Team

ABOUT ARTPLACE
Jamie Bennett Executive Director
jamie@artplaceamerica.org / (347) 853-7818 x306 / Twitter: @sarmoti

Jamie Bennett has been the Executive Director of ArtPlace America since January 2014. Previously, Jamie served as Chief of Staff at the National Endowment for the Arts and Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.  He has also provided strategic counsel at the Agnes Gund Foundation; served as chief of staff to the President of Columbia University; and worked in fundraising at The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Philharmonic, and Columbia College.  His past nonprofit affiliations have included the Board of Directors of Art21 and the HERE Arts Center; the Foot-in-the-Door Committee of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation; and Studio in a School’s Associates Committee.  Jamie received his B.A. from Columbia College in New York City.

Sarah Calderon Managing Director
sarah@artplaceamerica.org / (347) 853-7818 x302 / Twitter: @sarahjcalderon

Sarah Calderon is the Managing Director of ArtPlace America. Previously, Sarah Calderon was the Executive Director of Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education (Bronx, NY) from 2008-2015. During her tenure, she has overseen the opening of a new, 90,000-square-foot facility for the Center's arts and education programming and developed partnerships with organizations ranging from Lincoln Center to the NYC Housing Authority.  Before joining Casita, Sarah founded and ran Stickball Printmedia Arts in East Harlem a printmaking and digital arts organization for youth. Prior to that she was with the NYC Department of Education creating the Annual Arts in Schools Report  - a data collection, analysis, and reporting effort for arts education in NYC's public schools and MPR Associates working as a consultant, managing research and evaluation projects from design through publication.  Sarah has also worked as a teaching artist in Chicago, Oakland and New York City. Sarah holds a BFA in printmaking and a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan; and an M.Ed. in arts education from Harvard University.  

Lyz Crane Deputy Director
lyz@artplaceamerica.org / (347) 853-7818 x301 / Twitter: @LyzCrane

Lyz Crane is the Deputy Director for ArtPlace America.  Previously, she served as the Communications Director at ArtHome, an organization that helps artists and their communities build assets and equity through financial literacy; and the Director of Program Development and Program Manager of the Shifting Sands Initiative at Partners for Livable Communities, a national nonprofit leadership organization working to improve the livability of communities by promoting quality of life, economic development, and social equity.  In 2009, Crane was named a ‘Next City Vanguard’ by urban affairs magazine Next City.  She received her MPA in policy analysis from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and her BA in Urban Studies and Sociology from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Maura Cuffie Senior Program Officer
maura@artplaceamerica.org / 347-853-7818 x303

Maura Cuffie joins the ArtPlace team as the Senior Program Officer. As a facilitator and program designer, she strives to create space for interdisciplinary practices alongside champions of change. Most recently she worked as the Program Manager at EmcArts, where she managed the design and implementation of organizational cohort-learning programs across North America with a goal to strengthen adaptive capacity throughout the arts sector.Prior to that work she held a variety of positions in arts, culture and organizational change, including co-founding the collective, The Free Breakfast Program, where she carried out amultidisciplinary, socially-engaged and dialogic practice. She participated as a Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project in 2015 and in the inaugural cohort for leaders of color in EmcArts’ Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators Fellowship in 2016. (Photo Credit: Naima Green)

ADAM ERICKSON Director of Communications
adam@artplaceamerica.org / (347) 853-7818 x305 / Twitter: @adamdanell

Adam Erickson is the Director of Communications for ArtPlace America. From 2013 to 2016, Adam was the Senior Program Manager at the Aspen Institute Arts Program, where he brought together leading voices from a variety of sectors, including arts, philanthropy, government, business, and education with the purpose of accelerating artist-driven social change, service, and innovation in the United States. Adam and his team presented over 500 speakers in 150 events — including panels, roundtables, strategy groups, conferences, film screenings, exhibitions, performances, and education initiatives — to an audience of 25,000 people. He also oversaw administrative operations for the Arts Program, and was a member of the Institute’s Diversity Committee. Adam is originally from the Twin Cities, where he served as Assistant to the Chief Curator at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and as Executive Assistant to the President at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. He recently completed the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania and National Arts Strategies, and has been a visual artist nearly all his life. Photo Credit: Catherine Gibbons

Marirosa García Social Media Manager

Marirosa García is the Social Media Manager at ArtPlace America. Before she came to work for ArtPlace she worked for Penguin Young Readers (part of Penguin Random House Publishing) as an Assistant Marketing Manager, working on several New York Times bestselling books such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and the Legend series by Marie Lu. Marirosa got her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and her second novel, The Resolutions, from Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishing) recently published.

Jamie Hand Director of Research Strategies
jamie.hand@artplaceamerica.org / (347) 853-7818 x304 / Twitter: @jamieowenhand

As Director of Research Strategies, Jamie Hand designs and leads cross-sector knowledge and network building for ArtPlace America. Jamie’s background in landscape architecture, program design, and federal grantmaking affords her a unique approach to research, where on-the-ground applicability of learnings and large-scale systems change are equally prioritized.  Prior to ArtPlace, Jamie worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she managed the Our Town grant program, the Mayors' Institute on City Design, and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design. She also advised the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force on the development of Rebuild by Design, after leading multiple regional-scale design competitions as Program Director at the Van Alen Institute. Jamie co-edited Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park, and began her career in the Bay Area as a construction manager for public artist Topher Delaney. She is chair of the board of ioby (“in our back yards”), and holds degrees from Princeton University's School of Architecture and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Danya Sherman Senior Consultant, Research Strategies
danya@artplaceamerica.org / (773) 965-1338

Danya Sherman is a strategist and writer who specializes in collaboratively developing initiatives that build a more creative and just society. She works closely with Jamie Hand and others on the ArtPlace team to design and conduct research, training, and field-building programs that help integrate arts and culture into community development nationwide. Danya also runs an arts and community development consultancy based in Boston, where she works primarily on innovation and organizational effectiveness in the non-profit and public sectors. Previously she founded and directed the Department of Public Programs & Community Engagement at Friends of High Line and co-founded the MIT Case Study Initiative. Her writing has been published in Next City, Shelterforce, and by Rutgers University Press. She holds a Master's in City Planning from MIT and a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University. 

ERIK TAKESHITA Senior Fellow
Erik@artplaceamerica.org / 612-703-9322 / Twitter: @ETakeshita

Erik Takeshita has been named as a Senior Fellow to ArtPlace America, supported by the Bush Foundation. His thought partnership will come from more than twenty years of culturally rooted community development experience.  Erik joined the Bush Foundation as Community Creativity Portfolio Director in August of 2015.  From 2008-2015 he led a breadth of work at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), including launching a nationwide Creative Placemaking initiative. He was previously a senior policy aide to the mayor of Minneapolis, where he advised the framework for a 10-year Plan for Arts and Culture, and led an art center in Honolulu, Hawai’i, helping to revitalize the city’s downtown. He serves on numerous boards and commissions, and is nationally recognized for managing high-impact initiatives that express a community’s unique culture through the arts. Takeshita holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School—an opportunity he pursued through a 2005 Bush Leadership Fellowship

Leila Tamari Senior Program Officer

Leila Tamari is the Senior Program Officer at ArtPlace America. In her three year tenure at ArtPlace, she co-designed and co-led the National Creative Placemaking Fund, which invested $86.4 million in 279 creative placemaking projects across the United States from 2011-2017. Prior to ArtPlace, Leila worked with Creative Time, where she led various engagement initiatives and produced a diverse range of major public art projects in New York City – from solo artist commissions to group shows. Trained as a visual artist with an activist mentality, she received her B.A. from Smith College in Art History with a Museums Concentration. Leila is a native New Yorker and first generation North American.

Sarah Westlake EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
sarah.westlake@artplaceamerica.org / (347) 853-7818 x308 / Twitter: @Westlaka ‏

Sarah has been working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector for most of her professional career. Her last role was as the creative manager at the MS Society, a UK-based membership organization for people affected by multiple sclerosis. As well as seeing creative campaigns through from concept to delivery, she also managed a bi- monthly magazine, working with a team of community writers and bloggers. Sarah worked with a UK Government department to produce materials to help people with chronic health conditions stay in work. She has also run storytelling training, managed messaging, and taught writing for many organizations including the British Dyslexia Foundation, the Federation of Small Business and most recently, the NYC chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice — where she is the volunteer Communications Coordinator. Sarah comes to ArtPlace from London, England, and holds a post graduate qualification in Journalism as well as a BA in English Literature.