By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–The San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition has hired Felicia Shaw to serve as the advocacy group’s first executive director.
Shaw has been on the front lines of arts advocacy efforts and has worked tirelessly to help ensure that the arts in San Diego continue to thrive, the group says.
Shaw, the immediate past board chair, took over the newly created role of executive director on January 19. Previously entirely volunteer-run, the member services organization has been the voice of the arts community and has fought for stable funding from the City of San Diego called “Penny for the Arts.” It has expanded its purview to become the local partner of California Arts Advocates on state issues and Americans for the Arts on national issues. The organization was most recently at the forefront of the effort to create a county-wide Arts Commission and spearheaded a campaign to help arts groups survive and thrive during the COVID shutdown.
Shaw was most recently Executive Director of the Women’s Museum of California. As a seasoned veteran of the nonprofit arts and culture community, she led this nearly 40-year-old institution toward its next chapter of growth. Her work helped strengthen the Museum’s ability to memorialize the accomplishments of remarkable and inspirational women. She will continue with that organization as a consultant to help with fund development and organizational transition as it seeks to hire her replacement.
“The start of a new year is a great time for new beginnings. I’m looking forward to establishing a bold agenda for SDRACC in 2023 that will help build a stronger coalition of creative workers throughout our region,” Shaw explained. “I am grateful to all the SDRACC board members past and current for their hard work over the years. In addition, I am proud of my accomplishments with the WMOC and know that their future is bright.”
“The engagement of our first-ever paid executive sends a strong message that we are serious about working to ensure a strong creative sector,” explained Arts and Culture Coalition Board Member Matt D’Arrigo. “We have long relied on the extraordinary effort of our volunteers and Steering Committee and now we have someone at the helm who can take our initiatives to another level.”
A seasoned professional in the field of nonprofit arts management, Shaw’s career has spanned more than 30 years and has included an executive leadership position with the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, and director positions with the San Diego Foundation and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Throughout her career, she has led a number of wide-ranging change initiatives with a focus on regional cultural planning, cultural tourism, arts education, diversity, equity and inclusion, and support to individual artists.
A life-long advocate for the arts, Shaw currently serves on the boards of Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates and is a member of the San Diego Art Prize Advisory Committee. Prior to these appointments, she served on the boards of Grantmakers for the Arts, CERF+, and as chair of the United States United Arts Federation, a national advisory committee of Americans for the Arts. She is an active volunteer and contributor to arts, culture, and women’s organizations and fulfills her commitment to philanthropy as a member of Women Give San Diego. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, She completed additional undergraduate study at UC San Diego with a focus on art history, theory, and criticism and completed the two-year Museums Studies Program at Palomar College. She is also an alum of LEAD San Diego (2002) and the James P Shannon Leadership Institute (2015).
Shaw lives in Azalea Park, a neighborhood of City Heights with deep roots in San Diego’s arts community.