Jan Williamson is the Executive Director of the 18th Street Arts Center. She came to the Center during its fifth year in 1995. Under her leadership 18SAC has evolved from a small, alternative artist-run space to Southern California’s largest artist residency center, working with diverse local and international artists who provoke public dialogue through their art making. During her tenure, the organization purchased 18SAC’s 1.25-acre property and Williamson has been leading the planning and fundraising efforts for the renovation and redevelopment of the site. Williamson holds a certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2010, she was awarded a Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Fellowship for her executive leadership in the arts. For nine years she served on Santa Monica City’s Arts Commission. She currently serves on the board of Arts For LA a regional arts advocacy agency.
Prior to 18th Street Arts Center Williamson worked for visual artist Tom Van Sant for four years on his revolutionary artwork The GeoSphere Project – the first satellite composite map of the Earth, free of clouds, and for performance artist, Barbara T. Smith. As an artist, Williamson co-founded and produced EWALA (Earth Water Air-Los Angeles) an annual performance art trek with playwright Susan Suntree, which engaged hundreds of Angelenos from 1994 to 2000 in honoring the Los Angeles River watershed while drawing public attention to threatened environmental areas along the river. She was also a founding member of the eco-political street theatre troupe FrogWorks, which performed original works nationally on the plight of California’s wetlands.
Anuradha Vikram is a writer, curator, and educator. She is the author of Decolonizing Culture, a collection of seventeen essays that address questions of race and gender parity in contemporary art spaces (Art Practical/Sming Sming Books, 2017). Vikram has guest-curated exhibitions for the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, Mills College Art Museum, ProArts Gallery, and the DeYoung Museum Artist Studio, and held curatorial positions at UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice, Headlands Center for the Arts, Aicon Gallery, and Richmond Art Center, and in the studio of artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. She has contributed essays to journals including Leonardo, KCET Artbound, Artillery, Hyperallergic, Daily Serving, and OPEN SPACE, the blog of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and to catalogues on the work of Sonya Rapoport, Chitra Ganesh, Ana Mendieta, and Om Prakash, among others. Vikram holds an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts and a BS in Studio Art from New York University. She is a Senior Lecturer in the MFA program at Otis College of Art and Design, and serves as a member of the Editorial Board of X-TRA and on the Board of Directors of the College Art Association, where she chairs the Museums Committee.
Sue Bell Yank
Director of Communications and Outreach
Sue Bell Yank is an arts educator, producer, and writer. She has worked in arts, entertainment, and public schools for over a decade, and is currently Director of Communications and Outreach at 18th Street Arts Center, the largest artist residency center in Southern California. After working as an elementary school teacher in South LA, she became frustrated with the lack of arts, and the systemic forces that made it nearly impossible to effectively integrate arts into her classroom. She decided to work on arts education from the other side, and became Associate Director of Academic Programs at the Hammer Museum, working with students, artists, and forming city-wide partnerships triangulating communities, the arts, and schools. She became interested in the enormous potential of interactive digital platforms to increase arts access, and began working for the Oprah Winfrey Network as the Director for Online Education to discover how pop culture and technology could reach so many people. She strives to bring all of those experiences together to create accessible dialogue around contemporary art for all communities, supporting artists in making their work and share it with a broader public. She fundamentally believes in the power of art to effect societal change through empathy and radical imagination. She teaches at UCLA and frequent writes about socially engaged art practice and pedagogy.
Assistant Operations Manager
As Assistant Operations Manager at 18th Street Arts Center, Haroon Dasti brings a passion for public service and an interest in cultural exploration through the arts. While a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, he worked alongside local counterparts in campaigns against the guinea worm and trachoma diseases, and managed the construction of a rural health clinic. After returning to the US, Dasti completed his Master of Public Administration at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Later, he traveled to Togo for his practicum and collaborated with environmental NGO Les Amis de la Terre to evaluate their potable water project in the Fiokpo region.
From 2011 to 2013 Dasti worked for RTI International as the Logistics Manager of USAID’s Millennium Water and Sanitation Program in Senegal. Aside from coordinating the program’s logistical needs, he implemented an innovative and empowering community-based approach to address sanitation issues in rural areas.
During his travels in West Africa Dasti has had the pleasure of connecting with many local artists, both learning from them and helping them promote their work.
Jeny Amaya is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker whose recent body of work explores the Salvadoran diaspora experience in the California. She is a 2015 Porter College Undergraduate Fellowship recipient and a recipient of the Princess Grace Film Scholarship.
Amaya’s work has been featured in the Santa Cruz Museum of Art, Porter Sesnon Underground Gallery, and in 2014’s Santa Cruz Film Festival. Jeny graduated from the University of California in Santa Cruz, studying Latin American and Latino Studies and Film and Digital Media.
Public Programs and Events Manager
Dana has over fifteen years in event production, management and logistics, working with companies such as HBO, Red Bull Media House, dick clark productions, and most recently Blizzard Entertainment. Along with her corporate experience, she has donated her skills and time recently to these local nonprofits and organizations; Venice Chamber of Commerce/ Venice Art Crawl and Venice Sign Events, Venice Family Clinic/ Venice Art Walk, A Window Between Worlds and Life Rolls On. With a passion for the arts, she received her B.A. from UCSB in Art Studio with an emphasis in Sculpture and Photography. Growing exponentially, she continues to expand her creative and operational abilities.
As the Public Programs and Events Manager, Blackwell combines her love of logistics, culture and bringing communities together, in an efficient and symbiotic way,
Ted Schwab is strategy consultant servicing the healthcare industry, an entrepreneur, and serves on several charitable boards. He has been in the health care business for 32 years and has started six small businesses. His interest in non-profit work started with United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), where he still is active. His interest in contemporary arts led him to the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts where he was a board member for over a decade.
Joan Abrahamson is president of the Jefferson Institute, a public policy institute that identifies and implements innovative approaches to current policy problems. She was assistant chief of staff to Vice President George H. W. Bush from 1981 to 1985. She has also worked with the U.N. Human Rights Commission and UNESCO’s Division of Human Rights and Peace, where she designed new procedures for the treatment of alleged violations of human rights. She planned and implemented the Vienna International Congress on the Teaching of Human Rights and the International Symposium on the Political Participation of Women. In 1985 she was named a MacArthur Fellow. She is president of the Jonas Salk Foundation and founding chair of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Jonathan Aronson is professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California as well as professor of international relations. He also is on the board of the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. His two most recent books (with P. Cowhey) are, Digital DNA: Disruption and the Challenges for Global Governance (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Transforming Global Information and Communication Markets: The Political Economy of Innovation (MIT, 2009). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served as president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. Aronson received his degrees from Stanford (1976) and Harvard (1971). He received an honorary doctorate from St. Petersburg State University, Russia, in 2000.
Born in Los Angeles but grew up in Colombia, Janine Arbelaez is a private practice Marriage & Family therapist in Santa Monica. Her past experience includes serving MOCA on the board of the Contemporaries Council from 2001-2010, as Vice President from 2007-2010, and also as Education Co-Chair (2004-2007) and Members at-Large Co-Chair (2001-2005) and also serving the Santa Monica Museum of Art from 2007-2009 on the Incognito Committee. Currently she serves on the board of the Contemporary Craft Council at CAFAM and also the Acquisitions Committee for MOLAA, both since 2012. Arbelaez brings a breadth of knowledge of Contemporary Latin American Art as a collector and avid supporter.
Susan Baik is the owner and Director of BAIK ART, a contemporary art gallery in Los Angeles. With over 14 years of experience representing and advising emerging and established artists, Baik also runs a satellite location out of Space Kaan in Seoul, South Korea. As former Director of AndrewShire Gallery, Los Angeles, which she owned and managed from 2002 to 2013, Baik expanded the gallery to Singapore in 2006 where it ran until she left to start her own enterprise. Baik has curated exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Seoul, London, and Indonesia. In 2016, she organized the exhibition Art and the Measure of Liberty at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations. In 2017, she assisted with Unexpected Light: Works of Young-Il Ahn at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to its critical acclaim as the first exhibition of a Korean-American artist at a major institution. As the visionary behind the BAIK ART residency program, Baik places her artists into a country or culture distinctly different from their own. Each concurrent residency takes place in a different country and culminates in a curated exhibition accompanied by a comprehensive catalog. In addition to 18th Street, Baik currently serves as a Board Member at the Korea Arts Foundation of America, and on the Art Committee at Davidson College in North Carolina. She graduated with a degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Irvine.
Andrew Beath is the founder of the EarthWays Foundation in Malibu, California, as well as several other nonprofit social justice and environmental organizations. His foundation has initiated projects to protect wilderness and assist threatened communities in South, Central, and North America. Beath is also author of the book, Consciousness in Action. His personal interest continues to focus on potential solutions to our ecological problems by dealing with the issues of poverty in the third world, consumption in our country, expanding human population, specific environmental problems, and the undeniable interconnectedness of all these things. EarthWays projects are meant to be a catalyst for personal and global awareness, and social and environmental activism.
Born in Brittany, France and having lived all around the world, Damien Bigot has become a specialist in cultural diplomacy, international relations, and institutional administration for the arts. After working for several years in Italy (Villa Medici and Rome Music Foundation), he moved to Israel to manage the French Institute (Institut français) for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then for three years in Lebanon as Regional Director, where he started several different cultural and art initiatives. Damien Bigot was Director of Cultural Affairs of the City of Montrouge (France), and was a regular Conference Speaker for the Arts, Science, and Technology University in Beirut. He became a representative for the Middle East at Cultural Heritage Without Borders (Patrimoine Sans Frontière), an international organization, official partner of the UNESCO, that mobilizes the notion of cultural heritage as a means to respond to the demands of local populations (post-crisis situations and social exclusion). In this role, he worked to utilize the power of cultural heritage as a means to respond to the demands of local populations.
Susanna Bixby Dakin
A native California writer and sculptor, Susanna Bixby Dakin is a co-founder of 18th Street Arts Center and the former publisher of High Performance magazine. Dakin has also been an instrumental and sustaining figure over many decades in family and indigenous farmers’ rights, nuclear disarmament, and environmental justice movements.
Malindi Davies is Vice President, Business Development & Finance at Demand Media and Saatchi Art in Santa Monica, CA. She has a Master of Business Administration, Accounting, Finance from University of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Social Organizational Psychology from Teachers College of Columbia University. Previously, Davies was Corporate Strategy & Investor Relations for XO Group.
Laddie John Dill
A native California visual artist, Laddie John Dill is internationally recognized with work in the permanent collections of over 25 museums. He has extensive teaching experience at Cal Arts, Otis Art Institute, and the Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture.
Lori Harris is a lawyer and for the past 14 years has served as a Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles. She currently advocates on the behalf of youth incarcerated in the state prisons. Her past experience includes working in the arts as an administrator, producer, and board member for Inner City Cultural Center and Kaos Networks. She was the founding president of Art Against Apartheid.
Alice Salinas is an affordable housing consultant and activist. Her commitment to housing the homeless and very low income individuals stems from the many years of working with poor families in addressing their needs for decent and safe shelter. She also works with homeless advocates assisting them with permanent solutions to the issue of chronic homelessness. Salinas was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a graduate of Occidental College and UCLA. She has one sister, two brothers, and is the daughter of a United Auto Worker.
Jim Suhr, principal of James Suhr & Associates LLC, has focused on urban infill development of all product types throughout his career in Southern California real estate. His thirty-two years in the field encompass experience in acquisitions, entitlements, development, and asset management of a wide range of land uses. Jim has been involved in developing a number of transit-oriented mixed-use projects, including Washington National Station in Culver City and Wilshire Vermont Station in Koreatown, as well as industrial, office, apartment, condominium, and historic rehab projects in markets across Southern California. Prior to forming JSA, he held positions with BRE Properties, Newhall Land & Farming, Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., and The Ratkovich Company. He is a graduate of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and School of Urban Planning.