The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center Arts Summit

2016 Arts Summit

The 2017 Kennedy Center Arts Summit

In collaboration with the Aspen Institute Arts Program, Citizen University, and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Hosted by Yo-Yo Ma

May 6, 2017

The Kennedy Center Arts Summit is an annual spring convening designed to bring thought leaders from the arts and related fields together for conversation and connection. Set to be held in Washington, DC on May 6, 2017, this year’s edition of the Summit will examine how arts and culture play a critical role in shaping society, especially through interdisciplinary connections.  We’ll focus on existing projects and programs that can propel one’s thinking towards new ideas and actions, including the leaders we look to for guidance and inspiration. As we explore and investigate these ideas together, we'll also honor President John F. Kennedy's legacy through ideals of courage, service, justice, freedom, and gratitude. The program will serve as a reflection on current and past efforts as well as the launching pad for new collaborations and initiatives among participants.

The Arts Summit is part of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy, inspired by five enduring ideals often ascribed to JFK: Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude.

Schedule of Events

May 6, 2017


8:30am – 9:00am
Registration and Breakfast (States Gallery)
9:00am – 9:10am
Performance (Theater Lab)
Students from Savoy Elementary
9:10am – 9:35am
Remarks and Introduction (Theater Lab)
Yo-Yo Ma, David M. Rubenstein, and Deborah F. Rutter
2017 Citizen Artist Fellows announced
9:35am – 9:45am
Remarks (Theater Lab)
9:45am – 9:55am


9:55am – 11:30am
Panel: Finding the Arts' Allies: Shared Values and Social Goals in Cultural Disciplines
Moderator Damian Woetzel (Theater Lab)
11:30am – 11:40am
Performance (Theater Lab)
Jacob Jonas, dancer
11:40am – 1:00pm
Hall of Wonder and Lunch


1:00pm – 2:30pm
Breakout Sessions: Seeing What Culture Can Do: Examples of Citizen Artists
  • Session 1: Theater Lab
  • Session2: Atrium
  • Session3: Terrace Gallery
2:30pm – 2:50pm
2:50pm – 3:10pm
Performance (Atrium)
Cjay Philip and Dance & Bmore


3:00pm – 4:30pm
Working Groups: Taking Action: Collaborating Effectively Now as Artists and Cultural Citizens (Atrium)
Remarks by Eric Liu
4:30pm – 4:45pm
Performance (Atrium)
4:45pm – 5:00pm
Remarks by Deborah F. Rutter
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Reception and Performance (States Gallery)


  • Afa Dworkin

    One of Musical America's Top 30 Influencers and Detroit Crain's 40 Under 40, Ms. Dworkin is President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization. Ms. Dworkin is a frequent speaker at International Arts & Ideas Festival, Chamber Music America, National Association for Schools of Music, League of American Orchestras, ICSOM, Americans for the Arts, Association of Canadian Orchestras, and others.
    Ms. Dworkin serves as faculty for Roosevelt University's Master's Program in Performing Arts Administration. She is a Trustee for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and CultureSource.

    Ms. Dworkin graduated with High Honors from the University of Michigan with Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Violin Performance. She previously served as a tri-lingual interpreter and Executive Assistant to the President at ARCO, The International Oil and Gas Company in Baku, Azerbaijan.

  • Ayanna Hudson

    Ayanna N. Hudson is the director of Arts Education for the National Endowment for the Arts, where she presides over the grant portfolio devoted to arts education, works with national service organizations on policy initiatives, and serves as the spokesperson for arts education at the federal level. Hudson was the director of arts education with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for more than ten years. She developed and led the implementation of the Arts for All collaborative, ensuring equitable access to arts education for 1.6 million students in the county's 81 school districts, the largest educational system in the country. Prior to her work in Los Angeles, Hudson managed the School Arts Program at the Fulton County Department of Arts and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a BA in psychology from Spelman College and a specialized master's degree in education in risk and prevention from Harvard University.

  • CJay Philip

    CJay Philip followed up a successful Broadway career with a relocation to Baltimore where she formed Dance & Bmore, an ensemble of singers, dancers and poets fusing movement, original music and spoken-word to create interactive and socially conscious performance pieces. Dance & Bmore also designs innovative multigenerational programs that seek to stimulate the imagination and strengthen relationships while building a sense of community and well being. The Elder Arts Program uses memory-based movement, prompts and storytelling to capture the memories of seniors citizens and encapsulate them in spoken-word, music and dance while FazaFam Family Jam focuses on a holistic approach to strengthening families through the arts. CJay is the recipient of a Baker Artists b-grant award, a Baltimore Social Innovators award and is currently a Robert W Deutsch Fellow and a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow.

  • Cori Lathan

    Dr. Corinna Lathan is the Co-Founder, and CEO of AnthroTronix, a biomedical engineering research and development company and leader in digital healthcare technology development focusing on brain and behavioral health. Dr. Lathan was named a Technology Pioneer and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and currently serves as Co-Chair of their Global Future Council for Human Enhancement.

  • Damian Woetzel

    Damian Woetzel has taken on multiple roles in arts leadership following a 20-year career as Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet. Woetzel is the Director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, Artistic Director of the Vail Dance Festival, Director of the DEMO series at the Kennedy Center, and is active as an independent director and producer. Woetzel served for 8 years on President Obama's Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH) where he worked to create the national Turnaround Arts education program. He holds a Master in Public Administration Degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. Woetzel was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal in 2015.

  • David Edwards

    David Edwards (born in 1961) is an inventor and writer and founder of Le Laboratoire (Paris, Cambridge), Cafe ArtScience, and biotech and tech companies including AIR (sold to Alkermes), Pulmatrix (Nasdaq), Incredible Foods, and oNotes. In his teaching at Harvard University and his curatorial work at Le Laboratoire, David explores frontiers with artists, scientists, chefs, perfumers, and creators of all kinds to discover surprising futures, like those of edible packaging, digital scent, and breathable insulin. His books include ArtScience: Creativity in the Post-Google Generation (Harvard 2008) and his forthcoming Creating Things That Matter (Holt 2018). He is a member of National Academies of Engineering in the USA and France and a chevalier des arts et des lettres of the French Ministry of Culture. David loves the ocean and boating alone on it for days.

  • David M. Rubenstein

    David M. Rubenstein is a Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group and serves as Chairman of the Boards of Trustees for the Kennedy Center and Duke University, a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, Co-Chairman of the Brookings Institution, Vice-Chairman on the Council on Foreign Relations, and President of the Economic Club of Washington. Rubenstein is on the Boards of Trustees of the University of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is a member of the Harvard Business School Board of Dean's Advisors and the Harvard Global Advisory Council.

  • Eric Liu

    Eric Liu is the founder and CEO of Citizen University and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. He is the author of several books, including You're More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen (March 2017), A Chinaman's Chance, The Gardens of Democracy, and The Accidental Asian. Eric served as a White House speechwriter and policy adviser for President Bill Clinton. He is a regular columnist for and a correspondent for

  • Jacob Jonas

    Jacob Jonas is a choreographer, director and the Artistic Director of Jacob Jonas The Company founded in 2014. Jacob's works have been performed at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out, and Ailey Citigroup Theater. Jacob's choreography combines contemporary ballet with breakdance and acrobatic techniques. He was named “Best New Force in L.A Dance” for 2016 by LA Weekly. Jacob started #CamerasandDancers, a monthly social initiative bringing dance and photography together. Co-hosts include The Getty, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pilobolus, The Royal Ballet, and de Young Museum to name a few. It is Jacob's mission to make dance a more valued and visible art form in society through collaboration, technology, and performance.

  • Lark McCarthy

    Lark McCarthy is an Emmy award winning journalist and communications specialist. She is the former host of the public affairs program Inside E Street, which aired on many public television stations and on
    For 17 years Lark was anchor and senior editor of Fox Five Morning News in Washington, D.C. She is also a former White House Correspondent for ABC News and a former CBS News anchor.
    Past projects include serving as moderator for a webcast series for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at alerting the nation to the many issues involved in flu preparedness and response. Currently Lark serves as chair of the Kennedy Center's National Committee for the Performing Arts. She is a member of the board of directors of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, and a member of the board of directors of the Clark County Nevada Public Education Foundation.
    A graduate of Northwestern University, she holds a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree from the Medill School of Journalism.

  • Laura Callanan

    Upstart Co-Lab connects artists, impact investors and social entrepreneurs to create opportunities for artist innovators to deliver social impact at scale. Upstart is introducing a Creativity Lens to impact investing, and launching a campaign to promote Artists as Innovators.
    Laura served as senior deputy chair of the National Endowment for the Arts before launching Upstart Co-Lab in 2015.

    She edited the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's 2015 issue of the Community Development Review on creative placemaking, and explored the work of artists as social entrepreneurs as a Visiting Scholar to the American Academy in Rome, and as the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship.
    As a consultant with McKinsey & Company's Social Sector Office, Laura led work on social innovation, sustainable capitalism, and social impact assessment. She served as senior adviser at the United Nations Development Programme, executive director of the Prospect Hill Foundation, associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation, and associate treasurer for the Wallace Foundation.
    Laura is chair of the board of GlobalGiving, and a past member of the board of Signature Theatre and the Corporation of Yaddo.

  • Margaret Martin

    Margaret Martin is a doctor of public health and Founder and National Director of Harmony Project, a music-based mentoring program that provides instruments and tuition-free ensemble music training to thousands of the most vulnerable children in Los Angeles to boost literacy and build social cohesion. Harmony Project has garnered multiple White House awards. The U.S. Department of Education designated Harmony Project a ‘Bright Spot in Hispanic Education' in 2015. Affiliated programs operate across seven states. Research with Northwestern University's Auditory Neuroscience Lab found that intensive music training significantly improved cognitive function in disadvantaged children, especially for language processing and literacy.

  • Mark Slavkin

    Mark Slavkin is Director of Education for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The Wallis is dedicated to engaging arts learners of all ages, from K-12 school partnerships, to courses for young artists, to a range of activities to engage adults as audience members and as art-makers.
    Mark served as Vice President for Education at the Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County from 2001-14. He directed a wide range of programs and services that helped advance arts education in schools and communities across Los Angeles County. He also played a key role in the development of Arts for All: the Los Angeles County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education. He continues to co-chair the Leadership Committee for this initiative.
    Mark chairs the Board of Directors for the California Alliance for Arts Education, the statewide policy and advocacy organization. Before joining the Music Center, Mark served on the staff of LAAMP, the Los Angeles component of the national Annenberg Challenge, a half billion dollar private effort to improve public schools in the United States.
    From 1997-1999 Mark served as Los Angeles Program Officer for the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, a program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. At the Getty Mark utilized his advocacy and communications skills to help launch a renaissance for arts education in Los Angeles area schools. He served from 1989-1997 as an elected member of the Los Angeles Board of Education, including two years as President.

  • Paul Sznewajs

    Paul Sznewajs is founding Executive Director of Ingenuity, a public-private strategy and advocacy company that ensures the arts are a component of every public school student's education. Ingenuity received the 2013 Chicago Innovation Award as one of the city's ten most innovative companies. Mr. Sznewajs also received Boeing's 2013 Game Changer Award, given to those effecting the greatest change in their sector each year.

    Mr. Sznewajs was the founder of Snow City Arts—an organization that uses the arts as a learning conduit for pediatric patients—which was recognized by the White House with the Coming Up Taller Award. As a chief fundraiser, nonprofit strategist, and systems thinker, Mr. Sznewajs is a leader in culture, public education, and cultural philanthropy.

  • Tod Machover

    Tod Machover is Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab, where he also directs the Opera of the Future Group. Machover's compositions have been commissioned and performed by many of the world's most prestigious ensembles and soloists, and his work has been awarded numerous prizes and honors. He is also recognized for designing new technologies for music, such as Hyperinstruments, and for his visionary operas like the “robotic” Death and the Powers. Machover is currently working on his next opera, Schoenberg in Hollywood, and on the latest of his collaborative City Symphonies, Philadelphia Voices, for premiere by the Philadelphia Orchestra in April 2018.

  • Yo-Yo Ma

    Yo-Yo Ma is an acclaimed cellist and artistic director of the Silk Road Project. Whether performing a new concerto or familiar work, playing chamber music with colleagues, reaching out to young audiences and student musicians, or exploring cultures through music, Ma seeks connections that stimulate the imagination. He has received numerous awards, among them the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Kennedy Center Honors.

Travel and Accommodations

Travel and lodging are not included in the registration fee. All bookings are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ask for the "Kennedy Center/Aspen Institute Arts Summit Rate"

Preferred Hotels

Avenue Suites


2500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20037
(202) 333-8060

Capella Hotel

Special Rate: 10% off published rates across room categories starting from Deluxe Room.

1050 31st Street NW
Washington D.C. 20007
(202) 617-2400

Park Hyatt Washington

April 24-25, 2016:
Park Deluxe King: $339
Park Junior Suite: $379
Park Suite: $459
Park Executive Suite: $549

April 24-26, 2016:
Park Deluxe King: $385
Park Junior Suite: $435
Park Suite: $569
Park Executive Suite: $635

1201 24th Street NW
Washington D.C. 20037
(202) 789-1234



1150 22nd Street NW
Washington D.C. 20037
(202) 835-0500

The River Inn


924 25th Street NW
Washington D.C. 20037
(202) 337-7600

State Plaza

April 24 - $169/night

April 25 - $229/night

2117 E Street NW
Washington D.C. 20037
(202) 861-8200

Additional Accommodation Options

  • Courtyard Washington, DC/Foggy Bottom

    515 20th Street NW
    Washington D.C. 20006
    Marriott Hotels
    (888) 236-2427 or (202) 296-5700

  • Four Seasons Hotel

    2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington D.C. 20007
    (202) 342-0444

  • George Washington University Inn

    824 New Hampshire Street NW
    Washington D.C. 20037
    (800) 426-4455

  • One Washington Circle Hotel

    One Washington Circle NW
    Washington D.C. 20037
    (202) 872-1680

For information on hotel accommodations near the Kennedy Center please click here:

Citizen Artist Fellows

About the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition

The Kennedy Center, a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, honors our 35th President everyday by uplifting ideals from his legacy (service, justice, freedom, courage, and gratitude) that live through the arts. As part of this celebration of legacy, the Kennedy Center launched the "Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition" in 2016, which celebrates emerging artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities.

Through a year-long engagement with the Kennedy Center, Citizen Artist Fellows develop and strengthen connections in their fields, receive opportunities for artistic collaboration and presentation, and gain access to Kennedy Center Staff and Artistic Partners for individual professional development. Our intention is that this Recognition Program takes Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows on a journey of investigation, activation, and participation.

Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows represent the overall diversity of the national audience the Kennedy Center strives to reflect and serve.

2017/2018 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows

  • Hakim Bellamy

    Hakim Bellamy, a native of New Jersey, lives in Albuquerque. Bellamy is the author of the award-winning poetry collection, Swear (West End Press) and was Albuquerque's inaugural Poet Laureate from 2012-2014. His poetry is published at the Albuquerque Convention Center and in Alternet, TruthOut, Counterpunch, and in many other media. Bellamy has shared the stage with Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, and the Dalai Lama. He has been a featured guest on The Tavis Smiley Show and is the host of the arts program Colores on New Mexico PBS.

    Bellamy's honors include the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing from the Working Class Studies Association, a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Fellowship, honorable mention for the University of New Mexico's Paul Bartlett Ré Peace Prize. He holds an M.A. in Communications from the University of New Mexico and is the founding president of Beyond Poetry LLC.

  • Vijay Gupta

    Vijay Gupta is a violinist, speaker, and advocate for the power of music to change lives. Gupta joined the LA Philharmonic at 19 after completing a masters in violin performance from the Yale School of Music and a bachelors in biology from Marist College. As a 2011 TED Senior Fellow, Gupta founded Street Symphony, a musical engagement initiative bringing live musical performances and dialogue to communities experiencing homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles County. Gupta believes that musical engagement reconnects us to our shared humanity across vast divides and ultimately impacts social justice.

  • Ekene Ijeoma

    Ekene Ijeoma is an interdisciplinary artist and designer exploring the intersections of social issues, data studies and life experiences. He creates websites, apps, installations, and performances to translate overlooked facts into informed feelings. Through these multisensory experiences, he hopes to expand people's thoughts and engage them in imagining change. His work has been exhibited at galleries and museums including Annenberg Space for Photography, Neuberger Museum of Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Istanbul Design Biennial and Design Museum. He's presented at events and spaces including Design Indaba, Neuberger Museum of Art, Raleigh Contemporary Art Museum, Chicago Architecture Biennial and International Center for Photography. Ekene's a NYFA Fellow and New Lab/Simons Foundation Fellow.

  • De Andrea Nichols

    Through a multi-disciplinary design practice, De Nichols helps changemakers nationwide actualize creative solutions to issues that matter most to them and their communities. Based in St. Louis, she serves as Director of Civic Creatives, a social design organization that organizes interactive experiences to help community members, creative changemakers, and civic organizations connect and resolve critical social challenges. Nichols serves as a Board of Directors member for Forward through Ferguson and chairs the Board of Directors for Creative Reaction Lab. She is a nationally recognized public speaker on designing for civil rights and social justice, and she is a recent recipient of the St. Louis Visionary Award for community impact in the arts.

    Nichols is an alumna of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she specialized in communication design, social entrepreneurship, and socio-economic development. She is a John B. Ervin Scholar, Brown Scholar, and Enterprise-Rent-a-Car Scholar. Her works have been supported by the Smithsonian National Museum for African-American History and Culture, Clinton Global Initiative, Women's Caucus for Art, Gephardt Institute for Public Service, Ideas that Matters, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, StartingBloc Fellowship for Social Innovation, Points of Light, and AshokaU Changemakers.

  • Michelle Angela Ortiz

    Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist/ skilled muralist/ community arts educator who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through painting, printmaking, and community arts practices, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. Her work tells stories using richly crafted and emotive imagery to claim and transform spaces into a visual affirmation that reveals the strength and spirit of the community.

    For over fifteen years, Ortiz continues to be an active educator in using the arts as a tool for communication to bridge communities. As a highly skilled muralist, Ortiz has designed and created over 50 large-scale public works nationally and internationally. Since 2008, Ortiz has led community building and art for social change public art projects both independently in Costa Rica and Ecuador and through the United States Embassy as a Cultural Envoy in Fiji, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, and Honduras. In 2016, she completed the first U.S. State funded public art project since the re-opening of the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba.
    Ortiz was awarded the Americans for the Arts' Public Art Year in Review Award which honors outstanding public arts projects in the nation. She is a fellow of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Fund for the Arts, recipient of the Leeway Foundation Transformation Award and Art & Change Grant.

  • Katie Wyatt

    Katie Wyatt is an accomplished musician, executive and innovator in music and social change. In July 2010, Katie co-founded and became Executive Director of Kidznotes, North Carolina's premiere "El Sistema" inspired organization. Katie is immersed in El Sistema, the international movement of music for social change hailing from Venezuela, and through the movement has become a national leader in building access and creating opportunities for all people to experience the transformative power of orchestras and music. She enjoys teaching "Music and Social Entrepreneurship" as adjunct faculty at Duke University, and as a violist has performed with chamber groups and orchestras around the world. In July 2016, Katie became the first Executive Director for El Sistema USA, the national network supporting the U.S. national movement of El Sistema, and established a new headquarters at Duke University.

Citizen Artist Fellows

Do you know a Citizen Artist in your community? Nominate them to be a 2018/2019 Citizen Artist Fellow! Nominations will be accepted from October 23-December 22, 2017