Succeeding at Complex Partnerships

Friday, June 14, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Increasingly, complex partnerships with varied stakeholders are the key to community and student success and support for arts and culture. How can artists, arts organizations, and agencies better prepare for such complicated interactions and attain positive outcomes for all?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore how agencies, arts groups, and artists can work with other non-arts entities to more effectively support communities.
  2. Hear specific examples of how separate players, with different vocabularies and ways of working, have succeeded in partnering.
  3. Talk through the important components of partnership, including open dialogue, research, expectations, and evaluation.


Debra Garcia y Griego
Cabinet Secretary
New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Debra Garcia y Griego is the Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. In this capacity, she brings more than 20 years of cultural public policy experience to the stewardship of eight museums, nine historic sites and properties, arts, historic preservation, archaeology and library programs. Prior to her appointment, she was the Executive Director of the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission where she was responsible for implementing the City’s support of arts and cultural affairs such as funding of local nonprofit arts organizations, operation of the Community Gallery, the Art in Public Places program and the City’s international affairs. Previous work experience includes Museum Campus Chicago (a multi-institutional cross-collaboration and –marketing initiative consisting of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Chicago Park District), Chicago a cappella, the Southwest Theater and Dance Festival, and the University of New Mexico Department of Theater and Dance. Garcia y Griego serves as an at-large member of the Board of Directors for Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. She holds a Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History from the University of New Mexico.

Helen Eaton
Chief Executive Officer
Settlement Music School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Helen S. Eaton was named one of the Top 30 Innovators in 2016 by Musical America Worldwide, and was recently featured in the CEO interview chapter of Dual Transformation published by Harvard Business Review Press for her work in building systems of innovation at a legacy institution.  Since her arrival, Settlement has increased its financial aid to students—more than $2.6 million each year; launched a comprehensive community engagement effort that has resulted in dozens of partnerships across the city; and initiated significant new programming, receiving major local and national funding.  Settlement is honored to partner with nine music organizations in a city-wide collective impact initiative called the PMAY Artists’ Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support students from underrepresented communities in becoming professional classical musicians.  In 2018 Settlement was named one of the top 10 music charities in the country working to preserve and expand music education and access to the musical arts by Charity Navigator blog.  Prior to joining Settlement, Helen was President of Chicago Children’s Choir and the Dean of Programs at the Merit School of Music in Chicago.

Elena Calderon Patiño
Director, Community Arts Programs
Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
Providence, Rhode Island

Elena Calderón Patiño have been dedicated to the promotion and advancement of art and culture as an artist and art administrator. As Director of the Community Arts Program at Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, she manages the RI Expansion Arts, a capacity building program for intercultural organizations and the Folk Art apprenticeship and fellowship grant program.

Elena is currently on Executive Board of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), she is an alumni of the NALAC Advocacy Institute and the NALAC Leadership Institute.

Calderón Patiño has been a speaker and panelist at numerous events including the 2018 Pell Lecture panel, 2017 National Humanities Conference, Rhode Island School of Design Artist Development Day, New England Foundation on the Arts’ Connecting Creative Communities, and NALAC Regional Arts Talks Plenary “Intercultural Collaborations”.

Elena is a visual artist that has participated in local, regional national and international exhibits, with a recent solo exhibit in Costa Rica.  Her body of work is based on her interest in the intersection of theology, mathematics, and science.

Kiyoko Sims
Associate Director of Education
Children's Theatre Company
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Kiyoko Motoyama Sims, originally from Tokyo, Japan, joined the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) staff in 2006. She is currently Associate Director of Education and teaching artist at CTC. Kiyoko came to CTC from the Walker Art Center, where she was Associate Director of Community Programs. She holds a MFA in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University and a M.A. from the University of Minnesota. Kiyoko has a wealth of experience both as arts administrator and theatre instructor at numerous institutions in the U. S. including the University of Minnesota, San Diego State University, Penumbra Theatre, Cultural Odyssey and Walker Art Center for over 25 years. Her curriculum expertise includes Critical Literacy through Theatre Arts, Theatre for Social Change, Theatre for Early Childhood Education, and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.

Stephanie Dockery
Arts Team
Bloomberg Philanthropies