Staff and Board



Kamyar Atabai (he/him)

Director of Development

Born in Iran, Kamyar is a graduate of Columbia University (BA), and the Yale School of Drama (MFA). As a theater director, he has worked on both sides of the Atlantic, from the West End and Broadway to the London Fringe and Off-Off Broadway. As a Development professional, he has worked at Baryshnikov Arts Center, National Council of Jewish Women, and The Paley Center for Media.

David Blasher (he/him)

Executive Director

David is a collaborative leader and interdisciplinary thinker with experience across law, technology, and the arts. David has worked at NBCUniversal as the Director of Global Legal Operations and Innovation, and as a litigation associate at Davis Wright Tremaine, including pro bono work for the ACLU and OutsideIn shelter serving LGBTQ+ Youth who are unhoused. David is also the former Board Chair of Drama Club, a nonprofit that transforms the lives of young people in NYC who are incarcerated or court-involved through the power of theater and improv. As an artist, David plays the cello with a rock band and experimental ensembles, and he writes and acts in short-form film projects. B.A., Yale University (Theatre Studies); J.D., University of Oregon School of Law.

Maya Quetzali Gonzalez (she/her)

Grants Manager

Maya is an artist, arts worker, and organizer. Her recent assistant directing and movement work includes BEES AND HONEY (MCC), YOU WILL GET SICK (Roundabout), and MACBETH (Broadway). She spent part of this past summer at UCLA’s Dancing Disability Lab. Maya has served as reviewer/panelist for organizations such as NYSCA, is a member of WOCA, an Associate Member of SDC, and serves on the board of IndieSpace. She also works with Jane’s Due Process. Prior to joining MAP, Maya interned at the Public Theater. Maya is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar.

Sarah Mostov (she/her)

Operations Manager

Sarah is an opera singer, producer, and creator of Operotica, a show that puts a modern spin on operatic tradition. Aside from her endeavors in the world of alternative performance art, Sarah has worked as the program and logistics manager at a number of arts organizations, including Asylum Arts, Columbia Artists Management, and The Metropolitan Opera, where she led artist retreats, organized tours, and administered grant programs. In addition to MAP, Sarah works as the Company Manager for the Brooklyn-based nonprofit, Opera on Tap. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her family of adorable rascals – her husband, two cats, and her bulldog, Duncan.

Ron Ragin (he/him)

Director of Programs

Ron is a researcher, strategist, organizer, and interdisciplinary artist. He partners with artists, organizations, and grantmaking institutions to help them move in deeper alignment with their values, goals, and principles — toward that ever-shifting space of liberation. Ron worked in the field of (arts and cultural) philanthropy for nearly a decade, with program officer posts at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He also worked as a Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Alongside his research and strategy work, Ron sustains a vibrant performance and creative writing practice, rooted in music of the African Diaspora, improvisation, liberation aesthetics, and the development and maintenance of spiritual technologies. His artistic work centers around the role of sound, and the unamplified human voice in particular, in transforming our environment, our selves, and each other. Ron lives in New Orleans, makes a mean red velvet cake, and can throw down on some biscuits.

Brandon Rumaker (they/them)

Program Assistant

Brandon designs transformative experiences where discovery, connection, and play offer shelter for the soul. Building on a foundation in performance, tarot, and facilitation, Brandon engages in a divine deviance that invites audiences and collaborators into the mind’s dusty attics and the heart’s shadowy basements. Through their work, they blur thresholds and imagine spaces where fantasies and dreams overflow into the minutiae of day-to-day life.
Their theater work has been developed with or presented by National Queer Theatre, Prime Produce, The Workshop Theatre, Exquisite Corpse Company, and The Rochester Fringe. They are a 2023 FORGE Fellow and a recipient of the Stillwright Retreat. As a facilitator, they develop workshops on writing, tarot, and creative expression through authentic relating and spontaneous play. They can be found reading tarot every Thursday at Quimby’s Bookstore in Williamsburg, Brooklyn under the name Wise Fool’s Tarot.

Kim Savarino (she/her)

Senior Development Manager

Kim supports MAP’s development and growth, contributing research to build a program that centers equity and transparency. She has worked with organizations including Arts Action Research, Dance/NYC, and DDCF, formerly served as co-chair of Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee, and was a member of the WOW Project’s inaugural Bridging Futures Cohort. Kim is a performer, choreographer, and proud company member with Third Rail Projects and La MaMa’s Great Jones Rep. Recent artistic projects include a Broadway lab choreographed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, an Italian “spectacle” directed by Romeo Castellucci, and playing the prophetess Cassandra in Andrei Serban’s revival of The Trojan Women. She has choreographed performance works in spaces ranging from traditional stages to concrete backlots, and her work has received support from MANCC’s Forward Dialogues Lab, the EstroGenius Festival, and the WV Dance Festival. Kim studied dance at Florida State University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and grew up in West Virginia.

Dejha Carrington consults widely on strategy, programming and storytelling with nonprofits and organizations across the U.S. and in Canada. She is a recognized speaker, and presents at organizations such as U.S. Presidential Scholars Foundation, Netflix, Americans For The Arts and University of Miami. In 2018, Dejha co-founded Commissioner, an art membership program that helps people collect the work of contemporary artists in their cities and build stronger arts ecosystems. From 2015 to 2022, she served as Vice President of Strategic Communications for YoungArts. A Montreal native and McGill University graduate, Dejha calls Miami her home base. Joined 2022

Kim Chan is the Senior Advisor at National Sawdust. She has worked in NYC and Washington, D.C. as a fundraiser, marketer, curator, organizer, producer, and presenter across multiple art forms and aesthetic traditions. She is a board member for Ping Chong + Company, Pick-Up Performance Co(s), and Mid-Atlantic Arts, and has previously served on the New York Dance and Performance “Bessies” Award Committee and on the boards of APAP, La Pocha Nostra, and Dance Place, among others. Prior to National Sawdust, she produced the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature for PEN America. Chan is also a volunteer with Make Us Visible NJ. Secretary, Joined 2022

Adriana Gallego is the Executive Director of the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (AFTSA). Prior to joining AFTSA, Gallego was the first Chief Operating Officer of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, and Director of Strategic Initiatives with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Joined 2020

Craig Peterson, currently the President and CEO of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, has served in numerous leadership positions at arts and cultural institutions over the past three decades. For six years he was the Vice President of Visual and Performing Arts at Henry Street Settlement and the Executive Artistic Director of the Abrons Arts Center. Previously he was the Director of Programs at Gibney Dance. From 2009 – 2013, Peterson was the Director of the annual Philly Fringe Festival, and during this time he also launched and directed the Live Arts Brewery (LAB), a research and development program supporting long term residencies for local and national artists. For ten years he served on the staff of Dance Theater Workshop and for four years he served as the organization’s Co-Artistic Director. He is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program of Columbia University’s School of Business and he received a BA in Theater and Dance from Bard College. Treasurer, Joined 2021

Sixto Wagan is the Project Director for the Greater Houston BIPOC Arts Network and Fund (BANF). BANF is structured as a community-led collaborative fund and a resource network guided by arts leaders, arts practitioners, and funders. Previously, he founded and developed the Center for Art and Social Engagement (CASE) at the University of Houston. He also led DiverseWorks, serving as Artistic Director, Co-Executive Director and Performing Arts Curator. Wagan completed a Master’s Degree in Teaching, and co-founded QuAC: The Queer Artist Collective in 1996, a performance collaborative of multi-gendered, multi-ethnic queers. Wagan continues to expand his work as a strategic visioning and cultural equity facilitator. Joined 2016

Meital Waibsnaider is General Counsel at Blue State, a digital strategy and technology firm. Previously, she was Senior Counsel at Kennedy Berg LLP, a commercial litigation firm based in Manhattan, worked in the General Counsel’s office at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and was a dancer with the Israel Ballet. President, Joined 2020

Vanessa Whang is a researcher, program designer, evaluator, and strategic thought partner to funders and organizations engaged with arts and cultures. She is the lead designer/implementer of the Cultural Strategists-in-Government Program and senior project advisor for the Just City Cultural Fund. Vanessa served as Director of Programs for California Humanities, Director of Multidisciplinary Arts and Presenting for the NEA, and has consulted for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, among others. Vanessa has worked as a cultural activist, performing arts presenter, and a musician, though her creative outlet these days is throwing pots (on a wheel, not at anyone in particular). Joined 2022

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar earned her B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and her M.F.A. in dance from Florida State University. In 1984 Jawole founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. She is the founder of the UBW Summer Leadership Institute, founding Artistic Director and Chief Visioning Partner of UBW and currently holds the position of the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University. Jawole has received numerous honors including the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and the 2017 Bessie Lifetime Achievement in Dance. In 2020, The Ford Foundation awarded Urban Bush Women as one of America’s Cultural Treasures, and Jawole has recently been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow. Joined 2022

Banner: 2021 grantee Jimmy López Bellido. Photo by Franciel Braga.