Artist Communities Alliance (ACA) is led by an enthusiastic and dedicated Board of Trustees selected for their demonstrated commitment to serving artists and advancing the role artists and creativity play in society.
2022 Board of Trustees
Sanjit Sethi, Chair | Minneapolis College of Art and Design (Minneapolis, MN)
Elizabeth Chodos, Co-Vice Chair | Miller ICA at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Geoffrey Jackson Scott, Co-Vice Chair | Peoplmovr (Los Angeles, LA)
Tamara Ross, Treasurer | University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Kibra A Yohannes, Secretary | The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (New York, NY)
Rob Bailis | Eli & Edythe Broad Stage (Santa Monica, CA)
John Davis | Independent Consultant (Tower, MN)
Melissa Franklin | The Pew Center for Arts + Heritage (Philadelphia, PA)
Mark Golden | Golden Artist Colors (New Berlin, NY)
Tony Grant | Sustainable Arts Foundation (San Francisco, CA)
Gia Hamilton | New Orleans African American Museum (New Orleans, LA)
Brad Kik | Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology (Bellaire, MI)
D.S. Kinsel | BOOM Concepts (Pittsburgh PA)
Melissa Levin | Jerome Foundation (New York, NY)
Esther Park | Oolite Arts (Miami, FL)
Craig T. Peterson | Abrons Arts Center / Henry Street Settlement (New York, NY)
Huong Vu | Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA)
Amy Wheeler | Playwright, Teacher, Nonprofit Leader, Consultant (Whidbey Island, WA)
Sanjit Sethi | Chair
President, Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Sanjit Sethi has two decades of experience as an artist and cultural academic leader. Sanjit served as the first Director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University, where he oversaw the reestablishment of the historic art and design college as it integrated with the University. His previous positions include serving as Director of the MFA program at the Memphis College of Art; Director of the Center for Art and Public Life, Barclay Simpson Professor, and Chair of Community Arts at the California College of the Arts; and Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute. Additionally, Sanjit has lectured and taught at the Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Saint Mary’s College in London.
Born in Rochester, NY, Sanjit received a BFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, an MFA in Ceramics from University of Georgia, and he holds an MS in Advanced Visual Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sanjit has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships, including an Enrichment Travel Fellowship to work on a project in London, Budapest and Dublin, and a Fulbright fellowship in India.
Elizabeth Chodos | Co-Vice Chair
Director, Miller ICA at Carnegie Mellon University
Elizabeth Chodos is Co-Founder of Common Field and Director at the Miller ICA at Carnegie Mellon. She is a former Executive & Creative Director of Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency. She is interested in creative and enterprising arts administration projects and practices, and moonlights as a creative writer and independent curator. Elizabeth received a Dual MA from both the department of Art History, Theory and Criticism and the department of Arts Administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, along with her BA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She was formerly Executive Director at Threewalls.
Geoffrey Jackson Scott | Co-Vice Chair
Co-Founder/Creative Director, Peoplmovr
A native of Quincy, IL, Geoffrey Jackson Scott is a Los Angeles-based cultural organizer, creative producer, and engagement strategist. He is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Peoplmovr, a creative studio specializing in engagement and communications that partners with artists, organizations and communities on the development and delivery of strategies designed to bring arts and culture closer to the people and people closer to arts and culture. Peoplmovr is committed to undoing racism and centers the principles of equity and inclusion in all areas of its work. Recently, Geoffrey and Peoplmovr developed The Mile-Long Opera, a citywide public engagement project that brought together 1,000 singers for free performances on the High Line in Manhattan. At the heart of the work was an extensive engagement initiative that activated nonprofit cultural organizations across all five boroughs. Seven Anchor Partners served as hubs for engaging local communities—from recruiting singers, to welcoming the public for open rehearsals and workshops, to hosting social and cultural events and public programs in the lead-up to the performances. From 2014-2016, Geoffrey served as Director, Engagement at Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI). At MoMI, he led an ambitious two-year engagement and outreach pilot, funded by the Ford Foundation. From 2012 - 2014, he delivered a suite of new programs and initiatives as a senior member of the in-house creative strategy team at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago where he was the Director of New Play Development. At Victory Gardens, he conceived, developed and launched a civic engagement platform designed to embrace and reflect the diversity of Chicago. From 2004 - 2012, Geoffrey spent eight seasons as the Literary Associate at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), where he led the Artist of Color Fellowship program and supported the cultivation, development and production of new work by both emerging and established artists.
Tamara Ross | Treasurer
Associate Director, Administration and Academic Operations, UBC School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture
Tamara is excited to return to Vancouver, BC, Canada to support a different group of creatives as Associate Director, Administration and Academic Operations at UBC’s School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture (SALA). She joins the University of British Columbia (UBC) after 13 years of supporting artists as Director of Operations for Arts Programming at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Things come full circle for Tamara as she returns to her alma mater having garnered both a Commerce and Education degree from the UBC. Previously in Vancouver, she was a high school teacher and Manager of Artistic Operations with Ballet British Columbia before heading east to complete her MBA at HEC Montreal.
Kibra A Yohannes | Secretary
Program Associate, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
As the founding Executive Director, Kibra drove the programming, administration, and operations of AFRICA'SOUT!, a nonprofit organization that honors, supports and defends artists who radically change the narrative around Africa and its Diaspora, first and foremost, for themselves. Before joining AFRICA’SOUT! Kibra was the Director of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Long Island University, where she managed and designed children’s programs and accredited adult education, non-traditional and professional programs. Previously she served as Director of Operations and Director of Programs, respectively, at Arts Engine, Inc. a film production company producing social-issue documentaries of consequence, and programs such as the Media That Matters Film Festival, MediaRights and Filmmaker Services. Kibra holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virginia and is a candidate for an MA Social Science, with a Graduate Certificate in United Nations Studies, from Long Island University.
Artistic and Executive Director, Eli & Edythe Broad Stage
Rob is a musician, writer and performing arts curator living in his native San Francisco. A classical clarinetist, he has performed with orchestras, chamber ensembles, and as a recitalist across the U.S., Canada, Asia and the U.K. From 2003 – 2011, he was Director of ODC Theater. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the theater’s $9 million dollar expansion of its facility. He elevated the theater’s platform from regional to national and international visibility, and received numerous awards in recognition of his presenting, advocacy and residency programs. In 2007, the San Francisco Chronicle named him “MVP” in dance presenting, describing his curation as, “…smart…instinctive, and infectious.” He has commissioned over 30 new works in a variety of genres, and has served as a panelist / program / policy consultant for foundations and arts funding organizations including MAP Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital, SF Arts Commission, New England Foundation for the Arts, Chamber Music America, WESTAF, and the Center for Cultural Innovation, among many. A frequent public speaker on arts and culture, he has recently been heard at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, on KPFA’s Against the Grain, and on NPR’s West Coast Live, and has been a speaker and content provider at national conferences such as Dance USA and Association of Performing Arts Presenters. A widely produced lyricist and librettist, Rob's newest piece, Love/Hate, was co-commissioned by American Opera Projects and ODC Theater and premiered in April 2012 as a co-production of ODC and San Francisco Opera. The work has also enjoyed performances in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. In June of 2013, Rob was appointed Associate Director of Cal Performances on the UC Berkeley campus, where he led the artistic programming team in areas of dance, theater and world stages, and oversees the fundraising, marketing, education and publication departments. In 2019 he was named Artistic and Executive Director of Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and Yale School of Music.
Independent Consultant + Leadership Team, Waterers.org
John Davis is currently a Senior Policy Fellow with the Rural Policy Research Institute, University of Iowa. He has over 30 years of experience creating and implementing rural artist residency programs and art centers. His innovative work in New York Mills, MN (pop. 1,199) has been recognized as a national model for rural economic development in the arts, and New York Mills was twice recognized as one of the top 100 small arts towns in America. His work as Executive Director of the Lanesboro Arts Campus initiative resulted in the city’s selection as one of the top 12 Small Town Artplaces in America. In 2018, Mr. Davis received a Bush Fellowship to study and advance the field of rural arts and rural sustainability; in 2020, he presented case studies of New York Mills and Lanesboro at the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) International Conference in Florence, Italy. Davis is currently a leadership team member of the ArtPlace America Upper Midwest Assembly (Waterers.org.)
Director of Pew Fellowships in the Arts, The Pew Center for Arts + Heritage
Melissa Franklin is the director of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in Philadelphia. She has held this position since 1995 and has been with the program as a senior staff member since its inception in 1991. From 2005-2008, Melissa co-managed the LINC Philadelphia project as part of a national initiative that seeks to improve artists’ living and working conditions. She has served as an advisor to several other foundations on implementing programs to support artists directly. She has served on selection panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Arts Council, St. Louis Contemporary Museum of Art’s Great Rivers Biennial Award, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the Marian Anderson Community and Artist Awards. Melissa was the Advisory Board Chair for Arcadia University Art Gallery and has served on many boards and committees including the City of Philadelphia's 1% for Art Advisory Committee, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Advisory Committee, Vox Populi Gallery Advisory Board among others, and also was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
President / CEO, Golden Artist Colors
Mark Golden, CEO and Co-founder of Golden Artist Colors, began the company in 1980 with 4 employees, his father Sam Golden, mother Adele and wife Barbara. Originating in a cow barn on his parents’ retirement home in rural Columbus, NY, the company made and delivered custom products for artists in Manhattan. Continuing to make custom paints with 200 Employee Owners in its 100,000-square-foot facility, GOLDEN now sells its product worldwide.
Mark was selected as the 1996 Small Business Person of the Year for NY and recognized by President Bill Clinton for his activities in creating a business exemplifying the spirit of Corporate Citizenship, providing a work environment that values all employees. In 2006, Mark received an award from the American Institute for Conservation, recognizing his contributions to the art conservation field. In 2005, he received the NYFA 2005 Inspiration Award and was honored by the Manufacturers Association of Central New York with a 2005 Wall of Fame Award. In 2011, Inc. Magazine recognized GOLDEN as one of the top 50 small businesses to work for. In 2012, GOLDEN was recognized by Americans for the Arts as a top 10 contributor to the arts in the US. In 2014 Mark received an honorary Doctorate from Colgate University for his work in support of the local and international arts community.
In 1997, Mark and his family began The Sam & Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts to honor their parents. Its mission is to be a significant resource for visual artists. Over the next 14 years, the Foundation donated to numerous artists and art organizations. In 2010, the Foundation began constructing the Golden Residence, a 10,000-square-foot living and work space for invited artists.
Co-Director, Sustainable Arts Foundation
Tony comes to the Sustainable Arts Foundation after a long career in the software industry, and his passion for the arts comes from his father, who was a painter and sculptor. Tony and his wife, Caroline, started the Sustainable Arts Foundation to help artists and writers with families pursue creative careers.
Executive Director and Chief Curator, New Orleans African American Museum
Gia M. Hamilton is an applied anthropologist who employs Social Magic™ methodology to investigate land, labor and cultural production while examining social connectivity within institutions and community. As a model builder, Gia co-founded an independent African centered school, Little Maroons, in 2006; later, she opened creative incubator space and intersectional residency Gris Gris Lab in 2009 and designed and led the Joan Mitchell Center artist residency program in New Orleans as a consultant from 2011-2013 and Director from 2013-2018.
As the Center Director, Gia led the development of the two acre campus capital project using a workforce development project HyperLocal and designed the program as a place based, community centered laboratory for visual artists, curators and the creative community with the belief that imagination and creativity are paramount to creating a more equitable and socially just society. Currently, Gia is the architect of her latest projects: Afrofuture Society and Dark Matter Projects. In 2019 she became the Executive Director and Chief Curator of the New Orleans African American Museum.
Gia received her BA cultural anthropology from New York University and MA in applied anthropology from City University of New York’s Graduate Center. She is on the board of Tulane University Newcomb Museum, the Alliance of Artists Communities and New Orleans Video Access Center and most recently Museum Hue. She recently received the 2018 Next City Vanguard fellowship and was nominated for the 2018 City Business Woman of Year award. Gia currently lives in New Orleans with her four sons and just completed an ethnographic memoir entitled Modern Matriarch.
Co-Founder + Co-Director, Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology
Brad Kik is the co-founder and co-director of Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology, a non-profit organization that connects the lines between art, agriculture, local economy and ecology. Brad’s varied background—film study, environmental activism, graphic design, community organizing, traditional music, writing, ecology and permaculture—plays a key role in shaping the cross-disciplinary work of Crosshatch. Brad regularly presents on the intersections of art and ecology, particularly in regards to artist residencies and the role of the arts in rural development. Brad serves as a trustee of the Alliance of Artists Communities and Earthwork Music Collective, and helps convene and present the Alliance’s Emerging Program Institute each year.
Co-Founder, BOOM Concepts
DS Kinsel is an award winning creative entrepreneur and cultural agitator. He expresses his creativity through the mediums of painting, printmaking, collage, installation, curating, performance and public art. Kinsel’s work puts focus on themes of space keeping, urban tradition, hip-hop, informalism and cultural re-appropriation. DS is the co-founder of BOOM Concepts; a creative hub dedicated to the advancement of black, brown, queerm and femme artists. BOOM Concepts is located in Pittsburgh and since 2014 has curated 50 exhibitions on-site, paid out over $75k in artists fees and produced 200+ events across the country. BOOM Concepts serves as a space for field building, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and storytelling. In its 8th year, BOOM Concepts continues to work with creatives to find innovative strategies around entrepreneurship and artistic practice. In 2021, BOOM Concepts was recognized as one of America's Cultural Treasures through The Heinz Endowments and The Ford Foundation.
A former AmeriCorps Public Ally member, Kinsel has been recognized as an awardee of the Pittsburgh Courier Fab 40, Pittsburgh Magazine PUMP 40 Under 40, Pgh Tech Council Creative of The Year, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s "Top Ten People To Meet in 2016" and the Incline’s “Who’s Next” for 2018. D.S has served as a board member of Pittsburgh Center for Creative REuse and the Black Transformative Arts Network. Kinsel currently serves on the advisory board for Shady Lane School, PearlArts Studios, and the Artist Communities Alliance.
Independent Consultant + Program Associate, Jerome Foundation
Melissa Levin is a values-driven arts administrator and artist-centered curator with more than 15 years of experience in the field. Melissa recently joined the Jerome Foundation as their first New York City-based Program Associate, supporting early career artists in MN & NYC. Previously, she worked at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for more than 12 years, where—as Vice President of Cultural Programs—her role encompassed wide-ranging institutional and artistic leadership, including overseeing the organization’s major artist-centered and public-facing initiatives: the River To River Festival, the Arts Center at Governors Island, and LMCC’s exhibitions and artist residency programs. From 2017–2020, Melissa led the newly formed Artists, Estates, and Foundations division at Art Agency, Partners in its inaugural three years.
Since 2016, with collaborator Alex Fialho, Melissa has stewarded the legacy of, and curated critically acclaimed exhibitions dedicated to the late artist Michael Richards, including Michael Richards: Winged (LMCC, 2016; Stanford University, 2019); and Richards’ first museum retrospective, Michael Richards: Are You Down? (MOCA North Miami, 2021) which was highlighted by Frieze magazine as one of the "Top 10 Shows in the United States of 2021." In addition to serving on the Artist Communities Alliance board, Melissa is also a board member at Danspace Project. She holds a B.A. with honors in Visual Art and Art History from Barnard College.
Vice President of Programming, Oolite Arts
A journalist for over 15 years, Esther Park has been a contributing writer for many reputable publications such as Vice, Spin, XLR8R, Miami New Times, and the Village Voice, and held the title of editor-at-large for the respected underground hip-hop magazine Elemental from 1999-2004. Her move to Miami in 2003 resulted in Esther becoming the Director of Public Programs for the Museum of Contemporary Art. There she programmed events, curated series in music and art and worked closely with the local community. After her tenure at MOCA, she became the Director of Programming at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. After five years there, Esther became Director of Alumni and Public Programs at the National YoungArts Foundation. Currently, she oversees Oolite Arts' robust programming portfolio, which includes ongoing exhibitions, public programs and the studio residency program.
Craig T. Peterson
Artistic Director, Abrons Arts Center - Henry Street Settlement
Craig Peterson is currently the Artistic Director of the Abrons Arts Center and the Deputy Program Officer for Visual and Performing Arts at Henry Street Settlement, a home for contemporary interdisciplinary arts in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood. A core program of Henry Street Settlement, Abrons advocates for diverse artistic communities through presentations and exhibitions, educational programs and artist residencies. Previously he was the Director of Programs at Gibney Dance, a multi-faceted center for dance and performance development, training and presentation in New York City. From 2009 - 2013, Craig was the Director of the annual Philly Fringe Festival, a three-week city-wide festival featuring the work of more than 200 performing artists and companies. During this time he also directed the Live Arts Brewery (LAB), a research and development program supporting long term residencies and engagement activities for local and national artists. For ten years he served on the staff of Dance Theater Workshop, one of America’s preeminent contemporary performing arts institutions based in NYC. For four years he served as the organization’s Co-Artistic Director. Craig serves on the board of directors of the Alliance of Artists Communities as well as Big Dance Theater. He is a graduate of the Senior Leadership Program of Columbia University’s School of Business and he received a BA in Dance and Theater from Bard College in 1993.
Senior Program Officer - Community Engagement, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
A nationally recognized grantmaker, Huong has directly managed $150M+ in philanthropic investments for foundations, corporate giving, and national regranting programs. Investment areas included arts, civic engagement, education, environment, youth, and HHS grants. In 2016, she won the Philanthropy Leadership Award from the City of Seattle‘s Office of Arts.
Currently, Huong works on the Community Engagement Team at the Gates Foundation and manages Seattle grants investments. Prior to the Foundation, she held grantmaking and project management roles at Spark Philanthropic, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, On the Boards, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She also served as a review panelist for 20+ US philanthropies to distribute an additional $100M+. Huong holds a BA from the University of Washington and a program certificate from the Stanford University/Graduate School of Business and has taught at Seattle University as an adjunct faculty member. Huong has served on ten boards including Philanthropy NW, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Parks Foundation, Hedgebrook, and Grantmakers in the Arts. In 2019, Huong joined the AiPACE capital campaign steering committee to help International Community Health Services raise funds ($25M fundraising goal; 2024 opening) to build an API health center.
Playwright & Theatre Artist, Educator, Speaker, Nonprofit Leader, Creative Entrepreneur
Amy Wheeler has built a career around bringing people together, across generations, to collaborate on inspiring productions, innovative programs, and spirited events imbued with a social justice message. Wheeler led the nonprofit Hedgebrook for 13 years, evolving it from a renowned Whidbey Island-based residency program into a global community of influential womxn writers authoring change in the arts (literary, film, television and music), culture, politics and social justice. Celebrating the culmination of her tenure in 2020, Seattle Arts & Lectures recognized Wheeler with the Prowda Literary Champion Award for “demonstrating true commitment to the Pacific Northwest’s community of readers and writers.” Wheeler has several theatre projects currently in development, with a track record of productions at theatres across the country. A Yaddo fellow and Hedgebrook alum, Wheeler holds an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts, and MFA from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Her current ventures are: Dancehall Productions, generating creative projects that bring to life the stories, real and imagined, of those who have been left out of, silenced or erased from the patriarchal narrative; and Play Club, a Book Club with a Theatrical Twist.