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2022 GIA Conference
New York | Oct 6 – 12


All times are noted in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Thursday, October 6, 2022

How can funders leverage COVID data for sector recovery and transformation?

Organizer: Katy Corella, Programs & Advocacy manager, ArtsFun

Presenters: Michael Greer, president & CEO, ArtsFund; Torrie Allen, president & CEO, Arts Midwest; Elizabeth Rouse, president & CEO, ArtsMemphis; Marianna Schaffer, vice president of Programs, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Catherine Peterson, executive director, ArtsBoston

We are not at the tail end of a pandemic. we are at the beginning of a structural transformation. As research tracks shifts in delivery, consumption, business models, funding and more for arts and cultural nonprofits, what is COVID data telling us about the future of sustainable long-term capitalization for the sector? How do we, as grantmakers in the arts, act now to support a more robust, equitable, and resilient sector tomorrow?

This interactive session will gather local and regional funders from across the country to share high-level COVID impact research, identify key needs and opportunities their data unearthed, and explore how this new information can inform recommendations, planning, partnerships, and outcomes.

Participants will discuss where we, as funders, can shift practice and programming to support the sector's transition of delivery methods and business models to engage with new audiences in more equitable and accessible ways. Where might we align around narrative and data to organize ourselves around a collective agenda for research and advocacy in support of the sustainability and evolution of our sector?

Resourcing Transgender Arts and Culture: Lessons from the US Trans BIPOC Arts Network

Organizer: Luna Merbruja,program coordinator, Peacock Rebellion

Presenters: Alexander L. Lee, interim vice president of Programs, Funders for LGBTQ Issues; Roxanne Anderson, co-founder and director, RARE Production; Lane Harwell, program officer of Creative and Free Expression, Ford Foundation; Luna Merbruja, program coordinator, Peacock Rebellion

Funders for LGBTQ Issues reports that for every $100 awarded by US foundations, only 4 cents support transgender communities. In this virtual fishbowl, members of a new US Trans BIPOC Arts Network will share initial findings from their first survey of 40+ transgender BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, people of color] arts and culture groups in the United States, including how philanthropy can boost support in unexpected ways. Funders for LGBTQ Issues will also share equity-centered pro tips for funding transgender arts and culture they've learned from both successful trans funders and trans community groups. Through Q&A and break-out groups, participants will get a chance to brainstorm what they can do at their own institutions to propel the work forward--whether they're a program officer, compliance officer, or on a communications team.

The fractal nature of transformation: Tools to align external and internal practices

Organizer: Sage Crump, program specialist, Leveraging A Network for Equity (LANE), National Performance Network (NPN)

Presenters: Sage Crump, program specialist, National Performance Network, LANE; Natalie Bamdad, Learning & Communications manager, Change Elemental; Tanya Mote, associate director, Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center; Tara Dalbo, deputy executive director, La Peña Cultural Center

As the field repositions its giving to be more aligned with racial justice and equity values, LANE has spent the last few years learning from art organizations of color and rural arts organizations about what it takes to pivot towards a Liberatory Infrastructure and heal the patterns of white supremacy. Information, frameworks and concepts are coming our way at breakneck speeds. SO how do we make decisions on what to practice? Emergent Strategy teaches that what happens on all levels matters on the road to transformation. So, this session will share tools to help institutions and the people who run them understand where they can make pivots inside their own infrastructure to be more just in alignment with the narrative of their giving strategies. This will be a hands-on session so please, come with questions about your own institutions and processes and we will begin to answer them together. The session helps us move beyond "I don't know what to do," into informed courageous action and learning.

Starfish: A Model for BIPOC Artist-Entrepreneurs

Organizer: Zeyba Rahman, director, Building Bridges Program, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art;

Presenters: Zeyba Rahman, director, Building Bridges Program, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art; F. Javier Torres-Campos, director - Thriving Cultures, Surdna Foundation; Mahyad Tousi, founder, Starfish; Alesia Weston, director, Starfish; Accelerator; Maurício Mota, general partner, Starfish Fund

The panel discussion will share insights and learnings from the Starfish Accelerator, a first-of-its-kind project, a creative intellectual property (IP) accelerator for mid-career BIPOC storytellers. It is designed to nurture and scale their pop culture ideas and careers. The Starfish approach is rooted in four principles: radical ownership, authenticity, transparency, and community. Inspired by the tech accelerator model and grounded in years of discussions with a spectrum of mid-career artists, executives, and innovators of color, it provides fellowships, development funding, a strategic community network, and marketing necessary for launching the next big idea.

By designing a non-competitive ecosystem in which creatives can thrive, Starfish aims to address the narrative deficit disorder that is rampant in our culture. Its uniqueness lies in the opportunity it offers to participants be they creators, advisors, investors or buyers. Through participation, they commit to pay it forward and support the cohorts that follow to grow the network in keeping with building a vibrant mutual aid community to support creators of color.

During the moderated session, panelists will discuss their journey as project leaders and the outcomes from which they have learned and evolved model further. Philanthropists/investors will learn about how the replicable model for underserved artist-entrepreneurs is empowering artists as entrepreneurs.

F. Javier Torres-Campos, director - Thriving Cultures, Surdna Foundation; Mahyad Tousi, founder, Starfish Accelerator and Fund; Alesia Weston, director, Starfish; Accelerator; Maurício Mota, general partner, Starfish Fund

Ask Us Anything! ARTS + TECH + FUTURE TIMES Live Q&A

Organizer: Jax Deluca, Director of Media Arts, National Endowment for the Arts

Presenters: Lisa Osborne, director of Emerging Media Initiatives, Black Public Media; Todd Bryant, director of production, NYU’s Integrated Design & Media (IDM) Program at Tandon School of Engineering; Adaora Udoji, vice president of Programming and Operations, PBS

Moderator: Jax Deluca, Director of Media Arts, National Endowment for the Arts

Whether you are curious to gain deeper understanding of what the future holds for digital Innovation in the wake of COVID, or just need someone to explain the artistic merit of a hack-a-thon…this session is for you! Moderated by the National Endowment for the Arts, attendees will have the opportunity to directly engage with three established arts/tech practitioners (Lisa Osborne, Black Public Media; Todd Bryant, NYU’s Integrated Design & Media (IDM) Program at Tandon School of Engineering; and Adaora Udoji, PBS) working fluently across artistic disciplines using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and immersive media.

This open format discussion is intended to offer a shared space for peer learning while covering a range of topics related to supporting artists, audiences, and arts workers at the intersection of arts and technology. For context, it is encouraged to review the presenter bios in advance of this session. Attendees are welcome to submit questions in advance to

Practicing Return and Repair – Relationally, Ethically, Without Conditions

Organizer: Caitlin Brune,Programs & Advocacy manager, Compton Foundation

Presenters: June Wilson, executive director, Compton Foundation; Micah Parzen, CEO, Museum of Us; Eva Trujillo, trustee, Museum of Us and Repatriation Coordinator, University of California San Diego

In this hour-long virtual session, we’ll probe some of the issues raised in this piece from the July 27, 2022 edition of the Washington Post. We’ll look at how the Museum of Us in San Diego has been reckoning with return and repair and hear what they’re learning. We’ll join in their grappling with the role of institutions – cultural, educational, philanthropic, and otherwise – and the individuals within them in re-storying, restoring, and healing so that we might co-create a new story of us. We’ll explore the Museum of Us’ decolonizing guiding principles: truth telling and accountability, rethinking ownership, organizational culture shift supported by systems and policy, Indigenous Representation, and reciprocity. What is funders’ role in upholding these? We’ll probe together. Using the Compton Foundation’s evolving commitment to reparations and reparative action centered in relational healing for its Spend Up and its contribution to the social change ecosystem, we’ll consider funders’ role in resourcing and blending arts, culture, and relationships to fuel transformative new ways of seeing and being.

Sharing Power and Centering Artists in Decision-making

Organizer: Maura Cuffie-Peterson, director of Strategic Initiatives, Guaranteed Income, Creatives Rebuild New York

Presenters: Yanira Castro, interdisciplinary artist and member of Creatives Rebuild New York's Think Tank; Ka Oscar Ly, artist and cultural producer, Waterers; and Joe Tolbert Jr., program director, Art at the Intersections, Waymakers Collective

Trust-based philanthropy, co-design, and participatory grant-making are all values-based methods that more and more grantmakers are eager to employ. The core principles are about ensuring that those who are directly impacted are centered in the decision-making process; in short, it is about sharing power. While there is not one perfect way to do this, there are many examples of how trusting people with significant resources leads to magnificent outcomes.

This conversation will highlight the wisdom of three artists and three different processes, that put artists at the center of decision-making. Participants will be invited to add their experience to the circle. Featured examples include Yanira Castro a member of Creatives Rebuild New York’s Think Tank, Ka Ly of the Waterers, and Joe Tolbert Jr. of the Waymakers Collective.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Helping Artists & Culture Bearers Right Web3's Future Now

Organizer: Nichole Christian, narrative shifter, Center for Cultural Innovation

Presenters: Cézanne Charles, partner, designer, curator and researcher, Root of Two; Lauren Ruffin, co-Founder of Crux, 2021-2022 national field leader, Residence, Herberger Institute’s National Collaborative for Creative Work; Sian Morson, artist, curator, Community Builder and Vice President of Cool Cats creator; editor, The BlkChain digital newsletter

This 75-minute un-panel fishbowl dialogue will feature Black creatives in conversation on ways artists and creatives in tech are navigating the promise and the pitfalls of the digital world to ensure their presence, while also building wealth and cultural assets held in community. We see the urgency of this conversation, and the need for creative proactive strategies, daily.

Case Studies from the Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging Initiative

Organizer: Susan OetgenArts Learning Projects director, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Presenters: Teresa Bonner, executive director, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy; Alorie Clark, Arts Learning Coordinator, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Kim Johnson, director of Arts Access, Tennessee Arts Commission; Tony Manfredi, executive director, Nevada Arts Council; Susan Oetgen, Arts Learning Projects director, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

Age is a feature of identity that has meaningful implications in any exploration of equity and inclusion by arts funders. How are public and private arts funders building partnerships and supporting arts learning programs that advance equity with respect to age for older Americans? This panel discussion will offer lessons learned from the Leveraging State Investments in Creative Aging initiative, a current public-private partnership between E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and 36 state and jurisdictional arts agencies. Session attendees will hear detailed case studies from private and public funders of lifelong learning in the arts that reflect on and reframe the possibilities of partnerships, from program design to partnership development to participant engagement, with age at the center of the equity conversation.

Strengthening the Native-led, community-based Cultural Sector

Organizer: John Haworthdirector of Public Programs, Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, & Museums (ATALM)

Presenters: John Haworth, director of Public Programs, Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, & Museums (ATALM); Susan Feller, president and CEO, Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, & Museums (ATALM)

The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, & Museums (ATALM) is a leading culturally-grounded national arts service organization committed to strengthening the field of tribal cultural organizations through significant projects, including American Rescue Plan (2021); Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Oral History Project; developing a cohort of Native Arts Agencies in Tribal Communities; and presenting a national conference that attracts hundreds of Native participants. This session is a frank discussion of the challenges for building this field -- both from the community-based perspective and enlisting stronger connections with national, regional, statewide organizations & resources. The challenges of improving culturally appropriate access to oral history archives held in major universities requires diligent and careful work both at the community and university levels. The challenges of building a stronger cultural infrastructure and capacity within tribal communities (that also have major economic issues related to health and economic development) require thoughtful planning, networking, and field building. Providing meaningful training opportunities for community-based cultural worker requires concerted effort, both from within the Native cultural field and beyond. Building stronger ties within this field -- as well as strengthening ties outside of tribal communities--is a focus of this session.

Preparing for BIPOC Executive Directors: Evolution through Revolution

Organizer: Kellee Edusei,executive director; Dance USA

Presenters: Kellee Edusei, executive director, Dance/USA; Anne Huang, executive director, World Arts West; Kaisha Johnson, founding director, Women of Color in the Arts

In the wake of 2020’s racial upheavals, many predominately and historically White-led institutions began to hire BIPOC Executive Directors (ED). Those organizations that successfully hire BIPOC EDs are frequently viewed as the most revolutionary/transformative/inspiring within the field. Yet structural challenges prevent these EDs and organizations from thriving fully. This conversation unpacks the generative question: How can organizations set up BIPOC EDs for success? Kellee Edusei (Dance/USA), Anne Huang (World Arts West), and Kaisha Johnson (Women of Color in the Arts) are BIPOC EDs who are engaged in deep racial equity transformation in their organizations and in the arts sector. This panel aims to foster an anti-racist dialogue that addresses recruitment, hiring, onboarding, Board transformation and support of BIPOC EDs, and how the philanthropic sector must consider its part in this work as part of its racial equity, anti-racism work / commitment.

Monday, October 10, 2022

BIPOC Storytelling: Building the systems we need for a better tomorrow

Surdna Foundation (35th & Madison)
Board Room, Floor 25

*IMPORTANT FYI: our offices require a photo ID and pre-registration for access.
COVID protocols will be in place requiring anyone in the office share their proof of COVID vaccination in advance. Masks will be optional for participants.

Organizer: F. Javier Torres-Campos, director, Thriving Cultures, Surdna Foundation

Presenters: Aisha Shillingford, artistic director, Intelligent Mischief; F. Javier Torres-Campos, director, Thriving Cultures, Surdna Foundation; Jonathan McCrory, executive artistic director; creative doula, National Black Theatre; Lauren Grattan, co-founder and chief community officer, Mission Driven Finance; Sharifa Johka, creative & social impact producer and corporate inclusion consultant, creator and chair, Black Realities Creative Fund

Since July of 2021, a group of field and philanthropic leaders have been meeting monthly to dream up new infrastructure for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) storytellers. Simultaneously, this collective has grappled with a desire to gain access to greater amounts of capital than the limited grant dollars available from the 5% payout requirements for foundations. As the collective is still in the design phase of what will be a new for-profit revolving equity fund built through impact investing dollars invested as equity, this session will use our case study to garner additional thinking for the funds development and create a dreaming space for participants to consider what new infrastructure they can help build from their own positions and institutions.

Fact vs. Fiction – Public Support Tests and the Specter of Tipping

Dance Theatre of Harlem

466 W 152nd Street New York, NY 10031
4 studios in the space(2 large, 1 medium and 1 small)
Jordan Oldham, Venue Operations and Events Manager

Organizer: Emily Waters, senior program associate, Arts and Culture, Mellon Foundation

Presenters: Claire Knowlton, independent consultant; Jocelyn Brekken, director of Grant Accounting, Mellon Foundation; Tanya Wideman-Davis, co-director, Wideman Davis Dance; Thaddeus Davis, co-director, Wideman Davis Dance; Anna Glass, executive director, Dance Theatre of Harlem; Emily Waters, senior program associate, Arts and Culture, Mellon Foundation

Philanthropy can and should be making significant, transformative investments in organizations led-by-and-serving Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. Yet the specter of tipping often stands in the way of making large grants to nonprofits with smaller budgets. Finding ways to work around this issue is imperative as we seek to make the funding landscape more equitable. Please join in an informal and information sharing session that will discuss the technical components of the IRS public support test, provide information to discuss with funder legal and finance teams, and share ideas and strategies to work around this thorny issue. Hear from arts leaders, accountants, funders, and consultants who have confronted this in their practices and who have employed various strategies and approaches to mitigate tipping concerns. This session will take place in Dance Theatre of Harlem's studios on 152nd Street, an organization that has recently received large philanthropic gifts and has had to navigate this very issue.

The Future of Freedom – How NFTs, Blockchain and Web 3.0 Can Expand Agency, Audiences & Autonomy for BIPOC Creators

Signature Center - Diamond Stage

Organizers: Favianna Rodriguez and Anastasia King, The Center for Cultural Power

Presenters: Favianna Rodriguez, president, The Center for Cultural Power; Lady Ph0enix, wisdom technologist Elevating Culture in the Metaverse, co-Founder, Universe Contemporary; Malik Adunni, global connector, music maven, and co-founder of Gold Credentials

Many are predicting that Web 3.0 technologies will disrupt and revolutionize nearly every industry with models that are more open, transparent and distributed than ever before. Blockchain technology holds the potential to shift the balance of power back to cultural creators and those who build the next generation infrastructure. NFTs in the digital art world and new currencies / exchanges powering DiFi already mark this new direction. It will be critical for arts organizations to help BIPOC creators stay at the forefront of how Web 3.0 technologies will define our future and shape our cultural landscape. Organized by the Center for Cultural Power, this panel will feature artists, strategists, and pioneers in the cultural Web 3.0 space and will focus on three objectives: Provide a Web 3.0 / NFT primer with a focus on how these technologies can solve challenges artists confront; Review a case study of the making of an NFT; and, Explore strategies for funders to utilize this new frontier to support BIPOC artists.

Many are predicting that Web 3.0 technologies will disrupt and revolutionize nearly every industry with models that are more open, transparent and distributed than ever before. Blockchain technology holds the potential to shift the balance of power back to cultural creators and those who build the next generation infrastructure. NFTs in the digital art world and new currencies / exchanges powering DiFi already mark this new direction. It will be critical for arts organizations to help BIPOC creators stay at the forefront of how Web 3.0 technologies will define our future and shape our cultural landscape. Organized by the Center for Cultural Power, this panel will feature artists, strategists, and pioneers in the cultural Web 3.0 space and will focus on three objectives: Provide a Web 3.0 / NFT primer with a focus on how these technologies can solve challenges artists confront; Review a case study of the making of an NFT; and, Explore strategies for funders to utilize this new frontier to support BIPOC artists.

It Starts Here: Program Design for Equity, Disability Justice, and Intersectional Identity Politics

Sheraton - BOWERY

Organizer: Haowen Wang, director of Regranting, Dance USA

Presenters: Haowen Wang, director of Regranting, DanceUSA; Laurel Lawson, program advisor, DanceUSA/Founder, Rose Tree Productions; Michèle Steinwald, program advisor, DanceUSA/Founder, 44 Arts Productive

The Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists (DFA) program provides direct support to artists in recognition of the impact of their artistic practice for social change. Seeking to uphold intersectional identity justice and with designed care for equitable accessibility, this program has been reimagined to be responsive to the field of practitioners it funds.

Inaugural Director of Regranting, Haowen Wang, will illustrate the program’s evolution, informed by reparations and intersectional justice principles. With program advisors Laurel Lawson and Michèle Steinwald, the session will interrogate how data collection has historically limited grantmaking’s reach and upheld hierarchies. We will examine how open-ended demographic questions informed data visualization which guided accountability measures, pushed against tidiness/embraced messiness , and created interchange with information provided by the applicants. Expansive definitions of Art for Change, dance, and identities including gender, sex, artistic form, race, ethnicity, and disability were developed and carried forward into responsive, emergent program design.

Taking the program as a case study, the presenters will address application structure, language, and the review process with particular emphasis on equitable accessibility and the complexities and choices made in striving for intersectional disability justice. We will also discuss the idea of an emergent programming design that is led by artists’ individual and collective desires.

Interconnected: Possibilities for Artistic, Collaborative, Digital Future

Sheraton - GRAMERCY

Organizer: Adam DesJardins, resource service manager, CultureSource

Presenters: Salome Asega, director, NEW INC; Alan Brown, principal, Wolf Brown; Jax Deluca, Media Arts director, National Endowment for the Arts; Omari Rush, executive director, CultureSource

The internet can be simply described as the global system of interconnected computer networks. How do we as arts supporters, artists, and arts workers mimic and create a comparable interconnectivity when it comes to embracing online and digital artistic futures? This lively panel discussion will explore the ways in which our arts and cultural ecosystem of individuals and organizations might work better, and where artists and arts institutions are better partners in co-conceiving, creating, and collaborating on platforms for digital work and new infrastructure. Panelists will share media examples of arts leaders, creative organizations, and artists embracing digital tech, as well as data and on-the-ground experiences of arts service organizations supporting this type of work. We hope to illuminate new possible and fundable intersections of relationships that go beyond transactional commissions or venue rentals and that leave participants inspired, wired, and ready to connect on the shared mission of growing the digital arts ecosystem.

Capacity building for the arts in Puerto Rico: Arts, Innovation and Management (AIM) Program and other efforts

Sheraton - BOWERY

Organizer: Vanessa Gonzalez, senior managing director, Programs, Flamboyan Arts Fund

Presenters:Carlos Rodriguez, executive director, Flamboyan Foundation Ethan Joseph, Arts Team, Bloomberg Philanthropies

In Fall 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Flamboyan Arts Fund announced their collaboration on the Arts, Innovation and Management (AIM) Puerto Rico program. This program aims to build the capacity of essential cultural institutions by providing management training to enhance their strategic planning, and empowering nonprofit arts and cultural organizations to anticipate and adapt in response to local and global challenges. This session will present various highlights and lessons learned during design, creation, and implementation of the program through the lens of participants, local mentors and consultants. The session will discuss how the program has adapted to the local context in Puerto Rico, and discuss other local and national efforts to build capacity for the sector.

Intentional Seeds: Lessons from the Arizona Artist Investment Program

Sheraton - CHELSEA

Organizer: Anna Needham (Red Lake Ojibwe), artist programs coordinator, Arizona Commission on the Arts

Presenters: Anna Needham (Red Lake Ojibwe), artist programs coordinator, Arizona Commission on the Arts; Kesha Bruce , artist programs manager, Arizona Commission on the Arts; Therosia Reynolds , multidisciplinary artist and artist investment program participant; Isaac De La Cruz , Multidisciplinary Visual Artist and Artist Investment Program participant

How do we as funders engage and serve artists on their terms? How do we recalibrate funding processes and intentionally make space for artists, especially artists of color, as co-developers in the institution's funding mechanisms? Grounded in the responsibility as public funders to be responsive, the Arizona Commission on the Arts developed and has been piloting the Arizona Artist Investment Program (AIP) since 2021. The Artist Investment Program has at its foundation the mindset that investing in community-based artists across Arizona transforms the communities themselves. Rather than a fellowship structure with applications and static timelines, AIP functions as a fusion of a cohort and granting program that is developed in tandem with the participants to determine the curriculum, knowledge experts, and resources that will best fit their needs as they arise.

This session will focus on the process and outcomes from the perspectives of both cohort participants and funders, emphasizing the reciprocal nature of that relationship built from a holistic approach to an artist's professional development. The program will act as a case study as session participants explore how responsive engagement based in leveraging funder resources and collective knowledge provides support that exists long after the funds are spent.

Funding Structural Change in the Arts Ecosystem: Power, Trust, and Transformation

Sheraton - FLATIRON

Organizer: Melissa Tuplin, director of Community Investment & Impact, Calgary Arts Development

Facilitator: Miranda Gonzalez, producing artistic director, UrbanTheater Company (UTC); Presenters: Melissa Tuplin, director of Community Investment & Impact, Calgary Arts Development; Brian Loevner, founder, BLVE; Melissa Cowley-Wolf, founder, MCW Projects LLC & Director, Arts Funders Forum (AFF)

Panelists from funders who offer grant investment programs that provide support for transformative structural change such as mergers, strategic partnerships, or closures will discuss the role of the funder in organizational life cycle management. Panelists will reflect on their own power within the ecosystem when offering programs about merging or winding down operations; what trust means within such vulnerable interactions; the potential that life cycle change has to transform the arts ecosystem.

Topics will include: how life cycle discussions often centre white-led organizations and funders; operational alternatives that challenge and dismantle conventional white supremacist models; the ways in which program design can create and erode trust. Participants will be asked to challenge their assumptions and understanding of their positions within the system, how the encouragement of funding to support structural organizational transformation or closure might contribute to the re-imagining of the arts sector post-pandemic, and how calling into conversations about equitable power distribution with a focus on community and language of collaboration might further funder's impact in the sector.

White Folks in Support of BIPOC Lives

Sheraton - BOWERY

Organizers: Tiffany Wilhelm, Caitlin Strokosch, and Eleanor Savage

Presenters: Caitlin Strokosch, president & CEO, National Performance Network; Eleanor Savage, program director, Jerome Foundation; Tiffany (Ti) Wilhelm, program officer/Operations, Opportunity Fund

This convening is a space to build our collective anti-racist understanding and analysis, support each other’s journeys, growth processes, challenges, and stuck places through candid conversations, and clarify and strengthen our understanding of the role of White people toward racial justice at this time.

Freedom Dreaming

Sheraton - GRAMERCY

Organizer: Dr. Durell Cooper

This gathering is a space for self-identified Black bodies to commune that encourages freedom dreaming from the depths of our souls. This space offers meditations on the topics of joy, hope, healing, and liberation. Participants will dive deeply into the intersections of the arts and healing in their individual practices through active reflection and meditations of the spirit for communal well-being. This space seeks to serve as a reminder that in this time of urgency we must slow down to handle the world, each other, and ourselves with care.

Support for Individual Artist Committee Happy Hour

Main Lobby

MAIN LOBBY - Organized by the Support for Individual Artist Committee

Join us for great conversation and thought partnership around the needs of individual artists, as well as some light snacks and your favorite cocktail or mocktail.

Folks who love the South or who want to learn to love the South*

Sheraton - Empire West (2nd Floor)

CHELSEA - Organized by Memphis Music Initiative

Memphis Music Initiative invites you to join us for a reception to connect with fellow intermediary and traditional funders interested in radical and reparative funding for Black and brown organizations and communities in the South.
*This affinity group ends at 7:00P.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Right Time, Right Place: How Partnering with Community Foundations Can Help Meet the Need

Sheraton - GRAMERCY

Organizer: Julia Chang, philanthropic initiatives officer, The New York Community Trust

Presenters: Emily Bronson, senior community engagement Officer, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation; Julia Chang, philanthropic initiatives officer, The New York Community Trust; Brandi Stewart, program officer for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Community foundations can be strategic partners to corporate, family, and private foundations, both for efforts that are time-limited (such as emergency relief), and that are patient and place-based. Join for a roundtable conversation on when these partnerships can be most effective, how they can help foundations expand their bench of experts and capacity to fulfill grant mandates, and how they can build networks and foreground local leadership and knowledge. Among the case studies we’ll discuss are: A partnership between The New York Community Trust and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation that helped the Foundation make emergency grants to individual artists across the country through a field-of-interest fund in The Trust; and the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's work to expand access to the arts in Berkshire County, MA, in partnership with the Barr Foundation's regional Creative Commonwealth Initiative. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own examples of community foundation partnerships for discussion.

Centering Equity in Municipal Grantmaking: Case Studies in Reforms from New York City and Los Angeles

Sheraton - BOWERY

Presented by: Ben Espinosa, arts manager, City of Los Angeles;Ashley Firestone, director of Equity & Partnerships, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Viviana Bianchi, executive director, Bronx Council on the Arts

National movements emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the last couple years have prompted many state/local arts agencies to reassess their grantmaking to consider ways to expand access to individual artists and uplift BIPOC- and other minority-centered arts organizations. Meanwhile, policies and bureaucracy can serve as barriers to awarding support to artists and organizations anchored in systemically oppressed communities. In this roundtable session, stewards of public funds from New York City and the City of Los Angeles will offer insights, celebrate wins, and share outcomes from programs intended to increase equity in grantmaking.

Conversations will be framed around:

  • NYC’s five Local Arts Councils’ respective and collective equity & accessibility audit
  • Reforms to NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ Cultural Development Fund (CDF)
  • The new Arts Workforce Empowerment grant program in Los Angeles

Discussion will address challenges throughout a public grantmaking change management process, such as “making the case” to leadership; broad constituent and stakeholder engagement; simplifying applications; distinguishing between social justice-centered organizations and those that are generically "cultural-or-multicultural," and supporting staff salaries with easy relation to measurable project-outcomes.

From Land Acknowledgment to LandBack

Sheraton - CHELSEA

Presenters: NDN Collective; Gaby Strong (Dakota), Managing Director, NDN Collective - Foundation; Tina Kuckkahn (Ojibwe), Director of Grantmaking, NDN Collective - Foundation; Quita Sullivan (Montaukett/Shinnecock), Senior Program Director, Theater, New England Foundation for the Arts; Lori Pourier (Lakota), President of First Peoples Fund.

In recent years, Land Acknowledgements have been an important step toward understanding the invisibility of Indigenous Peoples upon whose lands the present-day United States was built. But it is not enough to acknowledge the action of colonization. Justice requires return and reparations. LandBack is a movement that not only works toward this end but also works to return us all to our connection to land and to be in relationship with land and the planet we call home. Despite centuries of extraction and federal policies aimed at complete assimilation, today’s Indigenous Nations act from inherent self-determination to determine not only our own futures but to also save life now at the brink of extinction on earth. Indigenous changemakers convene this roundtable to discuss how to rematriate wealth, including land, back to the original peoples from whom it was taken. As the stewards of Turtle Island (North America), Indigenous peoples can light the way back to the original teachings of natural law, resetting the balance for all peoples and the planet.

The Black Seed: Lessons Learned from an Unprecedented Of/By/For Endeavor on Behalf of Black Theater and Theatermakers*

Sheraton - BOWERY

Organizer: Susan Feder, retired program officer, The Mellon Foundation

Presenters: Lisa Arrindell, performing artist and actor, The Juilliard School; Indira Etwaroo, executive director, The Black Seed Project; Susan Feder, retired program officer, The Mellon Foundation; Andre Harrington, designer and cohort member, The Black Seed Project; Shari Thomas, program manager, The Black Seed; Donna Walker Kuhne, cohort facilitator, Walker Communications Group, The Black Seed Think Tank;

The Black Seed is the first-ever national strategic plan to create impact and thrivability for Black theater institutions, unprecedentedly led by a Black-led theater institution, The Billie Holiday Theatre, in collaboration with other Black leadership for communities of Black artists and Black audiences. Black theater institutions have been and will continue to be the guardians of the true American story, beginning with those institutions from the 60s and 70s and continuing to this era of racial injustice and unprecedented awareness. Members of The Black Seed will elucidate the genesis and execution of this $10M national initiative to create a 21st century ecosystem for institutional thrivability, collectively tackling racial injustices and inequalities, and developing profound, world-class relevant art and replicable institutional and national partnership models. Black Seed is now providing 100 theaters with multi-year financial, programming, marketing, and technical investments. Not a funding pitch, rather, this is a chance for attendees to take away an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of working with national networks and coalitions, including Black Theatre Commons, Black Theatre Network, Black Theatre United, International Black Theater Summit, Project1Voice, and We See You White American Theater, to model a culture of abundance and systemic change.
*Note this session will be held on-site.

Creative Responses to Crisis: A Theatrical Performance & Discussion on the Role of the Arts in Improving Mental Health

Pregones/PRTT theater

Organizer: : Rick Luftglass, executive director, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

Presenters: Rick Luftglass, executive director, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund; Irfan Hasan, deputy vice president for Grants, New York Community Trust; Madaha Kinsey-Lamb, founder/president, Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center; Arnaldo J. López, Ph.D., managing director, Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater

The pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health. These challenges have disproportionately affected historically marginalized and vulnerable populations, including communities of color and people with pre-existing challenges such as unemployment, poverty, domestic violence, homelessness, mental illness, disabilities, refugee history, and immigration status. Arts organizations have seen their communities and; constituents struggle. Every arts organization will affirm that the arts are inherently therapeutic; today, there is an urgency for arts funders to do more. We can be more intentional about using the arts to support mental health issues, particularly trauma, depression, anxiety, and stigma that is a barrier to seeking help.

Funders will discuss the mental health fallout from COVID and engage in discussion with two Bronx-based arts organizations that will share insights on programs they have developed to address these issues in their communities. In addition to the panel discussion, attendees will be treated to a special performance of one of Alejandra Ramos Riera’s “micro-plays” that premiered in September at Pregones/PRTT in collaboration with community partners.

Artists Leading the Way: Moving Beyond Emergency Relief to Post-Pandemic Funding Paradigms

Abrons Art Center - Underground Theater

Organizers: Jamie Hand, director of Strategic Impact and Narrative Change, Creatives Rebuild New York; Meg Leary, senior program director; Performing Arts & Operations, Walder Foundation

Presenters: Kate Bowen, executive director, Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions (ACRE); Gonzalo Casals, senior research and policy fellow, Arts and Culture, Mellon Foundation; Jean Cook, artist and Steering Committee Member, Music Workers Alliance; Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, executive director, Dance/NYC; Judilee Reed, executive director, United States Artists;

The COVID19 pandemic catalyzed a massive awakening among arts funders to the financial precarities of individual artists – the circumstances were certainly not new and were felt most acutely by artists already managing the insecurity of gig-based employment. The decades-long failure of our public and private funding mechanisms to get money directly into the hands of artists was on clear display. In response to this recognition was an explosion of surveys across disciplines, all seeking to better understand individual artists’ unique needs and experiences so that relief could happen fast. In Chicago, groups of working artists leveraged the pandemic’s different rhythm of time and sense of possibility to be at the forefront of data collection and advocacy. The creation of artist-led data projects like the Chicago Arts Census mobilized and paid artists to be data collectors, analysts, designers, and advocates in a grassroots movement for pay equity, workers rights, and the movement for racial justice. In New York, the Music Workers Alliance advocated broadly for emergency relief and provided peer assistance to musicians in need, while DanceNYC captured data about the pandemic’s impact on dance workers that informed the recent launch of the Dance Industry Census. How can funders not only support these efforts, but build upon the data collected and stories shared to create entirely new financial support structures that artists are calling for? What are the barriers we must overcome to make them a reality not just in times of crisis, but as a new paradigm for supporting artists’ labor and livelihoods? In this off-site session, join artists, long-time advocates, and funders who have led data collection, emergency relief, and leading-edge funding initiatives in a candid dialogue about the urgency and opportunity to sustain this shift in our field.

Public Sector Possibilities for Transformation: Advancing Racial Equity through Cultural Policy Structures*

Sheraton - GRAMERCY

Organizers: Jen Cole, Jordan Schnitzer dean, Pacific Northwest College of Art; Estrella Esquilin, artist and cultural strategist; Randy Engstrom, principal and co-founder, Third Way Creative

Presenters: Jill Paulson, executive director, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (Cleveland); Katherin Canton, Race and Equity manager, California Arts Council; Amanda Carlson, senior strategist, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Lindsay Keast, program manager, Arts and Creativity & Accessibility Coordinator, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs; Gina Rodriguez-Drix, deputy director, Department of Arts, Culture + Tourism, City of Providence, RI; Ashley Firestone, director, Equity and Partnerships, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

As GIA welcomes more public sector agencies to their membership, the organization has sought new ways to support the field in advancing policy and systems change. Launched in 2022, the Cultural Policy Action Lab and Learning Series is a leadership and professional development community of practice program for public sector workers who seek to advance racial equity through arts and culture and public policy. Join the CPAL team, co-designers, and inaugural cohort to explore what has been learned, what support the field needs, and co-create how best to grow the program to meet GIA’s larger goals around policy and advocacy transformation. We will begin the session with interactive group discussions about the needs and opportunities of members, then move through moderated conversation and engage in the collective imagination of the future of the work.

Open to all members, particularly those who work in or with public sector.
*Note this session will be held on-site.

Mapping Successes and Lessons: Arts-Focused Racial Equity Initiatives

Signature Theatre - Diamond Stage

Organizer: Adam DesJardins, resource services coordinator, CultureSource

Presenters: Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, program officer, Creativity & Free Expression, Ford Foundation; Kemi Ilesanmi, executive director, The Laundromat Project; Omari Rush, Executive Director, CultureSource; Salem Tsegaye, program officer, Arts & Culture, The New York Community Trust; Sixto Wagan, project director, BIPOC Arts Network and Fund

Join this session for perspectives and insights from colleagues who have committed to and administered major racial equity-focused funding initiatives in New York, Houston, and Detroit. Our panelists will share their successes and learnings from their first round of funding and programming, their plans and ideas for continuing the work, and where and how their initiatives intersect and share a common goal. Attendees and participants in this session will leave the room with transferable knowledge and ideas for championing racial equity initiatives and funding programs in their respective communities and help build collegiality and critical connections between people doing this type of work across the nation.

Setting the Stage for Exponent Impact: The Journey to Becoming a Spend-down Foundation

Sheraton - FLATIRON

Organizer: Sharon Yazowski, executive director, Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation

Presenters: Sharon Yazowski, executive director, Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation; Valerie Horn, director, Cowan Community Action Group, Inc.; Nancy Halverson, executive director, Levitt Shell Sioux Falls

While most philanthropy is structured for giving in perpetuity, a small yet growing number of foundations are challenging tradition and embracing a spend-down approach. Addressing society's issues for a better tomorrow requires significant investment in the present, setting the stage for exponent impact. Recognizing the critical role of the arts in fostering thriving communities, join Levitt Foundation's Sharon Yazowski as she presents the journey of becoming a spend-down foundation at the intersection of arts and social impact. Discover how this decision reflects Levitt's core values to support catalytic creative placemaking and equity-centered practices that drive impact through community-driven programs. What are the considerations to navigating this shift as a long-term funder of grantee partners? With perspectives from two grantees, the panel will discuss involving grantees with shaping the spend-down and restructuring programs and funding to position grantees for sustainability after the Foundation's sunset. Participants will gain insights of various factors to consider regarding spend-downs based on the Levitt Foundations journey, including opportunities for greater impact and deeper grantee collaborations; strategies for communicating transparency and maintaining trust with grantees; and best practices for setting a clear course forward, with flexibility. Walk away inspired to consider a spend-down approach for your foundation.

Proximity as Practice

Sheraton - CHELSEA

Organizer: Rychetta Watkins, PhD, director, Grantmaking & Partnerships, Memphis Music Initiative

Presenters: Ruth Abigail Smith, executive director, Angel Street; Tarik Ward, diredctor, ELMA Philanthropies, Strategic Operations; Dr. Rychetta Watkins, director, Grantmaking and Capacity Building, Memphis Music Initiative

Though the term has devolved into a buzzword for many, proximity should be a valued tenet of equitable philanthropic practice. ELMA Philanthropies partnered with Memphis Music Initiative to embody proximity through MMI's regranting program. The goal of proximity is to look to the communities and people with lived experience of social challenges for solutions. In this case, MMI has built strong relationships with grantees to build out a responsive capacity building model. ELMA's investment has spurred the evaluation - and now replication - of a model of capacity building for sustainability for small, grassroots black and brown led organizations.

How Arts Funders Can Advance Systems Change: Developing Advocacy in the West and Beyond

Sheraton - BOWERY

Organizers: : David Holland, deputy director, WESTAF; Cynthia Chen, manager of Public Policy and Advocacy, WESTAF; Moana Palelei HoChing, senior policy analyst, WESTAF

Presenters: Julie Baker, executive director, Californians for the Arts/California Arts Advocates; Ted Russell, director, Arts Strategy and Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation; Adam Fong, program officer, Performing Arts, Hewlett Foundation; David Holland, deputy director, WESTAF

The need to prioritize arts advocacy has accelerated given the pressing context of a sector deeply damaged by the pandemic and facing a long road to recovery. Expanded investment in advocacy and infrastructure is needed to support the field in navigating these larger systemic challenges in an increasingly charged political and policymaking arena. WESTAF's Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy division leads the organization's efforts to strengthen advocacy for the arts at local, state, and national levels, support state arts agencies across the West, and facilitate regional and national dialogue on contemporary policy issues that affect the arts. Since 2007, for example, WESTAF has supported this work through its State Advocacy Funds and more recently established a Western Arts Advocacy Network in 2020. These and other efforts, like a Hewlett Foundation funded Arts Policy and Leadership Seminar in the Bay Area, seek to define new approaches to building advocacy capacity across the West and beyond. This session will engage participants in discussion about how funding advocacy efforts can lead to policy change, examine the limits of grantmaking, provide practical examples of how to build capacity, and invite participants to ideate on the future of funding advocacy.

America, Becoming: Artists as Stewards of the Pluralist Future We Seek


Organizers: Nicholai Joaquin, chief of Staff to the CEO, Pop Culture Collaborative;Nayantara Sen, director of Field and Funder Learning, Pop Culture Collaborative

Presenters: Bridgit Antoinette Evans, CEO, Pop Culture Collaborative; Brandon McEachern, founder and CEO, Broccoli City Festival; Mike Mosallam, founder, Mike Mosallam Productions; Aysha Pennerman, artist and muralist

As attacks on multiracial democracy escalate, arts and culture funders are grappling with fundamental questions. How can we support artists to help audiences make meaning out of chaos, and embrace their personal and collective power to fight for a just and pluralist society? What does it take to activate a grantmaking strategy that centers artists, while also building narrative power at the scale of millions of people? And how can funders integrate support of artistic projects with investments in the narrative infrastructure that ensures that BIPOC artists (especially women, queer, trans, nonbinary, immigrant, Muslim and/or disabled artists) can collaboratively transform the narrative waters in which we all swim? For the 2022 GIA Annual Conference, the Pop Culture Collaborative will pull back the curtain and share learnings from the design and implementation of our Becoming America Fund: a first-of-its-kind, multi-million-dollar initiative to resource a narrative network of artists, movement organizers, and cultural strategists to produce art and media powerful enough to ignite public yearning for our pluralist future. We'll show participants how this narrative network reached more than 100 million people through work spanning film, video, literary essays, live performance, visual art, digital storyworlds, and fan fiction.

Financial Freedom: Debt Elimination Grants to Advance Racial Equity

Sheraton - GRAMERCY

Organizer: Anna Campbell, senior program officer, Howard Gilman Foundation

Presenters: Vy Higginsen, founder & executive director, Mama Foundation for the Arts; Anthony Simmons, senior director of Institutional Partnerships, Equity; Resilia; Rebecca Thomas, principal, Rebecca Thomas and Associates; Patricia Cruz, CEO and Artistic Director of Harlem Stage

Fiscal health and sufficient capitalization are important goals, but they are not easily achieved; the historic roadblocks to reaching these goals for organizations led by, and serving, the global majority are key to understanding the status quo for these artistic leaders and groups. This session will explore the fiscal assets and challenges at global majority organizations, and will share funding approaches, like debt reduction, that help build sustainable and thriving futures for these vital institutions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

White Folks in Support of BIPOC Lives

Sheraton - BOWERY

Organizers: Tiffany Wilhelm, Caitlin Strokosch, and Eleanor Savage

Presenters: Caitlin Strokosch, president & CEO, National Performance Network; Eleanor Savage, program director, Jerome Foundation; Tiffany (Ti) Wilhelm, program officer/Operations, Opportunity Fund

This convening is a space to build our collective anti-racist understanding and analysis, support each other’s journeys, growth processes, challenges, and stuck places through candid conversations, and clarify and strengthen our understanding of the role of White people toward racial justice at this time.

Freedom Dreaming

Sheraton - GRAMERCY

Organizer: Dr. Durell Cooper

This gathering is a space for self-identified Black bodies to commune that encourages freedom dreaming from the depths of our souls. This space offers meditations on the topics of joy, hope, healing, and liberation. Participants will dive deeply into the intersections of the arts and healing in their individual practices through active reflection and meditations of the spirit for communal well-being. This space seeks to serve as a reminder that in this time of urgency we must slow down to handle the world, each other, and ourselves with care.

Mind the (Capital) Gap

Sheraton - GRAMERCY

Organizer: Cate Fox, AmbitioUS director, Center for Cultural Innovation

Presenters: Jessica Norwood, founder & CEO, RUNWAY; Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO & portfolio lead, Roanhorse Consulting, LLC.

Capitalization is typically an extractive practice, but it does not have to be. There are people who are creating new structures that re-center people, and particularly people of color; build stronger, supportive relationships; and foster healing and prosperity. Our country’s ability to have a thriving, healthy, and diverse arts and creative ecosystem depends on these generative solutions. Together, with two expert guides who bring Black and Indigenous perspectives, we will dream of what ample capitalization and support would look and feel like; hear real life solutions (like character-based lending) that are moving us toward a better place; and begin to put together a map of what it will take for us to bridge this capital gap.

Addressing the Gap Between Cultural and Emergency Management Ecosystems Begins Locally

Sheraton - CHELSEA

Organizers:Janet Newcomb, executive director, NCAPER;Tom Clareson, director, Performing Arts Readiness Project

Presenters: Torrie Allen, opera singer, president & CEO of Arts Midwest; Long Chu, creative writer, Senior Program Officer, Houston Endowment; Lauren Hainley, theatre artist; director, Disaster Services; Houston Arts Alliance; LaShawndra Vernon, executive director, Artists Working in Education

The recent rise in extreme weather and natural and human-generated disasters requires communities in every part of the country to be in an ongoing state of disaster preparedness and recovery and respond to emergencies by learning new skills and navigating potential sources of support. National arts partners in promoting preparedness – National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness, Performing Arts Readiness, CERF+ the Artist Safety Net, and funders are responding to the gap by advocating for resources and services for the arts sector following disasters.

Nearing the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Houston’s cultural ecosystem’s clearest lesson is that most of the country’s arts, cultural, and historic preservation communities are unprepared for the next disruption. A critical gap still exists between the cultural and emergency management ecosystems.

Panelists will present and discuss how the arts have taken the lead in developing both local and national models that overcome barriers and inequities and create connections before disasters and social discord in order to be better connected and prepared to respond when disruption occurs. We’ll talk about the state of funding in this particular sector, the value and importance of both national and local support, and the diversity of models in the field.

Arts Funders Supporting Reparations in Practice

Sheraton - BOWERY

Organizer: Sarian Sankoh, senior program associate, Thriving Cultures, Surdna Foundation

Presenters: Nicole Carty, founder & coordinator, Project Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations; Trevor Smith, director of Narrative Change, Liberation Ventures; Sarian Sankoh, senior program associate, Thriving Cultures, Surdna Foundation; Robert Smith III, program officer, Thriving Cultures, Surdna Foundation

Reparations for slavery and other forms of anti-Black racism have consistently been a core demand of the Black liberation movement in the United States for at least 150 years. With the establishment of reparations pilots and research task forces across the country, the movement for reparations for Black communities is gaining momentum. Building upon the advocacy witnessed at last year's GIA conference, this session will put arts funders in conversation with folks innovating in the field of reparations to grapple with these questions:

  • What does it mean for arts funders to support the reparations movement in practice?
  • What responsibility do we have to this movement when historically many of our investments have been complicit in maintaining white cultural norms that marginalize and harm Black communities?

Join us as we explore the intersections between arts, culture, and the reparations movement.