Karen Mack, Executive Director
Karen Mack has spent close to 20 years developing and implementing successful programs aimed at addressing important issues in the city. Following stints at California Council for the Humanities and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, she joined Community Partners in 1995 to support nonprofit entrepreneurs in turning their dreams of community service into reality. After serving in the role of Vice President, Program Development, Planning and Outreach for this organization, she left in 2001 to found LA Commons, based on her own dream of building sustainable, effective social networks in Los Angeles that cross boundaries of race, class and geography. Ms. Mack holds an MPA from Harvard University and an MBA from UCLA. She is president of the board of Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) and an appointed member of the Los Angeles Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.
Beth Peterson, Community Arts Program Director
Beth Peterson has worked for twenty years organizing and conducting community art projects, residencies and workshops in schools and communities first in Minnesota, and then for the past seven years throughout the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. As the Associate Artistic Director and Interim Artistic Director of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota she created puppet shows, pageants and parades with communities and developed programs such as the Art Bus in which teens were paid through summer youth employment to write, design build and tour shows in the summer with giant puppets, masks and stilts. In Los Angeles she is the LA Commons Director of Community Arts Programs and has organized eighteen public arts projects in six neighborhoods involving youth, professional artists, High Schools and Community Partner organizations. She also serves as a Master Puppet and Mask Teaching Artist for the Music Center of Los Angeles County, where she is currently involved as an arts mentor to five teacher teams in Culver City and is an adjunct faculty at Antioch University teaching approaches to Integrating Arts into school curriculums. Ms. Peterson brings extensive experience in arts organizing and mentorship and a commitment to the power of arts in the life of individuals and in the revitalization of community.