Staff

Click to view bios:

Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs

Before coming to the Arts Commission, Tom DeCaigny was an independent consultant, strategist and facilitator with over fifteen years of leadership experience in the fields of arts and culture, youth development and education. He has worked nationally on projects related to program evaluation and improvement, policy development, fundraising strategy, governance and organizational innovation. He founded Canopy Consulting in 2010 and was also a Senior Consultant with The Improve Group based in Minnesota. Mr. DeCaigny previously 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 basic learning skills through the arts. While at The Workshop, he led three U.S. Department of Education research projects examining the impact of the arts on educationally disadvantaged youth; organized broad-based coalitions to advocate at the local, state and national levels for the role of the arts in improving public education; and managed the sustained growth of the Workshop’s annual revenue despite the economic downturn—from $529K in FY 2003 to $1.4 million in FY 2011. He has presented extensively on promising practices in program and organizational management as well as on intergenerational and emergent leadership in the independent sector.Prior to his role as Executive Director, he managed The Workshop’s Robeson and Rivera Academy, an arts-intensive middle school and treatment program for repeat juvenile offenders. He has also managed the AIDS Memorial Quilt’s Namtional Youth Education Program, served as Director of Actor Training for the University of Minnesota’s Adolescent Actors Teaching Project, and conducted research for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. He is a 2007 alumnus of the LeaderSpring fellowship program and a current member of the LeaderSpring Dialogue Series, an initiative dedicated to exploring the role of social benefit organizations in society. He has appeared on CNN International and was invited to present at the first-ever UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal.He currently serves on the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Board of Directors and statewide Policy Council. His prior board service includes two terms as Board Co-Chair of LYRIC, an LGBTQQ youth community center in San Francisco; 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 in San Francisco; and Steering Committee Chair for Making Art, Making Change, a 2006 conference dedicated to examining the relationship between art and social change. Mr. DeCaigny has a B.A. degree in Dramatic Arts from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

Rachelle Axel, Director of Public and Private Partnerships

Rachelle Axel serves as the Director of Public and Private Partnerships for the Arts Commission. Previously, she was the Arts Education Officer at this agency, where she served as Project Director for the Arts Education Funders Collaborative and sat on the steering committees for the Arts Providers Alliance of San Francisco and the SFUSD Arts Education Master Plan. Before joining the Arts Commission, Rachelle served as the Director of Development and Communication for Youth Radio, a youth development and media production agency.

Cece Carpio, SFAC Galleries Manager

Cece Carpio is an experienced arts administrator as well as a working visual artist. Most recently she was a Program Manager at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, where she worked on over 250 events annually. Cece’s incredibly diverse depth of knowledge and boundless energy will be an asset to the SFAC Galleries.

Mary Chou, Project Manager Public Art Program

Mary Chou earned a BA in Art History and Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999, and an MA in Modern Art and Curatorial Studies, with an emphasis in public art, from Columbia University in 2003. She has interned at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Art:21, and the Public Art Fund. She has worked at the Asia Society Museum as a coordinator of interpretive materials and as a freelance editor, and contributed biographies to Grove Art Online.

Allison Cummings, Senior Registrar Civic Art Collection

Allison Cummings serves as the Senior Registrar for the Civic Art Collection, bringing 11 years’ experience in art registration and collections management within modern and contemporary art museums. She oversees the care and maintenance of the 3,500 artworks in San Francisco’s collection, which includes public monuments and murals, contemporary public art installations, and a significant portable collection of paintings, works on paper, ceramics and jewelry. In addition to her work with public art, Ms. Cummings maintains a particular interest in the care of contemporary and ephemeral materials, and was a founding member of Media Matters, a multi-institutional consortium working towards defining best practices for the care of time-based media art. Formerly with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, she joined the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2007. She holds degrees in Art History and Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

Anh Thang Dao-Shah, ACLS Program Fellow Community Investments

Anh Thang Dao-Shah joins the Arts Commission staff as an ACLS Program Fellow in Policy and Evaluation. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity with a focus on Asian American culture at University of Southern California. Prior to joining the Arts Commission, she served as development manager at the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) in San Francisco, as well a lecturer at two leading art colleges in the Bay Area.

Marcus Davies, Project Manager Public Art Program

Bio to come.

Jennifer Doyle Crane, Program Associate Public Art Program

Jenn Doyle Crane joined the department of the Civic Art Collection and Public Art Program in 2012 with 15 plus years’ experience of fine arts collection and special projects management. She has coordinated numerous traveling international exhibits; implemented institutional and private collection databases, instilling registration and database management procedures; and managed multi-million dollar collections. Clients have included both private and public institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Studio Museum of Harlem, Sonoma County Museum, San Francisco galleries as well as private collectors and artist’s estates. Since 2010, she has also served on the SFAC Galleries Advisory Board, where she has helped conceive, produce and promote public programs in conjunction with the Galleries current exhibitions. In her spare time, she curates and promotes events for up and coming Bay Area artists.

Cristal Fiel, Program Associate Community Investments

Cristal Fiel is an arts administrator, writer and artist with a bachelors degree in Ethnic Studies and Sociology from UC Berkeley. She was formerly the Editor in Chief of Maganda Magazine, a literary and arts magazine and organization at UC Berkeley where she discovered her passion to work in the arts field. She has served as administrative coordinator and later board member of the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA). Her mixed media artwork has been exhibited with AAWAA, including their ongoing project, A Place of Her Own. In 2013, she participated in Bindlestiff Studio’s Stories High theatre production (a series of workshops that aim to foster new talent, expand artists’ skills and champion fresh perspectives) as a playwright. Cristal also dabbles in radio-making and had the honor to work with local public radio station KALW 91.7FM as a producer on the Sights and Sounds of Bayview, a joint project with KALW and SFAC with funding support from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Recently, she participated in the prestigious VONA/Voices multi-genre writing workshop for emerging writers of color.

Gisela Insuaste, Program AssociateCommunity Investments

Gisela Insuaste is an artist, educator, and cultural worker. As a Brooklyn transplant, she loves exploring the San Francisco Bay Area on bike, and making sculptures and drawings inspired by urban and natural spaces. Recently, she managed art, nature, and wellness programs at Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx. She has many years experience working in cultural organizations in Chicago, Washington DC, and New York, including the Smithsonian Institute, Columbia College Chicago, the History Museum of Chicago, and El Museo del Barrio in NY. She holds a BA in anthropology and studio art from Dartmouth College and an MFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jackie Im, Galleries Associate

Jackie Im is a curator and writer based in Oakland, CA. She has organized exhibitions at the Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art, the Walter and McBean Galleries at SFAI, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Queens Nails, The Lab, and MacArthur B Arthur. Her writing has appeared in Fillip Magazine, Art Practical, Curiously Direct, and various exhibition catalogues. She holds a BA in Art History from Mills College and a MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts. She is currently the co-director of Et al., a gallery in San Francisco’s Chinatown with Facundo Argañaraz and Aaron Harbour.

Rebekah Krell, Deputy Director

Ms. Krell joined the San Francisco Arts Commission in September 2011 at a time of major leadership transition. Prior to joining the Arts Commission, she was Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst for the Mayor’s Office under both the Gavin Newsom and Edwin M. Lee administrations. There she managed 11 municipal departmental portfolios totaling $200 million, providing fiscal analysis and policy recommendations to the Mayor, Chief of Staff and Budget Director. At the Mayor’s Office, she led California’s public safety realignment initiative as it increased local incarceration levels and their complementary fiscal impacts. As Legislative Aide to San Francisco Supervisor Sean R. Elsbernd, she drafted and advised on legislative matters ranging from appropriations to land use to economic development, working in conjunction with the City Attorney, municipal staff and community leaders. She was a policy advisory and budget analyst respectively for Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and Harvey Rose (San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors’ accountant). She began her public service career as an analyst for the U.S. General Accounting Office’s Homeland Security and Justice Team. Ms. Krell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Columbia University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from University of California Berkeley’s Goldman School.

Howard Lazar, Program Director Street Artists Program

Howard Lazar has been with the Street Artists Program since its inception in 1972. A graduate of the Broadcast Communications Arts Department at San Francisco State University, Howard is also a portrait and history sculptor whose works are in national, state, and municipal permanent collections. In addition, Howard does commissioned sculpture portraits as a fundraising activity for animal rights.

Alyssa Licouris, Program Assistant Street Artist Program

Alyssa received her BA in Art History / Arts Management from the University of San Francisco in 2008. Prior to joining the Street Artists Program Alyssa Licouris was the Gallery Assistant at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and the Gallery Administrator for Linearis Institute: Prints & Drawings. She has interned at many San Francisco organizations including the Exploratorium, Masterworks Institute for Works on Paper, the Museo Italo Americano and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. Her internship as Assistant Registrar & Collection Manager at the Museo Italo Americano inspired her to study abroad in Florence, Italy where she completed an intensive Art, Language & Culture Program during the fall of 2010.

Jennifer Lovvorn, Project Manager Public Art Program

Jennifer Lovvorn is the Senior Project Manager for the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Public Art Program where she supervises the program’s team of project managers and directly manages a portfolio public art projects commissioned in conjunction with City and County of San Francisco’s capital improvement projects pertaining to buildings, parks, transportation and streetscape projects.  She also serves in a volunteer capacity as Chair for the City of Berkeley’s Civic Arts Commission which oversees the City of Berkeley’s civic arts grants and public art programs and develops new arts policies and partnerships to build a stronger and more sustainable arts ecosystem throughout the City of Berkeley.  Prior to joining the staff of the San Francisco Arts Commission, she worked at the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County where she managed public art projects and developed a community-nominated neighborhood projects initiative. She has served on the advisory boards of Southern Exposure and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. She received her MFA in studio art with an emphasis in sculpture from UC Irvine and she holds a BA with a double major in Film Studies and Art Practice from UC Berkeley.

Jill Manton, Director of Policy and Planning

Jill Manton’s accomplishments at the Arts Commission include the initiation of the Art on Market Street Program, and the successful revision of San Francisco’s percent for art legislation in 1996, which resulted in an expansion of the kinds of construction projects that are eligible for public art. She has been Program Director of Public Art Program since 1990 and was appointed to her current position in 2009. Jill was the recipient of the Public Managerial Excellence Award in 1997 from the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee. With over 20 years in the public art field, Jill serves as an elected member of the national council of the Public Art Network, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Public Art Review.

Ebony McKinney, Program Officer Community Investments

Ebony McKinney has extensive experience in grantmaking, arts management, and community development. Most recently she’s consulted with entities such as The African American Art & Culture Complex and The Sprout Fund on capacity building initiatives. McKinney was also one of the co-founders of Arts for a Better Bay Area, which developed 2015-2016 budget and policy recommendations for the City of San Francisco. Additionally, Ebony co-founded Emerging Arts Professionals/SFBA, a network focused on leadership and network development for next generation arts and culture workers. She has held positions with The Britdoc Foundation, The San Francisco Arts Commission, Intersection for the Arts, and the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. Ebony has also participated in grant review panels for the California College for the Art’s Center for Art & Public Life, the National Endowment for the Arts, the San Jose Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission and Americans for the Arts/Joyce Foundation’s Emerging Leader of Color Fellowship. McKinney participated in the Emerging Leader Council of Americans for the Arts, where she co-chaired the Engagement and Emerging Ideas committees and she currently serves on the on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee of Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Ebony holds a BA in Communications from Chatham University and MA’s in both Cultural Entrepreneurship and Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Barbara Mumby, Senior Program Officer Community Investments

As Senior Program Officer, Barbara oversees the Cultural Equity grants program. Prior to joining SFAC, Barbara designed and implemented large-scale early childhood education initiatives and grant programs in both Alameda and Merced County through their respective First 5 organizations.Barbara is currently a dual Master’s candidate in Museum Studies and Business Administration where she is focusing on economic development for marginalized communities and Native American repatriation. Previously, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts and Native American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She is also a co-founder of UC Berkeley’s Night of Cultural Resistance, currently in its fifteenth year, designed to address issues affecting underrepresented communities while promoting coalition building and cultural understanding. She is passionate in her support for Indigenous communities in their fight for self-determination, and has worked with numerous groups and agencies in the effort for the repatriation of spiritually and culturally significant objects held in public institutions.

Judy Nemzoff, Program Director Community Investments

Judy Nemzoff formerly was Program Manager of the Arts and Tourism for the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. In addition, Judy is a long-time talent agent and artist manager. She co-founded and directed a business, based in San Francisco and Seattle, that represented a roster of performing artists from throughout the United States and Europe. She has worked with a diverse range of artists and arts organizations as a booking agent, artist manager and consultant, and has produced and commissioned new works for theater, dance, and music. She has served as a volunteer and board member for many local organizations.

Liz Ozol, Arts Education Program OfficerCommunity Investments

Before joining the agency as Arts Education Program Officer, Liz Ozol founded and served for eight years as principal of New Highland Academy, a public elementary school in East Oakland with a vibrant arts program.  Ms. Ozol’s prior history includes working as a Spanish bilingual elementary teacher, teacher coach, dance teaching artist and as an award-winning choreographer and performer in the Bay Area.  Ms. Ozol holds an administrative credential through New Leaders for New Schools, a nationally recognized organization that prepares school leaders to transform underperforming urban schools.  She earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from UC Berkeley.

Kate Patterson, Director of Communications

Kate Patterson received her BA in Art History from Smith College. Prior to joining the Arts Commission, Kate was Manager of Public Relations & Marketing at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. From 2003 to 2005, she was the Marketing & Sales Manager at Acoustiguide Inc., a leading interpretive audio and multimedia tour company. She has also worked at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, South Street Seaport Museum, the Vorpal Gallery and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery.

Susan Pontious, Program Director Public Art Program and Civic Art Collection

Susan Pontious received her MA from UC Irvine and her MFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She began her career in public art as an artist on a mural project, where she was inspired by the way an artist’s work could be incorporated into the life of a community. She has served as the Executive Director of Public Art Works, an independent nonprofit agency that sponsored temporary and permanent public art projects in Marin County, and on the Public Art Advisory Boards for the City of Oakland and Alameda County. She also served on the Advisory Board for the Bedford Gallery and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Public Art Program in Walnut Creek and as a National Peer in Art for the General Services Administration, a federal agency.

Sharon Page Ritchie, Commission Secretary

Sharon Page Ritchie is a dancer who has performed in a variety of venues. She is also a textile artist with special interests in clothing, surface design, and knitting. She has extensive experience in publishing production and editing, along with administrative experience. Sharon has an MS in Textiles from UC Davis, and a BA in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Before joining the staff of the Arts Commission, she served twice as a panelist for the Cultural Equity Grants Program.

Ellen Schumer, City Hall Docent Tour Manager

Ellen Schumer is a fourth-generation San Franciscan with a passion for the appreciation of San Francisco’s rich history and the many contributions of the City’s diverse cultures. She created and managed the Docent Program for the restored City Hall and developed the Mock Board of Supervisors program for San Francisco schoolchildren. Ms. Schumer has won numerous awards for her dedication to keeping San Francisco’s history alive and meaningful for present and future generations. She has been very successful in bringing media attention to the issue of the preservation of San Francisco’s heritage as embodied in its historic buildings. Ms. Schumer is a Lifetime Member of the San Francisco Historical Society.

Meg Shiffler, Galleries Director

Meg Shiffler assumed the role of SFAC Galleries Director for the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2005. She is also a faculty member of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute, and a columnist for SFMOMA’s Open Space blog. Prior to her tenure at the Arts Commission, Shiffler worked in New York as a freelance curator, researcher and consultant for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Andrea Rosen Gallery and the Ursula Meyer Art Conservancy. She co-founded the multidisciplinary art center Consolidated Works in Seattle, WA, and was the Gallery Director from 1998 to 2003; prior to that, she was the Director of 20th Century Masterworks at Meyerson & Nowinski Art Associates, and the Gallery Director for MIA Gallery, both located in Seattle. Meg attended the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York.

Alex Tan, Program Associate

Alex Tan is an arts administrator, cultural worker, and visual arts curator with a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from U.C. Berkeley. After graduating, he was the assistant program director for UC Berkeley’s Multicultural Community Center where he founded and served as lead curator for the Multicultural Community Center Art Gallery. Most recently, he worked as program director for Jewish Youth for Community Action where he designed and facilitated curriculum for high school aged students, and worked with Bay Area youth to produce creative media to support their economic and immigration justice campaigns. While at U.C. Berkeley, he was also a planning lead for the Asian Pacific Islanders Issues Conference, and a contributing writer and staff for Maganda Magazine, a literary and arts magazine. His own mixed media and film work has been featured in Campus MovieFest, Day in the Life of a Queer Person of Color, and the Worth Ryder Art Gallery.

Robynn Takayama, Program Officer Community Investments

Robynn is a community artist whose work has been presented through video, web, and gallery installation. She contributed to national and local public radio programs including the Peabody-awarded documentary on Asian American history, Crossing East. In addition to sitting on the board of Freedom Archives, a collection of the progressive history in the Bay Area, United States, and international movements, Robynn served on the CPB-funded Makers Quest Talent Committee, charged with finding the most imaginative producers, reporters, and sound artists and urging them to take public radio beyond its traditional airwaves. She produces Apex Express, a weekly magazine-style radio show on KPFA featuring the voices and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders from all corners of our community, with a team of activists, journalists, and DJs, and was executive producer for Sights and Sounds of Bayview with local public radio station 91.7 FM KALW.

Zoë Taleporos, Project Manager Public Art Program

Zoë Taleporos is a curator and arts administrator based in San Francisco. In addition to her role as Public Art Program Associate at the SFAC, she Co-Directs the Royal NoneSuch Gallery, an alternative exhibition and event space in North Oakland. From 2009- 2012, she was a Co-Director of Queen’s Nails Projects where she curated numerous exhibitions, lectures, music shows, and other types of programs. Prior to that, she worked as the Gallery Manager of New Langton Arts. As an independent curator, she has curated exhibitions and programs for Pro Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, Real Time and Space, S.H.E.D. Projects, California College of the Arts, and Triple Base Gallery. She received her MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts. 

Justine Topfer, Project Manager Public Art

Justine was born eternally optimistic on the day that Stevie Wonder released “You are the Sunshine of my Life.” Her formative years were spent in Australia between the arid outback and urban Sydney, with a heritage drawn from a British convict and German aristocracy. As well as her role as a Public Art Project Manager with the SFAC, Justine is also an independent Curator who works collaboratively with a broad spectrum of contemporary artists, art organizations, and institutes of higher education. She has worked closely with government bodies, the corporate sector and a diverse array of external stakeholders to realize innovative exhibitions. Recent curatorial forays in the public realm include Cinema Ombligo, a dime-sized peephole on the exterior of her Victorian cottage and through which the public can watch short films 24 hours a day. Projects further afield include Design Renegade in Hong Kong, The ZERO 1 Biennial in Silicon Valley, the DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities’ 2012 & 2014 5×5 Project, and Sydney’s Art & About festival. Justine is inspired by unmapped landscapes, offbeat spaces and bold statements. Justine’s life is a journey made sensical and non-sensical through contemporary art.

Anne Trickey, Office Manager

Anne joined the San Francisco Arts Commission in September 2013. In 2005, and again from 2007 to 2013 she worked in the arts education world with Performing Arts Workshop where she learned how to navigate the intersection of art administration, teaching artists, and the arts related political landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. Anne helped start San Francisco Bay Area’s Creative Impact movement and fully believes in the transformative power of the arts. Active in her own multidisciplinary art practice, a dedicated patron of the arts and civic participant, Anne is excited to further the Arts Commission’s mission to the citizens and friends of San Francisco.