2012 Leaders in Arts and Culture

EDGAR ARCENEAUX | Executive Director, Watts House Project

Since 1999 Edgar Arceneaux has been the Director of the Watts House Project, an artist-driven neighborhood redevelopment project centered around the historic Watts Towers. Edgar cares about the relationship between the art and the social space and has committed his professional life to its exploration. His work has been included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and California Biannual 2008. Edgar has received many prestigious awards including the United States Artists Award, William H. Johnson Award, Creative Capital, Joyce Foundation Award, American Center for the Arts, LEF Foundation Grant, and the Pat Hearn Award.

DEBORAH CULLINAN | Executive Director, Intersection for the Arts

Deborah M. Cullinan has been the Executive Director of Intersection for the Arts, one of San Francisco’s most vibrant community-based cultural centers, since 1996. Under her vision, Intersection is collaborating with planners, developers, entrepreneurs, and activists to develop a pioneering new organization – 5M PlaceWorks – that aims to integrate artists as core to positive neighborhood change. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Business Arts Council, and as an Advisory Board Member of Unconditional Theatre Company, the ESP Performance project, the Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience, the 16th Street Neighborhood Association, the San Francisco Women’s Building, and the African American Art and Culture Complex.

Kathie deNobriga is a founding member of Alternate ROOTS, a regional service organization for arts and activism based in Atlanta. Kathie served as ROOTS’ executive director for ten years. She consults nationally and locally in strategic planning, building organizational capacity, staff/board retreats, and creative conflict engagement; she is also a certified mediator. A Fellow in Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership program, Kathie is serving her first term as mayor of the City of Pine Lake, Georgia, after more than nine years as City Council member and mayor pro tem. Born in Georgia and raised in Tennessee, Kathie has lived in Pine Lake for 13 years with her partner Alice Teeter, a poet and graphic artist. Kathie’s early careers include managing/artistic director of the Footlight Players (adult and youth community theatre) at the Temple Theatre in Sanford, NC; Visiting Artist for the NC Arts Council in Smithfield, NC, where she founded a community theatre; and a member of The Road Company in Johnson City, TN, a professional community-based ensemble theatre.


KEBO DREW | Managing Director, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project

Born in Memphis, Kebo Drew is a multi-lingual 3rd generation queer and 2nd generation community activist. Kebo directs organizational development, strategic thinking, fundraising, and communications for QWOCMAP. She joined the organization as its second staff member in 2007 as a Rickey William Leader Fellow, when she developed and expanded the QWOCMAP Community Partner program. She also conceived QWOCMAP’s signature presentation “Reels of Resistance: Film IS Social Justice Activism,” which she has presented from Montreal to New York. For two years, she represented QWOCMAP as the Co-Director of the ROOTS Coalition, a national cohort of LGBTQ people of color-led organizations. She is also an award-winning poet, writer, and dancer who has performed throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.


EVONNE GALLARDO | Executive Director, Self Help Graphics & Art

Evonne Gallardo is the Executive Director of Self Help Graphics & Art. No stranger to the organization, she raised money for Self Help between 2001 – 2003, bringing in close to $1.2 million. Passionate about the role that artists play in society, Evonne has worked in arts and culture organizations for almost 20 years in both New York and Los Angeles. Prior to Self Help Graphics & Art, Evonne worked with the Claremont Museum of Art, where she developed and launched its fundraising department, as well as raised $1,000,000 for this start-up museum venture in Southern California. Additional experience includes serving as Director of Development for Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), a Hollywood-based charity that focuses on HIV/AIDS, voting rights, and empowering youth. For eight years, she worked at Dia Center for the Arts, a contemporary art museum in New York City, with LACMA’s current Director, Michael Govan.


MICHAEL GARCÉS | Artistic Director, Cornerstone Theater Company

Michael John Garcés is the Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theatre Company, a community-engaged ensemble based in Los Angeles. Under his leadership, Cornerstone is embarking on “The Hunger Cycle,” a six-year, nine-play exploration of food equity and justice issues in diverse communities across California. Cornerstone is also initiating a new partnership with The California Endowment to create a School Justice Program. This innovative project will utilize our theater-making methodology by creating original plays and running workshops in three California cities over the next 18 months. Michael has directed several plays for Cornestone as well as writing Los Illegals, created in collaboration with communities of day laborers and domestic workers and which was subsequently produced by Teatro Bravo in Phoenix, Arizona. Michael is on the boards of the Society of Directors and Choreographers, INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center, and the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts.


JOE GOODE | Artistic Director, Joe Goode Performance Group

Joe Goode is a choreographer, writer, and director widely known as an innovator in the field of dance for his willingness to collide movement with spoken word, song, and visual imagery. Joe has twice been awarded the Isadora Duncan Dance Award for choreography as well as receiving the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, and the United States Artists Glover Fellowship in 2008. His performance-installation works for Joe Goode Performance Group have been commissioned by the Fowler Museum of Natural History, the Krannert Art Museum, the Capp Street Project, the M.H. de Young Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. His 2009 creation, “Traveling Light,” a site-specific installation at the Old San Francisco Mint, was reprised for an impressive four-week run in 2010. Joe is a professor at UC Berkeley in the department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, where he teaches interdisciplinary performance and choreography.


RENEE HAYES | Associate Director, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund

Renee Hayes is the Associate Director of Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA). Renee was instrumental in launching the Creative Capacity Fund, a state-wide professional development initiative for the arts and the Musical Grant Program, a re-granting program for individuals and ensembles with chamber (“conductorless”) music projects. Renee was also an Arts and Humanities Fellow for the San Francisco Foundation. Prior to her current position at the City and County of San Francisco, Renee worked as a Career Counselor/Job Developer at the University of California at Berkeley, as well as in private practice, specializing in creative careers. Renee has a diverse musical performance background: choruses, “pop” bands, jungles and back-up vocal recording, musical theatre, and two CDs with the award-winning whimsical soul a capella group, The Irrationals. She is currently working on a solo CD.


SIDDHARTHA JOAG | Executive Director, freeDimensional

Sidd comes from backgrounds in the visual arts and social sciences, having spent several years prior to joining fD, working with community arts projects in New York, India, China and co-founding an artist residency/exchange program in Southwestern China, focused on ethnic minority cultural preservation in the China-Burma borderlands. Sidd has an MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science with concentrations in Crime, Control and Globalisation, Cultural Theory and New Media and a B.A. in Sociology from New York University. He is a co-founder of Zero Capital Arts, which supports low-cost socially and politically engaged creative projects and exhibitions.


CHRIS JONAS | Co-Founder and Director of Music and Media, Littleglobe

Chris Jonas (filmmaker/videographer, composer, community-facilitator, producer) is the co-founder of the Santa Fe-based arts-in-community non-profit Littleglobe and the organization’s Director of Media and Music. He has been core artist on many of Littleglobe’s large-scale projects including TOC Festival in Cuba, NM, Memorylines in Santa Fe, Moment in Cork, Ireland, Crosstown (a bus opera), and most recently the Turn the Lens filmmaking and community program and its pilot film “Centennial Class.” He has received a wide range of large-scale commissions including works for the EU Festival of Culture, the Mexican Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, SITE Santa Fe, the New Mexico Film Office, the Santa Fe Opera and many others. As a director, he developed programs at Warehouse 21 (Santa Fe’s teen arts center) and was Curator/Program Director at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts. He has taught at Wesleyan University, College of Santa Fe, and most recently at the Institute of American Indian Arts, teaching storytelling classes in the New Media Arts Program. Awards include the NM Film Office’s 2008 New Visions/New Mexico Award, the 2009 United States Artist Fellowship, and the 2011 Meet the Composer Commissioning Music/USA Award.


MARIA LOPEZ DE LEON | Executive Director, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture

Maria Lopez De Leon is the Executive Director and board member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC). Mario has been with NALAC for 13 years and has served as Executive Director for nine years. Under Maria’s leadership, NALAC developed and launched three grant programs, the NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA), a grant program for Latino artists and organizations; the Transnational Cultural Remittances (TCR), a grant program for artists and organizations in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America; the NALAC Diverse Arts Spaces program, a grant program that supports organizations that are part of the Ford Foundation’s Diverse Art Spaces to expand their Latino programming to diverse audiences and outreach to diverse communities. Under Maria’s leadership NALAC completed production of a documentary series on Latino art and culture for PBS and accompanying education curriculum distributed to over 35,000 schools. Maria has over 20 years of multifaceted experience in grass roots community organizing and working with community based organizations across the country and has served on multiple arts and culture policy panels across the country.


TBIRD LUV | Art in Action Director, Empowermentworks

Tbird Luv’s musical genius is about taking risks and creating beauty all at the same time. Her music promotes our subjective beauty and strives to “make the world a better place” from our unique point of view – urging us to take whatever we find beautiful – to stand behind it, support it and proliferate it and make it an important part in the evolution of our species. With a solid Classical Music foundation from Carnegie Mellon University and a World Music and Dance foundation from the California Institute of the Arts, Tbird has worked with greats like Ry Cooder, performed at Festival Au Desert in the Sahara Mali, Africa; Lincoln Center, NYC; and The Yerba Buena Center for The Arts, SF. Working to uplift the mindsets of scarcity in fellow artist activists, her music improvisation provides a roadmap for fellow artist/activists to actualize their purpose and create deeper impact on the development of a new paradigm.


LOGAN PHILLIPS | Director, Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

Logan Phillips works to create new opportunities for the intersection of poetry and wider society. As a bilingual poet, performance artist, teacher and DJ, he has toured throughout the U.S., Mexico, and as far afield as Vancouver, Paris, Bogotá, and Penzance, England. As Artistic Director of the trans-disciplinary performance troupe Vero•bala, he explores border identity through storytelling and digital media, creating performance pieces composed of bilingual poetry, live video projection, and sound design. Verbo•bala is the recipient of a 2012 Artist Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for their work-in-progress The Sonoran Strange. Logan is also the Director of the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, which he co-founded in 2010 to widen access to critical literacy through dynamic, diverse, and youth-centered events.


CHARLES RICE-GONZALEZ | Executive Director, BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance

Charles Rice-González, born in Puerto Rico and reared in the Bronx, is a writer, long-time community and LGBT activist and Executive Director of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. In 1998, he co-founded BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance with the celebrated award-winning dancer/choreographer Arthur Aviles. The space has been a beacon in the South Bronx for cutting-edge and challenging art that is empowering to women, people of color and the LGBT  community. His work’s been published in The Pitkin Review, Los Otros Cuerpos, Best Gay Stories 2008, The Best of PANIC!: En Vivo from the East Village, andAmbientes: New Queer Latino Writing edited by Lázaro Limas and Felice Picano. He’s working on his second novel, Hunts Point, has short stories and essays in the forthcoming anthologies Love, Christopher Street andWho’s Yer Daddy, and his play “I Just Love Andy Gibb will be published inBlacktino Queer Performance: A Critical Anthology co-edited by E. Patrick Johnson and Ramón H. Rivera-Servera. He is also an award-winning playwright and serves on the boards of the Bronx Council on the Arts and the National Association of Latino Art and Cultures.


ELIZABETH RICHARDS | Creative Fellow, The Opportunity Agenda

Elizabeth Theobald Richards is the Creative Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, a progressive communications think tank in New York City. She serves as the thought leader for the organization’s work on the intersection of arts and social justice and produces their annual Creative Change retreat. In addition, she is an adjunct Assistant Professor at New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy Graduate Program. Betsy, as she is known, formerly served as a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation in the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom unit, where she established and oversaw a portfolio dedicated to advancing Indigenous and place-based cultural communities in the United States. Prior to Ford, she was the Director of Public Programs at the Pequot Museum, the country’s largest tribal museum; developed and directed new plays in the U.S. and Canada, and has run two theater companies in New York City. She has served on the boards of Grantmakers in the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on Arts and Education and currently is the Senior Cultural Advisor to the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts. Betsy is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and holds a B.F.A. from New York University and an M.F.A. from Yale University’s School of Drama.


ILANA (INVINCIBLE) WEAVER | collective member, Detroit Summer

Invincible’s spitfire wordplay has gotten her acclaim from Hip Hop fans all across the world, while her active involvement in progressive social change has taken her music beyond entertainment, and towards actualizing the change she wishes to see. For the last decade she has worked with Detroit Summer, a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit that has been working to transform communities through youth facilitative leadership, creativity and collective action since 1992. She is also the co-coordinator of the Detroit Future Youth network to support social justice and media based youth projects throughout Detroit. She founded the cooperative economics and fair trade based label and media company EMERGENCE, through which she released her critically acclaimed debut album ShapeShifters in 2008. Invincible is a fellow of Kresge Arts in Detroit, and the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, and currently is the Senior Cultural Advisor to the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts.


MONICA WILLIAMS | National Artistic Director, Kentucky Foundation for Women Special Project

Monica L. Williams is dedicated to cultivating sustainable arts-based practices with authentic stakeholders towards empowerment and social change. She is the National Artistic Director of Kentucky Foundation for Women Special Project, an arts-based engagement project with families of the incarcerated. She is the Founder of Creative Legacy Projects and has designed arts-based projects with various communities across sectors including criminal justice, youth development, and immigrant women’s rights. She has a Masters of Arts from New York University with a focus on Applied Theater and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting from Wright State University. Monica’s work has been produced regionally and Off-Broadway including at the World Famous Apollo Theater, Zipper Factory, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. She is a lecturer in Black Theater at NYC College of Technology and resides in Brooklyn, NY, with a fierce crew of artists and movement makers.


KIM YASUDA | Co-Director, Professor of Art, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts

Kim Yasuda is a public artist and professor of spatial studies at U.C. Santa Barbara. Since 2005, she is co-director of the multi-campus research unit, U.C. Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA). Kim has activated university teaching with her public arts research, developing initiatives that forge partnerships between academic environs and the communities in which they are situated, exploring potential intersections between a creative practice, knowledge making, and community development. Kim has collaborated with students and professionals on projects that include a public art plan for an affordable farm-worker housing complex in Oxnard, CA, the repurposing of shipping containers into mobile art studios, and the recent public art and participatory research projects that serve as cultural incubators in the college community of Isla Vista, CA. Since 2010, Kim has served on the advisory board for Imagining America, a national network of more than 90 colleges and universities dedicated to public scholarship in the arts, design, and humanities. Currently, she serves as executive vice chair of the board to develop policy and advocacy platforms for the emerging field of pedagogical activism at a critical juncture in higher education.