Amy Kitchener, Executive Director – Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Project Role: Co-Director, Promise Zone Arts
Amy Kitchener is a public folklorist who co-founded ACTA and spearheaded its development as a nonprofit intermediary grantmaking organization as its founding director. Amy has extensive experience in conducting ethnographic fieldwork and developing public programs in community partnerships leading to exhibits, festivals, concerts, and workshops. She has taught as a folklorist-in-residence at elementary schools in Arizona, and at UCLA, where she earned an MA in Folklore & Mythology.
Karen Mack, Executive Director – LA Commons
Project Role: Co-Director, Promise Zone Arts
Karen Mack founded LA Commons to promote LA’s diverse neighborhoods through locally based, interactive, artistic, and cultural programming. She researched the role of culture in community building as a Public Service Fellow at Harvard, following work as VP of Program Development and Planning at Community Partners. She holds an MPA from Harvard, an MBA from UCLA, and is currently president of the LA Neighborhood Initiative board and the City’s Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.
Beth Peterson, Community Art Programs Director – Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Project Role: Co-Manager, Promise Zone Arts
Beth has over 20 years’ experience organizing and conducting community art projects, residencies, and workshops in Minnesota, and for the past 11 years throughout LA neighborhoods. She is a Master Puppet and Mask Teaching Artist for the Music Center of LA County and adjunct faculty at Antioch University, teaching Integrating Arts into school curriculum. She brings extensive experience in arts organizing and mentorship, and a commitment to the power of arts in the revitalization of community.
Annette Kim, Associate Professor – University of Southern California
Project Role: Promise Zone Arts Academic Research Partner
Annette M. Kim, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. She is also the Director of SLAB, the Spatial Analysis Lab at USC Price that advances the visualization of the social sciences for public service through teaching, research, and public engagement.
Beto González has been involved in the performing arts in Los Angeles for almost 20 years. He is a musician, producer, and ethnomusicologist specializing in the traditional music of Brazil and the African Diaspora in Latin America. He holds Masters degrees in both Latin American Studies and Ethnomusicology from UCLA and is a Fulbright scholar.
Jeny Amaya, Promise Zone Arts Fieldwork Coordinator
Jeny Amaya is a Los Angeles based filmmaker whose work explores autobiographical narratives, notions of family, and the Salvadoran diaspora in California. They hold a B.A. in Film and Digital Media Studies and Latin America and Latino Studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Mary Alfaro Velasco, Promise Zone Arts Program Coordinator
Mary Alfaro Velasco is a Los Angeles native and arts advocate based in the San Fernando Valley. She actively performs as a musician, teaches guitar at a state correctional institution through a program managed by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and is a curatorial assistant at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Mary earned at BA in Music, teaching credential in K-12 music, and a MA in Latin American Studies at UCLA.
Natasha Milner, Promise Zone Arts Digital Content Editor
Natasha Milner is a West LA native who loves her city for its many diverse, unique neighborhoods. She feels like everyday there is something new to discover here. You can find her performing improv comedy at the Westside Comedy Theater, reading a book in the courtyard of the Hammer Museum, or eating anything deemed delicious all across Los Angeles.
W.F. Umi Hsu, Digital Strategist – City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Project Role: Data / UX Strategist
Umi Hsu is a strategic designer and public humanist who engages with hybrid research and organizing agendas for equity in arts, technology, and civic life. Hsu leads design strategy and digital initiatives at City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and advises Arts for LA, Center for Cultural Innovation, and Society of Ethnomusicology. With a PhD in Critical and Comparative Studies in Music from the University of Virginia, they teach as adjunct professor at ArtCenter College of Design and University of Southern California.
Heber Rodriguez, Arts Associate – City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Project Role: Project Manager
Heber Rodriguez is a Los Angeles-based independent curator, writer, and arts professional whose research areas include Art and Technology, Internet culture, and experimental sound practices with an emphasis on Latin America and its corresponding diasporas. With the Department of Cultural Affairs, he oversees several of the department’s initiatives and partnerships, including Promise Zone Arts and the recently launched Pacoima Arts Incubator.
Eduardo Robles, Arts Associate – City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Project Role: Digital Asset Management
Eduardo Robles is a public humanities professional engaged in critical arts administration, postcolonial digital humanities, informal education practices, and contemporary exhibition culture. He holds a B.A. in History from UC Santa Cruz and a M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University.