Data Driven – Leveraging Arts Data for Greater Impact – EMERGENCE 2015 – Afternoon Panel

Data Driven – Leveraging Arts Data for Greater Impact

Big Forum – 2:50pm

Facilitated by Danielle Siembieda, Digital Marketing, Community Engagement Specialist

Guest Panelists:  

Lex Leifheit, Ex. Director at SOMArts; Co founder, Arts for a Better Bay Area
Ian Heisters, Artist and Creative Technology Consultant, Heisters Generative
Darin Jensen, GIS (geographic information system) instructor, UC Berkeley, Mission Possible and Intranational International Boulevard: A Street’s Atlas

We are surrounded by data driven decision making from the business and tech communities, what does this mean for the arts? Join artists and administrators in a discussion about the data we can leverage to create greater impact and understand our landscape. We will specifically be looking to projects like Arts for A Better Bay Area and the Arts Education field that show the intrinsic value of arts experiences through different forms and to different audiences.

Panelist Bios

Lex LeifheitLex Leifheit became executive director of  SOMArts (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology and Services) in October 2008. During her 6 1/2-year tenure, she: Established a 9-month incubator for community-focused cultural producers, the Commons Curatorial Residency Program,  Increased operating budget from $800k to $1.6 million, full-time staff from 1 to 5 and number of nonprofits served annually to 100+, Implemented numerous business practices to enhance the long-term stability of the organization and modernized systems, and Leveraged numerous technology partnerships to extend the reach of arts programming and support services. In 2014, with her co-founder Ebony McKinney, Lex established Arts for a Better Bay Area, an organization to increase support for the arts, share knowledge around public policy, and spark cross-sector partnerships. Over 500 people participated in the Arts Budget Coalition, a project of ABBA.  This June Lex will move on from SOMArts to become the Nonprofit Business Development Manager in the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.


Ian HeistersIan Heisters uses dance, installation, and data as media for playing with issues around community and humanism. His installations and performances have shown at local and national venues including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Crystal Bridges Museum, CounterPULSE, The Asian Art Museum, and The Berkeley Art Museum. In addition to his personal practice, Ian is a researcher and advisor specializing in performance, digital media, data visualization, and sensor systems for various projects with SFMoMA, UC Berkeley, and the open source community. This research is complemented by teaching art, design, and programming at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Previously, he executed commercial projects with Stamen Design, Pivotal Labs, and Stimulant among others. A native of Northern California, he is based in Berkeley, California, where he tries to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors with his wife and son. [For more information visit Heisters Generative]


Darin JensenDarin Jensen is the Staff Cartographer and a Continuing Lecturer in the Department of Geography.  He has directed multiple hyper-local atlas projects along with his students he continues to produce experiential mapping projects (“Mission Possible: A Neighborhood Atlas” was published in 2012 and can be viewed at Darin is also the founder of Guerrilla Cartography, which published “Food: An Atlas” in 2013 (a crowdsourced and crowdfunded atlas of the geography of food) and is currently working on “Water: An Atlas.” Visit to download a free pdf of the food atlas and to join our mailing list.



Facilitated by Danielle Siembieda is an art service provider and creative entrepreneur in the San Francisco Bay Area. She works at the intersection of Social Practice, Institutional Critique, Intervention and New Media. Most of her work includes an emphasis on the environment and technology. Her most recent project, “The Art Inspector” began in 2009 as a method to reduce the carbon footprint of art. This project has been funded Silicon Valley Energy Watch to conduct energy assessments on artist studios and take them through an eco-art makeover. She has been an artist in residence at the TechShop SJ where she create a body of work around cyborg politics and the anthropocene. Some of her other roles include being a board member of the Women’s Environmental Art Directory; art consultant to the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and outreach coordinator for CODAME Art + Tech. Siembieda has a MFA in Digital Media Art at San Jose State University at the CADRE Laboratory for New Media with a focus on green technologies, sustainable materials. []

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