The San Francisco Arts Commission is an agency of the City and County of San Francisco. Our work is overseen by the Director of Cultural Affairs and members of the Arts Commission all of whom are appointed by the Mayor. Read our bylaws.
Ralph Remington has extensive professional experience in arts administration and government, and has experience as a director, actor, essayist, playwright and screenwriter. Prior to joining the City and County of San Francisco, he served as the Deputy Director for Arts and Culture for the City of Tempe, Arizona. In that role, he was responsible for Tempe Center for the Arts’ comprehensive performance and visual art programming, as well as overseeing public art, the Tempe History Museum, arts engagement and municipal arts granting. He previously served as the former Western Regional Director and Assistant Executive Director for Actors Equity Association in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he was Director of Theater and Musical Theater at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he received the NEA Chairman's Distinguished Service Award.
Prior to working at the NEA, Remington was a City Council member for the City of Minneapolis. He is a former Guthrie Theater Acting Company member, and is the founding Producing Artistic Director of award-winning Pillsbury House Theatre in South Minneapolis. Remington has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from Howard University.
Executive, Community Investments
Born and raised in San Francisco, Roberto Ordeñana has worked in community development and social justice for over 20 years, centering the arts in much of this work. Roberto currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center that provides: direct services to some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community, arts and culture programs celebrating our community’s vibrancy and movement building opportunities - all together creating a stronger and healthier LGBTQ and allied community. Over the years, Roberto has managed innovative programming that provided emerging artists opportunities to show their work, served homeless and marginally housed LGBTQ youth, and provided health and wellness programs to LGBTQ adults. Prior to working at the Center, while at the STOP AIDS Project, he managed peer-led youth HIV-prevention programs which included experimental documentary-making and community-organizing projects. Roberto has served on the LGBT Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and as president of the Board of Directors at Bay Area Young Positives. Roberto is a proud graduate of San Francisco State University where he majored in Social Sciences – with an emphasis in Human Sexuality Studies. In 2012, Roberto was appointed by Mayor Edwin M. Lee to serve as City Commissioner on the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Community Investments, Executive, Street Artists, and Visual Arts Committees
Performing Arts/Literary Arts
Janine Shiota is a producer, writer, and project coordinator working within performing arts and entertainment. A San Francisco native with a background in traditional theater, film, and writing, her projects have often blurred boundaries between the disciplines; blending visual arts, dance, poetry, film, music, sculpture, photography, technology and design, sprinkled with philanthropy and social engagement.
Her work has spanned community partnerships with an array of non-profits, educational, and philanthropic organizations including Summer Search, EARN, BayCat, Operation Rainbow, Friends of TOMS, HRC, SFAF, EQCA, TNDC, TARC, STOP Aids Project, BAVC, SF Pride Organization, National AIDS Memorial Grove, Youth Speaks, PFLAG, BCEF, AEF, AIDS Lifecycle, Soulforce Ride, LGBT Center SF, Horizons Foundation, Academy of Friends, and work with organizations including XPrize Foundation, TNDC, JDV Hospitality, San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, Maker Faire, and TED via locally produced and curated TEDxPresidio. With endeavors recognized by the SF Mayor’s Office and the CA State Assembly for community outreach, Janine looks forward to continual service to the city of San Francisco.
Civic Design Review
Yakuh Askew, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, born and raised in San Francisco, earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. In 2004 he founded Y.A. studio, an architectural practice located in San Francisco’s Mission District, to focus on socially and environmentally responsible architectural design. Under his leadership, Y.A. studio has developed an expansive portfolio that includes private homes, multi-family developments, 100% affordable housing developments, offices, cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Yakuh is a member of the Lick-Wilmerding High School Board of Trustees where he chairs the Campus Stewardship Committee and is a member of the USF Architecture and Community Design Advisory Board.
Executive and Visual Arts Committees
JD Beltran is a conceptual artist, filmmaker, and writer whose artwork explores the contexts, language, and scope of portraiture. Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally, including at the Walker Art Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen in New York, the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Singapore Digital Mediafest, Cité des Ondes Vidéo et Art Électronique in Montreal, Canada, the Biennale for Electronic Arts in Perth, Australia, and both the 2006 and 2008 ZeroOne San Jose New Media Biennials. She was awarded a San Jose Cultural Commission Grant for a public art project exhibiting in the streets of San Jose from October 2007 through Spring 2009, and an Individual Artist Commission from the city of San Francisco for a public art project exhibited in March 2009. Her San Jose public art project garnered an award as one of the most outstanding public art projects in the country by the Public Art Network. She also was awarded a Lucas Fellowship and Montalvo Arts Center Residency in 2009, an Artadia grant in 1999, and residencies at both the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe, as well as in Art in America, ArtNews, the New Art Examiner, and Art Papers. She writes a blog column on art and culture for SFGate.com, the online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, and is faculty in the New Genres, Film, Interdisciplinary Studies, Critical Studies, and Urban Studies Programs at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Executive and Community Investments
Charles M. Collins is the President Emeritus of the YMCA of San Francisco where he served for nearly two decades as President and Chief Executive Officer. Founded in 1853, the YMCA of San Francisco is a not-for-profit organization that is committed to serving the diverse communities of the Bay Area with a focus on the development of children, youth, adults and families.
From 1983 to 2002, Collins was President and Chairman of WDG Ventures, Inc., and its affiliated companies which were engaged in the investment and development of commercial and residential real estate. Collins has practiced law and was a former Deputy Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency for the State of California. Collins serves on the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Community Council of the UCSF Center for Community Engagement, the board of the Commonwealth Club, Chair Emeritus of the ShapeUp SF Coalition, a board member of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Mr. Collins received his Bachelor of Arts with honors from Williams College, with a double major in History and the History of Art, Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Juris Doctor from the Harvard Law School.
Visual Arts Committee
Born and raised in San Francisco, Suzie Ferras is the owner of Creative IQ Art Studio and CIQ Gallery. With a background in drawing, illustration, painting and sculpture, Suzie has been working in the arts for over 19 years as an artist, illustrator, creative director, visual arts instructor, art education program developer, curator, live artist and creative arts community organizer.
Suzie helped champion the live art movement in the San Francisco Bay Area, organizing inter-arts collectives and events, performing as a live visual artist and collaborating with some of the Bay Areas’ finest musicians. She is a consultant for a San Francisco based production company, and does a variety of art commissions and consulting work for individuals, companies and organizations.
She has created art education programs for the Community College District of San Mateo County, Oakland School for the Arts, and the San Francisco Unified School District. She is the President of the Balboa Village Merchants Association, a delegate with the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations (SFCDMA), a member of the SFPD Small Business Advisory Forum, and a board member of the Lusitano Club of California. She has exhibited art and/or has done live art with the de Young Museum, The New York Stock Exchange, Palace of Fine Arts, Sesame Street, SFJAZZ, Galería de la Raza, 111 Minna Gallery and many others.
Civic Design Review and Visual Arts Committees
From the Twitter Whale to Dumpling Emoji, Disney Shanghai Mickey Mouse to Conan O'Brien Pale Whale, Yiying Lu creates iconic designs and brands which transcend the linguistic barriers, unite people and enchant audiences around the world. She is also a sought-after bilingual speaker in both English and Chinese on topics of cross-cultural design, creativity, and innovation at global conference such as SXSW, TEDx, Adobe MAX, Web Summit and so on.
Yiying Lu is an award-winning artist, entrepreneur, educator, and bilingual speaker. She was named a "Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business", Microsoft's "Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation", and a "Shorty Awards" winner in Design. She has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, Fast Company, The Atlantic, NBC News, TIME, Wired Magazine, The Verge, CNN, and BBC.
Lu was born and raised in Shanghai, China and educated in Sydney, Australia and London, United Kingdom, and is currently based in San Francisco. Leveraging her cross-cultural background and experience, she strives to be a bridge between the East and the West. Her life's purpose is unifying the dualities between Art & Tech, Business & Culture, Beauty & Meaning, Work & Life.
Visual Arts, Community Investments and Street Artists Committees
Nabiel Musleh has carved a deep niche in San Francisco culture and nightlife. From creating large-scale experiential installations to bringing new, unique dining experiences to our city, Mr. Musleh has had a broad impact. His work manifests innovative ideas into cultural movements at the crossroads of taste, feel and experience.
Nabiel firmly believes that art, music, technology, lighting and the social being converge side-by-side and through these values, he has owned and operated successful restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cafés and retail businesses. Nabiel created what became San Francisco’s largest and longest running nightclubs, hosting over 200 parties each year. His events expanded to Mexico, Ibiza and Miami, borne from a clear love for creating memorable, immersive experiences.
Before being appointed by Mayor London N. Breed to the Arts Commission, he served on her transition team for Arts and Tourism of San Francisco. He serves on the board of Immersive Environments, Burning Man / the Black Rock Arts City Foundation and the Greater Rincon Hill Community Benefit District.
Community Investments Committee
Linda Parker Pennington was appointed to the Arts Commission by Mayor London Breed. She is the Founder and CEO of Parker Pennington Enterprises, LLC, a San Francisco-based firm providing talent management, organizational consulting and executive coaching to corporations, start-ups and non-profits. Ms. Parker Pennington has held leadership roles with Citibank, Apple, IBM, Goodwill San Francisco and most recently Google, where she served as Global Director for Talent Management. Her consulting clients have included organizations as diverse as Kaiser Permanente, Stanford University, the Tides Center, Cisco, Kana Software, PayPal, Genentech and several emerging technology companies. She is a facilitator in the Interpersonal Dynamics program at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Ms. Parker Pennington is a dedicated advocate for making art accessible to the community, having served as Board Chair for the Jazz Heritage Center in the Fillmore, a consultant to the Bayview Opera House and an Advisor to numerous arts organizations, including the San Francisco Black Film Festival, the African American Arts and Culture Complex and AfroSolo. She has served as a Trustee for the World Affairs Council of Northern California, and as Treasurer for the Friends of the Commission on the Status for Women. Her teenage son is a film student at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.
Ms. Parker Pennington received her Bachelors with Honors from Boston University, and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Visual Arts and Civic Design Review Committees
Abby Sadin Schnair is an architectural photographer with over 40 years of experience. Her photography has been published in Architect magazine, Architectural Digest and Architectural Record. She has had several showings of her work at various galleries and museums.
After receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Abby co-founded the first women-owned professional architectural photography studio in Chicago. For sixteen years she photographed architecture and interiors for a national and international clientele. In 1994, Abby relocated to San Francisco, where she consulted for the design community in digital imaging. Abby transitioned from her consulting practice in 2003 to focus full time on her own fine art photography.
Abby currently serves on the board of A.C.T. and is chair of the A.C.T. MFA Conservatory board. She has organized and sponsored events for Greenbelt Alliance, and she and her husband are sponsors of SPUR. Past nonprofit leadership includes serving on the boards of Drew School for ten years, Mary Meyer School and LaSalle Language Academy in Chicago, and Parent’s Coalition of Bay Area High Schools.
Community Investments and Street Artists Committees
Performing Arts (Music)
Marcus Anthony Shelby is an accomplished teacher, composer, arranger, and bassist who currently lives in San Francisco, California. Over the past 20 years, he has built a diverse biography. From 1990-1996, Shelby was bandleader of Columbia Records and GRP Impulse! Recording Artists Black/Note and is currently the Artistic Director and leader of The Marcus Shelby Orchestra, The Marcus Shelby Hot 7, and the The Marcus Shelby Trio. Mr. Shelby was awarded a 2009 Black Metropolis Research Consortium Fellowship in Chicago for summer 2009 to conduct research for his commission to compose “Soul of the Movement.” He was also a 2006 Fellow in the Resident Dialogues Program of the Committee for Black Performing Arts at Stanford University to conduct research for his commission to compose “Harriet Tubman.” Mr. Shelby also has had the honor of arranging for and conducting the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Ledisi, performing and recording with Tom Waits, and receiving the City Flight Magazine 2005 award as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area.” As the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus Scholarship, Mr. Shelby’s studies include work under the tutelage of composer James Newton and legendary bassist Charlie Haden. He is also very active in music education and currently teaches at Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco, and at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University.
Civic Design Review Committee
Kimberlee Stryker is a landscape architect and community activist who has lived in San Francisco for nearly 25 years. Ms. Stryker has researched and authored topics related to historic garden design, including “Listening to the Gardens of Hue, Vietnam,” presented as an oral history to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco through a Graham Foundation grant; “Historic Garden and Modern Sculpture at the Villa Celle, Italy” for the Public Art Review; and “The Modern Gardens of Pietro Porcinai” published in Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.
Ms. Stryker is an instructor at U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, teaching a course in Sustainable Cities and Landscapes. Committed to the ethic of community participation as a means to ecological and democratic sustainability, Ms. Stryker encourages community involvement through active engagement in political processes and through design that requires community dialog. She believes urban design can and should include ecologically balanced systems within cities to provide environments that enable everyone to enjoy safe and healthy neighborhoods.
Community Investments, Executive, and Visual Arts Committees
Debra Walker is an artist and an arts and housing policy advisor who’s lived and worked in San Francisco since 1981, in one of the City’s oldest artist cooperatives. She came to San Francisco to focus on her painting from a thirty year career in arts, business and production management in publishing, advertising and technology. She has project managed and curated several projects for Google X, Google and several independent film production companies, and has exhibited her work locally, nationally and internationally.
Walker served as the tenant representative on the Building Inspection Commission from 1999 – 2019, working to institutionalize the code enforcement outreach program in the housing division by convening tenant and landlord outreach organizations to support building owners in bringing their units up to code. She served on the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety that resulted in an international model for resiliency. Walker is a solution-focused leader who prioritized ensuring San Francisco’s housing inventory remains strong and safe.
Walker has organized for many political campaigns locally, as well as throughout California and around the country to increase voter registration and to support candidates for office. She is past president of both the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the San Francisco Arts Democratic Club. She has run for supervisor in SF, and has served as a caucus officer in the Women’s Caucus and the LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party. She is a past board member of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research center, and chaired both the Live Work and Arts Task forces created by the SF Board of Supervisors.
Civic Design Review
Paul is a Senior Vice President and Design Principal for HOK’s San Francisco studio and is responsible for some of the firm’s most innovative and creative buildings. He is a recognized industry leader, whose work has focused on being a design catalyst for helping people rethink the relationship between themselves and their environments. Named Outstanding Young Architect of the Year in 2003 by the AIA, Paul has been responsible for design leadership on several of HOK’s most complex, innovative and sustainable buildings and environments. As Design Principal, he is responsible for all aspects of the design process, leading interdisciplinary teams comprised of architects, engineers, planners, interior designers and landscape architects. His diverse portfolio includes civic and institutional buildings; corporate and commercial buildings; educational facilities; research facilities; hospitals; aviation/transportation facilities; and museums; and they have been honored with numerous regional, national and international awards.