California Arts Council Announces Staff and Council Appointments and Elections

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council collectively announced today a series of leadership and personnel changes to both staff and Council determined by appointment and election processes that happened throughout the month of December.  


Danielle Brazell

On Friday, December 15, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of Danielle Brazell to the role of Executive Director of the California Arts Council. As lead executive, Brazell will promote the Arts Council’s mission to advance California through the arts and creativity by way of the agency’s grant programs, services, and initiatives.

Brazell’s career spans over thirty years as an artist, teaching artist, presenter, arts administrator, and public official. Brazell has a knack for building new cultural infrastructure and innovating within arcane systems and bureaucracies. From 2014 to 2021, Brazell served as the General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; she was the founding Executive Director of Arts for LA, transforming the ad-hoc group of executive arts leaders into a new model for local arts and arts education advocacy. In addition, she served as the Artistic Director of Highways Performance Space and the Director of Special Projects for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. Currently, Brazell is leading Super Creative Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in organizational strategy, cultural planning, and inclusive community development. Danielle utilizes her vast knowledge of the arts and cultural sector in this role to advance the support systems needed for creativity to thrive. In addition to learning how to throw pottery, she serves on the World Cities Culture Forum Board of Advisors and the DataArts Advisory Board.

Brazell succeeds former California Arts Council Executive Director Jonathan Moscone, who stepped down from the position in December after serving in the role since April 2022. Brazell has already begun her work at the California Arts Council, with her first official day being Wednesday, December 20.

“Stepping into this role feels full circle and aligns with my belief in the role arts, culture, and creativity play in advancing civic belonging, equity, economic prosperity, and social connectedness,” Brazell said. “The California Arts Council is a catalytic agency transforming lives through the arts. I am thrilled to serve the people of the great state of California in this new role.”


At its final business meeting for the year, on December 12, the Council body voted in a new Chair and Vice Chair, naming Council members Roxanne Messina Captor and Leah Goodwin to the respective roles. The new leadership positions take effect on January 1, 2024.

Council members also thanked former Council Chair Consuelo Montoya for her leadership and service to the Council as her term came to an end.

Roxanne Messina Captor, Chair

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.

Messina Captor has written, directed, and produced network and cable Movies of the Week and series. At present, she executive produced and wrote the story for the Hallmark Channel movie Dream Moms, which aired May 2023. Some of her other titles are: Her Married Lover on Lifetime TV, Dead on Sight on HBO, The Trujillos, on ABC, and CBS’ Fatal Vow, In Dreams, and the Emmy-nominated Home Sweet Homeless.

Messina Captor’s first career was on Broadway. She was assistant choreographer to Gene Kelly on One From the Heart. She 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 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.

Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Messina Captor to serve as a member on the California Arts Council in February of 2022. Her term expires in 2025.

“Margret Mead said: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,’” said Messina Captor. “In this newly elected role of Chairperson to the California Arts Council, Mead’s quote speaks volumes about the dedication of our Council members.”

“Art is the great equalizer,” she continued. “It is important to our children to grow and visualize their future. An artist in all disciplines, through their craft, breaks down barriers. I am honored and humbled to serve as the Chairperson of this illustrious group.”

Leah Goodwin, Vice Chair

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.

Goodwin 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 seventeen 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.

Goodwin is the granddaughter of San Diego Black Pioneers Odie Lee and Ruby Berkeley Goodwin, and the daughter of James Goodwin, a Tuskegee Airmen who flew the 332. She is the immediate past chair of the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, appointed by Supervisor Nora Vargas. Goodwin is a Fullbright 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.

Goodwin was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in January of 2023. Her term expires in 2027.


Vicki Estrada, Council member

On December 11, the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, announced the reappointment of Vicki Estrada to the California Arts Council. Estrada previously served as the Council Vice Chair from January to December of 2023.

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.

Estrada 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.

Estrada was originally appointed to the California Arts Council by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins in July of 2021. Her new term to the Council expires in 2028.

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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