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Platform: Building Networks to Catalyze Creative Urban Culture

List of speakers/bios:

Jessica Cusick, Cultural Affairs Manager, City of Santa Monica
Jessica Cusick is the Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Santa Monica. In 1998, she established Cusick Consulting to build upon her more than twenty years of experience working in the arts for governmental agencies, the private sector, and non-profit organizations. The firm specializes in cultural policy, civic art and community development through the arts. Ms. Cusick’s initiatives have received awards from by the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects. She has also been recognized by the Women’s Caucus for Art for her work in the field of public art and on behalf of women artists and artists of color. Read more

Tim Halbur, Director of Communications, ArtPlace
Tim Halbur is Director of Communications for ArtPlace, a collaboration of ten leading national and regional foundations, eight federal agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six of the nation’s largest banks to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. Previously, Tim served as managing editor for, the leading news and information website for the urban planning, design and development community. A 2006 graduate of the masters program for urban planning from San Jose State, Tim is also a sound artist and musician.

Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
Robert Lynch is the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, the national organization dedicated to advancing the arts and arts education in people's lives, schools, and communities. He was executive director of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies for 12 years, and managed the successful merger of that organization with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts in 1996. In 2005, Mr. Lynch oversaw the merger of the Arts and Business Council, Inc. into Americans for the Arts. In the same year he also created the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected political action committee to engage citizens in advocating for the arts and arts education to ensure arts-friendly public policies. With more than 30 years of experience in the arts industry, Mr. Lynch is motivated by his personal mission to empower communities and leaders to advance arts and arts appreciation in society. Read more

David Malmuth, Partner, I.D.E.A. Partners, LLC
David established his development firm in 2010 with a singular focus: creating art- inspired places that transform communities. This passion grows directly from the rebirth that occurred in Times Square and Hollywood as a result of his well-conceived and executed projects. In 2011, David and Pete Garcia formed I.D.E.A. Partners to lead the creation of the I.D.E.A. District (Innnovation+Design+Education+Arts) in downtown San Diego. This transformative initiative aims to create over 10,000 design jobs in the next 12 years. Read more

Cora Mirikitani, President and CEO, Center for Cultural Innovation
Cora Mirikitani is the President and CEO of the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), a California-based knowledge and financial services incubator for individual artists.  Cora’s extensive career in the arts includes more than 10 years in philanthropy as Program Officer for Culture at The Pew Charitable Trusts and later as Senior Program Director at The James Irvine Foundation in charge of their Arts Pprogram and Innovation Fund.  She has also held key leadership positions as an arts administrator and presenter, as CEO of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles, Director of Performing Arts and Film at the Japan Society in New York, and Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. In addition to working as a consultant to foundations and nonprofit arts organizations, Cora has been a lecturer, writer and advisor on numerous arts funding, policy and advisory panels and boards during her career.  Read more

Josephine Ramirez, Director – Arts, The James Irvine Foundation
Josephine Ramirez was appointed Program Director in January 2010, with overall responsibility for the Foundation’s Arts program. Before joining Irvine, Josephine was Vice President of Programming and Planning for the Music Center in Los Angeles, where she founded the programming department in 2003 and launched several groundbreaking initiatives. Previously, she was a Program Officer at the Getty Foundation, managing funding in the areas of arts leadership development, Los Angeles cultural organizations, arts education research and arts policy. Also at the Getty, she was Research Associate at the Research Institute, creating and implementing a multi-year investigation of the connections between art making and civic participation. Earlier, Josephine worked as an independent consultant to cultural organizations around the country, producing large and small-scale performance events. Read more

Jason Schupbach, Design Director, National Endowment for the Arts
Jason Schupbach is Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversees the Design Art Works grants and leadership initiatives such as Our Town, the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, and Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design. Prior to joining the Endowment, Mr. Schupbach held the first-in-the-nation position of Creative Economy Industry Director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development. Past positions include director of ArtistLink, National Artist Space Initiative Consultant for Leveraging Investments in Creativity, and Capital Projects Manager and Staff Urban Planner/Designer for New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs. He received a B.S. in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master's in City Planning with an Urban Design Certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kim Walesh, Chief Strategist and Director of Economic Development, City of San Jose
Kim Walesh is Director of Economic Development and Chief Strategist for the City of San Jose, the nation’s 10th largest city and Capital of Silicon Valley.    Kim leads implementation of the City’s comprehensive economic strategy to catalyze private investment, job growth, revenue generation, and talent attraction.  She oversees citywide initiatives in business retention and attraction, entrepreneurship, clean technology, real estate, downtown revitalization, workforce development, sports, and cultural affairs.  As Chief Strategist, Kim assists the City’s executive leadership team with organizational change, civic engagement, and strategic planning. she has a proven track record of transforming ideas into action through collaboration. Read more

Craig Watson, Director, California Arts Council
Craig Watson is the Director of the California Arts Council, a position he has held since August 2011 when he was chosen by the Council after a nationwide search. Watson started his career in the arts field at local arts agencies and arts-services organizations, and later built a career in the telecommunications industry before returning to the arts as Executive Director of the Arts Council for Long Beach. The California Arts Council is the official state arts agency for California, the state with the largest number of artists and creative-industry workers in the nation. Read more

Register for Platform: Building Networks to Catalyze Creative Urban Culture

There is no fee for this event, and you are welcome to register for either or both sessions.
Space is limited so you must register in advance.

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Questions? Please contact Arlene Biala, Arts Program Manager at or 408.793.4332.

This forum is sponsored by the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, California Arts Council, and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It is presented in association with ZERO1, Center for Cultural Innovation, and other partners.

Last Modified: 08.29.12