Commission for Arts and Culture
Lara joined the City of San Diego in April 2019. She assists with management of the Civic Art Collection, facilitates coordination of public art commissions, and manages the siting of art in the public realm. Lara is a contemporary art historian, writer, curator, and educator. She has remained committed to the local arts community by serving as chair of the Artist Advocacy Committee for the Rising Arts Leaders of San Diego where she pioneered Rising Arts Fest, a day-long arts event in which all sectors of the arts community are invited to dialogue. She has also served as a member of the Arts, Culture, and Design Committee at the San Diego Unified Port District and served three years on the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture’s Public Art Committee. In addition, Lara has taught courses at a variety of institutions including Southwestern College and the University of California, San Diego and has worked at a variety of internationally renown art museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, as well as curated many exhibitions locally. As a scholar, Lara is interested in art in a global context from 1945 to present, with a focus on art and its impact in the public realm. She received her B.A. in Art History, Theory, and Criticism with Honours and Minor in English from the University of British Columbia, followed by her M.A. in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She earned her Ph.D. in Contemporary Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego.
Karla began her career with the City of San Diego in April 2019. She prepares communication materials for effective engagement as well as assists in: budget development, managing the grant making program, and contract management. Karla has been deeply involved with the arts, both locally and internationally, throughout her career. Most recently, she was Director of Education and Public Programs at San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) where she led the department and implemented a series of dynamic and innovative public programs that engaged the community. Prior to her tenure at SDAI, she was a Gallery Educator at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), and while living in Mexico City, she worked with Material Art Fair, an international art fair devoted to emerging art practices, and as MCASD liaison at Mexico City’s Museo Rufino Tamayo. She received her B.A. in Art History from San Diego State University.
Jonathon joined the City of San Diego in November 2018. He leads and facilitates the strategic vision of the office. Prior to working in San Diego, he was the Director of Culture and Creative Economy for the City of Sacramento, CA where he led the city’s first cultural planning process in more than 20 years. Jonathon set in place an assessment of Sacramento’s film sector and an equity audit of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. Prior to Sacramento, he served as the first CEO of Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) for more than nine years. While at HAA, he worked closely with a board of more than 30, multiple committees, staff and partner agencies including VisitHouston, the Greater Houston Partnership, cultural districts and universities. Jonathon co-chaired the tourism committee of VisitHouston, partnered on multiple cultural tourism initiatives, and lead two studies on the creative economy in Houston region. He was also the chairman of the board of Texans for the Arts (TFA), a statewide arts advocacy organization. He was Executive Director of Arts & Culture for the City of Pasadena, CA where he led multiple cultural tourism initiatives and partnerships, represented that city with the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition & Festival, and led the city’s cultural planning process, in partnership with the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission. Jonathon began his career with city arts agencies in Evanston, IL, and his arts career with the International Sculpture Center, in Washington, DC where he wrote for SCULPTURE magazine and traveling exhibitions internationally. He studied urban economics and public policy at Indiana University, and art and architectural history at University of Illinois. He also studied at University of Kent, in Canterbury, England, where he focused on British urban policy.
Christine Jones is a cultural strategist, curator, and producer with significant experience working in government organizations, museums, galleries, and consultancies. As the Chief of Civic Art Strategies for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, she oversees programmatic direction, cultural development, and strategic initiatives. Christine cultivates and engages directly on projects that cross programs and sectors, establishes frameworks for arts and culture delivery and advises about the arts industry, creative economy, and public realm. Formerly, Christine served as the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture’s Senior Public Art Manager administering two “percent-for-art” programs and managing the Civic Art Collection. Prior to that, she was a consultant for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, developing and delivering major public art commissions and exhibitions in the public realm from concept to completion. As a consultant for the San Diego Unified Port District, Christine guided development of its first public art curatorial strategy to realize public art exhibitions on the tidelands of five coastal jurisdictions in San Diego County. Previous to her public art consultancy, she served as a Public Art Project Manager for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, managing commissions in public places throughout the city. Christine is an Accredited Senior Appraiser recognized by the American Society of Appraisers, specializing in ancient and contemporary Asian art. She has traveled extensively in Asia and Europe, appraised over $50 million in private property, negotiated contracts with internationally recognized artists, and previously held positions at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She holds dual Bachelor degrees in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University.
Chuck joined the City of San Diego in January 2019. He manages the Civic Art Collection, engages artists to design, fabricate and install public art commission and collaborates with private developers to site art in the public realm. Chuck is an artist, designer, media producer, educator and organizer with 16 years of experience engaging a broad range of the arts and culture sector. Most recently, he was a consultant at the Port of San Diego’s Waterfront Arts & Activation department and the Design Lab at UCSD. He taught architectural design foundations, graphic representation, and special studios on art and urbanism at NewSchool of Architecture and Design, as well as studios in video production and ideation at the University of California, San Diego. Chuck helped re-establish The Periscope Project, an architectural intervention in Downtown San Diego’s East Village, as an arts / architecture / urbanism educational non-profit organization. From 2010 to 2013, he served as the project’s curatorial and residency director, instructor for the project’s Summer Urban Labs educational series, and in leading roles in the project’s capacity as a public art and design collaborative. Notably, The Periscope Project was featured in the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2012. He maintains an interdisciplinary artistic practice, exploring the intersections of art, architecture, urbanism, media, and design. Before coming to San Diego, he worked as a preparator for numerous commercial galleries, museums, and art consultancies in Baltimore and New York City, and developed, managed, and fabricated monumental and media-based public artworks for numerous international artists. Chuck holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego.
Bell Reza joined the City of San Diego in 2017. In her role as a project manager, she opens lines of communication between departments and businesses to execute projects. Bell provides coordination for several City of San Diego advisory boards, cross-departmental initiatives, and manages both internal and external relationships. With years of experience in both public and private sectors, Bell has proven expertise working with business executives, boards, commissions, elected officials, and policy makers throughout San Diego. She successfully coordinates complex projects and navigates intricate environments with high degree of detail. Her career at the City of San Diego began as a Confidential Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to her work at the City, she was a team member at the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit organization representing more than 11,000 property owners and nearly 400 member businesses across San Diego's urban core.