California Arts Council

State of California

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Shelly Gilbride joins the Arts Council as Arts Program Specialist

Experience includes PhD in Performance Studies, community dance programming, and arts fundraising 

Published: 07-31-2014

The California Arts Council welcomes another Arts Program Specialist to the team.

With a PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis, Shelly Gilbride joins the Arts Council ready to put all of that studying to good use. An East Coast transplant, Shelly moved to Northern California ten years ago with a yearning for California sunshine and a professional desire to understand the arts ecology away from New York City and Philadelphia where she had started her career. She immediately immersed herself in the vibrant community arts scene in the Bay and Sacramento Areas. While writing her dissertation on the creative legacy of choreographer Merce Cunningham, she danced with two local dance companies, wrote grants for arts and civic organizations, served on the Board of the Davis Arts Center, lectured at UC Davis, and started a family.  

Connecting people together through the arts is one of Shelly's passions. In 2012, she began producing large-scale public dance events. For Shelly, choreographing flashmobs is a way to insert art into peoples' daily life, celebrate the sheer joy of dancing together, and put smiles on faces. Her largest flashmob to date featured 250 community dancers surprising the picnickers at the Davis Farmers Market.

Shelly grew up in the theatre and firmly believes that everything she really needed to know, she learned while playing an orphan in Annie when she was 8.  Now with two youngsters of her own, she is dedicated to making arts education non-negotiable in schools and communities.

Shelly began her career as a Haas Acting Fellow at The Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and performed in numerous regional theatre productions including I Am A Camera, West Side Story, and Cabaret, as well as in the Philadelphia and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.

As a Development professional, she has helped many artists and organizations secure funding and develop their institutional and creative capacity. She is excited to contribute to the cultural field from a different perspective in her new role at the California Arts Council.

"I'm so honored and excited to join the Arts Council and to contribute to the vibrancy of California's culture. Rich and wonderful art is happening in every nook and cranny of this vast state, sometimes in really unlikely places," Shelly remarked. "I am thrilled to join such an amazing team of people that are working hard to nurture that creativity for the future."

Shelly can be reached at or (916) 324-0075.