Talking about Social Value and Practical Impact Together

Sunday, June 18, 9:00 am - 10:30 am
How, in this moment, do we balance the need to push practice and immediate advocacy messages to governing bodies with the need to nurture a long-term value proposition among the masses?

This session addresses issues of advocacy, leadership, public value, and research.

This session is part of the Celebrating Optimism sessions.


Mara Walker
Americans for the Arts
Washington, District of Columbia

Mara Walker is the chief operating officer for Americans for the Arts and as such is responsible for the overall performance of the organization, working with all staff to ensure inter-departmental coordination to accomplish the organization’s strategic plan as established by the Board of Directors. She works to implement the most innovative programming, planning and operational tools and policies to advance the organization’s mission and goals. As the former vice president of field services and planning, Mara developed programs that met the needs of a growing constituency of organizations and individuals committed to using the arts to impact communities and lives. To that end, she established programs that served emerging, mid-level, and advanced leaders to help them in their professional growth and designed initiatives for targeted sectors such as united arts funds and private sector leaders, public art administrators and artists, arts board members, urban and rural arts representatives, grantmakers, arts education decision-makers, and many more. In this effort she led partnerships and strategic alliances and managed a variety of service opportunities including the annual convention, professional membership and publications. Prior to this work she oversaw programs and operations for the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies and was instrumental in the merger when it joined with American Council for the Arts in 1997 to form Americans for the Arts. Mara has played an active role other mergers as well including those with the Arts & Business Council, Inc and the Business Committee for the Arts to ensure Americans for the Arts delivers the strongest private sector advocacy possible. Mara, a native New Yorker, has worked in arts administration for more than 25 years serving in multiple capacities in theater companies across the country and a variety of arts organizations nationwide. Mara currently serves on the theatreWashington Board of Directors and the International Advisory Board of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and is the former treasurer of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She received an M.F.A. in theater management from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a B.A. in theater from the George Washington University.
David Fraher
President and CEO
Minneapolis, Minnesota
David Fraher has been executive director of Arts Midwest since January 1984 when he joined the Affiliated State Arts Agencies of the Upper Midwest and successfully led that organization through a merger with Great Lakes Arts Alliance, forming Arts Midwest in July 1985. Prior to his position at Arts Midwest, David had been the executive director of the Wyoming Council on the Arts and had worked as a consultant for the Western States Arts Foundation in Santa Fe where he designed and developed the Western States Book Awards project. He has been active as a panelist and trustee for numerous arts organizations over the past twelve years, including terms on the boards of Western States Arts Foundation, BOA Publishing, Inc., and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. He has also served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Charitable Trusts. David has a degree in creative writing from SUNY at Brockport, New York and has taken graduate studies at Ohio University in Athens.
Danielle Brazell
General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Los Angeles, California
Danielle Brazell is the General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, leading a staff of 64 full-time employees and 80 part-time employees. Ms. Brazell works with the progressive agency’s Public Art, Grants Administration, Community Arts, Performing Arts, and Marketing and Development Division Directors to oversee a $42 million portfolio of facilities, programming, and initiatives providing arts and cultural services. Prior to 2014, Ms. Brazell was the Executive Director of Arts for LA, a highly visible arts advocacy organization serving the greater Los Angeles region. Under her stewardship, Arts for LA became a formidable coalition advancing the arts in the largest county in the country. Ms. Brazell also held the positions of Artistic Director of Highways Performance Space and the Director of Special Projects for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. She currently serves as a board member of Americans for the Arts and DataArts.