Kristin Sakoda is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, which provides grants and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, runs the largest arts internship program in the country, coordinates public-private arts education initiatives, supports creative career pathways, commissions civic artwork, produces free community programs, and advances cultural strategies to address civic issues across sectors.
As an arts executive, attorney, and former Broadway performing artist, Ms. Sakoda has over 20 years of experience in the cultural field. Prior to the Department of Arts and Culture, she served as Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, where she led a wide range of strategic, programmatic, legislative, and policy initiatives. During her tenure she was instrumental in diversity and inclusion, capital projects at cultural facilities, public art, creative aging, and affordable workspace for artists. She has appeared on national and international stages with the Urban Bush Women dance company, and musicals Rent (national tour) and Mamma Mia! (Broadway). She holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law where she received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award for Excellence in Entertainment Law, and a B.A. from Stanford University in American Studies with a specialization in Race and Ethnicity, and a secondary major in Feminist Studies.
Under her leadership, the Arts Commission will become the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture in 2019.
Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Kristin Friedrich oversees media and message strategy, social media, internal and external communications, and marketing, in order to amplify the Department of Arts and Culture's work in supporting arts and culture throughout Los Angeles County. Previously, she was an Editorial Manager and Director of Communications at the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, and an arts and culture writer at the Los Angeles Downtown News. Ms. Friedrich received a B.A. in English from UCLA, and a Master’s in Communication Management from USC. She volunteers most Saturdays at the Downtown Women’s Center.
Director of Grants and Professional Development
Anji Gaspar-Milanovic oversees the Organizational Grant Program, Community Impact Arts Grant Program, Arts Internship Program, professional development, special initiatives designed to increase the capacity of the arts sector and connecting regional arts funders. Prior to joining the Department of Arts and Culture in 2007, Ms. Gaspar-Milanovic worked in development at Saint Joseph Ballet and held several positions at the American Red Cross of Orange County, including Public Relations Specialist, Bilingual Public Information Officer and Disaster Services Caseworker. Fluent in several languages, she received a B.A. in Latin American Studies and French Literature from Lake Forest College and attended Vanderbilt University’s graduate program in Latin American Studies.
Director of Arts Education
Ms. Grande oversees the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, spearheading regional efforts to advance arts education for LA County’s 1.5 million public school students. This involves promoting a common agenda, shepherding a 200+ partner coalition that engages over 100 arts organizations and 70 school districts, guiding communications efforts and spearheading research to inform strategy and track progress. Previously, Ms. Grande was Director of Programs and Strategic Partnerships for the Metropolitan Opera Guild at Lincoln Center in New York, annually serving 160 schools across 7 states. During her 20 years at The Music Center in Los Angeles, she played a leadership role in arts education program design, implementation, research and evaluation. Ms. Grande received her BA from UCLA in dance and was a Coro Fellow through the California Arts Council’s Arts Leadership Fellow Program.
Director of Research and Evaluation
Bronwyn Mauldin oversees a Research and Evaluation team that utilizes data and social science methods to improve the Department of Arts and Culture’s work and strengthen the arts ecology. Ms. Mauldin has spent her career conducting applied research and evaluation for nonprofits, philanthropies and government. She also teaches research methods to graduate students in the arts administration program at Claremont Graduate University. Prior to coming to LACAC, Ms. Mauldin evaluated farmworker programs in California’s Central Valley, studied employment conditions for truck drivers in the Pacific Northwest, analyzed apprenticeship opportunities in the healthcare industry, served as a nonpartisan policy analyst in the Washington State House of Representatives and researched villager organizing in rural northeast Thailand. Ms. Mauldin has a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. She is also a novelist.
Director of Civic Art
Grace Ramirez Gaston is responsible for planning, developing and implementing what is becoming one of the largest public art programs in the country, with over 40 active projects, ranging in size from $10,000 to $1 million. The Civic Art Program, which began in 2005, allocates 1% of county capital projects for public art. The Director of Civic Art develops and articulates a broad vision for the program and oversees a team of project managers, a collections manager, a registrar and a program coordinator. A graduate of Rowan University with a degree in fine arts, Ms. Ramirez Gaston was the Deputy Director and Program Manager for the New York City School Construction Authority, Public Art for Public Schools Program.