Keynote & Closing Panel
Lita Albuquerque is an internationally renowned installation and environmental artist, painter, and sculptor. She has developed a visual language that brings the realities of time and space to a human scale and is acclaimed for her ephemeral and permanent art works executed in the landscape and at public sites. Albuquerque’s work questions our place in the enormity of infinite space and eternal time. Despite a rising flood of new data and interpretive theory, the most elemental concepts of an emerging scientific cosmology are simply not embedded in everyday culture. Conversely, the meaning of this cosmology does not seem implicit in the science. Lita Albuquerque has not flinched from the scale of such a challenge. She is one of the rare artists and humanists who are responsible for thoughtfully and imaginatively placing the elemental concepts for a living, functional cosmology for 21st-century culture within public consciousness.
Danielle Brazell is the General Manager of the City of Los Angeles’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Working closely with Mayor Eric Garcetti, Brazell leads a diverse team that generates and supports high-quality arts and cultural experiences for L.A.’s four million residents and more than 40 million annual visitors. Previously, she was Executive Director of Arts for LA, an advocacy network that builds public and political will for arts, culture, and arts education in Los Angeles. Danielle’s career in the arts includes several years as Artistic Director of Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica and Director of Special Projects for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. A graduate of Leadership LA and Leadership California, Brazell completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses language, literature, and exchanges with writers as the basis for her work in painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. Grant’s work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among other museums and galleries. She has collaborated with artists and writers including philosopher and playwright Hélène Cixous, hypertext pioneer Michael Joyce, and actor and writer Keanu Reeves. Grant is also recognized for her philanthropic grantLOVE project (www.grantlove.com), which produces and sells original artworks and editions to benefit artist projects and arts nonprofits. Her work is in public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MOCA (Los Angeles), the Orange County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin), and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Joan Weinstein is Deputy Director of the Getty Foundation. She has also served in other positions at the J. Paul Getty Trust, including interim director of the Getty Foundation and co-director of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980. Since joining the Getty Foundation in 1994, she has worked on special grant initiatives in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Weinstein began her career teaching art history at the University of Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1991. She received a PhD in the History of Art from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1986 and is the author of several books and numerous articles on modernist German art and culture. Active in a number of nonprofit organizations, Weinstein currently serves on the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.
Speakers and Panelists
Allison Agsten is Director of The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art, a new downtown institution devoted to the art of Los Angeles. Previously, as Curator of Public Engagement at the Hammer Museum, she led a pioneering program devoted to creating an exchange between visitors and the museum through works of art. Agsten also oversaw the museum’s artist board, initiated the Hammer’s visitor services department, and organized a major offsite partnership with Art + Practice, an art and social services non-profit in south L.A. Prior to her time at the Hammer, Agsten was Director of Communications at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), spearheading a number of projects related to accessibility including Reading Room, a first-of-its kind program to make rare LACMA publications available for free online. She is considered a key architect of that museum’s early influential social media initiatives. Prior to joining LACMA, Agsten covered the arts as a producer in CNN’s Los Angeles bureau.
Betty Avila is Associate Director at Self Help Graphics and Art, an organization with a 44-year nationally-recognized artistic legacy of empowering the Chicano and Latino communities of Los Angeles through the arts. Ms. Avila’s work has centered on the intersection of the arts and social justice, with particular focus on community building, public space, and youth empowerment. She has held positions with the Getty Research Institute, The Music Center and the Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park. She is a founding board member and immediate past president of Multicultural Communities for Mobility, which exists to support low-income communities of color that bike, walk and use public transit. Betty was named one of C-Suite Quarterly Magazine’s NextGen 10 in Philanthropy, Arts and Culture and an Impact-Maker to Watch by City Impact Labs. She received her B.A. in Literature at Pitzer College, has an M.A. in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University, and is a 2008 Fulbright Fellow to Korea.
Mr. Bar-Zemer is the principal at Linear City Development LLC, a real estate development company that focuses on the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles. Bar-Zemer developed the initial properties that touched off the Arts District and have since led a transformative urban and social process that contributed to a unique urban success story. As a result of his development efforts, the Arts District is considered one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Los Angeles for residential, commercial, culinary and retail uses alike. In addition, Mr. Bar-Zemer is the landlord partner of several notable restaurants including Bestia, Church & State, and Winsome.
Mr. Bar-Zemer was born and raised in Jerusalem. He attended the Music Academy of Jerusalem (1983-86) and continues to be an avid supporter of the arts here in Los Angeles, particularly jazz and opera, as well as dance and the fine arts.
Mr. Bar-Zemer is a board member of the following organizations: LARABA, ADCCLA, Arts District BID, Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council, Impact Hub LA, the Institute of Field Research, Friends of the Los Angeles River, the Institute of Contemporary Art (formally the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Toy Factory Lofts HOA, the Biscuit Company Lofts HOA, the Design Advisory Committee for the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project, the Technical Advisory Committee for the In-Channel Bike Path and the Preservation Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) for re:code LA.
Mr. Bar-Zemer is also the co-founder of the app Kitchen Table, which brings people together to share dining experiences, make memorable meals accessible and easy, and redefine what it means to eat local.
Vida L. Brown, a visual arts curator at the California African American Museum, holds a Masters in Public Art Studies from the University of Southern California and a Bachelors of Arts in Industrial Psychology from Pepperdine University.
With over 15 years in the arts arena, Ms. Brown has served as arts administrator of public art for Culver City and Long Beach and successfully collaborated with professionals on development projects where art contributes to the aesthetics of the designs. With her own company, V.L. Brown and Associates, she provided project management services for a myriad of civic and private projects that required public art and/or curatorial services including Boeing and the City of Inglewood.
Ms. Brown has developed, curated and executed traditional and contemporary exhibitions while bringing awareness to artists, with an emphasis on those of color who are often unacknowledged for their contributions in the diverse genres of art.
John Echeveste joined LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes as CEO in September, 2014. LA Plaza is the country’s only museum dedicated to the history, art and culture of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. Established in 2011 in two historic buildings in downtown Los Angeles, LA Plaza operates as part of the County of Los Angeles and is a Smithsonian affiliate.
John was previously a partner with VPE Public Relations in South Pasadena, California, for more than 25 years. In that capacity, he helped develop public relations programs for major national accounts such as McDonald’s, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Disneyland, Southern California Edison, Televisa Foundation, Target Stores, DirecTV, Nestlé, Museum of Latin America Art, California Science Center, and others.
He serves on the boards of the Los Angeles County Library Foundation, California State University Fullerton College of Communications Advisory Board, LA Music & Art School, and has previously chaired the boards and led development campaigns for the Wall Las Memorias, East LA YMCA, the Hispanic Public Relations Association, the Public Relations Global Network and others.
He is a graduate of California State University Fullerton with a BA in Communications, and holds professional certificates from USC.
Veronique d’Entremont works in a variety of media, including sculpture, graphics and performance, in Los Angeles, USA. Her current artwork, teaching, and research focuses on issues of displacement and under-recognized histories of different neighborhoods and sites around Los Angeles. Through her work, Veronique seeks to better understand the ways in which we are shaped by the architectural, social and personal spaces we inhabit, and how we continue to reshape these spaces. Veronique received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and her MFA from UCLA in 2012, both in sculpture, and was a 2012 recipient of the Joan Mitchell MFA Fellowship.
Samantha Harris is a principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios, where she has been a central figure in the growth of the firm’s landscape studio. She expertly traverses all scales of design from regional master planning to product and graphic design. This success can be seen in many of the firm’s internationally acclaimed commissions, of which she has been a driving force. Her training in art, ecology and botany is reflected in artful, environmentally sustainable solutions that meet the needs of complex groups of stakeholders and has made her sought after to helm projects from concept to construction.
She believes that collaboration and communication enhance creativity and are key to inspired, memorable place-making. This is best evidenced in projects such as the Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico, The Chess Park in Glendale, and The California Endowment Los Angeles Conference Center, and Grand Park, both in Downtown Los Angeles.
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle is an interdisciplinary visual artist, writer and performer. Her practice fluctuates between collaborations and participatory projects with alternative gallery spaces within various communities to projects that are intimate and based upon her private experiences in relationship to historical events and contexts. A term that has become a mantra for her practice is the “Historical Present,” as she examines the residue of history and how it affects our contemporary world perspective. Hinkle received her MFA in Art & Critical Studies Creative Writing from CalArts and BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Her work and experimental writing has been exhibited and performed Fore at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, Project Row Houses in Houston, TX, The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA and The Museum of Art at The University of New Hampshire. Hinkle was the youngest artist to participate in the multi-generational biennial Made in LA 2012. Hinkle’s work has been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Artforum, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Hinkle was listed on The Huffington Post’s Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know. She is also the recipient of several fellowships and grants including: The Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Award, The Cultural Center for Innovation’s Investing in Artists Grant, Social Practice in Art (SPart-LA), and The Jacob K. Javits Full Fellowship for Graduate Study. Hinkle is a recent alumna of the US Fulbright Program in which she conducted research at the University of Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria.
Letitia Fernandez Ivins is a Creative Services Manager with Los Angeles Metro. She collaborates with artists, designers, engineers and community to produce transformative art experiences that heighten the senses, build mutual understanding and elevate the texture of place. She is particularly drawn to new platforms for artistic practice at the intersection of art, equity, health, social engagement and urbanism. Ivins has worked in the nonprofit arts sector for over 17 years at the Getty Foundation, Ryman Arts and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. She is board secretary with the Pilipino Workers Center, an advisory committee member of the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, and co-chair of the Dahlia Heights Elementary School Arts Committee. In her free time, Ivins plays futbol and rears two girls.
Leslie K. Johnson is Director of Social Strategy, Innovation and Impact at Center Theatre Group (CTG), one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the nation, programming seasons year-round at the 1,600 to 2,066-seat Ahmanson Theatre and the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center of Los Angeles, as well as the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in downtown Culver City.
A member of the theatre’s senior leadership team, Leslie served as the Director of Education and Community Partnerships for seven years, before her promotion to lead the strategic, creative and visionary the development, operation and evaluation of all CTG’s education and engagement programs; and serve as the theatre’s chief diversity officer. She has worked in arts administration and arts education for over 20 years, with experience as the Director of School Partnership for the Music Center, Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County and Associate Director of the Los Angeles Arts and Business Council. Currently Board President for 24th Street Theatre, Leslie has contributed her expertise to various organizations, including Theatre Communications Group, The Broadway League, National Corporate Theatre Fund, Kennedy Center National Alliance for Arts Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, and CA State Superintendent for Public Education.
Sandra de la Loza is a Los Angeles based artist whose work critically investigates questions of power and representation within contemporary political, social, and cultural landscapes. She is the founder of The Pocho Research Society of Erased and Invisible History, an ongoing collaborative project that engages the subject of “History” through critical inquiry and artistic processes. Through collaborations with specific communities she finds strategies of making invisible histories visible through projects that result in multi-media installations, video, photographic work, publications and public interventions. In a recent project, Mural Remix, a solo exhibition that was, part of the Getty’s PST initiative, she took the role of a performative archivist to expand on existing understandings of 1970’s Chicana/o murals. As an artist entering the archive, she occupies the position normally held by historians, curators and scholars to interrogate the power embedded in the act of history making. By gathering slicing, blowing up and remixing archival material, she explores History as an elastic space of practice, one that can be shaped, stretched and expanded while making visible the processes in which dominant narratives are created. Her book, The Pocho Research Society’s Field Guide to Erased and Invisible Histories, (2011) is now available through the University of Washington Press.
Alma Ruiz is former senior curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, where she curated numerous exhibitions focusing on the postwar period in the United States, Italy, and Latin America, as well as on emerging artists.
In addition to having served as a guest curator at the Fundación Jumex, Mexico City; the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC; and the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles; she has acted as a juror for numerous biennials in Latin America, including the V Panama Biennial, the Tamayo Biennial in Mexico City, and the Second Exhibition of Central American Emerging Artists in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Ruiz has also been a panelist for The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, Creative Capital Foundation in New York, and the U.S. Fund for Culture in Mexico City, and she is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation in Miami.
She is currently the curator for the 20 Bienal de Arte Paiz in Guatemala City.
Megan Steinman is an independent curator, writer, and Director of The Underground Museum in Los Angeles. Megan’s exhibition projects exploring performance, photography and new media art have been shown at institutions around the world, including Museo Pecci Milano, Dolby Gallery, Sonos Studio Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, District Berlin, ICA Boston, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She has written for and/or produced several artist books, including Edges of the Experiment by Marie-Josè Jongerius, Dance/Draw by Helen Molesworth, and American Music by Annie Leibovitz.
Selma Holo is the Director of USC’s Fisher Museum of Art and the USC Dornsife International Museum Institute (IMI). She has published widely on the changing roles of museums in society, most notably: Remix: Changing the Museum Conversation in the Americas, with Mari-Tere Alvarez, UC Press, 2016; Beyond the Turnstile: Making the Case for Museums and Sustainable Values, with Mari-Tere Alvarez, Altamira Press, 2009; Oaxaca at the Crossroads: Managing Memory, Negotiating Change, December, 2004, Smithsonian Books; and Beyond the Prado: Museums and Identity in Democratic Spain, Smithsonian Institution Press, Museum Studies Series. October, 1999. Holo has chaired many accreditation visits for the AAM, both in the United States and Mexico. She is Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at USC.
Jonathan T. D. Neil is the director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Los Angeles, a partnership among the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, the Getty Leadership Institute, and the School of Arts and Humanities of Claremont Graduate University.
In addition to his academic work, Neil also is associate editor for ArtReview magazine and editor of the Held Essays on Visual Art for The Brooklyn Rail. From 2008 until 2014, he served as executive editor at The Drawing Center in New York. In 2005 he co-founded Boyd Level LLC, a private curatorial firm and consultancy that specializes in contemporary art.
Jonathan has a PhD in 20th-century Art History from Columbia University and a B.Arch from Cornell University. He has taught courses in modern and contemporary art and architectural history, the international art market, critical writing, critical theory, and the history of photography at Columbia University, Parsons The New School for Design, and Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. He is a member of the New York Chapter of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA).
Sarah Conley Odenkirk has been practicing law in the area of fine art for more than 20 years. She is located in Los Angeles, California, and consults with clients locally and nationally. Odenkirk advises clients in transactional matters related to the arts in the private and public realms.
During 2014 and 2015, Odenkirk served as the head of art law education and conference programs for the Sotheby’s Institute of Art (SIA). Working with SIA, Claremont Graduate University, and the Getty Leadership Institute, she directed a three-day executive education program and a two-day international art law conference in Los Angeles.
In 2015, Odenkirk founded the Art Law Resource network, an online database that provides access to a carefully selected group of experienced professionals who provide professional services to the art community. In conjunction with Art Law Resource, she also directs Art Murmuration, a creative project space for Art Law Resource events and other educational and creative initiatives with strategic partners.
As well as sitting on the Director’s Council for UCLA’s Fowler Museum, Odenkirk is a founding member of the Fowler’s Contemporary Council. She is also a council member for Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network; on the board of FLAX Foundation, France Los Angeles Exchange; on the board of Los Angeles Nomadic Division (L.A.N.D); and on the Exhibitions Committee for the Pasadena Armory.
In addition to frequent speaking engagements, Odenkirk regularly publishes articles on art law topics and in 2014 published a book titled A Surprisingly Interesting Book About Contracts (AMMO Books). She also maintains a database containing executive summaries and underlying documentation for public art in private development policies and ordinances nationwide. The PAPD Database is accessible on her law office website.
Odenkirk is admitted to practice in California, New York, Oregon, the District of Columbia, and Washington. She is fluent in French.