For Immediate Release: 2/6/2024
California State Parks and Partners Announce Arts in California Parks Advisory Committee
California State Parks
California Arts Council
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – 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.)
Arts in California Parks Advisory Committee members (top image, left to right from back row to front) 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 Agency Building in Sacramento on Monday, 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,” said Danielle Brazell, executive director of the California Arts Council.
The Advisory Committee members gathered in Sacramento on Monday, January 29, to discuss opportunities with this multiyear program, explore past examples of incorporating arts into state projects, and offer inspiration and guidance on the development of the program. During the rich conversations at the gathering, Advisory Committee members reflected 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 California 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 by visiting the website at ArtsInCaliforniaParks.org.
Advisory Committee members:
- Mona Abadir: A lifelong philanthropist for businesses and nonprofit organizations in contemporary arts, music, theater, native culture and 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, Ph.D.: Vice Chair of the California Coastal Commission and 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 and visual artist.
- Cava Menzies: Founding music faculty member at the Oakland School for the Arts and 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, and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.
- Ivy Ross:Vice President of Hardware Design at Google, and coauthor of the book “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, and California State Park and Recreation Commissioner.
- Emily Womack:Cofounder of Dyson & Womack, a public art consultancy, fabrication, and design firm.
- Sue Bell Yank: Executive Director of Clockshop, and City of Glendale Arts and Culture Commissioner.
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 Agency Building at John Grade’s art installation, “Coalition,” on Monday, January 29. Photos from California State Parks.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as State Parks, and the programs supported by its Office of Historic Preservation and divisions of Boating and Waterways and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at parks.ca.gov.
About California Arts Council
Culture is the strongest signifier of California’s identity. As a state agency, the California Arts Council supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, programs, and services. The agency's mission is to strengthen arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. Learn more at arts.ca.gov.
About Parks California
California is home to the highest-quality park system in the world. There are 280 State Park units, ranging from urban parks in the heart of our cities to beaches along our iconic coast, to historic parks celebrating the ingenuity of humanity, to redwood groves and desert expanses. Parks California is based on a new model for public, private, and nonprofit partnership, with our strength realized through statewide collaboration working together to solve complex problems more efficiently and effectively to create long-term solutions. As California State Parks’ statutory partner, we have a simple mission — to help strengthen parks and inspire all to experience these extraordinary places. For more information, visit parkscalifornia.org.
Subscribe to California State Parks News via e-mail at NewsRoom@parks.ca.gov
California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.