NOTE: ACTA staff members are currently working from home in adherence with local stay-at-home policies. Email remains a reliable way to reach us.

Amy Kitchener
Co-Founder + Executive Director

Amy co-founded the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) in 1997. Understanding California’s unique position as the nation’s epicenter for diverse cultural and multi-national communities, ACTA’s work has focused on social change through grantmaking, capacity and leadership development, technical assistance, and bilingual program development. Trained as a public folklorist with an M.A. from UCLA, Amy has piloted participatory cultural asset mapping in neglected and rural areas of the state and consults with other organizations and across sectors on this method of discovery and inclusion of community voices.  She continues to serve as a consultant for many national organizations and has taken part in two U.S.-China Intangible Cultural Heritage exchanges. She has published on a variety subjects involving California folklife, including immigrant arts training and transmission, and Asian American folk arts. She serves on the board of the national Grantmakers in the Arts and in 2017 was appointed by the US Congress as a Trustee of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. By 2019, she was elected as Chair of the American Folklife Center. Amy and husband Hugo Morales are the proud parents of twin boys who dance and sing with regularity. Photo by Craig Kohlruss.

CONTACT: Fresno Central Office | | (559) 237-9813 and (559) 696-2815


Program Staff

Lily Kharrazi
Director of Special Initiatives

Lily began working with ACTA in 2005 as the Living Cultures Grants Program manager.  In her 14 years with the organization she has contributed to the development of traditional arts roundtable series (TARS), Community Leadership Program, provided technical assistance, advocacy locally and nationally and has served on many review panels for arts funding.  In her new capacity as Special Projects Manager, she will continue to bring her training in dance and anthropology (UCLA, Dance Ethnology) and many years of working with community based arts practice.

CONTACT: San Francisco Field Office | | (415) 346-5200


Jennifer Joy Jameson
Program Manager + Media Director

Jennifer is a Pasadena-based cultural worker and public folklorist originally from the coastal city of Encinitas in San Diego County. Jennifer came to ACTA from the Mississippi Arts Commission where she served as the Folk and Traditional Arts Director since 2014, administering traditional arts grants, providing consultation to artists and organizations, revived and managed the digital publication Mississippi Folklife, and led fieldwork projects related to a wide range of cultural arts practices. Jennifer also worked in digital media for SPACES Archives, a non-profit archive dedicated to documenting and advocating for the preservation of international art environments. With an M.A. in public sector folk studies from Western Kentucky University and a B.A. in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University, Jenn has worked with museums, archives, festivals, and cultural organizations on the federal, state, and local level, including positions or residencies at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Traditional Arts Indiana, the Kentucky Folklife Program, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the  Highlander Center for Research and Education, and Epicenter. Jennifer joined ACTA in March 2017, where she directs ACTA’s media efforts, manages the Apprenticeship Program, co-leads the Traditional Arts Roundtable Series in Los Angeles, coordinates technical assistance offerings, and supports the statewide Sounds of California project.

CONTACT: Los Angeles Field Office | | (760) 805-8002


Shweta Saraswat, Ph.D.
Media and Development Manager

Shweta is a media producer and writer born and raised in Los Angeles. She recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance from the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA where her research looked at the relationship between diasporic identity and cultural production in the US and the UK. Before that, she completed an M.A. in Journalism at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism where she specialized in short form documentary. Shweta has written and produced for The Atlantic, On Being, The Global Post, and KNBC, exploring the social, cultural, and political impact of the arts in communities ranging from Belfast to Long Beach. Shweta most recently worked with the J. Paul Getty Museum, where she produced interpretive digital content for exhibitions and education initiatives. She is also a longtime practitioner of Kathak, a classical dance from north India, having studied under Guru Rachana Upadhyay in the San Fernando Valley for two decades. Shweta supports the Media Director in producing content for ACTA’s digital channels and supports ACTA’s development endeavors. She joined ACTA in July 2018.

CONTACT: Los Angeles Field Office | | (213) 346-3285 or (818) 885-0555


Jasmin Temblador
Arts in Corrections Program Manager + Reentry Through the Arts Program Coordinator

Jasmin Temblador is a first-generation Chicana raised in South Central Los Angeles. Jasmin received her BA in Anthropology from UCLA, where; she was an Arts IN scholar conducting research on how murals had the power to eliminate stereotypes in underserved communities of color. Jasmin also holds an M.A. in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College, where she received the Rory Turner Prize for best capstone for her oral history project titled Chicano Youth Leadership Conference: Speaking Legacies of Leadership into the Future.

As a cultural worker, Jasmin has worked alongside diverse communities in the arts and on cultural and land preservation projects in Los Angeles, Hawai’i, and San Diego to enhance and leverage the voices of underrepresented communities, traditions, ways of life, and cherished spaces. Jasmin joined ACTA in 2017 as the Program Coordinator for the Arts in Corrections program, and as of November 2019, she serves as the Arts in Corrections Program Manager. Jasmin works closely with folk and traditional artists in collaboration with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation staff to bring traditional arts programming to California state prisons. She also was the lead coordinator for ACTA’s first Reentry through the Arts pilot program in 2019 to support returning citizens in their transition from incarceration back into their communities through the traditional arts.

CONTACT: Los Angeles Field Office | | (213) 346-3285
Email preferred.


Kenya Curry
Arts in Corrections Program Coordinator

Kenya has over ten years of experience in administrative work. In 2014, she graduated from California State University, Fresno, with a degree in Criminology and a legal studies certificate. She has served as the Arts-in-Corrections program coordinator for ACTA’s contracts, coordinating the day-to-day program administration including assisting the artists with their supplies, processing invoices, data entry and other daily AIC operations. Kenya joined ACTA in November 2010.

CONTACT: Fresno Office | | (559) 237-9812 or (559) 492-9710


Marcella Lopez Schmidt
Arts in Corrections Program Coordinator

Marcella is a Fresno native and is especially committed to supporting equity in the Central Valley. With a passion for social justice, storytelling, and the arts, Marcella earned her B.A. in cultural anthropology from CSU Fresno. Her experience is in the areas of youth organizing and development, community engagement, and grant management. Working alongside community members, she has organized for restorative justice in Fresno and Madera Unified School Districts in an effort to end the school-to-prison pipeline and has contributed to campaigns towards environmental, reproductive, food, and community planning justice.

Marcella previously facilitated The Beat Within writing workshops for youth at the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Campus, and has facilitated creative writing and dance workshops for women at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla since 2016. Marcella joined ACTA in 2020 as a Program Coordinator for the Arts in Corrections program.

CONTACT: Fresno Office | | (559) 237-9812 or (559) 549-3758


Quetzal Flores
Program Manager

Quetzal has extensive experience as a community organizer, cultural worker, and accomplished artist. As the son of labor union organizers, Flores inherited an undying accountability to community struggles. From land struggles with South Central farmers, immigration reform, supermarket workers union strike, and the indigenous Zapatista struggle, to the everyday community struggles in East Los Angeles, he has been active with music in hand. Since 1993, has been the musical director for the Grammy-award-winning East Los Angeles-based rock group Quetzal, whose fifth album, Imaginaries, was released by Smithsonian Folkways in 2012. Since 2002, Quetzal has been a central figure in Fandango Sin Fronteras, a transnational dialogue between Chicana/o musicians and artists from California and Mexicano musicians and dancers from Veracruz, Mexico. Flores has served as an instructor for the Migrant Education Program in Boyle Heights and the Program Coordinator for the American Music Partnership of Seattle in 2008. He speaks fluent Spanish. Flores joined ACTA in May 2012, and is currently working as a part-time Program Manager with the Building Healthy Communities program in Boyle Heights.

CONTACT: Los Angeles Field Office | | (213) 346-3285 or (626) 429-4261


Betty Marín
Program Manager

Betty is a cultural worker from Wilmington, CA. Her work centers on using popular education and language justice to create spaces that encourage learning, dialogue, and solidarity between different communities. She organizes against displacement and gentrification with the LA Tenants Union, and promotes language justice with Antena LA in movement and other spaces across Los Angeles. She is based in the LA office, where she manages ACTA’s cultural treasure mapping work including with the Promise Zone Arts project, supports artist fellows in the campaign work of our Boyle Heights Building Healthy Communities program, and supports the coordination of the Traditional Arts Roundtable Series. Betty joined ACTA in July 2018.

CONTACT: Los Angeles Field Office | | (213) 346-3285 or (424) 215-1522


Amy Lawrence
Director of Administration

Amy has managed ACTA’s day to day operations since joining the organization is 2009. Amy manages ACTA’s budgets, grants and contracts, and day to day administration including data management and human resources. Previously, she worked in the nonprofit sector coordinating educational programming for the Fresno Historical Society. She earned a multiple subject teaching credential and taught second and third graders in both public and private schools. She earned an M.A. in history from CSU, Fresno.  In her spare time you’ll find her reading, practicing yoga or swinging a kettlebell.  Born and raised in Fresno, Amy grew up loving her grandma’s German potato salad and feels that traditional arts, including food, reflect the beauty and diversity that make California a wonderful place.

CONTACT: Fresno Central Office | | (559) 237-9812


Crystal Murillo
Executive Assistant

Crystal has over eleven years of experience. She previously worked at the corporate headquarters of Gottschalks, Inc., as an Assistant Buyer serving in the overall management and day to day operations of the Petites buying office. Crystal also worked for ITT Technical Institute as an Enrollment Specialist, coordinating admission for prospective students and at Table Mountain Rancheria, planning travel arrangements for tribal members and employees and assisting with administrative support. Crystal graduated from California State University, Fresno, with a B.A. in Anthropology. She also holds an MBA and runs her own photography business. A dedicated community volunteer, Crystal has organized teams for Relay for Life, Team in Training, The ALS Assoc., and Walk MS. Crystal joined ACTA in July 2016.

CONTACT: Fresno Central Office | | (559) 237-9812 or (831) 334-5040


Donna Middleton
Accounting Assistant

Donna supports ACTA’s administrative work, working alongside our director of administration in our Fresno office. Donna has more than three decades of experience in financial, medical, and legal services. She’s offered business consultation to start-ups and non-profits, prepared taxes for small businesses at her own boutique tax prep and bookkeeping firm, held real estate and insurance licenses, and also served as a public notary. Donna is very passionate about giving back to the community, and volunteers for organizations that inspire and empower youth, veterans, and under-served families. She joined ACTA in March 2018

CONTACT: Fresno Central Office | | (559) 237-9812 or (559) 353-0877

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