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Ricky Abilez (they/them) is a Queer, Latine artist, educator, and advocate who centers restorative and racial justice, social equity, and culturally responsive empowerment in their work as an arts education practitioner and community leader. They've worked with prestigious arts organizations (including South Coast Repertory, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The LA Philharmonic, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and The Ford Theatre) and have taught a self-developed curriculum in using art for social justice at various high schools across the country, including California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley and Brooklyn High School of the Arts.

Prior to their work as the Policy & Advocacy Director with Arts for LA, Ricky worked closely with playwright Prince Gomolvilas and author Scott Heim to produce Mysterious Skin, the stage adaptation of Heim’s acclaimed novel, and was an Associate Producer on Menstruation: A Period Piece at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. They previously served in nonprofit administration as the Education and Community Partnerships Manager at 4C LAB, the Associate Diversity and Inclusion Consultant at McCoy Rigby Entertainment, the Executive Assistant to Dr. Eric Cervini at Deviant Content, and as a Policy Fellow at The National Hispanic Media Coalition.

In 2022, they were honored with the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award by the CU Denver Alumni Association, Robert Earl McConnell Foundation, and the Blair Endowment for excellence in the arts, education, and public affairs. They are an avid singer and spend most of their downtime being the family clown.


MPA Education Policy & Analysis

University of Colorado Denver

2021 - 2022 (4.0)

  • Awards and Honors: Thomas Jefferson Award, Outstanding Public Administration Graduate of 2022, Pi Alpha Alpha, National Society of Leadership and Success, Social Sciences & Humanities Presentation Award

  • Scholarships: John C. Buechner Public Service Scholarship, Diversity in Government Scholarship

  • Activities: Equity Task Force (Student Chair of Curriculum), Graduate Student Council

BFA Theatre Arts (Acting)

Cal State University, Fullerton

2012 - 2016 (3.3)

  • Training: Stanislavski and Shakespeare with Russian master acting teacher Svetlana Efremova (The Americans, Spinning Out); Vocals with recording artist Terron Brooks (The Temptations); Uta Hagen, Meisner, and Chekhov with Madonna Young Magee (Z Nation, Criminal Minds); Directing and Audition with Mark Ramont.

  • Activities: Executive Producer of Los Angeles Showcase at the Garry Marshall Theatre. 

  • Other: Produced 5 full length plays for social justice in partnership with community organizations and school administration. 

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