Debra J.T. Padilla
Debra J.T. Padilla served as the executive director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) from 1993 to 2018. 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.
Karen began her career as an artist, actor, and arts administrator in NYC (The Women’s Project and Productions),Chicago (Striding Lion Performance Group, Healthworks Theatre, Afterschool Matters) and most recently in Los Angeles as the Executive Director of the Arts High Foundation, raising the funds for the arts programs at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), a tuition free, conservatory-framed public high school that has graduated thousands of artist-scholars since 1985. With a strong background in fundraising and development in the arts, advocacy and education, Karen recognizes that art, education and communication are integral to a civil and constructive culture and possess the tools to unlock a greater conversation within the larger architecture of our society. Through first-hand experience in the classroom, community and arts landscape, Karen understands the critical need and advocates for accessible arts education and experiences for all communities and considers it her great privilege to work to help identify, guide and create access for the artists' voices in every community to be heard, amplified and woven into the fabric of our society. She holds a M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University, Los Angeles, M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College, Chicago and a B.A. in Theatre from The College of Wooster, Ohio.
Director of Programs
Jennifer Fukutomi-Jones is a native Angeleno who is passionate about cultivating dialogue through the arts. She served as the Associate Program Manager, Community Events where she managed the Ford Theatre Foundation’s signature community engagement program, JAM Sessions, both on-site at the Ford Theatres and off-site working alongside community partners to produce JAM Sessions throughout Los Angeles County. She was also an Associate Producer for the Emmy award-winning Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration program (an annual 3-hour, live-televised program at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion which showcases the diverse talents of Los Angeles County). Jennifer has also worked with the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company where she managed playwriting and performance programs for underserved youth and communities, and LA Opera where she managed the Community Opera Cathedral Project (featuring over 400 professional and community choirs, singers and artists). Jennifer received her B.A. in American Literature and Culture and a minor in Theatre from UCLA.
Associate Director of Programs & Evaluation
A native of Los Angeles, Abril Iñiguez-Rivas graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Biology in 2008. She went on to study marine biodiversity and evolutionary genetics in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. While at UCLA, her graduate studies and fieldwork at the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center in Denpasar, Bali afforded her ample opportunities for SCUBA diving and spearfishing adventures across South East Asia. Upon leaving UCLA, Abril served as the Documents and Records Coordinator for the Immigration Center for Women & Children in Los Angeles before joining Arts for LA in 2016. Although a trained scientist, Abril nurtures her artistic side as a mariachi musician; she was a founding member of Mariachi Serrano de Claremont at the Claremont Colleges and continues as an alumni member of Mariachi de UCLAtlán with the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology.
Annais Linares, a recent graduate, is ecstatic to have joined the Arts for LA staff. She received her BFA in Experimental Pop with a minor in Digital Arts from CalArts, as well as Music and Humanities degrees from Pasadena City College. While music is her dearest form of expression, she is passionate about promoting all arts as fundamental to life. Her Guatemalan-Korean background has led her to have an interest in cross-cultural events, which she believes is a powerful asset to Los Angeles communities. She loves to share within performance as a means of connecting with the people and space around her, and is currently working on a few musical projects to bring those moments to life. She has had the opportunity to record at Capitol Records, perform at the Troubadour and participate in the Walt Disney Imagineering Education Initiative 2018. In her spare time, Annais indulges in poetry, philosophy and attending shows.