Learn about the people who make up the LA County Department of Arts and Culture and the LA County Arts Commission.

Jacqueline Pimentel was a shy kid from Covina, but at home, she loved to sing and perform. Her mom always nudged her towards their community’s musical theater scene—Jackie was a Lost Kid in Peter Pan first, and then appeared in Beauty and the Beast and Oliver! "I needed a creative outlet," she said. "My mom always encouraged me to get out of my shell." Jackie joined the chamber choir during high school, where she became a classically trained vocalist, grew to love music in various languages and genres, and had the opportunity to be a member in a successful ensemble that traveled to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall and Seattle for their annual Performing Arts Heritage Festival.
Sandra Hahn grew up in East LA and in Whittier, artistically inclined from the start. She had challenges to navigate—including not speaking English when she first started school, needing glasses, and dealing with then-undiagnosed dyslexia. But she always drew, and won many art contests at school and at fairs. As she got a little older, Sandra became interested in photography, film, and murals through after-school programs. She also got into trouble a lot, and because her parents didn’t see or understand the vast opportunities in the field of arts for a young girl, they pushed her toward beauty college.
Caroline Lerch grew up in New Orleans, where it’s said music is everywhere. It certainly was in Caroline’s house—her grandfather was a jazz musician and pianist who could be heard on the local radio every morning on the "Pinky Vidacovich and the Dawnbusters" show, and her mother, Haydée Lafaye Ellis, played guitar and upright bass in a band with a regular gig in the French Quarter. Haydée also painted and acted in local theater productions—all the while being a conventional PTA mom, married to a civil engineer.
Constance Jolcuvar’s life is full of layers. She’s proud of her background—she’s a half-Hispanic and half-Greek first-generation California native with roots in both San Marino and Frogtown. She acknowledges the privilege in the life she has built, but she’s also often been on the receiving end of nasty, hurtful prejudice. “Most would never guess that to look at me,” she said, “so I’ve always been about striving for fairness and equal opportunity for all, and I’m a constant and strong supporter of public schools.”
It was not surprising when Second District Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell nominated artist, writer, and community organizer Patrisse Cullors to the Arts Commission last year. They have known each other for more than a decade, back to when Mitchell was in the California State Assembly. “Holly Mitchell has been of service to my South Los Angeles community for a long time,” Patrisse said, “and I think she has seen me to be both a staunch advocate of criminal justice as well as the arts.”
Irina Contreras (pronouns: they/them) was 14 years old during the 1992 LA uprising, and Rodney King was beaten just down the street from where they grew up in Pacoima. The area was known amongst locals for the many police abuses it had historically endured. “I was young, but I definitely had feelings about it,” they said.
Helen Hernandez is a community advocate at heart. Born in Azusa, she was the oldest daughter of 12 children—inheriting a passion for service from her family, and a fierce sense of determination. “We didn’t have much. My dad was a plumber, and he struggled to give us all a good Catholic school education. So, I always took every opportunity because I never felt like I had anything to lose.”
Alexis Camins moved to the Bay Area from the Philippines when he was 9 years old. When a friend dragged him to audition for a musical in high school—42nd Street—his fate was sealed. "I just fell in love with theater. I fell in with being on stage, with being around friends that wanted to express themselves. I felt like I had met my people," he says.
Rosalyn "Ros" Escobar grew up in Koreatown with the arts all around her. Her mom sang, her dad played guitar and piano, and her sister was very dramatic. Her mom found the girls a performing arts magnet, the Bancroft Middle School. "I met kids from all over the city there. It’s where my love of diversity started. My best friends were from South LA, Russia, India. It was such rich experience," says Ros.
Alis Clausen Odenthal has been devoted to voice and music her entire life. She has forged a long career teaching, managing, and supporting the arts by following two rules: diversify your arts skillset, and say "yes" as much as possible.
Eric Eisenberg was born in Los Angeles and raised by his actress mom. He saw a lot of community theater, with his brothers in tow, and took part in countless fundraisers and telethons—most notably, the Variety Club. Eisenberg was an actor early on, then transitioned into the visual arts as an artist and gallery owner in Venice, California, becoming part of its 1980s-era street art scene. He’s an avid horseback rider and dirt biker, but his main passion and focus is as a martial artist, practicing and teaching every week at a dojo in Little Tokyo.
Kim Glann is a self-described theater nerd—she loves collaborating with people who have different skill sets to create something larger than themselves. The Department of Arts and Culture’s Creative Strategist-Artist in Residence program, which she manages, is steeped in a similar kind of collaboration.
Project Manager Pat Gomez’s occasional nickname in the Civic Arts Division is the “Kevin Bacon of the LA Arts World” because similar to Bacon, she’s worked with a lot of people—and if she hasn’t worked directly with a particular artist or an arts administrator, she’s only a few degrees away from working with someone who has.
Madeline Di Nonno’s career trajectory brought her from intern to CEO, from East Coast to West Coast, and from for-profit to non-profit. She has marketed both consumer products and content, and developed business in media—using a blend of Brooklyn tenacity, networking, and leadership skills she modeled from the exemplary executives she’s studied her whole life.