Cristy Johnston Limón
Cristy joined the leadership team in 2011 with the charge to relocate Destiny Arts Center’s facility. After restructuring the organization and completing a 3-year fundraising campaign, Destiny purchased and renovated an idle warehouse in North Oakland transforming it into an artistically rich, welcoming cultural destination serving thousands of youth and their families annually. Destiny celebrated 25 years in its very own, beautiful home.
Formerly the founder and Executive Director of Excelsior Action Group (EAG), a community development organization to revitalize and create vibrant public spaces with local leadership, Cristy grew the organization strategically to meet the needs of several communities in San Francisco’s south central neighborhoods.
As a former Senate fellow and legislative aide for California State Senator Martha Escutia, Mrs. Johnston Limón has a strong background in public policy, the state budget and the legislative process. While working in Sacramento, Mrs. Johnston Limón worked on policies aimed to reform the state budget so as to protect funding for children and families, language and access rights, human services and housing.
A native of San Francisco of Guatemalan descent, Cristy is a first generation college graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Political Science. Cristy is pursuing an Executive MBA at the Haas School of Business, exploring the role of business in philanthropy, culture, and equity. She draws from her own experiences as a public school student immersed in dance, theater, music and sports to advocate on behalf of arts education and for Destiny’s mission and vision.
Sarah Crowell has worked at Destiny Arts Center since 1990 as a dance teacher, artistic director, workshop facilitator and program development director, and served as the organization’s executive director from 2002-2007.
Sarah has taught dance, theater and violence prevention to youth and educators locally and nationally in schools and community centers since 1990. She directed the dance program at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, CA for 3 years, and directed an award-winning hip-hop dance ensemble at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, CA for 5 years. At Destiny Sarah co-founded the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company in 1993, a troupe for teens to co-create original movement/theater productions based on their own experiences. The company now performs for over 20,000 audience members a year at conferences, festivals and other community events.
Sarah received 9 California Arts Council Artist in Residency grants for her work at Destiny and a National Endowment for the Arts grant to author a curriculum guide for artists working with teens called Youth on the Move: a teacher’s guidebook to co-creating original movement/theater performances with teens. Sarah is the recipient of 2006 Purple Moon DreamSpeakers award, the 2007 KPFA peace award, the 2011 KPFA Women’s History Month Local Hero award, the 2013 Bay Area Dance Week Dancer’s Choice award, and the 2015 Alameda County Arts Leadership award. In 2016, Sarah was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame and was a finalist for a Tony Award for Excellence in Theater Education.
Sarah performed and toured nationally with modern, jazz and dance/theater companies in Boston and the Bay Area, including Impulse Jazz Dance Company and the Dance Brigade, between 1984 and 2000. She also directed and performed with the dance/theater company i am! Productions between 1994 and 2002, which featured a two-woman show called Portrait of a Girl from Nowhere… an urban fairy tale. The piece explored issues of bi-racial identity through modern and hip-hop dance, theater, poetry and song.
Archana Nagraj joins Destiny Arts Center with twenty years in the non-profit world dedicated to the success of youth development and art education programs. Before becoming a part of the Destiny team, Archana worked as the Chief Operating Officer of UC Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program. Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director of Creative Arts Workshops for Kids, a community arts organization in New York City as well as a Program Director at Citizen Schools, an educational non-profit in Boston, MA.
School & Communities Program Director
For nearly ten years, Aurora has worked for educational equity and access through public schools and non-profit organizations, specifically within the realms of arts education and extended day programs. Before joining Destiny as Outreach Programs Director, Aurora served as Program Manager at Performing Arts Workshop and prior to that, as Extended Day and Art Enrichment Director at Paul Revere School in San Francisco where she gained deep understanding of the the power of arts and youth development programs to facilitate social change and youth empowerment. In addition to her work at Destiny, Aurora is co-founder and Arts Editor of Creosote Journal, an international arts and culture website focussed on publishing quality writing, photography, video and other media, and exposure to marginalized places and perspectives.
Born and raised amongst the farmlands of California’s Central Valley, Aurora recently returned from two years living abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico and Berlin, Germany. Aurora studied Ethnic Studies at University of California at Santa Cruz and holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She very happily calls Oakland home, where she lives with her daughter and partner.
Director of Creative Learning
Indi McCasey believes in the power of the arts as a catalyst for social change. Born and raised in the South Bay Area, Indi has spent over 20 years as an educator in experiential and informal learning environments focused on public access, healthy relationships, and creative practice. In their role as Director of Creative Learning, Indi supports Destiny as a responsive, learning organization by coordinating evaluation, documentation, and partnerships with school and community organizations. Indi holds a self-designed B.A. in Education for Social Justice and Environmental Responsibility from Fairhaven College and an Ed.M in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Indi is also on the faculty of the Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program and Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom, facilitating creative professional development trainings for educators.
Indi’s work at Destiny Arts Center is also grounded in their identity as a performer, teaching artist, and event producer. They founded two nationally performing physical theater ensembles in addition to being an artistic member of Wise Fool New Mexico, an award-winning, social justice circus and theater company. As the co-producer and Managing Director of Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus, Indi showcases circus artists from across the country as part of the annual National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco and has received grants from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Horizons Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the California Arts Council. Indi is a former artist-in-residence at Harvard’s Project Zero and a recipient of the 2013 Endeavor Foundation for the Arts Artist Award.
Senior Program Manager, School & Community Programs
Christina Chan comes to Destiny Arts with over 6 years of non-profit experience. Before joining Destiny, Christina worked with organizations such as Summer Search, Rising Sun Energy Center and An Taisce (The Green Trust for Ireland). She is well-versed in and passionate about youth development, whether that be through traditional class-room education, hands-on training, environmental learning or artistic expression. Christina believes that all young people are vulnerable to different risks in this world; however, through the support and love of others, they can be nurtured in to becoming caring, productive and pro-active movers and leaders of society.
Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Christina grew up connecting and communing with individuals from many different backgrounds. Empathetic to the challenges she saw others experience to actualize their true selves, she was inspired to pursue a degree in Communications and Education from the University of California, Berkeley, so as to become a connector of people to people and people to their own destinies. During her tenure with An Taisce, Christina authored a manual for the Green Schools program, which prepared young people to become better stewards of the earth through action and example. As an Outreach Manager for the California Youth Energy Services program, she was able to connect over 600 young people on a path to higher education, career-building and community service. She hopes to continue this work at Destiny Arts to empower more young people to find their voice and their place in this world.