Who We Are
- Valerie Imus, Artistic Director and Co-Director
- Margaret McCarthy, Executive Director and Co-Director
- Sharmi Basu, Operations and Development Coordinator
- Sam Lopes, Lead Preparator
- Emma Rosenbaum, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
- Simon Tran, Artists in Education Manager
- Minoosh Zomorodinia, Documentation Manager
Board of Directors
- Nicole Avril, President
- Jenifer K. Wofford, Vice President
- Dan Toffey, Treasurer
- Genevieve Quick, Secretary
- Taraneh Hemami
- Susan Krane
- Olivia White Lopez
- Marc Mayer
- Qianjin Montoya
- M. Valentine
- Sholeh Asgary
- Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
- Ricki Dwyer
- Valerie Imus
- PJ Gubatina Policarpio
- Cathy Lu
- Aay Preston Myint
- Azin Seraj
- Ebtihal Shedid
- Leyya Mona Tawil
- 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
- Danielle Fabian Bronson - Programs and Exhibitions Intern
- Wednesday De Guzman - Community Arts and Development Intern
- Julia Epifania Basnage - 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 worked with the Curatorial Council to oversee numerous exhibitions, projects, performances, and events for Southern Exposure. Her curatorial projects at SoEx include 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 is a member of the (on long-term hiatus) 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.
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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.
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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.
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Sam Lopes, Lead Preparator
Sam Lopes (he/him) is a trans and social justice oriented artist/preparator who is interested in finding ways to uplift, support and connect artists and communities. He has a background in carpentry and has spent 20 years building and installing exhibits at various museums, galleries, and community centers. He also exhibits and publishes his own art and prints. Sam has an MFA in Drawing/Painting from California College of the Arts and a BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and some of his recent work can be found here.
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Nicole Avril, President
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.
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).
Dan Toffey, Treasurer
Dan Toffey moved to San Francisco from Washington, DC, in 2012 to join a small start-up called Instagram - where he works to this day, using data, machine learning and a small team of cool hunters to understand communities, creators and media trends. He and his wife Julia are avid art collectors, with ambitions of turning more of their peers into patrons of the Bay Area arts. Dan is a native of Philadelphia, but moved to Portland, Oregon in 2003 to study politics at Reed College. After receiving his degree, he co-authored several peer reviewed articles on early voting before entering the world of political campaigns and ricocheting around the country. He eventually landed in Washington, DC, where he worked in the press offices of Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. An active runner, Dan has covered more than 5,000 miles on foot since he arrived in the Bay, and is always looking for new running companions. He and his wife live in Alamo Square.
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.
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.
Olivia White Lopez, Board Member
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, Board Member
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.
Hope Mohr, Board Member
Hope Mohr has woven art and activism for decades as a choreographer, curator, community organizer, and writer. She is the founder of Hope Mohr Dance (HMD) and the co-director of The Bridge Project, which creates and supports equity-driven live art that builds community and centers artists as agents of change. She co-stewarded HMD's transition to a model of distributed leadership and is actively involved in conversations around equity-driven models in the arts. As a dancer, Mohr trained at SF Ballet School and on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios in New York City. She performed around the world in the companies of dance pioneers Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown. Passionate about pursuing both community organizing and dance, Mohr earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Columbia Human Rights Fellow. She has led performance projects with breast cancer survivors and military veterans and made dances inspired by blacksmith shops, Sapphic poetry, and artist manifestos. Her work has been presented by numerous venues including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Highways Performance Space (LA), di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art (Sonoma), Moody Center for the Arts (Houston), SFMOMA, ODC Theater, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She was named to the YBCA 100 in 2015 and was a 2016 YBCA Fellow. In 2014, Dance Magazine editor-in-chief Wendy Perron named Mohr as one of the “women leaders” in the dance field. Her new book, Shifting Cultural Power, is forthcoming from the National Center for Choreography.
Qianjin Montoya, Board Member
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.
M. Valentine, Board Member
M. Valentine is a progressive and creative HR Executive, organizational alchemist, and humanitarian whose purpose is to make the world-of-work more just, equitable, diverse, and joy-filled. She is a proud, queer woman of color and mother who has called the Bay area home since 2008. M brings over 23 years of business operations and human resource experience from iconic brands such as Gap, Visa, and Stitch Fix. Over her career, she has developed expertise in leadership effectiveness, org + learning design and development, culture-building, change-management, and DEI. Nerding out on any of those topics is one of her favorite things to do along with laughing or being in a state of awe. M holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Bethany College, WV, and is a certified Brain-based Coach through the NeuroLeadership Institute. While she is new to SoEx, making and appreciating art has been a life-long passion and she is excited to do her part to support and nurture a vibrant artist community.