Click to skip to site content
Uncommon Commons: Crisis State
Uncommon Commons: Crisis State

Uncommon Commons: Crisis State

Lecture Virtual

Thursday, January 28, 4pm PDT
To join, RSVP here.

As the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to force many of us to conduct much of our lives outdoors, we at MOCA believe that it is an opportune time to focus our programming on outdoor art in the public sphere. In doing so, we aim to call attention to the spaces that host these artworks and the ways that art, site, and public may work in tandem to create civic discourse. As part of this effort, we have organized Uncommon Commons, a series of virtual panel discussions that investigate the relationship between outdoor artworks, public sites, and the people that visit them.

2020 was a year that wrought havoc on the urban landscape of Los Angeles. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to exact a harrowing toll on the citizens of the city as we experience increasing levels of poverty, illness, and death. Moreover, the pandemic has exacerbated the civic crises that were already plaguing Los Angeles; namely homelessness, social injustice and police brutality, and mental health and well-being.

The city’s public parks and civic spaces have risen to the challenge, providing necessary space and resources to combat these mounting threats. This month’s Uncommon Common panel will investigate how public space is being put to use to tackle these multiple crises. Each of the panelists involved will discuss how they are using their positions is organizing, building, and bringing together in an effort to overcome these issues and utilizing public space to do so.


Jonathan Pacheco Bell
Jonathan Pacheco Bell is a Program Manager at the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a nonprofit that develops parks and gardens through bottom-up organizing in LA’s communities of color. In this capacity, he is responsible for building partnerships, facilitating community engagement, pipelining new projects, and co-managing the organization’s park stewardship program. An urban planner by practice, Bell believes community-driven creation and stewardship of green open spaces can reverse inequities in park-poor communities. Bell is the creator of Embedded Planning, a praxis that situates the work of planners on the ground to advance equity, build authentic partnerships, and increase public participation especially for historically marginalized populations through street-level engagement. In addition to his urban planning work, Bell serves his community as a Public Library Commissioner in the City of Pasadena. He holds an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and an MLIS from SJSU iSchool.

AP Diaz
Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz is the Executive Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. He is responsible for helping to manage and oversee all day to day operations of the Department, including financial services, capital projects, special operations, recreation, maintenance, HR and risk reductions matters, governance, legal, support and policy matters related to City's Parks Commission, the City Council, the City Attorney's Offices, Mayor's Offices and the LA Park Foundation. Prior to assuming his current role, Diaz served a General Counsel for Recreation and Parks, helping guide the Department on many high profile and important endeavors, most notably the transformation, restoration and management model for the historic and iconic Greek Theatre, which he oversees. Diaz has over 23 years of professional experience and service to the City of Los Angeles. Diaz is a native Angeleno, born in Hollywood and grew up in Santa Monica. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in International Politics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School, and a Certificate of Spanish Language Proficiency from the Universidad de Sevilla in Spain.

Ann Young Lee
Ann Young Lee has 20 years of experience managing large-scale humanitarian response and sustainable development programming across a variety of sectors, including: emergency relief, community upgrading and infrastructure, livelihoods and economic growth, and local governance. Alongside Sean Penn in 2019, Lee co-founded CORE, an evolution of Penn’s J/P HRO, an organization founded in 2010 geared towards reconstruction and relief efforts in Haiti, for which she has served as CEO since 2016. During her time with CORE, she has overseen the organization’s successful transition into an international response and resilience-building NGO, responding to crises in Puerto Rico, across the Caribbean, in Latin America, and the continental United States. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Lee has overseen the expansive growth of the organization’s response efforts, which began in Los Angeles and quickly developed into an exemplary nationwide program of testing sites providing free testing, specifically targeting vulnerable and underserved communities affected by the disease. In her current role, Lee provides vision and strategic leadership for a comprehensive array of programs, including: reforestation, sustainable agriculture, education and youth development, community health, women’s entrepreneurship, and extensive rebuilding and reconstruction efforts. Lee is the author of “Livelihoods in Emergencies: A Double-Edged Sword" and holds a Master’s in Urban Planning from NYU, and a Master’s in Economics & Conflict Management from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Yazmin Monet Watkins
Yazmin Monet Watkins is a poet, comedian, writer, actress, content creator, educator and organizer. Touring her intimate yet political poetry from Obama’s White House to Johannesburg, and empowering students from Harvard to youth prisons, Watkins' body of work weaves art and activism, exploring the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, self-love and all things Black Girl Magic. Watkins is represented by United Talent Agency and creates with her all Black female comedy group Obama’s Other Daughters. You can see their work on Comedy Central and on their new Shondaland podcast You Down? Watkins serves as the co-chair of the Arts & Culture committee for Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. Once Beyoncé said she liked her hair.

Virtual MOCA is a new and daily digital series available on both and across MOCA's social media platforms. To enjoy the breadth of this program, please follow us on our social channels:


Instagram: @moca        
Facebook: @mocalosangeles
Twitter: @mocalosangeles

All Virtual MOCA content is archived and sent out via email at the end of each week. For easy access to previous programs, subscribe to our mailing list.

Virtual MOCA is presented by the MOCA Thrive Fund courtesy of Chara Schreyer.