Dr. Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer and educator 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 Head of the Arts Management Program for the Sotheby’s Institute of Art – LA (SIA) at Claremont Graduate University (CGU). She has been recognized as an educator on the President of the United States’ Honor Roll for Service Learning (2007). Her writing has been published by UC Press, SUNY Press, Public!: A Journal of Imagining America, the 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 numerous 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 degree 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.
She launched CREO Worldwide to promote a just society by investing in diverse leadership, catalyzing community knowledge, and amplifying great ideas in action. 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, and the Chicano Park Museum. Earlier in her career, she co-founded the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center where she served as its Executive Director for 14 years. Her work in arts administration grew out of a fulfilling career in dance and performance 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.
Her graduate studies in urban planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs emphasized the arts and culture, community development, and sustainability (Ph.D., M.A.). Her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing from Antioch University dove into 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 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.