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 approximately five times a 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.
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/
Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez is a native of Fresno County, where she has been an active advocate for the arts for over 40 years. She served on the board of the Fresno Art Museum and the board of the Fresno Arts Council prior to being appointed Executive Director in August 2011. In 2016, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the State Summer School for the Arts by Governor Jerry Brown and was reappointed in 2018. She is a performing artist with over 30 years teaching and performing ballet folklórico. She has worked in the education and the arts fields first as a teacher then advancing through management and leadership positions in public and nonprofit organizations.
As Executive Director of the Fresno Arts Council, she has led the organization to provide arts services in the state prison system and the local jail. Under her leadership, the Fresno Arts Council has increased outreach to rural communities with a designated Rural Outreach Fund to support the transportation of artists and audiences to and from rural parts of Fresno County, created a teaching artists training program to increase participation of local artists in the schools, and is credited for establishing the Fresno Poet Laureate program.
Chavez is a co-founder of Arte Américas, the Latino cultural arts center in Fresno, and served as its principal administrator for 10 years. Known for her work with underserved residents, she was awarded the Judge Armando Rodriguez Legacy Award for Social Justice and Arts Access in 2018.
Chavez was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in February of 2020. Her term expires January 1, 2024.
A longtime arts advocate from Fresno County, Chavez was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in February of 2020. Beginning January 1, 2021, Chavez served as Vice Chair of the Council, before being elected as Chair in a special election held in April of 2021.
Vice 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, 2022, Chelo 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.
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.
Jodie Evans has been a peace, environmental, women’s rights and social justice activist for over forty-five years. She is the co-founder of CODEPINK that works to stop US Military interventions overseas, promotes diplomatic solutions and Peace. She served in the administration of Governor Jerry Brown and ran his presidential campaigns. She published two books, “Stop the Next War Now” and “Twilight of Empire,” and produced several documentary films, including the Oscar and Emmy-nominated “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” And “The Square.” and Naomi Klein’s; “This Changes Everything”. She sits on many boards, including 826LA, Rainforest Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, People’s Support Foundation, Center for A New Economy and Drug Policy Alliance.
Evans was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Jerry Brown in January of 2019. Her term expires January 1, 2023.
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.
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 Febraury of 2020. His term expires January 1, 2024.
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.