2014 EAL/LA At-Large Voting

Please vote in the 2014 Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles At-Large Election. You must be a registered member of https://ealla.org to vote.


Below, you will find a Bio & Statement of Intent for each of our 14 candidates.

*Please note: the 10 candidates with the highest scores will be elected, so please vote for the person(s) you find most qualified*
Voting for more than one candidate is allowed and encouraged
Election closes September 12, 2014 at 5PM

For comments or concerns: please email info@ealla.org

About the Leadership Council: https://ealla.org/leadership-council


Francisco Arechiga
I see art as the human expression of consciousness, as the physical record of history, the “danced-in” fabric of culture. For me art is a core characteristic of human existence — a wellspring of inspiration drawing on an unquenchable fascination with natural phenomena and responding with human ingenuity. This broad view of art as an unending pursuit underpins my love for exploring all things “human,” including culture, languages, systems, science, philosophy and organizations.

I chose to study History, Visual Arts and Visual Perception to triangulate our human compulsion for expression through time and culture, applied creativity and scientific examination. I have chosen to live in diverse places like Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Chicago, Santa Fe and Kunming in Southwestern China to experience starkly different cultures. Learning Chinese for nearly seven years, has been a defining experience; since the language itself is an aggregation of representational symbols and opened up a new space for processing thought.

My education and work experience reflect an unapologetic curiosity. I have worked for a government cultural institution in China, nonprofits in Los Angeles and Chinese run multinational corporations. I have come to appreciate the full spectrum of art, from the gimmicky to the indulgent, yet also see art in a terse Powerpoint or well-formatted spreadsheet. Fundamentally, I think the frequent examination of “what art is,” and its role in our lives exercises our humanity. I think art is a subconscious force that transcends culture and linear processes, capable of sewing seeds of profound perceptual shift. One of my goals in life is to cultivate a wider interest in the vast power of art.

Statement of Intent:
My goal for joining the Emerging Arts Leaders Los Angeles is to serve as an ambassador for the organization and increase interest and awareness in the arts throughout Los Angeles. I would like to be a connector that reaches out to groups that do not regularly support the arts. I would like to contribute skills such as writing, design, press outreach and translation. I believe that my strongest contribution would be my professional fluency in Mandarin and connections with Asian American organizations and media.

I believe in the importance of advocating for a shift from STEM to STEAM, to secure our future as a creative capital. I see art as a robust and systematic skill set with great applied value for a range of creative pursuits and problem solving. Even great scientific minds are apt to cite “elegance” as a measure of efficiency and viability. Although personally I am a huge believer in the value of “art for art!s sake,” I am always happy when the arts are featured more prominently in social and economic discussions.
Finally I would hope to explore more trisector partnerships in the city to draw together more stakeholders to invest in LA!s creative economy. I believe that trisector partnerships are better able to deploy resources, leverage expertise, and develop refined programs with wide appeal. I believe that by seeking more partnering opportunities, we can secure greater appreciation and support for the arts, which will bolster an audience for more refined and diverse art forms.


Theresa Condito

I’m originally from Massachusetts, and I lived in the Boston area for many years before relocating to California. I attended Berklee College of Music, and I’ve been working in the arts since I graduated in 2003 at diverse organizations such as a folk music club, a symphony, a dance center, and an improv comedy theater. I recently completed my graduate studies in Arts Management at Claremont Graduate University, and I currently work at the Ford Theatres as the Lead Survey Administrator. In addition to working in the arts, I am also a performer. I love living in Southern California, but since I’m from Boston, I’m very excited to visit the new Dunkin’ Donuts that’s opening in Santa Monica next month!

Statement of Intent:

I’ve been an active member of EAL/LA since the spring of 2013, and I’ve been volunteering on the Development Committee since April of this year. Creative Conversations and the networking events have been personally significant for learning about the arts ecosystem in LA and gaining insight on career advancement. Planning this year’s Summer Soiree was an incredible experience. Since I hope to move into development, asking friends for donations from their places of work and planning the event itself took what I’d learned in my Arts Management graduate studies and EAL/LA’s Development Boot Camp from theory into practice. Of particular interest to me was brainstorming and planning the participatory arts activities for the attendees. It was our goal to engage the EAL/LA members in fun activities that also encouraged networking, and I feel we achieved our goal. Volunteering with EAL/LA has been an incredibly positive experience, and I would like to further commit my time to this important organization. I’m currently finishing up the season at the Ford Theatres, and in September, I will begin the new season at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, so I’m involved in the LA performing arts scene. I feel that my 11 years of experience working in the arts would be valuable to EAL/LA, and that by becoming an At-Large Committee member, I can contribute my skills (and a few dozen Dunkin’ Donuts!) to the organization.


Sofijia Dutcher

Sofija is a graphic designer living her first year on the west coast. Prior to the big move, she lived in Michigan, so she isn’t ashamed to say she’s a classic Midwesterner. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Printmaking. During her college career, she was an active member of the leadership council in the official AIGA Student Group as media coordinator. In addition to her extracurriculars, she was employed as a production designer for The State News, East Lansing’s newspaper. In Los Angeles, she has had several freelance opportunities. Among these, she was brought on to do social media work for Furious Theatre, an independent theatre company running out of Pasadena. Her work increased awareness and participation with the theatre company during its two-show “comeback season”. Sofija is currently working with Center Theatre Group in sales and has recently started an internship with the design website Design Milk for online retail and editorial production. In her spare time, she sees as much theatre and comedy as she can. She loves drawing, Twitter, and video games. She is extremely happy living in Los Angeles and thrives on a city that has such an established artistic community.

Statement of Intent:
Upon my arrival to Los Angeles, one of the first activities I participated in was the EAL/LA “Creative Conversations”. Through this organization, I found my love for the arts once again and in turn, my purpose. I would like to give back to what was and is still such a wonderful resource for art leaders in this city.

As a member of the Leadership Council, I would most benefit the organization through the Marketing/Communications and Programming committees. I will use my design and marketing expertise to create an even larger EAL/LA community and reach out to others in this city that may be feeling as rudderless as I was a year ago. I have many ideas for activities to benefit our members such as portfolio/resume reviews and ideas for getting our members more involved such as member showcases. This is such a dynamic and exciting time for the EAL/LA, and I would love to have a part in creating its identity in the art community.

As a recent graduate and relatively new Angeleno, I have been getting involved with the arts as often as possible. Currently, I am working with Center Theatre Group in sales and in the past, I have worked with other LA theatre companies in social media and marketing. I am an active member of the AIGA Los Angeles Chapter. For the future, I would like to expand my experience in graphic design and marketing and volunteer as much as possible in keeping the LA art scene thrive.


Laurel Felt

Laurel Felt is the Executive Director of the Student Voice Project (SVP). This non-profit seeks to address the achievement gap by helping teachers to run student journalism programs in underserved middle and high schools. Working on a school newspaper (e.g., researching, interviewing, analyzing, writing, editing, managing, political cartooning) positively impacts participants’ literacy skills, critical thinking, civic engagement, and academic and professional aspirations. Additionally, participants tend to form strong, supportive relationships with their newspaper’s advisor and with fellow student journalists. Relationships such as these maintain and support students’ mental health, achievement, and overall wellness.

Laurel is also a Part-time Lecturer at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Her two courses — COMM 204: Public Speaking and COMM 375: Business and Professional Communication — focus on skill development, community-building, and real- world concerns.

On a monthly basis, Laurel publishes a column on young Angelenos’ civic media-making to the KCET Departures “Open Classroom” blog. This summer, Laurel kicked off a four-part series on game design and game play for learning and holistic development.
Laurel is honored to serve on the Student Leadership Council of the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). In this capacity, Laurel supports the national organization with planning its annual conference, promotes organizational members’ cutting-edge research, programming, and curricula, and advocates for the integration of media literacy study across K-12 and higher education.

Laurel’s doctoral dissertation in Communication examined 21st century learning in out-of- school contexts. She reviewed four case studies from USC Project New Media
Literacies’s Participatory Learning And You! (PLAY!) investigation, analyzing each in terms of culture, process, and skills.

In her heart, Laurel is always a veteran improvisational theater actor, former preschool teacher, and lapsed stand-up comedian.

Statement of Intent:

As an At-Large Member of the EAL/LA Leadership Council, I look forward to advancing members’ interests and assisting Chairs to maintain and grow the organization. I would be happy to greet members and other attendees of EAL/LA events and support them in leveraging EAL/LA resources to realize their goals.

Here’s a little more about how I would serve EAL/LA as an At-Large Member of the Leadership Council:
Professional development goals

To quote former EAL/LA Leadership Council Communications Chair Krystal Boehlert, I’d like to “Build a franken-mentor from incredibly smart and ambitious peers.” As I personally transition from my doctoral studies to working in Los Angeles’s arts education space, I could use all of the help I can get! I’d love to connect with colleagues and learn from their wisdom and experience. I’m interested in applying to the Arts Professional Advisor Link program as a means to realize that aspiration.
I’m also interested in learning more about Los Angeles’s cultural policy and contributing to its evolution. This past spring and summer, I represented District 4 as a delegate at Arts Day 2014 and participated in Arts for LA’s cultural policy session, “Serving the Same Students: Education Equity and the Arts.” Since I majored in Social Policy and interned with the U.S. Senate and State Department back when I was in college, I would find it both fascinating and rewarding to work with legislators for supporting the arts.

Involvement in the LA arts community
I’m proud to be a columnist for KCET Departure’s “Open Classroom” blog, covering the media-making efforts of local youth and the organizations that support them. Since 2010, I have been the research partner to Laughter for a Change, a non-profit organization that conducts improvisational theater outreach. In my previous role as Instructional Design Specialist for the USC Dornsife Joint Educational Project, I wrote curricula and supervised the Program Assistants for Art of Living, Art Smart, and Community Outreach through Development of the Arts.

Sub-committee(s) of interest
Potential contributions to the Leadership Council

I bring my passion, sense of humor, research skills, familiarity with academic literature, and speedy typing to the table. It would be an honor to serve.


Joel Garcia
Joel started his nonprofit journey in middle school when he joined the San Fernando Valley Youth Organization, a leadership and empowerment group of the San Fernando Valley Partnership, a program designed to help young people identify issues and create successful strategies to address them. There he helped organize 17 annual youth summits, which were a collection of workshops designed to get peers informed about issues relevant to their lives and surroundings. He also worked on projects designed to curb alcohol and tobacco marketing to young people. He now proudly serves on their Board of Directors.

His career at Hollywood HEART began as a volunteer and stayed that way for 10 years. In 2012 he was invited to join the staff and is now their Program Director. At Hollywood HEART Joel organizes and secures funding/donations for innovative arts programs for at risk youth (ages 13-20): acting, creative writing, culinary arts, documentary filmmaking, fashion, music, and visual arts.
In early 2013, Joel linked up with youTHink, a program designed for youth to address social issues through art. There he has facilitated groups that have created different arts projects that have been presented to different decision makers in the law making process, including LA City Council President Herb Wesson, the staff of Mayor Eric Garcetti, and various senators in Sacramento.

In his free time he likes to visit museums such as the Huntington and the Getty Villa, trade futures, and spend time with his brother’s family.

Statement of Intent:

I would like to formally apply to be considered for the At-Large Member elections of EAL/LA. In the short time I’ve been with EAL/LA I have really benefitted from attending workshops, joining the Development Committee, meeting different arts professionals, and providing support for the Summer Soiree. I hope to be able to provide support to continue the amazing programs and events produced by EAL/LA.

Through this experience I hope to continue building my skill set in the Development and Fundraising subcommittee and sharing whatever knowledge I can pass along. My involvement with organizations such as the San Fernando Valley Partnership, Hollywood HEART, EAL/LA and youTHink have helped me stay connected with art, arts professionals, artists, and change created through art.

I feel as if I can contribute by helping secure donations for events and connecting with local vendors for discounted marketing materials and other expenditures. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Charyn Harris

As an arts educator and community leader, Charyn Harris has been recognized for directing vibrant arts programming and developing stellar resources. Charyn serves as Conductor of Music Programs for A Place Called Home (APCH), which is located in South Los Angeles. Charyn founded Project MuszEd, a boutique nonprofit agency providing resources to youth in need and those challenged by chronic illnesses. Charyn facilitated and manages a thriving partnerships between APCH and Project MuszEd with Berklee College of Music’s City Music Network, a national music education initiative. Over thirty (30) students under Charyn’s tutelage have attended Berklee’s programs through summer and full four year scholarships. Students have also opened for The Black Eyed Peas, Diana Ross, Macy Gray and have gained exposure to many other professional level opportunities.
Prior to entering the nonprofit sector, Charyn toured for nearly a decade as keyboardist for the iconic Barry White and has performed with a variety of artists including: Malcolm Jamal Warner, MC Hammer, The Cranberries, Jonathan Butler, Al B. Sure!, Doc Powell and Luciano Pavarotti. Charyn is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and earned an MBA from The University of Phoenix. Charyn has been recognized on numerous occasions by The City of Los Angeles and with The Sustainable Leadership Award from The Berklee City Music Network. As a community leader, she lends her support to several key organizations and serves as an advisor to champion a variety of community and cultural initiatives.

Statement of Intent:

It is with great pleasure that I present to you my Statement of Intent in consideration for a seat as an At- Large-Member in support of the Leadership Council. It would be an honor to serve in a capacity to fortify an exceptional cohort of creative leaders.

For over the past 15 years, I have had the pleasure of serving in the nonprofit sector as an arts educator and advocate focusing on urban music education while exercising my passion for building cultural resources throughout Los Angeles. It is essential that creative leaders are empowered to make and implement pragmatic and sustainable decisions. The nourishment of the cultural eco-system of this great city is vital as it cultivates intrinsic values for generations to come. We are also in a unique position to serve as a global barometer in excellence and best practices.

As an At-Large-Member, I plan to provide support to the Programming and Marketing/Communications Subcommittees. It is my goal to offer effective and transformational support to bolster the Leadership Council as well as serve as an ambassador to promote the organization, its mission and goals.

I thank you for your valuable time and consideration in support of this endeavor.


Willie Kuo

Willie Kuo is a social media subcontractor and was the Assistant Director at the Los Angeles Art Association, where she worked in development, marketing and communications. Because of her interest in how social enterprises can build community to further their mission and drive social change, Willie assists with online community and social media as a volunteer at Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup. Prior to her current role, she served at EMERGENCY USA as part of an Americorps fellowship through New Sector’s Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE), a program that develops future leaders in the social sector. Her capacity building projects at EMERGENCY USA improved the use of technology for outreach, which included database implementation and community building through social media. She has pursued her passion for creating impact through internships at several social sector organizations, including the Clinton Global Initiative in NY, ThinkImpact in South Africa and AIDS Research Alliance in LA. Willie earned a B.S. in Business (emphasizing in finance and entrepreneurship) and a minor in Painting at USC. In her spare time, she wonders about the economics of art and how we can solve income inequality facing artists through cultural entrepreneurship.

Statement of Intent:

I was formerly the Assistant Director at the Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA), a membership- based nonprofit that supports over 400 emerging artists with exhibition and professional development opportunities. LAAA provides a unique space for art professionals and artists to develop critical relationships; and so far, LAAA’s network of artists, collectors and curators is the extent of my involvement with the LA arts community. Through work, I met many remarkable artists and established gallerists, but very few emerging arts leaders. I intend to become involved with EAL/LA as a way to learn from art leaders’ experiences and gain industry knowledge. I hope to join the Marketing/Communications Subcommittee, where I can help EAL/LA reach development and program goals through the strategic planning and implementation of content, email and social media marketing. My ambition is to help EAL/LA build a strong online and offline community of arts leaders, who will modernize the arts and serve as an impetus for creative, entrepreneurial endeavors within the cultural sector.


Caitlin McInnis

Caitlin McInnis has a degree in Art History as well as international museum and gallery experience. Now in Los Angeles, she works with organizations such as haleARTS SPACE and Fabrik Magazine to develop programs that support emerging artists.
Through platforms provided by Fabrik Magazine, Caitlin coordinates programs such as; Photo Independent— an international art fair introducing independent artists to curators and publishers and collectors, the American Aperture Awards or AX3— an international photography competition for students, emerging and professional photographers and is in the process of launching Fabrik’s online gallery.

At haleARTS, Caitlin works with emerging artists; selecting works that will appeal to emerging and established collectors, helping strengthen artist statements, as well as discussing ways to protect their intellectual property and art. In addition to curating bi-monthly shows, Caitlin works with collectors and designers throughout Los Angeles, introducing them to innovative and dynamic artists.

For the past two years, Caitlin has been an active member of Arts for LA. She has attended many advocacy training meetings, round table discussions, worked as an Arts Day volunteer, and discussed policy with with members of city council as she served as a delegate for district 14.

Through programs such as AX3 and Photo Independent and institutions such as Fabrik Magazine, haleARTS SPACE and Arts for LA, Caitlin strives to create a community, rather than a commodity, of artists.

Statement of Intent:
I would like to apply to serve as Member at Large. I feel that EAL/LA is an excellent resource for people working in the arts and I appreciate the professional development offered. I have been working in the arts for the past six years. In that time I have worked for galleries and museums around the world but it wasn’t until moving to Los Angeles that I felt truly inspired and moved by the people around me. The creative energy pulsing through Los Angeles has spurred me to be innovative and passionate in my current position.

My current work is in the private sector, and while it is very much community oriented, it is still a for-profit venture. I would like to give back to the amazing creative community in Los Angeles. Through networking, advocating, and volunteering I would like to transition my career into the non-profit field. I am eager to work on the Development subcommittee, and while my development involvement is limited, I believe that my sales experience will be beneficial. I would also like to work on the Programming subcommittee. Through the magazine and gallery I have a network of contacts that could be called upon for a variety of events.
If chosen to serve as a member at large, the Leadership Council will find in me a member they can count on, somebody who is willing to do the work, and go the extra mile necessary to make a lasting difference.


Sarah Langan

Sarah Langan is the School Manager at the nationally recognized Groundlings Theatre and School in Los Angeles. As such, she heads the largest professional training and outreach program of its kind on the West Coast. With a special interest in community engagement, she recently captained a new partnership with Veterans in Film and Television and expanded class opportunities for teens, in addition to initiating performance opportunities for Student Teams. Prior to her time in Los Angeles, Sarah was the In Residence Programs Manager for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. There, she oversaw an average of 1,000 classes and workshops offered annually to visiting student and adult groups, and managed such celebrated programs as the Festival Noon Series and the OSF Institute classes for adults and families. Sarah has presented at the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Theatre Educators conference and was a member of the Shakespeare Association of America. In the last twelve years she has designed curricula for, and taught theater arts to, students at various organizations and colleges in New York, Colorado and Oregon, including the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. She holds a Master’s Degree in Theatre Studies from Leeds University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ithaca College. Her career in non-profit management reflects her passion for collaborative, creative leadership.  She is especially proud of her history building relationships between artists and the diverse communities they serve, as well as working with Boards and other governing committees to innovate and expand the scope of art and its impact.

Statement of Intent:

I moved to Southern California a year and a half ago to take over the helm at The Groundlings School- and as a recent transplant to LA, one of the first resources I turned to was the Emerging Arts Leaders of Los Angeles. As an energetically involved arts manager and activist in Oregon, my home state, finding a new community of like-minded, passionate leaders in Los Angeles has been a priority for me, and one that I am dedicated to helping others discover.  My personal goals for professional development include strengthening my knowledge of best practices in non-profit management and fiscal oversight, as well as capturing new and diverse audiences through multi-disciplinary arts practices and partnerships. My experience and background in arts education influences the lens through which I lead; every position I have held in my thirteen-plus years of work in the arts has involved facilitating relationships between students, teachers, families, schools, and the arts organizations that serve them. It would be a privilege to contribute my skills in community engagement and arts programming to the EAL/LA Programming Subcommittee and/or Development Subcommittee, and to collaborate with the innovative, ambitious group that the At-Large Committee will no doubt be. Although I am relatively new to this city, my current position has exposed me to a wide network of young, active artists;  I am anxious to take advantage of that and to further immerse myself in LA’s fertile arts environment, as well as to find ways of enriching it even more for my current and future colleagues.


Amalia Merino
I graduated from UCLA’s Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Design and Development in 2013. My interests are cultural programming and activating public space to improve quality of life in Los Angeles. I am a 5th generation Angeleno on my mom’s side. I grew up, however, between the East Coast and Latin America. My enthrallment with the arts began with field trips to the Kennedy Center, The Muppet Show and Fame, the TV show. I went to college to study film but wanted to know more about my proposed subject matter. I decided to pursue my studies in Bolivia, which lead to an interest in sustainable development and later a degree in Economics and LAS from Smith College. I chose to work in advertising in Chicago following an interesting college internship but soon found myself deeply dissatisfied. Thank goodness for Chicago’s Park & Rec and Department of Cultural Affairs. Their programming convinced me I wanted to “make that happen” and upon relocating to Miami dived into arts administration. I worked in development, specifically sponsorship, in the performing arts and was a founding task member of the Miami Emerging Arts Leaders. While working at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Peforming Arts of Miami-Dade County I became interested in the use and activation of public space through cultural programming. I decided to study Urban Planning and see if I can combine my love for cities, the creative use of space, engaging the public, and the arts.

Statement of Intent:
I aim to become a leader in placemaking, activating public space and executing cultural programming in order to enhance urban neighborhood quality of life. I want to work in projects that creatively readapt the built environment. I would like to work on making quality free/low cost year-round cultural programming a reality in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has the weather and the venues to make this possible. I don’t understand why outdoor concerts and movies and festivals die out when summer ends because of an earlier sunset and slightly cooler evening air. At present I am involved in the L.A. arts community through my work at Metro in its Systemwide Design and Art group. It has introduced me to and has allowed me to work on the budget, coordination, restoration, installation, and social media outreach for visual art in the Metro transit system and cultural programming at Union Station. I have also interned at CARS and what is now Maker City LA. I am an active member of the EAL/LA Programming Committee. To date I have helped in the brainstorming development of this October’s Creative Conversations and have personally contributed by securing its keynote speaker. I feel that my leadership skills and engaged participation will benefit the Leadership Council. My involvement in the urban planning community, passion for what is changing in Los Angeles (transit, L.A. River, etc) and strong interest in utilizing space through the arts will bring a fresh perspective.


Elena Muslar

ELENA MUSLAR is a multi-dimensional leader who can make you laugh one minute, then get down to business the next. Immediately after graduating from Loyola Marymount University, she chose to head straight into graduate school at CalArts focusing her career trajectory towards becoming a knowledgeable arts administrator. This differing combination of educational styles and missions has shaped her into the well- rounded arts advocate she is today. From her BA in Theatre with minors in Dance, African American Studies, and an emphasis in Education to her MFA in Theatre Management specializing in Producing, Elena has gained a strong foundation in understanding arts engagement and facilitation. In conjunction with her studies, she balanced a variety of work experiences throughout California and abroad. Her organizational skills and personal background have inspired her to give back to her community and educate others on the importance of arts education and diversity in arts administration. Running a non-profit organization that focuses on the arts while making it a priority to recognize its importance in education is a goal that she hopes to reach. Through her new position as the Professional Development Associate at Inner-City Arts, she is enjoying working at an organization that speaks so directly to her own personal mission. She is excited to continue making a difference in the creative sector and looks forward to continued learning and growth throughout it in her future.

Statement of Intent:

EAL/LA is an inspiring network of individuals that I have been exposed to throughout my time as graduate student learning and engaging with the arts administration field. Now that I have reached the point where I am working full-time, I am eager and motivated to immerse myself into this wonderful group of like-minded leaders. In terms of my own professional development, through my involvement with EAL/LA, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of strategic planning and execution. I’m also looking forward to engaging with a team and brainstorming ideas for promotion, marketing, and effective forms of communication through my committee involvement. Applying my work experiences from smaller and larger arts organizations to working with EAL/LA is a learning experience that I feel will greatly add to my toolkit as an arts administrator. As a native Angeleno, my involvement with the Los Angeles arts community has been wide- spread, from my first arts administration experiences with The Blank Theatre and Towne Street Theatre to becoming a mentor to arts students at LA Commons and volunteering most recently as a marketing consultant with The World Stage in Leimert Park. My combined experiences at Center Theatre Group, the Music Center, and Grand Park, have helped me understand the scope of the arts world we have in LA. Lastly, working at the LA County Arts Commission has greatly influenced my efforts and exposed me to a path of persistence and engagement with the LA arts community that I hope to continue along. I see my potential thriving with EAL/LA and believe my experiences thus far express my commitment, creativity, and work ethic. Being able to combine my passion for service and education with my everlasting love for the arts shows me that becoming a part of the EAL/LA Council as an At-Large Member would be a fantastic fit.


Luis Antonio Pichardo
Luis Antonio Pichardo, b. 26 Oct. 1983, is a published poet and exhibited photographer and fine artist. Holding an M.F.A. in Critical Studies from CalArts (’10), he has spent his entire adult life working in the nonprofit sector, focusing primarily in the education and arts sector. In 2012, Luis founded DSTL Arts, a nonprofit arts mentorship organization that “teaches, inspires, and hires creative, at-risk youth ages 16–21 years old.”

As an artist and educator, Luis aims to empower individuals so that they may realize their own inner strength and beauty. Through his career in nonprofits and his educational experiences, he has learned the strength and value of sincere, connected mentorships, especially as it relates to the development of youth and independent artists.

As the primary force behind DSTL Arts’ Arts Mentorship Program, Luis has created an environment of collaboration and learning for youth who would not normally receive encouragement as they pursue their dreams of becoming working artists. By providing mentorship and career guidance that includes entrepreneurial practices, Luis has given youth hope as they proceed to educate themselves as the future of Los Angeles’ creative community.

Statement of Intent:

My name is Luis Antonio Pichardo, and I am the founder and executive director of DSTL Arts, a nonprofit arts mentorship organization that provides arts education and entrepreneurial training to at-risk youth ages 16–21 years old. In addition to the founding of DSTL Arts, I am also an independent practicing artist, poet, and photographer.

I am writing this letter of intent for consideration as part of the EAL/LA At- Large Member role within the EAL/LA Leadership Council. This opportunity was presented to me by Charlie Jensen of Arts for LA, whom I have worked with in the past as an Arts Day LA Delegate.

As an arts advocate and arts educator, I view the role of membership on the Leadership Council as an opportunity for me to learn more about the dynamics of the arts-sector in Los Angeles, as well as an opportunity for having a wider impact in the arts education world via potential mentorship opportunities for both myself and my DSTL Arts students.

As a potential member, I feel that my particular expertise can be used in the Programming Subcommittee as well as in the Marketing/Communications Subcommittee. With over 10 years of experience working in nonprofits, leading to the founding of my own, I know that I can help with strategic planning and program implementation; and with my experience as a graphic designer and photographer, I am able to help implement marketing and communication campaigns.


Rachel May Smith

Rachel May (Ray) Smith is an administrator, researcher, and independent consultant focusing on arts and culture. Currently, she is the coordinator of operations at the Corita Art Center in Hollywood. She brings an academic and practical understanding of arts administration to her work, using thoughtful reflection to develop innovative strategies for efficiency and engagement. She has held positions with Skirball Cultural Center, LA County Museum of Art, Dallas Contemporary, Greater Denton Arts Council, Urban Arts Space at The Ohio State University, Wexner Center for the Arts and Nationwide Financial. Ray holds a BA in Art History with minor in Italian summa cum laude, a MA in Arts Policy and Administration, and a PhD in Art Education and Public Administration. She was a Barrnett Fellow at OSU, a doctoral fellow, and received a dissertation fellowship for her work on evaluating cultural plans. She has been an active volunteer in the communities where she resides. Ray is especially interested in the practical applications of theory and research in arts policy and nonprofit management.

Statement of Intent:

I have been in the Los Angeles area for a little over two years, with the benefit of that perspective I believe I can say to the outside, the arts community here is under- appreciated. Los Angeles offers so many wonderful opportunities for collaboration with partners well beyond the film and television industries that get all the attention. Coming from an advocacy and policy background, I was delighted to find organizations like EAL/LA and Los Angeles Arts For All that were engaged in program development, advocacy and research to understand and promote the LA arts community. My professional development goals are to continue to work in arts administration, perhaps in a local government capacity, eventually in a leadership role. With my academic background, I also hope to continue to teach arts administration and other skills such as grant writing, to artists and arts administrators, ensuring the sustained vibrancy of the sector in our community. To that end, I hope to work with the Program Committee to continue offering programs that help those in arts administration grow personally and professionally. I can offer the leadership council academic and practical expertise, my personal spirit of altruism, and a commitment to the Los Angeles community. As someone still making connections and learning the ins and outs of LA, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to get involved. I feel motivated to apply as an At-Large Member as a proactive way to use my skills to our mutual benefit.


Katelyn Welch
Katelyn Welch has two years of experience in the Los Angeles arts community coupled with a bachelor’s degree in Photography, and a Masters of Arts in Arts Management. She has worked and interned in various arts organizations in varying roles. Katelyn’s strengths are in education, programming, and fundraising. As a member of the EAL development committee she plans the engagement events for the summer soirée.

Statement of Intent:

As a voting member of the Leadership Committee I hope to reflect the wishes and needs of the larger EAL membership. I can bring to the Leadership Committee my unique perspective and an enthusiasm for working as a team member. I want to ensure EAL continues to develop as a great and useful organization for arts leaders throughout Los Angeles.

Through my participation in EAL, I want to gain direct experience in programming and planning events, as well as working as a member of a larger team.

This past year I had the pleasure of working on the development committee to assist with planning the summer Soirée. I have grown personally and professionally during the two years I have been a member of EAL and I would love to have the opportunity to give back to this wonderful organization.

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