This week has been a busy one for Local First staff members Connor Descheemaker (Outreach Coordinator) and Jenny Strickland (Localist Program Coordinator). Both young Valley leaders, active and passionate about the future of Phoenix, were appointed to separate city-wide boards and commissions. Descheemaker was appointed to the Development Advisory Board within the Planning and Development department, while Strickland was appointed to the Arts and Culture Commission, with the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.
"It's really an honor to serve Phoenix in this capacity," says Strickland, "As a Phoenix native and life-long member of, and advocate for, the arts community in our city, I'm excited to participate in the process of shaping the policies that enhance and diversify our arts community." As a student at Arizona State University's Herberger College of the Arts, Strickland's love for the arts was met with a passion for social justice, which compelled her to get more involved in the community organizing aspect of arts entrepreneurship. To this end, Strickland also recently became the Lead Project Manager for the group EALphx (Emerging Arts Leaders of Phoenix). Through these projects and new leadership roles, she aims to continue supporting the arts through connecting artists and administrators to new audiences, resources, new partnerships. Jenny will be working primarily with the subcommittee involved with Public Art and Arts Advocacy.
Connor Descheemaker, one of the newest LFA staff members, has hit the ground running laying the foundation for a new infill development-centric program within Local First Arizona. "I've been passionate about urban development since high school." says Descheemaker. "That's when I discovered the downtown Phoenix arts community. I was fascinated by the diverse mix of uses, cultures, and architectural styles present in our (at the time, forgotten) urban core." Over time, Descheemaker's love for and involvement with downtown Phoenix has grown, through personal involvement with the Downtown Voices Coalition, Roosevelt Row CDC, Downtown Devil Discussions, and Sustainable Communities Collaborative. The Development Advisory Board was the natural next step. "I hope to be able to provide thoughtful critiques on new and re-purposed developments, supporting context sensitive development within the City of Phoenix."
Are you looking to get involved with your community? You can start by joining Local First Arizona's volunteer Ambassador program! Find out more by clicking here.