Los Angeles Poverty Department Board of Directors

Laurence M. Lavin

Member since 1996 (President), Attorney

Laurence Lavin was, until his recent retirement, the Director of National Health Law Program. Larry has represented thousands of clients in a wide range of problems including health and mental health, housing, community economic development, and family law. He directed Community Legal Services, Philadelphia PA (1971 to 1979), Palmetto Legal Services, Columbia, SC (1980 to 1985), and the Law Coordination Center, Harrisburg, PA (1985 to 1988). He is the author of AIDS, Medicaid, and Women.

Catherine Gudis

Member since 2011 (Secretary), Historian

Catherine Gudis is Director of the M.A./Ph.D. program in Public History at the University of California, Riverside. Professor Gudis is the author of Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Cultural Landscape. Her next book, tentatively entitled Curating the City: The Framing of Los Angeles, explores the ways in which public art, performance, and history can help frame and socially activate urban space and place in Southern California. In 2011-2012, she will serve as a Getty Scholar, conducting research towards this project.

John Malpede

Member since 1988 (Vice President), Director, Los Angeles Poverty Department

For 30 years, John Malpede has been a visible figure in the national performance art and experimental theater world. In 1985 he founded the Los Angeles Poverty Department and serves as its director. From 1985-89, he also worked as a welfare advocate for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Sohrab Mohebbi

Member since 2013, Curator

Sohrab Mohebbi is the Curator of the 58th Carnegie International opening in 2022. He previously worked as a curator at the Sculpture Center in NYC, REDCAT Gallery and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and at the Queens Museum. He has an MFA from Bard College. Born in Iran, Mohebi was a member of an internationally known alternative rock band, KHAL PUNK, when he came to the US in 2005.

Julia Carnahan

Member since 2009 (Treasurer), Arts Producer

Julia worked as a line producer and program coordinator for the Los Angeles Festival, and as Associate Producer / Music Producer for the International Festival of Art & Ideas in New Haven, CT. She has worked as a consultant to The Durfee Foundation, Guggenheim Museum, Mass MOCA and the World Festival of Sacred Music. She has been company manager for a dozen productions of Peter Sellars.

Zelenne Cárdenas

Member since 2013, Community Advocate

Zelenne L. Cárdenas is Director of Prevention Services for Social Model Recovery Systems, Inc., a human services organization in Skid Row, Los Angeles. In this position, Zelenne’s developed resources and strategies to address the root causes of violence specifically related to problems of drugs and alcohol. Zelenne has mobilized community residents to challenge the status quo and to demand a healthier, safer environment in Skid Row”. In 2001, she was selected to receive The California Wellness Foundation’s Community Leader Fellowship to support her violence prevention projects and in 2004, Zelenne was named Local Hero of the Year by KCET and Union Bank of California during Hispanic Heritage Month. She is a board member of Housing California.