Amy Aquino is an American television, film, and stage actress. She is a graduate of Harvard and Yale University, and has for 30 years appeared on stage, film and in dozens of television series such as Amazon’s current Bosch, Brooklyn Bridge, ER, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Drew McCoy where they have actively supported many arts and education institutions, including Inner City Arts (including the establishment of the Eamon Cannon Comedy Class), the Virginia Avenue Project (a free after-school performing arts and arts mentoring program in Santa Monica), the Cornerstone Theater Company, the Boston Court Theater, and Arts for LA. Amy is also Vice-President of her neighborhood association and an active strategist and spokesperson in the historic preservation movement in her neighborhood and LA as a whole, was a founding board member of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council, and a member of the Hollywood Community Police Advisory Board. Since 1994 Amy has been a strong force in the Screen Actors Guild’s – and later SAG-AFTRA’s - executive leadership. She has served as vice president, national secretary-treasurer, chair of the finance committee, and as a member of multiple negotiating, strategic planning and national executive committees. She shepherded the revamping of SAG’s communications and outreach, and was critical to the achievement and implementation of the SAG-AFTRA merger. Amy is intrigued with taking her volunteerism to the next level with Arts for LA. She is interested in developing broad arts policy and learning more about our government relations efforts and interactions with the schools. She has a wide and strong network of friends and colleagues in the creative industries and looks forward to including that network in the Arts for LA family.
Betty Avila is a native of Los Angeles, born and raised in Cypress Park. Her work has centered on the intersection of the arts and social justice, with particular focus on community building, public space, and youth empowerment. She has held positions with the Getty Research Institute, The Music Center and the Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park. She is a board member of the Center for Cultural Innovation and is a founding board member of Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM). MCM supports low-income communities of color that bike, walk and use public transit in Los Angeles County. In 2017, Betty was named one of C-Suite Quarterly Magazine’s NextGen 10 in Philanthropy, Arts and Culture and an Impact-Maker to Watch by City Impact Labs. She received her B.A. in Literature at Pitzer College, has an M.A. in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University, and is a 2008 Fulbright Fellow to Korea.
Jan D. Breslauer, MA, MFA, JD, is an arts and entertainment attorney who has been working with artists, entertainment professionals, writers, entertainment businesses, and arts organizations and institutions for more than twenty-five years. She received her M.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama and draws on that training in representing arts and entertainment clients in her law practice. Ms. Breslauer has also worked extensively in the arts and entertainment industry – as a writer, producer, dramaturg, and director. As a journalist, Ms. Breslauer wrote for the Los Angeles Times for twenty years, as an arts and entertainment critic, commentator, and feature writer. In addition to the Los Angeles Times, her writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, and many other periodicals. Ms. Breslauer holds advanced degrees in Political Science, Theater, and Law, from the University of California, Yale, and Chapman University Fowler School of Law. She has taught at Yale, Yale Divinity School, UCLA and UCSD, and guest lectured at such schools as CalArts, Cal State Los Angeles, and Chapman University Fowler School of Law.
Jessica Cusick has been cultural affairs manager for the City of Santa Monica since early 2005 where she has overseen significant expansion in the City’s support for artists and the creative sector, including the establishment of an artist fellowship program. As part of her work in Santa Monica, Ms. Cusick developed Glow, a unique all night art event that drew over 200,000 visitors in its first year. She is also president of Cusick Consulting, which she established in 1998 to build upon her more than twenty years of experience working in the arts for government agencies, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations. The firm specializes in cultural policy, civic art, and community development through the arts. Cusick’s initiatives have received awards from the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects. She has also been recognized by the Women’s Caucus for Art for her work in the field of public art and on behalf of women artists and artists of color. Cusick has a degree in art history from the Sorbonne in Paris and a master’s degree from New York University. She has written numerous articles about civic art and has contributed to a variety of publications, including Public Art: By the Book (University of Washington Press, 2005). She has been an adjunct professor in the Public Art Studies graduate program at the University of Southern California and a guest lecturer at the University of Houston and Otis College of Art and Design. She is currently an adjunct professor in the Arts Management Program at Claremont Graduate University.
George O. Davis joined the California African American Museum (CAAM) in 2015. In addition to leading the museum, his direct responsibilities include strategic planning, budget management, and outreach development to Exposition Park officials and other partners. During his tenure CAAM has begun fulfilling its mission to examine African American art, history, and culture in new and exciting ways—including the presentation of more contemporary and emerging artists and public programs by some of today’s most noted thinkers, doers, and makers—and attendance has more than doubled. Davis previously served as a state-appointed board member for CAAM, starting in 1999. His professional career has been primarily in the fields of broadcast and entertainment, having served as senior vice president of Technicolor from 2005–7, as well as founding Davis Broadband Group, a digital distribution consulting firm, in 2001. From 1996 –2001 he was a vice president for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Davis was a governor appointee to the California State Bar Board of Governors and the Volunteer State President of AARP California, and served on the board of New Directions for Veterans, an organization that helps veterans and their families. He holds an MBA from the University of Southern California and an undergraduate degree from the University of Redlands.
Juan Devis is a creative leader in public media. Devis is currently the Vice President, Arts and Culture Programming, for the largest independent television network in the United States, KCETLink. In this capacity, Devis has had to develop strategic partnerships with funders, organizations and independent production houses to ensure a new slate of content for two stations – KCET + LINK TV - securing funds and maintaining an editorial vision and cohesiveness for the company’s new mission. Devis has also charted the stations’ new Arts and Culture initiative and is the Executive Producer of the Emmy Winner Artbound, consisting of a television series, an online networked cultural hub and the creation programmatic partnerships with cultural institutions. In addition, Devis has developed and is the Executive Producer of a slate of new productions series that are either in development, production and pre-production. Some of these include, the Emmy nominated Live @ the Ford, Studio A, Border Blaster, Departures, City Walk, Studio A, Ocean Stories, Re-Plan it and others. For over a decade, Devis has worked with a number of non-profit organizations and media arts institutions in Los Angeles serving as producer, director, educator and board member. He is a founding member and is currently a board member of the LF Charter School for the Arts, an innovative arts-integrated charter public school serving the population of North East Los Angeles. Devis’ film, television, and interactive work has been screened and exhibited across the world. In the press, Juan Devis was presented as a major “influencer” in Los Angeles by the LA Weekly, and his transmedia series, Departures, was celebrated by the New York Times as a new twist on public media. Devis has won numerous awards, including: Emmy, Webby, LA Press Awards, National Arts Journalism awards, the Japan Prize, and others.
Fred Goldstein, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, joined LACMA in February of 2005. Prior to joining LACMA, Mr. Goldstein served as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Phoenix House Foundation in New York and previously as a partner in the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz. Mr. Goldstein received his JD from Yale Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. He has taught Art and Museum Law at Southwestern University School of Law and has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and as a Trustee of the Los Angeles Copyright Society. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the California Association of Museums and has also served on the Planning Committee and as a faculty member for several years for the annual Legal Issues in Museum Administration course, organized by the American Law Institute and the Smithsonian Institution.
Jamila Hunter was named senior vice president, ABC Comedy, in October 2016. Prior to that she was named vice president of ABC Comedy in 2011, where she was tasked with overseeing the development and production of new sitcoms. During that time, she has worked on such projects as the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning series “black-ish,”“Fresh Off the Boat” and “The Real O’Neals.” She also supervised Tim Allen’s return to network television in “Last Man Standing,” which ran for six seasons.
Prior, Hunter was a key member of the creative team that launched The Oprah Winfrey Network and senior vice president of Alternative and Digital Programming at NBC. She also served as vice president of Comedy Development for 20th Century Fox Television and vice president of Development and Production at Bravo, where she was an integral part of the creative team that re-branded the channel and launched seminal shows such as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Project Runway.” Before her post at Bravo, Hunter was the second executive to join the nascent alternative department at NBC as the team launched iconic series like “Fear Factor,” “The Apprentice” and “Last Comic Standing.” Prior to donning her VP stripes, she served as director of Alternative Programs and director of Movies and Miniseries at NBC.
Hunter started her career with NBC’s Olympic Division after graduating from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Annette Johnson has 29 years of experience in the cultural arts field specializing in project design/management, marketing, grant writing and event planning. She has curated contemporary art exhibits, developed arts education programs, produced festivals, music and dance performances, public humanities programs, and large scale fundraising and community events. She worked 11 years with the Wignall Museum in Rancho Cucamonga, and six years with the City of Pico Rivera directing six divisions and managing budgets and projects exceeding $1 million. She has developed marketing materials, special events and education programs that have earned state and national awards. Annette has served as a grant reviewer for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and was a District Co-Chair for the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies. She has been an active volunteer in K-12 education and community organizations, is a performing musician, and served on the Board of the Museum of Neon Art. Annette holds a BA in Art History from CSU Fullerton and an MPA from CSU San Bernardino. She also earned certificates in Non-Profit Management from Cal-Poly Pomona and Marketing Management from UC Riverside. Since 2005 she has worked as an independent consultant working with non-profit and government agencies in southern California.
In 2011, Melody Kanschat concluded a twenty-two-year career with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where she served in a variety of executive capacities. In her final six years, she was the Museum’s President and Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the day to day operations of the museum, a total annual expense budget of over $60 million, and a $320 million multi-year capital expansion campaign. Before joining the LACMA staff, Ms. Kanschat was the Development Director at public radio station KCSN in Northridge, California, and the Operations Director for Northwest Public Radio at Washington State University. Ms. Kanschat is a former member of the Boards of AAM’s Development and Membership Committee, the Western Museum Association, and Cornerstone Theater. She serves on the Board of Directors for Arts for LA and MOVE LA and is co-chair of the Los Angeles Associates of Save the Children’s development committee. Melody Kanschat provides management and consulting services to a variety of nonprofit institutions focusing on operational stability, fundraising, strategic planning, and capital project development and management. She holds a BS degree in Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Shana Mathur is an accomplished marketing and communications leader and strategist with a unique, collaborative and inclusive vision that empowers organizations to build and sustain enviable reputations, thoroughly engage stakeholders, achieve financial success, and better reflect the diverse communities which they serve. For the past twenty years, she has built arts brands and spearheaded new strategies for organizations at a pivot point.
As Chief Marketing Officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association from 2008-18, Shana oversaw marketing, communications, sales and customer experience for the institution and its iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In her role, first as Vice President and then as CMO, she led the LA Phil’s major, multi-faceted marketing initiatives – underpinned by a decade of sales successes – including the introduction of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the 10th Anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall, the orchestra’s first VR project, a new brand communications strategy and visual identity, new websites, sales and analytics systems, and the campaign for the LA Phil’s Centennial.
Prior to the LA Phil, Shana was Director of Marketing at UCLA Live (performing arts at University of California, Los Angeles), from 2002-07. She moved to Los Angeles in 2002 from New York City, where she was Director of Marketing at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) from 1998-2002. Before performing arts, Shana ran her own boutique entertainment PR and marketing firm and worked in the music business.
Shana currently provides marketing and strategic support to cultural and other non-profit clients, and partners with her husband on their urgent care business. As an arts advocate, she is proud to serve on the Board for Arts for LA. Shana holds her B.A. in Anthropology from University of Wisconsin, Madison and her M.B.A. from CUNY’s Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.
Winifred White Neisser’s extensive and successful career in development of television programming evolved from a passion for education and the arts. Her 34-year journey in Hollywood, where she served for 14 years as an executive at NBC, and another 20 years at Sony Pictures Television, ending in 2014 as Senior Vice President of Television Movies and Mini-series, followed a strategic recognition of the impact that television can have on young lives and learning. In addition to her professional life, White Neisser has served on many non-profit boards focusing primarily on education and the arts, including the Otis College of Art and Design; the Harvard University Board of Overseers, and Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles. She is also passionate about music and sings with the Angel City Chorale, in addition to serving on its board. Still intrigued by the power of messages and storytelling in popular culture, she continues to explore ways to share the stories that seldom get told, and demonstrate how art can be used as a vehicle to unite people and promote social justice throughout the world.
Debra J.T. Padilla has served as the executive director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) since 1993. Prior to being at SPARC, Ms. Padilla was the managing director of Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona, for seven years. She has served on numerous panels and committees, including but not limited to: the Rockefeller Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust for the Visual Arts, the Ford Foundation-Working Capital Fund Panel, the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation-Youth Awards Committee Chair, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Latino Theatre Council for the Latino Theatre Initiative at the Mark Taper Forum, the John Anson Ford Latino Audience Initiative Advisory Council, the Los Angeles Cultural Tourism Department, the City of Santa Monica Cultural Grants Panel, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission Civic Art Panel, the Tucson/Pima Arts Council Grants/Heritage Panel, Arizona Commission on the Arts Grants Panel, the Tucson Museum of Art Advisory Board, and served for fourteen years on the Board of Directors of Cornerstone Theater Company and for five years on the Diversity Advisory Committee for the Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles. Ms. Padilla was selected by the California Community Foundation to be part of their leadership fellowship program entitled “Ambassadors Within” and was part of the inaugural group of twelve women selected in Los Angeles for the Women’s Leadership Circle (WLC). She is a proud recipient of the Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Award.
Lisa Cleri Reale is principal of Lisa Cleri Reale & Associates, which provides consulting for nonprofits, corporations, and foundations. Ms. Reale served eleven years in various capacities with The Times Mirror Corporation and the Los Angeles Times. As director of community affairs for the Los Angeles Times, she led the launch of several initiatives, including the Times in Education Partners in Education program, 1-800-877-READ, a literacy referral hotline, and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Ms. Reale is a former member of the corporate board of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and immediate past chair of its Community Investment Cabinet. She is one of the architects of United Way’s Pathways out of Poverty Plan. In 2012, State Senator Curren Price named Ms. Reale a “SHero,” and in 2009 she was one of 30 nonprofit leaders in LA to be honored by the Center for Nonprofit Management with its Nonprofit Excellence Award on the occasion of the Center’s 30th Anniversary. Ms. Reale served as founding president of the Carthay Center Elementary School PTA and former president of the Alexander Hamilton High School PTSA. She has been a resident of Los Angeles for over 25 years. She is the mother of a son and a daughter.
Jim Schultz is the Director Integrated Quality for Boeing Defense Space and Security (BDS). Schultz reports to the vice president of Integrated Quality for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. BDS is a $31 billion business that provides integrated solutions to meet the enduring needs of defense, government, space, intelligence and security customers in the United States and around the world.
Schultz is responsible for the Quality and Supplier Quality functions across all BDS businesses and sites across. In this role he is responsible for driving overall business improvement through the effective execution of the Quality Management System internally and within the supply base. Additionally he has responsibility to represent BDS in industry forums of IAQG, AAWG, and AIA to ensure effective cross industry Quality standards.
During his more than 28 years at Boeing, Schultz has held senior-level management positions in Manufacturing, Quality and Program Management, Antenna Systems Engineering, Payload and S/C Mechanical Design, and Microwave Devices. Most recently, Schultz led Network & Space Systems’ Satellites business in achieving AS9100, ISO 14001 and CMMI level 5 certifications, as well as the California Award for Performance Excellence gold recognition.
He is the holder of two United States patents and has received honors for both his technical and leadership contributions to Boeing.
Schultz received a Bachelor of Science degree in electromagnetics and communication theory from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan.
Craig Watson served as the Director of the California Arts Council from August 2011 through March 2017. Under his leadership, the budget of the California Arts Council increased from $5 million to nearly $25 million and the Council took on many new initiatives. These include new grant programs to serve veterans, at-risk youth, public media stations, after-school arts, arts research and creative placemaking. In addition, the Arts-in-Corrections program was re-established and now at $8 million, brings teaching artists into all 35 California prisons, is the largest such program in the U.S., and represents an effective way to reduce recidivism in the state. Landmark legislation was passed, including the creation of a state-wide Cultural Districts program. Through this program, the Arts Council is in the process of recognizing the first co-hort of rural, suburban and urban communities where the arts serve as a community catalyst for economic, cultural and social vibrancy.
In 2015, Craig was named one of the 40 most influential U.S. arts leaders by Barry's Blog of the Western States Arts Federation. Previous to the CAC, Craig was the executive director of the Arts Council for Long Beach, where he oversaw a significant expansion of the agency into the community, including creation of the largest local celebration of Arts and Humanities Month in the nation.
Watson started his career in the arts field at local arts agencies and arts-services organizations, and later built a career in the telecommunications industry before returning to the arts as Executive Director of the Arts Council for Long Beach. He held senior executive positions in the telecommunications field in Rhode Island, New York and California. His earlier career in the arts included positions with the Sonoma County Arts Council and Rural Arts Services in Northern California, as well as a fellowship at the National Endowment for the Arts, participation in the Coro Foundation's Arts Management program, and a co-directing position at Santa Barbara Arts Services.
Since leaving the CAC, Craig is helping to re-position and expand a family business and also consulting in the arts. A current consultancy has him leading a targeted advocacy campaign in California to save federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a volunteer advisor to Alibaba California and the Pasadena Community Foundation on their Big Heart/Small Film project. He recently joined the Advisory Board of Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre and the Board of Trustees of Arts for LA.