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Dr. Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer, educator, and catalyst who believes the arts and culture are powerful tools for personal and social transformation. Her interdisciplinary work bridges the arts, education, and urban planning.
Amy is currently Head of the Arts Management Program for the Sotheby’s Institute of Art – LA (SIA) at Claremont Graduate University (CGU). She has been recognized on the Honor Roll for Service Learning by the President of the United States (2007).
Amy has been nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize for her creative non-fiction, and 2018 Best of the Net for her poetry. Her writing has been published by UC Press, SUNY Press, Public!: A Journal of Imagining America, SAGE Publications,Teaching Artist Journal, Tiferet Journal, Zocalo Public Square, Critical Planning Journal and Lady Liberty Lit. Her performance work has been presented at the Kennedy Center for the Arts and in theaters throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Prior to her work with SIA/CGU, she taught for seven years at UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture where she directed the ArtsBridge Program. Her efforts lay the groundwork for the first Visual and Performing Arts Education minor in the UC System. She later served as a Visiting Scholar for the Center for Learning Through the Arts, Sciences, and Sustainability (CLASS) at UC Irvine.
Amy coaches arts professionals, cultural start-ups, and mentors emerging leaders. She has consulted for respected mission-driven organizations including Community Partners, Arts for LA, the Chicano Park Museum, and Latinos in Heritage Conservation. She launched CREO to promote a just society by investing in diverse leadership, catalyzing community knowledge, and amplifying great ideas in action.
Earlier in her career, she co-founded the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center where she served as its Executive Director for 14 years. Her experience in arts administration developed from to support her life as a working artist which included a fulfilling career in dance, performance, and community arts that spanned decades.
Amy was a founding member of CREATE CA, and co-chaired the policy work group on access and inclusion for the CA Department of Education and the CA Arts Council which generated the statewide Blueprint for Creative Schools. She represented the State of California on the envoy to the National Endowment for the Arts’ Education Leadership Institute.
She completed her doctoral studies in urban planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs where she emphasized the arts and culture, community development, and sustainability (Ph.D., M.A.). She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing from Antioch University (creative non-fiction and poetry). Her undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies from UC Santa Cruz provided a foundation for her intercultural and interdisciplinary work.
Amy has earned fellowships from the James P. Shannon Foundation, Leadership LA, CORO, the Dana Foundation, and the University of California, and she has served on the Board of Directors of Women Transportation Seminar. She has galvanized public and private resources for arts and educational programs from state agencies, foundations and corporations, and served on grant review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, the James Irvine Foundation, the Cal Trans’ Active Transportation Program.