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Staff

Jan Williamson
Executive Director

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 Santa Monica Travel and Tourism.

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.

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Sydney Brundige
Executive Assistant

Sydney Brundige is an artist and system developer. As an artist she works primarily in abstraction, exploring themes of understanding and identity. As a system developer Sydney works with art organizations to help them optimize their internal systems and more effectively reach their audience and community. Sydney has worked with a number of organizations from Interlochen Center for the Arts to the Arts and Culture Commission of Glendale, California. She earned her BFA in drawing from Ball State University and MA in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University.

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Photo by Sasha Renee

Michael Ano
Deputy Director of Artistic Programs

Michael Ano joined the 18th Street Arts Center team in 2019. As the Deputy Director of Artistic Programs, Ano oversees the residency, exhibitions, commissions, events, and culture mapping research.  He is committed to developing long-term artist led programs that support community wellbeing. During Ano’s tenure, he developed the California Creative Corps a state-wide artist work pilot; created the Arts Learning Lab @ Home a series of virtual arts workshops and curriculum developed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; initiated the studio visit and professional development programs for Artist-in-Residence; and led in development and adoption of 18th Street’s Core Values.Prior to 18th Street Arts Center, Ano worked in the arts sector for nearly two decades at the New Museum, Norton Simon Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Beall Center for Art + Technology, UC San Diego, UC San Diego Design Lab, FIELD: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism, and KCET’s ArtBound. Ano received his MFA from UC San Diego, and a BA from UC Irvine.

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Tom Norris
Residency Coordinator

As an advocate and artist, Tom Norris understands the strength of community and believes that through the arts, collective societal change is possible. He addresses social structures and economic systems using various mediums, including sculpture, performance, watercolor, and sound.

Norris earned his MFA from Otis College of Art and Design, and a BA in the field of studio art from University of California at Riverside. Before arriving at the 18th Street Arts Center, he focused on the twentieth-century art and archives from the Pasadena Art Museum housed in the Norton Simon Museum’s collection. He currently builds community as a member of the Arroyo Seco Network of Time Banks.

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Photo by Marcus Kuliand-Nazario

Irene Georgia Tsatsos
Curator-At-Large

Irene Georgia Tsatsos is a visual artist, contemporary art curator, and mission-driven non-profit cultural worker whose focus on diverse voices and practices mirrors 18SAC’s long commitment to centering traditionally decentered voices and fostering positive social change.

For thirteen years, Tsatsos served as the chief curator at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA. Previously, Tsatsos was director/curator of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions for eight years, was the executive director of Chicago’s artist-run space N.A.M.E., and held curatorial positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Arts Club of Chicago. 

Tsatsos has taught in Claremont Graduate University’s Center for Business and Management of the Arts and the University of Southern California master’s program in Curatorial Practices & the Public Sphere. She has provided graduate advising at the California Institute for the Arts and has lectured extensively at colleges and universities throughout SoCal and beyond.

In her own sculptural practice, Tsatsos makes symbols of space and potential out of mud and air, textiles, and words. Her works and practices are sites of potential, places for and of reveal, and are motivated by a desire to resist capitalist and patriarchal notions of productivity that permeate everything around us by reclaiming balance, health, and unscripted dream space.

Tsatsos was the founding board chair of the Feminist Center for Creative Work in Los Angeles (formerly the Women’s Center for Creative Work) and serves on the board of directors of Children’s Community School and the advisory council of the contemporary art journal X-TRA. She is currently developing a Getty PST ART (Pacific Standard Time) project entitled From the Ground Up: Nurturing Diversity in Hostile Environments.

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Carol Zou
California Creative Corps Project Manager

Carol Zou (b. 1988, Hepu, China) is a U.S. based community-engaged artist whose work engages themes of spatial justice, public pedagogy, and intercultural connection in multiracial neighborhoods. They engage durational, process-based collaborations with community contributors using mediums of craft, media arts, and public installation. Their style of multi-sector collaboration gestures to an interdisciplinary, liberatory future in which we are all hopefully a little more undisciplined.

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Nicole Gordillo
Deputy Director of Advancement

Nicole Gordillo is a cultural arts and donor relations professional with over 19 years of experience
creating and implementing strategic programming and engagement initiatives in art organizations and
higher education. She has held positions at organizations such as Inner-City Arts, LACE, LA Freewaves,
Americans for the Arts and LA’s Community Redevelopment Agency. Gordillo most recently served as a
Philanthropy Officer at the Colburn School, where she was responsible for the stewardship and
expansion of the School’s portfolio of institutional partners and individual donors while providing vision,
leadership and creativity in building a vibrant and successful giving program for the School’s music and
dance departments.
Nicole Gordillo served as Director of Alumni Engagement and Affinity Programs at University of Southern California and previously worked at 18th Street Arts Center as the Director of Development from 2009 to 2013. In addition, she has held positions at the cultural affairs departments of the City of Los Angeles and the City of Pasadena. As an entrepreneur, she founded Tap & Cheer, a consulting company that partnered with community groups, businesses, and organizations, to conceptualize, develop, produce, and evaluate vibrant fundraising and donor cultivation events and initiatives. At Gordillo’s core is the drive and passion to create change, to encourage connectivity that will enrich the lives of individuals and assist organizations in achieving greater impact.
She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts as well as a Master of Public Art Studies and Art Administration from USC’s Roski School of Art and Design.

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Max Varady
Social Media and Content Producer

Max Varady is a creative marketing designer with a diverse background in communications and visual arts. With a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University, Max has worked in social media management, both in the commercial and non-profit spheres, bridging the gap between institutions and their audiences. His professional journey includes contributions to Triton Outfitters, The Simpsons, ESMoA, and projects as a freelance graphic designer. Interested in engaging with contemporary art, Max is committed to establishing a thoughtful digital presence—blending an understanding of psychology with a passion for design and communication.

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Stephen Sacks
Deputy Director of Operations

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Lucia Fonseca
Housekeeper

Sacha Dufresne
Operations Manager

With a career spanning over two decades, Sacha Dufresne is a seasoned professional in facilities maintenance and property management. His diverse skill set includes certifications in horticulture and cabinet making, reflecting his ability to blend technical expertise with creativity. 

His journey has taken him through various facets of the industry. He dedicated a significant portion of his career to horticulture, cabinet making, and general contracting, accumulating a wealth of knowledge and experience. 

In a bold move, he also ventured into entrepreneurship, establishing and successfully operating, along with a partner, a bistro-pastry shop in Montreal. Then, in 2014, he embarked on a three-year journey throughout South-East Asia. This transformative experience further enriched his perspective and personal growth. 

Upon returning to North America in 2017 he took on the role of facilities caretaker for a Buddhist retreat center in Whistler. His dedication to maintaining and enhancing the retreat center’s environment aligned with his own spiritual values. In 2019, he relocated to California, where he assumed the role of property manager for an estate in San Marino. 

Sacha is excited to bring his extensive skills to 18th Street Arts Center, to enhance operations and contribute to the organization’s continued success.

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Interested in joining our team? Check out our employment opportunities.

Interns

Emily Wei
Residency Intern

Emily Wei is a residency intern of the 18th Street Arts Center. She is currently a graduate student of MA in Cultural Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She has academic research ability and practical experience in arts administration and management, visual arts, and performing arts, as well as a strong interest and passion for participating in and organizing international arts events and communicating with international artists or communities.

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Whitney Leung
Residency Intern

Whitney Leung is passionate about the arts and who is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Cultural Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is always on the lookout for new and exciting forms of artistic expression and wants to contribute to a vibrant cultural landscape. Whitney will be working with the Communications Department as the Communications Intern.

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Leianna Hill
Getty Intern

I’m a 22-year-old artist, a proud graduate of Otis College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Illustration and a minor in creative writing. I am an advocate for my community as a Native American artist, I strive to bridge cultural heritage with modern expression, sharing my traditions with the world. I’m a published illustrator for children’s books, bringing stories to life through vibrant visuals. Additionally, my role as the Art Director for a botany-themed Native American game board allowed me to design captivating visuals from my culture and surround tribes helping children learn the land they live on.  

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Board

Ted Schwab
President

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
Vice President

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.

Malindi Davies
Treasurer

Malindi Davies is the Chief Operating Officer for Tamara Mellon, Inc., the premiere direct to consumer luxury footwear brand,  where for the past year and a half she has overseen operations and finance through triple-digit growth. Prior to Tamara Mellon, Malindi was General Manager of the global online marketplace Saatchi Art, a Leaf Group company, and managed Investor Relations and M&A for The Knot/ XO Group. Her first career was on Wall Street where she spent over a decade in equity research covering the ecommerce and online media sectors.

Jonathan Aronson

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.

Janine Arbelaez

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.

Dan Greaney

Dan Greaney is a long-time writer/producer at The Simpsons. He is also the founder of Bailiwik, a place-based social network dedicated to creating real-world communities that connect online and off.

Michael G. Rey

Michael G. Rey is presently a working fine artist in Los Angeles. He was the Founding Principal and Creative Director of Intersection Studio. Intersection first specialized in design and creative direction for publications and music packaging then grew to include branding and fundraising strategies for major non-profit organizations.  Clients included: The Getty, Skirball Cultural Center, LA Philharmonic, United States Artists, Sundance Institute, Autry National Center, The Broad Stage, CHOC Children’s, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Geffen Playhouse, KCRW, Natural History Museum, North Carolina School of the Arts, Otis College of Art and Design, Pacific Symphony, PRI (Public Radio International), Segerstrom Center for the Arts, SCI_Arc, UCLA, USC Marshall School of Business, USC Shoah Foundation Institute, and Art Center College of Design. He holds a BFA in Advertising Design and an MFA in Fine Arts from Art Center College of Design, where he has also taught photography and graphic design.  

Jessica Cusick

Jessica Cusick is president of Cusick Consulting, established in 1999, which specializes in cultural planning and policy development.  Ms. Cusick has over thirty years of experience working in community development and the arts for governmental agencies, the private sector, and non-profit organizations.  Key areas of expertise include municipal government, public process, and resource development; as well as public/private partnerships and neighborhood revitalization projects in which the arts play a substantive role.  Clients include the cities of Fort Worth, Pasadena, and Ventura; the California Arts Council; the County of Los Angeles; the Houston Midtown Redevelopment Authority; and the Seattle Public Library, among others. 

Ms Cusick was the cultural affairs manager for the City of Santa Monica from 2005 through 2015, where she oversaw significant expansion in the City’s support for artists and the creative sector, including the establishment of an artist fellowship program.  As part of her work, she developed Glow, a unique, all-night art event that drew over 200,000 visitors in its first year.  

She has taught in graduate programs at several institutions, including Otis College of Art and Design, the University of Houston, and the University of Southern California.  Currently she teaches a course in cultural policy for Claremont Graduate University.

Ms. Cusick has a degree in art history from the Sorbonne in Paris and a master’s degree from New York University. In 2014, she was awarded I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of France’s most illustrious titles, for her distinguished career in the arts.

http://civic-art.com/

Pamela Mass

Pamela Mass is an arts professional with over 20 years of experience. She was a Senior Designer for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Trust where she created award winning exhibitions, publications and environmental design programs. She later founded a design and strategy consultancy focused on arts and cultural institutions. Pamela served on the board and executive committee of Craft Contemporary and as president of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s MOCA Contemporaries. She currently serves on the board of the Blue Ribbon at the Music Center and at Windward School, where she chairs their Advancement Committee. Pamela earned her B.A. from UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture and her M.A. in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art/Claremont Graduate School’s Center for Business and Management of the Arts.

Miguel Rivera

Miguel currently works with at risk youth, Armed Forces veterans, people in recovery, formerly incarcerated individuals as well as those in the “normal” segments of the population in a variety of settings, one of the intentions being to reduce the level of fragmentation prevalent in the current culture; not only in this country but worldwide.

Miguel Rivera started playing music professionally as a Percussionist in 1973. He is a member of the core group of teachers at “Minnesota Men’s Conference” since 1993 and “The great Mother Conference” since 2010. In 2001, in collaboration with Robert Bly, he translated and published the first English collection of the poetry of Humberto Ak’abal “Poems I brought down from the Mountain”; second Humberto Ak’abal anthology “In the courtyard of the moon”  published by Tia Chucha Press in 2021. He has been a board member of “Shade Tree”, a mentoring group in Los Angeles since its inception in 1996, introducing at risk youth to traditional Earth based ceremonies and is the Co-Founder and Director  of “Western Gate Roots and Wings Foundation”. Formerly, he was on the Board of Directors of “Soldier’s Heart”, an organization dedicated to working with Veterans. He is currently on the Board of Advisors of “Wolf Connection”; a collaborator and Panelist with the Institute of Integrated Health and Wellbeing: IIHW; USC and Children’s Hospital, L.A. Member of the “Guild of Future Architects”; Co-Producer and Sound Designer for “School of Lived Experience” Podcasts and Award-winning Supervising Sound Editor for Films and Television since 1984 to the present.

Judith Khneysser

Born in Germany, Judith grew up in East and Southeast Asia. She worked in EU lobbying for more than 10 years, advising large financial services institutions on issues related to the EU Enlargement and the Financial Services Action Plan. She left the lobbying industry, when the family moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where she worked in Asset Management. After 10 years in Geneva, the family moved to Singapore, where she started establishing her network within the arts community in Singapore and Indonesia. Judith now concentrates her efforts on promoting Southeast Asian artists in Los Angeles.

Judith studied French literature and history at the Sorbonne in Paris and holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations & Politics from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, in Brussels, as well as a Master’s Degree in Art Business from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the Drucker School of Management.

She speaks fluent German, French, and English, some Italian and basic Bahasar Indonesia.

Susanna Bixby Dakin
Emeritus

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.

Advisory Council

Laddie John Dill
Carolina Caycedo
April Banks
Guillermo Gomez-Pena
Yann Perreau
Andrea Bowers
Annette Miae Kim
Nao Bustamante
Alex Donis
Marcus Kuiland-Nazario
Dan Kwong
Te-Yuan “Mark” Chien
Jessica Cusick
Janine Arbelaez
Jan Williamson
Jonathan Aronson
Joan Abrahamson
Malindi Davies

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