Celebrating Ryman Arts' Executive Director Diane Brigham

By Lynne. B. Clark

Diane Brigham recently celebrated her 16th anniversary as head of Ryman Arts and we couldn't be more proud and grateful for her passionate and skilled leadership! Diane brings a dynamic energy and personal commitment to the Ryman Arts experience that is simply unparalleled. She is the driving force behind the organization's tremendous growth and leads the organization with her vision to create equal access to arts education.

Diane Brigham has been a significant advocate for quality youth art education for thirty-five years and instrumental to Ryman Arts’ reputation for excellence.  Previously Head of Education at the Getty, Diane felt strongly about returning to a community-based organization that directly impacts young artists. Under Diane’s leadership, Ryman Arts has quadrupled its capacity and strengthened its pre-professional arts training and college and career pathways for teens, particularly those who are most underserved.

Says former Ryman Arts parent and community organizer and activist Irma Carranza, "Diane's work at Ryman Arts has had an immediate and personal impact on some of our community's most vulnerable youth as well as a larger influence on the creative fields that help fuel our State's economy. She is helping to close the achievement gap for young people of color, many from immigrant families like ours who simply want their children to have more opportunities and success than we were afforded."

Irma was recently honored by the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica as part of 2018 Women Who Shape Santa Monica 

Carranza's daughter, graphic designer Christina Saucedo, Ryman Class of 2005, writes, "Over 27 years, Ryman Arts has reached more than 26,000 youth through its core program and outreach. But Diane and the program are anything but impersonal. Ryman was and is a family affair and Diane has created a safe haven for creative teens who feel different or perhaps misunderstood. Classes are small, discussion and debate are encouraged, and my opinion mattered. I became friends with students from all over Southern California that I would never have met otherwise. What I found as a first year student at Otis was that my Ryman Arts experience set me apart from other students."

Christina, then Alumni Representative on the Board of Directors, at the Ryman Arts 25th Anniversary Student Exhibition

As one of the Annenberg Foundation’s Community Champions, Diane also served as a facilitator who brought a real-life practitioner perspective to Annenberg’s signature training initiative, building the program’s credibility with the nonprofit participants, serving as coach to the participants, and as an advisor to the Annenberg Foundation on how to keep the program meeting community needs. Through the Center for Non-Profit Management, she became credentialed as an executive coach, so she can continue to support other non-profit leaders to maximize the potential of the field.

Adds Carranza, "I am grateful that Ryman Arts has, and continues to impact my family in the utmost positive way. And, I'm so grateful to have Diane in our lives. She has become a friend to me and a mentor to my daughter. She’s part of our village."

Please join us in sharing your stories about Diane and her impact on your Ryman Arts experience.