LC ELECTION BIOS

 

Please review the bios below and vote for your choices BY CLICKING HERE. Elections run from June 17, 2019 to June 24, 2019. To vote, you must be a member of EAL/LA. General membership is as simple as signing up on our mailing list.
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Anne Marie Acosta

Anne Marie Acosta received her BA in Media and Cultural Studies from UC Riverside, and her MS in Leadership and Management from the University of La Verne. Professionally, she’s worked for the Fox Riverside Theatre Foundation helping to bring students to see live theatre, as well as for the City of Pomona supporting the City Manager’s Office through various administrative, customer service, and community relations duties. She recently made the switch from working in local government to working for Center Theatre Group, an organization she’s always wanted to work for since high school. She currently assists in managing the day to day operations of Center Theatre Group’s Education and Community Partnerships Department. Outside of work, Anne Marie is a loyal Disneyland Annual Passholder, an amateur pianist and singer, and enjoys traveling whenever she can.


Jade Cagalawan

Jade Cagalawan is a Los Angeles native, and is a wearer of all hats. She is a producer, educator, arts education manager, stage manager, company manager, and production manager. She lived in Las Vegas for three years, obtaining her MFA in Stage Management at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, while also working for several different companies such as David Saxe Productions, and Belluscious Productions. After returning to Los Angeles, she worked with notable companies as a stage manager, such as the Geffen Playhouse and East West Players, where she now works full time as their Arts Education Manager. In 2019, she took upon producing three plays in a span of two months, two of which were new plays. For self care, she likes to go to metal shows, play with her dog Baby Girl, and spend time with her family and friends.


Antoinette V. Cárdenas


Graceful visionary & founder of social.experiment, Antoinette V. Cárdenas, has a diverse background proven to be valuable for those who are specifically creative and dynamic. Her approach reflects that of a modern renaissance woman with passion deeply-seated in culture and the arts. She knows the importance of constantly keeping an ear to the ground and eyes wide open to relevant social surroundings because being open to discover the new never gets old. Presence from its beginning is what Antoinette does best. All the while, thoughtfully connecting the dots and making things happen from moment to moment.


Jennifer Castillo

We achieve being through doing. Those words ring so true to my essence. I am an arts educator/administrator, I have been for the past seven years. What brought me to the Arts was community. I grew up in a low-income under-served community of Los Angeles but was so fortunate that I had parents that instilled in me the value of education and an education system that cemented in me the value of the Arts. Though I went to public school I was still exposed to art, music, and theater classes. These early experiences planted the seeds of my love and appreciation for creative expression in all its forms.

As a lover and advocate of the Arts, my interest in exploring and learning about different artistic and cultural practices has encouraged me to seek a career in the visual and performing arts. Much of my previous experience has been primarily in education and community engagement, it is through these experiences that I have found them to be the most powerful tools in making the Arts more accessible. From interacting with artists and visitors from all over the world on a number of temporary art exhibitions and community programs to working with the public in formal and informal educational settings. I seek opportunities to broaden my understanding of arts engagement, ultimately participating in creating connections that foster a space for dialogue and the interchanging of ideas.


Nadia Savira Chrisanto


Nadia Chrisanto is the Center for Cultural Innovation's Program Assistant in Los Angeles. In addition to her work at CCI, Nadia is currently an assistant curator at the California African American Museum (CAAM) and is an independent consultant as the exhibition coordinator for the Beall Center for Art + Technology in UC Irvine. She has experience in curatorial research, exhibitions & programs coordination, grantmaking, and arts administration. Nadia finished her studies at the Pasadena City College and earned her A.A. in History and Humanities. After transferring to and graduating from California State Polytechnic University Pomona with a B.A. in History, Nadia started her work in arts administration as a Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern in Summer 2016 at CAAM. Since then, Nadia has aided several arts and history exhibitions at CAAM, such as No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992Trouble Every Day: LA 1965/1992, and Gary Simmons: Fade to Black.

Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nadia moved to the United States with her family in 2002. As an immigrant and a woman of color, Nadia advocates for diversity, accessibility, and inclusivity wherever she goes and is determined to be the voice for those who cannot speak out. Although she has zero artistic talent and skills (her best art is stick figures drawing), Nadia is committed to supporting works of under-represented artists of color and using art & history to promote diversity and cultural history. In her free time, Nadia enjoys playing games, reading, watching movies, and playing with her pet cat, Hunter.


Courtney Clark

Courtney Clark received her BA in Arts Education and Theatre Arts from the University of La Verne and she currently works at LA Stage Alliance as their Marketing and Media Manager. She has previously worked as a program developer, preschool teacher, and dance and theatre instructor, working with preschool through high school aged students. She is also on the Youth Advisory Council for the Arts Ed Collective, helping to shape the new LA County Regional Plan for Arts Education. She is passionate about building community and support for young, marginalized people, both in and outside of the arts. As a queer woman who experiences issues with mental health, Courtney focuses her work on developing programs and spaces in which folks can grow both professionally and personally, while being vulnerable and authentic. She is a Sagittarius and an ISFJ and her interests are Thai food and John Mulaney comedy specials.


Hanah Davenport

My relationship with the arts stems from a lifelong connection to singing and 17 years of performing in choirs and ensemble. After graduating from Florida International University with a BA in Music Business and Jazz Vocal Performance, I began volunteering as a Program Coordinator with the Miami-based nonprofit Foundation for Emerging Technologies and Arts (FETA), for which I assisted in the areas of event production, community outreach, and social media content design. In June 2017, it was with FETA that I developed and produced my first multidisciplinary arts-based event— which served as an exchange for dialogue and performance surrounding the female experience— titled Ars Feminae Miamiae. Since relocating to Los Angeles in the fall of 2017, I have worked with organizations including: Awareness Film Festival; Community Arts Resources for events such as LA Phil 100: Celebrate LA!, COAST, ARTsea, and Getty Family Festivals; and Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First, where I currently manage arts education programs at over 30 sites. I continue to write original music, collaborate with local contemporary composers, and intermittently perform in the Greater Los Angeles area. My overarching focus lies in the intersection of public space, arts, and events as a means of creating meaningful experiences that connect and elevate communities.


Mary Jo De Silva

Mary Jo De Silva has been tapping her way through life since age three. Her love for both dance and poetry blossomed into a passion, as she learned the great power art possesses. At UCLA, Mary Jo made Dean’s List and completed her English capstone project on the female gaze in various artistic mediums. As Social Chair for honor society, Mary Jo organized bonding activities and carried out their mental health initiative, which combated stigma and raised awareness. Outside of the academic realm, Mary Jo further explored theater and improv. With LCC, she acted, directed, and performed on and off campus. Her favorite role was in an original musical, which she choreographed and starred in as Jodine, a spunky fashion student with a secret.

Both her academic and artistic paths prepared Mary Jo for her career, from interning in content and marketing at Revry, Inc., an LGBTQ+ global streaming service, to briefly working at the UCLA Call Center where she improvised her way through requests for donations. Organizing OUT Web Fest sparked her interest in event planning and she later freelanced for the Los Angeles Blade, covering events like the GLSEN Awards. After graduation, Mary Jo worked as Development Associate at the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, writing grant proposals and revamping their social media presence. She currently works as Special Events Coordinator for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and recently helped execute their Spring Celebration honoring Stephen Schwartz. Mary Jo enjoys finding the excitement in everything; her bright spirit continues to shine through as she navigates post-grad life and continues to strive to use it to positively impact others’ lives.


Dan Faltz

Dan’s passion is forging relationships to connect people to art and artists. Dan currently coordinates weekly screenings, educational tours and programs for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he has previously coordinated an internship program, an international conference, and assisted with programming. This past year Dan developed and proposed inclusion and outreach initiatives as part of Arts for LA’s ACTIVATE program for leaders in arts education. Dan has participated as a middle school mentor for Spark LA, as well as a peer grant review panelist for Weho Arts and the LA County Arts Commission. He is part of the grants panelist pool for the California Arts Council.

Dan is a queer filmmaker and was involved with HIV advocacy pioneers ACT UP, lobbying for safe sex materials for youth in San Francisco public schools. He studied film at UC Berkeley and at USC Cinematic Arts. Dan finds art inspiring, impactful and transformational, and essential to the health and vibrancy of any community.


Melissa Flores

My name is Melissa Flores and I am the Program and Operations Coordinator for The Gabriella Foundation. I grew up with performing arts as an everyday activity but not one that I was taught I could pursue long term. I participated non-stop in dance classes until college but when it became time to think about a long-term career, I had been taught that you either become a professional dancer or a dance teacher. I had no knowledge otherwise.

I graduated from Santa Clara University with a BA in Communications and began a career in film production shortly thereafter. Two years ago however, I took a leap of faith and changed career paths to pursue what brought me joy - performing arts! I found a position with The Gabriella Foundation, where dance is provided in-school and afterschool to children 4-19 years old. I began as the Administrative and Operations Associate but over time, my position has developed as my interests have grown towards arts programming. I now work on small-scale programming projects, while also working in the Operations Department. My work has combined my love for artistic expression and my administrative strengths into one. Since starting, I have learned on my feet about the non-profit sector and specifically, arts organizations throughout LA. It has been an eye-opening experience and one I am grateful to have taken a chance on.


Julienne Fusello

My name is Julienne Fusello, and I currently work at the Armory Center for the Arts as the Studio Program Manager. I grew up in San Francisco, and moved to Los Angeles in 2012 to attend UCLA. I graduated from the Undergraduate Art Department in 2016, and began working at the Armory as a summer intern that very same week. Prior to joining the Armory team, I had worked at numerous arts organizations, including the Hammer Museum and X-TRA. My interests and experience in art education, administration, and management led me to the Armory, where I soon transitioned to a more permanent role as the Studio Program’s Assistant, Class Registrar, and Ceramic Lab Technician. Six months ago, I transitioned yet again into the role of leading the Studio Program as the Manager. In this new and exciting position, I am faced with many roles I did not anticipate having so early on in my career in the arts, but am more than enthused to have. I have been working hard to represent the program as a strong leader, somebody to be trusted and relied on to serve the program’s constituents well, and to lead and support the program in the best possible way. I am also an exhibiting artist, working mainly in painting and ceramics. I deeply care about supporting teaching artists and students, and want to take advantage of this opportunity to not only serve the community, but to learn how to do so better every day as well.


Marlee Grant

A graduate of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and Corcoran School of Arts and Design, Marlee is a driven and dynamic emerging performing arts professional. Her rigorous background in dance and vocal performance provided her with a passion for performance and a keen interest in supporting new, innovative art forms.

As a dancer, Marlee has an extensive background in classical and contemporary performance. She studied with Laurel Ballet for 15 years and participated in the Joffrey Ballet and Magnus Midwest summer intensive programs. She received the Presidential Scholar in the Arts award, which funded her college dance education. During her time at GWU, she worked closely with mentors and choreographers Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Maida Withers, as well as guest artists-in-residence Laura Halzack and Donna Uchizono, to name a few. Marlee’s dance education culminated in her Honors Thesis in Dance, a 20-minute original multimedia performance exploring the narratives suggested by numbers and number symbolism in dance.

As an administrator, Marlee’s career began at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a Marketing Strategy & Content Intern. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles and was hired by Lineage Performing Arts Center in Pasadena as their LACAC Production & Administrative Intern. After the internship concluded, she stayed at Lineage part-time as Marketing & Development Associate until she was offered a full-time position at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where she currently works as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director & CEO.



Nikki Hyde

Nikki Hyde has been stage managing for over a decade and the majority of her career has been spent in Los Angeles. As an enthusiastic supporter of Los Angeles art and theater, a long-time ensemble member of Cornerstone Theater Company, and a respected stage manager in both the theater and opera world, Nikki has the passion, dedication, adaptability and experience to be a productive member of this Leadership Council. She also has much to gain as someone who has only held positions on the production side of art-making. 

Nikki is currently stage managing La Traviata at LA Opera. She recently served as the production stage manager for San Diego Opera's 2019 season. Other recent credits include Satyagraha (LA Opera), Little Black Shadows (South Coast Repertory), A Trip to the Moon (Los Angeles Philharmonic), The Pirates of Penzance (Pasadena Playhouse), Magic Fruit(Cornerstone Theater Company), The Pride (The Wallis), and Party People (The Public).



Sumayyah Jewell

My name is Sumayyah Jewell and I’m currently finishing my Masters in Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Some of my research interests include Diaspora studies, Queer theory and Media analysis. Most recently, I am learning to analyze film and photography as literary texts that affects the spectator and contribute to archives. I have been working in libraries for the past few years and as a result I'm attentive to how information is presented to the public. I’m justice oriented and devoted to the accessibility of information and resources to a variety of audiences.



Kevin Johnson

Hailing from the suburban town of Schertz, Texas just outside San Antonio, I grew up practicing theatre from the age of 10, attending fiesta, and exploring the Texas Hill Country. In high school, I busied myself with marching band, more theatre, and working as a tour guide at the Natural Bridge Caverns. I attended undergrad at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and achieved a BA in Theatre in 2016; during that time, I started a theatre production company with fellow students and independently fundraised and produced 2 full-length plays and a short-work festival. I found my passion for devising and producing new work that troubled traditional narratives and sought to reinventive classics including a reimagined Waiting for Godot. Following my undergrad degree, I worked 2 summers at Timber Lake Playhouse, first as the resident Sound Designer then as the Assistant to the Artistic Director, directing a new musical, reimagining the classic Evita, and assisting in the production of 8 plays. After my first summer at Timber Lake, I started my graduate degree at California State University Long Beach achieving an MBA / MFA in Theatre Management in May 2019. During this time, I devised works with classmates and started working at the Echo Theatre Company as their Box Office Manager, continuing my passion for stewardship of new plays. Currently, I am gaining administrative skills as the Management Fellow at Center Theatre Group. I aim to steward resources to new theatre artists that aim to disrupt traditional theatrical conventions.


Vicki Pearlman

Vicki Pearlman is a Los Angeles based producer, arts administrator, and stage director. She graduated from USC with a Bachelor's degree in Dramatic Arts and has since been working with various theaters around Los Angeles. She is passionate about expanding access to the arts, and has a personal initiative to make the fine arts and the performing arts a more active part of everyone’s lives, not just confined to something only appreciated by other artists. She recently produced the “Fresh Brews” event for Skylight Theatre Company at Angel City Brewery. The event was free to attend, and had a lot of engagement with new audiences. Her other most recent work was directing a new opera called "The Seance" for New Opera West at ArtShare LA.

Vicki is a huge believer in supporting other artists. She loves enabling other artists, which is reflected in her administrative work at various arts organizations. She is an associate member at the Echo Theatre Company, a volunteer staff member at the Skylight Theatre Company, a guest producer at Pacific Resident Theatre, and a script reader for Center Theatre Group. Vicki wants to encourage and promote other young artists and extend her talents to other art forms in addition to her work in theatre. She believes working with EAL/LA will help her achieve those goals.


Jonathan Rios

Jonathan is a young arts administrator working primarily in the development office of A Noise Within Theatre in Pasadena. He began his tenure at the theatre as a summer intern via the Los Angeles County Arts Commission Internship Program then transitioned to staff member as a result of his success within the marketing and development departments. He attributes A Noise Within as the source of his rapid growth in professional experience over the past year and for the opportunity to learn more about the world of theatre. Branching out, he is an active member and volunteer with the Association of California Symphony Orchestras along with the Pasadena Symphony and Convalescent Aid Society. His performing career includes violinist for the Claremont Symphony in addition to serving as Board Member and Concertmaster of the La Verne Symphony Orchestra. Jonathan recently achieved a Bachelor of Science in Economics, Minor in Music from the University of La Verne (Cum Laude) and will be working towards a Master of Science in Arts Leadership at the USC Thornton School of Music this Fall. 


Guadalupe Rivera

I obtained a BA in Communication Studies with a Minor in Art History from California State University Northridge in 2016. I have been the Communications Coordinator at the J. Paul Getty Museum for three years working under Public Relations and providing administrative support to the Communications Department as needed. An expansion of my role has been to write for Getty Magazine. In 2018, I gained a Fundraising Specialization certificate through the UCLA Extension program and a Grant Writing and Nonprofit Management certificate from Santa Monica College. This year I have acted as a consultant on various development projects with artworxLA, Self Help Graphics, and Arts for LA. 

An art teacher pushed me to apply for an internship in high school which was my driving force to graduate. As an apprentice at the Museum of Contemporary Art, I fell in love with making the museum environment accessible to everyone. I wanted to bring my experience with the arts to other people struggling to find a career path and inspire them to explore their options as the arts did for me.

As the Development and Marketing intern in 2015 at artworxLA through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, my interest in development as a career was ignited. The experience taught me that the best way to ensure accessibility to the arts in my community is to ensure funding so that programming can continue to exist. As a passionate arts advocate, my past experiences and education have prepared me for the essential function within EAL/LA that is being part of the Development Leadership Council. The opportunity to steer, plan, and implement the programs and development of EAL/LA would provide the professional development experience and training that would allow me to better contribute to the enrichment and sustainability of the cultural ecology of Los Angeles. 


Monica Schmitt

Monica Schmitt is a young professional currently living in East Hollywood with a background in Publishing and Museums. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in English, and has published editorial columns in the Weekly Alibi and Albuquerque The Magazine, two publications based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Monica moved to LA from New Mexico in 2018, and she loves exploring and learning from the diverse city of Los Angeles. In her free time, Monica volunteers at the Natural History Museum with the Vertebrate Paleontology Collections team where she organizes and catalogs fossil specimens. She also enjoys hiking, reading, and learning about GIS mapping software.

Monica currently works at Kidspace Children's Museum as a Gallery Facilitator, and it is her hope to find a full-time opportunity at a non-profit or arts organization in LA where she can fully utilize her skill set in the work place, and grow in her career. Her passions are informal education and science communication.


Maria Sundeen

Maria Sundeen is a communications professional with a background in the arts, media and entertainment. Her expertise includes writing, managing video productions, public & media relations, and related work with museums, performing arts groups, radio/television stations and with independent features. She has worked with award-winning filmmakers such as Frame of Mind Films, Habitat Media, and Katahdin Productions, as well as with the Sonoma County Museum, Glendale's Arts & Culture Commission, the Lark Theater, and as a board director for KRCB, a PBS affiliate. In 2011 she wrote, directed and produced her first short film, which premiered at the Cannes Short Film Corner. She is passionate about the arts and in 2017 left her corporate marketing job to move to Southern California to pursue writing and working in the arts full time. Since then, she has written two feature films, two shorts, and a supernatural play set in New Orleans, which she is planning to produce later in 2019.


Mariam Tabatabaee


Mariam Tabatabaee currently works as the Project Coordinator for the education department at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. In this role, she is responsible for supporting all aspects of pre-opening, and ongoing educational and public programs serving the South LA community, which is reminiscent of parts of her hometown of Stockton, CA.

Prior to the Lucas Museum, Mariam served as event coordinator for the California Science Center. Previously, she held concurrent internships in the Public Engagement and Public Programs departments at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She has interned at G2 Gallery and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and later worked at the entertainment accounting firm Bemel & Ross, and the Broad during its opening in 2015.

Her experience entering the art world through a non-academic path revealed the at-times-exclusive nature of institutions, for both visitors as well as workers. This prompted her to explore ways to make art spaces inclusive and accessible. Her objective became creating environments where people from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, including those with both physical and mental disabilities, of varying ages and native languages, could comfortably experience and engage with art. Most recently, she has worked to create an accessible tour program at the Craft Contemporary catering to blind and low-vision visitors.

Mariam holds a BS in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from UCLA, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals on both coral reef ecology in French Polynesia and cell differentiation of Aurelia sp.1.



Morgan Thomas


Morgan Thomas is a classically trained flutist that graduated from the University of the Pacific, Conservatory of Music in May of 2018. She received her Bachelors of Music in Music Management and Minor in Business Management from the Eberhardt School of Business. During her undergrad she did her internship with the Brubeck Institute where she worked as administrative assistant for the Interim Executive Director of The Brubeck Institute. After graduating she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion in arts administration. 

Morgan currently works at LA Opera in the Education and Community Engagement department as operations associate. She hopes to continue to work with organizations that impact communities through the arts. With this constant changing industry, Morgan is eager to learn so she can make positive influences to individuals of all ages.