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Introducing the Arts in California Parks Advisory Committee

California State Parks is excited to introduce the Arts in California Parks Advisory Committee, a collective of visionaries from both the public and private sectors who will advise and inform the development and implementation of the Arts in California Parks program announced in October 2023. The goal of the program, which is a collaboration among State Parks, the California Arts Council, and Parks California, is to help make California’s parks more inclusive and welcoming.

“We look forward to the committee’s input as we work together to bring public art to parks, where it will deepen community engagement and social interaction while enhancing our cultural and aesthetic experiences in parks,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “Through this program, more park visitors will discover California’s treasures and talents, and these art installations and activities will serve as a point of pride when we say to ourselves, ‘I live here.’ “

Individuals representing diverse geographic, multicultural, and organizational perspectives and interdisciplinary expertise in a range of art forms were invited by the Program Partners — California State Parks, Parks California, and the California Arts Council — to participate in the Advisory Committee.

Members of the committee include Mona Abadir, Alme Allen, Kate Bickert, Melecio Estrella, Caryl Hart, Katie Hazard, Jenny Kane, Cava Menzies, Luz Perez, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ivy Ross, Roman Sanchez, Jeff Williams, Emily Womack and Sue Bell Yank. (See more details below on their backgrounds.)

For more information about each committee member, visit the About page of this website.

Arts in California Parks Advisory Committee members (top image) Caryl Hart, Stan Robinson, Kate Bickert, Ivy Ross, Mona Abadir, Katie Hazard, Jeff Williams, Emily Womack, Alme Allen and Melecio Estrella visited the California Natural Resources Building in Sacramento on January 29. Other members including Jenny Kane and Roman Sanchez joined the meeting with State Parks staff virtually. Photos from California State Parks.

“Beyond gallery walls and museums, art is everywhere. Collaborations like these reinforce our vision for a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts,” Danielle Brazell, Executive Director of the California Arts Council.

The Advisory Committee members gathered in Sacramento on January 29 to discuss opportunities with this multi-year program, explore past examples of incorporating arts into State projects, and offer inspiration and guidance on the development of the program. Amongst the rich conversations, advisory committee members took time to reflect on the importance of bringing art and parks together:

“Art makes parks our place, giving communities and people a sense of belonging through the arts.” – Alme Allen, advisory committee member

“Championing art in CA parks means empowering artists and advocating for the transformative potential at the nexus of community, public space, and creative expression.” – Emily Womack, advisory committee member

“Art is our universal language and one that will bring us together.” – Ivy Ross, advisory committee member

The Arts in California Parks Program supports artists, culture bearers, California Native American tribes, and communities by establishing art installations and programming in California’s State and local parks to foster community connection and well-being.

“We welcome the new Advisory Committee members and look forward to their insights, perspectives, and guidance as we embark on this exciting and groundbreaking program uniting art and nature,” said Kindley Walsh Lawlor, President and CEO of Parks California. “Working with the Committee and our partners at California State Parks and the California Arts Council, we aspire to contribute to the well-being of all communities and park visitors, creating an environment where the magic of art and culture, and the natural beauty of parks, converge.”

Learn more about each member by reading their full bios here.

Advisory Committee Members:

  • Mona Abadir – A lifelong philanthropist for businesses and non-profit organizations in contemporary arts, music, theater, native culture & arts.
  • Alme Allen – Karuk and Yurok traditional and contemporary multimedia artist, and cultural consultant.
  • Kate Bickert – Senior Director of Strategic Innovation at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
  • Melecio Estrella (he/him) – Artistic Director of vertical dance company BANDALOOP.
  • Caryl Hart, PhD – Vice Chair of the California Coastal Commission, Chair of the Great Redwood Trail Agency.
  • Katie Hazard – Associate Director of Art at Burning Man.
  • Jenny Kane – Recent Executive Director of Arts Connection – the Arts Council of San Bernardino County, Visual Artist.
  • Cava Menzies – Founding music faculty member at the Oakland School for the Director of the Oakland-based contemporary vocal ensemble, CO-LLAB Choir.
  • Luz Perez – Senior Event Manager, Save the Redwoods League.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson – Science fiction writer, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.
  • Ivy Ross – Vice President of Hardware Design at Google. Co-author Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us.
  • Roman Sanchez – Theatre Producer, Director, Educator, and a Master of Fine Arts candidate in Yale’s Theatre Management program.
  • Jeff Williams – Vice President of Production for Unscripted Television at Paramount Global overseeing content for BET Media Group, Commissioner, California State Parks and Recreation.
  • Emily Womack – Co-founder, Dyson & Womack, a public art consultancy, fabrication and design.
  • Sue Bell Yank – Executive Director of Clockshop, Commissioner, City of Glendale Arts & Culture.

State Parks Director Armando Quintero (far right) and the Arts in California Parks Planning Team met with some of the Advisory Committee members at the California Natural Resources Building at John Grade’s art installation, Coalition, on January 29. Photos from California State Parks.