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 & Development Coordinator

Sofia Airaghi is an alumna of Youth Art Exchange and currently the Program Associate + Development Coordinator. YAX has been instrumental in her artistic and personal development and she looks forward to continuing to support YAX’s mission in her role. Sofia holds a B.A. in Geography from UC Berkeley with an emphasis in Latin American Studies. She has previously worked in programming and cross-cultural community building at the Multicultural Community Center and currently works with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s (Dis)location initiative. Sofia is quadrilingual, a dancer, and loves water.

Contact: sofia 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. They exhibit their work locally & internationally, co-founded Aorta Magazine: by/for/about women & queer people in the arts in 2008, co-organized the Transformative Arts Practice Space at the 2013 Allied Media Conference in Detroit, curated four art shows for the National Queer Arts Festival (2010-14), and is acting as a curatorial advisor for NQAF 2015. Lex was a resident artist at Million Fishes Arts Collective in San Francisco (2010-12), Signal Fire Outpost in Oregon (2011), Creative Ecosystem/Body Politic Think Tank at YBCA (2013-14), and was a 2012 fellow in the Emerging Arts Professionals fellowship program. Currently a guest artist in residence with the Young Artists At Work program at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lex is continually humbled and inspired by deepening connections with art, activism, youth, and creativity in the Bay Area. Prior to joining YAX, Lex was the Coordinator of Events and Marketing and Board President for Modern Times Bookstore Collective and is excited to expand upon community connections and local outreach with YAX.
Contact: lex at youthartexchange dot org