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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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Paloma Nicholas
Public Engagement Associate

Paloma Nicholas is an arts educator and program curator born and raised in Los Angeles. After working in the UCLA Library of Special Collections as an undergrad, she discovered her love for working with primary sources and works of art. She has since worked with The Getty Center, The Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH), The Hammer Museum, and most recently as the Education Specialist at ESMoA. Paloma is passionate about arts equity, and has centered most of her work around creating diverse, inclusive, and accessible programming, with a particular interest in Spanish language programming.

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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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Melissa Anderson
Development Coordinator

Melissa Anderson-Vincent is an actor, writer, and all around creative who brings over 15 years of administrative, organizational, and customer service skills to her position. She has worked at non-profit organizations in the past such as, Theatre of Hearts/Youth First and Sustainable Works, and is excited to join the passionate team here at 18th Street Arts Center. She is a member of the Towne Street Theatre, the company in residence at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, and currently volunteers with ARRAY, the film distribution company founded by Ava DuVernay which focuses on amplifying the filmmaking voices of women and people of color.

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Jazmyn Beauchan
Director of Communications

Jazmyn is an arts professional, cultural worker and tropical fruit enthusiast with over 5 years of experience in nonprofit communications. Born in Hawaii, Jazmyn primarily grew up in Europe and the continental U.S., informing and sparking an early interest in communicating across cultures and lived experiences and lead to pursuing a degree in Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University. Both an arts patron and advocate, Jazmyn has dedicated her career to mission driven organizations working in the arts or social sector, including YoungArts, Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, Commissioner, Maven Leadership Collective and Sibling Leadership Network. She also provided key support on projects such as Artist Relief, an emergency grant fund created in April 2020 in response to the devastating impact on artists due to COVID-19. 

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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

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.

Susan Baik

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

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.

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.

Damien Bigot

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. 

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.

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