California Arts Council Announces Creative Economy Workgroup Members

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council (CAC) today announced members of the Creative Economy Workgroup (CEW), which will develop a strategic plan to expand workforce opportunities to benefit the state’s creative sector, with a focus on developing new and additional pathways into California’s competitive creative fields. The workgroup is led by the Executive Director of the CAC.

Established in last year’s budget, the CEW is tasked with developing a strategic plan which will conduct a comparative analysis with other jurisdictions, evaluate existing financing models and government initiatives, identify opportunities for educational programs as well as earn and learn job training employment, detail the geographic areas with the least amount of access or opportunity for a creative economy, and analyze existing initiatives and projects, including the role that local governments can play in creating a stronger creative economy. The strategic plan is due to the Legislature by June 30, 2025.

“We are deeply grateful for this opportunity afforded us by the Legislature to contribute to a sustainable future of opportunities for workforce development in all sectors of the creative economy,” said CAC Executive Director Jonathan Moscone. “Convening leaders in the nonprofit and private sectors alongside members of state government, we aim to lift up innovative pathways—and recommend new ones—for all members of California’s cultural workforce to thrive.”

“The Creative Economy Workgroup represents a timely opportunity to understand, analyze, and make recommendations regarding the best ways to strengthen the state’s critical creative industries, generate more opportunities for our workforce in those industries, and ensure that California remains the most attractive option for creative businesses that are looking to start up and expand,” said Dee Dee Myers, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development and Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom.

Members of the workgroup represent a diverse group of experts, including representatives from varied sectors of the California arts community as well as higher education, state, local, and tribal government leaders:

      • Andrew “Dru” Alejandre – Tribal Chairman of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians
      • Senator Ben Allen– State Senator for California’s 24th District (Santa Monica, CA)
      • Lauren Appelbaum– Senior Vice President, Entertainment & News Media, RespectAbility & Founder, Entertainment Lab and Children’s Content Lab (Washington, DC)

      • Julie Baker– CEO, Californians for the Arts (Nevada City, CA)

      • Lindsie Bear– Vice President of Strategic Projects, Humboldt Area Foundation (San Francisco, CA)

      • Matt Buchholtz– Global Community Lead, Riot Games (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Roxanne Messina Captor– Filmmaker, Messina Captor Films Inc. and Educator, Santa Monica College (Redondo Beach, CA)

      • Deborah Cullinan– Vice President for the Arts, Stanford University (San Francisco, CA)

      • Kale Cummings– President, American Federation of Musicians Local 6 (San Francisco, CA)

      • Matt D’Arrigo– Director of Creative Youth Development, The Clare Rose Foundation and Co-founder, The Clare Rose Center for Creative Youth Development (San Diego, CA)

      • Tom DeCaigny– Program Officer, Performing Arts Program, The Hewlett Foundation (San Francisco, CA, CA)

      • Snehal Desai– Artistic Director, Center Theater Group (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Caleb Duarte– Artist in Sculptural Community Performance, California Arts Council Member, and Professor of Sculpture, Fresno City College (Fresno, CA)

      • DeJon Ellis– Business Manager, IATSE Local 80 and IATSE International DEIA/Education Committee member (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Adam Fowler– Founding Partner, CVL Economics (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Jonathan Glus– Executive Director for the Arts and Culture, City of San Diego (San Diego, CA)

      • David Gonzales– Director of Labor Relations & Government Affairs, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Leah Goodwin– California Arts Council Member and Owner, Leah Goodwin Creations (Imperial Beach, CA)

      • Tara Lynn Gray– Director, Office of the Small Business Advocate, Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (Sacramento, CA)

      • Alejandro Gutierrez Chavez– Executive Director, Arts Connection (San Bernardino, CA)

      • Ri-Karlo Handy– CEO, Sunwise Media Inc. and Founder, Handy Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Gustavo Herrera– Chief Executive Officer, Arts for LA (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Toshi Hoo– Director of Emerging Media Lab, Institute for the Future (San Francisco)

      • Susette Hsiung– Executive Vice President of Production Management, Network Operations, Music, Disney Branded Television, The Walt Disney Company (Burbank, CA)

      • Jason Jong– Cultural and Creative Economy Manager, City of Sacramento (Sacramento, CA)

      • Dorka Keehn– Principal, Keehn on Art (San Francisco, CA)

      • Stewart Knox– Secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (Sacramento, CA)

      • Jennifer Laine– Executive Director, San Benito County Arts Council (Hollister, CA)

      • Lex Leifheit– Deputy Director of Programs, San Francisco Arts Commission (San Francisco, CA)

      • Kamaal Martin– Founder, Art Power Equity (Lemon Grove, CA)

      • Dee Dee Myers– Director, Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development and Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom (Los Angeles, CA)

      • Senator Susan Rubio– State Senator for California’s 22nd District (Baldwin Park, CA)

      • Ted Russell– Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation (Oakland, CA)

      • Jas Sajjan– Senior Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, Live Nation Entertainment (Washington, DC)

      • Kristin Sakoda– Director, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture (Los Angeles, CA)
      • Sarah Weber– Executive Director, Association of California Symphony Orchestras (Los Angeles, CA)

    Additional members will be announced at a later date, including two ex-officio members appointed by the Speaker of the California State Assembly.

    “Collaboration among government, education and industry is essential to building effective workforce development programs,” said Stewart Knox, Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency. “This innovative workgroup will ensure we have all the experts and changemakers at the table to create meaningful opportunities for Californians seeking to enter into or upskill within the state’s creative economy.”

    The CAC is currently accepting proposals from nonprofit arts and project management organizations to facilitate the CEW’s meetings and research. For more information on eligibility and how to submit a proposal, please visit the following link:

    Media Inquiries Only:
    Kimberly Brown
    Public Affairs Specialist

    # # #

    The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

    Members of the California Arts Council include: Consuelo Montoya, Chair; Vicki Estrada, Vice Chair; Gerald Clarke; Caleb Duarte; Ellen Gavin; Leah Goodwin; Alex Israel; Phil Mercado; Roxanne Messina Captor; Nicola Miner; and Olivia Raynor. Learn more at

    The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit To read this announcement in Spanish, please use the website’s Google Translate tool by clicking the “Translate” link in the upper righthand corner of this page.

    El Consejo de las Artes de California se compromete a aumentar la accesibilidad de sus contenidos en línea. Para obtener ayuda con el idioma y la accesibilidad, visite leer este anuncio en español, utilice la herramienta Google Translate del sitio web haciendo clic en el enlace “Traducir” situado en la esquina superior derecha de esta página.

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