Morning Plenary Session: Driving Forward with the Artist-Activist

Saturday, June 16, 9:00 am - 10:30 am

All across the country, artists are activating—they’re using their mediums to tell new stories, to raise up voices, to make people think. In this special morning plenary conversation, join artist Tanya Aguiñiga, 2018 Johnson Fellow for Artists Transforming Communities, and social entrepreneur and artist-activist Sol Guy as they talk about the power of this moment, the ways that nexus organizations can support creative voice now, and the opportunities to come.


Our thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its support of Driving Forward with the Artist-Activist


Sol Guy
Venice, California

Sol Guy’s passion to connect art and social change has taken him on a unique creative journey. It has given him the gift of learning from artists, activists and indigenous cultures globally. As a producer and director he has collaborated with some of the most influential artists of our time, such as Lauryn Hill, Joaquin Phoenix, M.I.A, Robert De Niro, JR, K'NAAN and others. His current projects include writing and directing an untitled feature length documentary about his family as well as an arts and culture funding project called QUIET.

2018 Johnson Fellow
Americans for the Arts
Los Angeles, California

Recipient of the 2018 Fellowship is Los Angeles-based artist, Tanya Aguiñiga. Tanya’s work helps others understand the lived experience of the contested US-Mexico border, drawing from her own experience as U.S. born but growing up in Tijuana and crossing the border daily to go to school in the U.S.  Her participation in AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides) demonstrates her interests in the power of community and identity.  AMBOS is a series of artists’ projects implemented in August 2017 created to “recontextualize borders and generate a localized hub for international collaboration.” Tanya recorded the experiences of those traveling across the border to the north every day through the use of a quipu, the Andean Pre-Columbian organizational system.  Commuters on the Mexican side were given two strands of thread and asked to anonymously tie them into a knot.  ‘The strands represent the US and Mexico’s relationship to one another.  Each knot was tied to other knots.  The cumulative daily bundled knots were then organized into a large-scale quipu artwork and displayed on a billboard above the AMBOS storefront hub. 

Jandel Allen-Davis
Vice President, Government, External Relations and Research
Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Denver, Colorado

Jandel Allen-Davis, MD, is vice president of Government, External Relations and Research for Kaiser Permanente Colorado. She leads the organization’s government relations and regulatory affairs, community relations and community benefit investment, clinical research activities, stakeholder engagement, communications, and advertising and marketing functions.  Dr. Allen-Davis is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, serving patients for 25 years. Dr. Allen-Davis is an active participant on community boards including Denver Botanic Gardens, The Denver Foundation, CareerWise, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, National Jewish and in 2017, was appointed Board Chair of Grantmakers in Health.