The San Francisco Arts Commission is an agency of the City and County of San Francisco. Our work is overseen by the Director of Cultural Affairs and members of the Arts Commission all of whom are appointed by the Mayor.
To reach the Director of Cultural Affairs or individual commissioners directly, email Commission Secretary Sharon Page Ritchie or call (415) 252-2256.
Tom DeCaigny is the Director of Cultural Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco. As the Director of Cultural Affairs, he oversees the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), the $24 million City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts sector, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Before being appointed Director of Cultural Affairs by Mayor Ed Lee in 2012, Mr. DeCaigny was an independent consultant and strategist in the fields of arts and culture, youth development and education. He served nine years as Executive Director of Performing Arts Workshop, a San Francisco-based organization dedicated to helping marginalized young people develop critical thinking, creative expression and essential learning skills through the arts. Prior to being an Executive Director, he helped found an arts middle school for youth in the juvenile justice system, managed the AIDS Memorial Quilt’s National Youth Education Program and conducted research for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
Mr. DeCaigny currently serves on the Executive Committee of the United States Urban Arts Federation and on the Program Committee for the World Cities Culture Forum. He has appeared on CNN International and was invited to present at the first-ever UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education. His prior board service includes: Two terms as Board Co-Chair of LYRIC, an LGBTQQ youth community center in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood; terms as Board Secretary and Treasurer for the California Alliance for Arts Education; Secretary of the SFUSD Arts Education Master Plan Advisory Committee; Host Committee Co-Chair of the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s 2010 annual conference; Steering Committee Chair for Making Art, Making Change, a conference dedicated to examining the relationship between art and social change; and current service as Host Committee Co-Chair for the 2017 Americans for the Arts convention in San Francisco. Mr. DeCaigny has a B.A. degree in Dramatic Arts from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and currently resides in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood.
Executive and Visual Arts Committees
JD Beltran is a conceptual artist, filmmaker, and writer whose artwork explores the contexts, language, and scope of portraiture. Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally, including at the Walker Art Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen in New York, the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Singapore Digital Mediafest, Cité des Ondes Vidéo et Art Électronique in Montreal, Canada, the Biennale for Electronic Arts in Perth, Australia, and both the 2006 and 2008 ZeroOne San Jose New Media Biennials. She was awarded a San Jose Cultural Commission Grant for a public art project exhibiting in the streets of San Jose from October 2007 through Spring 2009, and an Individual Artist Commission from the city of San Francisco for a public art project exhibited in March 2009. Her San Jose public art project garnered an award as one of the most outstanding public art projects in the country by the Public Art Network. She also was awarded a Lucas Fellowship and Montalvo Arts Center Residency in 2009, an Artadia grant in 1999, and residencies at both the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe, as well as in Art in America, ArtNews, the New Art Examiner, and Art Papers. She writes a blog column on art and culture for SFGate.com, the online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, and is faculty in the New Genres, Film, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Studies, and Urban Studies Programs at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Executive and Community Arts, Education and Grants Committee
Born and raised in San Francisco, Roberto Ordeñana has worked in community development and social justice for close to 20 years, centering the arts in much of this work. In almost 10 years as the Director of Community Programs at the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, the innovative programs he managed provided emerging artists opportunities to show their work, served homeless and marginally housed LGBT youth, and provided health and wellness programs to LGBT adults. Currently he serves as the Center’s Director of Development. Prior to working at the Center, while at the STOP AIDS Project in San Francisco, he managed peer-led youth HIV-prevention programs which included experimental documentary-making and community-organizing projects. Roberto has served on the LGBT Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and as president of the Board of Directors at Bay Area Young Positives. In 2012, Roberto was appointed by Mayor Edwin M. Lee to serve as City Commissioner on the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Executive and Community Arts, Education and Grants Committees
Charles M. Collins is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of San Francisco. The YMCA offers dozens of programs and services for over 183,000 children and adults in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties. Mr. Collins was appointed chair of the Mayor’s Physical Activities Council by Mayor Gavin Newsom; he is currently co-chair of Shape Up SF, and a member of the National Public Policy Committee of the YMCA of the USA. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the California State Alliance of YMCAs.
From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Collins served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Family Service Agency of San Francisco (FSA/SF). From 1983 to 2002, Mr. Collins was President and Chairman of WDG Ventures, Inc., and its affiliated companies which are engaged in the investment and development of commercial and residential real estate. In February 2012, Mr. Collins was appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee to the San Francisco Arts Commission. He is Chairman Emeritus of the San Francisco Art Institute and former Senior Vice Chairman of the National Urban League. He is a board member of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the Governance Committee.
Mr. Collins received his Bachelor of Arts with honors from Williams College, his Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Juris Doctor from the Harvard Law School.
Executive and Street Artist Committees
Simon J. Frankel, a San Francisco native, is a lawyer and teacher. He is a partner in the San Francisco office of Covington & Burling LLP, where his practice focuses on copyright and trademark litigation, technology and privacy disputes, and legal issues related to visual art. He has handled a wide range of disputes concerning art, including cultural property claims, title disputes, moral rights claims, and resale royalties. In addition, he has advised museums, auction houses, dealers, and artists on intellectual property, ownership, and other legal issues. Mr. Frankel is a frequent speaker on copyright and art law issues and has taught classes on art and the law at numerous law schools since 1995; he is currently a lecturer-in-law at Stanford Law School. Mr. Frankel is also an experienced mediator and a member of the Northern District of California’s Alternative Dispute Resolution panel. He and his wife, Courtney Weaver, and their three children live in the Richmond District of San Francisco. Mr. Frankel was appointed to the San Francisco Arts Commission on March 22, 2013.
Civic Design Review and Visual Arts Committees
Dorka Keehn is an award winning artist and the Principal of Keehn On Art, a public art advisory. In 2014, Dorka completed her second collaboration with artist Brian Goggin on a permanent site-specific artwork, Caruso’s Dream, commissioned by Avalon Bay for their new residential highrise, AVA 55 Ninth Street, San Francisco. Their previous collaboration, The Language of the Birds, the first solar powered public sculpture, was voted one of the best public artworks in the U.S. by Americans for the Arts. Dorka also led the fundraising effort for The Bay Lights, an $8 million dollar 25,000 LED light installation by artist Leo Villareal for the Bay Bridge, which was unveiled in 2013. She is a founding board member of ArtCare.
Dorka is the Co-Founder and Co-chair of Emerge America, a Founding Board Member of Ignite, on the Board of Motion Theater Institute, and on the Advisory Boards of the Crucible and the Black Rock Arts Foundation.
Executive and Community Arts, Education and Grants Committees
Performing Arts (Dance)
Sherene Melania is an accomplished performing artist, choreographer and arts educator. From Harvard University, she holds a Master of Arts in Education; she has also earned a Certificate of Ballet Direction Specialty and Choreography from the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, and a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from the University of San Francisco in Performing Arts and Social Justice, where she received the Dean’s Medal for Excellence in the Arts.
As the Artistic Director of Presidio Performing Arts Center, a premiere cultural institution in America’s only urban National Park, Sherene directs Presidio Dance Theatre, an acclaimed multigenerational dance company, and she oversees its community programming, which presents a wide variety of public performances, workshops, and seminars at home and abroad. Her award-winning arts education programs, DANCE OUT! and Children’s Day at the War Memorial Opera House, offer thousands of children free afterschool dance classes and performances.
Commissioner Melania has choreographed for dance companies at home and in Europe, and presented for the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and PBS. Her work has been recognized by the press nationally in Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher, and internationally broadcast. Having excelled in artistic creation and innovative forms of cultural preservation, Sherene has received a “Certificate of Honor” in recognition of outstanding achievements in the arts from the City and County of San Francisco, and also a “Proclamation of Honor” from Stanislaus County for her Assyrian cultural preservation and humanitarian work. She is fluent in English, French, and Russian.
Executive and Community Arts, Education and Grants Committees
Abby Sadin Schnair is an architectural photographer with over 25 years of experience. Her photography has been published in Architect magazine, Architectural Digest and Architectural Record. She has had several showings of her work at various galleries and museums.
After receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Abby co-founded the first women-owned professional architectural photography studio in Chicago. For sixteen years she photographed architecture and interiors for a national and international clientele. In 1994, Abby relocated to San Francisco, where she consulted for the design community in digital imaging. Abby transitioned from her consulting practice in 2003 to focus full time on her own fine art photography.
Abby currently serves on the board of A.C.T. and is chair of the A.C.T. MFA Conservatory board. She has organized and sponsored events for Greenbelt Alliance, and she and her husband are sponsors of SPUR. Past nonprofit leadership includes serving on the boards of Drew School for ten years, Mary Meyer School and LaSalle Language Academy in Chicago, and Parent’s Coalition of Bay Area High Schools.
Community Arts, Education and Grants and Street Artist Committee
Performing Arts (Music)
Marcus Anthony Shelby is an accomplished teacher, composer, arranger, and bassist who currently lives in San Francisco, California. Over the past 20 years, he has built a diverse biography. From 1990-1996, Shelby was bandleader of Columbia Records and GRP Impulse! Recording Artists Black/Note and is currently the Artistic Director and leader of The Marcus Shelby Orchestra, The Marcus Shelby Hot 7, and the The Marcus Shelby Trio. Mr. Shelby was awarded a 2009 Black Metropolis Research Consortium Fellowship in Chicago for summer 2009 to conduct research for his commission to compose “Soul of the Movement.” He was also a 2006 Fellow in the Resident Dialogues Program of the Committee for Black Performing Arts at Stanford University to conduct research for his commission to compose “Harriet Tubman.” Mr. Shelby also has had the honor of arranging for and conducting the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Ledisi, performing and recording with Tom Waits, and receiving the City Flight Magazine 2005 award as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area.” As the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus Scholarship, Mr. Shelby’s studies include work under the tutelage of composer James Newton and legendary bassist Charlie Haden. He is also very active in music education and currently teaches at Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco, and at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University.
Community Arts, Education and Grants and Street Artist Committees
Performing Arts/Literary Arts
Janine Shiota is a producer, writer, and project coordinator working within performing arts and entertainment. A San Francisco native with a background in traditional theater, film, and writing, her projects have often blurred boundaries between the disciplines; blending visual arts, dance, poetry, film, music, sculpture, photography, technology and design, sprinkled with philanthropy and social engagement.
Her work has spanned community partnerships with an array of non-profits, educational, and philanthropic organizations including Summer Search, EARN, BayCat, Operation Rainbow, Friends of TOMS, HRC, SFAF, EQCA, TNDC, TARC, STOP Aids Project, BAVC, SF Pride Organization, National AIDS Memorial Grove, Youth Speaks, PFLAG, BCEF, AEF, AIDS Lifecycle, Soulforce Ride, LGBT Center SF, Horizons Foundation, Academy of Friends, and work with organizations including XPrize Foundation, TNDC, JDV Hospitality, San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, Maker Faire, and TED via locally produced and curated TEDxPresidio. With endeavors recognized by the SF Mayor’s Office and the CA State Assembly for community outreach, Janine looks forward to continual service to the city of San Francisco.
Street Artists and Visual Arts Committees
Barbara Sklar has painted for the past 38 years, full time since 1989. She studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art, 1961-1964, and later at UC Berkeley and the Art Students League, New York. In 1991-1995, she was the only American to attend the Royal Watercolor Society’s annual workshops for professionals. She has studied sculpture, photography, and ceramic privately in Italy. Her works, which have been shown in New York, San Francisco, Washington, Northern California, Rome and Florence, are in public, corporate and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. Ms. Sklar has served on review panels for the California Arts Council and various foundations and the San Francisco Arts Commission, the New York Foundation of the Arts Board, and the Arts in Embassies Millennium Committee. Ms. Sklar also worked for the Cultural Office of the former USIS in Washington and Sarajevo.
Ms. Sklar, who has a Masters in Planning and Administration from Case Western Cleveland, Ohio, is also a gerontologist and from 1974-1989 her professional experience included serving as the Director of Geriatric Services for the Hospital Consortium of San Mateo County, the Director of Center for Aging & Planning for Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. She served on the Board of Meals-on-Wheels, Family Services Agency, the Council of International Programs, the National Council on Aging and was the Founder and a Board Member of the National Institutes of Adult Day Care and Community-Based Long Term Care.
Civic Design Review Committee
Lydia is a licensed architect with 16 years experience. She held a design management position at Apple, had a nine years experience as an Associate at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill honing her design skills and trailblazing the technical aspects of architecture practice historically dominated by men. She practiced architectural design under Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Her global experience includes some of the world’s tallest buildings, most advanced life science buildings and the world’s first all glass spiral staircase.
Civic Design Review Committee
Kimberlee Stryker is a landscape architect and community activist who has lived in San Francisco for nearly 25 years. Ms. Stryker has researched and authored topics related to historic garden design, including “Listening to the Gardens of Hue, Vietnam,” presented as an oral history to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco through a Graham Foundation grant; “Historic Garden and Modern Sculpture at the Villa Celle, Italy” for the Public Art Review; and “The Modern Gardens of Pietro Porcinai” published in Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.
Ms. Stryker is an instructor at U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, teaching a course in Sustainable Cities and Landscapes. Committed to the ethic of community participation as a means to ecological and democratic sustainability, Ms. Stryker encourages community involvement through active engagement in political processes and through design that requires community dialog. She believes urban design can and should include ecologically balanced systems within cities to provide environments that enable everyone to enjoy safe and healthy neighborhoods.
Civic Design Review
Paul is a Senior Vice President and Design Principal for HOK’s San Francisco studio and is responsible for some of the firm’s most innovative and creative buildings. He is a recognized industry leader, whose work has focused on being a design catalyst for helping people rethink the relationship between themselves and their environments. Named Outstanding Young Architect of the Year in 2003 by the AIA, Paul has been responsible for design leadership on several of HOK’s most complex, innovative and sustainable buildings and environments. As Design Principal, he is responsible for all aspects of the design process, leading interdisciplinary teams comprised of architects, engineers, planners, interior designers and landscape architects. His diverse portfolio includes civic and institutional buildings; corporate and commercial buildings; educational facilities; research facilities; hospitals; aviation/transportation facilities; and museums; and they have been honored with numerous regional, national and international awards.