San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Friday the appointment of Ralph Remington as the new Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC).
Remington, who will start in January, succeeds previous director Tom DeCaigny, who left the post at the beginning of 2020.
In the interim, the SFAC has hosted a look back at its archives, closed its public gallery during the pandemic and weathered criticism over its handling of a Maya Angelou monument in San Francisco, proposed by artist Lava Thomas. The SFAC had approved the design, then rescinded its approval, apologized to Thomas eight months later and then re-approved it last week. The ordeal raised questions about racial equity within the commission and in the arts citywide.
“We’ve consistently prioritized equity and diversity in our programs and through the arts,” said Mayor Breed in the appointment announcement. “Ralph has a long history of working in the arts, I know he will ensure San Francisco’s diverse community of artists and cultural organizations are supported and valued throughout this pandemic and beyond.”
Remington, who has past experience as a playwright, actor and screenwriter, comes to San Francisco from Arizona, where he serves as the Deputy Director for Arts and Culture for the City of Tempe. Prior to that, he worked for Actors Equity Association in Los Angeles and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington, D.C., and served on the city council in Minneapolis. He graduated from Howard University.