Steering Committee Members

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Felicia W Shaw

Chair

Felicia is executive director of the Women’s Museum of California. A seasoned professional in the field of nonprofit arts management, Felicia’s career that has spanned more than 30 years and has included an executive leadership position with the Regional Arts Commission of St Louis, and director positions with the San Diego Foundation and City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Throughout her career, Felicia has led a number of wide-ranging change initiatives with a focus on regional cultural planning, cultural tourism, arts education, diversity, equity and inclusion, and support to individual artists. A life-long advocate for the arts, Felicia currently serves on the boards of Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates and is a member of the San Diego Art Prize Advisory Committee. Prior to these appointments, she served on the boards of Grantmakers for the Arts, CERF+, and as Chair of the United States United Arts Federation, a national advisory committee of Americans for the Arts. She is an active volunteer and contributor to arts, culture and women’s organizations and fulfills her commitment to philanthropy as a member of Women Give San Diego. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Communications, Felicia completed additional undergraduate study at UC San Diego with a focus in art history, theory and criticism and completed the two-year Museums Studies Program at Palomar College. She is also an alum of LEAD San Diego (2002) and the James P Shannon Leadership Institute (2015).

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Matt D’Arrigo

Co-Chair

Matt has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to being a champion and advocate for the arts and young people. He is the Director of Creative Youth Development at the Clare Rose Foundation and the Co-Founder/Director of The Clare Rose Center for Creative Youth Development (CYD). Prior to joining Clare Rose, D’Arrigo was the Founder and CEO of A Reason To Survive (ARTS), a nationally recognized CYD organization based in National City, CA. D’Arrigo is co-founder of the National CYD Funders Forum, The San Diego CYD Network,  and Arts Amplifying Youth (AAY!). He sits on the Board of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and is Vice-Chair of the San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition. He also holds seats on the National Partnership for Creative Youth Development, the Arts Ed Impact Group for GrantMakers for Education,  and the Membership Committee for Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties. Matt is a graduate of the Fieldstone Executive Learning Group and Coaching programs. He serves as both a Fieldstone Coach and Creative Encounters Facilitator.

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Matt Carney

Treasurer

Matt is the executive director of the San Diego Ballet. He was drawn into the world of dance as another way to convey his interests in equality, social activism, and for the simple joy of moving. After the recession in 2008 something shifted in Matt’s perspective, and he began to dig deeper into dance on a systemic level. Questions on how to sustain this art form and preserve its legacy filled his head and led to greater synergy between his artistic and pragmatic sides plus his passion for arts advocacy. His community commitments include being the immediate past chair of SDRACC, member of the Port of San Diego’s Art, Culture, and Design Committee, and guest teaching at schools throughout the County. He has his BFA in Dance from the U. of MO-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance and his master’s degree in public administration from SDSU’s School of Public Affairs.

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Polly Toledo

Secretary

Polly is arts advocate whose passion for this work began in the San Francisco Bay Area where she earned her BA in Art History from Dominican University of California; worked in the membership department at the San Francisco Museum of Art; and volunteered as an exhibit guide at the Oakland Museum of California. While arts and culture were her passions, she paid the bills with a variety of jobs in the food industry. Motivated by her personal experiences at museums, she obtained her M.A in Art Galleries and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds, England and gained on-the-job experience volunteering at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center until she was hired at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park, first as Administrative Assistant and eventually as the Operations and Programs Manager. She later joined the New Americans Museum as executive assistant to the Director and Grants Coordinator where she supported programmatic initiative and development efforts. 

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Michael Angelo Camacho

Steering Committee

Michael is executive director of the VAPA Foundation. He earned an M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Education Sciences. A nonprofit professional, he has solid experience in finance, fundraising, and philanthropy. With top-tier relationships across a broad range of sectors in San Diego, Michael has been involved in evidence-based program design, financial analysis, resource development, and civic engagement. His portfolio of past client organizations includes: Dreams for Change, the YMCA, and Kids Included Together. The arts have a special place in Michael’s heart. He has done dance demonstrations at the San Diego Fair and been invited to display his work at the Spanish Village Art Center. Michael has also contributed towards producing his favorite musical by securing the venue, and funding partners for an up-and-coming theater company. He is proud to say that their production shed a light on the immigrant issues present in the community.

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Christopher Chalupsky

Steering Committee

Christopher oversees the Arts Program at San Diego International Airport (SAN) with a focus on developing programming and partnerships with artists and arts organizations in the San Diego community. Bringing 20+ years of experience in cultural arts and entertainment programming, including record label roles in the music industry of Los Angeles, Chalupsky joined the Arts Program at SAN in 2016 from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. At SAN Chalupsky’s main mission is to help enrich the experience, and thus the lives, of airport patrons through collaborative arts programming of the highest caliber. From 2017-2019 Chalupsky led the creation of a new Arts Master Plan for SAN. This plan will guide the Arts Program for the near future under his direction. He sits on the San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition Steering Committee (SDRACC), Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB), and is a registered member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Songwriters of North America (SONA). Chalupsky is a Minnesota native and an art creator himself, being a published songwriter and musician.

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Llewellyn Crain

Steering Committee

Llewellyn is director of philanthropy with the Old Globe located in Balboa Park. As chief fundraiser for one of the United States' largest and most important regional theatres, she collaborates with the board of directors and staff to raise over $8.5 million a year from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government sources and through legacy giving. She creates and implements fundraising strategies, works with leadership donors, manages staff, and oversee all aspects of a complex fundraising environment.an arts and nonprofit professional with a commitment to excellence, a high level of skill and expertise, and experience in a wide variety of organizations. She is a strategic thinker and activist with a deep understanding of politics and advocacy. Llewellyn  considers herself a servant-leader and is dedicated to changing people's lives through the arts and serving the common good.

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Carlos Cristiani

Steering Committee

Carlos is owner of Peninsula Business Consultants, a consulting firm dedicated to helping U.S. companies establish operations in Mexico and Latin America. His firm also assists foreign companies doing business in the U.S. with headquarters in San Diego and offices in Tijuana and Mexico City. Cristiani was appointed to the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and served for three years on the Executive Board of The House of Mexico. Born and raised in Mexico City, Cristiani attended law school at the Autonomous National University (UNAM) and also attended UCSD as an International Student. He later trained at the NCRC at their Summer Institute in La Jolla to become a Mediator.

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Pauline Crooks

Steering Committee

Pauline is the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education, a position she has held since January 2016. She works to ensure every child has the opportunity to experience the arts to build empathy and self-awareness in order to see the many assets they bring to their community and the world. Pauline received a B.A. in music education from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in teaching from National University, and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher in early and middle childhood music and has been a music educator for 28 years. Pauline is the leader of Arts Empower San Diego, a partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and a coalition of nonprofit arts organizations, community partners, and school districts to champion arts education in all schools across the County. 

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Leticia Gomez Franco

Steering Committee

Leticia is executive director of the Balboa Art Conservation Center(BACC). A seasoned arts professional with deep roots in the San Diego community, Gomez Franco's work at BACC is informed by her commitment to preserving culture and years of hands-on experience with exhibitions, artists, and communities. Before joining BACC, Gomez Franco served as the Senior Arts and Culture Funding Manager of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture where she administered over $11 million in grants for community arts organizations. Prior to that she was the Director of Programs and Lead Curator for the New Americans Museum, an institution dedicated to preserving and presenting the immigrant experience, and established The Front: A Collaborative of Art, Culture, Design and Urbanism as a formal art gallery and leading binational laboratory of creative thought in the world's most trafficked border region, San Ysidro/Tijuana. As an accomplished curator she has developed more than forty exhibitions at various museums and galleries. Her independently curated work has elicited nationwide press and attention, as well. She holds a master’s degree in Curatorial Theory from the Liberal Arts and Sciences program of San Diego State University, and a bachelor’s in English and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. 

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Alex Goodman

Steering Committee

Alex hails from Detroit, Michigan and currently serves as Director of Philanthropy for the San Diego Children's Discovery Museum since July 2021 after 6 years as the Managing Director of New Village Arts in Carlsbad. At NVA, he oversaw numerous partnerships with Carlsbad businesses, grew the budget by over 40%, and collaborated with city staff and elected officials on NVA’s long-term lease and the city’s investment in a $2.5 million renovation that is expected to be completed in 2022. He is the president of the North County Philanthropy Council and serves on the board of the North County Arts Network as well. He lives in Oceanside with his wife and three children.

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James Halliday

Steering Committee

James is executive director of A.R.T.S A Reason to Survive. A native San Diegan, James attended public K-12 schools, completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at San Diego HS in 1999, and had the privilege of being an Aaron Price Fellow, where the connection between civic engagement and public leadership first took root. After graduating with a degree in history from Stanford in 2003, James pursued postgraduate studies in Cracow, Poland, where he lived until 2005. Between 2005-14, he lived in Seoul, Moscow, and Istanbul, where he worked for many years in journalism, before transitioning the focus of his work to the intersection of education, philanthropy, and social enterprise. Prior to joining A.R.T.S., he was program director at the Education Synergy Alliance, and actively involved in shaping the impact economy for the greater San Diego region through his work with ImpactSD and the local chapter of EPIP.

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Victoria Hamilton

Steering Committee

Victoria serves as the President of the California Arts Advocate and Past President Californians for the Arts. She is the founding director of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture where she led this nationally recognized multi-million-dollar local arts agency for 24 years. At the Commission, she achieved unanimous approval of a plan for 2% for public art in capital improvement and 1% in private development as well as for the Penny for the Arts Blueprint for increased arts and culture funding. With over 30 years in the field of arts administration, she is recognized for her pioneering leadership and work on public policy, cultural tourism, grantmaking, arts advocacy and cultural diversity initiatives. Victoria has served as President of the United States Urban Arts Federation and California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies; been a grant panel member for the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, San Diego Foundation and the Sacramento Arts and Culture office and on public policy committees at state and national levels. She also serves as a Forever Balboa Park trustee and on the board of directors of the NTC Foundation and San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition. She has received numerous local, state and national awards for her work including the Ray Hanley Innovation Award given by the United States Urban Arts Federation for “outstanding individual contributions to arts and culture in American cities,” the Americans for the Arts Selena Roberts Ottum Award “for outstanding contributions in the local arts agency field” and the 2020 78th Assembly District Woman of Distinction as a role model in the community for professional accomplishments and leadership.

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Shayla James

Steering Committee

Shayla is the director of the Creative Youth Development Network. She balances her time as a performer, educator, arts administrator, and researcher. She is a San Diego based multi-instrumentalist whose work is rooted in community empowerment and multidisciplinary collaboration. Her most memorable arts projects have involved collaborating in communal settings. In 2017-2020, she was an actor and musician with the theater company Blindspot Collective in the play Safa’s Story, an interactive Forum Theatre play for children and families created to support bullying prevention and cultural sensitivity. In 2019, she composed and performed in theatrical performances with On the Line Collective in Woytek. In 2020, she also composed and performed in Disco Riot’s movement video series, Move American. She is the owner of Sempre Music Studio, an energetic and creativity focused studio that offers high quality music education to students of all backgrounds and ages. She is an advocate for accessible and inclusive arts education and programming for all ages. Also, she volunteers as Chair of Rising Arts Leaders San Diego, an organization that offers resources, programming, and networking opportunities to emerging arts professionals. In 2020 and 2021, she volunteered as grants administrator for the Artist Response Challenge Fund of the SDRACC. Shayla received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Coe College. She attended UC-San Diego for a Master of Arts degree in Music with an emphasis in Integrative Studies (Ethnomusicology and Critical Studies).

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Theresa R. Kosen

Steering Committee

Theresa has more than twenty years of experience in arts and culture nonprofit management.  Currently, she is the owner of Swift Ventures Group, Inc. which provides strategic consulting to nonprofits in organizational planning, fundraising, branding and opportunities to grow their potential. As the executive director for the San Diego Museum Council (2001 – 2018) Theresa grew the organization from a twenty-three-member network to more than forty museums with a diverse region-wide representation. She effectively managed staff for day-to-day operations as well as board development, program creation and planning, and fundraising. She strengthened the sustainability of the organization through corporate partnerships and funding from California Arts Council and NEA grants. Theresa developed programs at SDMC that increased museum access for all including Museum Month in February and Kids Free in October. Theresa is the immediate past chair of the board of the San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition. In her free time, she creates stained glass artwork in her home studio and enjoys organic gardening and raising backyard chickens with her husband.

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Bob Lehman

Steering Committee

Bob is the Executive Director of the San Diego Museum Council advocating on behalf of 50 museums and cultural institutions throughout San Diego County. He previously led the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus as its long-term Executive Director. The mission-based organization was selected “Non-profit of the Year” in 2016 by the Greater San Diego Business Association. He also served as Director of Marketing for the Phoenix Theatre Cultural Center. For more than 20 years, Bob has been a nationally recognized leader in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. As a combat U.S. Marine veteran, he helped end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as the first openly gay veteran on a U.S. Congressional military advisory board. He founded San Diego’s American Veterans for Equal Rights chapter and co-founded the Stonewall Citizens’ Patrol. He and his husband led San Diego’s initiatives for marriage equality and made history as the first two men to legally marry in California history. Two San Diego Mayors have honored Bob with a day in his honor for his community service and in 2016, the City named him “Humanitarian of the Year.” Bob currently serves on the Balboa Park Cultural District Advisory Board.

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Marcela Mercado

Steering Committee

Marcela is General Manager with Fern Street Circus and also serves as a Community Assistant II with the San Diego Unified School District. She is a City Heights parent and activist and is well regarded by elected officials in District 9. Her extensive volunteer work has benefitted several nonprofits including Rosa Parks Elementary Board President; City Heights Día De Los Muertos Committee Organizer; and New Roots Community Garden. She is a graduate of the  PCI Community Health Worker Academy and Mid-city Residence Leadership Academy. She has an AA degree in Visual Communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise. 

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Caroline Nordquist

Steering Committee

Caroline is associate advancement director at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. With 15 + years’ experience in nonprofit management, Caroline’s a passion for creating authentic relationships with donors, mentoring staff, and partnering with the community, stakeholders, board, and donors has enabled her to create a new and exciting model for museums and non-profits. Caroline is also an experienced creator of programs, initiatives, appeals, and donor relationships resulting in increased fundraising revenue and a skilled connector and listener with a special ability to mesh donor passion with institutional programs or initiatives. She started her career as a journalist on a small country newspaper in England's Cotswolds and later turned her hand to writing for others, occasionally, as a freelance writer. Growing up all over the world as a child (with parents who worked with nonprofits in countries like Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Brazil, and Holland and holding dual citizenship, gives her a global perspective on her work. Caroline also serves on the board of Outside the Lens and is an experienced grants panel reviewer. 

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Dinah Poelnnitz

Steering Committee

Dinah is co-founder of The Hill Street Country Club where she serves a curator and director of development. Dinah grew up in San Diego north county, in the communities of Vista and Oceanside, and was always inspired by the diverse activity that surged up and down Hill Street in the 1970s – 1990s. Graduating from UC Riverside in 2006, Dinah earned a BA in Art History and Arts Administration. While her accomplishments as an arts professional and board member are extensive, she is also a committed and active member of many local political organizations, and is constantly working towards building a more sustainable and creative society.

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Steven Snyder

Steering Committee

Steven is president and CEO for the Fleet Science Center in San Diego, CA. Since taking on the role in 2013, he has brought ambitious science experiences to San Diego, like “ILLUSION,” which made its North American premiere at the Fleet, and “Taping Shape,” which opened in January 2016. He expanded the Fleet Inquiry Institute to teach the inquiry method of science learning to more than 1,000 local educators a year. Most significantly, Snyder redefined the Fleet’s role, taking it from a science center in Balboa Park to a community organization dedicated to helping all San Diegans achieve their place in our shared scientific future. To that end, he brought science into the community with unexpected programs like Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar, which brings 50 scientists to 25 bars all over San Diego County every quarter. And he launched 52 Weeks of Science, which leverages the wealth of local science and technology resources to bring science events directly to neighborhoods. He is a member of the ASTC Finance Committee, a trustee of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and a Steering Committee Member for the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering. He is also a science advisor for the giant screen film Secrets of the Universe.

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Russ Sperling

Steering Committee

Russ is Director of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) for San Diego Unified School District. He is responsible for all components of arts education in California’s second largest school district. Under his leadership, the district’s board of trustees unanimously approved a district Strategic Arts Education Plan in the fall of 2016 and established the VAPA Foundation, supporting the arts in schools in 2017. He is a founder and remains the lead coordinator of the San Diego Pride Youth Marching Band, an ensemble of 80 high school and college students from throughout Southern California. The band performs at San Diego Pride events and is the only one of its kind internationally.

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Alan Ziter

Steering Committee

Alan has been executive director of the NTC Foundation since 2003 which oversees the restoration of 26 historic buildings at the former Naval Training Center to open them as ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station. To date, the NTC Foundation has completed $91 million in renovations to 17 buildings and the ARTS DISTRICT is home to over 95 galleries, dance companies, civic groups, artists, designers, cafes, and creative retail. A long-time arts advocate, Alan is a founding board member and former chair of the California Arts Advocates. He is a founder in 1989 and twice past co-chair of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition. Alan is a Steering Committee member for the San Diego Chapter of California Lawyers for the Arts, and the San Diego Arts + Culture Challenge. He served 7 years on the San Diego Tourism Authority board and 3 years on the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce board. He is a past board member of Art of Elan chamber music organization. Alan was the first staff person hired by the San Diego Performing Arts League in April 1986. During his 18 years at the League, he created and oversaw the implementation of programs that develop new audiences for the arts, promote San Diego as a cultural destination and increase community support for the arts. Prior to coming to San Diego in 1986, Alan was Marketing Director for the League of Chicago Theatres and worked in the Chicago office of the Shubert Organization.