Protege Mentee Application

We are now accepting mentee applications for our 2016 Protégé Program.

This program pairs emerging leaders with seasoned arts professionals in Los Angeles for dialogue and inter-generational learning.

To apply for a mentor, please fill out the following application form by October 15, 2016. Click here to apply.

It is our great pleasure to announce this year’s mentors:


Karen Atkinson is an artist, faculty at CalArts since 1988, founder of nonprofits and businesses including Getting Your Sh*t Together/GYSTInk and Digital Mud Works. She works with artists and organizations across the country. She is interested in new models for artists and organizations, having founded an earned income model for nonprofits on 1991. Fun, thoughtful, dynamic interactions are the best way to get crackin'. Open to just about any topic imaginable. Lots of resources and knowledge to share.


Cornelia Emerson has spent her career in arts, cultural heritage and higher education institutions in Southern California, including Art Center College of Design and Otis/Parsons (now Otis College of Art and Design. For seventeen years, she was Development Officer at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, where she wrote scores of successful grant proposals to federal, state and local agencies (including NEA, NEH, IMLS, the U.S. Department of Education, CAC and the City of LA Department of Cultural Affairs. In addition, she raised funds from private individuals (annual fund and major donors), corporate, and foundation sources ranging from the Academy, Getty, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, and the federal/private National Film Preservation Foundation among others.

Cornelia holds B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English literature from Yale University, and taught English literature at Yale and Pomona Colleges for four years before pursuing arts administration. Later she studied organizational development at UCLA's Anderson School of Management. She is now an independent development and strategic planning consultant for arts, cultural heritage and higher education institutions. From 2010-2015, she was the part-time, contracted Development Director for the Musical Theatre Guild, focusing primarily on K-12 arts education funding. She won successive grants from LACAC as well as awards from the LA Department of Cultural Affairs, the Actors’ Equity Foundation and Target Foundation. Other clients have included an innovative middle-school curriculum (Out)laws and Justice, Ocular Research Symposium Foundation, Los Angeles Center of Photography and City of West Hollywood Cultural Affairs, providing technical assistance to its grantee Saturday Night Bath Concerts.


Talia Gibas is Professional Development Programs Manager at the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, where she manages learning and leadership development opportunities for nonprofit arts administrators and individual artists. These include Arts Tune-Ups, which are quarterly, free mini-conferences tackling both practical skill-building and big-picture trends in the arts community; and the LA County Arts Internship Program, which, in partnership with The Getty Foundation, is the largest paid internship program in the arts in the United States. Her work is informed by more than six years with the Commission’s regional arts education initiative, Arts for All, where she developed and managed a range of grant and professional development programs for K-12 practitioners. From 2011-2014 she served on Americans for the Arts’ Arts Education Council, and is a contributing editor for Createquity, a research-backed investigation of the most important issues in the arts. Talia earned her A.B. in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, and Ed.M in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her non-arts life, she is an avid distance runner, triathlete, and vegan(ish) cooking fiend.


Sofia Klatzker is the Executive Director of Arts for LA, a regional advocacy organization dedicated to promoting arts and culture across government, education, business, and community life. Under her leadership, the ACTIVATE advocacy leadership training program more than doubled in size now representing 132 leaders; created a new mobile website connecting Arts for LA’s 50,000 members with local officials; surveyed over 350 candidates across 60 local elections in November 2015; and launched a campaign to register arts and cultural organizations to become polling stations. She has over 16 years experience advocating for and implementing arts policies, arts education, and grant making. Sofia currently serves on the boards of California Arts Advocates and Californians for the Arts, and serves on both the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Policy Council, and the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network Advisory Council. Sofia received her B.M. in Electronic Music Composition from Oberlin Conservatory and her M.A. in Arts Administration from Goucher College


Sarah Russin, Executive Director (03/14) comes to LACE from Otis College of Art and Design, where she served as Assistant Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and previously as Director of Alumni Relations. She is devoted to the development and support of artists and artistic communities and has a background in corporate and foundation relations, marketing and communications, individual giving, and collaborative partnerships. Before joining Otis in 2002, Sarah oversaw recruitment efforts for Art Center College of Design, where she reviewed thousands of portfolios, and led Art Center's highly regarded Night and Saturday High Programs. She served on the board of the Barnsdall Park Foundation, where she was instrumental in re-establishing the Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg Feitelson Fellowship for emerging artists. Sarah holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.


Camille Schenkkan is the Program Director for Next Generation Initiatives at Center Theatre Group, and the Managing Director at the new-works development company Circle X Theatre Co. She holds a Masters in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University, and a dual Honors English/Theatre degree from Scripps College. Schenkkan served on the national Emerging Leader Council and was a core member of Emerging Arts Leaders/LA’s from the group’s inception in 2005. She is passionate about career development for emerging artists and arts managers, and regularly teaches resume and cover letter writing, business communication, and other professional development classes at universities and organizations across Southern California. She started at Circle X as an intern in 2004 and never left. After serving as their Director of Development for more than eight years, she transitioned to Managing Director in 2013. She is mom to Ezra, born July 2016.

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