SACRAMENTO, CA – With the passing of our friend and Chair Larry Baza in late February, the California Arts Council convened a brief public meeting to determine new leadership roles in a special election held Thursday, April 1. Council members elected Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez and Kathleen Gallegos to serve as Chair and Vice Chair of the Council, respectively.
Gonzáles-Chávez, appointed to the Council by Governor Gavin Newsom in February 2020, is Executive Director of the Fresno Arts Council and a longtime arts leader from the Central Valley. Her current term expires January 1, 2024.
Gallegos, a Los Angeles-based artist and photographer, was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Jerry Brown in October of 2014 and reappointed in February 2018. Her current term expires January 1, 2022.
The positions take effect immediately.
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.
Chávez 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 Kathleen Gallegos
Kathleen Gallegos is the Founding Executive and Artistic Director of Avenue 50 Studio, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts presentation organization located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park. Avenue 50 Studio has been presenting free and low-cost programming since its inception. Gallegos’ personal work has been featured in exhibitions at the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Museo de Arte in Mazatlan, Studio Channel Islands Art Center, the Wright Gallery at California Polytechnic Institute, the Instituto Cultural Interamericano in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and many more.
Public Affairs Specialist
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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: Chair Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez, Kathleen Gallegos, Jodie Evans, Jaime Galli, Stanlee Gatti, Donn K. Harris, Alex Israel, Consuelo Montoya, and Jonathan Moscone. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.
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