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

Sofia Airaghi  |  Program Manager

Sofia Vivanco Airaghi is a quadrilingual geographer, dancer, and educator from San Francisco. Sofia holds a B.A. in Geography from UC Berkeley with an emphasis in Latin American Studies. She is an alumna of YAX programs, having participated in the Architecture and Black + White Photography classes and served as a Teaching Assistant and Youth Advisory Board Member. Sofia has previously worked on cross-cultural programming at UC Berkeley’s Multicultural Community Center, is one of the co-creators of the Cultural Map of Southeast San Francisco and worked as a cartographer with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s (Dis)location initiative. Sofia has performed at ODC Theater, Cuba Caribe Festival, San Francisco Carnaval, UC Berkeley and has exhibited work at Latinos in Architecture’s Perspectivas exhibit and at Book and Wheel Works’ Moving Art House.

Contact: sofia at youthartexchange dot org

Francesca Mateo  |  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


Kitania Folk  |  Development Coordinator

Kitania Folk grew up in the Richmond district of San Francisco and went to Lowell High School. In high school she was a student editor for the Best American Nonrequired Reading Anthology, edited by Dave Eggers. She attended college at New York University where she designed her own major at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study that surrounded the history, philosophy, and politics of exclusion and wrote her honors thesis on the social movement that happened in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006. After graduating she worked at a small yarn company called Purl Soho where she was the Design + Kit Coordinator and managed and styled photo shoots. After years of pining for home and freezing her way through Brooklyn winters, she moved back to the Bay Area and is over the moon to be involved in all things Development! She also works as a freelance grant writer for nonprofits, and spends her free time walking, cooking, and listening to the radio.

Contact: kitania at youthartexchange dot org