Meet our datathon organizers, presenters, judges and artists! (In alphabetical order, by last name)
Matt Agustin is the Research Coordinator for the LA County Arts Commission’s arts education initiative Arts for All. He studied mathematics at the University of California, Riverside and later, urban and regional planning at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to working for the Arts Commission, he worked as a research analyst at the Advancement Project, a nonprofit social justice advocacy organization.
Inouk Demers is a sound artist, media artist and composer. His work has been shown and broadcast in Europe, North America, and Asia, presented at international music and film festivals, exhibited, and commercially recorded. His recent work explores overlaps of fiction and reality arising within complex social phenomena such as water policy, communications networks, suburban environments, and algorithmic trading. His latest projects have included a soundtrack for NUOC 2030, the first-ever Vietnamese science fiction film, set against the backdrop of rising ocean levels; a five-month, 24/7 outdoor motion-activated sound installation at Pasadena City Hall designed for Freewaves and Side Street Projects; and a series of live sound mandalas for the China Onscreen Biennial, which combined spatialized sounds with live-recorded comments by film directors’ during each evening’s Q & A.
Sophie Fanelli joined the Stuart Foundation in October 2012. Previously, she served as Director of Research & Policy at the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA) at UCLA where she oversaw public policy and legislative efforts focused on education reform, equity and access, and student and parent engagement. She also managed IDEA’s annual Educational Opportunity Report series and online database that created new opportunity and outcome indicators to examine the quality and distribution of educational opportunities across California public schools. Her range of experience also includes work with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California where she focused on advancing education equity through policy advocacy, the rights of at risk youth, and advocacy for the homeless. Sophie has also participated in several education research projects nationally and internationally.
Michelle Higgins is a musician and former educator who is passionate about strengthening the arts and arts education in communities. She joined DataArts in 2016 and is thrilled to bring her coalition-building experience to the Community Engagement Manager position, where she mobilizes and supports organizations across the country who are utilizing data to benefit the arts in their communities. She most recently served as the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest, where she was responsible for the curation, marketing, funding, and execution of Israeli cultural programming in an eleven-state region. Her enthusiasm for creating organic collaborations across communities led to the founding of the first Israeli Jazz and World Music festival in Chicago, which she produced for three years. A native of Alpharetta, Georgia, Michelle began her career with middle and high school instrumental music programs in Forsyth County, Georgia. She received a degree in music education and flute performance from the University of Georgia as a student of Angela Jones-Reus. Michelle is also a certified yoga instructor, teaching and living in Collingswood, New Jersey.
Wendy Hsu is a researcher, strategist, and educator who engages with hybrid research and organizing agendas for equality in arts, technology, and civic participation. A former ACLS Public Fellow, Wendy currently works as the digital strategist of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, providing research and strategy to redesign the department’s data and knowledge architecture. They are also the founder of Lab at DCA, a city staff innovation incubator. Wendy has served on the advisory committee for Arts for LA, Center for Cultural Innovation, California Community Foundation’s Social Change Data Commons, Cultural Research Network, and the Society of Ethnomusicology Council. They also lead two community-driven arts collectives LA Listens and Movable Parts and a band called Bitter Party. Since 2007, Wendy has taught at University of Virginia, Occidental College, and Art Center College of Design.
Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Since his arrival at the NEA in June 2006, the office has produced more than 25 research publications, hosted several research events and webinars, twice updated the NEA’s five-year strategic plan, and overseen a new and expanded survey about arts participation. In that time, the office also has created an arts system map and long-term research agenda, and has launched a research grants program. Sunil also chairs the Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development. For a decade, Sunil worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poetry, and his book reviews have appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, American Scholar, New Criterion, Essays in Criticism, and Contemporary Poetry Review. Sunil has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Luke Kanter is a teaching artist, director and playwright. He has worked with many of LA’s top artistic institutions including Center Theatre Group, the LA Phil and Hollywood Bowl, 24th Street Theatre and the Los Angeles Music and Art School. He is a proud alum of the USC School of the Dramatic Arts and is an even more proud alum of the LA County Arts Commission summer internship program.
Nina Kin is a web developer, community builder, and fiber crafter. Earning her B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley, she now works as a systems analyst at the County of Los Angeles developing applications and systems that modernize government processes. Outside her day job, she explores ways to bring government closer to the local civic tech community. As co-captain of Hack for LA and organizer for MaptimeLA, she leads teams to grow open source, data-driven, community-based civic tech projects. She also loves to learn and practice various types of fabric and needle crafting.
Katja Krivoruchko graduated from University California, Riverside, with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences. She also has an MBA degree from University of Redlands. Since 2003, Katja has worked as a solution engineer at Esri, the global market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), headquartered in Redlands, CA. Katja works with local government agencies in Southern California and Nevada, to implement Esri’s ArcGIS Platform in order to design solutions for smarter government.
Susannah Laramee Kidd is Research Analyst and Mellon-ACLS Public Fellow at the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, where she evaluates civic art projects, supports the internal evaluation of the Arts Commission’s programs, and researches the arts ecology of LA County. In her role at the Arts Commission, she is completing a developmental evaluation of civic art projects in four neighborhoods that use artistic strategies to enhance engagement and reduce graffiti in public spaces. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Susannah worked as a performance auditor for the City of Atlanta, which she describes as program evaluation for taxpayers or doing fieldwork in local government agencies. Susannah has long been fascinated by the challenges in measuring the impact of aesthetic experiences embedded in everyday life, which led her to a PhD from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where she conducted an ethnography of Protestant women’s reading groups.
Yvonne Lee serves as the Registrar for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission where she provides data management services for the Civic Art division. Yvonne is currently conducting the second phase for the Civic Art Baseline Inventory Project, whose phase one goal was to survey over 900 County owned and leased properties to inventory known civic artworks and identify artworks not previously cataloged in the 150 year history of Los Angeles County. A public catalog of artworks discovered during the inventory will be made available later this year. Prior to working at the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Yvonne was an information and data management services consultant in the arts and culture sector. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.L.I.S. in Archival Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Mike Manalo is based in Southern California with a background in information architecture. Currently, he work with CA state and local government offices as a Customer Success Manager for Socrata. He previously worked at the City of Los Angeles in help launching civic innovation programs around active transportation, public safety, and cultural arts programming. Recent projects include Vision Zero – Los Angeles, Safe Routes to School – LA and People St.
Bronwyn Mauldin is Director of Research and Evaluation at the LA County Arts Commission where she oversees a team that utilizes data and social science research methods to improve the Arts Commission’s work and strengthen the arts ecology. Bronwyn has spent her career conducting applied research and evaluation for nonprofits, philanthropies, and government. She also teaches research methods to graduate arts management students for Sotheby’s Institute of Art at Claremont Graduate University. Prior to the Arts Commission, Bronwyn 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. Bronwyn has a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. She is also a zine maker and novelist.
Jill Moniz, PhD, was born in Ankara, Turkey. She graduated from Hawaii Loa College with a BA in Humanities and earned her MA and PhD from Indiana University in Cultural Anthropology, with a concentration in visual culture. She became an assistant professor of Sociology at Rosemont and Cabrini Colleges in Pennsylvania in 1997. Jill moved to California in 2005 and began working on community engagement programs at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California. In 2006, she became Head Curator at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. From 2008-2013 she served as the curator for the Dr. and Mrs. Leon O. Banks Collection of Contemporary Art before shifting her focus back to a community based practice. Since becoming an independent curator, Jill has curated exhibitions of Los Angeles based artists, created public art projects and installations, has written for and about artists such as Mark Bradford, John Outterbridge and Betye Saar, and lectured about art in LA and beyond. She is currently editing the volume 85 Years of BLACK Art in LA with contributions from Tavis Smiley, Dr. Joe Lewis and Dr. Bridgette Cooks, among others. She lives in Culver City, California with her sons.
Nicole Rademacher is a creative arts administrator and professional artist with extensive experience leading marketing and communications strategies for arts-related organizations and projects worldwide. Spearheading community building projects and social media strategies both nationally and internationally, Nicole has worked with organizations such as LOOP Video Art Festival (Barcelona, Spain), Nairobi National Museum, and 18th Street Arts Center (Santa Monica, CA) improving marketing and social media operations, maximizing user engagement on websites and social media, cultivating new partnerships, and leading creative teams. Most recently she led local artist residency non-profit 18th Street Arts Center through a complete rebranding initiative, in collaboration with RPA Advertising, directing creative implementation of new mark plus branding elements across all media and collateral in addition to launching a structured social media overhaul and strategy across platforms. Nicole currently serves as Digital Communications Manager for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Zannie Voss is Director of the National Center for Arts Research as well as Chair and Professor of Arts Management in the Meadows School of the Arts and the Cox School of Business at SMU. Previously she was a Professor at Duke University and Producing Director of Theater Previews at Duke, a professional theater company dedicated to the co-production of new works. She served as managing director of PlayMakers Repertory Company and worked in audience development for Center Theatre Group. Research consulting clients include the League of American Orchestras, Theatre Development Fund and Theatre Communications Group, where she has co-authored Theatre Facts since 1998. Her published research appears in over a dozen academic and practitioner journals. Zannie serves on the boards of the International Association of Arts and Cultural Management, DataArts, TRG Arts, and Big Thought. She is co-author of the book Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play.
Val Zavala is Vice President of News and Public Affairs at KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station. Val is the anchor and executive producer of KCET’s signature weekly newsmagazine, SoCal Connected, which has won a Peabody and Columbia-duPont Award for investigative reporting. Since joining KCET in 1987 she has anchored KCET’s nightly newsmagazine Life & Times, produced and anchored various specials, and has won 16 L.A. Emmy awards. Val has been honored by numerous organizations including the California Chicano News Media Association, and Hispanic Americans for Fairness in Media, and as Woman of the Year benefiting the California Science Center. Val was a John S. Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University (1993). She received her M.A. in journalism from American University and B.A. from Yale University.