Important Update Concerning COVID-19

The rapidly evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Countywide Safer at Home order, have necessitated a shift in the timeline and parameters of the 2020 Arts Internship Program.

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Students will have the opportunity to participate in monthly virtual activities lead by 17 different Peer Group Leaders. These spaces are meant to complement students’ experiences within their host organizations by allowing them to explore other facets of finding (or securing) a job, creating and maintaining an artistic practice, and more. Each event, led by a local arts professional, supports students in meeting other interns, building their network, and learning more about the arts ecology of the region. 

As part of the Arts Internship Program, students are required to attend at least one of these Peer Group events during their internship.

Additionally, in the fall we will be hosting our virtual Arts Summit, where all interns will be required to attend. More information about that will be released to interns at that time.

2020 Peer Groups are organized by theme, and interns will get monthly emails with sign-up details once internships begin. 

Below are the Peer Group Leaders for 2020, arranged by theme. Please click through each theme below to learn more.

 

Arts Education

Jennifer Fukutomi-Jones

Jennifer Fukutomi-Jones

Description: Join arts education leaders for a panel discussion on "How Does the System Work, and How Do We Change It?" Panelists will provide insight into the various aspects of how the education system works, and provide insight into how arts education is essential to a student’s whole education and learning.

Jennifer Fukutomi-Jones currently serves as Arts & Culture Administrator with the City of Glendale’s Library, Arts and Culture Department, and works directly with the Arts and Culture Commission to oversee programmatic initiatives of the Urban Art Program. Prior to working with the City of Glendale, Jennifer held previous roles with Arts for LA, Ford Theatre Foundation, The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, and LA Opera. Jennifer received her BA in American Literature and Culture with a minor in Theater from UCLA. She is also the mom to a rambunctious toddler, and enjoys watching classic films and indulging in Hot Cheetos.

Manuel Prieto

Manuel Prieto

Description: This Arts Education track will provide leadership development, networking, research, and tools that empower interns with models and tools to create equitable systems and strong policies which strengthen the arts education ecosystem. Through our time together, we will seek to understand and unify diverse stakeholders, including teaching artists, cultural and education sector leaders, the business community, parents, and young people, to create change in our community and beyond. During our session, we will develop skills in pedagogy, educational management, and curriculum building. Our goal is to prepare you to be marketable teaching artists by learning the soft and hard skills that will make you a desirable candidate and a successful teaching artist in the classroom.

Manuel Prieto is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Music and Art School (LAMusArt). LAMusArt’s mission is to provide all students regardless of their race, gender, socioeconomic status, and ability to engage and succeed in the arts. Under his leadership, LAMusArt has increased participation on its Board of Directors by 50%, increased opportunities for local students to enroll in tuition-free music ensemble programs by 75%, and created an advisory council of young professionals. Prior to joining LAMusArt, Prieto worked as a teaching artist and administrator with Center Theatre Group and as a designer for various major networks and regional theaters. Prieto holds a BFA from the University of Southern California in Theater Design with an emphasis on education and a MA in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University. Manuel currently serves as co-chair for the Emerging Leaders Council for Americans for the Arts.

Diana Rivera, Ph.D.

Diana Rivera

Description: What is Teaching Artistry?  How is it a relevant career in today's educational and social milieu?  In this two part ZOOM event, participants will get introduced to the ins-and-outs of teaching artistry. The first session (1 hour) includes: what is teaching artistry, what teaching artists do, what are they required to do, and resources for the field. The second session (1 hour) will be a panel of teaching artists who will speak to how they got started, the work they do and advice of the field. For both sessions, participants can interact by asking questions via ZOOM and participating via chat.

Diana Rivera, MA, PCC, Ph.D. is a Los Angeles based veteran teaching artist, certified coach, and psychotherapist who works with creative people on personal and professional matters. She has a Master’s degree in Psychology, specialization creativity studies, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She has worked as a teaching artist of the performing arts which means that she developed and taught original curricula to many well-known arts education organizations from San Francisco to Los Angeles for 20 years. You can learn about her coaching/facilitation business at: http://creativeempowermentcoaching.com/

Arts and Social Justice

Sandra De la Loza

Sandra De la Loza

Description: Understanding that large-scale social transformation is an on-going, intergenerational process, this session looks at the challenges and possibilities of creating change both within and outside of institutional structures. It explores practices of self care, community building, and pragmatic issues such as economic sustainability. Asking how we move justly toward social, institutional, and cultural transformation, artist, educator, and community organizer, Sandra de la Loza will share reflections, experiences, and strategies she has used within her own artistic practice, professional work and community mobilization efforts.

Sandra de la Loza is a visual artist, art educator, and community organizer who employs creative strategies to mobilize residents, reclaim public space, and co-produce decolonizing knowledge and practices to reshape the various social, cultural, and ecological landscapes we inhabit. Her work has been exhibited in major museums, alternative art spaces, and community centers internationally. She has taught at colleges and universities, artist-run schools, and community spaces. From 2019-2020 she was a Creative Strategist/Artist-in-Residence with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture. www.hijadela.net

Christie Rios

Christie Rios

Description: This peer group will explore the many ways Arts and Social Justice can be used as a form of community building and as a tool of personal expression. We will have special guest speakers within the dance, music, and theater communities who will share how they incorporate topics like race, education, gender, and equity into their art forms. We will virtually visit locations in East Los Angeles starting with Floricanto’s own space at the historic Casa del Mexicano, where visual arts and social justice merge with everyday life.

Christie Rios is Director of Programs for The Floricanto Center for the Performing Arts and assistant Director of Danza Floricanto/USA, one of the oldest Mexican folklorico companies in the US. Christie is a prolific choreographer who is inspired by the human condition and uses her voice to create dances on varied topics such as mental illness, brown lives matter, molecular biology, immigration, and motherhood…all while using the vocabulary of Mexican folk dance.

Sayon Syprasoeuth

Sayon Syprasoeuth

Description: "For the Peer Group, I will be doing the theme of Art & Social Justice through a panel discussion. The guest panelists will speak on what social justice means to them and how they have used art, advocate, or follow-through to make this happen. What challenges (if any) they have encountered and how did they resolve that. We will also talk about being real about making an income as an artist and navigating that space of art and business. The attendees can contribute by adding to the discussions and asking questions of the panelists. The panelists will be asked to bring their bio, art resources, and work samples to share.

With his Master of Fine Art, Sayon Syprasoeuth collages and images are reflective of his own journey as a Cambodian refugee—from his shocking exile from his childhood village on the Cambodian-Thai border, to his scary passage into Thailand countryside and his lost boyhood in a refugee camp where making art was his imagination safeguard—to his passage from his Buddhist-animist land to Christian America. His work holds fast his connection to the Cambodian spirit-enhancing land, cross-cultural dimensions, and his drive to animate Apsara and other essential images of beauty alongside the grotesque.

Alma Villegas

Alma Villegas

Description: Previously having served as a Peer Group Leader, I am pleased to lead LA County Summer 2020 interns interested in exploring our theme via the lens of Music and its accompanying visual components [record covers, concert posters, music videos, buttons, t-shirts, etc]. Specifically, we will listen to and discuss Music and Visual Art as catalysts for social change. For our first event, visual artist/writer Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca will present and discuss social justice issues as reflected in music created in Los Angeles - Jazz from the 1940’s [Nat King Cole and the Sleepy Lagoon/Zoot Suit benefit concerts], psychedelic rock of the 1960’s [Laurel Canyon scene, The Doors], Hip Hop from the 1980’s [N.W.A.] and now [Rage Against the Machine, Flying Lotus]. For our second event, art director/author Kevin Reagan will discuss his work designing album covers for rock and punk rock bands, as well as his book Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover. In this discussion, we will explore the ways in which popular music reflects on contemporary life and social change.

Alma Villegas joined artworxLA in 2010 and is the Director of Development and Communications. With a career marked by a focus in the arts and community impact, Alma has developed and overseen projects for Apple, Capitol Records and Warner Bros. At Geffen Records, she worked on artwork for now-classic albums by Nirvana and Sonic Youth. Her work in the Transportation sector include projects facilitating community support for Metro’s Purple Line Extension (DEIR & EIR). Alma is also Co-Founder and Business Director of chamanvision, a literary/arts studio, with husband Artist/Writer Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca.

A Career as an Artist

Charlie Jensen

Charlie Jensen

Description: Developing your career as an artist often includes side hustles, temp gigs, day jobs, parallel careers, and a whole slew of choices, compromises, and risks. This peer group will look at the aspirational visions and practical decisions artists must navigate to launch and sustain their creative work, no matter what other choices life forces upon them. Our gatherings will include guest speakers willing to share their experiences and expertise to help you determine how you can thrive in life while remaining creative and—to be blunt—paying your bills.

Charlie Jensen is the Program Director of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, the nation’s largest and most prestigious open enrollment creative writing program. He is the author of 2 poetry collections, 6 poetry chapbooks, and writes fiction and personal essays. He has been honored by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs as a 2019-2020 Cultural Trailblazer and received the 2018 Zócalo Poetry Prize.

Felicia Vann

Felicia Vann

Description: This Peer Group event will consist of a virtual activity to identify the interests, needs, and goals of each intern. From that activity, questions will be prepared for a virtual panel of established artists in the field. Panelists will share their journey and experiences surrounding the theme of "A Career as an Artist" and interns will have the opportunity to interact with each panelist in breakout sessions. The goal is to provide a space for interns to learn from one another and to start to develop their own network of arts professionals as it is anticipated that most interns will eventually pursue careers in the arts industry.

Felicia Vann has been dancing since the tender age of six. She has trained at Katnap Dance Center, The Edge Performing Arts Center, the California Dance Center, and the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics. In 1998, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in both Dance and Psychology from Loyola Marymount University and has worked with professional choreographers in the industry such as Denise Leitner, Cindre Che, Luretta McCray, Scott Hertzerling, and Eddie Garcia.

Aside from being the founder and lead choreographer for the Precision Dance Company, Incorporated, a 501c3 non-profit organization, Felicia has coached and choreographed for numerous high school dance and cheer teams across California including Bishop Montgomery High School where she currently coaches the Varsity Songleading Team. She has expanded her work to the music industry by contracting with Drop Soul Productions to choreograph for up and coming recording artists. Felicia’s choreography has also been featured in professional dance showcases for various dance studios and organizations. In addition to her choreography credits Felicia has performed with several professional dance companies and has been a part of several arts performances throughout California. Felicia has choreographed performances for several national business conventions in New Jersey, Atlanta, and Virginia, several opening performances for title pageants and has coordinated many local dance concerts featuring the Precision Dance Company.

Allison Wyper

Allison Wyper

Description: What does it REALLY TAKE to devote your life to being an artist? What can an art career look like? We’ll meet working artists, and folks who support them, and discover the strengths and skills we ALREADY HAVE that will help us live a sustainable creative life.

Allison Wyper is a performance artist and founder of Rhizomatic Arts, which supports career sustainability and cultivates community among independent artists. As Rhizomatic Studio, she produces and curates collaboratively-oriented performances and workshops in public and private spaces. Her performance works emphasize interactions between performer and viewer that encourage intimate exchange and critical solidarity, and have been seen across the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, online, and in unexpected public spaces around Los Angeles. Allison also moonlights as the Artists Knowledge Manager at the Center for Cultural Innovation. She has an MFA in Dance from UCLA, and a BA in Theatre Studies from Emerson College.

Theater

Brian Elerding

Brian Elerding

Description: LA has a thriving theater scene in and around the television and film industry. In this peer group we'll explore how to start off as actors, writers, and creators in film, theater, and television; we'll speak with theater makers, actors, writers, and others, and explore how to make a fulfilling career in the industry that has no road map.

Brian Elerding is the executive director of the Lineage Performing Arts Center, the Artistic Director of the Ensemble Shakespeare Theater, and a director and actor in film, theater, TV, and commercials. (IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1318793/)

 

Gia Inferrera-Jordahl

Gia Inferrera-Jordahl

Description: Is there a place for you in theater? In this peer group we will look at the various positions available in theater companies, and the function they serve. Whether your passion is social media, fashion, technology, construction, painting, hair and make-up, project management, choreography, design, or directing; there is a place for you to contribute. We will have a panel discussion with members of our extended theater family, and learn about their paths, the challenges they face, and the wisdom they have to share. Our goal is to give you some ideas of how you can get involved, and put you in touch with a variety of people working in our local theater scene.

Gia Jordahl is the producing artistic director for Torrance Theatre Company. She joined the City of Torrance Cultural Services Division in 1998, and was tasked with creating a theater program. In the last 20 years, she has produced over 90 productions in various theaters and venues throughout Torrance, coordinated theater classes, camps and workshops, organized outreach programs, and worked to keep the arts part of the conversation in the city. She has been involved with the Arts Internship Program as a supervisor for 10 years, and loves sharing her passion for theatre with the next generation of advocates and leaders. She is a native of the South Bay area, and a graduate of UCLA.

Debra Pasquerette

Debra Pasquerette

Description: Join Debra and members of The Wallis staff for a networking event to interact with representatives from various departments at the Wallis. Possible representatives would be artistic programming, arts education, production, marketing, and development.

Debra Pasquerette is the Manager of Community Engagement at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. She was previously the Director of Education at The Geffen Playhouse and has worked in the field for over 25 years. She is dedicated to bringing arts learning to diverse audiences and connecting community through the arts.

Entering the Job Market

Nina Crowe

Nina Crowe

Description: "How does one develop Emotional Intelligence for Life Success? This Peer Group interactive workshop will focus on the fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence. Melina Sardar M.A. CPLC will lead the group in activities that:

  • Broaden your understanding of how EI influences your overall behavior and daily performance.
  • Identify ways to communicate more effectively.
  • Prepare you to deal with conflict and difficult situations.

The goal of the workshop is to walk away with practical exercises to build and enhance interpersonal and soft skills for success in life.

Nina Crowe is Managing Director at Glendale Arts, the non-profit organization that powers the Alex Theatre. She oversees the fundraising and sponsorship efforts, community relations, strategic planning, and volunteer coordination for the Alex Theatre as well as Glendale Arts' community programs Taste Walk Glendale and the Open Arts & Music Festival.

 

Larry Laboe

Larry Laboe

Description: Entering the job market in the field of arts, culture, and entertainment can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. In this ZOOM session, you will meet with arts and entertainment professionals who will provide you with interview skills, a resume building workshop, and pipelines for identifying employment and building your network. We will focus on strengthening your social skills and online presence (LinkedIn, etc.) and provide you with a better understanding of the HR process and how to best represent yourself and your craft.

Larry Laboe is Co-Founder and Executive Director of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA), an organization committed to highlighting and connecting emerging filmmakers and storytellers worldwide. Larry is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and has been a Faculty Member at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and Art University in Shanghai and Beijing. He is a Board Member of the BRIC Foundation, a Committee Member of SAGindie and the Co-Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Entertainment, Arts and Media (TEAM) Committee. Larry's background in the entertainment industry spans over a decade as President of Production at SXM, a production company specializing in helping brands fuse entertainment, advertising, and technology. Larry has produced scripted and unscripted streaming series and commercials, directed by talent such as James Franco and Joseph Gordon Levitt, for some of the world’s leading brands, networks, and studios, including Disney, NBC, CBS, VEVO, Dailymotion, MTV, DEFY Media, Comedy Central, Verizon go90, Amazon, Complex Media, IKEA, Mountain Dew, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Smuckers.

Kristin Lorey

Kristin Lorey

Description: Entering the world of employment can be intimidating! This can be especially true for women, women-identifying people, and BIPOC. Join us as we talk with women from different backgrounds, cultures, and roles to hear about their journey of not just entering the job market, but how they've explored it since. Interns attending will have a chance to break into small groups with one of these women to have a more personal conversation. People of all identities and genders are welcome, though the conversation will be focused on challenges for women, women-identifying people, and BIPOC.

In her more than 10 years in Los Angeles, Kristin Lorey has spent all of them working in education and nonprofit spaces. Before joining Young Storytellers, Kristin worked at Invisible Children, 826LA, and Every Monday Matters, establishing various educational programs, providing professional development and growth opportunities, and building systems to support educators and staff members. In her spare time, Kristin loves to travel, lounge with her dog and cats, co-lead her womxn’s book club, and tend to her many (maybe too many) houseplants.

Mandy Matthews

Mandy Matthews

Description: This virtual workshop will focus on essential tools young adults need for entering the workforce and life beyond college. Interns will work closely with a variety of hiring managers to fine tune their resume, cover letter, and portfolio in order to build a stronger application for their next opportunity. Understanding networking best practices and how to authentically represent oneself will be another key takeaway from this workshop. Interns will have the chance to network with one another, professionals in the creative industry, and intern program alumni in order to build deeper relationships in their professional networks. Together, we will craft meaningful discussions where interns can walk away feeling ready to take the next leap on their journey.

Mandy Matthews is an arts marketer, educator, and leader grounded in making connections and building community. She has worked for Los Angeles-based arts organizations including the Arts Council for Long Beach, The Broad Stage, and currently American Youth Symphony. In 2017 she completed Arts for LA’s arts advocacy program, ACTIVATE and is a certified Social Emotional Learning Facilitator through UCLArts & Healing. Mandy has worked closely with college students and has a passion for empowering young people to discover their potential. She has experience with one-on-one coaching and facilitating professional development workshops at CSULB, SMC, and for the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program. Mandy is also a certified yoga instructor and enjoys leading yoga Teacher Trainings for adults in her free time.