Why start from scratch? Every organization begins its life as a start-up fueled by an idea for something great. But how does it grow, change and morph into a giant performing arts venue or an intimate gallery space? When you decide to take the plunge and create something new, how do you defend that decision when there are already hundreds of thousands of incredible arts organizations that currently exist today? With the fierce competition for funding, is there more value in forming partnerships or exploring alternative funding options like micro-financing? What happens when you rework the start-up?

These amazing DC Arts professionals will answer these questions and more Sunday, April 15th at the 5th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium.

David Snider with First Lady Michelle Obama and student Playwright

David Snider
Producing Artistic Director and CEO,  Young Playwrights’ Theater

American University Arts Management Professor

David Andrew Snider has been an actor, director, educator, producer, and administrator for more than 15 years. He has worked in both the classical repertory of Shakespeare, Shaw and Chekhov, and on the development of new work with playwrights such as Kenny Lonergan, Femi Osofisan and Karen Zacarias. Over the years he has directed, acted and taught with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Kennedy Center, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, the Hangar Theatre (as Director of the Hangar’s Lab Company), Playwrights Horizons (as the Robert Moss Resident Director), Jean Cocteau Repertory and the Maddermarket Theatre of Norwich, England.

Since joining Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT) in 2005, Snider has reinvigorated the company’s vision and mission, raising the company’s local and national profile while improving the company’s fiscal health and expanding YPT’s infrastructure through several capacity-building projects. Under his leadership, YPT has been awarded commissions from the White House, the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution, while establishing the company’s first-ever resident acting company and an advisory panel of nationally-recognized playwrights, including: Paula Vogel, Anna Deavere Smith, Sarah Ruhl, Nilo Cruz and Charles Randolph Wright.

Snider has taught master classes in text, directing, acting, voice and Shakespeare in performance as a guest lecturer at the Kennedy Center, the University of Virginia, University of Maryland, Howard University, Dickinson College and as a member of the faculty at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Snider received his master of fine arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and his bachelor of arts in English literature and Russian language from Dickinson College, where he graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

Snider is a directing fellow of the Drama League of New York, the vice chair of the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative and the current president of the League of Washington Theatres.  He is also an integral member of the Arts Management Faculty at American University.

Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Executive Director and Co-founder of Life Pieces to Masterpieces

Mary is the co-founder and Executive Director of Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc., and has been with the organization since its inception in 1996. Mary graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans and has worked with low-income youth for over 20 years. Mary has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Mayor’s Spirit of Neighborhood Action Award, the Agusta Savage Arts Leadership Award, a Community Service Award from the Monica Davis Show, and an Outstanding Youth Educator Award from the See Forever Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Directors for a number of organizations including the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, Fair Chance DC, Leadership Greater Washington and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. In addition to her work with Life Pieces, Mary is also a Training Consultant with Neighborworks America.

Louise Kennelly

Louise Kennelly

Executive Director of DC Arts and Humanities Education Collabrative

As Executive Director of the DC Collaborative, Louise works with the staff, members, and board to ensure the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and objectives. Before coming to the DC Collaborative, she was a Director at the National High School Center located at the American Institutes for Research, where she is still affiliated. Before joining AIR, Ms. Kennelly led external relations initiatives at New American Schools (NAS), providing public relations and policy-related services to clients such as the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Ms. Kennelly has taught at the secondary school and college levels and has covered education issues as a daily news journalist and editor. She graduated from Yale University and holds a Master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and an M.F.A from the University of North Carolina. Ms. Kennelly is also a published poet and painter showing at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery. She is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, a North Carolina State Arts Council Individual Artist Award and is an artist in the schools through the Maryland State Arts Council’s Arts in Education (AiE) program.

Brooke Kidd

Executive Director and Founder of World Arts Focus at Joe’s Movement Emporium

As a recent graduate of American University’s MA in Dance Education, Brooke Kidd founded World Arts Focus in 1992 providing educational and cultural programs integrating dance, movement and performing arts traditions from around the world. In 1995, the organization opened a storefront space in Mount Rainier called Joe’s Movement Emporium. Joe’s serves as a professional space for a diverse range of artists by providing rehearsal and performance space throughout the year. Over the past sixteen years, Kidd has provided the community with access to a wide array of learning opportunities that include job training for at-risk teens and year-round arts experiences for low to moderate-income families. Under Kidd’s leadership, in 2007, the new Joe’s opened, expanding to 20,000 square feet and renovating an abandoned direct mail facility to create a new performing arts center.

Chris Naoum

Chris Naoum

Executive Director and Co-founder of Listen Local First, D.C.

Chris Naoum is an attorney who specializes in copyright, media and telecom law and policy. Chris has previously worked as the Deputy Editor for Broadbandbreakfast.com and as Policy Counsel for the Future of Music Coalition. Chris has been a long time advocate of independent musicians focusing on licensing and copyright reform for the past two years. He has focused much of his work on artist development and proposing policy reforms that benefit local creative communities.  Chris co-founded Listen Local First, D.C. as part of the Think Local First initiative, bringing together local musicians and businesses to promote and expand the local music scene in Washington.  Listen Local First features artists every month ranging from folk to funk, hosts music panels, and showcases artists in local venues throughout the District.

Before moving to Washington, Chris received his BA from Emory University and his JD and MA in Television Radio and Film Policy from Syracuse University.

Curious about starting a non-profit arts organization and being successful? Do you have questions for our panelists? Got anything in particular you want to hear from these panelists?

Share with us and bring the questions to the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium on Sunday, April 15, 2012. See you there!