SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council elected members Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez and Consuelo Montoya to serve as Chair and Vice Chair of the Council, respectively, at a public meeting held virtually on Tuesday, December 7.
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. Her term expires January 1, 2024. Chavez succeeds Larry Baza, who served as Council Chair from January 2021 until his death in late February.
Montoya was appointed to the California Arts Council by the Speaker of the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, in March of 2020. She is an artist, educator, and cultural producer specializing in community engagement strategies. Her term expires in 2024.
At the December meeting, Council members thanked former Council Chair Donn Harris and former Vice Chair Kathleen Gallegos for their leadership and service to the Council as their terms came to an end.
The leadership positions take effect on January 1, 2022.
About Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez
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.
About Consuelo (Chelo) Montoya
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 also sits on the Board of Trustees executive committee of the Vincent Price Art Museum.
Public Affairs Director
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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: Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez, Chair; Consuelo Montoya, Vice Chair; Vicki Estrada, Jodie Evans, Stanlee Gatti, Alex Israel, and Jonathan Moscone. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.
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