Who We Are
- Valerie Imus, Artistic Director and Co-Director
- Margaret McCarthy, Executive Director and Co-Director
- Sharmi Basu, Operations and Development Coordinator
- Emma Rosenbaum, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
- Simon Tran, Artists in Education Manager
- Minoosh Zomorodinia, Documentation Manager
- Mário Pires Cordeiro, Exhibitions and Facilities Coordinator
Board of Directors
- Dan Toffey, President
- Olivia White Lopez, Vice President of Organizational Development and Equity
- Marc Mayer, Vice President of Growth and Outreach
- Qianjin Montoya, Treasurer
- Jenifer K. Wofford, Vice President
- Genevieve Quick, Secretary
- Sienna Freeman
- Taraneh Hemami
- Susan Krane
- Salar Mameni
- Brian Singer
- Yoni Asega
- Sholeh Asgary
- Ricki Dwyer
- Beatriz Escobar
- Valerie Imus
- Cathy Lu
- tamara suarez porras
- Aay Preston Myint
- Azin Seraj
- Ebtihal Shedid
- Leyya Mona Tawil
- Hannah Waiters
- Minoosh Zomorodinia
- Drew Bennett
- Rena Bransten
- Mary Conrad
- Nilus De Matran
- Courtney Fink
- Jim Goldberg
- Rebecca Goldfarb
- Wendy Norris
- Gay Outlaw
- Paul Rauschelbach
- Eric Rodenbeck
- Robin Strawbridge
- Valerie Wade
- Tracy Wheeler
- Jon Winet
- Jessica Gurrola - Programs and Exhibitions Intern
- Mana Macaraeg - Community Arts and Development Intern
- Nia Coats - Communications Intern
Valerie Imus, Artistic Director and Co-Director
Valerie Imus is the Co-Director and Artistic Director at Southern Exposure. In her tenure with the organization since 2011, she has overseen numerous exhibitions, projects, performances, and events for Southern Exposure. Her curatorial projects at SoEx include Hallucinations of Remembrance & Imminence, Metropolis, When and where I enter, Steam Work, You Make a Better Wall Than A Window, How to Move a Mountain, and Hopeless and Otherwise. Formerly, she was the Exhibitions Manager at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Curatorial Associate at the CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art. She has also curated projects at the Oakland Museum of California and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She first became involved at Southern Exposure as an exhibiting artist in 2001. She has collaborated with the collectives The Citizens Laboratory and OPENrestaurant and received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago a long time ago.
Margaret McCarthy, Executive Director and Co-Director
Margaret McCarthy is the Executive Director and Co-Director of Southern Exposure. She joined the team at SoEx in 2019, and has over a decade of experience at local nonprofits, including serving as the Interim Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. She has led long-term organizational strategy, communications, fundraising, and staff and volunteer management at other local nonprofits including Walk San Francisco and 826 Valencia. Additionally, she managed public-private partnerships and community engagement programs at the San Francisco Department of the Environment. She is an ensemble member and the Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco Neo-Futurists, an experimental theater ensemble. She holds a B.A. in English and Theater from San Francisco State University.
Sharmi Basu, Operations and Development Coordinator
Sharmi Basu joined the Southern Exposure as the Operations and Development Coordinator in October of 2019. They are a multimedia performance artist, curator, and composer. They create work that addresses vulnerability, accountability, and experiences of millennial diaspora through creating narratives of decolonial thinking toward individual and collective liberation. Sharmi Basu is an MFA graduate from Mills College in Electronic Music and Recording Media and has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Davis. Their abstract performances and workshops on “Decolonizing Sound” have been featured at the International Society for Improvised Music, the Empowering Women of Color Conference, and have reached international audiences. They perform almost 100 times a year and has toured throughout the US and Canada as well as internationally in Europe. They specialize in new media controllers, improvisation in electronic music, and intersectionality within music and social justice. They are a board member of DIY Safer Spaces based out of Oakland and have been curating and organizing events for queer and trans experimental artists of color for over a decade. They founded and hosts an all people-of-color improvisation and performance group called the MARA Performance Collective in Oakland, CA and were an organizer the Universe is Lit: A Bay Area Black and Brown Punk Fest.
Back to top
Emma Rosenbaum, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Emma Rosenbaum (she/her) is a mixed race, cis femme, interdisciplinary arts professional based in the Bay Area. Her personal arts practice spans from creative writing to sewing to playing the ukulele. She received her Bachelors in English at UC Berkeley, where she studied creative writing with acclaimed authors including Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Hass, Georgina Kleege, and Melanie Abrams. As the winner of the 2016 Roselyn Schneider Eisner Fiction Prize, Emma is published in several literary magazines and publications including The Daily Californian and The Weekender. She began her career screenwriting for a Tanzanian soap opera and then transitioned into the fine art world, doing art writing and curation. Today, Emma splits her time between Aunt Lute Books, an intersectional feminist nonprofit publisher where she is the Director of Marketing and Programming, and Southern Exposure, where she is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator. She continues to develop her career at the intersection of the arts and social justice, with a commitment to beauty as truth, contradiction, and story.
Back to top
Simon Tran, Artists in Education Coordinator
Simon Tran aka Ghost Ghost Teeth is a Long Beach, California born artist and educator. He received a BA in Art Practice from UC Berkeley. His art practice includes painting, drawing, and installation. He is an active member of Dragon School 99 where he has designed and painted murals in urban and indoor settings. Tran has frequently shown with the Compound Gallery in Oakland. His work is in The Capital One Collection. He believes Sunday afternoons are best spent listening to records and playing video games with his daughter.
Back to top
Mário Pires Cordeiro, Exhibitions and Facilities Coordinator
Mário Pires Cordeiro is an American-Portuguese artist and mentor. He was born in Lisbon and lived in London for ten years before moving to California in 2015. He received his MFA at Chelsea College of Art and Design at the University of the Arts, London and completed three years of a PhD researching color trends in fine arts. He has been commissioned by the Olympic and Paralympic Games Committee in 2012 and the Cape Farewell Foundation in 2013. He has exhibited in over forty solo and group exhibitions. Since 2016 he has been the Curator Auction Manager, The Crucible Soiree Art Auction, and he has been teaching at the Crucible since 2018. Recently he was a finalist for National Parks Arts Foundation - Hawaii Volcanoes Artist Residency, and is currently a Facility Artist of the 1240 Minnesota Street Project.
Pires Cordeiro’s art develops the relationship between fine art and design, commenting on the interaction between visual art and functional objects through experimentation in media and color. Color is his main focus, unpacking the symbolic and cultural meanings imposed on it in contemporary society by sourcing colors from trends and design forecasts as well as from particular environments or publications. He finds inspiration in modern architecture, engineering, and geometry, distilling extremely intricate concepts into distinct shapes. He works with a variety of media from painting and sculpting to film and 3D printing.
Back to top
Dan Toffey, President
Dan Toffey arrived in the Bay Area in 2012 to join a small startup called Instagram. He still works there today, leading a team of interdisciplinary researchers who analyze culture and trends to improve Instagram's marketing and product experiences. He and his wife Julia are avid art collectors, and look for every opportunity to turn their friends into art enthusiasts too. He first joined the SoEx board in 2019, and most recently served a three year term as Board Treasurer. A native of Philadelphia, Dan holds a BA in political science from Reed College. Prior to joining Instagram, he worked in the press offices of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu, as a researcher at Reed's Early Voting Information Center and on numerous political campaigns. He lives in Oakland with his wife and daughter.
Olivia White Lopez, Vice President of Organizational Development and Equity
Olivia White Lopez is the Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and People Programs at Kiva, a nonprofit with a mission of creating a more financially inclusive world. Olivia has 10+ years of experience leading innovative volunteer and workforce development programs, strengthening cross-sector partnerships, and creating inclusive and equitable learning and working environments. She has previously served as the Director of Volunteer Engagement and Pirate Store Manager for the literary arts nonprofit 826 Valencia, and as the Dalton Gallery Fellow for her alma mater, Agnes Scott College. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys attending local art and poetry events, bike-camping, and volunteering with the People's Kitchen Collective. Olivia has a BA in anthropology, sociology, and studio art from Agnes Scott College and an MS in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco.
Marc Mayer, Vice President of Growth and Outreach
Marc Mayer is an independent curator, educator, and arts administration professional and has worked at institutions including the Asian Art Museum, Art21, the New Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. He has spent much of his professional career cultivating new and existing audiences through innovative programming aimed to connect art, ideas, and people. A New Yorker, born and raised, Marc moved to San Francisco in 2011 and has not looked back. He has organized exhibitions, projects, and programs with artists including Jean Shin, Carrie Mae Weems, Sanaz Mazinani, Ranu Mukherjee, Mark Bradford, Young-Hae Chang, Heavy Industries, Saya Woolfalk, Lee Mingwei, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Mark Dion, and Ala Ebtekar. It is with great excitement that he lends his expertise to support Southern Exposure’s mission and work.
Qianjin Montoya, Treasurer
Qianjin Montoya is a native Californian with farmworker roots in both her Mexican and Chinese family histories. She is originally from Sacramento and has lived in many places along the West Coast, including Oakland, San Diego, and Portland, Oregon before settling back in the Bay Area in 2015. Montoya holds a Master of Arts in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley. Her practice includes curating, writing, and research, with a focus on institutional histories and the narratives of women and people of color. She is currently the assistant curator at The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.
Jenifer K Wofford, Vice President
Jenifer K Wofford is a San Francisco artist and educator whose multidisciplinary work plays with notions of hybridity, authenticity and global culture, often with a humorous bent. Born in San Francisco, Wofford was raised in Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, and the Bay Area. She received her BFA from SFAI and her MFA from UC Berkeley. She is senior adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley, president of Wofflehouse, and CFO of Manananggoogle. Wofford has been part of the SoEx community for over twenty years, in roles ranging from teacher to exhibiting and performing artist as well as semi-regular auction ham(host).
Genevieve Quick, Secretary
Genevieve Quick is an interdisciplinary artist and arts writer whose work explores global identity and politics in speculative narratives, technology, and media-based practices. Through humorous science fiction narratives Quick exaggeratesdisaporic identity into the intergalactic to address Otherness and displacement. She has exhibited at the Asian Cultural Center, Gwangju, South Korea; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Mills College Art Museum, Oakland; [second floor projects]; Royal Nonsuch Gallery; and Southern Exposure. Quick has been awarded visual arts residencies at Recology, MacDowell, Djerassi, the deYoung Museum, and Yaddo and received a San Francisco Arts Commission Grant; a Eureka Grant from the Fleishhacker Foundation; a Kala Fellowship; and grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation. She has contributed writings to Artforum, cmagazine, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Temporary Art Review, and College Art Association.
Nicole Avril, Board Member
Nicole is a culinary school student with plans to start a new career as a cook. Formerly, Nicole led the City of San Francisco’s effort on the design and restoration of the Geneva Car Barn and Power House, a historic former railway building which now provides arts-related training for under-served youth as well as serves as a vibrant arts and culture center for the residents in the City’s southeastern neighborhoods. She also spearheaded the India Basin Waterfront Redevelopment Project, which is in the process of rehabilitating a former boatyard and current brownfield into a vibrant 10-acre waterfront park development in the City's Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood.
Nicole has also served as Director of External Relations for UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design, and as the first Executive Director of Gen Art San Francisco, whose mission was to support emerging artists and cultivate new arts audiences. Additionally, Nicole was a Trustee of the Headlands Center for the Arts and was a Founding Board Member for Out-of-Site: Center for Arts Education (now Youth Art Exchange), visual arts, architecture, and performing arts program for public high school students. She holds an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, an MA in Art History from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Art History from Cornell University.
Sienna Freeman, Board Member
Sienna Freeman (she/her) is a San Francisco–based visual artist, writer, and non-profit professional with experience spanning the arts, higher education, and operations. She presently serves as Senior Director, Infrastructure Strategy & Operational Excellence at the Foundation for California Community Colleges. Prior to her current position, she served as Chief of Staff at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, worked in the Humanities & Sciences Division at the California College of the Arts, and spent about a decade in the commercial gallery world. A practicing maker, her artwork has been exhibited across the United States and internationally in Switzerland, London, Belgium, and Canada. Her writing has been published by Feral Fabric, ArtPractical.com, DailyServing.com, QCCA (Queer Conversations on Culture and the Arts) and KADIST SF, and more. She published a 68-page visual novel titled “Red Gold” with FUZZ press in 2019. Freeman earned an MA in Visual & Critical Studies and an MFA in Fine Art from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and a BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Taraneh Hemami, Board Member
Taraneh Hemami works with materials of history, organizing archives of images, data, and information, weaving complimentary and contradictory narratives in objects, installations as well as experimental collective and collaborative curatorial projects. Hemami’s architectural sculptures become platforms for interaction and engagement, personal reflections, and public action. She explores themes of displacement, preservation, and representation in installations that intermingle with the architecture of the spaces they occupy, complicating their identity and altering their function. She has received awards from the Creative Capital, Creative Work Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, and the California Council for the Humanities. Her works have been exhibited widely including at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure, Victoria and Albert Museum, Boghossian Foundation, and at the Sharjah International Biennial.
Susan Krane, Board Member
Susan Krane is a nonprofit consultant with expertise in organizational change, strategic initiatives, capacity building, and financial stabilization. She has strong experience with cross-disciplinary approaches to the arts, cultural and social issues, and with catalyzing community partnerships. Her deep personal commitment to fostering inclusive civic dialog and social change runs throughout her prior work as a museum director and curator. Krane has served as Executive Director of the Working Assumptions Foundation, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of Colorado Art Museum. She was a curator at the High Museum of Art and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and a fellow at Walker Art Center. Krane has authored numerous publications, organized over 60 major exhibitions, ranging from Flip a Strip (an architectural competition on the adaptive reuse of strip malls) to Your Mind, This Moment: art and the practice of attention. She has served on the faculties of SUNY Buffalo, Emory University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received her BA from Carleton College; MA from Columbia University; and MBA from the University of Colorado. She is an associate with ELEVEN+, an international curatorial collective; a volunteer for Chapter 510, a writing center for youth in Oakland; and a poet on the side.
Salar Mameni, Board Member
Salar Mameni is an art historian specializing in contemporary transnational art and visual culture in the Arab/Muslim world. They have an interdisciplinary research focus on racial discourse, transnational gender politics, militarism, oil cultures, and extractive economies in West Asia. Their first book, "Terracene: A Crude Aesthetics" (Duke University Press, 2023), examines the emergence of the Anthropocene as a new geological era in conjunction with the War on Terror declared in the early 2000s. In their second book project, Salar's research delves into the history of medicine, specifically Transmedicine and the endocrine system. They are currently conducting archival research to understand visual representations of fluid bodies within Islamic manuscripts before the rise of the scientific discipline of endocrinology in the early 20th century.
Salar Mameni has published articles in various journals, including Resilience, Signs, Women & Performance, Al-Raida Journal, Fuse Magazine, Fillip Review, and Canadian Art Journal. They have also contributed to exhibition catalogues in Dubai, Sharjah, and Istanbul. Notably, they curated the exhibition "Snail Fever" at the Third Line Gallery in Dubai, which explored art as a pandemic and brought together artists from the region whose works examined the embodied, viral, and contaminating nature of sonic and visual aesthetics.
Brian Singer, Board Member
Brian Singer, also known as Someguy, is a San Francisco-based artist whose studio practice and large-scale public projects address a variety of social justice issues. With a meticulous rigor and legibility informed by his experience as a graphic designer and visual communicator, Singer’s work invites critical engagement through surprising juxtapositions of media and wordplay. Ranging from intimate works on paper to international participatory projects, Singer’s practice is unified by the desire to facilitate unexpected moments of human connection. Public project examples include an 84 foot mural at Salesforce Transit Center comprised of almost 2,000 individual stencils reading, “You Are Not Alone;” as well as his “Home Street Home” series of hand painted camouflage sleeping bags. The bags are draped over metal barricades throughout San Francisco and intended to be taken by anyone in need. Singer is best known for his “1000 Journals Project,” a participatory global art exchange that has been archived in a book, a feature length documentary, and exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Brian has served on the advisory boards for the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, New Langton Arts and AIGA, the professional association for design. He currently serves on the SECA Council.