Announcing Guest Speakers for Ryman Arts 2016 Graduation


Sofia Klatzker is the Executive Director of Arts for LA, a regional advocacy organization dedicated to promoting arts and culture across government, education, business, and community life. Under her leadership, the ACTIVATE advocacy leadership training program more than doubled in size now representing 132 leaders; created a new mobile website connecting Arts for LA’s 51,000 members with local officials; surveyed over 350 candidates across 60 local elections in November 2015; and launched a campaign to register arts and cultural organizations to become polling stations. She has over 16 years experience advocating for and implementing arts policies, arts education, and grant making. Sofia currently serves on the boards of California Arts Advocates and Californians for the Arts, and serves on both the California Alliance for Arts Education’s Policy Council, and the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network Advisory Council. Sofia received her B.M. in Electronic Music Composition from Oberlin Conservatory and her M.A. in Arts Administration from Goucher College. 

JAMES TAKATA, Ryman Arts Alumnus 1995

James Takata is a filmmaker from Los Angeles, CA. Takata directed the short film Broken Wings, which played at the Cinequest Film Festival in March 2016. He also directed the feature documentary We the Parents, which premiered in August 2013 and will soon be available for online streaming. Takata is also developing feature projects including Noguchi, about the artist Isamu Noguchi and You're so Abducted, an alien abduction comedy. Takata began his filmmaking career in the camera department. He worked his way up from film loading and camera assisting to his current job as a camera/steadicam operator on shows such as Sons of Anarchy and Scorpion. Takata was also honored with a 2012 Emerging Cinematographer Award for his work shooting the short film Only Child. He was recently hired to create a promotional short documentary for Splendid and Crafting Community, a family retreat at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs that provides creative activities alongside brand promotion for select clients such as Splendid, Converse, and California Baby.

Mic Champion, Takata’s music video for hip hop artist J Maddox won the Slate Award for Best Music Video at the 2009 California Independent Film Festival. Trapped, a short film he directed and produced, was commissioned by Prize4Life to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease and the foundation’s $1 million dollar prize for ALS research. Trapped won a 2010 Bronze Telly Award, and the 2010 Accolade Award of Merit, while screening at numerous festivals. Takata is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600, and the Steadicam Operators Association.  Takata earned his BA in Studio Art from the College of William and Mary and also studied at the Art Institute of Florence.