The Arts for LA team is a wealth of strong leaders! Read on to learn more about each of our staff members. 


Melissa Flores
Senior Manager, Leadership Development

Melissa is a program and operations specialist with demonstrated experience interacting with diverse community members and creating positive relationships to further various program outreach. Prior to Arts for LA, Melissa worked with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator where she helped curate their member experience and bring its community together virtually. Melissa has also worked at The Gabriella Foundation, spearheading various projects including the expansion of their summer camp program to low-resource communities in Los Angeles. Melissa has a diverse art foundation having been a dancer for 15+ years, studied film at Santa Clara University and appointed co-chair of the Leadership Council of Emerging Arts Leaders, Los Angeles.  

In her downtime, Melissa can be found rooting for her favorite sports team (Go Clippers!), ambitiously working on her running pace and exploring all kinds of food in Los Angeles.

Gustavo Herrera
Chief Executive Officer

Gustavo was appointed as Arts for LA’s Executive Director in December 2018.  Prior to working with us, he was the Western Regional Director for Young Invincibles (YI), where he was responsible for leading YI’s California offices, including its West Coast expansion. As director, he set strategic direction and advanced YI’s policy priorities on health care, higher education, jobs, and civic engagement for the region.

Before starting at Young Invincibles, Gustavo was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of L.A. Plaza de Cultura y Artes (LAPCA), overseeing the day-to-day operation of a county museum, including the oversight of a master plan committee responsible for strategically developing three acres of additional museum campus. From 2010-2012, Gustavo led the Maestro Foundation, a classical music and performance arts foundation, as the Director of Organizational Development. Between 2007-2010, he assessed and recommended business growth strategies in the US marketplace for the global Fortune 500 Company, American Honda Motors, Co.

Gustavo holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from American Jewish University and a dual Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with an emphasis in socio-politics and economics and Art History from the University of California Santa Barbara. Gustavo served on the Board of Directors of the Create: Fixate Arts Organization (2006-2010). He is a current Strong Workforce Implementation Advisory Board Member for the California Community Colleges, Advisory Board Member for the California Physician’s Alliance and founding Board Member of Silverlake Forward.

Cordelia Istel
Director of Organizing & Strategy
Cordelia Istel is an organizer, educator, and administrator with over a decade of experience working at the intersection of cultural programming and social justice. Before joining the Service Employees International Union as an External Organizer, she served as Director of Programs for a non-profit theater company engaging climate justice in urban environments, Manager of the Met Opera's Education Department, and also helped create the United States Department of Arts & Culture - a national network of activists using arts-based strategies to address urgent issues facing their communities. 

In addition to her advocacy, Cordelia continues to make performance-based work and has toured/presented in LA, NYC, SF, Mexico City, Paris, and Brussels. She is a graduate of Yale University (degrees in Political Science and Theater Studies) as well as the California Institute of the Arts (School of Theater). In her spare time, Cordelia cooks, hikes, and attempts overly-ambitious craft projects with varying levels of success.

Cindy McHale
Director of Development

Cindy McHale joins Arts for LA as Director of Development. Cindy brings experience at leading performing arts and international special event organizations. Prior to joining Arts for LA she worked at the Super Bowl Experience and Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles; and served as Director of Institutional Giving at The Music Center; Senior Director, Honored Guest Program for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games; and Broadcast Coordination Manager for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Previously she served as Sr. Manager of Corporate Sponsorship for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association; Event Development Manager for Macy’s; Corporate Sponsorship Manager for SFJAZZ; Paralympic Promotions and Special Events Manager for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games; Corporate Sponsorship Director for America True, Challenger to the America’s Cup; and Special Projects Manager for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. 

Cindy also brings experience in higher education, serving as an adjunct professor on the University of San Francisco’s Master’s Program in Sport Management faculty, and as Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Grants at CalArts.

Cindy holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of California, Los Angeles. In her spare time, Cindy hikes, windsurfs and is crafty, bringing her interests to life in mosaics, photography and other art forms.

A J Moultrie
Digital Organizer
AJ Moultrié "AJ, the One" is a music artist, media producer, and art director from Los Angeles, CA. She completed her undergraduate education at UC Berkeley as a Media Studies major. As the former Chair of the Black Student Union at Cal, AJ is an active community organizer and works to liberate the voices of all silenced, identities through media communication, artistic expression, and interpersonal fellowship.

Determined to cultivate a balance between her media and music interests, AJ produced an Oakland-based radio show/podcast called Black Voice on KGPC 96.9 FM to discuss important topics within art, society, popular culture, health, and politics, especially as they pertained to women, Black and brown people, and the LGBT+ community. She provided a safe space for artists, brand owners and community leaders to share inspiring narratives with global listeners.

Her overall motive is to curate spaces for radical liberation that will ultimately inspire others to unapologetically explore and empower themselves. She intends to continue liberating underrepresented narratives through media and music while encouraging other artists to heal and be healed through the arts.