Arts and Culture Staff

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Arts and Culture is located on the 10th Floor of City Hall.

In an effort to continue providing necessary city services, while protecting the health and safety of customers and employees in our facilities, the city of Phoenix is taking additional measures to limit foot traffic at the city’s downtown buildings. Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, only people with appointments for service will have access to ​City Hall. To make an appointment, please contact us at 602-262-4637 or


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602-262-4637 main line
602-262-6914 fax

 About our Team

​Select​ a tab to learn more about individual staff members and how to contact them.

Elida Acosta, Community Programs and Engagement Manager

Elida is a Chicana focused on creating a world where many worlds can exist, with Arts and Culture being the driving force of that mission. She is eager to apply her Bachelor of Science in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and over ten years of collective professional experience in the Nonprofit and Public sector with her community. Elida is excited about her new role with the Office of Arts and Culture to improve Phoenix's quality of life by efficiently delivering outstanding public service. Life partner to an Artist rooted in ancestral wisdom and daughter and granddaughter of Immigrants and Natives to our Desert in Phoenix, Arizona.

Anel E. Arr​iola, Grants and Systems Manager

Anel E. Arriola (she/her) joined the Department of Arts and Culture in March 2019 as the grants and systems​ ​manager. Anel is a practicing visual, mixed-media, artist and storyteller. She holds a Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural L​eadership from ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and completed an International Business Certificate at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in the state of Nuevo Léon, Mexico. Anel is an alumna of Valle del Sol’s Hispanic Leadership Institute and is one of Phoenix’s 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40. In her prior position, she worked as a project manager for a research study that was funded by the National Institutes of Health at Arizona State University (ASU). Anel has managed various federal grants and has worked in several community-based participatory research (CBPR) studies both in academic and clinical settings.

Carrie Brown, Deputy Director  

Carrie Brown (she/her) joined the Department o​f Arts and Culture in 2022. For almost 20 years, Carrie has been working in the public art field striving for high quality, innovative projects that engage communities in meaningful ways. She started her career at Valley Metro (Rail) and worked with other local city programs, including Glendale and Mesa. Carrie left Arizona in 2007 to work for the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture which established a new public art program the year prior.  In 2011, Carrie moved to Austin to work for Art in Public Places where she led novel projects such as the North Austin Community Garden, Austin's first artist-designed community garden, and Hello Lamp Post: Austin, a temporary installation produced in partnership with Watershed (UK).  In 2017, Carrie became the San Antonio River Authority's first Public Art Curator. In this role she managed permanent and temporary public art projects, established annual signature events, and developed wide-ranging cultural programs at San Pedro Creek Culture Park. Her work led to a Best of the City (Best Public Art Canvas) designation from San Antonio Magazine in 2021. Carrie holds a BFA in Photography from ASU and is also a certified interpretive guide through the National Association of Interpretation. ​

Catina Crum, Public Art Project Manager

Catina Crum joined the staff in December of 2021 as a Public Art Project Manager. She came to Phoenix from Boise, Idaho working on the public art team at the Boise City Department of Arts & History. Born and raised in rural Twin Falls, Idaho, Catina earned an Associate’s Degree in Art from the College of Southern Idaho and a Bachelor of Fine Art, with an Emphasis in Drawing and Painting, from Boise State University.

Patty Dunlap, Volunteer Coordinator

Patty Dunlap joined the staff in February 2021. She came to the department from the Phoenix Convention Center, where she served as a volunteer coordinator for 19 years. Patty oversaw the administration, operations, and scheduling of approximately 300 volunteers in the Convention Center's theatrical venues at more than 200 events each year. Patty has worked with several of our constituents, including the Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, and the Phoenix Symphony. She currently serves on the city's employee Community Service Fund Drive executive committee and is the chair of the Hope Fund. Before working for the Convention Center, Patty worked with volunteers in the healthcare industry. She is a City of Glendale resident and has five children and two granddaughters.

Mitch Menchaca, Director

​​Mitch Menchaca (he/him) was appointed as the arts and culture director for the City of Phoenix in 2018 and was made acting library director in 2024. An Arizona native, he relocated from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., in 2009 to lead the Local Arts Advancement Department at Americans for the Arts, where he guided a team of professionals serving and advancing the nation’s 5,000 local arts agencies. Before 2009, he served as the senior director of grants and programs at the Arizona Commission on the Arts, where he administered an extensive portfolio of grants from all artistic disciplines, budget sizes, and regions of the state. Mitch has also had leadership and programmatic roles at Arizona Humanities, the Association of California Symphony Orchestras, and Chorus America. He is the past chairman of The Association of American Cultures, served on the board of directors for DataArts (formerly the Cultural Data Project), and has been a frequent ​panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Mitch currently serves on the board of directors for Latinos LEAD in Los Angeles, is a member of the Phoenix Bioscience Core Arts Committee, is on the board of directors for the Arizona Community Foundation, serves on the national board of the League of American Orchestras, and serves as the Governor appointed arts and culture chair for the Arizona Mexico Commission​. He studied theater at Central Arizona College, earned a Bachelor of Liberal Studies and a Master​ of Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Arizona State University, and completed a festival and event management certificate at the University of Minnesota.

Melodie Mendivil, Operations Manager

A native Phoenician and first-generation college graduate, Melodie has a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in Art History and a Master of Business Administration. Her work history includes administrative roles at the Library, Phoenix Symphony, and the Phoenix Convention Center. She comes to the agency from the Street Transportation Department, where she is a Contracts Specialist with over 17 years of procurement experience. Melodie also volunteers with the City of Phoenix LGBTQ Employee Alliance, serving on various committees and as a board member. Melodie loves attending pl​ays and concerts, singing karaoke, cooking, entertaining, playing board games, and cuddling her six cats and two Chihuahuas. She is eccentric and adores all things nerdy: Star Wars, Marvel Universe, Tim Burton films, SpongeBob, and 80’s pop culture, but she especially loves attending Phoenix Comicon with her two teenage daughters, Violet and Scarlett.

Sarah León, Grants and Community Engagement Director

Sarah Leó​n (she/her), grants and community engagement director, has worked in arts administration and youth leadership development in Arizona and Washington, collectively, for over fifteen years. Prior to joining the Phoenix Department of Arts and Culture, she worked for the City of Seattle in the Cultural Programs Office at Seattle Center, and was active in the advancement of racial equity in local government practice. In Arizona, Sarah worked for a decade as a youth program and case manager at a community-based nonprofit. A practicing poet, she holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Texas at Austin. Her poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Salt Hill Journal, Poetry Northwest, and Forklift, Ohio, among others.

Doug Oland, Arts Collections Manager

Doug Oland joined the City of Phoenix Department of Arts and Culture as the arts collections manager in summer of 2020. He is an artist and museum professional with over 20 years of experience in the profit and non-profit art industry. His tenure at the Phoenix Art Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum and Art Solutions has expo​​sed him to collections large and small, ancient and contemporary. As a resident of Phoenix since 1998, he has been passionately involved in the local arts community. In addition to working on his own art, he has experience as a studio assistant, arts teacher, and preparator. Doug is also a former member of the artist co-op Holgas and Eye Lounge.

Aaron-Michael Ordway, Administrative Assistant

Aaron-Michael is a lifelong North Valley resident who graduated from ASU West in 2021 with a BS in Political Science. Since graduation, he’s worked in District 1 Councilwoman Ann O’Brien’s office, helping residents with questions or issues. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends and being in nature​. He’s excited to join the department to assist residents and staff with public art, grants, and cultural facilities projects. In addition, he will offer administrative support to the executive team.

Romeo Rabusa, Chief of Staff + Special Projects Administrator

Romeo Rabusa joined the staff in April 2016 and oversees administration, budget, arts maintenance, and cultural facilities. He began his career with the City in September 2001 as a ClearPath Program Resource Coordinator in the Parks and Recreation Department’s Adaptive Recreation Services. After four years, he accepted a management promotion to support the deputy aviation director of facilities and services in the Aviation Department, managing both operating and capital improvement budgets in the division. Prior to his career in the city of Phoenix, Romeo worked in private educational institutions in the United States and abroad. He holds Master of Arts degrees in Education, Philosophy, and Divinity. As a community organizer, Romeo develops partnerships with various social services agencies to serve the homeless and poor families in Phoenix neighborhoods.

Barry Sparkman, Senior Public Art Project Manager

Barry Sparkman joined the Department of Arts and Culture in May 2017, and is the senior public art manager. He holds an M.F.A. in Printmaking from the ​​​University of Miami, an M.F.A in Painting from Louisiana State University, and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Arizona State University. Prior to joining the staff. Barry curated and developed art exhibitions for a variety of municipal and university art museums. He has also held a wide range of university teaching and administrative positions.​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Nancy Thomas, Public Art Project Manager

Nancy Thomas (she/her) joined the Arts and Culture Department in 2024 after a recent tenure at the Phoenix Art Museum as a Digitization Associate. She has been working in the arts sector for over a decade. Nancy started her career overseeing complex art projects as an Operations Manager at Art Solutions, a local fine art services company. As a Public Art Project Manager, she sees art as a tool to support diversity, equity and access for all. Nancy is a South Phoenix native and first- generation college graduate. She is a freelance photographer and exhibiting artist. In her work, she uses photographs to narrate her pursuit for familiarity and home. Nancy holds a BFA in Photography from Arizona State University. ​


Mojgan Vahabzadeh, Senior Public Art Project Manager

Mojgan has over thirty years of municipal government experience working in arts, culture, and graphic design. She joins the Phoenix Department of Arts & ​Culture after spending fourteen years as the City of Glendale’s percent-for-art program administrator, managing public art projects, art grants, festivals, and events. Appreciation for the arts formed early for Mojgan with childhood travels to museums and cultural sites. Her love for the arts combined with a fascination with publishing and print technology led her to study mass communication, graphic design, and fine arts in college. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisville and a Master of Technology degree from Arizona State University. Mojgan actively networks with the local visual and performing arts community and enjoys every opportunity to engage the public through the arts.​​​​​​​​​​​​​


 ‭(Hidden)‬ Arts and Culture Commission

​The City of Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission is an advisory body to the Mayor and City Council, City Manager, and Arts and Culture. It comprises a diverse group of resident​ volunteers with a particular area of focus on policymaking and financial recommendations for public art and grant investments for the City.

The Commission is a critical voice in promoting the importance and value of arts and cultural experiences for all Phoenix residents. It advocates for continued public funding for the arts and culture sector, arts education, cultural equity, and other initiatives that further the growth and sustainability of the creative sector in Phoenix and the greater metropolitan area.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Commission Members

Melissa Acevedo
District 5​

Anna Backstrom
District 1

Sally Boyle
District 8

Hillary Foose
District 6

Fernando Hernández
District 8

Debra Larson
District 6

Mitch Menchaca

Dante Mitchell
District 4​

Ismael Morales​
District 3

Robert Nolan, Vice Chair
District 7

Sierra Ochoa
District 2​

Sophie O'Keefe-Zelman
District 4​

Joe Rivera
District 6​​

Mario Romero
District 4

Crys Waddell, Chair
District 8