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Kristin Sakoda is Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, a local arts agency which fulfills a mission to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout the largest county in the U.S. The Department of Arts and Culture provides grants and technical assistance to hundreds of nonprofit organizations; runs the largest arts internship program in the nation; coordinates countywide public-private arts education initiatives; increases access to creative career pathways; commissions civic artwork; supports free community programs; leads the LA County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative; and advances cross-sector cultural strategies to address civic issues. Appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Ms. Sakoda previously served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Under her leadership, she led the organization during its historic transition into the County’s first Department of Arts and Culture.
Ms. Sakoda is an arts executive, attorney, and performing artist with more than 25 years in the field. She has appeared on national and international stages including with dance and social justice company Urban Bush Women and in musicals Rent and Mamma Mia! on Broadway. Prior to her work at the Department of Arts and Culture, she served in key leadership roles at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs overseeing a portfolio of strategic, programmatic, policy, legislative, and funding programs with a $200 million annual budget, and was instrumental in advancing diversity and inclusion; public art; creative aging; cultural facilities; and affordable workspace for artists. She holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law with honors in Entertainment Law, and B.A. from Stanford University with a specialization in Race and Ethnicity and a secondary major in Feminist Studies. As of 2021, she is a Board member of Grantmakers in the Arts, the national association of public and private arts funders in the U.S.