ReNew2024 - FINAL - Special Event_Eventbrite - Seminar

RENEW 2024:
A Community Conference
on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness

Annual Leadership Conference for the Nonprofit Cultural Arts, Health, & Wellness Sectors

Tuesday, May 7, 2024
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
In-person event

This event is sold out.

Location: The California Endowment
1000 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Join CNM and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs for RENEW – a special one-day event for professionals in the nonprofit cultural arts, health, and wellness sectors.

This year’s one-day conference will foster community engagement and knowledge exchange — a dynamic platform uniting experts from across the fields of arts, science, and social well-being. Through engaging presentations and interactive sessions, attendees will delve into cutting-edge insights and best practices, exploring innovative approaches and collaborative solutions to enhance individual and societal well-being.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available.

Free parking is available on-site at the California Endowment. The California Endowment is easily accessible by public transportation; find directions via Google Maps

ASL interpretation will be provided. 

The Schedule

Please be advised that the schedule is subject to change.

CHECK-IN & BreaKFAST: 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

WELCOME: 9:00 - 9:30 AM

  • Efrain Escobedo – President & CEO, Center for Nonprofit Management
  • Daniel Tarica – General Manager, City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs

Keynote + Q&A: 9:30 - 10:20 AM

The Brain’s Crescendo: How Music Training Enriches Child Neurocognitive Development

Evidence from Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Studies

  • Dr. Assal Habibi – Associate Research Professor of Psychology & Director, USC Center for Music, Brain, & Society


  • Rosamaria Segura – Mindfulness Meditation Teacher

Panel 1 + Q&A: 10:30 - 11:40 AM

Promoting Wellbeing & Resilience for Arts Professionals: A Holistic Look

  • Moderator: Steven Reigns – Founder, Therapy for Adults
  • Jessica Edelstein – Art Therapist & Psychotherapist, The Limbic Lounge
  • Keith McNutt – Director of the Western Region, The Entertainment Community Fund
  • Nadia Paredes – President, American Art Therapy Association & Registered Art Therapist, Licensed Marital, and Family Therapist


  • Wendy Chavez – Navigator & Promotora Coordinator, Central City Neighborhood Partners
LUNCH: 12:00 - 1:00 PM


  • Evelyn Hernandez – Peace & Healing Coordinator, Wilmington YMCA
PANEL 2 + Q&A: 1:35 - 2:50 PM

Three Perspectives on Social Wellness

  • Moderator: Lishaun Francis – Senior Director of Behavioral Health, Children Now
  • Ping Ho – Founder & Director, Arts and Healing Initiative
  • Dr. Marco Iacoboni - Professor, UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
  • Sunil Iyengar* – Director, Office of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Joseph Quintana – Executive Director & Founder, Native Development Network
*Appearing by pre-recorded video.



  • Sandra Hill-Glover – Vice President of Learning & Innovation, Center for Nonprofit Management

Speakers and Presenters

Wendy Chavez Headshot Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness In her role as a navigator, Wendy assists community members accessing different resources including applying for public benefits, facilitating educational workshops, and supporting additional needs. She has more than 10 years in the nonprofit sector working with low to moderate-income families and has lived in the Los Angeles area for 18 years. Wendy loves to interact with her community and build relationships. During her time with CCNP, she has participated in a variety of trainings and gained different skills she now uses to support families and community members. She started the Peace and Healing Center, which is focused on social and environmental healing.

Learn more about Central City Neighborhood Partners.
Jessica Edelstein Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Jessica is a lifelong visual thinker. Her passion for creativity and how the brain works is part of everything she does. A graduate of UCLA and ArtCenter College of Design, Jessica’s corporate work is most noted as worldwide director of art and design at TBWA\Chiat\Day helping Apple Computer to “Think different,” which changed how the world creates and communicates. Jessica is also a board-certified Art Therapist and LMFT working with business teams, schools, seniors, and a variety of art and mental health organizations. Her private practice in Hollywood, affectionately called The Limbic Lounge, helps creatives of all ages navigate parenting, adulting, aging, and grieving.

Learn more about The Limbic Lounge.
Headshot Efrain Escobedo Updated 150x150 1 RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Efrain is dedicated to increasing the civic engagement of historically underserved and marginalized communities and transforming systems through more human-centered approaches. For nearly two decades, he has worked within the philanthropic, government, and nonprofit sectors to advance this mission. Previously, Efrain served as Vice President of Public Policy & Civic Engagement at The California Community Foundation (CCF). Efrain earned his bachelor’s degree at USC and an MBA at the University of La Verne.​ ​ ​

Learn more about CNM.
Lishaun Francis Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness With a focus on mental health, substance abuse and trauma, Lishaun advocates for state policy and practice that does its best for kids. Prior to joining Children Now, Lishaun was an associate director at the California Medical Association, providing policy support and analysis for California physicians on Medi-Cal, Workers’ Compensation, and Health Information Technology issues. Lishaun spent more than two years providing fiscal and policy analyses to the California State Legislature on issues of mental health, developmental disabilities, and alcohol and drug programs. In Washington, DC, as a program analyst for the U.S Department of Education, she provided fiscal support on higher education issues. Lishaun received a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan, and a bachelors degree from Spelman College in Atlanta.

Learn more about Children Now.
Assal Habibi Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Professor Habibi’s interdisciplinary research explores the impact of the arts, with a particular focus on music, on health and human development. She investigates how innate biological factors and experiential learning shape the development of cognitive, emotional, and social abilities across the lifespan. She has been a principal investigator on several innovative studies, including projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Endowment for the Arts. An expert in electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods, her work extensively employs longitudinal and cross-sectional models to examine the effects of integrating music-based activities into school curricula and elder care, especially for those from underserved communities. Her research not only highlights the essential role of the arts in education but also explores the therapeutic potential of music for individuals across different age groups, including the elderly.

Learn more about the USC Center for Music, Brain, & Society.
Evelyn Hernandez Headshot Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness A passionate individual who wears many hats in her community, Evelyn Hernandez serves as the Peace and Healing Coordinator for the Wilmington YMCA. With her extensive background in the nonprofit sector, she brings a wealth of experience to her current position. She spearheads various projects, events, and workshops aimed at promoting peace and well-being. Her dedication extends beyond the YMCA’s immediate vicinity, reaching out to serve the entire South Bay area and surrounding cities. Evelyn’s commitment to holistic healing is evident through her certifications as a USUI/Tibetan Reiki Ryho practitioner and her training in child/adolescent trauma-informed yoga. By integrating these practices into her work, she empowers individuals to align with their highest selves and promotes healing on multiple levels.

Learn more about Wilmington YMCA.
Sandra Hill Glover Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Sandra applies her passion and expertise to help organizations enhance their impact on underserved and marginalized communities. She focuses on organizational development, including assessment, asset mapping, change management, and training for boards and staff. Sandra’s background as a social worker has led her to develop programs for diverse groups, including youth, unhoused families, and new mothers, with a focus on health and wellness. In 2020, she founded ImpactHill, a consulting firm aimed at improving service delivery for nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, and community organizations. With experience in social work education as an associate dean and professor, Sandra uses her knowledge to inform her consultancy work, guided by values of social justice and inclusivity. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational and Transformational Leadership from the University of New England, a Master of Social Work from Clark Atlanta University, and a Bachelor of Arts in the Social Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.

Learn more about CNM.
Ping Ho Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Ping’s work guiding the Arts & Healing Initiative — which offers training and free public workshops in using the arts integrated with mental health practices for self-discovery, connection, and empowerment — synthesizes her graduate education in counseling psychology and public health and her lifelong experience in performing arts. Ping developed Beat the Odds®, an evidence-based drumming program for social-emotional skill building, a Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts (SEA), and a SEA on a Shoestring program. She is co-author of The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art.

Learn more about Arts & Healing Initiative.
Dr Iacoboni Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Dr. Iacoboni is a Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the Kreshek Family Neuromodulation Lab at the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. He investigates neural systems and functional mechanisms of higher cognition in health and disease, with emphasis on social cognition, using brain imaging and non invasive brain stimulation. He pioneered neuroimaging and brain stimulation research on imitation, emotional contagion and empathy and their cognitive control mechanisms. Dr. Iacoboni’s work, funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, has been covered by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and numerous other news outlets. His book, Mirroring People, has been translated into 13 languages. Recently, he has been investigating how to modulate implicit bias to reduce group prejudice, using brain imaging, brain stimulation, and virtual reality. Dr. Iacoboni studied medicine, neurology, and neuroscience at the University La Sapienza in Rome, Italy, and joined the UCLA faculty in 1999.

Learn more about the UCLA Department of Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and the UCLA Brain Mapping Center.

Sunil Headshot Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Under Sunil’s leadership, the Office of Research & Analysis has produced dozens of research reports, hosted events and webinars, and established research partnerships with the U.S Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Science Foundation. His office also leads agency strategic planning, program evaluations, and performance measurement. Sunil and his team have designed and implemented three long-term research agendas, founded a national data repository for the arts, and launched two award programs for arts researchers, including the NEA Research Labs initiative. He chaired a federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development from 2011 to 2023, and his office provides research support to Creative Forces: NEA Military Arts Healing Network. Suni oversees a research funding partnership with the National Institutes of Health as part of Sound Health, an initiative of the Kennedy Center and NIH in association with the Arts Endowment. Guided by that initiative, his office supports the Sound Health Network, in partnership with the University of California San Francisco. Sunil was previously an editor and reporter covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries.

Learn more about the National Endowment for the Arts.
Keith McNutt Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Keith has a master’s degree in social work from New York University, is licensed (LCSW) in the states of California and New York, and has a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was awarded a Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation and his 2013 report, “LA Creates: Supporting the Creative Economy in Los Angeles,” was published as an attachment to the 2014 Otis Report on the Creative Economy in California and the Los Angeles Region. Keith is vice president of the board of directors of the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation.

Learn more about The Entertainment Community Fund.
Nadia Paredes Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Nadia is a Registered Art Therapist, Licensed Martial and Family Therapist and Intuition Painting® facilitator who founded Nadia Paredes – Creative Studio, a bilingual resource for mental health prevention, unblocking creativity and authentic self-expression. Her offerings include mindfulness-based programs using embodied arts, art journaling for personal wellness, and public speaking engagements. She hosts an Instagram, TikTok and Podcast in Spanish called Revolución Creativa, in which she shares information about using art as a mental health practice. Nadia is also an art therapy supervisor and adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University.

Learn more about American Art Therapy Association.
Steven Reigns Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Steven has worked as a therapist for 15 years and, previously, was an HIV counselor for 11 years. Therapy for Adults, his private practice, focuses on dating and relationship issues and he has led groups in therapeutic writing and cinema therapy. He is devoted to the arts and was appointed as the first poet laureate of West Hollywood, published three poetry collections, tours with his exhibition The Gay Rub, and has had his words projected onto Rockefeller Center as part of a Jenny Holzer project.

Learn more about Therapy for Adults.
Rosamaria Segura Headdshot Resized RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Passionate about sharing mindfulness practices in communities with limited exposure to meditation and wellness modalities, Rosamaria teaches in both Spanish and English in non-profit organizations, public schools, and people dedicated to socio-economic and environmental justice. Rosamaría trained under the guidance of Trudy Goodman, Maureen Shannon-Chapple, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach and completed both the Buddhist Introduction to Chaplaincy Training and the End of Life Doula Training. She continues studying under the guidance of Jokai Blackwell Roshi. In addition to her spiritual practice, she brings decades of career experience and dedication through community organizing to protect civil rights of immigrants and refugees, and promote worker rights and equitable healthcare access for all. Rosamaría holds an MA in geography, BA in cultural geography and urban analysis, and an AA in human services and psychology.

Learn more about Rosamaria.
Daniel Tarica Resized 1 RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness

Daniel leads the Department’s work to strengthen the quality of life in Los Angeles by stimulating and supporting arts and cultural activities and ensuring public access to the arts for residents and visitors. The Department empowers Los Angeles’s vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists. Managing a full-time staff of 104 and a part-time staff of 150, Daniel oversees the Department’s portfolio of facilities, capital improvement projects, grants, educational initiatives, and programming. Daniel previously served as DCA’s Assistant General Manager and has served in several leadership positions with the Los Angeles City Council, City Controller, and City Administrative Officer.

Learn more about LA Department of Cultural Affairs.

Untitled design 16 RENEW 2024: Community Conference on Arts, Neuroscience, & Social Wellness Joseph (Kewa Pueblo) founded the Native Development Network, a non-profit community-based organization to support American Indian/Alaskan Native causes. His work has improved the health outcomes of community members while ensuring that education and training will increase the economic opportunities for Native peoples. Joseph has operated a native publication, RED INK, and served three Native Nations in economic and community development before coming back to Los Angeles where he has worked alongside partners on issues of transforming community through arts and cultural expression, workforce equity, healing of historical traumas, healthcare access, racial justice, and overcoming cycles of poverty.

Learn more about Native Development Network.

COVID Protocols

Masks are not required at this time, but we ask you to be considerate of fellow attendees’ health and comfort and practice mindful social distancing. If you are exhibiting any signs of cold or flu symptoms, please stay at home. We are monitoring developments around COVID-19 and will adjust event guidelines accordingly.

About the Department of Cultural Affairs

The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is a progressive arts and cultural agency in Los Angeles. It promotes quality arts programming, manages cultural centers, preserves historic sites, creates public art, and funds arts organizations and individual artists. Since 1925, DCA has aimed to engage residents and visitors, recognize diverse cultures, and improve the quality of life in Los Angeles. Through grantmaking, community arts, performing arts, and strategic marketing, DCA advances the social and economic impact of arts and culture while providing service in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.

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