ACTIVATE Delegates functions as an advocacy lab for artists, creative sector workers, or anyone interested in the intersection of community organizing and the arts.
Hands-on learning opportunities.
Networking with field leaders.
Meeting with local elected officials and staffers to advocate for the art.
Mobilizing community members to support key legislation.
The course also will briefly touch on the fundamentals of cultural policy and civic procedures with the aim of empowering arts leaders to drive change across Arts for LA’s four policy areas: affordable spaces for artists, creative career pathways, equitable arts education, and equitable arts funding.
Our Activate Delegates Cohort
Ana Guajardo brings her experience as an arts researcher, independent curator, creative entrepreneur, and graphic designer to her roles at community and cultural organizations such as the UCLA Chicano/a Studies Research Center, the Vincent Price Art Museum, Self Help Graphics & Arts, among others, where she has worked as a researcher, programmer and curator. She is interested in uplifting artists, community stories and cultural movements through storytelling and socially engaged practice and art.
Anthony Centeno is a native Angeleno with numerous years of experience as an educator in various settings. Prior to 2022’s covid lockdown (and state budget cuts), Centeno was a public school music teacher where he served over 700 kinder through 5th grade Southeast L.A. students and had the privilege of collaborating closely with parent volunteers. His most recent experience was as an arts integration classroom teacher, where he incorporated music, movement, storytelling and visual arts into daily lesson content. Centeno possesses a Bachelor’s degree in music, a Bachelors in theatre and a Master of Fine Arts in music. His interest and passion for all things creative arts regularly guide him on a continuous path of expanding his knowledge and experience in the arts. In addition to being an arts advocate, Centeno is a BIPOC activist (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and a feminist and LGBTQ ally.
Ashley Marie Garcia
Ashley Marie Garcia is a community organizer and CEO/Founder of Brown Girl Travels Magazine. Her community work is based in the neighborhoods that raised her, all tucked nicely in North East Los Angeles. She’s edited and produced 6 magazines for WOC, creating representation for dark skinned girls in the travel world so that the next generation of sun kissed babies know that this world is theirs. Between those issues, she’s produced and hosted four community events including a back to school fair, a free book fair, a marketplace with free haircuts for kids and a holiday gift give away, where over 500 gifts were given.
Ariadne Makridakis Arroyo
Ariadne Makridakis Arroyo is a Los Angeles-based poet, writer, and feminist of Greek and Guatemalan descent who grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. They completed their Bachelor’s degree in Critical Theory & Social Justice at Occidental College in 2020. Her writing has been featured in Twisted Moon Magazine, Evocations Review, Feast Magazine, Stellium Literary Magazine, Stonecoast Review, Rush Magazine, Stanchion Zine, Latin@ Literatures, and Tasteful Rude, and they are a recipient of the 2019 Argonaut Summer Research/Creative Writing Fellowship. Shcurrently serves as the Writing in the Schools Coordinator of Red Hen Press.
Brian Jaton is an arts and community advocate and recent graduate from Claremont Graduate University’s Arts Management M.A. program. He is a first-generation college graduate earning an Art History Bachelor’s degree Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University in 2020. Brian moved to Los Angeles from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018 where he worked selling art and antiques for 18 years. He loves Los Angeles’ embrace of contemporary art and its innovative cultural policies. While studying at ASU and CGU Brian’s stance on art pivoted to becoming a mission-based advocate for the overall impact visual and performing arts has on society. While attending CGU Brian worked briefly with Self Help Graphics supporting a year end development campaign, and most recently collaborated with publisher The Lapis Press and Mexico City artist Sofía Táboas on a multiple edition for his required capstone project.
I am an experienced music producer and DJ based in Los Angeles. I have a passion for creating music and have honed my skills through a Bachelor’s degree in Music/Recording Arts and industry experience since 2005. I am an active member of the Student Leadership Institute and ASCAP and have received awards from the RIAA. I co-produced a charity single that raised over $2 million for HBCU students during the pandemic. My skills include strong communication and collaboration, adaptability, event planning and production, and team leadership. I am interested in working at the intersection of community organizing and the arts to affect positive change and make a difference.
Dale-Judith Zuhrah Seabrook
Dale-Judith Zuhrah Seabrook is a multiracial Black educator, illustrator, writer, actress, community organizer, wife and mother. Her skill set includes mentorship, advocating a healthy lifestyle and for humans with invisible disabilities. She specializes in creative and visual arts. Holds her BA in Liberal studies minor child development and soon Masters in Arts. The Arts have always brought her core happy memories. Numerous plays in grade school, singing, acting and dancing. Artwork for family, modeling for middle school. Secondary school voted most versatile performer and also cherished memories of game, drama club and choir. She began to understand humans better with humanities and embraced the up close look of the future when she became a teacher. She now inspires to bring Art to underserved communities and humans with invisible disabilities. Starting with her born and raised city of south central Los Angeles and stretching across the nation to her other hometown of New Jersey.
Elisabeth Grossman is an LA native with a long-standing passion for theatre and arts education. She developed a passion for theatre growing up as a performer, and fell further in love with theatre while interning at a community theatre for children. She believes that theatre has the power to change lives for the better, and knows that providing theatre access to children is incredibly important. She recently spent a year working as the educational outreach and social media manager for Nine O’Clock Players Theatre for Children in Hollywood. When Elisabeth isn’t attending the theatre, you can find her reading, cooking, or trying to learn a new art skill! Elisabeth received a Bachelor of Science in theatre arts management with a minor in education from Ithaca College.
Elizabeth Cho is a cultural organizer and Program Manager for Partnerships at LA Commons. She is passionate about creativity, culture, and public space as a means to activate and heal. From 2018 to 2022, she was the executive assistant for the artist Shepard Fairey, assisting with mural installations, print releases, and civic art campaigns. She has organized with Gente Organizada in Pomona and enjoys gardening with the Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust. Elizabeth received her BA from Wellesley College, majoring in Cinema and Media Studies and minoring in Education.
Ethel Zafranco is an LA-based multimedia artist and a product of art-based community programs that targeted underserved youth. She received her bachelor’s in studio arts from Loyola Marymount University and is pursuing her masters in Art Therapy. Being first-generation Mexican-American, she has come full circle and focused her efforts on empowering underserved BIPOC youth through creative expression via community workshops, after school programs and summer camps. She also paints community-focused murals with her husband under the alias of AQMNI and together they currently facilitate an immersive mural creation program for the youth in which they include them in the process of conceptualizing, designing and executing a large-scale art piece on their school campus or recreational space.
Francine Banda is an interdisciplinary artist from Los Angeles. They received their BA in Art from UCLA in 2019. Banda’s art practice includes painting, graphic design, sculpture, and ceramics. They are inspired by nature, their Mexican/Indigenous heritage, and people who are passionate about art. In addition to their art practice, they also enjoy cooking, experimenting with natural dyes, and making jewelry. Banda is interested in engaging with their community through art and plans to create an art space that centers BIPOC artists in Los Angeles.
Hannah Dominica Chua
Hannah Dominica Chua (they/she) is a Pilipinx arts activist and cultural organizer born in Quezon City, Philippines and raised in Escondido, CA. They recently graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures and a minor in Pilipinx Studies. For their senior thesis, Hannah spearheaded a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, arts project that critically explores Pilipinx identity formation and corporate mobilizations of diasporic nostalgia: “‘Joy Served Daily!’: The Jollibee Empire, Labor Exploitation, and Selling Diasporic Nostalgia”. Hannah is a passionate advocate for Ethnic Studies and universal access to arts education. She believes in the transformative potential of art and storytelling as tools to foster radical imagination, and inspire actionable change. In their free time, they enjoy crocheting, up-cycling second-hand clothing, and listening to very long video essays while doing other things.
There’s multiple ways to fry a fish! Hello my name is Indeya Eubank and my passion lies where creativity meets business and community. I enjoy things such as marketing, branding and graphic design- I see them as creative problem solving. I take pride in creating work that has meaning and is thoughtful. In that, Community is an important piece. There’s so much power in people coming together for a shared cause. Being around community has the power to uplift you, be a support system, and encourage growth. I love doing work that supports that. I also love to paint, draw and dance (Hiphop, Tap, and Salsa are my favorites). Just like frying a fish, there’s so many ways to use these mediums for expression and to tell your story. Through this program, I hope to connect with other artists and learn how I can advocate for access to art education and affordable creative spaces.
Jasser Membreno is a Latino artist, born and raised in Los Angeles, with an incredible facility for drawing and painting. His work is figurative and fantastical; the landscapes, buildings, and objects he creates live simultaneously in the past, present, and future of a world full of decay, mystery, and invention. Since graduating from the Character Animation program at Calarts in 2008, he has continued to create works of art that appear in galleries, film, tv/animation, book publishing, and sculpture work. Along with having illustrated two children’s books, Jasser published his first illustrated, bilingual book Pensamientos/Thoughts. He also co-founded a company called CineNovel which bridged the art, literature, and entertainment worlds. Currently, Jasser is developing an animated series based on his character designs and focusing on his passion for the arts. He plans to showcase his new paintings in the fall of 2023.
Jeniffer Perales Garcia
Jeniffer Perales Garcia (she/her/ella) is a bilingual museum educator. She is currently working at the Fowler Museum at UCLA as Manager or K-12 & Family Programming and Bilingual Educator. As a first-generation, English-learner, DACA-mented Latina, her work strives to create a more accessible and welcoming museum space. Jeniffer received her B.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Spanish from UT Austin.
Jessica Coreas is a writer, musician, and community organizer, and currently serves as YMF’s Community Relations Coordinator. Jessica’s professional interests lie at the intersection of the arts and community activism, and has spent the last decade curating music programming within the San Gabriel Valley (SGV). She holds a B.A. in English with a minor in film and media studies from UC Irvine and enjoys cooking, photography, and walks with her dog in her spare time.
Jocelyn Ayala is a Queer Mexican-American, first-generation graduate of Occidental College with a B.A. in Art History and Visual Arts. In 2020, she began working in her hometown Pomona, CA at The dA Center for the Arts. She is currently the ArtBridge Outreach Director, managing all visual arts programs created by The dA for the Pomona Unified School District. She is also the Public Arts Coordinator at The City of Pomona, working towards supporting the City’s mission to create a more vibrant public arts scene for her community. Outside of work, she is an artist, focusing on both traditional and digital illustrations.
After graduating with a degree in Journalism from CSULB, and a short ill-advised entrepreneurial endeavor, I decided to pursue a career in screenwriting and filmmaking. After two years of film classes and working in the film industry I decided to merge my film aspirations with my activist and social justice aspirations. After a couple years of service in the Public Allies program working with Inclusive Action, I founded Artivists United, production company that creates film/video, online content, events, and merchandise that merge art and activism. I look forward to continuing to grow my knowledge, experience, and network in pursuit of utilizing art create meaningful societal impact.
Kevin Gonzalo Cervantes-Salazar
Kevin Gonzalo Cervantes-Salazar is a born-and-based Huntington Park socially engaged community-builder bringing extensive experience expanding the reach of cultural spaces, independently leading multi-faceted curatorial, programmatic, and educational projects that require detailed attention, and the ability to accomplish tasks varying in scope and breadth. Their intersectional identity as a Queer, working-class proud child of migrants influences their goal to ensure art-exhibiting structures are conduits for democracy building: expanding rights to the communities they serve. They speak to the interests and values of traditionally underrepresented communities across intersections of difference and activate art-exhibiting structures as Working within prestigious arts institutions, they have acquired first-hand experience in innovative public program development, localized community outreach, and cultural literacy.
Kevine Ecliserio-Velez is an independent artist, travel writer, and mental health advocate from East Los Angeles, California. As a Chicana and first-generation professional, she is passionate about developing community initiatives, enriching students in the K-12 sector, and assisting students pursuing higher education. Kevine has developed a workshop series for an Upward Bound TRiO program that focused on the college-going culture and developed English writing workshops to enhance students’ literacy skills to be successful in their academics. In addition, she facilitated a lecture series at the WESTOP Student Leadership Conference, which focused on informing participants about the importance of soft skills and applying them in their day-to-day life to develop networking skills as they progress through their journeys. Within her academic journey, Kevine was awarded a Community Builder Award within her department while successfully earning her Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies from California State University, Northridge. Kevine formerly worked at the Chinese American Museum as the Community Engagement Coordinator, where she built and sustained over 50 community partnerships across the United States and Canada. Currently, Kevine serves as the Marketing Coordinator for the Promotions and Partnerships team at the LA Phil. She one day hopes to create an impact in the community and inspire others to achieve their goals.
Laser Webber is a trans musician, performer, and author. His music “challenges the patriarchy, champions marginalized voices, and finds emotional resonance in everything from robots to breakfast foods.” He has toured the US, Australia, and Europe as front person of the Doubleclicks, and has racked up over 4 million Youtube views amongst their large and beautiful grassroots audience. Laser’s latest project, Billboard-charting musical concept album “Teaching a Robot to Love,” is a sci-fi story about the trans experience. As a speaker and author, he uses his personal experience with crowdfunding to help independent artists get money and attention for their creative projects. He has raised more than $2 million using Kickstarter and Patreon for comics, games, and music, and is the author of “Crowdfunding for Musicians,” a how-to book for indie artists who want to achieve their dreams without gatekeepers.
Maria Bjorkdahl is a Swedish-Moroccan visual artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her art focuses on notions of unearthing multiple layers and buried memories. Using materiality and process, she mines ideas of hidden meanings by either literally taking apart and unraveling the warp and weft of the traditional cotton duck painting support, or more recently, stitching old pocket calendar pages onto canvas. Maria’s work has been shown throughout Southern California including Artcore, Launch LA, The Museum of Latin American Art and Gallery 825. She is a member of Los Angeles Art Association and a grant recipient from the Center for Cultural Innovation. Maria is committed to finding ways and opportunities for artists to have access to affordable work and exhibition spaces in the community.
Michael Papias (He/Him) is a first generation Mexican-American Orphan that entered California’s child welfare system in 2009. He completed his undergraduate degree in 2021 at UC Berkeley, with a double major in Ethnic Studies, Film and Media Studies, and a Minor in Education. While at Berkeley, Michael completed an Ethnic Studies Seniors Honors Thesis that unpacked the cultural experiences of Latina/x/o’s in California’s child welfare system. He used his data to create a year-long community art intervention program, Tu eres Tu, to address the cultural and social deficits that accompany the Latina/x/o foster youth experience. In 2022, Michael became the director of Journey House’s Visual and Performing Arts program, which assists former foster youth in accessing self-determination through the arts process. Michael’s interests focus on the foster youth identity in relationship to knowledge production, theory, activism, and arts practice.
Mona Yeh has a passion for the intersection of culture, stories and social movements. She is currently the Culture Director at MoveOn. She was recently Program Manager of the climate work at Exposure Labs, a film and impact company, lead producer of a broadcast radio series on public transit commuting as part of the Localore: Finding America initiative, and the Communications Director of the Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing, a national funding intermediary. She also has a background as a youth worker and in youth media and civic education. In her free time, Mona enjoys reading, cooking, bike riding and getting outdoors. In pre-pandemic times, she was also a karaoke enthusiast and beginner tap dancer.
As an artist, educator, researcher, and activist, her work meets at the intersections of creative arts, politics, culture, and education, with a special interest in youth and subcultures. A writer and photographer, Nico directs the Academy for Theatre Leadership at Center Theatre Group, focused on pathways to the creative workforce. Outside of her professional work, Nico is the co-host of Black Women Are the Illuminati, a podcast centered on Black women visionaries. She also hosts the radio show, Maximum R&B, on Accra-based Oroko Radio, and she’s currently juggling two long-form writing projects: a novel centered on underground dance culture and the art world, and a screenplay about straight-edge culture and militant veganism in ’90s-era Salt Lake City.
Nina Lopez (she/her) is an arts and social justice advocate with a passion for transformational storytelling. With familial roots in Mexico and Ireland, Nina learned at an early age the importance of culture and how it can be used as a tool for othering and belonging. In wanting to focus on how culture can unite, heal, and transform, Nina pursued Bachelor’s degrees in Latin American and Latino Studies and History of Art and Visual Culture at UC Santa Cruz. She went on to work in the social justice sector and recognized the many opportunities to utilize the arts to ignite and sustain positive social change. Now residing in Los Angeles, Nina is passionate about amplifying the work of community artists who are challenging oppressive narratives and shifting hearts and minds through radical storytelling. Nina believes that this will help create a more just, caring, and equitable world for all.
Rachel Burke has spent over a decade activating public space with cultural programming and events throughout Los Angeles County. In her previous job with Community Arts Resources, she produced multiple festivals and pop-ups including GLOW for the City of Santa Monica, Little Tokyo Design Week, Chinatown Summer Nights, Friday Night Concerts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Family Weekends at The Broad. As CicLAvia’s Chief Program Officer, Rachel leads all event planning, programming and logistics from start to finish. She works closely with the city, partners and the local community to ensure that each CicLAvia is fun, safe, and successful. A native Angeleno and UC Berkeley graduate, Rachel is always happy to share her tips on the best spots to dine and drink around LA.
Ree Quijano (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and second generation Filipino-American based in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. Their work revolves around analyzing and serving the Filipino diasporic experience by exploring subjects such as migration, intergenerational trauma, revolutionary history, and United States imperialism. Quijano has exhibited in galleries throughout LA, including The Mistake Room and VAMA Gallery at LACC. They hope to integrate their art practice with community organizing and advocacy as a representative of Malaya: Long Beach and Carson, as well as through their work as an Teaching Assistant for the PRAXIS City ArtS Parks art engagement program. Quijano received a B.A. in Studio Art in 2022 from California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), where they are also currently enrolled in the Teaching Credential Program for Single Subject in Art.
Samantha Alexis Manuel
Samantha Alexis Manuel (she/her) is a 4th-year at UCLA studying Communications, Art History, and Digital Humanities. She has interned at museums, galleries, and archives, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), and the Center of the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG). Her roles focused on exhibition development, marketing/design, arts administration, and digital archival practices. Samantha coordinated and planned the earlier stages of “Our Voices, Our Getty: Reflecting on Drawings”, to be presented at the Getty in February 2023. She has also interned for 11:11 Projects through the LACAC to help develop/execute public art, programming, and experiential installations. She is excited to begin her internship for the Exhibitions & Planning department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Spring 2023. Samantha aspires for an arts administration career and desires to learn more about increasing accessibility and advocacy within arts/culture-based institutions.
Stephanie Gordian is a first generation Mexican-American. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Design from California State University Dominguez Hills. Throughout her community college journey she was involved with several art organizations, awarded art scholarships and participated in public art projects with organizations such as Heart of Los Angeles, Art Division and LA Commons. Having access to free art classes reminded her of the power of art and what it can do to help communities heal, grow and connect. She hopes to be an advocate for arts education and continue her creative path. She is currently doing an apprenticeship with Public Allies Los Angeles where she is using her graphic design skills to lift communities in South Central Los Angeles.
Valery Mendoza-Martinez is the Community Arts Program Manager at LA Commons—an organization that engages communities in artistic and cultural expressions that tells their stories as a basis for a shared understanding of Los Angeles. She supports strategic planning, community building and execution of art programs across historic Black and Brown neighborhoods in LA. Valery has planned comprehensive social justice campaigns and programs for students of color in the UC system, and is passionate about the leadership development of Black and brown organizers and residents of Los Angeles as producers of resources and solutions towards transformative change. As an artist, Valery has led numerous mutual aid art fundraisers to support Black, Indigenous people of color across the country through the creation of low waste accessories. Valery aims to connect narrative storytelling and community building between Black and Brown artists to further create systems of care and community.
Vanessa F. Melesio
Vanessa F. Melesio is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles region. Using color, composition, and freeform shapes, her works are simple, abstract renditions of her human experience. Vanessa’s works have showcased at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Advocate & Gochis Galleries and the Mexican Center for Cultural & Cinematic Arts at the Los Angeles Mexican Consulate. Her motifs explore the experiences of carrying cultural labels such as first-generation college student, abstract artist, and planning professional. As she explores the influences of the subcultures, she evaluates the value nuanced experiences as such can influence society as a whole. An alumnus of California State University San Bernardino and current student of Cal Poly Pomona, M.S. Urban and Regional Planning, and is interested in being a community planner with an ethnographic approach to work in collaboration with communities within the Inland Empire and Los Angeles region.
My name is Victoria Vargas, and I graduated from UCLA. I majored in Anthropology, interested in learning about the archaeology of the Americas. I participated in a field school in Denmark this past summer, which was life-changing and enjoyable. I hope to gain more experience in the field by participating in research in Mexico. I’m also a dancer who enjoys Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Hip Hop, and Belly Dancing. I recently completed one year of dancing Folklorico and am now learning Danza Azteca. I’ve interned at the Smithsonian Latino Center, LACMA, and the Fowler Museum, which is why I applied for this program. I hope to support communities of underrepresented backgrounds to pursue opportunities in the arts and increase diversity in these fields.
Laura Brody sculpts for the human body and its vehicles. She developed and curates Opulent Mobility, a series of exhibits that re-imagine disability as opulent and powerful. Her art has been shown at the Ikouii Creative, ACE/121 Gallery, Brea Gallery, the Charles River Museum of Industry, Westbeth Center For the Arts, California State University Northridge, Gallery Expo, the Dora Stern Gallery at Arts Unbound, and The World of Wearable Art. Ms. Brody works as a professional costume maker and designer, an artist, and as an educator. She is passionate about reuse, sustainability, and re-imagining disability.
A’raelle Flynn-Bolden (she/her) is an actress, vocalist, playwright, and arts activist. She is a CalArts alum and is from/based in Los Angeles, the unceded territories of the Tongva, and Kizh people. As an arts activist, her focus is on the representation and amplification of the lives of BIPOC/PGM ( Black, Idigenous, People of Color/ People of the Global Majority ). Through her artistic work and advocacy she seeks to help mold a more equitable and rich arts landscape for BIPOC/PGM artists to freely create. She is a co-author of the Los Angeles Anti-Racist Theatre Standards, Co-Founder of BLKLST Los Angeles, is currently a playwright in the 30 Under 30 Playwrighting Cohort at IAMA Theatre and acts as the Artistic Associate at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
Alexis Hyde is currently working as an art advisor/dealer/curator/podcast host/whathaveyou, in Los Angeles, but you may have seen her most recently on TikTok, as the Director of the Museum of Broken Relationships , or as the Curator of the Quinn Emanuel Artist-in-Residence program.
Alma Juarez is a Mexican-born artist and educator currently living in Los Angeles, California. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration Fine Art from Art Center College of Design. Alma works with various mediums but focuses mainly on painting and photography. Her work is inspired by personal experiences, emotions, human behavior, and her environment. Alma has served as an educator and mentor working with inner-city youth, students from immigrant and economically disadvantaged communities from elementary to adulthood, and post-secondary students. Carla acts as a liaison with key community partners, leads Levitt LA’s youth development program and builds community through music.
Anna Floersch: After graduating from UCLA, I entered the entertainment world to explore my passion for storytelling and television. I started at NBC Entertainment learning about TV development, production and primary research for primetime. I have been at the Walt Disney Company for the last two and a half years, where I help develop strategies to grow some of the biggest brands, franchises and stories around the globe. I came into this industry because I believe in the power of stories to change the world – to make us more compassionate, empathetic and deepen our relationships with the people closest to us. In my downtime I can most often be found reading my favorite journalists, spending time with my golden retrievers, or debating which ice cream shop is the best in Los Angeles.
Ashley Kruythoff is a versatile artist and communications professional. She’s a Caribbean-American photographer and designer based in Los Angeles who brings strong art direction to her creative work. She believes in the power the arts have to inspire minds and evoke societal change by elevating awareness of social, environmental, and cultural issues. To her, it’s important to share messages of support and hope for individuals who suffer from mental health conditions. As a marketing specialist at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, she advocates for nature and the environment. Kruythoff believes that carrying out effective projects require more than just technical mastery: it is essential to be spiritually present, develop substantial knowledge about your subject matter, and build meaningful relationships with sensitivity. Kruythoff is a Getty iStock contributor. Her artwork has been featured many California galleries. She is a member of the Los Angeles Art Association and Climate Designers.
Astrud Reed, Museum Professional / LA Arts Advocate. I am passionate about community engagement, enhancement, and empowerment. I believe participatory art and education, celebrating diversity and evolving urban design techniques, are the keys to achieving these goals. My Master of Arts in Museum Studies research on “Tactical Urbanism and the Dynamic Shift to Embrace Deviance and Diversity: The Beauty and Tone of LA Street Art in Twenty-first Century Communities” looks at revitalization without gentrification in LA’s Urban Core through short-term beautification projects (i.e. street art.) I am fascinated with contemporary “live” art, especially when it provides a voice on issues affecting the local population. I take advantage, whenever possible, to meet local/visiting artists to speak with them, watch them work, and observe how they connect with the communities in which they create and display their art so that I may advocate for their importance in the city planning sphere.
Blaze Bautista is a visual artist graduating from UCLA in March 2022 with a major in World Arts and Cultures and a minor in Visual and Performing Arts Education. With her concentration in arts activism, she has developed and facilitated student workshops that educate on using the arts for social justice and healing. She has worked with UCLA Arts Engagement, the Hammer Museum, the UCLA Prison Education Program, and the UCLA School for the Arts and Architecture. She is passionate about bringing the arts into communities, even virtually. Her biggest project was curating UCLA’s first interactive virtual “iartucla” gallery which featured 40+ student artworks. As a painter and digital illustrator, Blaze uses captivating visuals to engage audiences in social issues. She recently illustrated portraits of abolition activists including Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte, and Dolores Huerta which will be published in the book, Rebel Speak: A Justice Movement Mixtape in March 2022.
Brandon Karagozian is first-generation, low-income, Queer, Latine undergraduate student at Pomona College majoring in Public Policy Analysis with a concentration in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Additionally, he is minoring in dance performance. Brandon is passionate about gaining experience in the arts non-profit sector as well as providing an equitable and accessible arts education for all communities. Striving to become a ballerina at age 15, he has devoted much of his educational experience in providing art programs to communities of Los Angeles and supporting those pushed to the furthest margins. Brandon is currently the program and administration for LA based CONTRA-TIEMPO where he is responsible for assisting in arts management and facilitating processes that provide the arts for low-income communities of color based in an anti-racist context. Additionally, he serves in many leadership positions at Pomona to trailblaze a path for future queer, first- generation, low-income artists.
Ceci Moss is a curator, writer and educator based in Los Angeles, USA. She is the founder of Gas, a mobile, autonomous, experimental and networked platform for contemporary art. Her first book Expanded Internet Art: Twenty- First Century Artistic Practice and the Informational Milieu is released through the Bloomsbury series International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics. Her writing has appeared in Rhizome, Art in America, ArtAsiaPacific, Artforum, The Wire, CURA, New Media & Society and various art catalogs. Previously, she was Assistant Curator of Visual Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Senior Editor of the art and technology non-profit arts organization Rhizome, and Special Projects Coordinator at the New Museum. She is currently a Lecturer in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts and she has held teaching positions at University of Southern California, Scripps College, the San Francisco Art Institute and New York University.
Chelsea Sutton is a playwright, fiction writer, director, and immersive experience creator. She was a 2016 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow and is member of the Clarion UCSD “Ghost Class” 2022 Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop. Chelsea was a 2018 Sewanee Writers Conference Playwright Fellow and a Humanitas PlayLA award winner, and her plays have been finalists for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Woodward/Newman Drama Award, Reva Shiner Comedy Award, and others. Her fiction has also appeared in Bourbon Penn, F(riction), Speculative City, and more. She is the Associate Artistic Director at Rogue Artists Ensemble where she co-founded and co-directs the Rogue Lab New Play Incubator. She holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Chinelo Ufondu is the Development and Communication Associate at Fathomers, a creative research institute based in Los Angeles dedicated to supporting artist-led projects, where she assists with funding research, external communication and executing public programs. She has written for print publications and has co-authored a paper for the Studio Museum in Harlem as part of the inaugural cohort of their Museum Professionals Seminar. Prior to her role at Fathomers, she worked as an arts educator and journalist. She holds a B.A. in Global Studies with an Art & Technology minor from the University of California, Santa Barbara
Claudia Mayoss is the Assistant Director of Enrollment Management for the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA, which represents UCLA’s visual and performing arts programs for undergraduate and graduate students to the public. She also serves as an assistant liaison for UCLA Arts and the main office for Undergraduate Admission and is a member of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management’s Undergraduate Recruitment Committee. Claudia received her B.A in Dance and B.A in Political Science at UCLA, and recently earned her M.A in Contemporary Dance from London Contemporary Dance School.
Diana Castro (they/them) is an artist and cultural organizer located in Los Angeles, CA. Diana is the vice co-lead of OC MECCA’s Transtitional Age Youth (TAY) advocacy group, which strives to advocate for more mental health resources for youth 16-26. Diana specializes in community-centered arts activism projects that center self empowerment and sustainability models. Diana’s career trajectory is marked by administrative work in cultural institutions, direct service with transitional-age youth, and independent research projects. In their free time, Diana likes to read, create art, write, and travel on LA’s public transportation system.
Edlin Velasquez was born and raised in South Los Angeles. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in Psychology and a BFA in Ceramics she continued to focus on her artwork in ceramics and support administratively in arts education. She moved to New York in 2019 where she worked with the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art and artist, Gabriel Garcia Roman, on a project showcased at the New York Pride Parade. Edlin also comes with a wealth of experience in counseling and tutoring youth. She is inspired to create a safe-space for students to expand their thinking and explorations from where they are to where they are inspired to go. Edlin is back in LA and it passionate about working with communities in an arts and educational setting and would like to continuing growing in this direction.
Estrellx Supernova is a queer, AfroIndigenous choreographer, performance artist, healer, and founder of an emergent ecosystem called Estrellx Supernova & The Cosmic Angels / The School(s) of Tenderness. Estrellx Supernova focuses on their solo choreographic work, The Cosmic Angels takes the form of a remixed dance company, choreographic healing collective, and The School(s) of Tenderness will be a network of (13) schools / global hive sites located near energetic earth centers. Each site will be its own respective architectural design project (using the beehive as its main organizing principle) composed of the following: CLUB, healing center, ritualistic performance venue, farm, innovation incubator. This vision will be created by and for BIQTPOC Creatives. Estrellx frames choreography as embodied excavation, as an intimate practice that opens up portals towards giving oneself radical permission to dissent, celebrate, grieve, and rest. Estrellx asks, “What do you really want and how exactly do you want it?”
Gabriela S. Grant
Gabriela S. Grant is a quirky, introspective interdisciplinary movement artist from Prince George’s County, Maryland. Grant explores what it means to “be still” through movement to better understand her human being-ness beyond her ego and earthly aspects of her identity such as race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. She graduated from The University of Maryland, College Park, in May of 2020 with a B.A. in Dance and Social Change Through Dance. She made an impact on her community through her leadership in the Dance Department as a Creative and Performing Arts Scholar, as well as her work to use dance as a transformative tool for economically disadvantaged youth in the Prince George’s County Public School System and beyond. She recently moved to Los Angeles, California, and is pursuing a professional dance career here. Grant’s hope is that ACTIVATE will provide a foundation for her pursuit of using dance as a transformative tool in her Los Angeles community.
Gaby Hernández (She/Her/Ella) is an arts administrator, creative and first- generation graduate born & raised throughout Los Ángeles County. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Community Studies from The University of California, Santa Cruz, and an Associate’s degree in Communication Studies from Mount San Antonio College. She holds deeply seeded roots in advancing access to the arts, access to public spaces, and cultural equity. Currently, Gaby serves as the Programming Coordinator for Grand Park at The Music Center. There she has had the pleasure of working in the community with local and international artists, cultural organizations, and partners to provide LA County with accessible arts and culture programming. Gaby is a daydreamer who is enthralled with imagining and innovating a future where every human is granted access to creative experiences, possibilities to engage in arts disciplines, radical celebrations of cultural identities, and strong nurturing community bonds.
Over the past 30 years, Heidi Rhodes has worn nearly every hat on and backstage in theatre and film. An actor, director, and producer, she has also performed as a singer-songwriter, a Modern and Argentine Tango dancer, and exhibited as a visual artist and designer. Fulfilling her passion for working with children, Heidi now serves as Program Director for The Young Shakespeareans (a nonprofit empowering 4-8th graders in underserved communities) and consults with Ava‚Äôs Heart, (a nonprofit providing lifesaving resources to organ transplant patients) as an events producer, grant and copywriter, and book editor. Additional administrative experience includes running a 50+ person theatre company, various interior design companies, and consulting for many small businesses. Heidi holds a BA in Psychology from UNH and a Master of Interior Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Ilaan Egeland Mazzini
Ilaan Egeland Mazzini has an eclectic arts career as a dancer, educator, curator and conveiner. She has performed across the United States; taught movement for children to college students; created a variety of arts programs for museums, theaters, schools and festivals; mentored artists and arts professionals; and works tirelessly to connect community with the arts. She is currently the Director of Program and Activations for The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Prior to that, Ilaan served as Program Manager for Artist Recruitment and Engagement and Community Initiatives at the John Anson Ford Theatre, and Head of Family Programs at the Skirball Center. She holds a BFA in Dance from the California Institute of the Arts in dance, and an MFA in Dance, Department of World Arts and Culture, from UCLA.
October BLU is a Los Angeles native spoken word poet, educator & graduate student. In My Space of Honesty is her first collection of published poetry and prose published by World Stage Press in 2019. As a first-generation healer and generational curse breaker, October uses writing as a tool for understanding identity, processing trauma, moving through experiences of struggle, empowerment, growth, joy and healing. She has performed poetry from the KPCC’s UnHeardLA, FoxSoul, and the Pan African Spoken word and Arts Festival.
Jennie E. Park
Jennie E. Park is a Korean American artist, writer and curator interested in interdisciplinarity and integrated approaches to honesty. (In)visibility and (in)vulnerability, and world-generating dynamics of entanglement and of truthful paradox, recur as practices, tools or puzzles she explores in relation to her project-based work. She is currently an MFA student in Art and Creative Writing with an Integrated Media concentration at California Institute of the Arts, and her prior graduate degrees in cognitive psychology and law inform her art and writing practices. She has written for Los Angeles-based Artillery and other arts publications, and her art, film and written works have received awards through film festivals, galleries and other exhibition venues since 2018. Prior to dedicating herself to artmaking, she ran the alternative dispute resolution and legal education programs at a local nonprofit for artists, after serving there as a UCLA School of Law Public Interest Fellow.
Jessica G. Ramirez
I am Jessica G. Ramirez and I am a Los Angeles-based artist. I was born and raised in Pacoima, CA. I graduated from the University of California Irvine in 2019 with a double major in Art (Studio) and Art History. I am currently working as a Line Manager for the Home Depot while I attend school. I am planning on pursuing a MA in Art Therapy and getting my Teaching Credential in Art. As an artist, I work in mixed media and working on projects focused on public art and community space.
Jostin Grimes is an educator, storyteller, and community builder from Gordon, Ga. His passion and commitment to the arts has been evident since his early theatre, band, and choir days throughout 6-12th grade and undergraduate journey. Jostin is a graduate of Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) and was a proud member of the Morehouse College Glee Club. During his time in the Glee Club, Jostin noticed the societal and cultural impact that the arts play in the world and especially across Black communities. As a former elementary educator, he made sure to find ways to creatively incorporate the arts in his teaching and interactions with his students. Currently, Jostin is an education specialist at Spotify on the Soundtrap for EDU team. In this role, Jostin is able to combine his love and commitment for music and the arts to inspire thousands of students across the west coast to become storytellers and creators that will shift cultures and develop narratives for communities.
Katie Lindsay is a writer, director, and producer of new plays, musicals, and theatrical experiences. During the pandemic, she created A Walk in My Neighborhood, an immersive audio experience in Atwater Village which the LAist called “genius.” Katie is currently writing a musical in the Geffen Writers’ Room, and was the 2019 Bill Foeller Fellow at Williamstown Theatre Festival, where she directed Orlando by Sarah Ruhl. Select directing credits include Red Emma & the Mad Monk by Alexis Roblan (The Tank, NY Times Critic’s Pick), Bar Dykes by Merril Mushroom (Celebration Theatre), Keeping up with the Prozorovs by Lucy Gillespie (Hollywood Fringe; Encore Producers Award, Best Female Director nomination), and Harry & The Thief by Sigrid Gilmer (The Habitat). Katie is the Artistic Director of Big Little Theater Company which produces plays that are “epically intimate.” She is also co-Founder of MeetCute, an evening of short plays that builds community in Los Angeles.
Proud member of the Dramatists Guild and SDC and graduate of Dartmouth College.
Kevin Johnson is an arts administrator with a passion for expanding the scope and access of theatre and the performing arts. Originally for Schertz, Texas Kevin has lived in Los Angeles for 4 years completing an MBA / MFA in Theatre Management at Cal State Long Beach while working at nonprofit theatres in Los Angeles including Center Theatre Group, and the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ Will Power to Youth Program. He is currently the Audience Services Manager at the historic East West Players located in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.
Kyndal McLyn has been working in the Los Angeles art scene for over six years. After studying Art History at CSULA she spent numerous years working at multiple art institutions including MOCA and the Hammer museum.
Lauretta Coumarbatch, M.D.
Lauretta Coumarbatch, M.D. is an emerging visual artist, writer, community encourager and disability advocate from the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is also a doctor and public health specialist with over 35 years experience in pediatrics, aging and wellness. Lauretta is focused on the dynamics of arts, faith and health disparities in minority communities especially during this pandemic. And she uses art to promote social justice and anti-racism. Lauretta is also passionate about creating space and inclusivity in the arts for female, older, BIPOC and disabled artists like herself. She co-founded an artist residency at a local arts non-profit, where she assisted in workshops, artist playdates, gallery exhibits and other events. She also helps musicians and actors to create public and performance art. Lauretta has grant writing experience and she participates in local and statewide arts advocacy. She also volunteers with youth arts nonprofits and she sings in choirs.
Maddie Chavez Rivas
Maddie Chavez Rivas is a rising senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Ethnic Studies and minoring in Global Studies. They have volunteered at domestic violence clinics, interned with rent boards to ensure accessible, legible tenant petition forms, and have spearheaded efforts towards combatting sexual violence and sexual harassment within the Latinx community.
Maeva Asare, 2021
‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’ – Carroll, 1865, Chapter V
No Black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much’. Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’ … No woman has ever written enough. – bell hooks – Remembered Rapture: The Writer At Work, 1999
Compassion and Empathy allow us to think of new ways for freedom to exist…only then are we allowed to have a conversation worth having. – Maeva Asare, 2021
Marty Preciado is a cultural policy advocate. For over a decade, Marty has developed arts programming in the interest to deepen power, representation and access between cultural sectors and audiences; from curating inclusive programing to community initiatives focused on arts and culture; Preciado’s research and curatorial projects focus on transcultural exchange of politics and gender, with an emphasis on music, arts, and culture. Preciado is currently researching implementation of cultural policy as a conduit of accessibility and equity between constituents and the arts sector. Marty is a graduate of the Executive Program in Arts & Culture at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice.
Megan Ruble is a professional actress based out of Los Angeles. Whether acting, singing, writing, or producing, she is committed to the art of storytelling and the change it can elicit in the world.
Michaela Bulkley is continuously building a collaborative and sustainable performing arts ecosystem focused on community-driven leadership development. She is passionate about organizational infrastructure in the arts. Her focus on sustainability, long-term planning, and creative problem solving has naturally drawn her to a career in producing, project management, and advocacy. Michaela’s mission is to create an environment in which theatre leadership is values based and equitable, which will help artists thrive and more diverse stories to be told.
Nadia Chrisanto is a passionate arts administrator and highly self-motivated with a demonstrated history of working in mission-specific museums and nonprofit organizations serving individuals in the arts, history and culture. She was the 2016 Getty Marrow Undergraduate Curatorial Programs Intern at the California African American Museum (CAAM), where she developed her passion in the arts and nonprofit administration. After the internship, she continued working at CAAM as a curatorial & program assistant, then as program assistant for the Center for Cultural Innovation(CCI), and as Administrative Assistant for LACMA‚Äôs Education & Public Programs Department. She recently rejoined CCI as their Assistant Operations & Digital Assets Manager. Nadia has extensive experience in project management, programming, curatorial research, exhibitions planning, grantmaking, and arts administration. She is committed to supporting works of under-resourced BIPOC artists and communities, and using art & history to promote diversity and cultural history. Born in Jakarta and moved to Los Angeles in 2002, Nadia received her B.A. in History from California State Polytechnic University Pomona and A.A. in History, Humanities, and Social & Behavioral Sciences from Pasadena City College. Nadia enjoys delicious sweets, cooking, playing games, and spoiling her two cats, Boba and Mochi.
My name is Paola Lopez, LA native born and raised in Echo Park. I am a passionate go getter always looking for opportunities for growth and taking my community along with me for the journey. I love my city and have been part of the nonprofit and union sector in Los Angeles for 7 + years. With a love and dedication to the arts and freelance in the ever evolving world of events & entertainment. Honored and proud to be able to uplift and be given the opportunity to be entrusted to amplify the many talents and voices of LA based community artists as well. As part of the Grand Park team, as Social Media Manager and Programming PA. Currently attending LATTC Community Planning/ Economic Development Leadership program. I am committed to uplifting, protecting, and acknowledging the voices in my communities with access to the arts and resources for all. My goal and dream for Los Angeles is a cultural, equitable, accessible, community preservation, community building city for all Angelenos with access to free public programs and resources. It is an honor to be part of this year’s 2022 ACTIVATE Delegates Program cohort. I look forward to building long lasting relationships and activating my leadership power.
Paola Perez is a recent college graduate with a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Bilingual/Multicultural Education. She is committed to her community through volunteer work which began in college. Paola obtained her BA in Art History from UC Berkeley, where she volunteered at the school’s museum and studied abroad in Berlin. After graduating, she became a docent at LACMA, combining her love for art and teaching. From this experience, she learned the value of art education and recognized its transformative impact and extensive need. She wants to focus her work on making art education more accessible for underserved communities through alternative mediums like distance learning.
Raven Sanchez is an artist and organizer that has lived and worked in San Francisco for over 10 years, where she studied Sociology and Latin American Studies at the University of San Francisco – while simultaneously daydreaming and re-imagining the potential of community arts in her hometown West-Whittier – Los Nietos an unincorporated region of Los Angeles County. Raven’s family lineage spans generations in East Los Angeles which significantly impacts the depths of her connection to LA and its people. Raven maintains her link to the Bay Area through her work in nonprofit leadership. Raven studied visual arts and painting at the City College of San Francisco and from 2018 – 2020 initiated an artist-run project named Whittier Levantate that addressed community arts and social/local issues as a way to cultivate collaboration amongst artists and local organizers in her community. Raven now lives in Los Angeles and is dedicated to innovative methods of incorporating a social lens into her art practice and grounding future projects with abolitionist frameworks and community centered outcomes.
Sam Campbell is a sophomore at Cal State LA where she is studying Mass Communications with an emphasis in advertising and public relations. An Angeleno born and raised she has been involved in a variety of LA based nonprofits over the years including WriteGirl, Inner-City Arts, and Young Storytellers. Most recently she was part of the 2021 cohort of the Los Angeles County Arts Internship program where she served as a programs and communications intern for Create CA, a nonprofit organization which advocates for equitable arts education for all K-12 students throughout California. Sam lives in Northeast Los Angeles and enjoys exploring her creative side through tap dance and indulging in sour strawberry belts.
Sharon Senko is a small business and economic equity advocate who is passionate about community-led development and ownership. She currently serves as a business counselor with a collaborative of six community-based organizations dedicated to empowering low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs with the resources to start and grow their businesses. Her work also includes policy research and strategies to address displacement and design innovative models for access to capital. Art and music are an integral part of her daily life, and drive her desire to collaborate with creative communities to build power and provide impactful solutions. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering with food justice mutual aid organizations, experimental music, and late night dance parties.
Sophia Bautista is a Program Coordinator for Youth Leadership Institute, where she teaches youth in Long Beach storytelling, campaign strategies, and zine making enshrined in social justice values. She previously worked in programming for the Feminist Center for Creative Work in Los Angeles, working at the nexus of feminist practice and creative work. Her previous research projects with UCLA featured narratives of laborers who are frequently neglected and live at the furthest peripheries of our structures.
Veronica Popovic is a Chicana/Latina, Scholarship Consultant, raised in Atwater Village. As a college student she had a passion for photography and was mentored by the artist, Harry Gamboa Jr. She was a member of his international performance troupe, Virtual Vérité. Veronica graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Cal State Northridge. After college, she moved to New York to volunteer with AmeriCorps at Rochester Community Television. She empowered youth to produce a TV show on the topics of race relations and regional history. She graduated from USC with a Master of Education in PostSecondary Administration. She has worked in higher education for the past 16 years – at USC, Cal State Northridge, Cal State LA, and most recently as an Admissions Evaluator for UC Irvine. Her area of expertise is in scholarship management. Veronica has won the Scholarship Provider of the Year Award from the National Scholarship Providers Association!
Vinita V. Pugal
Vinita V. Pugal has over 25+ years of experience in Master Planning, Experiential Design, Landscape Architecture, and Architecture. She is the founder of Designodal, Inc., a collaborative forum for designers. The vision of Designodal Inc. is to connect people and transform the world through design by integrating art, nature, culture, and storytelling. Vinita has worked for over fifteen years on designing various prestigious projects in the United States & abroad. Working closely with people around the globe has made her a culturally responsive designer. Born and educated in India, she had the privilege of working on the design of multiple projects in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa before moving to California. She believes that telling the story of the people helps build community engagement and activates spaces. The art of storytelling inspires her as a medium of design. Qualification – BArch, MArch, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP
Vivian Glazier is an actor, writer, and vibrant creative from Fort Worth, TX. She graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in Drama from the University of Oklahoma, where she was awarded the Van Heflin Award and the Mary Gray Thompson Award and was recognized on the Letzeiser Honor List. She self- published two poetry books: one whole world and 100 OVER FOUR. She firmly believes that art has the power and responsibility to change the world.
ACTIVATE Delegates is open to artists, arts professionals, cultural workers, educators, and community advocates interested in making change across LA’s creative sectors. We welcome applications from anyone interested in exploring the question: “What can I, as an individual, do to build the power of our creative communities across the LA region?”
ACTIVATE Delegates focuses on the intersection of community organizing and the arts, giving participants the skills they need to mobilize their community, build power, and impact local decision-makers and elected officials.
While the skills taught are widely applicable, ACTIVATE Delegates emphasizes the importance of the civic sphere and making change through local governments. No prior knowledge of advocacy/community organizing is necessary. Additionally:
- Participants must live, work or study in LA County.
- Participants must be able to commit to all sessions.
- Participants must be 18 years or older to apply.
- Participants will be selected to represent the broad geography and demographics of Los Angeles County.