As the Executive Director of the Richmond Art Center, Ric Ambrose leads a talented team of artists and educators who provide an ambitious schedule of exhibits, workshops and outreach programs for Richmond and the greater Bay Area community. Ambrose has extensive executive management and curatorial experience in arts and science organizations and over the past twenty-eight years, has managed or curated more than 200 exhibitions in art, science and history in a variety of multimedia formats. He is a practicing artist whose large-scale graphite drawings are housed in many private and corporate collections.
Teresa Caldeira is a scholar of cities and their political practices. Her research focuses on predicaments of urbanization and reconfigurations of spatial segregation and social discrimination, mostly in cities of the global south. She has been especially interested in studying the relationships between urban form and political transformation, particularly in the context of democratization. An anthropologist by training, she has been a full professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, since 2007. She has always worked in an interdisciplinary manner, combining methodologies, theories, and approaches from the different social sciences, but she has been especially interested in reshaping ethnographic methods for the study of cities and political action. Although a growing number of anthropologists do research in cities, few constitute the city itself as an object of anthropological investigation. Her work aims at asserting the richness of this perspective, exemplified in the book City of Walls: Crime, Segregation, and Citizenship in São Paulo (University of California Press, 2000), which won the Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society in 2001.
Lauren Dietrich Chavez
Lauren Chavez stumbled across the path of We Players 1st show and has been working and playing with the company since 2001. She is a healer, committed to developing regenerative resources, resilient communities, and rich culture, while facilitating individual health and the expansion of awareness. Lauren has a BA in Architecture and Urban Design, with a dance minor, and a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, both from Stanford University. She has professional green building and permaculture design credentials, and presently practices bodywork/massage and teaches nature awareness programs, in addition to growing We Players into a thriving non-profit arts institution. Lauren loves connecting with the gorgeous environment and engaging the layered history and creative people of the Bay Area through We Players‘ unique process of outreach, engagement, and performance. She currently focuses her efforts on community outreach, education, partnership development, and company administration.
Margaret Crawford teaches courses at UC Berkeley in the history and theory of architecture, urbanism, and urban history as well as urban design and planning studios focusing on small-scale urbanity and postmodern urbanism. Her research focuses on the evolution, uses, and meanings of urban space. Her book, Building the Workingman’s Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns, examines the rise and fall of professionally designed industrial environments. Crawford is also known for her work on Everyday Urbanism, a concept that encourages the close investigation and empathetic understanding of the specifics of daily life as the basis for urban theory and design. In 2005, Doug Kelbaugh characterized Everyday Urbanism as one of three contemporary paradigms of urbanism on the cutting edge of theoretical and professional activity. Another interest is Los Angeles urbanism, which led to The Car and the City: The Automobile, the Built Environment and Daily Urban Life, edited with transportation planner Martin Wachs. She has also published numerous articles on immigrant spatial practices, shopping malls, public space, and other issues in the American built environment. Since 2003, Crawford has been investigating the effects of rapid physical and social changes on villages in China’s Pearl River Delta.
Deborah Cullinan is the new Executive Director of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – San Francisco’s premiere contemporary art center. She was formerly the Executive Director of Intersection for the Arts. Under her leadership, Intersection achieved a strong reputation as a powerful arts-focused community development organization committed to radical partnership across sectors to achieve equitable community change. Intersection is playing a lead role on the 5M Project, a 4-acre prototype for the next generation of urban development that embraces diversity of thought, life experience, and culture. Intersection has received numerous awards including an Inaugural ArtPlace America Award, The Cyril Magnum Award for Non-Profit Excellence, and the 2012 Philanthropedia Award for Highest Impact Arts Non-Profit in the Bay Area. She is co-founder of ArtsForumSF and a member of the Board of the California Arts Advocates, Californians for the Arts, and The Community Arts Stabilization Trust. She is on the advisory boards of The Center for the Teater Commons and The Catalyst Initiative. She is a Rockwood Fellow; a Gerbode Fellow; and a participant in National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program an initiative gathering 100 top culture sector leaders to re-imagine what cultural institutions are and how they contribute to society.
Nicholas de Monchaux
Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect, urban designer, and theorist. He is the author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an architectural and urban history of the Apollo Spacesuit, winner of the Eugene Emme award from the American Astronautical Society and shortlisted for the Art Book Prize. The work of de Monchaux’s Oakland-based design practice has been exhibited at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas, the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, San Francisco’s SPUR, and SFMOMA. de Monchaux received his B.A. with distinction in Architecture, from Yale, and his Professional Degree (M.Arch.) from Princeton. Prior to his independent practice, he worked with Michael Hopkins & Partners in London, and Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in New York. de Monchaux’s work has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Hellman Family fund, the Macdowell Colony, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Smithsonian Institution. He has received design awards and citations from Parsons The New School for Design, the International Union of Architects, Pamphlet Architecture, and the Van Alen Institute.
Raquel Gutiérrez is a writer, live performer, film actor, curator, playwright, and cultural organizer. She writes on art, music, film, performance and community building and creates original solo and ensemble performance compositions. Raquel earned her MA in Performance Studies from New York University in 2004. She is an expert in creating artist-community partnerships for a range of institutional and community-based organizations. She currently lives in San Francisco and manages a program called IN COMMUNITY for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Shannon Jackson is Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. She is also currently the Director of the Arts Research Center. Her most recent book is Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics explores the relationship between the visual arts, performance and social engagement. Past work has considered the relationship between performance and American social reform (Lines of Activity) as well as between performance and the institution of higher education (Professing Performance), and she has also written for numerous exhibition catalogues and scholarly journals on related topics. Shannon serves on the boards of Cal Performances, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Berkeley Center for New Media. She also serves on the editorial boards of several journals, has been a plenary speaker at a variety of distinguished venues, including most recently the Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art, the Ibsen International Festival in Oslo, the Blaffer Museum, The Kitchen, Cooper Union, the Yale School of Drama, and Harvard’s Spencer Lecture in Drama. She has organized many conferences and artist residencies with the Arts Research Center, The Builders Association, Touchable Stories, American Society of Theatre Research, the American Studies Association, the Women and Theatre Project, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Multi-campus Research Group on International Performance, UCB’s Center for Community Innovation, and with the civic governments of Berkeley, San Francisco, and Richmond, California.
Jake Levitas is a designer, organizer, educator, and community activist based in San Francisco. He is currently a SF Mayor’s Innovation Fellow. As the former Research Director at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, his work was focused at the intersection of design, technology, cities, and information. As a designer and organizer, his work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and other domestic and international outlets. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Economics from Washington University in St. Louis.
Since 2010, Brad has served as the Director of the Regulatory Program at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). He joined BCDC’s staff in 1998 and served as the Commission’s Bay Development Design Analyst for 12 years. He has been an instructor and lecturer in landscape architecture at UC Berkeley, and has been a guest design critic at the College of Environmental Design.
Marina McDougall directs the new Center for Art & Inquiry, an R&D center for the arts within the larger learning laboratory of the Exploratorium. She also oversees the Exploratorium’s new program to commission large scale, temporary works in the outdoor spaces at Pier 15. Marina was the first curator of art and design at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and co-founded the Studio for Urban Projects. She has been a visiting curator at the MIT Media Lab, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Oakland Museum of California. As a curator Marina has worked at the intersection of art and science, nature and culture for over twenty years. She teaches as an adjunct professor in the graduate Curatorial Practice Program at California College of the Arts.
Judy Nemzoff is the Director of Community Arts and Education (CAE) at the San Francisco Arts Commission and plays a lead role in that agency’s partnership efforts to support the reinvigoration of public spaces and streetscapes with the arts. Her work includes the Central Market Street Artery Project and a new district wide art investment throughout San Francisco’s D10 neighborhoods. CAE continues to honor the founding intent of the program to support and strengthen access to the arts through neighborhood based programs by providing grants for artists working in neighborhood settings, serving as both landlord and funder to the City’s four cultural centers and subtenants, Bayview Opera House, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, SOMARTs, the African American Arts & Culture Complex, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center and the Queer Cultural Center and serves the teaching artist community by supporting arts education through resource sharing, advocacy and direct service programs such as the nationally recognized WritersCorps program. Ms. Nemzoff co-chairs the Arts Education Master Plan Committee for the San Francisco Unified School District.
Rebecca Novick is the director of the Triangle Lab, a collaboration between Intersection for the Arts and California Shakespeare Theater aims to engage artists with communities to help make change. Previously she was the founding artistic director of Crowded Fire Theater Company and has also served as an arts management consultant specializing in audience engagement.
A multidisciplinary community development practitioner and advocate, Elvin Padilla has worked with and for diverse low-income communities for 25 years. His interest in the field began as a young man growing up in East New York, Brooklyn where he watched a once solid neighborhood deteriorate as arson ravaged housing and jobs vanished. Elvin currently oversees the development of the 950 Center for Art and Education, a transformative affordable art facility development in San Francisco’s Tenderloin community. He has consulted a variety of nationally prominent nonprofits working in the fields of community economic development, the arts, affordable housing and food security.
Louise Pubols is Senior Curator of History at the Oakland Museum of California. At the Oakland Museum, her projects included a major reinstallation of the museum’s history galleries and a major exhibition on the environmental history of the San Francisco Bay, entitled Above and Below: Stories from Our Changing Bay. Her recent book, The Father of All: The de la Guerra Family, Power, and Patriarchy in Mexican California (Huntington Library Press and University of California Press, 2009), explores how patriarchy informed the economic and political systems of Mexican-era California. It has won both the William P. Clements Prize for best non-fiction book on the Southwest from the Clements Center at SMU, and the Ray Allen Billington prize from the Organization of American Historians.
Ava Roy is the Founding Artistic Director of We Players, dedicated to transforming public spaces into realms of participatory theatre. She has pioneered unique partnerships with both the National Park Service and the California State Park system, creating large-scale performances at park sites throughout the Bay Area. Her unique style of interactive, site-integrated performance aims to highlight the historical and natural treasures of the local landscape and encourage new ways of experiencing and appreciating these places.
Linda Haverty Rugg is an Associate Professor in the Scandinavian Department at UC Berkeley. She took her degree in Comparative Literature at Harvard in 1989, where she focused on German, Swedish, and American literatures, and she joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1999. A sustained research interest has been the investigation of autobiography and other acts of self-representation; her first book, Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography (University of Chicago Press, 1997) won the MLA’s 1998 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for the best book in Comparative Literature. She teaches a variety of subjects: the films of Ingmar Bergman, August Strindberg, Scandinavian crime fiction, childhood in Scandinavian literature and film, whiteness in American culture, and ecology and culture in Scandinavia.
Susan Schwartzenberg is a senior artist at the Exploratorium, where she leads the development of the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery. She has been a curator, photographer, designer, and artist. Susan was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, the California College of Art, and Stanford University. As a photographer and visual artist, she has received numerous awards, and has taken part in residencies and exhibitions worldwide. She is known for her public art, including recent works at Stanford University and San Francisco’s McLaren Park.
Susan Schweik is Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence. A former Presidential Chair in Undergraduate Education for Disability Studies at U.C. Berkeley, she has been involved with the development of disability studies at Berkeley for fifteen years. She was co-coordinator of the Ed Roberts Fellowships in Disability Studies post-doctoral program at Berkeley (coordinated by the Institute for Urban and Regional Development). She has taught and co-taught undergraduate courses in Disability and Literature, Discourses of Disability, The Disability Rights Movement, Disability and Digital Storytelling, Psychiatric Disability, Literature and Medicine, and Race, Ethnicity and Disability, among others, and graduate courses in Body Theory and Disability Studies and Advanced Disability Studies. She is the author of The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public. Her other teaching and research interests include twentieth century poetry, late nineteenth century American literature, women’s studies and gender theory, urban studies, war literature and children’s literature.
Joel Slayton has been the Executive Director of ZERO1 since 2008 after serving as a both a board member for the organization and chairperson of ISEA2006, which was held in conjunction with the inaugural 01SJ Biennial. An artist, writer and researcher, Joel is a full professor at San Jose State University where he served as Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media from 1988 to 2008. Established in 1984 CADRE is one of the oldest and most prestigious centers in the United States dedicated to the development of experimental applications involving information technology and art. Joel has also served on the Board of Directors of Leonardo/ISAST (International Society for Art, Science and Technology) from 1999 to 2008, and was Editor and Chief of the Leonardo-MIT Press Book. Joel is considered a pioneer in the field of art and technology. As an artist, Joel’s artworks, which engage with a wide range of media technology, including information mapping, networks and interactive visualization, have been featured in over one hundred exhibitions internationally. An original member of the Visible Language Workshop at MIT in the mid 1970s, Joel has received a National Endowment for the Arts award for his public art spectacles, and was selected for the Xerox Parc Pair Artists in Residence Program. His research explores social software, cooperation models and network visualization. His published academic papers include Social Software; Entailment Mesh, The Re= Purpose of Information, and The Ontology of Organization as System.
Andy Wang joined Forest City in summer 2012, and is helping to get the company’s groundbreaking 5M Project in San Francisco designed and approved. He was drawn to the project for its combustible mix of collaboration, design, and above all, its celebration of the urban. He has a master’s degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree in international development studies from UCLA. Andy’s prior professional life was in both print and online publishing, where he learned the power of narrative. The city writes its own collective story every day, and he has seen his job, whether as writer or as planner, as capturing and telling that story — or even, lately, taking part in writing it.