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Will a New Generation of Leaders Shake Up L.A.’s Culture?

Will a New Generation of Leaders Shake Up L.A.’s Culture? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Illustration by Hännah Foote. From left to right: Jia Yi Gu, Cameron Shaw, Frances Anderton, and Shelby Williams-González.

A Zócalo/Helms Bakery District Event
Moderated by Frances Anderton, Architecture and Design Journalist
Helms Bakery District
8745 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Over the past year, directors of cultural institutions across Los Angeles have announced their retirements, which means a new generation of cultural leadership is upon us. But despite a desire for change that seems nearly universal, new directors must still answer to many of the same funders and face the same pressures as their predecessors—to raise money or sell tickets, to scale up, to stay relevant—all while navigating post-pandemic reopenings and reckonings around race and inclusion. What does Los Angeles need from its new guard of cultural leaders? What obstacles do their institutions face, and how can these new faces surmount them? Will all of the city’s culture centers even survive? 

California African American Museum executive director Cameron Shaw, Inner-City Arts president and CEO Shelby Williams-González, and MAK Center for Art and Architecture director Jia Yi Gu visit Zócalo to discuss the change they plan to be and want to see in one of the world’s most vibrant cultural capitals.