2015-16 Activate Projects

Members of the 2015-16 ACTIVATE Program cohort launched advocacy initiatives (Action Projects) impacting 26 cities and 27 school districts across LA County. Below you can learn more about these Fellows and their advocacy initiatives.

 


 

Sara Holland
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Sara Holland, an Arts Education Fellow representing LAUSD, has been fostering a relationship between South Gate High School and the City of South Gate in order to secure city support for student community art projects. Holland has been working with students at South Gate High School to create a formal grant proposal to have the installation of student-designed, student-built projects be funded by the city. Holland has also been working to have South Gate High School become the host site for the Eastside Arts Festival and hopes to expand the student community art installation project and arts festival to other LAUSD sites and, ultimately, to school sites throughout LA county.


Leslie Ishii
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Leslie Ishii, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Los Angeles, has been working to connect cultural leaders and theatres of color to create a season of plays for students of color in the greater Los Angeles area. Given that the (larger, historically white-run) theater productions LAUSD students are generally exposed to do not accurately reflect the school district’s majority-minority student composition, Ishii’s work aims to ensure that LAUSD students get to see representations of their own cultural experiences on professional stages. Having been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant, Ishii is also developing a national think tank regarding the sustainability of theatres of color to ensure that culturally diverse stories are told in small and large theaters to audiences nationwide.
Link to Project

Gemma Jimenez
Cultural Policy Fellow
North Hollywood

Gemma Jimenez, a Cultural Policy Fellow from North Hollywood, has been working to develop a film festival and workshop series based out of the Echo Park Film Center. Her workshop series will involve working with found footage on rare and “obsolete” mediums (16mm, Super 8 films, etc.) to re-introduce these mediums to the current and next generation of filmmakers and film students. Jimenez hopes to develop these free workshops into standing programs by securing City Council support for the program and hosting a film festival screening for projects developed in the workshop.
Link to Project

Tiffany Judkins
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

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

June Kaewsith
Cultural Policy Fellow
Long Beach

June Kaewsith, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Long Beach, has been working to increase City Council accountability for community input regarding the arts. Specifically, Kaewsith has met with the new Executive Director of the Arts Council of Long Beach, the author of the city’s Cultural Arts master Plan, candidates for her local district City Council seat, the architects behind the Cambodia Town “redevelopment” project, and local artists to ensure that the Cambodia Town project includes local artist contributions as part of the 1% Arts Development Fee. Kaewsith compiled the information gathered in these conversations into a formal proposal and video narrative, which she plans to use to secure funds for community engagement projects in the future. By functioning as a liaison between decision makers and community members, Kaewsith hopes to increase the city’s accountability and consideration of arts-related issues in Long Beach, establish and increase collaboration on the Cambodia Town project across sectors, and help expand others’ awareness of how arts and culture can help keep communities intact.
Link to Video


Regina Klein
Cultural Policy Fellow
Culver City

Regina Klein, a Cultural Policy fellow from Culver City, is working to develop a network of “Emeritus” cultural affairs/ cultural arts committee volunteers to guide the work of current and future cultural affairs/ cultural arts committee members in Culver City. Klein has worked with the CA Lawyers for the Arts group to develop training materials that will help current and future iterations of these committees navigate Brown Act compliance as it pertains to the arts. Klein hopes to develop a training video or manual to preserve the knowledge of previous cultural affairs/ cultural arts committee volunteers and strengthen the local network of past/ current/ future committee volunteers, allowing them to work more effectively with local government entities.

Bea Lamar
Cultural Policy Fellow
Pasadena

Bea Lamar, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Pasadena has been working to actively engage, inspire and facilitate the collaboration of local artists in public events throughout Pasadena. Lamar has successfully engaged local artists in various events, including partnering with National Public Health Week programming in the city. Lamar has also increased public awareness of and engagement in these events and in arts programming by making use of social media platforms to advertise and promote arts components and partnerships within these events.
Link to Project

Ruffy Landayan
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Klarissa Leuterio
Arts Education Fellow
Santa Monica Malibu USD

Klarissa Leuterio, an Arts Education Fellow representing the LAUSD/ SMMUSD, has been working to expand and solidify teacher involvement in theater programs at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Leuterio has held focus groups comprising theater staff, teachers, and school board administrators to find more ways to work with teachers outside of the student matinee program currently held at the Broad. By deepening relationships with LAUSD/ SMMUSD teachers and administrators, Leuterio hopes to grow the pool of teachers engaged in programming at the Broad Stage, ultimately providing students with a greater access to targeted theater productions and programming.
Link to Project 1
Link to Project 2

Pamela Lewis
Arts Education Fellow
Pasadena USD

Pamela Lewis, an Arts Education Fellow working in the Pasadena Unified School District, has been working to increase the professional development of arts teachers and volunteers in the Pasadena USD. To achieve this, Lewis has joined the LCAP Committee for her district and has helped categorize the arts are under the “Quality Learning Dynamic and Student Engagement” goal in addition to the “Dynamic Instruction” goal in the district’s LCAP language. Lewis has also gotten the district to agree to release time for all teachers to have professional development training on-site at their schools to do arts education training under herself and other teaching artists. Room 13, an afterschool program, is also in the works, through which Lewis hopes to bring visiting artists to after school workshops for the benefit of students and teachers alike.


Laura Longoria
Cultural Policy Fellow
Alhambra

Ellen Lutwak
Cultural Policy Fellow
Beverly Hills

Ellen Lutwak, a Cultural Policy Fellow representing Beverly Hills, has been working to revitalize and reintroduce the Cultural Master Plan for the city of Beverly Hills that was created in 2009. Lutwaks has been working with city staff and teachers in the Beverly Hills Unified School district to update the plan’s timeline for completion and incorporate new technological and social media outreach methods for publicizing the arts. Lutwak hopes to present the updated Master Cultural Plan, which was previously shelved due to budgetary concerns, to the Beverly Hills City Council and see it implemented with the support of the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, City Council members, city staff, the Beverly Hills Unified School District, residents, and local artists and arts supporters.
Link to Project

david mann
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

David Mann, a Cultural Policy Fellow straddling LA County Districts 4 and 5, has partnered with the Mid City West Community Council to organize and produce “Movement on the Miracle Mile”, a series of one-day themed-based contemporary dance events in response to the Metro Subway Expansion Project in the Miracle Mile area. The events will be produced in partnership with 4 museums in the Miracle Mile area, including LACMA, the Peterson Automotive Museum, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Mann is currently working with the museums and LA City Council District 13 and District 4 offices to develop programming for the event series, which he hopes will help inspire participants and spectators to get out of their cars and join the increasing number of people choosing other forms of “Movement’”: bikes, walking, and public transportation. Given the projected timeline for the Metro Expansion Project (2018-2022), Mann intends to produce his “Movement on the Miracle Mile” events to coincide with the initiation and completion of the Metro project’s three stages.
Link to Project
Link to Project

Natalie Marrero
Arts Education Fellow
Inglewood USD

Natalie Marrero, an Arts Education Fellow from the Inglewood Unified School District, has been working on developing underutilized spaces in schools as a way to approach the districts LCAP goals regarding the bettering of school environments. Marrero has been researching unused and underutilized spaces at schools across the district with the aim of developing tailored programming at school sites that will reinvigorate these neglected spaces using an arts-based approach. Marrero will use pilot data collected from at several trial sites to develop, formalize, and expand her program across the Inglewood Unified School District.
Link to Project


Sara Martin
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Jamie McAndrews
Arts Education Fellow
ICEF Public Schools

Ebony McConico-Garcia
Arts Education Fellow
El Monte City School District

Ebony McConico-Garcia, an Arts Education Fellow from El Monte City School District, is working to develop and implement a program that will use theater techniques in English Language Development (ELD) classrooms. Her integrative approach takes an arts-based approach to educating English language learners by engaging them in theater-based speech exercises. Currently, McConico-Garcia has submitted the proposal for her pilot program to the district, which is in the beginning stages of planning out strategies for integrating arts into the curriculum. She hopes that the successful implementation of her program will result in the establishment of her theater-based approach in ELD classrooms across the El Monte City School District.
Link to Project

Moza Mjasiri Cooper
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Moza Mjasiri Cooper, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Los Angeles, is working with Black Arts Los Angeles (BALA) to secure corporate, organizational, and community sponsorship for the production of the 7th annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival that will be held in Leimert Park Village on June 18th and 19th. In addition to generating sponsorship for the event, Mjasiri Cooper has also worked to develop event programming, engaging local performers, vendors, and organizations to participate in the festival. Mjasiri Cooper is also working with BALA to organize the Juneteenth Student Competition, a competition that features student written works and visual arts displays on topics that connect with Juneteenth stories. Ultimately, Mjasiri Cooper hopes to establish long-term partnerships with sponsor entities to secure the perpetuation of the Juneteenth Festival.

Leonard Narumi
Arts Education Fellow
Montebello USD

Leonard Narumi, an Arts Education Fellow from Montebello Unified School District, is working to document how advocacy efforts have led to the creation of a full-time Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator position and the subsequent increase in visual and performing arts that has taken place in his school district. Narumi has closely followed the implementation of arts programming in all Kindergarten – 2nd grade classrooms district-wide and the current extension to all 3rd grade classrooms in the district. The expansion of visual and performing arts programming under the VAPA Coordinator has also led to the creation of a district-wide school arts festival featuring muralists, live performances, and a visual art gallery highlighting student work. Narumi plans to amass his documentation into a narrative that will be distributed to community members, school district staff, and school board members to provide a framework for the advancement of arts education and programming in neighboring districts.
Link to Project 1
Link to Project 2

Ann Noriel
Arts Education Fellow
Duarte USD & ABC USD

Ann Noriel, an Arts Education Fellow representing the Duarte and ABC Unified School Districts, worked in partnership with ACCESS probation program and OC Department of Education to develop a series of poetry and songwriting workshops for at-risk youth. Aiming to improve academic performance and decrease recidivism in juveniles by encouraging students to make better choices and engaging them to express their experiences via poetry and songwriting, Noriel launched pilot workshops using funds available via the OC Department of Education. Preliminary results from her pilot workshop series have shown a positive effect, most notably a decrease in the number of behavioral incidents (fights, etc) among at-risk youth who participated in the program. Moving forward, Noriel plans to incorporate her findings into a formal grant proposal, which she hopes will secure funding to expand the poetry and songwriting workshops to a larger network of school sites and formalize the 20-session workshop series into yearly program.

Erica Ortega
Arts Education Fellow
Whittier City School District

Erica Ortega, an Arts Education Fellow from Whittier City School District, is working to develop an after-school program for parents and students to engage the arts together. In order to provide quality arts instruction and engage the local artistic community, Ortega has mobilized local artists, hosting forums to develop the program curriculum and secure local arts professionals and artists as volunteer instructors to lead after-school and evening arts classes that parents and students can attend together. Ortega is focusing her work on English Language Learners within the school district, hoping to engage kinds and their parents in art projects that transcend language barriers. Ortega intends to formally launch the after-school program in Whittier City School District in September and hopes to expand the program to school districts throughout the City of Whittier in the near future.
Link to Project

Coral Palmon
Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Jane Park Smith

Cultural Policy Fellow
West Hollywood

Jane Park Smith, a Cultural Policy Fellow from West Hollywood, has been working to simultaneously increase the presence of arts in the lives of our youth and promote better and healthier food options via the launch of a film festival wellness faire, “FOR FAMILIES; ON FOOD; IN FILMS”. Park Smith has partnered with community members and organizations in Orange County and LA County to develop an after-school curriculum that will teach students about food sustainability and healthy food and snack choices for themselves and their families. Park Smith’s innovative approach integrates arts education and nutritional guidance in an engaging way, addressing food, health, and sustainability topics via artistic mediums, such as “ Voting With What You Eat”, a short film currently in production. Park Smith ultimately intends to bring together these types of short films (and filmmakers) for a film festival wellness fair in the near future.
Link to Project


Cynthia Pease

Cultural Policy Fellow
Burbank

Cynthia Pease, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Burbank, has been working to broaden community engagement in the development and implementation of a Cultural Arts Plan for the City of Burbank. In order to accomplish this, Pease has developed a series of surveys in conjunction with the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission to gauge interest among City Council and city staff/ administrators, identify areas of interest and engagement among residents, quantify arts related partnerships among local businesses, and determine areas in need of support among local artists and arts organizations. In addition to administering the community and artist/ arts organization surveys and meeting with City Council members, Pease has also written a grant to obtain funds to produce an arts festival for the City of Burbank in the Fall of 2016. Pease hopes to incorporate information she is gathering from survey responses into the Burbank’s new Cultural Arts Plan, modify the city’s Arts in Public Places ordinance to include performance and exhibition experiences (such as arts festivals), and formalize the art festival into an annual function.
Link to Project


Sharon Persovski

Cultural Policy Fellow
Beverly Hills

Sharon Persovski, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Beverly Hills, is developing a plan to incorporate technology and interactive arts and architecture elements into the city planning projects of Beverly Hills to create a “Smart City”. Persovski plans to present the information she has gathered regarding how the incorporation of these projects into city planning endeavors can increase community engagement in the arts before Beverly Hills City Council to illustrate how the advent of technology can both modernize and artistically enrich the city. Persovski ultimately hopes to secure funding for the plan and see an increase in the number of technologically savvy, publicly engaging art projects incorporated in Beverly Hill’s future city planning projects.


Jasmine Regala
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Jasmine Regala, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Los Angeles, has been developing a program that employs visual arts displays to light up dark freeway underpasses in an effort to increase public safety and community engagement. Regala has developed a structure for a production team that will take on the task of creating art installations at various freeway underpass sites across the City of Los Angeles. By simultaneously addressing gaps in public safety and visual arts representations, Regala hopes her program will result in an increase in community awareness and engagement in the arts.


Allan Roman Reyes
Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

ande richards

Cultural Policy Fellow
Los Angeles

Ande Richards, a Cultural Policy Fellow from Los Angeles, has been working to increase awareness of 311, an app through which community members can report incidents of graffiti to law enforcement and city government agencies. Richards has petitioned neighborhood and city council representatives to help disseminate information about the app via physical flyers in communal spaces throughout the area as well as via the city’s online platforms. Richards has also been working to engage youngsters in the conversation, elevating their voices and providing them the opportunity to help provide solutions to a tangible problem. By continually engaging community members of all ages in conversations about immediate issues in her area, Richards hopes to increase civic engagement and city accountability regarding public issues as they arise.
Link to Project


Paul Robak

Arts Education Fellow
Los Angeles USD

Paul Robak, an Arts Education Fellow from Los Angeles Unified School District 7, has been working with senior administrators in the district to create an LAUSD Arts Education Advisory Committee that will monitor and evaluate the district’s arts education efforts at every LAUSD K-12 school site. Robak intends to recruit stakeholder parents, artists, and community-based organizations to the Arts Advisory Committee, which will help hold the district accountable for upholding the arts equity index. Robak also hopes the Arts Advisory Committee will help establish vertical pathways that allow students uninterrupted access to dance, music, theater, and/or visual art instruction at each grade level in all district schools.
Link to Project


Lisa Ruiz
Arts Education Fellow
Hacienda La Puente USD

Lisa Ruiz, an Arts Education Fellow representing the Hacienda/ La Puente Unified School District, has been working towards the inclusion of digital and performing arts language into the district’s LCAP language to ensure that visual arts training is perceived as an expectation at schools across the Hacienda/ La Puente USD. Ruiz has been invited to write the VAPA language to be included in the district’s revised LCAP requirements and has submitted her draft of the new VAPA language to the district Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Multilingual Director, who is leading the LCAP revision process. Ruiz is hopeful that the new VAPA language will be adopted into the district’s LCAP requirements and, thus, bring about an increase in digital and performing arts instruction in schools across the district.
Link to Project