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Felicia W Shaw

Executive Director

A seasoned professional in the field of nonprofit arts management, Felicia’s career 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 Americans for the Arts. Prior to these commitments, she served on the boards of Grantmakers for the Arts, CERF+(The Artists Safety Net), and as Chair of the United States United Arts Federation, a national advisory committee of Americans for the Arts. She is currently an active member of Women Give San Diego, the Democratic Woman's Club of San Diego and the Southeastern San Diego Rotary Club. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Communications, Felicia completed additional undergraduate study at UC San Diego with a focus on art history, theory and criticism and is a graduate of the 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


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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Michael Angelo Camacho

Board Member

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.


Christopher Chalupsky

Board Member

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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Carlos Cristiani

Board Member

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

Board Member

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. 


Steve Dilley

Board Member

Steve is Executive Director of the Veterans Art Project. As an artist, he believes it is his responsibility to help people in our community. The Veterans Art Project is an outgrowth of his personal sense of Artistic responsibility. From his time teaching Art at the college level, he observed how powerful Artmaking in community could be for individuals. VETART started as a passion to share skills and his love of Ceramics. From humble beginnings, The Veterans Art Project has grown into a nationally recognized program supporting Veterans, Spouses, dependents, caregivers, and active duty personnel. Community collaborations have also grown to include MHSOAC, The Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, a California state agency, NEA Creative forces, Intrepid Center of Excellence MCBCP, San Diego Veterans Coalition, PEH, Physical and Emotional Health subcommittee, among many others. 


Laura Egan-Headley

Board Member

Laurie is the Director/Curator at Barona Cultural Center & Museum on the Barona Band of Mission Indians’ Reservation, a position she has enjoyed for almost 15 years.  With a Master’s Degree in Anthropology and Museum Studies and over 26 years of museum experience, Laurie is passionate about education, interpretation, voice, representation, and equity.  With strong community-centered beliefs and values, Laurie previously served on the San Diego Museum Council Board of Directors and currently serves on the boards of Western Museums Association and the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce.  Through her work at Barona Museum, Laurie has earned the Institute for Museum and Library Services’ National Medal in 2019, the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums’ Guardian of Culture Award in 2020, and most recently the Association for State and Local History’s Award of Excellence in 2022.  She enjoys teaching and spending time with her family.


Jonathon Glus

Board Member

Jonathon joined the City of San Diego in November 2018. He leads and facilitates the strategic vision of the office. Prior to working in San Diego, he was the Director of Culture and Creative Economy for the City of Sacramento, CA where he led the city’s first cultural planning process in more than 20 years. Jonathon set in place an assessment of Sacramento’s film sector and an equity audit of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. Prior to Sacramento, he served as the first CEO of Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) for more than nine years. While at HAA, he worked closely with a board of more than 30, multiple committees, staff and partner agencies including VisitHouston, the Greater Houston Partnership, cultural districts and universities. Jonathon co-chaired the tourism committee of VisitHouston, partnered on multiple cultural tourism initiatives, and lead two studies on the creative economy in Houston region. He was also the chairman of the board of Texans for the Arts (TFA), a statewide arts advocacy organization.


He was Executive Director of Arts & Culture for the City of Pasadena, CA where he led multiple cultural tourism initiatives and partnerships, represented that city with the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition & Festival, and led the city’s cultural planning process, in partnership with the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission. Jonathon began his career with city arts agencies in Evanston, IL, and his arts career with the International Sculpture Center, in Washington, DC where he wrote for SCULPTURE magazine and traveling exhibitions internationally. He studied urban economics and public policy at Indiana University, and art and architectural history at University of Illinois. He also studied at University of Kent, in Canterbury, England, where he focused on British urban policy.

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Leticia Gomez Franco

Board Member

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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James Halliday

Board Member

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.


Victoria Hamilton

Board Member

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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Sherehe Hollins

Board Member

Sherehe Hollins is an award-winning writer, illustrator, photographer and educator. For over 20 years, she has designed, as well as implemented, arts-based programs that support youth and adults in developing leadership, cultural competency, and community-building skills. She is the author, illustrator, and photographer of Heart Love Messages of the Soul, which won the San Diego Book Award for “Best Poetry Book” of the year. Her work is designed to bridge, heal, and empower multicultural communities. Through producing compelling works of art, and innovative education programs, Sherehe is committed to fostering understanding, cultivating awareness, and bridging the human family. In 2015 Sherehe became Program Manager for the California Center for the Arts, Escondido’s Education Department. For the past five years she has served as, Director of Education of the department where she has provided culturally inclusive arts education programs for thousands of students, educators and families each year.

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Shayla James

Board Member

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).


Theresa R. Kosen

Board Member

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

Board Member

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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Valentina Lunati

Board Member

Valentina Lunati is a development professional passionate about fostering community-centered and inclusive fundraising practices. She’s honored of being considered for a position on the board of SDRACC. She’s been serving since 2018 as MOXIE Theatre's very first Development Director. She led the organization’s substantial growth in grant income, as well as solidified and expanded their donor base. She was a recipient of the 2019 Colette M. Murray fellowship from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, San Diego Chapter and serves since 2019 on their Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Committee. She’s also a member of Women Give San Diego. Her previous experiences include working as an Italian and French Interpreter, and a Relocation Consultant, before arriving to the non-profit sector in 2014. As a Department Manager at a social service nonprofit assisting refugees, she oversaw their development and fundraising efforts, as well as the operations and growth of multiple income generating programs, such as a homecare agency, language services, and a medical transportation program, all aimed at offering training and job opportunities to the refugee population. Valentina holds an M.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Conference Interpreting.


Marcela Mercado

Board Member

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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Denise Montgomery

Board Member

Denise is founder and principal of Culture Thrive, a consulting practice with clients spanning the social, public, and private sectors with a primary focus on arts and culture and youth development. Denise’s research has been covered by National Public Radio, The Washington Post, and Youth Today, among other media outlets. She has advised national youth development organizations and funders and has contributed more than a dozen publications to the field of creative youth development.


Denise has spent more than two decades working to improve equitable access to the arts and out-of-school time programs. As an applied researcher, her interest in youth program design is driven by the link between youth program quality, engagement, and outcomes. Innovative and collaborative, Denise has formed strategic and programmatic partnerships with over 100 organizations and has successfully engaged over ½ million people in programs and volunteering throughout her career.


Denise draws on her experience across the public, private, and social change sectors to inform her involvement in cross-sector collaboration, systems change, advocacy, and policy. During her tenure as director of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, RAND ranked the agency as one of the top two municipal arts agencies in the United States.


Among her key influences are the youth and community-based practitioners she has had the privilege of learning from and working with over the years. 

 Denise is active with the Creative Youth Development Funders Forum, Grantmakers for Thriving Youth, and is an education advisor to the National Museum of the American Latino.

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Dinah Poelnnitz

Board Member

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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Yvette Roman

Board Member

Yvette Roman is a bi-national artist, curator, muralist and arts educator. She holds a B.A., from UCSD in Visual Arts and Cultural Anthropology, and a Museums Studies Certificate from Mesa College.  Yvette is passionate about making art accessible through community-organized collaboration.  Her artwork is an exploration of simplicity and chaos. Disciplines include painting, textile, printmaking, and collage. Her artwork weaves memories of loss, self-discovery, and personal insecurities. 


Yvette is currently completing her fellowship at Rise San Diego.  This year she collaborated on Collective Memory,  a public arts project through the City of San Diego Commision for Arts and Culture (Park Social).  She is a Curator and Lead Visual Arts instructor at A Reason to Survive (ARTS).  In 2020, Yvette founded ArteDomus and Art Box San Diego. ArteDomus was founded on the idea that we can create art together from home.  Art Box San Diego is a public arts initiative to beautify utility boxes  and paint murals across San Diego County. She served as Treasurer for  Rising Arts Leaders.  Yvette volunteers as a steering committee member at the San Diego Creative Youth Development Network, the Sherman Heights Community Center DOTD, and CARPA San Diego. 


n May 2022, she participated in a dialogue with Mexico City students about the Mexican-American experience and collaborated on a mural with  Chicanismo Sin Fronteras.  Yvette has been a muralist for the San Diego Downtown Partnership, The Sherman Heights Communities Center, Casa Familiar, A Reason to Survive  and The Mint House Project.  Her artwork has been exhibited in the United States, Mexico and Egypt.  She has also guest-curated at the Centro Cultural de la Raza, The San Diego Repertory Theater, and for Amigos del Rep. 

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Erin Spiewak

Board Member

Erin Spiewak is the Executive Director of the Museum of Us. She joined the Museum team in January 2020 as the Chief Financial and Operations Officer. An established leader in San Diego’s nonprofit sector, Ms. Spiewak served as the Chief Executive Officer of Monarch School, a unique K-12 institution serving youth experiencing homelessness. While at Monarch School, Ms. Spiewak oversaw an instrumental capital campaign, renovating and opening the school’s new Nat & Flora Bosa campus; grew the student body from 150 to 300 students, while expanding the staff from 19 to 40 team members; developed a state-of-the-art high school college career lab; and launched an annual fundraiser, which has raised over $4M since 2015.


Previously, Ms. Spiewak worked with several foundations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation, WebMD Health Foundation, and the Rose Foundation. Ms. Spiewak received a BA in Sociology from San Diego State University and her MBA from Webster University. She currently serves as a member of Women Give, San Diego and San Diego Rotary. Ms. Spiewak is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Sector Skills Academy and a graduate of the LEAD San Diego INFLUENCE leadership program.

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Nicole Verdes

Board Member

Nicole (she/they) is devoted to serving arts and culture organizations as an administrator and advocate. In their time as Board President of Lambda Archives, she has been successful in using her passion for social justice, arts and culture, and cultural preservation to create policies that center equity and access. In addition to her role at Lambda Archives, they have served on the Executive Committee of the San Diego LGBT Community Centers’ Young Professionals Council, Board Treasurer for Volunteer With Cheli, and a member of the Steering Committee for Rising Arts Leaders San Diego. She has presented on topics such as Youth Archival Futures at the ALMS Conference in Berlin and has served on a grant panel for the California Arts Council. She currently works at San Diego Pride as a Grant Writer and is the staff liaison for their Art of Pride Program. 


Alan Ziter

Board Member

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.


Matt Carney

AEP6 Project Coordinator

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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