Feb 20, 2021

A Seat at the Table

two separate headshots of Pablo and Shalom

The Rafala Green Fellowship Program aims to bridge sector-wide opportunity gaps in real estate development; welcomes second pair of fellows.

The Rafala Green Fellowship Program at Artspace aims to tackle issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the field of real estate development by creating inroads to the industry through the intentional placement of emerging BIPOC leaders–– including those from non-traditional professional backgrounds. Through this program, two fellows work within Artspace’s Property Development team for a two-year period, collaborating with colleagues on actual projects in the pipeline and truly tapping into the nuances of the business. Developing critical skills related to various stages of the development process, as well as making important connections within the industry, informs the fellows’ future work as change agents to create more equitable arts communities.


In 2018, the program welcomed inaugural Rafala Green Fellows Amanda Cortés and Jeremy Staab, who poured their own insights and perspectives into Artspace over their two-year fellowships. Read about their experiences here. This year, Artspace welcomes two new emerging leaders, Pablo Lituma and Shalom Cook, to embark on a two-year journey working at Artspace. Lituma said that he is particularly excited about the experience and insight that he will have “being surrounded by creative visionaries, and a community of diverse professionals.” He adds, “As a Fellow, I look forward to gaining experience and participating in the process of community engagement, feasibility analysis, project funding, project management, and leasing management. I am most excited to gain first-hand experience in creating community by learning from one.”


The past year has particularly pushed the country and the world to reckon with systemic inequalities and racial justice. One strategy to create more just and inclusive communities is to intentionally build a more equitable workforce—particularly within the real estate development field, which has long been dominated by leadership who are often unfamiliar with the unique challenges faced by culturally distinct communities and can therefor reinforce racial disparities (even unintentionally). Expanding the pool of key decisionmakers and practitioners in the field is necessary to advance social change. The Rafala Green Fellowship stands as a testament to Artspace’s commitment to support the professional development of change agents with the capacity to influence the creation of more inclusive, revitalized communities in the future.

Read the full bios of Artspace's 2021 Rafala Green Fellows HERE