Kristin Sakoda comes to the West Coast as LA’s new arts chief

After many months of searching, the LA County Arts Commission has a new chief in New Yorker Kristin Sakoda, selected by the county’s Board of Supervisors after her well-respected service at NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Sakoda takes over as of February 15, filling the position left in September by Laura Zucker, who was enormously successful in her efforts to champion a wide variety of high-level projects. Those are big shoes to fill, but she appears more than ready to tackle the multi-faceted position and the enormous responsibilities and challenges involved. Sakoda brings plenty of experience and both the initiative and the support of the county Sups so she can better establish LA’s cultural scene as a force at the national level. Indeed, the press release below shows that great pains have been taken to verbalize support from multiple supervisors. This is good news for the board, which has come under fire lately for a variety of grievances, from the time it took to fill this position (Zucker’s departure was announced in April) to a bizarre new tradition of naming things after themselves.

Indications from her past track record kindle the hope that Sakoda will thrive in her new West Coast world. Welcome to LA, Kristin — our little community wishes you well!

Press release follows.


L.A. County Board of Supervisors Appoints Arts Leader Kristin Sakoda as Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Los Angeles, CA — Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Kristin Sakoda to head its Countywide Arts Initiatives as Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.The Los Angeles County Arts Commission provides funding for over 350 nonprofit arts organizations through a $9 million grant program and runs the nation’s biggest internship program. The Commission’s free community programs advance diversity and accessibility for the County’s 88 municipalities and 137 unincorporated areas.

Ms. Sakoda will join the County on February 15, 2018 with over 20 years of cultural arts experience. For the past nine years, she has been instrumental in guiding the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the largest arts funder in the U.S. outside of the federal government, in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, arts administration, programmatic initiatives, legal matters, legislation, public art, and capital projects at City cultural facilities. In joining the County, Ms. Sakoda will have a broad mandate to advance arts and culture Countywide under the direction of the Board of Supervisors.

Chair of the Board, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, said, “The varied and rich cultural life of LA County is the envy of the country and I am so happy to welcome Kristin Sakoda, who is totally suited to our multi-faceted landscape–a performer/lawyer/arts-executive with a great vision for building and expanding the diversity of our extraordinary cultural assets.”

“One of the first things I did as a County Supervisor was to look at how we address equity and inclusion in the Arts,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Through my motion, we established the County Equity and Inclusions Initiative and contributed $1 million in new funding. As a Board, we knew we wanted someone who understood what we were -more- trying to accomplish. Kristin Sakoda has a vibrant personality and a deep passion for the Arts, and I look forward to her building upon the solid foundation we have created.”

“I have full confidence in Kristin’s ability to bring Los Angeles County’s wealth of artistic and cultural assets to the forefront,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “I look forward to her leadership in bolstering diversity, inclusion and equity in the creative fields, while raising the profile of the arts as an economic engine for the region.”

Supervisor Janice Hahn said, “Kristin Sakoda is a proven leader and a talented artist in her own right. She brings decades of experience to the important job of shepherding civic art projects and arts education across the County. From the bright lights of Broadway to Tinseltown, we welcome Kristin and her family to LA County!”

“The Arts Commission plays a vital role in funding, programs and facilities which foster access to the arts for the diverse communities across our county,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “Ms. Sakoda brings the leadership, vision and decades of experience necessary to advance and promote arts as a vital part of our county’s economy and culture.”

“Kristin Sakoda is an established cultural leader, promoting arts education and outreach on the East Coast,” said Arts Commission President Pamela Bright-Moon. “We are fortunate to have her and I look forward to working with her.”

“I am thrilled and humbled to have been selected to lead the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and its mission to foster excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding and accessibility of the arts in one of the largest and most ethnically diverse counties in the country,” said Kristin Sakoda. “I look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors, Arts Commissioners, and staff, to build on their excellent work and advance initiatives to support arts and culture Countywide.”


Learn more about the LA County Arts Commission at


Featured photo by Jacob Repko on Unsplash

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