Arts, Culture, Economic Prosperity and Beyond

Saturday, June 17, 9:00 am - 10:15 am

Catch the can’t-miss unveiling of the national findings of Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, as Americans for the Arts’ Randy Cohen weaves a story drawn from hundreds of communities and over 200,000 patron surveys on the power of the arts as an economic driver and jobs creator. Then explore the complex nature of community impact as economics take their place beside other drivers of community health and vibrancy in a panel featuring noted author and social justice theorist Jeff Chang (Who We Be, We Gon’ Be Alright), creative entrepreneur and artist Vinitha Watson, and noted arts funder San San Wong. Moderated by Americans for the Arts board member Margie Reese. The impact of the arts is strong, and we’re here to help you tell the whole story!

#aftacon

Moderator
Margie Reese
Executive Director
Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts & Culture
Wichita Falls, Texas
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Margie Johnson Reese brings exceptional skills in cultural policy planning and implementation design. Margie’s career has included arts leadership in Dallas and Los Angeles. Currently Executive Director of the a newly created Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture, Margie has responsibility for establishing arts policy, artists training programs and creating new grant making programs to service Wichita Falls, Texas and the surrounding areas. Margie served as a grant maker for the Ford Foundation in their Office for West Africa as the Program Officer for Media, Arts and Culture. In that capacity, she led the ongoing efforts of the Foundation focusing on heritage preservation, conservation, museum education, governance and cultural policy. She cites among her major accomplishments funding the restoration of the slave castles in Ghana and Nigeria, and providing funding to preserve the ancient Arabic manuscripts of Timbuktu in Mali. Prior to her work with the Ford Foundation, Margie served as General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; and as Director of the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs. Margie is a long time board member of Americans for the Arts and is Chair of the Board’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. She is an active grants review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and continues to serve as an adviser to the Association of African Museums in Nairobi, Kenya. Margie was recognized with the 2014 National Guild for Community Arts Education’s Lifetime Service Award for her lifelong dedication to increasing young people’s access to arts learning opportunities, both in and out of school; and for her powerful advocacy and action for equity and diversity. She began her collegiate pursuits at Southern University in Baton Rouge, and transferred to Washington State University in Pullman, Washington to earn a BS in Speech and Theater. Margie holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria and an adjunct professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland where she teaches Public Policy in the Arts.
Presenters
Randy Cohen
Vice President of Research and Policy
Americans for the Arts
Washington, District of Columbia
@ArtsInfoGuy


Randy Cohen is Vice President of Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts, the nation's advocacy organization for the arts. A member of the staff since 1991, Randy stands out as a noted expert in the field of arts funding, research, policy, and using the arts to address community development issues. He recently published Americans Speak Out About the Arts, a national study about the public’s opinions and participation in the arts. He publishes The National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of arts as well as the two premier economic studies of the arts industry—Arts & Economic Prosperity, the national impact study of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences; and Creative Industries, an annual mapping study of the nation’s 703,000 arts establishments and their employees. Randy led the development of the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture, launched in 2006 in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute. His 10 Reasons to Support the Arts Blog recently received the Gold Award from the Association of Media & Publishing—their top honor for best blog post of the year. In the late 1990’s, Randy collaborated with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to create Coming Up Taller, the White House report on arts programs for youth-at-risk; and the U.S. Department of Justice to produce the YouthARTS Project, the first national study to statistically document the impact of arts programs on at-risk youth. A sought after speaker, Randy has given speeches in 49 states, and regularly appears in the news media—including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, and NPR.
Jeff Chang
Executive Director
Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University
Palo Alto, California
Jeff Chang has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music. His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He edited the book, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. Who We Be: The Colorization of America (St. Martin's Press) was released on October 2014 to critical acclaim. It was published in paperback in January 2016 under the new title, Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America (Picador). His latest book, We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation (Picador), was published in September 2016. His next project is a biography of Bruce Lee (Little, Brown). Jeff has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the North Star News Prize. He was named by The Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World,” by KQED as an Asian Pacific American Local Hero, and by the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts as one of its 2016 YBCA 100 list of those “shaping the future of American culture.” With H. Samy Alim, he was the 2014 winner of the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award at Stanford University. Jeff co-founded CultureStr/ke and ColorLines. He has written for The Guardian, Slate, The Nation, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Believer, Foreign Policy, N+1, Mother Jones, Salon, and Buzzfeed, among many others. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, he is a graduate of ‘Iolani School, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles. He serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.
Vinitha Watson
Founder and Executive Director
Zoo Labs
Oakland, California
@thezoolabs


Vinitha is an artist, entrepreneur, and design strategist . She opened Google’s first office in India, was a fellow at the Institute for the Future, and sits on the boards of Nexleaf Analytics and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Vinitha is the founder and Executive Director of Zoo Labs, the world's first music accelerator that sits at the intersection of art and business. Zoo Labs is about re-imagining entrepreneurship as a creative endeavor and supporting companies built by Artists. With roots in Silicon Valley the non profit brings together some of the best mentors in tech, business, and art to have a hand in shaping the future—something bigger than its parts.
San San Wong
Senior Program Officer, Arts & Creativity
Barr Foundation
Boston, Massachusetts
E. San San Wong directs Barr’s Arts & Creativity portfolio. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for the City of Boston’s cultural planning process and on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts, a national leadership and service organization that supports the growth of arts and culture. Prior to joining Barr in 2012, San San served as director of grants at the San Francisco Arts Commission, executive director of the National Performance Network, director of development and special initiatives at Theatre Artaud, and as a performing arts producer and presenter. As an international arts consultant, her clients included the Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Res Artis, among many others. San San earned a master’s degree in community psychology from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Smith College. Her life feels incomplete if she averages fewer than five cultural events a week.