Categories: About, Meet the Team! Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 23 Comments

Leadership Team


SUSANNA PEREDO SWAP  has over twenty years of experience as an arts administrator, actor, jazz vocalist, arts advocate, and public relations specialist. While working for the San Diego International Airport Art Program she curated over eighty exhibitions with some of San Diego’s best museums, artists and galleries; as well as a fantastic roster of talent for its performing arts series. She currently serves on the San Diego Museum Council; the Advisory Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego and on the Community Advisory Committee for the Burnham Center for Community Advancement. She has previously served on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Art Institute; as Board Vice President of the Alliance Française de San Diego; Board Vice President of the San Diego REPertory Theatre; President of the National City Public Art Committee and Vice Chair of the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Committee. Susanna is a magna cum laude graduate of San Diego State University where she majored in Humanities and minored in French. She holds a Professional Certificate in The Cycle: Management of Successful Arts and Cultural Organizations from the Devos Institute of Arts Management, University of Maryland; a Professional Certificate in Business for Arts and Nonprofit Arts Organizations from University of San Diego; a Certificate in Photography: Images and Techniques from University of California, San Diego; studied Art History at the Université Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV); and History of Video Art at the École du Louvre in Paris, France. Her passion for the visual, performing, and culinary arts has taken her to over fifteen countries and inspired her to create an organization that aims to bring people together across different backgrounds, interests and creative professions.



CHI ESSARY (Board Member at Large) is an artist, writer and photographer who promotes and explores the intersection of art, science and the public.  She studied printmaking and photography at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon and has an active practice in oil painting and found objects. She curates cross-disciplinary exhibitions that bring artists together with other fields of creative inquiry such as contemporary literature and science, as she is a firm believer that “the best gift to humanity is bringing people together.” In 2017 she curated “Extra-Ordinary Collusion”, pairing almost 50 scientists and artists for a massive cross-disciplinary exhibition encouraging further exchange in San Diego’s rich artistic and scientific communities. She also curated several lofts for an immersive art take-over called SENSORIUM which was featured on the NatGeo Channel. A board member of Vanguard Culture since 2014, Chi has applied her talents as a photographer toward content management for Vanguard Culture’s Instagram and Facebook pages, in addition to being the lead contributor to the artist studio visit series: Poetic License. Her curating and writing has given her a unique perspective that she applies towards her mission to help build programs that support world class art in San Diego. In 2019 she was selected to reorganize and curate the San Diego Art Prize for the 2020 season.


HEATH FOX is an arts and culture professional and retired museum director. He is the former Executive Director of the La Jolla Historical Society, where he developed a trans-historical, interdisciplinary, collaborative practice across arts, humanities, and science fields. He organized diverse exhibitions and educational programs that ranged cultural heritage, diversity awareness, architectural history, urbanism, and environmental issues. His career assignments include Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego; and Director of Administration at the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Photographic Arts. He served on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Museum Council and the Balboa Art Conservation Center, and on the Arts Commission of the city of Carlsbad. He holds an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester, a BS in Business Finance from Virginia Tech, and is a graduate of executive education programs at the Getty Leadership Institute and Harvard Business School.


TARA GRAVISS is an Expressive Arts Therapist & CEO at Mind Body Arts. She has been involved in nonprofit arts education in San Diego for over 16 years, serving in various capacities: volunteer, teaching artist, trustee and formerly as Executive Director of Arts for Learning, San Diego.  A lifelong devotion to the arts and education combined with a proven background in business make her a dynamic leader and advocate for students, families, communities, and artists.  Tara is a passionate and dedicated professional with the experience needed to lead and develop organizational performance through collaboration and partnership.  Her 20+ years of experience in international hospitality services ensure she has all the customer service and operational skills to be a change agent in the long term sustainability of arts education in our schools and communities. Tara holds a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapy from the European Graduate School and Expressive Arts Institute. Tara is a visual artist and poet and dedicates her private practice to supporting women recovering from trauma.

ANTONIO IANNOTTA (Board Member at Large) is the Artistic Director of the San Diego Italian Film Festival. Antonio received his Ph.D. in Communication and Media Studies from University of Salerno (Italy). He has published essays on cinema, TV series, comics, theory of media, and a monograph about Samuel Beckett. A forthcoming book is Il cinema audiotattile – Suono e immagine nell’esperienza cinematografica. He has worked as Communications Director for several International Festivals. Antonio teaches Italian language and culture at the University of San Diego and encourages extra-curricular activities that deepen students’ understanding of Italian language and culture thanks to his collaborations in the Italian community, from the San Diego Italian Film Festival to the Italian Cultural Center.

DIEM JONES is a thought leader, poet/musician, multi-disciplinary producer and program designer. He is currently the Executive Director of Murray Grove Association in Lanoka Harbor, NJ as well as CEO of All One Consulting. He is co-founder and past Executive Director of Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA). Additionally, he has served as Deputy Director of Arts Council Silicon Valley, program officer at the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities as well as Director of Grants at the Houston Arts Alliance and Administrative Director of East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. Jones was Art Director for George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic. Additionally, he has managed health and wellness practices in California, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Diem Jones has also completed advanced courses in Mind, Body Medicine protocols from the Center for Mind, Body Medicine in Washington, DC. His most recent book, A Big Day: Thawing the Soul, was published in the summer of 2018. Diem’s most recent musical spoken-word CD, “A Spirit of Oui” and his previous CD’s “Equanimity” and “Black Fish Jazz” have been performed with the Equanimity Band at venues throughout the US including the San Jose Jazz Festival. In addition, his photo biography of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, “#1 Bimini Road”, continues to be a best seller in the ever-expanding fan base of the group.

ADRIANA MARTINEZ (Board Member at Large) is an independent curator, editor, writer and cultural activist. She has an M.A. in Women’s Studies at San Diego State University, a special degree in Art Policies and Art Management at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, and a B.A. in Art History at Universidad Iberoamericana. She is currently chief curator at La Caja Galería in Tijuana, B.C., member of the Laboratorio Curatorial Feminista and co-editor of ANTiDOGMA, the signature arts and culture magazine for the Universidad de la Comunicación. She worked for the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Museo Nacional de Arte—both in Mexico City—for almost 5 years. Her main areas of interest are performance art, the representation of women’s bodies and sexuality, and liminal spaces/categories. Born and raised in Mexico City, her scholarly and creative work is deeply informed by her own border experience, since having lived in the San Diego/Tijuana region for more than 5 years. She has published several art related articles, both in English and Spanish, and has curated over 15 exhibitions applying feminist and decolonial methodologies, both in USA and Mexico.

KEITH MAUTNER (Board Treasurer) has loved, participated in, and supported the visual, performing, and culinary arts since he was a wee lad.  Live performance is his favorite medium and he has attended nearly 2,000 concerts, plays, musicals, and other shows. He enjoys curating his extensive music collection, much of which is composed of various genres of rock music. Keith is a forensic accountant (fraud investigator), a consulting expert and a testifying expert; and has investigated fraudulent financial statements by public companies for more than 20 years.  Before that, he was responsible for preparing corporate financial statements, or audited them.  Keith has lectured at universities for undergraduate and graduate students, and has spoken about accounting fraud at conferences, seminars and webinars.  He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and is Certified in Management Accounting.  Keith is President of FAILSAFE CPA, which he founded in 2008.

MICHELE SACKS LOWENSTEIN (Board Secretary) was trained in the dramatic arts; acting and winning awards at the Old Globe Theatre many years ago. Michele’s life took a sudden turn when she became an attorney; much to her surprise. The founder of Lowenstein Brown, A P.L.C., Michele has achieved honors for her work as a Certified Family Law Specialist and is now of counsel to the firm of Cage & Miles, LLP. She is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

Michele has a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with emphasis on Theatre Arts. While short on musical talent, Michele comes from a long line of musicians. (Her grandfather played quartets with Albert Einstein, but that’s another story.) This background is evidenced by Michele’s support and interest in various forms of artistic expression. She is an avid theatre, concert, and opera-goer. Michele has an eclectic taste in music with a special appreciation for classic film scores and vintage Broadway Musicals. She and David, her husband, collect art, support a number of local arts organizations, enjoy the culinary arts and travel extensively with an emphasis on cultural attractions. Michele has many interests, which include collecting paper ephemera, and she is an expert on vintage copper jewelry from the 1940s and 1950s.

HERBERT SIGUENZA (Board Member at Large) is an accomplished playwright and producer. He is currently the Playwright in Residence for the San Diego Repertory Theatre thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Herbert is also a founding member of the performance group CULTURE CLASH. Along with Richard Montoya and Ric Salinas, Culture Clash is the most produced Latino theatre troupe in the United States. Founded in San Francisco in 1984, Culture Clash has performed on the stages of America’s top regional theatres including the Mark Taper Forum, The Kennedy Center, The Arena Stage, The Alley Theatre, The Berkeley Repertory, Yale Repertory, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Rep, and Syracuse Stage, The Huntington Stage and countless universities and colleges. Mr. Siguenza has co-written, and or performed in dozens of original Culture Clash plays including: Bordertown Now, American Night, Water and Power, Peace, Zorro in Hell!, Bordertown, Radio Mambo, The Mission and others. As a solo writer and performer Mr. Siguenza has produced Cantinflas!, A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, Steal Heaven , El Henry (Best new play San Diego Critics Circle Award 2014),  Manifest Destinitis and Beachtown. Mr. Siguenza is also an accomplished visual artist and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. He has a BFA in printmaking from the California College of Arts, Oakland, California.  TV and Film credits: Ben Ten Alien Swarm for the Cartoon Network, Larry Crowne feature film directed by Tom Hanks. His voice was prominently featured in Pixar’s 2017 Oscar winning animation feature, Coco.


Tatiana SIzonenkoTATIANA SIZONENKO (Board Member at Large) is a University Professor, art historian, and curator. She received her Ph.D. in Renaissance art history, with a specialization in Venice and the Mediterranean world, from the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego. Ms. Sizonenko teaches courses on Western art, from ancient to contemporary, with a strong focus on the intended function of art objects in their respective historical settings and cultural contexts. Ms. Sizonenko’s research and teaching has been informed by her wide-ranging curatorial practice.

Ms. Sizonenko held positions as curator for the University Art Gallery at UC San Diego; curatorial fellow at the Timken Museum of Art; curatorial fellow for the dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego; curator of collections and special exhibitions at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA; and guest curator at the La Jolla Historical Society in San Diego and at the Barrington Center for the Arts at Gordon College, MA. She received her M.A. in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley, CA, and a Diploma (MA equivalent) in Art History from Leningrad State University, St. Petersburg, Russia. Before coming to the United States, she was assistant curator in the Department of Medieval Art at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has been the recipient of several fellowships including the Getty Foundation’s “Connecting Art Histories” Fellowship, the Timken Museum of Art Fellowship, the Dean of Art and Humanities Dissertation Research Fellowship from UC San Diego, the UC San Diego Visual Arts Department’s Funded Semester at Harvard University and Russia’s National Fellowship for Distinguished Scholarship in Art History.

Vanguard Culture

Vanguard Culture is an online media entity designed for culturally savvy, socially conscious individuals. We provide original interviews and reviews of the people, places, and events that make up San Diego’s thriving arts and culture community, as well as curated snapshots of the week’s best, most inspiring and unique cultural and culinary events. We believe in making a difference in the world, supporting San Diego’s vibrant visual and performing arts community and bringing awareness to important social and community causes.

Comments (23)

  1. This is fantastic Susanna… miss you 🙂

  2. […] art with us. The speakers share their insight in a Pecha Kucha format. The night was embraced with Susanna Peredo, editor/founder of Vanguard Culture.  She shared the story of Inocente, a young SD girl who grew […]

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  6. Hello! Thank you for including San Diego Dance Theater’s show “Dances of Love, Laughter, and Loss” as part of your Weekly Ticket Tip. Feel free to contact me directly in the future. Would love to set up a special partnership with Vanguard. Keep up the good work!!

  7. Thanks Matt! Please send us q uick hello via email at [email protected]. We’d love to partner with you!

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