Our staff are dedicated arts professionals with a passion for fostering youth arts and their own active arts practices. We are visual, performing, and technical artists who enjoy sharing our creativity with the students and faculty of Youth Art Exchange. With extensive experience in youth development and arts organization, we are excited to steward Youth Art Exchange’s mission and work.

Reed Davaz McGowan  |  Executive Director

Reed joined Youth Art Exchange as the Executive Director in 2013. At age 17, she experienced her defining moment as an arts administrator, realizing her role in presenting the arts to young audiences. Since then, her career and education have focused on youth leadership development in the arts and making the arts more accessible to community. She was a 2014 Leadership San Francisco trustee. Reed has also participated in National Guild for Community Arts Education’s Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI) and was a 2010 fellow in Bryn Mawr’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute (NELI). She received her Master of Arts in Arts Management with a concentration in Community Arts Management focused on Youth Arts from the University of Oregon in 2007, earning the Walton Research Scholarship for her research on youth involvement in arts administration. In 2002, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Language + Literature from the University of Oregon. Her experience includes leading arts organizations in Eugene, OR and Philadelphia, PA. Reed and her husband, Nat, live with their dog, Pork Chop, two cats, and the newest of little boys, Berks Otto. In addition, she is a graphic designer, sculptor, and public transportation enthusiast.

Contact: reed at youthartexchange dot org

Raffaella Falchi  | Director of Programs

Raffaella received a Master of Architecture from California College of the Arts (CCA), and first came to YAX as a Community Student Fellow from the Center of Art and Public Life at CCA in 2006. She received her B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in Art from UC Berkeley. She has taught in the Cornerstone Architectural Program in Oakland working with youth out of Juvenile Hall. In the summer 2007, she received a fellowship from CCA and worked with the favela community of Manguinhos in Rio de Janeiro under the Brazilian architect Jorge Mario Jauregui  and his Favela/Barrio project. She is the Artistic Director and founder of Sambaxé Dance Company which offers dance classes, performances and costume design. Her samba class was also awarded Best of the Bay 2004. She speaks Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

Contact: raffaella at youthartexchange dot org

Shanna Bowie  |  Program Manager

Shanna Bowie is YAX’s new Program Manager. Shanna is a writer, educator, and lover of the arts. A graduate of Brown University with a BA in Africana Studies, she moved to the Bay Area to become an instructor at Oakland School for the Arts and since then has worked in schools around the Bay Area teaching theater, dance and also developing curriculum. She is returning to the world of arts education after some time working with SFJAZZ as a customer service and donations manager. When she’s not busy teaching or writing, she frequents comic book shops, donut shops, parks and museums in no particular order.
Contact: shanna at youthartexchange dot org

Sofia Airaghi  |  Program Associate

Francesca Mateo is happy to join YAX as the new Program Associate! Growing up all over the Bay Area, Francesca has participated in the Bay Area’s art communities as either an event coordinator or exhibiting artist. She is also a streetwear designer, painter, writer, traveller, and a rookie photographer. Francesca earned her MA in International Studies from University of San Francisco and a BA in Global Studies and Journalism from San Jose State University.

Contact: francesca at youthartexchange dot org

Lex Non Scripta  |  Marketing + Communications Coordinator

Lex is a multi-media artist, curator, and activist from the shores of the San Francisco Bay, currently based in Oakland CA. With a creative focus heavily influenced by liberation, transformation, and collaboration, Lex bolsters their artistic practice with collaborative curatorial projects, including Magic Makers: Queer Art, Craft, and Healing fair, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Fellows, the Transformative Arts Practice Space at the Allied Media Conference, YBCA’s Young Artists At Work, and more. As both an educator and arts supporter, Lex is continually humbled and inspired by deepening connections with art, activism, youth, and creativity in the Bay Area.
Contact: lex at youthartexchange dot org