Jamie Bennett Executive Director

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 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.  

Justin Chotikul Interim Operations Manager

As the interim Operations Manager for ArtPlace America, Justin Chotikul brings a decade of experience in policy analysis, community organizing, and civic service in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he also served as the Dean’s Chief of Staff. Justin led outreach and engagement efforts as the Membership Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), one of the country’s leading post-9/11 veterans’ advocacy organizations. As a caseworker for America Works, he oversaw workforce development, directed counseling services, and coordinated with NYC agencies assisting individuals living on public assistance. Both a military brat and a former Marine, Justin developed his interest in community building and revitalization during overseas deployments and disaster-relief operations in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, and Iraq. He holds his BA in Communications and Sociology from Boston University.

Lyz Crane Deputy Director

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.

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 debut novel, Even If the Sky Falls, is coming out from Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishing) on May 10, 2015.

Jamie Hand Director of Research Strategies

Jamie Hand brings a background in landscape architecture, project management, and grantmaking to her role as ArtPlace's Director of Research Strategies. Previously, she served as a Design Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she launched and managed Our Town -­ the agency’s signature creative placemaking grant program -­ and oversaw the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design programs. Jamie also worked closely with the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to develop the Rebuild by Design competition brief and team selection.  Prior to her federal service, Jamie was Program Director at the Van Alen Institute in New York where she led large-scale design competitions focused on building social, economic, and ecological resilience for Gateway National Recreation Area (Envisioning Gateway) and the Lower Mississippi River Delta (Changing Course). Jamie started her career in the Bay Area as a research assistant and project manager for public artist Topher Delaney. Jamie is coeditor and author of Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011), and currently serves on the board of IOBY. Jamie holds degrees from Princeton University's School of Architecture and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She was raised at West Point, which to this day fuels her passions both for place and for public service.

Prentice Onayemi Director of Partnerships & Communications

Prentice Onayemi came to ArtPlace in the summer of 2014 after graduating from Columbia University’s MBA program.  While there, he served as a consultant with Exploring the Metropolis’s Queens Workspace Initiative, a research study aimed at developing strategy and policy recommendations to bolster the performing arts landscape in Queens, NY.  Prentice has also co-authored two case studies on artists as social entrepreneurs that were published by Harvard Business Review this year.  Prior to earning his MBA, Prentice co-founded Jack, a performing arts venue in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY; and Asmi International, a nonprofit that trains NGO staff to facilitate literacy and creative self expression workshops for survivors of armed conflicts and natural disasters.  He has also worked in talent strategy and operations with Achievement First, a network of charter schools; and trained non-violent offenders to build and install cabinetry with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations.  A proud member of Actor’s Equity Association and the Screen Actor’s Guild, his credits range from children’s e-books to bringing the title character to life in War Horse on Broadway.  Prentice holds a BFA in Drama from New York University and focused on real estate finance and social enterprise during his time at Columbia.

Leila Tamari Program Assistant
Latest Blog Post: From the Road: Camden, NJ

Leila Tamari joined ArtPlace America as Program Assistant in 2015. Most recently, Leila was Programming Coordinator at Creative Time for over three years, where she led various engagement initiatives and produced a diverse range of major public art projects in New York City, from solo artist commissions such as Suzanne Lacy’s Between the Door and the Street (2013) and Kara Walker’s A Subtlety… (2014) to group shows like Funk, God, Jazz, & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn (2014). Prior to her career in the arts non-profit sector, Leila was trained as a visual artist. She received her B.A. from Smith College in Art History with a Museums Concentration, and while there, she collaborated with notable artists Rick Lowe and Wendy Ewald, which led her to produce public art projects on a larger scale in her native town–New York City. With a budding passion for exploring public art practices globally, Leila presented her field research on public art spaces in Israel and Palestine at the 2011 Social Theory, Politics and the Arts Conference.

F. Javier Torres Director of National Grantmaking
Latest Blog Post: Planes, trains, and NCPF!

F. Javier Torres was the Senior Program Officer for the Arts at the Boston Foundation for over three years. Under his leadership the Foundation’s arts strategy explored the role of culture as a tool for transformation, sustainability, and as central to the development of vibrant communities. In his tenure, Javier has successfully supported the Foundation in balancing the institution¹s whole contributions to the field across several grantmaking mechanisms as they sought to impact the regions whole cultural ecology. In partnership with the Boston Foundation’s donors, Javier supported the Foundation in stewarding ten million dollars annually to the field. Prior to his role at the Foundation, Javier spent six years as the Director of Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, a program of IBA, a community based multi-disciplinary arts complex that operates as a regional presenter and local programmer for Latino arts. Currently, he serves as Secretary of the board of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, and is a board member for Grantmakers in the Arts. He has previously served as a board member for MASSCreative, a member of the MA Governor’s Creative Economy Council and Chair for the Boston Cultural Council.