orchestra.