Keynote and General Sessions

Friday Keynote: Anna Deavere Smith

Friday, January 17, 2020

Anna Deavere Smith will explore the intersectionality of performing arts, community, and racial equity, weaving into her presentation living portraits of legendary and ordinary people to illuminate the theme, Music, Equity, and Our Future.

Playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character, and diversity in America. Her most recent play, Notes from the Field, which looks at the School-to-Prison Pipeline and injustice and inequality in low-income communities, was named one of the Top 10 Plays of the year by Time magazine.

In 2012, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal, presented by President Obama and in 2015, she was named the Jefferson Lecturer, the nation’s highest honor in the humanities. She is also the recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Ridenhour Courage Prize, and the George Polk Career Award for authentic journalism. A MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, she holds honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and The Juilliard School, among others.

Smith is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, which was launched at Harvard University and is now housed at New York University, where she is a professor at Tisch School of the Arts. Her books include Letters to a Young Artist and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines.

Notable television credits include ABC shows, Black-ish and For the People, as well Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and NBC’s The West Wing.

Annual Membership Meeting with Special Guest Mary Anne Carter

Friday, January 17, 2020 | 12:45-1:45 PM

Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, will address attendees at the Annual Membership Meeting.  

Carter’s remarks will follow the conference luncheon on Friday, January 17. Limited tickets to the luncheon are $45 and are available through conference registration.

Mary Anne Carter was confirmed as the 12th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts in August 2019. Carter served as acting chairman of the Arts Endowment beginning on June 5, 2018 and following 18 months as the agency’s senior deputy chairman.

Since arriving at the agency, Carter has pushed to make the National Endowment for the Arts more accessible to the American people, directing an expansion of Creative Forces (an arts therapy program for U.S. service members and veterans recovering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other psychological health conditions) and bolstering many of its national initiatives, including Shakespeare in American Communities, NEA Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, and the Jazz Masters and National Heritage Fellowships.

Carter brings a unique perspective to the Arts Endowment. Prior to her appointment, she was engaged in public policy analysis, issue tracking, and corporate and campaign communications through her work as a public affairs consultant. Her knowledge and genuine love for the arts are rooted at the most personal of levels—through the learning differences initially observed in her daughter at age seven. This challenge led Carter to schools that employ the arts as a teaching method in every class, making the learning process both productive and enjoyable for her daughter. Carter understands the power of the arts, as she witnesses that power every day.

More Sessions To Be Announced Soon
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