Born and raised in Oakland, California, Anyka Howard is a mother, an artist/activist, curator, and social entrepreneur. In 2010, she founded Betti Ono as a creative social enterprise and cultural hub for artists of color to thrive and build power in communities. In her role as Founder and Director of Betti Ono, Howard attracted more than $2 Million in neighborhood level investments, transforming the downtown Oakland community with award-winning, internationally recognized programs.She also led more than 60 cultural programs, performances, exhibitions, and events at the gallery, which has earned a “Best of the East Bay” accolade from the East Bay Express for six consecutive years between 2014-2019. A mover and shaker in the industry, earned many awards and honors, including “10 San Francisco Art Personalities You Should Know” by Complex Magazine; “Social Changemaker” award from the 2016 Oakland Indie Awards; and “Most Socially Engaged Curator” by the East Bay Express.
Howard was co-founder of a grassroots advocacy and action coalition, Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition, formed to intervene and respond to growing racial and economic disparities affecting historically disinvested arts and culture communities. The coalition’s multi-year campaign and citywide initiative achieved critical budget and policy wins that established new arts and culture leadership within city government, advanced the adoption of a citywide cultural plan, re- established the arts and culture commission, influenced the Downtown Specific plan and developed the next generation of cultural organizers.
As Director of Engagement at Oakland Museum of CA (OMCA), Anyka was directly responsible for day-to-day operations of the Center for Audience & Civic Engagement (CACE), a high performance and visitor centric team producing the signature OMCA weekly festival, Friday Nights at OMCA, attracting more than 250,000 people per year, OMCA education initiatives serving more than 40,000 students, teachers and adults per year, as well visitor experience and volunteer team responsible for ensuring the highest standards for visitor experience, community engagement, and participation on-site, online, and off-site. During her tenure, she co-directed a $9M, multi-year institution wide community to increase the participation of low-income & communities of color at OMCA and designed and launched the first OMCA Youth Access Pass (OYP), an institution wide initiative to engage 5,000 youth ages 9-18 and their families onsite by providing all access to OMCA galleries and programs during RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom, impacting more than 30,000 people at scale.
From 2015-2017, Howard worked with the San Francisco Foundation as a Program Officer and Multicultural Fellow, responsible for grantmaking and strategy implementation at the intersection of arts, culture and equitable community development. She worked with the anchoring communities team to activate more than $10 Million in investments to prevent the displacement of low-income communities of color and preserve the racial and cultural identity of the Bay Area. She also managed a cohort of 15 regional arts and cultural institutions, and five merit-based awards and scholarships with combined annual budgets of more than $4.5M. In these roles, she also served as liaison and advisor to external partners such as the City and County of San Francisco Arts Commission, City of Oakland Mayor’s Task Force on Artists Affordable Housing and Workspaces, and the Northern California Grantmakers Arts Loan Fund Steering Committee.
Davin A. Thompson, professionally known as Do D.A.T, is an emcee, arts educator and event host, born and raised in Oakland, CA. Davin has spent the majority of his life as a creative writer, crafting everything from poetry to essays, short stories and finally writing, recording and performing songs in the form of hip hop music.
Do D.A.T is recognized as a prominent emcee in the community, hosting local fundraisers, award ceremonies for disabled youth, poetry slams, and hip-hop events. He has led creative writing workshops through a lens of social justice for almost every major high school in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area for middle school youth up to young adults in college, and has been a featured speaker at several conferences and events across the nation, including the Earn Your Stripes Cipher and the Bay Area Emcee Olympics. Do D.A.T also spent several years as an educator at The Bay Area Video Coalition (B.A.V.C.), where he mentored and groomed the next generation of hip-hop artists.
Throughout his career, Do D.A.T has released four albums, as a member of “The Attik” crew, as a solo artist, and most recently collaborating with DJ/Producer Malicious Lee. Consistently pushing his musical boundaries, Do D.A.T incorporates various genres of music into his creations. From classical ensembles to 1930’s swing samples, his style pays homage to the original spirit of hip-hop, carrying the essence of the culture into the future of the music. Do D.A.T has shared the stage with artists such as Ludacris, KRS-One, Little Brother, Guru, Ise Lyfe, The Team, Zion I, Mistah F.A.B., Aceyalone, Mystic, E-40, Crown City Rockers, Bambu, and Dead Prez. Do D.A.T has also had the honor of performing on such stages as world renown SF Fillmore, Oakland Fox Theater, The Historical and Apollo theater in Harlem NYC and many more stages both large and small. Love for Do D.A.T and his music hails from coast to coast, and as far as Puerto Rico, making him a local and global artist that true hip-hop fans can appreciate.
“I believe that hip hop culture is a potent tool for change because of how I have seen this culture unite people of different ages, classes and races. I believe this also because of how this music and this culture has added value and understanding to my own life and I hop to inspire my community and the world in the same fashion”
Steve directs the vision of Oakland Venue Management through strategic planning, marketing, and business development, and has a passionate focus on community building and workforce development initiatives. He currently serves as President of the California Downtown Association Board of Directors and also Chairs the organization’s Diversity Equity Inclusion Task Force. Steve has also served as the Executive Director for the Uptown Downtown Oakland Community Benefit Districts for the past 10 years and has overseen the development and implementation of Oakland Central, downtown Oakland’s only unified marketing and events campaign.
Kristy Higares is an educator, writer, and arts administrator who’s worked for over twenty years serving schools and communities in Oakland. She’s inspired by the intersection of arts, education, community, and impact. Her passion and vision have been motivated by her work with Bay Area teens at The Crucible, an industrial art school in West Oakland, where she worked for twelve years. She currently is Development Director at Girls Garage, a design and construction school for girls and gender-expansive youth.
In 2010, Kristy was honored with a Jefferson Award in Public Service, for her work at The Crucible, which included managing educational programs, teambuilding, volunteer and workforce development programs, studio operations, public art, and events.
She was an YBCA Equity Fellow in 2016, and created a photojournalism exhibit, interviewing and documenting residents in Oakland, along International Boulevard. Kristy enjoys working with her fellow artists, educators, and activists, to bring relevant and innovative new programs to the greater Bay Area. In 2017, Kristy was selected as a fellow through the University of Pennsylvania, Executive Leadership Program to explore Arts and Culture Strategy.
Liu is an award-winning artist, social impact strategist, and real estate developer with a successful track record of developing “Community Benefits by Design” real estate projects. As the Senior Fellow for Arts, Culture and Equitable Development at PolicyLink, he has shaped and is guiding an initiative that integrate arts and culture into the work of equitable development.
In 2004, Jeremy created the National Bitter Melon Council with his long-time collaborator Hiroko Kikuchi. The Council, which promotes the literal and poetic potential of Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) and continues to operate as a vegetable promotion board, received the Artadia Artist Prize and has performed, practiced, exhibited and promoted in neighborhoods, communities, museums, and venues around the country. As a community developer, he has led two different affordable housing and community economic development organizations responsible, eventually, for overseeing a staff of 110 professionals, 1,400 apartments in 16 properties home to several thousand families and residents, 250,000 square feet of commercial space, an operating budget of over $12 million, and assets in excess of $150 million.
He is also the co-founder of Creative Ecology Partners, a design studio and incubator for urban, economic and community development innovation that has advised purpose-built social enterprises in real estate, systems engineering, consumer packaged goods, workforce development, urban agriculture, food retail, mobile banking, green infrastructure, and arts & culture. He is a board member of the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the New England Foundation for the Arts, and has served as an advisor/panelist for a range of organizations, including the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Science Foundation, ArtPlace America, the Institute for the Future, the Oakland Business Development Center, and the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives.