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Announcing a New Program Officer for the Arts

Please join Barr in welcoming Jaime Cortez to our arts team.

We are excited to announce the appointment of Jaime Cortez as the new program officer for the Arts & Culture team. Jaime comes to Barr with a multi-faceted background, having served as a grantmaker, educator, artist, and activist in a career that spans over twenty years in the arts.

At the San Francisco Foundation and as program associate at the San Francisco Arts Commission, Jaime worked extensively with both individual artist applicants and with organizations, overseeing more than 1,000 grant proposals and shepherding applicants through the process with a keen eye toward creating opportunities for professional development and capacity-building. Jaime is an artist himself and, here at Barr, we are confident that his unique perspective as a funder and artist will serve our mission to be thoughtful stewards and catalysts for change.

Jaime began his work in the arts as a program manager for the venerable Latino art space Galeria de la Raza, where he curated multi-disciplinary, year-round public art exhibits and programs designed to strengthen community arts, while bringing together local, national, and international artists. His work in arts education has focused on nurturing individual artists, and he has been an arts instructor for adults, college students, and high school students at institutions that include UC Berkeley, the California Institute for Integral Studies, Berkeley High School, and Intersection for the Arts.

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Jaime has a poet’s mind, working in multiple media that span colored pencil drawings and graphic novels to light-box installations to live performance. He has published more than a dozen works of fiction and he wrote and illustrated the graphic novel Sexile, focused on the life story of transgender HIV activist Adela Vasquez. Jaime has also worked as an activist, using art and media as a means of education and prevention in the fight against HIV/AIDS while working with AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Jaime joins Barr at an exciting moment for the arts in Boston, as we embark upon multiple cultural planning processes that aim to strengthen our individual artists and build communities anchored by strong arts organizations. Jaime’s understanding of multiple arts disciplines and his ability to select and nurture organizations that are navigating shifting arts ecosystems will prove a valuable asset.

At the San Francisco Foundation, Jaime demonstrated an ability to collaborate cross-departmentally with education objectives, bringing arts education in line with the Foundation’s broader education objectives. We look forward to Jaime’s insights into this area as Barr moves forward following the recent appointment of our new director of education, Leah Hamilton. Jaime’s appointment rounds out an arts team focused on strengthening leadership, advocacy, and risk-taking in the field; we are confident that his diverse experiences will be a valuable asset in continuing to build and expand a robust arts portfolio. We all look forward to welcoming him to the Barr team and introducing him personally to our partners when he joins us at the beginning of August.

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