Meet the City Arts team


Chariti Montez

Chariti Montez

Office of Arts & Culture Leadership Team



Chariti is focused on cross-bureau arts collaboration, removing barriers, and strengthening the City’s relationship with individual artists. Before joining the City Arts Program, Chariti served as the Houselessness Strategies Manager and led the creation and implementation of the City’s Safe Rest Villages. Prior to that, she served as Commissioner Ryan’s Senior Policy & Strategic Initiatives Advisor and liaison to the Bureau of Development Services and the Portland Housing Bureau.

Prior to joining Commissioner Ryan’s Office, Chariti led the City’s food security efforts in response to COVID-19 and managed the Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free For All programs, including Free Lunch + Play, Concerts and Movies in the Parks, and the Washington Park Summer Festival. A lifelong musician, Chariti builds community through music and cultural events. Over the last 15 years they have performed in, produced, or promoted hundreds of shows – mostly Jazz, Brazilian, and Mexican folk music – in small to mid-size venues across Portland.  

Chariti served on the board of the St Johns Center for Opportunity, was a member of the Metro Parks and Nature Equity Advisory Committee, and is a former Board Chair of The City Repair Project. Chariti is the 2022 recipient of the Betsy Ames Leadership Award. In their free time, Chariti enjoys growing flowers, making things, playing music, reading books, and spending time with friends and family in Mexico. Chariti lives in North Portland.  

Darion Jones

Darion Jones, Director of Arts & Culture

Office of Arts & Culture Leadership Team


As Commissioner Ryan's policy advisor for arts and culture, Darion collaborates closely with the City Arts Program. Darion is driven by a passion and dedication to social justice. A commitment to leveling the field of opportunity so that all Oregonians can reach their full potential is what fuels him.

A tenured Oregonian, Darion believes having a strong network and support system to be essential to thrive in society today. Through his work, he feels empowered to give back to the communities that have supported him along the way.

Prior to joining Commissioner Ryan’s team, Darion served for nearly six years on the communications team at Meyer Memorial Trust—one of the largest private philanthropies in Oregon that commits its position, resources, and energies to dismantling barriers to equity and improving community conditions. Before Meyer, Darion worked on the communications team at Basic Rights Oregon. Following his passions for advocacy, social and racial justice, he has built community and fostered lasting change throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

A former board chair for Q Center Portland and Sankofa Collective Northwest (formerly PFLAG Portland Black Chapter), Darion currently serves as a board member of the University of Oregon’s Pride board, President of City Club of Portland’s Board of Directors, and host and creator of QTPOCTalk, a podcast focusing on the intersections of race, identity, and gender. Darion is also a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon Class of XL.

Jeff Hawthorne

Photo of man outside, smiling and wearing a blue blazer
Photo by Intisar Abioto

Office of Arts & Culture



A lifelong arts advocate, Jeff joined the City Arts Program in November, 2020. From 2002-2019 he was the Director of Community Engagement for the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), leading the organization’s advocacy, communications, fundraising and outreach initiatives. He launched the state’s first United Arts Fund and workplace giving campaign for the arts, organized the staff and board to articulate the organization's commitment to equity, and built a public-private partnership to support arts integration in classrooms through The Right Brain Initiative. He was also an active member of the Creative Advocacy Network that won 62% voter approval for Portland’s Arts Education and Access Income Tax in 2012, and served as the organization's interim executive director from 2018-2019.

In the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, as an independent contractor, Jeff collaborated with federal, state, and local officials to help secure emergency support for artists and arts organizations, including $50 million in CARES funding from the state legislature for arts organizations and entertainment venues in Oregon. He is also the state advocacy captain for Americans for the Arts and a board member for the Cultural Advocacy Coalition of Oregon.

Jeff graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in Theater Management and worked for several years with Portland Center Stage and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. He lives in North Portland.

Dawn Isaacs

Dawn Isaacs

Arts Education Coordinator


As the Arts Education Coordinator, Dawn Isaacs is helping the City develop clear and consistent data to assess and communicate the impact of our Arts Education & Access Fund (arts tax) investments. She coordinates and collaborates with arts teachers, principals, superintendents, and our AEAF Oversight Committee.

Dawn is an education leader with 25 years of experience teaching and leading in public, public charter, and independent schools around the country. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational leadership. Dawn has taught elementary school, designed and implemented professional learning, facilitated curriculum alignment, and led teams of educators. A seeker of new experiences, she was a founding faculty member of a public school serving military families in Key West, served as the curator of education for a maritime museum, and taught English as a Foreign Language in Costa Rica. For the past five years Dawn has been the head of Preschool through Fifth Grade at Catlin Gabel School in Portland. She enjoys hiking, sailing, and neighborhood walks. Dawn is a firm believer of the important role the arts play in children’s lives and loves attending concerts, plays, and art exhibits with her two young children.