Creative Conversation: Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham
2019 American Express Emerging Leader Awardee
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.
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.
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.
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.