Jan Williamson


Jan Williamson is the Executive Director of the 18th Street Arts Center. She joined 18th Street in 1995 as the General Manager and from 1996 to 2006, she was Co-Executive Director with Clayton Campbell. During her tenure she has led the effort to purchase the 18th Street property, developed 18th Street’s model Residency Program and Arts Education Program and is now leading the effort to envision and plan 18th Street’s new expanded facility. Through 18th Street she consults on professional development for individual artists and small nonprofit arts organizations and the operation of multi-tenant nonprofits. She holds a certification from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is an active member of the Santa Monica City Arts Commission, and serves on Commission’s Artist Live-Work Task Force. Before coming to 18th Street she was a founding team-member for artist Tom Van Sant’s visionary GeoSphere Project, the first satellite composite map of the Earth free of clouds and a state-of-the-art interactive multimedia program for museums and planetariums. As the GeoSphere’s Director of Operations she oversaw the production and licensing of giant globes and maps for Earth Situation Rooms which were installed in the United States, Brazil, Japan, and Spain. Prior to the GeoSphere Project she served for seven years in the museum field as a preparator and registrar.

“That was fun chatting with you. I got me thinking – You know, the first social practice project I worked on was for my mentor, Tom Van Sant – he created the first satellite image of the Earth, free of clouds, aka the GeoSphere Project. His project was THE progenitor of Google Earth – seriously. It’s interesting to me that his project was so wildly successful in the non-arts context (which is where he positioned it) that this project isn’t even seen or discussed by anyone in the Public Practice realm as a major artwork of this genre. The image had such power and meaning to the whole environmental movement – it literally is the most reproduced image of the Earth, ever. But also – we take it for granted today, but back in the 90’s all globes always showed geopolitical boundaries.  He was the first to purposefully show the Earth as one, undivided living planet.  Al Gore used it early on for his book the Earth in Balance, and later for all the visualizations in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” – that is just one example of how it got imbedded into shifting the public discourse about the environment…”