2019 National Arts Leadership Awardee Creative Conversations

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About this Series

For 2019 National Arts & Humanities Month we are taking Creative Conversations to a new level. To engage with leaders in the field, this year’s National Arts Leadership Awardees will be in conversation with fellow leaders to discuss issues relevant to today’s community-based arts administrators. Responding to this year’s Creative Conversation prompt, “how is the past shaping the future of the arts?.” awardees will give their insight on how their work impacts their community and organization.


This series will feature:

2019 Selina Roberts Ottum Awardee: Margie Johnson Reese

2019 Public Art Network Awardee: Roberto Bedoya

2019 American Express Emerging Leader Awardee: Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham

  • Creative Conversation: Margie Johnson Reese

    Contains 1 Component(s) Recorded On: 10/16/2019

    The Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities. Margie Johnson Reese, museum educator and arts educator was selected as the 2019 Selina Roberts Ottum Awardee. In addition to her work in Wichita Falls, Margie continues to touch lives and influence cultural policy in cities across the country and around the world, creating a network of proselytes who pay it forward by following her approach to service. She is most proud of those she has mentored over the years – the young leaders who because of Margie’s guidance have learned to think boldly about their role in public service. Joined by Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Steering Committee Member, Phil Chan, the two will discuss how the past is shaping the future of arts leadership and learn more about Margie and her journey in the arts and culture field.

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    About this Creative Conversation


    2019 Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership 

    Margie Johnson Reese

    The Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities. Margie Johnson Reese, museum educator and arts educator was selected as the 2019 Selina Roberts Ottum Awardee. In addition to her work in Wichita Falls, Margie continues to touch lives and influence cultural policy in cities across the country  and around the world, creating a network of proselytes who pay it forward by following her approach to service. She is most proud of those she has mentored over the years – the young leaders who because of Margie’s guidance have learned to think boldly about their role in public service. Joined by Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Steering Committee Member, Phil Chan, the two will discuss how the past is shaping the future of arts leadership and learn more about Margie and her journey in the arts and culture field.


    About the Series

    For 2019 National Arts & Humanities Month we are taking Creative Conversations to a new level. To engage with leaders in the field, this year’s National Arts Awardees will be in conversation with fellow leaders to discuss issues relevant to today’s community-based arts administrators. Responding to this year’s Creative Conversation prompt, “how is the past shaping the future of the arts?.” awardees will give their insight on how their work impacts their community and organization.

    Margie Johnson Reese

    Executive Director, Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture

    Margie Johnson Reese is an educator and life-long advocate for children and the arts. She has over 40 years’ experience in the field of arts administration, more than 17 of those heading a local arts agency. Margie received a BA from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington and an MFA in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, grounding her education in the arts.

    Margie’s career in arts administration and reputation as a leader was established within some of the field’s largest public institutions, including service as Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Dallas and General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs where she held her position under three Mayoral administrations. Her expertise as a grantmaker was tapped by the Ford Foundation to advance cultural projects in West Africa. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, her three-year appointment centered on cultural policy development and the conservation of West Africa’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

    Following her service in West Africa, Margie returned to Dallas and took the position of Vice President for Programs at Big Thought, a renowned arts learning organization she helped create 30 years ago.

    Today, she is leading a new venture to establish the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture, a burgeoning local arts agency in Texas, as its executive director. She also manages MJR Partners, a private consulting firm focused on coaching and advising arts leaders and organizations in all areas of cultural management and policy development. Her firm has served a wide range of clients including the Houston Arts Alliance, One Columbia or Arts and  History, the Asante Children’s Theater in Indianapolis and is currently conducting a Cultural Equity Audit of the grant making functions for the City of Sacramento.

    Margie shares her expertise in arts administration as a faculty member for leadership programs organized by the National Guild for Community Arts Education and the Western States Arts Federation. She is a sought-after presenter, moderator and keynote speaker for meetings and arts conferences around the globe where she shares best practices and trends in the field. In addition, she has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas and continues as an adjunct professor at  Goucher College in their graduate school of arts administration.

    Over the years, Margie has contributed her time and talent to the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations, most notably as a member of the International Music Council in Paris; as an advisor to the International Council of African Museums; as a Fellow at the Salzburg Global Institute; Mid America Arts Alliance; and, as a 25-year member of the board of Americans for the Arts, where she chaired the Board’s Diversity Committee which authored the organization’s first Cultural Equity Statement.

    Margie is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and has two adult children, a cherished grandson and a new one on the way.

    Phil Chan

    Director of Programming, IVY

    Phil Chan is the co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface, and currently serves as the Director of Programming for IVY, connecting young professionals with leading American museums and performing arts institutions. He is a graduate of Carleton College and an alumnus of the Ailey School. As a writer, he served as the Executive Editor for FLATT Magazine and contributed to Dance Europe Magazine and the Huffington Post. He was the founding General Manager of the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival, and was the General Manager for Armitage Gone! Dance and Youth America Grand Prix. He served multiple years on the National Endowment for the Arts dance panel and the Jadin Wong Award panel presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance, and is on the advisory committee for the Parsons Dance Company. He also serves on the Leaders of Color steering committee at Americans for the Arts.

    Websites: www.yellowface.org 

  • Creative Conversation: Roberto Bedoya

    Contains 1 Component(s) Includes a Live Event on 10/24/2019 at 3:00 PM (EDT)

    The Public Art Network (PAN) Award is given out each year to an individual or organization that demonstrates innovative and creative contributions and/or exemplary commitment and leadership in the field of public art. Roberto Bedoya, Manager, Cultural Affairs, City of Oakland was selected as the 2019 Public Art Network Awardee because of his work and insightfulness of how the arts influence public places. Joined by Public Art Network Councilmember Lucas Antony Cowan, the two will discuss how the past shaping the future of art in the public realm.

    imageAbout this Creative Conversation

    October 24, 2019 at 3:00PM EDT


    2019 Public Art Network Awardee: Roberto Bedoya

    The Public Art Network (PAN) Award is given out each year to an individual or organization that demonstrates innovative and creative contributions and/or exemplary commitment and leadership in the field of public art. Roberto Bedoya, Manager, Cultural Affairs, City of Oakland was selected as the 2019 Public Art Network Awardee because of his work and insightfulness of how the arts influence public places. Joined by Public Art Network Councilmember Lucas Antony Cowan, the two will discuss how the past shaping the future of art in the public realm. 


    About the Series

    For 2019 National Arts & Humanities Month we are taking Creative Conversations to a new level. To engage with leaders in the field, this year’s National Arts Awardees will be in conversation with fellow leaders to discuss issues relevant to today’s community-based arts administrators. Responding to this year’s Creative Conversation prompt, “how is the past shaping the future of the arts?.” awardees will give their insight on how their work impacts their community and organization.

    Roberto Bedoya

    Manager, Cultural Affairs, City of Oakland

    Roberto Bedoya is the Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Oakland where he most recently shepherded   the City's Cultural Plan. - "Belonging in Oakland: A Cultural Development Plan". Through-out his career he has consistently supported artists-centered cultural practices and advocated for expanded definitions of inclusion and belonging in cultural sector. His essays ““Creative Placemaking and the Politics of Belonging and Dis-Belonging” ; “ Spatial Justice: Rasquachification, Race and the City” and “ "Poetics and Praxis of a City in Relation"  has reframed the discussion on cultural policy to shed light on exclusionary practices in cultural policy decision making. He is a Creative Placemaking Fellow at Arizona State University.

    Website: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/government/o/CityAdministration/d/economic-workforce-development/o/cultural-affairs/index.htm

    Lucas Antony Cowan (Moderator)

    Public Art Curator, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

    Lucas became the Conservancy’s first Public Art Curator in 2014. Previously he directed the Public Art Program for the Maryland State Arts Council, where he spearheaded the passage of legislation requiring all state-funded capital project to include public art in their construction, and was the Senior Curator of Exhibits for Millennium Park and the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture in Chicago, IL. He has curated and managed dozens of public art commissions and exhibitions of work by artists such as: Mark di Suvero, Jun Kaneko, Thomas Sayre, Shinique Smith, Sui Jianguo and Lawrence Weiner. Cowan has served on juries and panels across the United States, and has consulted on cultural park planning for cities such as San Francisco and Chicago. Cowan previously served on the board of trustees for the International Sculpture Center, publishers of Sculpture magazine, and is a founding member of the Advisory Council for Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Vermont. Cowan holds degrees from the Maryland Institute College of Art and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Website: https://www.rosekennedygreenway.org/     

  • Creative Conversation: Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham

    Contains 1 Component(s) Includes a Live Event on 10/30/2019 at 2:00 PM (EDT)

    The American Express Emerging Leader Award recognizes visionary leadership by an individual who is a new and/or young arts leader who demonstrates an ability to engage and impact his or her community.​ Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, museum educator and arts educator was selected as the 2019 American Express Emerging Leader​ Awardee because of her work around developing pedagogical strategies that include the cultural capital of communities, as well as her work with Museum Hue, which increases public access to the arts and opportunities for artists. Joined by Emerging Leader Council Member, Lindsay So, the two will discuss how the past shaping the future of arts leadership.

    imageAbout this Creative Conversation

    October 30, 2019 at 2:00PM EDT


    2019 American Express Emerging Leader Awardee 

    Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham

    The American Express Emerging Leader Award recognizes visionary leadership by an individual who is a new and/or young arts leader who demonstrates an ability to engage and impact his or her community. Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, museum educator and arts educator was selected as the 2019 American Express Emerging Leader Awardee because of her work around developing pedagogical strategies that include the cultural capital of communities, as well as her work with Museum Hue, which increases public access to the arts and opportunities for artists. Joined by Emerging Leader Council Member, Lindsay So, the two will discuss how the past is shaping the future of arts leadership.


    About the Series

    For 2019 National Arts & Humanities Month we are taking Creative Conversations to a new level. To engage with leaders in the field, this year’s National Arts Awardees will be in conversation with fellow leaders to discuss issues relevant to today’s community-based arts administrators. Responding to this year’s Creative Conversation prompt, “how is the past shaping the future of the arts?.” awardees will give their insight on how their work impacts their community and organization.

    Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham

    Co-Founder & Creative Director, Museum Hue

    Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham is an agent for arts and culture, forever in a state of exploration, investigation, preservation, and creation. She has practiced inquiry-based learning methodologies as a museum educator and has also taught arts education at the tertiary level as a lecturer. Her experience has informed the creation of Museum Hue, an arts organization that she co-founded and serves as Creative Director, advocating for people of color throughout museums in particular and the arts world in general. Stephanie’s endeavors also inspired the creation of the Hueniversal Flag, a melanin infused color spectrum representing, resilience and resistance for people of color. As a recent United Nations Human Rights Fellow, she has incorporated the UN systems and mechanisms in her pedagogy to increase recognition of and protection for people of color’s artistic practices, historical narratives, and cultural contributions. Stephanie utilizes the arts as a catalyst for societal change and racial equity.

    Website: www.museumhue.com and www.stephaniecunningham.com

    Twitter: @museumhue and @stephaniecunning 

    Lindsay So

    Assistant Director, City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy

    Lindsay So is an arts administrator dedicated to helping arts, culture, and non-arts sectors serve as effective allies for one another. Her experiences in the field have shaped her community-minded approach to developing cultural programs and solutions to benefit Philadelphians. She joined the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) in 2013 as the Research & Policy Associate, and now serves as the Assistant Director. In this role, she provides oversight and guidance for all OACCE programs, works to integrate arts, culture and creativity into City activities, and leads staff in the implementation of arts education, community arts, and creative industry initiatives. Prior to OACCE, So developed the organizational systems for CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia, the city’s first Comprehensive Fiscal Management Services program for the cultural community. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s in arts administration from New York University and Drexel University, respectively. She is a member of the Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council, and the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation Board of Directors. She has presented at conferences and written on issues facing the non-profit arts sector, including the value of data and evaluation, the role of culture in community development, and cultural equity.

    Website: http://creativephl.org 

    Twitter: @CreativePHLand @lindsaytso