MISSION

Engage communities in artistic and cultural expressions that tell their unique stories and serves as a basis for dialogue, interaction and a shared understanding of Los Angeles. Through community-based arts programs, centered on youth leadership development, we help diverse, generally low-income neighborhoods create dynamic works of public art that build community connection and empowerment. 

At the foundation of our work is a desire to further opportunity for everyone, recognizing that communities require support to make their places more just, healthy, and livable. 

Because discrimination has been a key factor in creating the challenges faced by our neighborhoods, promoting equity is integral to all that we do. 

Through collaboration with local partners who have built deep wells of trust, we leverage art and cultural approaches to create positive change. 

PEOPLE

have the power to help meet the challenges facing our neighborhoods, through our sense of connectedness with the place and each other.

Culture 

is an essential community resource. All communities possess local knowledge and local assets.

Artists

have a leadership role to play in community development. Art is a powerful tool, to share stories and create change.

Youth

are vital participants in community development processes, their energy, hope, and creativity transcend the limitations of the past to envision new futures.

Meet our Staff
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Karen Mack

Founder and Executive Director

Karen Mack is a life long resident of Los Angeles and spent her early years growing up in Compton before moving to the current LA neighborhood of Miracle Mile. She decided to start LA Commons after her work in the civic sector revealed the challenge of building a sense community the city and her deep belief that art has the power to address this challenge. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University where she studied the role of culture in community building and is a former Vice President of Community Partners, LA Commons' fiscal sponsor. She brings her focus on issues of civic engagement and creative placekeeping to her role as an appointed member of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.

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Beth Peterson

Community Arts Programs Director

Beth Peterson is the LA Commons Director of Community Arts Programs and has organized over 65 public arts projects in 13 neighborhoods successfully involving youth, professional artists, high schools and community partner organizations in diverse neighborhoods. She serves as a Master Puppet and Mask Teaching Artist for the Music Center of Los Angeles County and LA Arts, and as puppet and mask artist at venues and celebrations throughout the region. In addition, she serves as an adjunct faculty member at Antioch University teaching approaches to integrating arts into school curriculum for the Masters of Education Program.

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Leslie Tamaribuchi

Strategy and Operations Director

Leslie has championed arts and cultural equity as a strategist, teacher, producer and administrative leader in Los Angeles for over 25 years. As Managing Director and ensemble member at Cornerstone Theater Company she produced participatory theater projects with partners in Boyle Heights, Pacoima, Watts and Chinatown, and led a $1.5 million capital campaign for sustainability. At California Institute of the Arts she served on the faculty of the School of Theater, teaching cultural policy and fundraising for the expanded field, and serving as Associate Dean and faculty Co-Director for Equity and Diversity. A founding member of the boards of Watts Village Theater Company and Los Angeles Performance Practice, she serves on the national board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters and as an advisor to the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project. She holds an MPA from the Kennedy School and studied as a Mombusho Fellow at Kyoto University.

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Maeve Atkinson

Development and Campaign Coordinator

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Maeve is passionate about increasing participation in the arts to share stories and connect with neighbors throughout our local communities. She previously organized the participatory art project Hostile Terrain 94 - Undocumented Migration Project at St. Olaf College and worked within Rolvaag Library to conduct education outreach and curate exhibits. She currently works as the Development and Campaign Coordinator at LA Commons.

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Sandi Garcia

Communications & Program Coordinator

Sandi Garcia is the Program and Communications Coordinator for LA Commons. Prior to this role, she worked as the youth mentor for the USC/EXPO projects for three years. Garcia has developed and implemented strategies to generate higher youth and community involvement in our programs. Her involvement with LA Commons began as a youth artist back in 2011. Garcia formerly worked with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, EXPO Center and Power 106. Garcia holds a bachelor degree in Journalism and Recreation from California State University, Long Beach.

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Erika Cabrera-Moriyama

Arts Program Manager

My name is Erika Cabrera-Moriyama and I have over 15 years of experience administering programs. As a first generation Latinx, I am committed to working towards equity in our communities. I have a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration with two certificates in Employee/Employer Relations and Public Management Analysis and a Master’s in Art History.

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Jackie Hernandez

Community Arts Organizer

Jackie Hernandez is a Visual Artist born and raised in Los Angeles. They began working as an Associate Artist for the USC/EXPO Mental Health Awareness Project with LA Commons and are now working as a Community Arts Organizer. They have graduated from California State University, Long Beach with their B.A. in Studio Art. Jackie works with various mediums of art such as painting, printmaking, animation, digital illustration and murals.

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Hannah Dominica Chua

Operations Specialist

Hannah Dominica Chua (she/they) is a fourth year undergraduate student, pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in World Arts and Cultures and Pilipino Studies at UCLA. Their passions lie at the nexus of arts activism, community advocacy, and youth empowerment. As an organizer and cultural worker within the Pilipinx community, she is a firm believer in the transformative potential of the arts as instrument for critical, social and political change. They have experience in program management, curriculum building, and leadership development at the collegiate level. In their free time, they enjoy listening to comprehensive video essays about strange and obscure phenomena.

Meet our Board
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Todd Becraft
Attorney at Law - Office of Todd Becraft, Los Angeles

Todd Becraft is the First Vice Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Immigration Section Executive Committee and the Asylum co-liaison for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Southern California Chapter. He is a former associate of the Law Office of Judith L. Wood and the Human Rights Project. He has extensive experience representing clients in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Court.

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Autumn Breon Williams
Curator and Contemporary African Art Dealer

Autumn Breon Williams brokers art for artists and collectors in Europe, Africa, and the States. She works to reimagine a global narrative of Africa through the lenses of education and art. A graduate of Stanford University, Autumn studied Aeronautics and Astronautics and researched aeronautical astrobiology applications for NASA. After recognizing disparities in access to education opportunity, she founded STEMgineers Shifting Gears, a STEM-focused after school, tutoring, and summer program based in Watts. Her work to further the dialogue on educational equity led to her frequent travels to the African continent and re-introduction to contemporary art. Autumn Breon now works as an art advisor specializing in contemporary art and contemporary African art, curating and brokering art in Europe, Africa, and the States. Her work has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, Aspen Institute, TED, the Obama Foundation, and LA Magazine.

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Tammy Brown
Director - Community Marketing and Engagement, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Tammy Brown is a media and entertainment executive with expertise in marketing, sales and promotion in television, publishing and digital media services who has served in senior-level leadership positions at the globally known brands of Disney, ESPN and Fox. As part of the creative marketing, sales and promotions teams at Nickelodeon, Marvel Comics, DC Comics and Ballantine Books, Tammy created B2B and B2C programs across multiple types of media from digital to video to print. Tammy held positions in content marketing and entertainment digital services marketing at digital content delivery market leaders Vubiquity and Technicolor. As a marketing consultant, Tammy has created and managed social media programs and digital advertising for a number of clients in the health and fitness and film/visual effects fields.  Tammy graduated from the City University of New York – Queens College with a BA in Communications/Media Studies.

Glenn R. Gatien
Operational, Administrative and Financial Executive 

Glenn Gatien is a seasoned operational, administrative, and financial executive with a long history in the media and entertainment industry.  He served most recently as a Senior Vice President, Finance & Controller in the cable stations group of ViacomCBS.  Mr. Gatien has held executive management positions at Lionsgate, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.  As a financial operations and diligence consultant, he has provided consulting support to a variety of media and other enterprises, including Disney Consumer Products.  He began his career at Price Waterhouse and is a Certified Public Accountant.  Mr. Gatien graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Claremont McKenna College, earning a BA degree in Economics-Accounting / Psychology.

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Susan Gray
Consultant

Susan F. Gray is an independent consultant with 25+ years’ experience in the development of innovative arts and cultural initiatives in a range of government, non-profit and private sector settings and working with emerging, mid career and established artists. Formally trained as an artist, Susan is able to apply design thinking to creatively respond to any assignment, with proven ability to plan, direct and deliver complex curatorial & organizational initiatives to enhance urban communities. Project stakeholders have included public utility authorities, affordable housing developers, incarcerated youth, indigenous populations, and those impacted by mass transit construction. Susan is proud to have initiated several major projects with LA Commons.

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Annette Kim
Associate Professor and Director of SLAB, USC Price School of Public Policy
 

Annette M. Kim is an artist, researcher, and educator. She founded and directs SLAB which experiments with spatial ethnography and critical cartography in order to re-see the city. Her video installations have been shown internationally. She is also Associate Professor at USC’s Price School of Public Policy where she helped found the RAP collective around race, arts, and placemaking. She received a Ph.D. in city and regional planning, M.A. in visual studies from the University of California, Berkeley, a master in public policy from Harvard University, and a bachelor's degree in studio art and architecture from Wellesley College.

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Anne M. Shah
Senior Manager of Environmental Services, Southern California Edison

Anne M. Shah currently manages a team of environmental professionals in Southern California Edison (SCE)'s Environment Services department. In her role at SCE she and her team provide environmental compliance support for infrastructure maintenance, renewable energy, and grid electrification projects. She collaborates closely with state and federal regulatory agencies to identify least-impact solutions to natural resources. Outside of work, Anne serves is a long-standing member of the LA Commons board and is an Advisory Board Member for Genesis LA Economic Growth Corporation. Prior to earning her Masters in Urban Planning at UCLA, Anne spent eight years working in the commercial real estate sector for Arthur Andersen and Standard & Poor’s. She received her B.A. in Economics from Occidental College, Los Angeles.

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Bill Parent
Retired Associate Dean, UCLA School of Public Affairs
Bill Parent is Associate Dean for Initiatives and Programs at the UCLA School of Public Affairs.  He currently oversees custom research, conference, and executive education initiatives, the UCLA Center for Civil Society and the Center for Community Partnerships. He teaches Leadership in the Public Interest in the Department of Public Policy.  He previously served as Associate Dean for Advancement and Assistant Dean overseeing the Policy Form at the school.  Before coming to UCLA, Bill was on the senior staff of the Harvard Kennedy School for 14 years, and served as executive director Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government Program, the largest single-grant program of the Ford Foundation. He was also Teaching Fellow in Harvard College. A former newspaper reporter and public school administrator, Bill worked in the Paterson, New Jersey, and New York City school systems and wrote for The Register and Cape Codder newspapers in Massachusetts. He was also writer/editor in the California Office of Appropriate Technology under former Governor Jerry Brown. He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has published articles in Urban Age, The Washington Post, New England Monthly, and The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, New Perspectives Quarterly, and writes the annual chapter on state political challenges in California Policy Options. 

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Emily Rangel

Artist

Emily Rangel is LA Commons' first ever youth artist board member. She is currently majoring in psychology and sociology at Long Beach City College and ultimately wants to study transpersonal therapy at Naropa University in Colorado, and continue to use her creative talents for the greater good. 

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Maria Rosario Jackson
PhD, Senior Advisor/Professor - Kresge Foundation Detroit, MI and Arizona State University, AZ

Maria Rosario Jackson is an expert in the fields of urban planning, comprehensive community revitalization and arts and culture and was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by President Obama.  Jackson is senior advisor to the arts and culture program at the Kresge Foundation. She was also recently appointed as a professor at Arizona State University and was director of the Culture, Creativity and Communities Program at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based national public policy research organization for 18 years. There, she led research on measuring cultural vitality and the role of arts and culture in community revitalization, the development of art spaces, and also research on support systems for artists.  Jackson earned a PhD in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master of public administration degree from the University of Southern California.

LA Commons is supported by the following organizations: 
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LA County Board of Supervisors, 2nd Dist

Celebrating 20 Years
#CreatingCulturalConnections