ACTIVATE Emerging Arts Leaders

In 2021, Arts for LA collaborated with Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles to bring a new leadership development program to the ACTIVATE suite of offerings. ACTIVATE Emerging Arts Leaders brings together both organizations’ shared goal to prepare, educate, and inspire the next generation of arts leaders across the region, expand the field’s definition of arts advocacy and ensure it is considered an essential skill for any arts leader. The mission of EAL is to support a diverse, equitable creative workforce through professional development opportunities.

ACTIVATE EAL is a 9-month, stipend program where participants will:

  • Gain hands-on learning opportunities;
  • Collaborate and design learning and networking opportunities for the wider Arts for LA community; and
  • Expand their own networks through engagement with LA arts leaders.

To better provide this hands-on experience, each participant will be placed in one of two committees. These committees were created based on the expressed interest of the larger Arts for LA community seeking more opportunities to gather/network and an opportunity to connect with arts leaders via a mentorship program.


Emerging Arts Leaders (EAL)

Programming Committee
ProTege Committee
What is the difference between the committees?

While both committees provide hands-on experiences and collaboration, each has slight differences in terms of goals and key takeaways:

Programming Committee

  • Gain hands-on professional development experience in COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT and EVENT PLANNING by ideating and executing up to three public-facing events open to the Arts for LA community.
  • Analyze the current needs of the Arts for LA’s community and support/align with the organizational goals through these programs.
  • Learn how to work with an organizational budget.
  • Expand not only your own network but also AFLA’s network through new partnerships, participant engagement and outreach to guest speakers.
  • Lead/moderate events.

Protege Committee

  • Gain hands-on professional development experience in PROGRAM MANAGEMENT by overseeing ACTIVATE Protege.
  • Review applications and work as a team to pair mentors and mentees based on the mentee’s goals and the mentor’s experience.
  • Learn how to build and facilitate curriculum for mentees by creating 5 monthly mentee meetups (May – September)
  • If applicable, invite guest speakers to provide tangible connection to each month’s topic.

Meet Our

A'raelle Flynn-Bolden

A’raelle Flynn-Bolden (she/her) is an actress, playwright, arts activist and arts administrator. In all aspects of her work, she looks to amplify and facilitate the stories and worlds of BIPOC artists and creatives. She is a CalArts alum, a co-drafter of the Los Angeles Anti-Racist Theatre Standards (LAARTS), Co-Founder of BLKLST Los Angeles, and acts as the Staff Programs Manager at Center Theatre Group.

Ariadne Makridakis Arroyo

Ariadne Makridakis Arroyo (she/they) is a Los Angeles-based poet, writer, and arts administrator 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 where they were awarded the 2019 Argonaut Summer Research/Creative Writing Fellowship. Her work has been featured in Stellium Literary Magazine, Stonecoast Review, Latin@ Literatures, Tasteful Rude, and Acentos Review. They are a 2023 Speculative Fiction Fellow in the Words of Resistance & Restoration Fellowship provided by Roots. Wounds. Words. You can find her on her website:

Chantal Odalys Santoyo

Chantal Odalys Santoyo, a first-generation college graduate, artist, and devoted arts advocate, channels her passion for the transformative power of the arts into her role as a Program Associate at Create CA. Her primary goal is to instigate positive change within her community and amplify youth voices.

As a community organizer, she pioneers innovative approaches to create safe spaces for advocates, fostering community healing and growth through artistic expression. Her impactful work includes orchestrating a successful arts-focused training at CalArts for 500 students from across CA. Her role was pivotal in transforming Arts Advocacy Day into the largest student-focused arts advocacy training in the state.

Through her impactful initiatives, she remains a catalyst in shaping a future where the arts take on a central role in fostering community well-being and education.

Diego Dela Rosa

Diego Dela Rosa (he/she/they) is a passionate curator, researcher, and public programmer based in Los Angeles. They recently graduated from USC’s Roski School of Art and Design with a M.A. in Curatorial Practice and the Public Sphere, centering her research and professional ventures on preserving and honoring the work of queer BIPOC artists and performers. They currently serve as the Learning and Engagement Coordinator at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, where he assists the library, education, and public programming endeavors of the museum leading up to its opening. Previously, he held positions as a researcher and programmer for the ONE Archives and ONE Institute, using archival and oral history experience to preserve and amplify queer histories. In their free time, Diego loves indulging in reality television, hamming it up on the dance floor, and grounding herself by camping throughout the Southwest’s beautiful deserts.

Jasser Membreno

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 summer of 2024.

Jennifer Mejia

Jenn is straight out of Los Angeles by way of South Gate, California.

A culture enthusiast, loyal soul, and dancing spirit, she received her BFA in Fashion Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA where her west coast style met and influenced the southern gothic.

A vibrant being, her personal and educational background brings an eye popping and unique edge to her signature artworks. Works that cross cultures and peoples, challenging perceptions and promoting personal expression.

Jenn currently holds the title of Cultural Arts Coordinator in the City of South Gate. Where she leads her team at the South Gate Museum and Art Gallery.

Juan Silverio

Juan Silverio (they/she) is a queer/trans femme of Zapotec descent and Latinx artist, curator and arts administrator living and working in Tovangaar (Los Angeles). Born and raised in Koreatown, Juan’s passion for the arts was nurtured at an early age and all the way through their undergraduate career at the College of Creative Studies and UC Santa Barbara.

Juan joined the LA arts and culture landscape by way of the Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internship program; in 2019 they apprenticed at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) and now manage all exhibitions, public programs and operations as the Assistant Director of Programs. Juan is committed to working toward uplifting artists, curators, and cultural workers at all experience levels from LGBTQ+ Black, Indigenous and communities of color across Los Angeles and beyond.

Kevine Ecliserio-Velez

Kevine Ecliserio-Velez is an independent artist, travel writer, and mental health advocate based in East Los Angeles, California. Being a first-generation Chicana, she is deeply committed to developing community initiatives, empowering K-12 students, and supporting higher education aspirants. In 2018, Kevine completed her Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies from California State University, Northridge, and received a Community Builder Award. She previously served as a Community Engagement Coordinator at the Chinese American Museum and established 50 community partnerships across the United States and Canada. Kevine has also created a workshop series for Upward Bound, focusing on college-going culture, and delivered lectures at the WESTOP Student Leadership Conference. Currently, she works as a Marketing Coordinator at the LA Phil, where she continues to forge community partnerships across greater Los Angeles, providing community spaces at prominent venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and The Ford.
Outside of work, Kevine enjoys spending quality time with her family and loves traveling. Her goal is to make a positive impact on her community and inspire others to achieve their dreams.

Kyle Denman

Kyle is a passionate political scientist turned-fashion designer and educator whose mission is to ignite a culture of change through creativity and curiosity. Kyle received a BA in Political Science from Miami University and two degrees in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. He is currently the Executive Director of Arts Bridging the Gap, a social impact organization that uplifts the voices, self-expression, and creativity of youth across Los Angeles through healing arts programs.

He is currently recognized as part of the City Scholars Foundation Fellowship for Nonprofit CEOs and Executives, the Lowell Milken Family Foundation ARTEFFECT Fellowship, and the Bridge to Basel Program.

Several of his accolades include:
2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 Los Angeles
2021 International Fashion Designer of the Year
2021 30 Under 30 Changemaker in Education
2018 Young Fashion Designer of the Year
2016 Project Runway Remake It Work Grant Prize Winner

Taylor Jeffrey

My name is Taylor Elizabeth and I am a social practice and assemblage artist based in Los Angeles, California. My artistic journey weaves through a rich tapestry of diverse mediums, creating a body of work that beautifully blends fine art with innovation. My creative palette extends across carpentry, ceramics, photography, cinema, and fashion; reflecting my versatility and passion for exploration. The inception of my artistic endeavors can be traced back to the establishment of Axum Studio in 2016, a venture that became a cornerstone for editorial styling, model casting, set design, and art direction. Axum Studio provides a dynamic platform for collaborations with esteemed brands and artists, solidifying my position as a luminary in the artistic realm. Currently, I am honored to serve as the Public Art Associate at Destination Crenshaw, playing a pivotal role in the development and growth of artists within the vibrant landscape of Los Angeles.

Alfred Coles

Alfred Coles is an artist, and organizer using music and the power of community as a catalyst for social change and well being. Using his voice as an artist and storyteller under the moniker “Alfred Nomad” to cultivate amity within communities for more than a decade, Alfred founded the culture brand LxVE (Love x Value Everything & Everyone) to highlight and encourage entrepreneurial creatives. Curating experiences such as concerts, art exhibitions, panels, and his annual festival LxVE Fest, he effortlessly weaves together his musicianship and collective advocacy. As current Program Coordinator for the nonprofit Painted Brain, Alfred will be of service to continue PB‚Äôs mission to create lasting community-based solutions to mental health challenges and the impact of social injustice through arts, advocacy, and enterprise.

Bryan Guzman

Bryan Guzman is a first-generation Salvadoran-American, born and raised in South Central LA. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Narrative Studies, and is passionate about film, community engagement, and equity in the arts. He is currently a Social Impact Coordinator with the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts, where he is working on initiatives and programming to better serve the community once the museum opens. In his free time, Bryan likes to play video games, and plays drum set and bass, though not very good, and has lately been infatuated with film photography. He also loves hanging out with his cat, Mochi.

Cindy Damas

I am the Program Manager for Everybody Dance LA! a non-profit focused on bringing high quality dance instruction to low income youth (K-12) in LA. I have worked with EDLA! for almost 6 years and have held multiple positions before being promoted to my current role. I manage the administrative part of the after school dance program serving 450+ students after school Monday-Friday and Saturdays. I oversee parent engagement and information in English and Spanish languages. As well as supervise a team of 5 staff that support teachers, students and parents on site during classes. I am also a member of our organization’s EDAI committee and co-lead a student leadership group offered to our enrolled students.

Jean Young

Jean Young (they/she) is a second generation Taiwanese American multi-disciplinary artist and storyteller who is inspired by the relationships and communities around them. Based in Los Angeles, they are currently the Marketing Coordinator at the Chinese American Museum, the Social Media Manager for Tuesday Night Project, and previously a Digital Publication Intern for the Smithsonian Folklife digital magazine through the East Los Angeles College Museum Studies Certificate Program. They graduated from University of California, Davis with Bachelor of Arts in Art Studio and Communications and was a Resident Artist at the Royal Drawing School in London, UK. Jean is interested in how digital media usage facilitates community building, informing the ways they create content and branding for the organizations they are a part of. As an arts advocate, they continue to utilize digital strategies to create connections and access to resources within a community for more equity within the arts.

Jennie Park

Jennie E. Park is a South Korea-born and Southern California-based American immigrant artist, writer and curator interested in interdisciplinarity and integrated approaches to honesty. (In)visibility and (in)vulnerability, and world-generating dynamics of entanglement and truthful paradox, recur as practices, tools or puzzles she explores through her mixed media, project-based work. Her artwork has been internationally exhibited through galleries, film festivals, fairs, and community and office spaces, including most recently at MOAH:CEDAR (Lancaster), Axis Gallery (Sacramento), Helen J Gallery (Los Angeles), and has received MOZAIK Future Art Awards. She has written for Artillery and other arts publications for the last decade, and her prior graduate degrees in law and cognitive psychology inform her art and writing practices. She recently received an MFA in Art and Creative Writing with an Integrated Media concentration from CalArts.

Krystine Murry

Krystine Murry was born and raised in Los Angeles. In 2013, she moved to Bellingham, Washington to attend Western Washington University. After working at the Western Gallery, she fell in love with gallery practices and majored in art history. Exploring and advocating intersectionality within her studies led her to pull away from “traditional” art historical studying to gain a fluid understanding of individuals navigating the arts. After graduation, she took on various positions in museums and galleries with the intention of gaining a well rounded experience to have a better understanding of how these spaces can better serve the public and their workers, as well as create communities for them. She currently works at LACMA, as an Education Coordinator and oversees two programs that prioritize making museums inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Lizeth Ayala

Lizeth Ayala is a Mexican-American scholar and artist at heart who is passionate about storytelling, art access, and community work. Born and raised in LA, East Hollywood. She is a first-generation college student graduating from CSULA in June 2023 with a B.A. in Sociology and minor in Latin-American and Pan-African studies. An alumni of the LAUSD – Conservatory of Fine Arts, where at a young age she found theatre as her outlet to express and overcome. In 2018 she became a part of an after-school program that worked with first-generation and low-income students where she was inspired by her mentors and working with youth to be a dedicated and resourceful advocate with three years of experience in program implementation, fundraising, and community outreach through Kid City Hope Place. Outside of school and work, Lizeth practices a range of art mediums including street photography, poetry, and currently learning guitar.

Marco Barcena

Marco Barcena is a Council Member and former Mayor of the City of Bell Gardens. He immigrated from Mexico and has since made it his mission to improve the lives of his constituents. He graduated from the University of California Berkeley, creating a new Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major with an area of concentration in Technology and Consumer Behavior. He recently succeeded in funding the construction of a $20+ million Aquatics Center for his underserved community.  Marco is a strong supporter of recreation, art, and education, and has pushed for an increase in art programs in Bell Gardens.  He organized the City’s first outdoor art gallery in conjunction with a 5k last year and hopes to continue growing the arts in the City of Bell Gardens.

Paola Lopez

Paola Lopez pronouns she/her/ella. LA native WOC born and raised in Echo Park. Currently attending LATTC Community Planning/ Economic Development Leadership program. As Social Media Coordinator for Grand Park I help amplify the many talents and voices of LA based artists and community organizations in our beautiful hometown. With a background in production coordination, live entertainment, and nonprofit/union sector in Los Angeles for 7 + years. It is an honor to form part of Arts for LA – ACTIVATE Emerging Arts Leaders 2023 cohort.  I am excited to continue working towards a Los Angeles that is culturally equitable and accessible for all Angelenos. Uplifting and acknowledging the many voices in my communities with access to the arts and resources for all. I look forward to building long lasting relationships and activating my leadership power.

Anne Maria Acosta

Anne Marie Acosta is a first-generation, Filipina-American, and proud Pomona Valley resident. She values community, altruism, growth, and creativity. In her professional career, she has uplifted the cultural and civic life of residents throughout the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County. She began her arts career as a program assistant for the Fox Riverside Theater Foundation. As part of their inaugural team, she brought 1,400+ students and senior citizens to the Fox Performing Arts Center to see free live performances. It was here where she developed a passion for equitable access to the arts. Before landing in the L.A. arts world, she worked for the City of Pomona where her interest in civic engagement grew. Anne Marie currently works with The Music Center, where she can see the trajectory of her career connect so far, between providing arts experiences for all and leaning into her civic and community values. She hopes to continue growing her knowledge and skills to cultivate equitable, healthy, and creative communities.

Christine Zheng

Christine Zheng (she/her) is an artist, storyteller, and educator passionate about connecting diverse communities with illuminating and inspiring ideas. Originally from Claremont, CA, Christine is currently completing a Fellowship in Museum Practice at the Colby College Museum of Art, an academic art museum in Waterville, ME. In her role, she supports academic engagement, exhibitions and publications, as well as communications in the museum. Prior, she worked for two years in corporate communications, telling stories for Fortune 500 companies as well as philanthropic efforts in the arts. In her work, Christine prioritizes opportunities to bolster accessibility, equity, creativity, and community.

Jamie Costa

Jamie Costa is a Los Angeles based arts and culture programmer. She is currently the Gallery Experience Associate at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and was also recently the Curator of the Art UpFront Program at Boston Court in Pasadena, CA. Previous experience includes development and exhibition related roles at the Norton Simon Museum, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Public Art Division, and Los Angeles Nomadic Division. Costa is a 2018-2019 Arts for LA ACTIVATE Cultural Policy Fellow and served on the organization’s ACTIVATE Alumni Steering Committee. She holds a BA in Art History and Visual Art from Occidental College and a MA in Art Business from the Center for Business & Management of the Arts at Claremont Graduate University.

Jessica Coreas

Jessica Coreas is a writer, arts administrator, and community organizer whose passion around storytelling, diversity and resilience in communities of color in the last decade have lead her into activism and engagement work in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV). In 2014, Jessica worked with Pasadena Playhouse’s Mi Historia, Mi Manera grant initiative to present a table reading of renowned Tanya Saracho’s play, Kita y Fernanda, in the City of La Puente. Through the community center Bridgetown DIY, Jessica organized music events featuring local artists and supported the execution of art programming for local high school students.  Alongside Young Musician Foundation, Jessica now uses her extensive experience in community engagement and advocacy to increase access to music programming across Los Angeles County.  A graduate of EAL/LA’s Protege program, Jessica is excited to join the 2022 ACTIVATE Program and create a fulfilling Protege mentorship program.

Jocelyn Ayala

Jocelyn Ayala is a Queer Mexican-American, first-generation graduate of Occidental College with a B.A. in Art History and Visual Arts. After graduating in 2016, she spent three years living in South Korea as a certified ESL instructor. She returned to California, and in 2020 began working in her hometown Pomona, CA at The dA Center for the Arts. She is currently the ArtBridge Outreach Program Coordinator, managing all visual arts programs created by the dA for the Pomona Unified School District. Outside of work, she is an artist, focusing on both traditional and digital illustrations. She hopes to continue advocating for community art programs and one day illustrate children’s books.

Krystal Monique Ramírez

Krystal Monique Ramírez is a Los Angeles-based independent curator in the contemporary sphere. She is a recent graduate from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelors in Art History and Administrative Studies, and a concentration in Business and Society. Previously, she has served in a variety of occupations within multiple non-profit art organizations including Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, UCR Arts, California Museum of Photography, Craft in America, and 18th Street Arts Center. While pursuing curatorial and administrative work, Ramírez also practices a range of different art mediums during her personal time, including photography and craft art. She frequently collaborates with local Latinx and BIPOC artists to organize art shows and vending opportunities that are accessible to the entire community.

Melba Martinez

Melba Martinez is an artist and cultural organizer from Pacoima, CA. Their passion for art, activism, and the fight for the liberation of all oppressed people guide her life and work. After attending UCSB, Melba was a community organizer in the North East San Fernando Valley working mostly with immigrant women to create strong and thriving communities. They left that role to become the director of Creative Incite, a community arts program that worked with youth from low-income communities and with people on probation. In 2019 they left Creative Incite, went back to school and worked with CultureGap.LA promoting arts and culture events across Los Angeles. Melba also works with the Feminist Center for Creative Work creating social media content.  They received a BA in Chicanx Studies and a minor in Feminist Studies. Melba loves to knit, dance, and play with makeup and clothes.

Socks Whitmore

Socks Whitmore is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary performer, composer, and storyteller. Whether they’re writing a new musical, recording voice over, or testing their four-octave range in song, every aspect of their work is rooted in voice and text. They are best known for their work on the Narwhal and Jelly audiobook series, the feature film The Magical Christmas Tree, and the original stage works We Are Here (NMI New Voices Project 2019) and Back to One: A Coming of Self Musical. They can also be found working on choral music, indie games, short fiction, or amassing large amounts of socks. For those who are curious, they hold a BFA Performer-Composer degree from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) with minors in Digital Arts and Creative Writing. Learn more about their adventures in professional overachievement on social media @SocksWhitmore or on their website,