Registration and Refreshments + Morning and All Day Activities — 10:30am
BLOCK A — 12:30-1:15pm
BLOCK B — 1:45-2:45pm
Action Planning — 2:45pm
Closing Remarks — 4:15pm
Selected Speaker and Facilitator Bios
Lauren Benetua is an arts advocate and cultural worker in love with art for social change. She is a Bay Area-born Filipina with a BA in History of Art and Visual Culture from UC Santa Cruz and an MA in Museum Studies the Lorenzo de’ Medici International Institute of Florence, Italy. Lauren currently serves as the Program Assistant for the EAP SF/BA Fellowship; Gallery Coordinator at Betti Ono in Downtown Oakland; and founding Artistic Director for People of Coloring, a coloring book project for, by and about people of color. Lastly, she is a dedicated weaver’s apprentice with the Laga Weaving Circle guided by Kalinga master-weaver, Jenny Mabilong Bawer Young of the Lubuagan province in the Philippines. She is a former Emerging Arts Professionals Fellow (2014-15) with the Cultural Equity focus group, and a recent recipient of the Western Arts Federation Award for Emerging Art Leaders of Color (2015).
Maureen Benson, M. Ed
As a proud product of New York City public schools and a teenage idealist, I moved to Atlanta in 1992 with the intention of pursuing law as a doorway to being a public servant in service of those that had not been served by our society and its systems. However, in my sophomore year of college I read Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities and realized for the first time how dramatically different my educational experiences were from those less than 10 miles from me based on race and socio-economic status.
While this outraged me, it also fueled me to engage in public service through education. After almost 20 years of work in education and private sector (non-profits and for profits), I feel even more strongly that we must engage tirelessly in our governmental and educational systems with an emphasis on interrupting our personal and systemic perpetuation of historical disparities.
ChE (pronoun- they/ them/ their) is a Queer Afro-Indigenous artivist working at the intersections of youth leadership development, cultural equity consulting, and socially engaged artmaking. In 2013 ChE launched Breathe-In Liberation, an incubator for Queer and Trans activists-of-color to practice embodied leadership. Through this platform, ChE partnered with Destiny Arts Center and founded the Art Liberation Troupe, a QTPOC youth performance group utilizing dance, street theatre, and youth-led arts activism workshops as tools for social change. A consultant in race/ gender justice and movement integrated curriculum design, ChE has most recently worked with Destiny Arts Center, Healthy Initiatives for Youth, BAYC Our Space, Montclair Dance Athletics, and Alameda Head Start. As a director/ choreographer, ChE’s work is robust with gospel soul sounds and movement of the African Diaspora that leave feet stomping and hands clapping—fusing Contemporary Modern, Afro-house, and Congolese dance with multi-generational storytelling and interactive installation. ChE has been an artist in residence with Spirit Garden Productions, Press Street Gallery, Dancing Grounds, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts—where they debuted Black Modern dance as an integrative form of Afro-diasporic healing. Currently ChE is developing a framework for Afro-Indigenous activism piloted through #DignityInProcess, a body of work responding to the Black Lives Matter movement through ancestral healing, art as direct action, and identity evolution within the Diaspora. Performances and workshops have been offered throughout the Bay Area, New York, and New Orleans with featured guest artists including the award-winning Luisah Teish and Black Panther Mariama Curry. As an Emerging Arts Professionals MADE awardee, ChE was thrilled to launch #DignityInProcess: Ofun, gathering a circle of Queer Black artists, elders, arts administrators, and activists to develop models of Black leadership in the arts and social justice.
Lisa Evans is a qpoc actor, poet, and cultural worker based out of Oakland, CA.
After receiving their B.A. in History from the University of California Santa Cruz, Lisa moved to Oakland and began working with several different Bay Area youth development and arts organizations including The California Shakespeare Theater and Youth Uprising. Lisa’s work in youth development has focused specifically on youth leadership development and on building more robust programming for LGBTQIA2-S youth.
They most recently performed as a part of Queer Rebels Fest, Brouhaha: QTPOC Activist-Comics Rise Up and as an ensemble cast member in The Love Balm For My Spirit Child, a theatrical performance based on the testimonies of Bay Area mothers who have lost children to violence. They can also be seen in award winning filmmaker Cheryl Dunye’s short film Black Is Blue. Lisa is also a 2016 YBCA Fellow and the co-founder of the How Spirit Moves Us Project, a healing arts project focused on using performance art to celebrate the struggles, resistance and resilience of Black Queer and Trans folks.
Jay-Marie Hill (she/they) is a Black y Boricua genderQueer teacher, mentor, arts administrator, artist, musician and provocateur always working to deconstruct, liberate and recreate. Born and raised in the Oakland Bay Area, right now they can be found touring nationally with Rev. Sekou & the Holy Ghost sharing their brand new album of Movement Music, The Revolution Has Come. Musician, 2015 Fellow Alumna @Jay_Marie
Maria Jensen is the Public Partnerships Manager at SFMoMA, and Founding Director at ArtPadSF. She has established a strong national and international business and art world network as a result of her many years in the art industry. Maria arrived to the Bay Area almost 6 years ago from Venice, CA where she launched a private underground gallery/salon called Salon Oblique as a social experiment and response to the white box gallery experience. Salon Oblique events in a short while became SRO events that ended up in Black Book magazine and received other notable lifestyle press articles. Additionally some of the artists that exhibited at Salon Oblique secured relationships with notable galleries and museums.
When she arrived in the Bay Area she launched ArtPadSF with Chip Conley in 2010. ArtPadSF was an independent art fair that took place at the Phoenix Hotel. This fair enjoyed a successful three-year run. In 2010, she also served as the director of an independent emerging art fair in Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach.
In 2013 Maria was cherry picked to join SFMoMA’s Marketing and Communications team and is enjoying her role in external affairs where she works across all departments and is a key collaborator on many civic art events and an active participant in the arts community. She also liaises with the mayor’s office regarding funding for the arts in San Francisco. She is on the launch committee for Code and Canvas’ Artist in Residency program that launches March 2015, is on the board of Sites Unseen, a public art project being organized and produced by Wendi Norris, gallery owner and President of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association, Dork Keehn SF Arts Commissioner, public artist and former development director for The Bay Lights, and Jessica Shaefer, consultant and former Director of Communication for Creative Time. Maria is also on the board of KALA Art Institute in Berkeley and is on the host committee of the startup Art Fair launching May 2015.
SK Kerastas is a social justice theatre-maker, facilitator and currently a Visiting Artistic Associate at Berkeley Repertory Theatre through Theatre Communication Group’s Leadership U: One-on-One Grant, Round 2. SK served as the Education Director at About Face Theatre from 2009 – 2013 where they received a Windy City Times 30-Under-30 Award and a TCG Global Connections Grant to lead the first-ever international queer youth theatre exchange. They are an Executive Co-Chair of the Pride Youth Theatre Alliance and a member of the inaugural artEquity cohort. SK is currently collaborating with clients of Trans Health Services in San Francisco to create a performative healing ceremony as one of CalShakes’ Artist Investigators.
Joen joined ArtSpan staff in 2014 as the Interim Executive Director and has served on the Board since 2013. In addition to regularly attending SF Open Studios as a patron since 1994, Joen has been affiliated with ArtSpan as an artist participant herself in 2003, and as a host of her husband, Paul Madonna’s SF Open Studio event since 2004. With over 10 years experience as a Business Manager and Creative Agent, Joen is adept at project management, targeting and closing sales, public relations, and relationship management. She advises professional artists and other creatives on increasing audience exposure, creating business systems, applying for grants, and event coordination. She brokers licensing agreements and contract negotiations with corporations, organizations, and government institutions. Joen graduated from UC Berkeley with an honors degree in Cultural Geography, where she learned to blend her love for urban evolution and human culture with travel, and the exploration of emerging art. Beyond regularly participating in San Francisco’s lively art scene, Joen visits museums, galleries, and alternative art spaces globally to help inform her best art business practices locally.
Erin cofounded/directs the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a data visualization, data analysis, and oral history collective documenting Bay Area dispossession and resistance in the wake of the Tech Boom. Erin is also a doctoral candidate in Feminist Studies at University of California, Santa Cruz, working on a project around radicalized dispossession and Silicon Valley technologics in the Bay Area and in Romania.
Ebony McKinney has extensive experience in grant making, arts management, and community development. Most recently she consulted with entities such as The African American Art & Culture Complex and The Sprout Fund on capacity building initiatives. McKinney was also one of the co-founders of Arts for a Better Bay Area, a grassroots movement that developed 2015-2016 budget and policy recommendations for the City of San Francisco which resulted in a historic increase of $7M for the city’s individual artists and small and mid-sized arts organizations. Additionally, Ebony co-founded Emerging Arts Professionals/SFBA, a network focused on leadership development for next generation arts and culture workers. She has held positions with The Britdoc Foundation in London, The San Francisco Arts Commission, Intersection for the Arts, and the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. Ebony has also participated in grant review panels for the California College for the Art’s Center for Art & Public Life, the National Endowment for the Arts, the San Jose Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission and Americans for the Arts/Joyce Foundation’s Emerging Leader of Color Fellowship. McKinney was a part of the Emerging Leader Council of Americans for the Arts, where she co-chaired the Engagement committee with Emily Spruill Labows, Director of Office of Cultural Affairs of the City of Virginia Beach and the Emerging Ideas committee with Ian David Moss of Createquity and Fractured Atlas. She currently serves on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and the board of directors of Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland, CA. Ebony holds a BA in Communications from Chatham University and MA’s in both Cultural Entrepreneurship and Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London. She is currently a program officer with the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Kirthi Nath is a filmmaker, yogini and sacred activist who believes that ordinary people ripple extraordinary change. Kirthi weaves trails of light that find form as films, meditations, writing and creative presence and business coaching. As founder, creative director and lead filmmaker at Cinemagical Media, Kirthi works with social entrepreneurs, nonprofits and values based companies to create films that support individuals and communities to ‘be the cause that creates the effect’. Kirthi’s films have featured cultural visionaries such as Tara Sophia Mohr, Eve Ensler, Jack Kornfield and Alice Walker, and tell stories with bravery, courage and heart that bring messages alive and inspire social change. In addition to filmmaking, Kirthi offers experiential workshops, talks, meditations and coaching that help people connect with their inner wisdom, foster loving presence and awaken wonder. These offerings draws from a variety of wisdom practices, including Buddhism, Tantra, and Yoga traditions, as well as explorations in play and magic. Current and past themes (in person/online) include: Creative Presence, Sacred Presence, Uncertainty and Intention, Modern Day Mindfulness, Heart Gladdening Practices and Storytelling. Kirthi has also developed visualizations shared in context of live art performance projects (San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Southern Exposure, SomArts) and uses wisdom practices in the creation and process of her own filmmaking and sacred activist work. In Summer 2016, in association with Cinemagical Media, Kirthi will officially launch the Modern Day Mindfulness Initiative – a portal for wisdom course offerings, coaching, meditations, talks and artistic inspirations, offered online and in person. www.cinemagicalmedia.com
Dia Penning, has held leadership positions at the Columbia College Chicago, the San Francisco Arts Commission and California College of the Arts: Center for Art and Public Life. She designs experiences to examine complex intersections, placing those most marginalized at the center of inquiry, using creativity, breath, movement, and story.
Jackie Ramos, San Francisco native from the Mission district, is a first generation womanist warrior of Filipina, Black, Native American, Spanish, and white descent. Ever since a child, Jackie was called to serve the people, and found transcendence in poetry and acting. For over 10 years, she has worked on health promotion and disease prevention initiatives serving underserved communities in areas of HIV prevention, substance use, mental illness, and incarceration at UCSF and Stanford. With a degree in psychology pursued at the University of San Francisco, she plans to pursue a doctorate degree in public health with a focus in the arts as a method of healing for youth who have been impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline. For over three years, she has acted in an array of films and commercials. As a poetess/spoken word artist, she uses poetry as her weapon to break walls of fear and build bridges of love. Currently, she is working as a creative artist/researcher with Marcus Shelby on a project called, “Beyond the Blues: Ending the Prison Industrial Complex.” They use research and the arts to raise consciousness around mass incarceration in efforts to find solutions to fight this epidemic and bring sustainable change. While actively pursuing acting and writing, she also is a healing mentor and poetry instructor at San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall, Unit 7 (maximum security for young men ages 16-19 years old) and at the Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC). YWFC works with young women who have been involved with the juvenile justice system and/or underground street economy. Jackie is committed to helping others, especially the youth—to recognize their power and exert it in positive ways that will allow them to thrive. With love, community, the arts, and promoting knowledge of self—she believes that this battle against injustice can be won, and will not stop until all our youth are protected, nurtured, and loved.
Jerome Reyes (b. 1983 Daly City, CA, lives/works in Seoul, Korea and San Francisco,CA) is an artist-researcher who addresses conceptual territories of architecture and cultural difference. He holds an MFA from Stanford University and he has made projects for the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany, Prospect 3 Biennial, SFMOMA, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
He’s been awarded residencies at National Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Gwangju Biennale Foundation, Asia Culture Center in Gwangju, the Seoul Museum of Art, Headlands Center for the Arts, and DeYoung Museum. He’s received awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (MFA Award), Art Matters Foundation, Center for Cultural Innovation, and San Francisco Arts Commission.
He is Artist Liaison at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Senior Researcher at the Asia Culture Center in Gwangju, and received the 2016 Artist-in-Residence Award at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
With a background in architecture, education and policy, Beth Rubenstein is a Legislative Aide to Supervisor John Avalos, of District 11 in San Francisco. She works on city budget, workforce development, children and youth policy, arts policy, and District 11 community development projects. She is the co-founder and was the long-time executive director of Youth Art Exchange (formerly Out of Site Youth Arts Center), which offers programs in visual and performing arts, and leadership development to San Francisco public high school youth. She has taught at the high school and college level. Beth is a 2012 – 2017 Koshland Civic Unity Fellow for the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco, awarded by the San Francisco Foundation in recognition of being a “Bay Area grassroots risk taker” and for taking on “the most stubborn neighborhood problems as a personal challenge and [working] collaboratively to overcome them.
Gregory Stock’s work focuses on expanding creative solutions, design thinking and equity. Most recently, he was Director of Public Affairs with Illuminate where he helped raise $4 million through private donors and crowd sourcing funds, which ushered The Bay Lightsback to the Bay Area in January 2016. He was museum educator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, overseeing the logistics of Friday Nights at the de Young and public programs at the Legion of Honor for three years. And as a member of Emerging Arts Professionals San Francisco/ Bay Area, he advocates for the growth of the arts ecology of the Bay Area. Gregory earned his B.A. from Saint Louis University in American Studies and MBA in Strategic Foresight from California College of the Arts.
Nye Lyn Tho
I was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York with my 9 awesome siblings and I currently reside in West Oakland with my brilliant partner, Ahmunet.
Tyese serves small to mid-sized arts organizations and artists through real estate development at CAST, the Community Arts Stabilization Trust. She brings extensive nonprofit administration experience to her role, spanning education, family literacy, youth development, and the arts. Prior to CAST, Tyese honed her social justice lens as a grantmaker in Cultural Equity Grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission, and as a presenter and producer of culture-specific artist populations with the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. A 2014 Emerging Arts Professionals MADE award recipient, Tyese has been recognized for her expertise as a panelist, consultant, facilitator, and advisor for various Bay Area arts organizations, including Silicon Valley Creates (formerly Arts Council Silicon Valley), Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Black Choreographers Festival, and the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards. As a passionate and community-based grantmaker, administrator, artist, and teacher, Tyese creates life balance by nourishing her physical, mental, and spiritual health through dance, yoga, and meditation.