The State of Cultural Equity in the Arts

Friday, June 16, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

The arts community is grappling with cultural equity--catch up on the latest efforts and challenges in this session.

Presentation Slides:
Making Sense of Cultural Equity Presentation

This session addresses issues of equity/diversity/inclusion, engagement, leadership, public value, and research.

This session is part of the Engaging Equity sessions.


Salem Tsegaye
Assistant Director, Arts Research Institute
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
Richmond, Virginia
Salem previously worked at The New York Community Trust, a community foundation, where she managed two collaborative funds, the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund, which supports arts and cultural advocacy, policy, and equity in the city, and the Fund for New Citizens, which supports immigrant rights advocacy, immigration legal services, and capacity-building for immigrant-led nonprofits. Prior to The Trust, Salem worked as a grant writer for the Queens Museum, and as a training and technical assistance provider for small and mid-size nonprofits in Washington D.C. She holds an MA in Design Studies from Parsons The New School for Design and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. Salem currently serves on the editorial team for Createquity, an online blog that does research-backed investigations of important issues in the arts.
Tariana Navas-Nieves
Director, Cultural Affairs
Denver Arts & Venues, City & County of Denver
Denver, Colorado
As Director of Cultural Affairs for the City & County of Denver, Navas-Nieves oversees the city’s Public Art, Special Events, Create Denver, SCFD Tier III tax district funding, and the Arts Education Fund. She is also the Director for the McNichols Building arts center. The Public Art Department comprises the 1% for Public Art and the Urban Arts Fund, a graffiti prevention and youth development initiative. The Events Department is responsible for citywide programs including the Five Points Jazz Festival. Through Create Denver, she works to develop Denver’s art districts and creative businesses. Navas-Nieves is responsible for a series of funding programs including SCFD Tier III grants, working with City Council and the Denver County Cultural Council. She also oversees Arts Education initiatives such as the Cultural Field Trip Fund. She works to implement IMAGINE 2020, Denver’s Cultural Plan, and leads the Diversity, Inclusiveness and Equity initiative for the agency.
Clayton Lord
Vice President of Local Arts Advancement
Americans for the Arts
Washington, District of Columbia

Clayton Lord is the vice president of local arts advancement for Americans for the Arts, where he oversees advocacy, capacity development and cohort building for local arts administrators and advocates in 5,000 communities across the United States. Prior to joining Americans for the Arts, Lord served for five years as the director of communications and audience development for Theatre Bay Area. At Americans for the Arts, the local arts advancement department aims to empower, educate, and support local arts leaders, public artists and arts administrators, emerging, mid-career, and executive leaders throughout the arts sector, arts marketers, and artist-activists as they work to be constantly relevant and transformative in the lives of American citizens and communities. Lord shepherds the New Community Visions Initiative, a multi-year effort to better understand and support the changing role of the arts and local arts agencies in American communities, and Americans for the Arts’ ongoing initiatives around cultural equity, diversity, and inclusion. He is the chief architect of the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention and the Executive Leadership Forum at Sundance. Lord is a prolific writer, thinker, and speaker about the public value of the arts, and has written for ArtsLink, ARTSblog, Theatre Bay Area magazine, Stage Directions, InDance, The Voice, ArtsJournal, and others. He has edited and contributed to three books: Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of the Arts; Arts & America: Arts, Culture and the Future of America’s Communities; and To Change the Face & Heart of America: Selected Writings on the Arts and Communities, 1949-1992 and is working on the forthcoming New Community Visions: A Blueprint for 21st Century Arts-Based Community Development, due out in 2017. He holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Georgetown University, and lives with his husband and daughter in Maryland.
Charles G. Baldwin
Program Officer, Inclusive Design Initiative
Massachusetts Cultural Council
Boston, Massachusetts

Charles G. Baldwin is the Program Officer for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Inclusive Design Initiative. For 15 years Charles was the Director of Marketing and Operations at Wheelock Family Theatre, a professional, Equity theatre in Boston committed to affordable, colorful, accessible theatre for children and families. He serves on the Executive Committee of CANE (Cultural Access New England) and was a founding member of TAMA (Theatre Artists Marketing Alliance). Charles has been a consultant to The Accessible Theater (2012-2015) and remains an active participant in the Kennedy Center’s LEAD Conference (Leadership Exchange for Arts and Disability).