The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center Arts Summit The Kennedy Center Arts Summit

The Future States of America:
Using the Arts to Take Us Where We Want to Go

April 16, 2018

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 April 16, 2018, this year’s edition of the Summit will look into the future — what is the collective future we want and how can we use arts, creativity, culture, and technology to get us there? How do we build a future where the markers of certain identities are no longer indicators of barriers or poor outcomes? Through the landscapes of education, health, and finite resources, we will explore stories of existing, visionary projects and engage in dialogues with artists, futurists, scientists, engineers, and policy makers that help us catalyze new projects and partnerships, and bring us closer to activating a future where we all thrive. Together we will engage in a variety of panels, interactive art activities, and curated discussions that concentrate on major themes of identity, representation, creativity, culture, and technology.

Questions on registration? Email

Featured Participants Include....

Jamie Broadnax, Linda Cliatt-Wayman, Carlos Drews, Valerie Fletcher, Jon Foley, Mina Girgis, Gary Glazner, Idris Goodwin, Matt Gould & Griffin Matthews, Ryan Gravel, Nicole Hudson, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Trung Le, Eric Liu, Liz Manne, Nalini Nadkarni, Linda Nathan, Jeremy Nobel, Bill O’Brien, Susanna Pollack, Angelique Power, Mario Rossero, David Rubenstein, Deborah Rutter, Sam Seidel, Mark Slavkin, Hank Willis Thomas, Stephanie Williams, Damian Woetzel and More!

“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need [people] who can dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not?’”

President John F. Kennedy

Schedule of Events

Monday, April 16, 2018

7:30–9:00 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast (States Gallery)
9:00–9:10 a.m.
Opening Performance (Theater Lab)
Deconstructed Anthems featuring Ekene Ijeoma and Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Alumni
9:10–9:30 a.m.
Welcome Remarks (Theater Lab)
Deborah F. Rutter, David M. Rubenstein, and Mario Rossero
9:30–11:15 a.m.
INSPIRATION  (Theater Lab)
Dynamic Conversations, Performances, and Keynote with Artists and Experts in the areas of: 
  • Education 
  •  Health and Wellness 
  •  Finite Resources
11:15–11:30 a.m.
11:30–11:45 a.m.
Performance (Theater Lab)  
11:45–12:15 p.m.
Recognition and Introduction (Theater Lab)
Recognition of 2017-2018 Citizen Artist Fellows Introduction of 2018-2019 Citizen Artist Fellows
12:15­–1:30 p.m.
Lunch & Networking (Location TBA)
1:30–3:00 p.m.
Deep Dive Breakout Sessions with Artists and Experts & Mini-Performances  
  • Education 
  •  Health and Wellness 
  •  Finite Resources
3:15–4:45 p.m.
ACTION  (Location TBA)
Future-Focused Group Discussions with Audience Members, Artists, and Experts
4:45–5:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks (Location TBA)
Deborah F. Rutter and Eric Liu
5:00–5:25 p.m.
El Sistema Students and Citizen Artist Fellows
5:30–7:00 p.m.
Reception (Location TBA)


  • Jasmine Barbers

    Jasmine Babers, who printed Love GIRLS Magazine's inaugural 250 copies in 2012, makes no excuses for the gender inequality that is inherent in today's society — "media for women has gotten a negative reputation. Love GIRLS magazine puts that negativity to rest with its peaceful, loving and powerful message." Jasmine published the magazine after seeing the devastating effects of bullying, and to create a space where girls lift each other up instead of tear each other down. She highlights the voices of girls who feel silenced, believing that women all too often do not get the chance to be heard. Through the quarterly publication of Love GIRLS Magazine, which now distributes 12,000 free copies nationally, and her annual Love Awards ceremony, Jasmine seeks to promote self-esteem and confidence in girls everywhere.

  • Jamie Broadnax

    Jamie Broadnax is the founder and editor-in-chief of the website Black Girl Nerds. She is also the executive producer of the podcast 'Misty Knight's Uninformed Afro' which she also co-hosts along with Stephanie Williams. Jamie is the co-founder and Director of Community Outreach Universal Fan Con, first large-scale, 24-hour, inclusive event that celebrates the diversity of fandom and the diversity of fans. Jamie currently freelances as a writer — and has written for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Vulture, Vox and the Huffington Post.

  • Sam Chaltain

    Sam Chaltain is, with Trung Le, a founding partner of 180 Studio, a global design firm that helps advance people's understanding of the future of learning. The author or co-author of six books, Sam began his career teaching high school English and History in the public and private schools of New York City.

  • Linda Cliatt-Wayman

    Linda Cliatt-Wayman has led students to succeed in chronically underperforming public schools for over 30 years as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent overseeing 52 high schools in Philadelphia. She's been featured in ABC News and Nightline, a TED Talk with nearly 2 million views, and recently released her first book "Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard." She has received numerous awards including Philadelphia Magazine's 2014 Trailblazer Award, KYW's Game Changer Award, the Philadelphia Maneto Award, and was selected as a finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize. She has received two honorary doctorate degrees from Alvernia and St. Joseph's Universities, and in May 2018 will receive a third from Kutztown University, a school Cliatt-Wayman says changed her life. She is known for the slogan she said to her students and staff everyday: "If nobody told you they loved you today, remember I do and I always will!" Cliatt-Wayman is currently the founding Principal and CEO of Currently Trending, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students escape poverty by providing them with leadership development, resources, and individualized coaching so that they can successfully graduate from high school and lead a life of purpose and joy.

  • Carlos Drews

    Dr. Carlos Drews serves as the executive director of the Jane Goodall Institute USA, a community conservation organization that advances the global vision of Dr. Jane Goodall by improving the lives of people, animals and the environment. A longtime admirer of Dr. Jane Goodall and her work, Drews is responsible for advancing the mission of the Institute through a focus on sustainable livelihoods, conservation science, advocacy, ecological research, empowering youth, public awareness and environmental education, as well as leading a staff of more than 250 conservation professionals in Africa and the United States of America.

    A native of Colombia, as a child, Drews dreamed of studying animals in Africa. He realized this dream years later when he arrived in Tanzania as a graduate student researching psychological warfare in baboon communities – a study that earned him the John Napier Medal of the Primate Society of Great Britain. After completing two masters degrees in biology, Drews earned his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Cambridge and has carried out research into wildlife behavioral ecology in Africa and Latin America, in addition to studies of societal attitudes towards wildlife.

    In his early career, Carlos acted as academic staff and interim director of the International Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Management in Costa Rica. He co-authored Costa Rica´s annual report on human sustainable development and the government´s strategy to combat climate change. Prior to taking on his current role at JGI, Drews spent 13 years working for the World Wildlife Fund, initially as head of its regional species and fisheries team in Latin America and the Caribbean. Drews set up a world-first, innovative program dedicated to the adaptation of marine turtle nesting beaches to climate change and is remembered as one of the champions of the "circle-hook" to reduce turtle mortality by long-line fishing in the Eastern Pacific. Subsequently, Drews became the global director of species conservation at WWF, responsible for engaging governments, NGOs, corporations and donors to rally behind a joint marine & terrestrial species conservation agenda. During his tenure at WWF, Drews sought to change the perception of wildlife crime to a serious crime on a global scale.

    Carlos was awarded the LiberPress International Award 2015 in Girona (Spain) "for his tireless work towards studying, preserving and protecting the animal species that surround us". His publications address animal behavior, attitudes and practices toward nature in Central America, the economics of marine turtle consumption and conservation, a concept and methodology for species conservation with a livelihoods focus and guidelines for coastal adaptation to climate change. An avid runner, Carlos lives in Vienna, Virginia, drinks lots of tea and is fond of Asian cuisine.

  • Valerie Fletcher
    Executive Director of the Institute for Human Centered Design

    Valerie Fletcher is Executive Director of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), an international educational and design non-profit organization celebrating 40 years in 2018, dedicated to inclusive multidisciplinary design as the key to holistic solutions that minimize functional limitation and enhance experience for everyone. Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. She generates opportunities for IHCD and has broad oversight of all educational programs as well as consulting and design services. Her research focus is integrating data from contextual inquiry research findings into physical and technological design solutions in higher education, culture, workplace, healthcare, multifamily housing and the public realm. She is Councilor for the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. Fletcher has a master's degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. She co-chairs the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Architectural College.

  • Jonathan Foley, PHD

    Dr. Jonathan Foley is the Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. In this role, Foley oversees the institution's programs of scientific research, education, and public engagement. A world-renowned scientist, his work focuses on the sustainability of our planet and the ecosystems and natural resources we depend on. Throughout his career, he has made major contributions to our understanding of worldwide changes in ecosystems, land use and climate, and global food security. Foley has won numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (awarded by President Bill Clinton); the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award; the J.S. McDonnell Foundation's 21 st Century Science Award; an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship; and the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America. In 2014, he was named winner of the prestigious Heinz Award for the Environment. A noted science communicator, Foley has written many popular articles, op-eds, and essays in publications like National Geographic, Scientific American, the New York Times, The Guardian, Ensia, Yale's Environment 360, and bioGraphic, among others. His presentations on global environmental issues have been featured at hundreds of venues, including the Aspen Environmental Forum, the Chautauqua Institution, and TED.

  • Mina Girgis
    Producer & CEO of the Nile Project

    Mina Girgis is a serial entrepreneur specialized in building new tools and spaces for cross-cultural musical learning. Since 2011, he has served as the Producer & CEO of the Nile Project – an international nonprofit that promotes the sustainability of the Nile River by curating innovative collaborations among musicians, university students, and professionals. In 2009, Mina founded Zambaleta, a community World Music school based in San Francisco, California. Mina has received awards and fellowships from Wired Magazine, National Arts Strategies, Synergos and Seeds of Peace.

  • Gary Glazner

    Gary Glazner is the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, (APP). The APP was the recipient of the 2013, Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Award and the 2012 MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award. The National Endowment for the Arts listed the APP as a "best practice." NBC's "Today" show, PBS NewsHour and NPR's "All Things Considered" have featured segments on Glazner's work. Glazner is the author of Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care. In 2014, Glazner began working in the Arts and Corrections field with his Poetry and Improv program, at the Unit for the Cognitively Impaired, at Fishkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York. In 2016, Glazner designed and co-taught "Creativity in Elder Care," for the University of Arizona Medical School. In 2016, with support from the NEA, Glazner launched "Poetry for Life," an intergenerational program that brings students of all ages together with people living with memory loss to perform and create poetry. The APP has provided programming in 32 states and internationally in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Poland and South Korea.

  • Idris Goodwin
    Playwright, Artist, Educator

    Idris Goodwin is an award-winning playwright, director, orator, poet and educator. This fall he will become the Producing Artistic Director of Stage One Family Theater in Louisville, KY. For Stage One he penned American Tales and the widely produced And In This Corner : Cassius Clay, winner of the 2017 Distinguished Play Award from The American Association of Theater and Education. Other widely produced stage-plays include: How We Got On, This Is Modern Art co-written with Kevin Coval, Bars and Measures, The Raid, Hype Man and Blackademics. He's received support from the NEA, Ford and Mellon Foundation, and awarded The American History Cycle Commission from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The BlueInk Playwriting Prize and InterAct Theater's 20/20 Prize. Goodwin recently directed Dominique Morriseau's Detroit '67 for Curious Theater and This Is Modern Art for Denver Center Theatre. He is the author of the pushcart nominated essay collection These Are The Breaks and Inauguration, a chapbook co-written with Nico Wilkinson (Haymarket Books), winner of the 2017 Literary Arts Award from The Pikes Peak Arts Council. His words have appeared on HBO, Sesame Street, BBC radio and Discovery Channel. A seasoned educator, Goodwin teaches and lectures across the nation to multiple demographics, and from 2012-2018 was Assistant Professor in The Department of Theatre and Dance at ­­­­Colorado College, where he was voted teacher of the year.

  • Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews

    Matt Gould is a composer who received the Richard Rodgers Award (2012 and 2014), the Jonathan Larson Award, and ASCAP's Dean Kay, Harold Adamson, and Richard Rodgers Awards. His show Witness Uganda (fka Invisible Thread) had its NY premier at 2econd Stage Theater, its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard, and will have its west coast premiere in Los Angeles in the winter of 2019. Lempicka will premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer directed by Tony nominee Rachel Chavkin. Upcoming original works include The Family Project and Baby Girl with Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel. He has written, arranged, and conducted music for theaters around the country and translated, adapted and directed Romeo and Juliet in Pulaar (Mauritania, West Africa.) Matt has performed around the world including Uganda, Mauritania, and Japan, and across the US. A graduate of Boston University's College of Fine Arts, Matt is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer at schools and Universities. He is the co-director of UgandaProject. @FakeMattGould

    Griffin Matthews graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Griffin co-wrote and starred in Witness Uganda (Richard Rodgers Award, Harold Adamson Award, and Dean Kay Award). He was commissioned by Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles to write a new docu-musical called The Family Project about the ever-changing face of the American family. He's directed several readings of the new musical Lempicka for Yale Rep and New Dramatists and has choreographed pieces at Vassar College, Lincoln Center (NYC), Warner Theater (DC), and in Tokyo. Creative direction for: Matrix L'Oreal and Ulta Beauty. Acting credits include: "Law & Order: SVU" (recurring), "Happy Valley" (NBC Pilot), "The Carrie Diaries" (recurring),"The Mentalist," "Suburgatory," "Weeds," "90210," "Cashmere Mafia (recurring)," "Numb3rs." Starring in the upcoming Indie horror, "Screamers." Witness Uganda is based on his organization UgandaProject, which he founded in 2005.

  • Ryan Gravel
    Founder, Sixpitch

    Best known for his master’s thesis and early work that launched the Atlanta Beltline, Ryan Gravel is an urban planner, designer, and author working on infrastructure, concept development, and policy as the founder of Sixpitch. He recently completed the Atlanta City Design – a strategy to design the inevitable change that is coming to the city so that Atlanta grows into a better version of itself. Building on this and other projects at Sixpitch, as well as his book, Where We Want to Live, (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), Ryan continues his investigation of the cultural side of infrastructure, describing how its intimate relationship with our way of life can illuminate a brighter path forward for cities.

  • Nicole Hudson
    Deputy Mayor of St. Louis, Racial Equity and Priority Initiatives

    Nicole Hudson has spent her career applying digital media to products in industries ranging from Broadway to finance to journalism to social justice. A Northwestern University grad, Nicole has managed the online brands for shows like Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera, worked on web development, ticketing and calendar conversion and ad network development with clients such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Lincoln Center and tackled online tools and branding for companies like the New Yorker and Goldman Sachs. On the ad agency side, she oversaw national digital campaigns and one-to-one marketing products for AT&T. She has managed web, print, outdoor and on-air production for TV and radio stations, hotels and real-estate developments. Her 6 years on the business side of the non-profit start-up St. Louis Beacon gave her a front row seat for the opportunities and transformation in local information that digital platforms bring. Her work with the Ferguson Commission and its legacy non profit, Forward Through Ferguson, brought her career skills to bear on the most pressing issues of our time, which now continues with her role with the City of St. Louis. Prior to her work with the Ferguson Commission, Nicole consulted independently with individuals, organizations and brands on communication strategy, content development and the general navigation of digital waters.

  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph

    Marc Bamuthi Joseph is a 2017 TED Global Fellow, an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative, and an honoree of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In pursuit of affirmations of black life in the public realm, he co-founded the Life is Living Festival for Youth Speaks, and created the installation "Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos" for Creative Time. Joseph's opera libretto, We Shall Not Be Moved, was named one of 2017's "Best Classical Music Performances" by The New York Times. His latest evening length work, /peh-LO-tah/, was commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and was presented at BAM's Harvey Theater as a part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival. He proudly serves as Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

  • Trung Le
    Founder of 180 Studio

    Le is a founding partner at 180 Studio, a global design firm that helps communities and clients curate the spaces, stories and strategies that advance our collective understanding of the future of learning. Le's work has yielded awards from the Chicago, Illinois and national chapters of the American Institute of Architects during his 25 plus years career. Le's projects have been published in such periodicals as Architectural Record, World Architecture News and Edutopia. His collaboration with Bruce Mau resulted in the publication The Third Teacher, a cabinet of wonders on how design can transform the ecology of learning. Le blogged for Fast Company and is a frequent speaker at the national and international venues.

  • 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

  • Liz Manne

    Bridging the worlds of entertainment, marketing and social change, Liz Manne is a strategist dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations, progressive campaigns and pro-social businesses achieve results and make meaningful change. Liz is the former executive director of FilmAid International, and as a senior media industry professional (HBO Films, SundanceTV, Fine Line Features), she helped shepherd more than 100 critically-acclaimed and award-winning independent films to market. An expert in cultural strategy for social change, Liz conceptualized and served as editorial director of #PopJustice: Social Justice and the Promise of Pop Culture Strategies. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and served on President Barack Obama's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

  • Nalini M. Nadkarni

    Nalini Nadkarni practices tapestry thinking – the weaving together of ideas from diverse academic disciplines and ways of knowing. Known as the "Queen of the Forest Canopy", Nalini has been both a pioneer in forest canopy ecological research and in public engagement of science. Dr. Nadkarni is a forest ecologist and Professor of Biology at the University of Utah who has studied rainforest canopy organisms and interactions in rainforests of Costa Rica and Washington State. She is a passionate communicator about nature and science to people in all walks of life, and had innovated programs of experiential learning and conservation projects to non-traditional public audiences such as faith-based groups, urban youth, legislators, and incarcerated men and women, including those in solitary confinement. Her collaborations with visual artists, modern dancers, and rap singers have led to raising awareness for the importance of trees to humans. She has received national awards for her interdisciplinary work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the AAAS Award for Public Engagement, the William Julius Wilson Award for Achievement in Social Justice, and the Archie Carr Medal for Conservation. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

  • Linda Nathan, EdD
    Executive Director of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship

    Linda Nathan, EdD is the Executive Director of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship (CAS), which fosters and mobilizes creative, arts-immersed schools, where students are making and doing, teachers are asking how and why, and schools are engaged in their community. In this role, she oversees key programs including the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership (PSI) in partnership with the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also works closely with the leadership of Conservatory Lab Charter School to support its development as a national model of project-based learning and arts-immersed education. Dr. Nathan was the founding Headmaster of Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s first public high school for the visual and performing arts. As an experienced leader in education, Dr. Nathan actively mentors teachers and principals, and consults nationally and internationally on issues of educational reform, leadership and teaching with a commitment to equity, and the critical role of arts and creativity in schools. Dr. Nathan also facilitates workshops and conversations about issues of race, equity, and culturally relevant pedagogy for school leaders, teachers, parents, and students across the nation. She is the author of two books: "Hardest Questions Aren't on the Test" (2009, Beacon Press) and "When Grit Isn't Enough" (October 2017, Beacon Press). Dr. Nathan is also an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she has taught for 17 years.

  • Jeremy Nobel, MD

    As a practicing general internist for many years, Dr. Nobel experienced "the front lines" of health care and its delivery. Currently, through his faculty appointments at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Nobel's teaching, research, and community based projects address the design of healthcare delivery systems that improve quality, cost-effectiveness and access. His work has been the basis of significant improvements in preventative, acute, chronic, rehabilitative, and end of life medical care that focus on understanding what quality healthcare means from a patient perspective, and how best to deliver it. Dr. Nobel is also a recognized leader in the field of medical humanities, an interdisciplinary endeavor that draws on a diverse range of fields, including the creative arts, to inform medical education and practice. He is the founder and president of the Foundation for Art & Healing (, an organization dedicated to exploring the important relationship between creative expression and health and well-being, and bringing those benefits to individuals and communities. The foundation is actively involved in creating a broader societal awareness that arts-based activities can improve health, while simultaneously developing and distributing innovative programs to the field, and promoting an active research agenda. Also a published poet, Dr. Nobel has received several awards for his poetry including the Bain-Swiggett Prize from Princeton University, and the American Academy of Poets Prize from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Bill O'Brien

    Bill O'Brien, Senior Advisor for Innovation/Director of Creative Forces, National Endowment for the Arts Bill co-organized three summits to identify emerging art-sci practices among the nation's leading artists, scientists and technologists in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also co-organized a complex-system working group investigation into The Nature of Creativity in the Brain in partnership with the Santa Fe Institute. Since 2011, Bill has served as the agency's project director for the National Endowment for the Arts' military healing partnerships, including Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. Previously, Bill served the agency as Deputy Chairman of Grants and Awards and as the Director of Theater and Musical Theatre. Prior to joining the Endowment, he produced numerous award winning theatrical productions, including the Tony-honored Deaf West Theatre Production of Big River. He has also acted in numerous theatrical and television productions, including performances in 48 states, and as an ensemble player on all seven seasons as Kenny (Marlee Matlin's sign language interpreter) on NBC's The West Wing.

  • Susanna Pollack

    Susanna Pollack is the President of Games for Change, the leading global advocate for the power of games and virtual realities as drivers of social impact. In her role there, she produces the annual Games for Change Festival, the largest gaming event in New York, dubbed by national media as "the Sundance of video games." In 2017, Susanna launched the successful VR for Change Summit as a part of the Festival. In response to the positive reception to the VR programming at last year's summit, Susanna is launching the XR for Change Summit this year to explore how VR/AR/MR technologies are offering radical new ways to create social impact. Susanna works closely with organizations that are actively pursuing digital games to further their public or CSR mission. On behalf of clients including American Express Foundation, United Nations, Women's Sports Foundation, Autodesk, Carnegie Foundation, Ad Council, Smithsonian Museum and McKinsey Social, she has initiated dozens of programs to advance the games for good sector. Susanna's passion and commitment to Learning and Education led her to develop the G4C Student Challenge with the NYC Department of Education in 2015. The NYC pilot attracted world class partners including the New York Times, NYC Mayors Office, ACLU, X Prize, and Unity Technologies to bring a games design challenge to middle and high school students across the city. Under Susanna's leadership, the program expanded nationally and currently runs in NYC, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Atlanta. Also in her role at G4C, Susanna launched the Games for Learning Summit with collaboration from the US Department of Education and the Entertainment Software Association. Now an annual event, the gathering attracts educators, policy makers, game studios and publishers to explore how games can be more effectively used in the classroom. Prior to joining Games for Change, Susanna worked across both the commercial and public sector. Over a 12 year period, Susanna held various senior level positions at BBC Worldwide Americas, most recently as SVP of the TV distribution division for the US where she led a team of 20 to raise $50m annually from coproduction and sales of BBC's award winning documentaries and scripted content. She was also SVP of BBC Worldwide's Children's where she led the strategy of all youth related initiatives in the US including channel and IP development.

  • Angelique Power
    President, The Field Foundation

    Born and raised on the southside of Chicago by a white, Jewish mother who was a Chicago Public school teacher and an African American father who rose to be Sergeant in the Chicago Police force, Angelique has an intense love for this dazzlingly creative and deeply scarred city. Before joining the Field Foundation, Power was a program director at the Joyce Foundation. There she co-founded Enrich Chicago, a nonprofit-led movement designed to correct inequity and structural racism in the arts. She has directed community engagement and communications at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and led community relations giving at Target Corporation. She has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan. As President of the Field Foundation, Angelique catalyzed changes within the Field Foundation grant structure through anonymous surveys sent to nonprofit leaders, peer research, and study of Chicago’s needs and gaps in investment. Staff and Board-wide racial justice training allowed Field Foundation to ensure that racial equity was a core value of the work. Through research Field created heat maps of Chicago revealing where the city has designed communities that suffer from poverty, trauma and lack investment. Learning more about the incredible power inside of these communities of color and investing in the savvy organizations located there has become a key focus for Field. Nonprofit feedback, foundation peer input, racial justice training, heat maps of Chicago; all of these pieces helped reveal a path forward to a new grant model centered around Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, and Leadership Investment. This new model opens the door to funding for neighborhoods that are too commonly divested in and aims at addressing root causes of the issues allowing every Chicagoan to thrive in this city we love.

  • 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.

  • Deborah F. Rutter
    President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

    Deborah F. Rutter began her tenure as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on September 1, 2014. Known for emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and community engagement, she is considered one of the most influential arts administrators in the nation. As president of the Kennedy Center, Ms. Rutter is the artistic and administrative director of the world's busiest performing arts center, managing all facets of the facility, including expansive theater, contemporary dance, ballet, chamber music, and jazz seasons as well as its affiliates the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera. The Center encompasses one of the nation's largest arts education programs, reaching millions of people of all ages each year, and includes VSA, the international organization on arts and disability. From August 2003 through June 2014, she served as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), employing her dynamic influence to further enhance the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's reputation as one of the world's most highly acclaimed orchestras. As CSOA president, Ms. Rutter oversaw the operations of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Symphony Center Presents, the Institute for Learning, Access and Training (including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago), and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. The management of the renowned Symphony Center facility, and its extensive presentations of chamber music, jazz, and eclectic performances from around the world, was also under her direction. Prior to her position in Chicago, she has served as executive director of the Seattle Symphony, executive director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the orchestra manager of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

  • Sam Seidel

    Sam Seidel is the Director of K12 Strategy + Research at the Stanford and author of Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011). sam speaks internationally about education, race, culture, systems, and design.

    sam has taught in a variety of settings from first grade to community college. He has built and directed programs for young people affected by incarceration. As a consultant, sam has worked with leading national education organizations, including the Black Alliance for Educational Options, Big Picture Learning, the Buck Institute for Education, and Jobs for the Future, as well as a spectrum of other clients on a diverse set of projects, ranging from redesigning a statewide juvenile justice system to working with the Rockefeller family to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws. sam was the Director of Partnerships, Annual Reviews, and Student Leadership for the Association for High School Innovation, a national network of student-centered school developers. Most recently, sam was the Director of the Student Experience Lab at the Business Innovation Factory.

    sam graduated from Brown University with a degree in Education and a teaching certification. He was a Scholar-in-Residence at Columbia University's Institute for Urban and Minority Education, and a Community Fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design. he is always learning.

  • Judy Simpson

    As the Director of Government Relations for the American Music Therapy Association, Judy Simpson represents the profession with legislators, agencies, and coalitions on the state and federal level. She is the co-author of "Music Therapy Reimbursement: Best Practices and Procedures". Prior to her work with AMTA, Judy's clinical experience as a board certified music therapist involved developing music therapy programs for clients of all ages in general hospital settings, including physical rehabilitation, oncology, labor and delivery, psychiatry, ICU, and general medicine.

  • 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.

  • Hank Willis Thomas

    Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad including, the International Center of Photography, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Musée du quai Branly, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, among others. His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), and For Freedoms. For Freedoms was awarded the 2017 ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also the recipient of the 2017 Soros Equality Fellowship and the 2017 AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize. In 2017, Thomas unveiled his permanent public artwork "Love Over Rules" in San Francisco and "All Power to All People" in Opa Locka, Florida. Thomas is a member of the Public Design Commission for the City of New York. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and a MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. He has also received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Thomas lives and works in New York City.

  • Stephanie Williams

    Stephanie Williams is the co-host of Misty Knight's Uninformed Afro, a podcast she host's alongside Jamie Broadnax. Stephanie also curates and hosts the Lemonade Podcast - which focuses primarily on commentary of Pop-Culture, Books, Movies, Television & Comics. After discovering the power of her own voice, Stephanie decided to use both of her podcast platforms to advocate for diversity and representation in these areas, and uplift the voices of those around her. Stephanie is currently working on two comics with the hopes that they will add a positive contribution to a medium she loves so dearly. Stephanie was featured on NPR, made an appearance on WCCB Charlotte's Super Chat show, and is a featured panelist at the upcoming Universal FanCon.

  • Damian Woetzel

    Damian Woetzel is 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. These and other arts leadership roles follow a 20-year career as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Woetzel served for eight years on President Obama's Committee on Arts and Humanities (PCAH), where he worked to create the national Turnaround Arts education program. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, and was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal in 2015. In July of 2018, Woetzel will become the 7th President of The Juilliard School.


  • Austin Dean Ashford

    Austin Dean Ashford is a 2nd year MFA candidate with a double concentration in Playwriting and Acting at the University of Arkansas. Austin was a "Great Debater" and a member of the Melvin B. Tolson/ Denzel Washington forensics society earning 21 national championship awards in events ranging from debate to acting during his undergraduate at Wiley College. Currently, he is developing his Epic Remixology of the Odyssey "(I)sland T(rap)" a one person show that has been recognized regionally and nationally by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

  • Mallory Bedford

    At the age of six Mallory had her first dance lesson, and she haven't stop dancing, or pursuing the arts since. Her years in elementary and middle school consisted of trying out many different things such as singing in choir, taking dance lessons, learning to play the cello, even taking a painting class. In her middle school theatre department, Mallory discovered that she could combine several of my interests and do them all at once. Now in high school, She is very active in her school's drama department and she still dances and loves to sing. Mallory has expanded her love of the arts from just performing. During the summer, she volunteers at the Wolf Trap Children's Theatre in the Woods and she enjoys observing art as well.

  • Amy K. Bormet

    Currently living in Los Angeles, Amy K. Bormet is an in-demand pianist, vocalist, and composer. The quintet from her debut album, Striking, was featured as part of the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. As an advocate for women in music, Amy created the Washington Women in Jazz Festival in 2011 and continues to serve as executive director. Amy K Bormet's latest project, Ephemera, is a platform for her new art songs with improvisation. Ephemera performed a two-week tour of Sweden in the fall of 2015.

  • Mayda del Valle

    Mayda del Valle was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She is the author of The University of Hip Hop and a winner of the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize from Northwestern University Press. She appeared on six episodes of the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, and was a contributing writer and original cast member of the Tony Award winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. A gifted performer, Del Valle has read her work at venues all over the world including The White House.

  • Victor Haskins

    Victor Haskins is a visionary, world-class trumpet and electronic wind instrument (EWI) player, improviser, composer/arranger, bandleader, interdisciplinary collaborator, and educator. Victor brings a one-of-a-kind spirit and perspective to all that he does. His worldly, empathetic, culturally astute approach to living is a result of growing up in a military family in a variety of diverse settings in Asia and Africa and traveling extensively (which continues through the present day). Through music, Haskins is able to synthesize his thoughts and experiences into audible emotions and sonic stories to connect with audiences. As an educator, Victor currently serves as the Director of Jazz Outreach for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (since 2014), Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the College of William & Mary (since 2016), and the Director of the Jazz Ensemble at the College of William & Mary (since 2018). Previously, he served on the faculty of the inaugural Izmir International Jazz Camp (2012). Haskins has presented clinics and masterclasses on a variety of music-related topics at institutions including (but not limited to) the Jazz Education Network Conference, the University of Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Royal Academy of Music, the University of Richmond, TEDxVCU, and TEDxLizardCreek. Victor's present main performing projects are Victor Haskins & Moving Sound Pictures and Victor Haskins' Skein. Moving Sound Pictures is an innovative, "one-man-band" where Victor extemporaneously creates intricate, interactive soundscapes derived from a combination of various existing artistic traditions from around the world, and his own deeply personal improvisational language. In Victor Haskins' Skein, Victor is joined by a live bassist and drummer to explore the possibilities of collective improvisation through the forum of compositions and arrangements he has crafted for the ensemble, delighting and intriguing audiences with intense auditory interplay. Some notable highlights from Mr. Haskins' performance career thus far include the creation of his own improvisational concept--Melodic Improvisation--as well as an independently conceived musical genre that is based on that concept, called ImproviStory (which later evolved into his current project, Moving Sound Pictures). He released his debut album of all original compositions-- "The Truth"--on 32 Bar Records in March of 2013. Victor has been featured at the Richmond Jazz Festival (2013-2015), Richmond's 2nd Street Festival (2011, 2016), the Elkhart Jazz Festival (2014), the Apex Jazz Festival (2014), and the Festival of New Trumpet Music (2014). In addition, some of Victor's activities are supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Victor Haskins has worked directly with a diverse cross-section of masters of improvised music, including (but not limited to) Marc Cary, Craig Handy, Roger Lewis (Dirty Dozen Brass Band), Lonnie Liston-Smith, Jason Moran, and Phil Wiggins. Victor holds a Jazz Studies/Performance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed the 4-year music program in only 3 years (the first and only person to ever accomplish this feat). Victor is proud to be sponsored by Eclipse Trumpets, and Denis Wick mouthpieces.

  • J.Period

    Hailed as a "music guru" by Rolling Stone and cited among the "world's Top DJ's" by The New York Times, J.PERIOD is a master of his craft: a musical storyteller whose work bridges cultures, generations and styles. As a DJ & Producer, J.PERIOD's resume boasts collaborations with GRAMMY® winners Nas, Kanye West, Common, John Legend, The Roots, Q-Tip, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Billboard #1 album, The Hamilton Mixtape. His extensive roster of collaborators, combined with a visionary approach to musical storytelling, have earned comparisons to both DJ Khaled and Ken Burns and most recently, a prestigious post as a founding member of The Kennedy Center's Hip Hop Culture Council. "Make no mistake," says DJ Booth, "as to the power of J.PERIOD's impact and influence on hip hop culture." Music icon Questlove (The Roots, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) calls J.PERIOD "the most creative mixtape producer of all-time." J.PERIOD's work has also been featured in film and TV (American Gangster, NBA Inside Stuff, The Doctor), earning an EMMY®. His groundbreaking work as Music Supervisor for the Brooklyn Nets' debut Barclays Center was lauded as "the new standard" for music in the NBA arena.

  • Bella Lorenzo-Giguere

    Bella Lorenzo-Giguere, cellist, is in 12th grade at Maret School in Washington, D.C. and is in her fourth year as a NSO Youth Fellow. Bella began studying cello in preschool. She studies with Julia Lichten who is on the cello faculty of Manhattan School of Music and is also Associate professor of cello at SUNY Purchase. Bella has been mentored by NSO cellist, Steven Honigberg, and currently is mentored by NSO assistant principal cellist, Glenn Garlick. Bella has been a first place winner, including the top scholarship winner, in the Washington Performing Arts Feder Competition, and a first place winner in the Maryland State Music Teachers Association Unaccompanied Bach Competition. Bella has performed at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art, the French and Swiss Embassies, the Decatur House, the Waterford Series, the Music in the Country Series, the Corner Store, and in master classes with Joseph Kalichstein, Joel Krosnick, Johannes Moser, Norman Fischer, Jay Campbell, Dmitri Kouzov, The Calder Quartet and the Emerson String Quartet. Bella played eight years with the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra, most recently as co-Principal of the Philharmonic. Bella attended the Orford International Music Academy in Quebec, the Young Artist Program at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, and Greenwood Music Camp. In December 2017, Bella organized a Music for Food event to benefit a local food pantry.

  • Andrew Randazzo

    Andrew Randazzo is more than just a bassist, composer, and recording engineer. Above all else, he is a music lover. Currently residing in Richmond, VA, he makes a living as a multi-genre freelance acoustic and electric bassist and full time member of the soul fusion quintet, Butcher Brown. Randazzo's musical mission in life is to provide every musical situation with an infectious groove, rooted in tradition, but also stretching the boundaries of the future of music.

    Randazzo's love of music began as a toddler in Atlanta, GA, listening to cassette tapes on his Walkman everyday. At just 4 years old, his family moved to the Washington, DC area where he began to study music. He started on the piano and cello and also took up singing in choirs in church and at school. At age 14, he picked up the bass guitar for the first time and began to discover his unique musical voice. By the time he was out of high school, Randazzo knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to being a full time performing musician. He moved to Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University's school of music and graduated with a degree in Jazz Double Bass. Another integral part of Randazzo's musical education came in early 2014 when he was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in Washington, DC.

    Shortly after graduating from college, Randazzo was asked to join Butcher Brown. His first experience as a band member was recording with jazz trumpet star, Nicholas Payton for his most recent album, "Numbers". Since then, he has completed multiple full length studio albums with the band as well as joined them for tours across the US and Europe.

  • Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh

    Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh is a Grammy Nominated singer, songwriter, emcee, activist, educator, and workshop facilitator who has performed worldwide rocking world renowned stages with music giants such as Oscar and Grammy award winning, Common, Late Night Jimmy Fallon's Band, The Roots, Bobby McFerrin, Sting, Erykah Badu, Zap Mama, Femi Kuti, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ed Sheeran, Aloe Blacc, Nas and the NSO and Dave Chappelle among others. This Duke Ellington School of The Arts graduate has been performing since she was able to walk and has a discography that spans from 2006 to present day with 7 solo and group projects to her credit including her most recent group album "Vintage Babies". In 2017 Youssef became a Musical Ambassador for the United States and traveled abroad performing her original music and facilitating workshops for youth on addressing gender based violence through music. She is a huge advocate for 'Art Activism' and social justice. Youssef has worked with the Congressional Black Caucus for several years as an artist activist and has been invited by J Period on behalf of The W. K. Kellogg foundation to participate as a performer and panelist for The National Day of Racial Healing among other progressive panels and initiatives.

    Behind the scenes, Youssef serves as a governor for the DC chapter of the Recording Academy's Grammy Board as well as a mentor for several Grammy U affiliated young aspiring artists. In 2016 she launched her very own artist development company, MKY Entertainment Group. She has received recognition from several local non-profit organizations such as One Common Unity, Bmore News, & Womb Work Productions as well as Mayor Luis Fernando Castellanos Cal of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico for her outstanding service and commitment to the youth worldwide. Maimouna Youssef is a global citizen, a musical healer, a cultural philanthropist and a community pillar.

    Visit for the full biography and discography.

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.

Learn more about Citizen Artist Fellow Program

Arts Summit 2018: An Illustrated Story

Arts Summit is a day of inspiration and transformation, with thought leaders and artists from across disciplines sharing their stories and ideas, and asking some of the most important and provocative questions of our day. These speakers – and all of the guests who committed to creating change – are our heroes. This illustrated story synthesizes the most powerful messages and moments of Arts Summit 2018.

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