Meet your appointed Council
The budget, policies, and allocations for the California Arts Council’s local assistance grantmaking are set by a policy Council consisting of 11 Council Members; one appointed by the Senate, one by the Assembly, and nine by the Governor. The members serve terms of either two, three, or four years. Gubernatorial appointees are subject to Senate confirmation and are not reappointed more than once. The Council is led by a Chair and Vice Chair, as elected by the Council.
The Council meets no more than eight times per calendar year, setting priorities and policies for the agency’s local assistance grantmaking and voting on committee or staff recommendations regarding grants and special Council initiatives. All Council meetings are subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.
Click here to download the Council Bylaws (PDF).
Interested in being considered for an appointment by Governor Newsom to a position on the Council? Visit this link for details on the appointment process: https://www.gov.ca.gov/appointments/
Click here for a historical list of previous California Arts Council members.
Chair, Los Angeles
Consuelo (Chelo) Montoya is an artist, educator, and cultural producer specializing in community engagement strategies. She is the Assistant Vice President of Adult Education and Public Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she oversees the music, film, docent and public programs. She previously served as Director of Education and Public Programs at the California African American Museum. Under her leadership there, she contributed to the exponential growth of the museum’s attendance through a dynamic offering of public programs. Her Radical Self Care annual series received national recognition by the American Alliance of Museums in their 2019 Trends Watch publication. She was the founding administrator and faculty member in the Master of Public Practice program at Otis College of Art and Design where she contributed to the development of the program over the course of a decade.
Chelo received her undergraduate degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her M.A. in Public Art Studies from the University of Southern California focused on arts administration and community-based arts. She earned a second masters, an MFA in Graphic Design at Otis College of Art and Design, with much of her work dedicated to issues around water and climate change. Her creative practice is largely inspired by her experience growing up in a rural community in the Central Valley of California. She has been extensively involved in working with local artists to produce the SELA Arts Festival at the L.A. River in South East Los Angeles since its inaugural year in 2018.
Chelo sits on the Board of Trustees executive committee of the Vincent Price Art Museum. She was appointed to the California Arts Council by the Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, in March of 2020. Her term expires in 2024. Beginning January 1, 2023, Chelo serves as Chair of the Council.
Vice Chair, San Diego
Vicki Estrada has lived in San Diego since 1955 and is president of Estrada Land Planning. She has 46 years of public and private practice experience and has been a registered Landscape Architect in California since 1977 with a B.S. in landscape architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She is also a musician with piano as her specialty. Her experience includes land planning, urban design and landscape architecture for a variety of projects, including community planning, master planned communities, infill, parks, and streetscapes. She is particularly skilled in providing community facilitation services and strives to make all of her projects sustainable, context sensitive, unique, and responsive to community and client needs. Vicki understands diverse community values and natural values as well as the creative and technical aspects of design. Reconnecting with the natural aspects of a site is a key objective on each of her projects. She is also known for developing design solutions that lead to consensus on difficult issues and for integrating public art into her designs. In addition, she is a fellow of American Society of Landscape Architects; a past president of the San Diego Chapter of Lambda Alpha International; a past president of the Media Arts Center San Diego Board of Directors; a past chair of the San Diego Foundation Opening the Outdoors action team; a board member of the San Diego Canyonlands Board of Directors; a board member of the San Diego Maritime Museum; a member of the Groundwork San Diego Board of Directors; a founding member of the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Landscape Architecture Advisory Council; a past member of the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture; a past chair of the City of San Diego Public Art Committee; and a past chair of the San Diego Airport Public Art Committee.
Vicki was appointed to the California Arts Council by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins in July of 2021. Her term expires in 2025. Beginning January 1, 2023, Vicki serves as Vice Chair of the Council.
Gerald Clarke is a visual artist, educator, tribal leader, and cultural practitioner whose family has lived in the Anza Valley for time immemorial. As an enrolled citizen of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, Gerald lives in the home his grandfather build (c.1940) on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation and currently oversees the Clarke family cattle ranch. He is currently a Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California Riverside, where he teaches classes in Native American art, history, and culture.
As a visual artist, Gerald has exhibited his work extensively and can be seen in numerous exhibitions as well as major museum collections. In 2007, Gerald was awarded an Eiteljorg Museum Fellowship for Native American Fine Art and served as an Artist-in-Residence at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2015. In 2020, the Palm Springs Art Museum hosted Gerald Clarke: Falling Rock, the first major retrospective of the artist’s work.
Clarke is a frequent lecturer, speaking about Native art, culture, and social issues. He holds a B.A. in Art from the University of Central Arkansas and M.A./M.F.A. degrees in Painting/Sculpture from Stephen F. Austin State University, located in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Caleb Duarte was born in the border town of El Paso, Texas, where his family lived in Juarez, Mexico. At the age of 4, Duarte and his family migrated from Nogales, Sonora, to the farming community of Corcoran in California. He is best known for his community collaborations in creating temporary installations using construction type frameworks such as beds of dirt, cement, and objects suggesting basic shelter. The work is produced through a situational engagement with active sites of social and cultural resistance.
Duarte has created public works at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India; Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; El Pital, Honduras; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris, France; and throughout Mexico and the United States. He has collaborated with autonomous indigenous collectives, communities in movement, families seeking asylum, and college and university students.
Duarte is co-founder, along with artist Mia Eve Rollow, of EDELO, a Spanish acronym for “Where the United Nations Used To Be.” EDELO was a house of art in movement and an international artist residency of diverse practices in Chiapas, Mexico, producing projects such as Arte urGente, The Embassy of the Refugee, Zapantera Negra and Walking the Beast.
He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is professor of Sculpture at Fresno City College in Fresno, where he has his studio.
Duarte was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in January of 2023. His term expires in 2027.
Ellen Gavin is a writer/producer living in Los Angeles. Her theater and film work is female-driven and socially conscious, born from her experiences as a passionate lesbian feminist activist. Gavin was the Founder/Artistic Director of the Brava! for Women in the Arts/Brava Theater Center, internationally recognized for nurturing new plays by women and playwrights of color. Gavin led a $6 million campaign to purchase the historic York Theater in the Mission District and renovate it into a state-of-the-art theater complex. Over 23 years, she produced and presented hundreds of premieres by writers such as Suzan-Lori Parks, Cherrie Moraga, Cherylene Lee, Culture Clash, Gillian Slovo, Eve Ensler, Diana Son, Joan Holden and Dan Guerrero, and world-renowned musicians such as Lesley Gore, Los Panchos, Ojos de Brujo, Teague and Sarah, Lila Downs, Ely Guerra, and Richie Havens. BRAVA’s S.F. Running Crew has operated for more than two decades, training a new generation of diverse technical theater professionals.
Gavin was one of the first female firefighters in the San Diego Fire Department, assigned to one of the busiest stations in the city. Her life-and-death experiences inspired her play, The Roof’s on Fire! directed by Ellen Sebastian Chang, and a current dramatic series about a crew of renegade female firefighters stationed at the border. Gavin’s play, Stardust and Empty Wagons, chronicled the harrowing experiences of 25 Katrina survivors while celebrating the musical history of New Orleans. Accompanied live by the renowned Hot Eight Brass Band, it received awards from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Gavin was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, whose immigrant residents fomented the “Bread and Roses” Strike of 1912 that ended child labor. Her feature Rebels and Roses was inspired by the stories of it told at her grandmother’s knee. Gavin was the recipient of the LAVA Award (Lesbian of Action and Vision), San Francisco Magazine’s Artistic Achievement Award, the Bay Guardian Local Hero Award and GOLDie Local Discovery Awards, as well as travel fellowships to Cuba, Mexico, and Central America. In 2009, then Mayor Gavin Newsom declared Ellen Gavin Day, in honor of her contributions to San Francisco’s cultural life. She is currently on the Advisory Council for Farmworker Justice and the National Fundraising Committee for Beto O’Rourke for Governor of Texas. She is an aficionado of modern architecture and interior design, scuba diving, gardening, and yoga.
Leah Goodwin believes that the arts are a universal tool for healing. She is the owner of Leah Goodwin Creations, “where art and soul meet.” She has a diverse background that includes strategic planning; fundraising; event, festival, and conference coordination; art and culture projects; curating gallery exhibits; and creating art master plans. Her exemplary career in the arts encompasses everything from public arts management, to visual and performing arts program development and consultation, to creation and implementation of award-winning arts in education and arts in hospital programs.
Leah has held many important leadership roles in the arts, including Director of Visual and Performing Arts at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in San Diego, and Director of Museum and Education for the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, where she presented 17 exhibitions over four years. She is a founding faculty member for RISE San Diego’s Urban Leadership Fellows Program.
In August 2015, she created the San Diego Experience of the Civil Rights Movement exhibit acknowledging the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which is on display all around San Diego. In 2019, she created and curated the 1619 Celebration of Black Women exhibit for the Women’s Museum of California.
Leah is a Fulbright Scholar and an accomplished and published poet and writer, including contributions to Teaching English Language Learners through the Arts by Merryl Goldberg and Muheres in Movement: Poems About Self-love, Activism & Community.
Leah was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in January of 2023. Her term expires in 2027.
Alex Israel lives and works in Los Angeles. Deeply entwined with his hometown, his work explores popular media, Hollywood, and the cult of celebrity, while positing L.A. as central to an understanding of American culture and the American dream.
His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at: Le Consortium, Dijon; The Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California; the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo and Fosun Foundation, Shanghai (forthcoming). His work is included in numerous museum collections worldwide including: MoMA, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and The Broad, Los Angeles.
Israel’s practice has included high-profile collaborations with Bret Easton Ellis, Louis Vuitton, Rimowa and Snapchat, as well as his own Freeway Eyewear and Infrathin Apparel designs. His ongoing web series, an LA-centric talk show hosted by the artist and titled As It Lays, is streaming on YouTube, and his feature length art film, SPF-18, is now streaming on Netflix, following a tour to high schools across the United States.
Israel was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in February of 2020, and reappointed in January of 2023. His current term expires in 2027.
Dr. Mercado is the Regional Chief of General Surgery for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG). In this role, he coordinates and oversees the delivery of General Surgical care for 4.5 million Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California.
In addition to his role within SCPMG, Dr. Mercado is a Clinical Instructor in the Harbor/UCLA Department of Surgery and is a well-respected member of numerous national surgical organizations including the American College of Surgeons, Society of Surgical Oncology, American Society of Breast Surgeons, and the Pacific Coast Surgical Association.
Dr. Mercado and his husband, entertainment executive Todd Quinn, are major supporters of the arts and dedicated public servants. Since 2012, Dr. Mercado has served on the Board of Advisors (formerly the Board of Overseers) at The Hammer Museum and they are founding members of both Contemporary Friends, an art acquisition group at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Friends of Photography at UCLA Department of Art. He also serves as a Los Angeles City Commissioner, a member of the National Finance Team for the Democratic National Committee and was a member of the national finance teams for the last 2 Democratic presidential campaigns (Clinton/Kaine and Biden/Harris). Lastly, Dr. Mercado is a parent ambassador for the Harvard Westlake Admissions Department, as well as Vice Chair of their Annual Giving program. He, his husband, and their three children live in Hollywood.
Roxanne Messina Captor
Roxanne Messina Captor is an Emmy-nominated writer, director, and producer, and a directing protégé of Francis Ford Coppola. She was awarded the Chevalier de L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France in 2005, and the
Ohio State Award for the CBS movie Home Sweet Homeless. She is also an accomplished theatre director and choreographer.
Messina Captor was one of the founding original programming executives of Turner Network Television and the former executive director of the SF International Film Festival and Society, where she increased box office and attendance by 40 percent. Messina Captor’s first career was on Broadway. She was also assistant choreographer to Gene Kelly on One From the Heart. She serves on the Policy-Making Committee for Governor Gavin Newsom, and the Policy Committee for the Faculty Association for California Community Colleges. In addition to the New York Film Academy, Messina Captor is a professor at Santa Monica College, heading up documentary production. She is a former faculty member at Emerson College LA and Cal-Arts. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Who’s Who in America, NAPTE, and Greenlight Women.
Nicola Miner is founder of the Miner Anderson Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advances social justice and access to equal opportunity in San Francisco and throughout the United States. She is also a board member of the Baker Street Foundation, which focuses on funding arts organizations in the Bay Area, and a board member of AHoM, a nonprofit focused on building affordable housing for artists in San Francisco. She is an instructor of English composition at several Bay Area community colleges. Ms. Miner is also a board member of the Presidio Trust, which manages the national park within San Francisco. She has a degree in History from Brown University, a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and a master’s degree in English literature from Mills College.
Miner was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in January of 2023. Her term expires in 2027.
Olivia Raynor is the Founder/Director of the UCLA National Arts and Disability Center. She is the Director Emerita of the UCLA Tarjan Center University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute in Los Angeles. Currently, Olivia is also an independent consultant working toward a more inclusive society through innovative public policy and practice solutions. Olivia has longstanding collaborations with the National Endowment for the Arts, including the planning of two national summits, the administration of 28 Statewide Forums on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities, and a national online dialogue on how to increase the career preparation and employment of people with disabilities in the arts.
Dr. Raynor is past President of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, a national network of 100 university-based programs. She previously served as a Governor-appointed member on the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (Governors Davis and Brown). She was recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Commission on Disabilities for her leadership in the arts. Dr. Raynor earned a Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California and Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Raynor was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in January of 2023. Her term expires in 2027.