ArtsVote @DNC - A Call to Action to Artists and Arts Advocates
Recorded On: 08/20/2020
About this Webinar
Join artists Ben Folds, Annette Bening, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Shepard Fairey, and Biden Arts Policy Committee Co-Chair Megan Beyer as a pre-show event on the closing night of the Democratic National Convention. Speakers will discuss how artists have gotten involved in the 2020 election and the launch of the Arts Action Fund #ArtsVote campaign that calls on all artists and arts advocates to take the pledge to make their vote count at www.ArtsActionFund.org/ArtsVote. The event will also feature a performance by Ben Folds.
- Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund
- Nora Halpern, Vice President of Leadership Alliances of Americans for the Arts
- Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts
- Ben Folds, Musician and ArtsVote Chairman of the Arts Action Fund
- Annette Bening, Actress and Vice Chairman of The Actors Fund
- Brian Stokes Mitchell, Actor and Singer, Member of the Americans for the Arts Board of Directors and Artists Committee
- Shepard Fairey, Artist, Member of the Americans for the Arts Artists Committee
- Megan Beyer, Biden Arts Policy Committee Co-Chair
- Ben Folds, musician and ArtsVote Chairman of the Arts Action Fund
Registration for this live event is free and will be limited to the first 1000 registrants. You may also view this event live on the Arts Action Fund Facebook Page. A recording will be made available for on-demand replay 2 business days after the event.
Robert L. Lynch
President and CEO
Americans for the Arts
Robert L. Lynch is president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. With more than 45 years of experience in the arts industry, he remains motivated to empower communities and leaders to advance the arts in society and in the lives of citizens.
In 1996, Bob managed the merger of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, where he had spent 12 years as executive director, with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts. Under his 35 years of leadership, the services and membership of Americans for the Arts have grown to more than 50 times their original size. During his tenure at Americans for the Arts, Mr. Lynch has overseen six mergers including the Arts and Business Council, Inc. and the Business Committee for the Arts into Americans for the Arts. He has also created the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected political action committee to establish arts-friendly public policy through engaging citizens to advocate for the arts and arts education.
Mr. Lynch is a frequent press commentator in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, National Public Radio, CNN, and social media. He has personally reached audiences in more than 2,000 locations spanning all 50 states and more than a dozen nations, with diverse constituencies ranging from Native American tribal gatherings to the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe to the President of the United States.
Under his direction, Americans for the Arts has become a leader in documenting and articulating the key community development role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry, and its audiences, in strengthening our nation’s economy. Bob also has been instrumental in creating a strong portfolio of projects and information about the transformative power of the arts in non-arts areas such as civic dialogue, social problem solving, and arts and military.
Mr. Lynch currently serves on the board of the American Craft Council and the Commission on the Arts of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served two terms on the board of the Independent Sector and two terms on the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 2017, he was the inaugural recipient of the JFK Commonwealth Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. In 2014, he was awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts, and he was selected as one of the 50 most influential executives in the nonprofit sector for five years: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2019 as part of the NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50.
Mr. Lynch earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and enjoys playing the piano, mandolin, and guitar. He lives in Washington, DC.
Nina Ozlu Tunceli (Moderator)
Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs, Americans for the Arts
Executive Director, Americans for the Arts Action Fund
Nina is both Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs at Americans for the Arts as well as the Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund. Since 1993, Nina has served as the chief policy strategist for Americans for the Arts’ federal, state, and local government and public affairs work, grassroots advocacy campaigns, policy development, and national coalition-building efforts with both cultural and civic organizations to advance the arts in America. In 2009, she spearheaded the very successful “Arts = Jobs” advocacy campaign that strategically secured $50 million of federal support for more than 7,000 arts jobs and millions of dollars more for arts infrastructure projects within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Nina produces several programmatic events annually, including National Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill; the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and the National Public Leadership in the Arts Awards, which are presented in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors.
Serving simultaneously as the executive director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected Political Action Committee, the only dedicated arts PAC in America, Nina mobilizes the political and legislative efforts of more than 420,000 citizen activists in advancing arts policy issues among legislators and candidates seeking federal public office. She recently completed ArtsVote2012, culminating with high profile arts policy events at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. She is a graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in French Literature, and of The University of Richmond School of Law with a J.D. She is a member of the Virginia State Bar.
Nora Halpern (Moderator)
Vice President of Leadership Alliances
Trained as an art historian and curator, Nora Halpern has been Vice President of Leadership Alliances at Americans for the Arts since 2001, where her focus has been engaging individual thought leaders including artists, as well as prominent members of the business, policy, and philanthropic communities, on behalf of the arts in America.
Prior to moving to Washington, DC, Nora spent four years in Oxford, England, where she served as a dissertation advisor in art history to doctor of philosophy candidates at the University of Oxford. A native of New York City, Nora spent much of her career in Los Angeles, where she was Curator of the Frederick R. Weisman Collections, not only overseeing exhibitions, acquisitions and installation, but also creating the mission and program of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation. In addition, she was Founding Director of the Art Museum at Pepperdine University and Vice President and Director of Fine Arts for Sotheby’s, Los Angeles. Nora received both her B.A. and M.A. (with honors) from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has written and lectured extensively on modern and contemporary art and art policy issues as well as written art criticism for a number of national and international publications. She is a recipient of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Award of Merit for outstanding volunteer service in the advancement of human relations, the Helena Rubinstein Fellowship at the Whitney Museum of American Art and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist from the University of California.
Nora has served on the boards of Scholastic’s Alliance for Young Artists and Writers as well as the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Advisory Board of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, ArtTable, and PS Arts, an arts education not-for-profit serving Title 1 schools in California. In addition to her work at Americans for the Arts, Nora maintains a longtime practice as an art advisor and independent curator. She is co-founder of Street Scenes: Projects for DC, a public art program that organizes presentations of work by artists in all disciplines with the goal of stripping walls away from exhibitions and treating the entire city as a gallery space. She was the curator of Anton’s Memory, a major retrospective exhibition of the work of Yoko Ono which was held at the Palazzo Tito, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation in Venice, Italy, in 2009. Nora lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, art and film historian Kerry Brougher. They are proud parents of two daughters.
Musician and ArtsVote Chairman of the Arts Action Fund
Ben Folds is widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of our generation. He’s created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums, and numerous collaborative records. His last album was a blend of pop songs and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra that soared to #1 on both the Billboard classical and classical crossover charts.
For over a decade he’s performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, and in 2017 was named as the first ever Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.
In addition to touring, Folds is currently writing his first book, described as a collection of interrelated essays and anecdotes about art, life, and music. Release is slated for late summer of 2019.
He is also no stranger to television, having been featured for five seasons as a judge on NBC's critically-acclaimed acapella show "The Sing Off," and continues to appear in cameo roles on cable and network TV shows.
An avid photographer, Folds is a member of the prestigious Sony Artisans of Imagery, completed an assignment in 2017 as a photo editor for National Geographic, and was recently featured in a mini-documentary by the Kennedy Center's Digital Project on his photographic work.
An outspoken champion for arts education and music therapy funding in our nation's public schools, in 2016 Ben held the distinction as the only artist to appear at both national political conventions advocating for arts education and has served for over five years as an active member of the distinguished Artist Committee of Americans For The Arts.
Actress and Vice Chairman of The Actors Fund
Annette Bening is a Tony Award and four-time Academy Award nominee, and two-time Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award winner. Most recently, she appeared in Scott Z. Burns’ THE REPORT, opposite Adam Driver, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. Upcoming projects include William Nicholson’s HOPE GAP opposite Bill Nighy, and DEATH ON THE NILE, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh.
Additional film credits include GEORGETOWN, LIFE ITSELF, THE SEAGULL, CAPTAIN MARVEL, FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, RULES DON’T APPLY, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, BEING JULIA, AMERICAN BEAUTY, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, LOVE AFFAIR, BUGSY, REGARDING HENRY, and THE GRIFTERS, etc.
On stage, Bening was last seen in Gregory Mosher’s Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s classic ALL MY SONS alongside Tracy Letts, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. Previous stage credits include HAVE A NICE DAY, KING LEAR, RUTH DRAPER MONOLOGUES, THE CHERRY ORCHARD, TALKING HEADS, HEDDA GABLER, and MEDEA. Bening also received a Tony Award nomination and won the Clarence Derwent Award for Outstanding Debut Performance of the Season for her role in COASTAL DISTURBANCES.
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Actor and Singer, Member of the Americans for the Arts Board of Directors and Artists Committee
Brian Stokes Mitchell continues to enjoy a 40-year career that spans Broadway, television (The Fresh Prince, Frazier, Mr. Robot, Prodigal Son…), film (Jumping the Broom, Prince of Egypt…), and concert appearances. He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. Stokes also has Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime, and he was recently inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. In 2016, Stokes made a long-awaited return to Broadway in Shuffle Along and received his most recent Tony Award for his work as Chairman of the Board of the Actor’s Fund. An extremely versatile singer, he has performed nationally at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds including two performances at the White House. Stokes has appeared on more than 20 albums and his musical creativity as a vocalist has been extended to include producer, arranger, and orchestrator on all 3 of his solo albums, including his new release, Plays With Music. He serves on the Board and Artist Committee of Americans for the Arts.
Artist, Member of the Americans for the Arts Artists Committee
Shepard Fairey was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1989 he created the "Andre the Giant has a Posse" sticker that transformed into the OBEY GIANT art campaign, with imagery that has changed the way people see art and the urban landscape. After 30 years, his work has evolved into an acclaimed body of art, which includes the 2008 "Hope" portrait of Barack Obama, found at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. In 2017, the artist collaborated with Amplifier to create the We The People series, which was recognizable during the Women's Marches and other rallies around the world in defense of national and global social justice issues.
Fairey's stickers, guerilla street art presence, and public murals are recognizable worldwide. His works are in the permanent collections of the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and many others.
In 2019, Shepard Fairey launched and toured "Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent," a global exhibition and series of murals culminating with the 100th large-scale painted mural. "Facing the Giant” is a curated series of images chosen for their importance aesthetically and conceptually, and for addressing critical topics and themes frequently recurring throughout Fairey's career. This selection of works touches on phenomenology, self-empowerment, rebellion, abuse of power, environmental destruction, racism, gender equality, xenophobia, campaign finance reform, the military-industrial complex, propaganda, war and peace, and economic imperialism. Since October 2019, Fairey has painted several more murals, counting more than 105 painted worldwide and many more planned before COVID-19 delays.
For more information, visit www.OBEYGIANT.com.
Biden Arts Policy Committee Co-Chair
MEGAN BEYER is a journalist, arts activist, and life-long advocate of women’s rights. In 2015 Ms. Beyer was appointed by President Barack Obama to be Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She led the first official U.S. Cultural Delegation to Cuba in 2016, with artists Usher, Joshua Bell, Alfre Woodard, Kal Penn, Lourdes Lopez, Smokey Robinson, and Dave Matthews. It resulted in the first government to government bilateral agreements between Cuba and the U.S. She is the founder of Sister Republics, a bilateral women’s leadership initiative at the US Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. The project explored ways to accelerate private market drivers to break the glass ceiling. Ms. Beyer began her career as a reporter covering education and politics for local and national television news programs. She was a regular contributor to Tamedia newspapers in Switzerland from 2010-2013.