We’re here to announce the panelists and moderators for two more of our panel discussions for this year’s Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium. Founder’s Stories: Entrepreneurship and Arts Start-Ups will feature leading arts innovators and their narratives on establishing new arts organizations in their communities.  Putting Artists First: Arts Incubators and Other Support Structures will spark conversation about supporting artists and improving artists’ environment so that they are able to pursue their passion sustainably. Read more about the inspiring panelists below, and don’t forget to purchase your tickets for this year’s symposium before they’re gone!


Founder’s Stories: Entrepreneurship and
Arts Start-Ups

 Barbara Johnson

BarbaraJohnsonAn artist and educator for over thirty years, Ms. Johnson founded Art Works Now with a vision of increasing accessibility to visual arts education across economic and ability spectrums. She is a passionate advocate for social justice who sees access to visual art education as an important civil rights issue facing Americans today.

A working artist whose paintings have been exhibited internationally, Barbara has taught at colleges around the country, most notably The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, and The University of Texas. In addition to her work as an educator, Ms. Johnson brings several years experience in management, marketing, and merchandising in the art supply retail industry.

Her family has been in the Washington metropolitan area for seven generations and she is delighted to have returned home to Prince George’s County at such a positive time in the County’s growth.

Ms. Johnson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Wyoming and an undergraduate Art degree from The University of Maryland. She is a candidate for the Master’s Art Education degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. In 2013 Ms. Johnson received the Outstanding Scholar Award from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania for her work advancing art education nationally through her publication efforts and national speaking engagements.

In 2012 her article Out or In…Which is it?” The Question of Coming Out in the Heteronormative and Homophobic World of Education was published in the Journal of Art for Life published by Florida State.

Barbara is a joyful and enthusiastic educator who firmly believes that art works.

Joy Zinoman

ZinomanJoy Zinoman is a master teacher and the founder of both Studio Theatre and Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory. She has been teaching and directing for over 40 years in the U.S. and abroad and created the Conservatory’s core acting curriculum. Before retiring from Studio Theatre, she directed 70 productions and garnered over 225 Helen Hayes Awards nominations for the Theatre. She has received numerous awards including Outstanding Direction and Visionary Leadership in the Arts. Training: Northwestern University; Radcliffe College; American University.

C. Brian Williams

Brian WilliamsC. Brian Williams is a native of Houston, Texas, and a graduate of Howard University. He learned to step as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Beta Chapter and launched the historic Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival in partnership with the Soweto Danc e Theater in December of 1994.

Williams has performed, lectured and taught all over the world. He has been cited as a “Nation Builder” by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators; one of Washington, DC’s “arts innovators” by Washingtonian Magazine; and earned the Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance.

Williams is the recipient of an Artist Fellowship, numerous awards from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities and the Mayor’s Art Award for Innovation in the Arts. He is featured in Soulstepping: African American Step Shows, the first book to document the history of stepping. Under Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s newest cultural exports and inspired the designation of Step Afrika! as “Washington, DC’s official Cultural Ambassador.”

Andrew Taylor, Moderator

andrewtaylor_headshotE. Andrew Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Arts Management Program, exploring the intersection of arts, culture, and business. An author, lecturer, and researcher on a broad range of arts management issues, Andrew has also served as a consultant to arts organizations and cultural initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the William Penn Foundation, Overture Center for the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, Create Austin, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Prior to joining the AU faculty, Andrew served as Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business for over a decade. Andrew is past president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, current board member of the innovative arts support organization Fractured Atlas, and consulting editor both for The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society and for Artivate, a journal for arts entrepreneurship. Since July 2003, he has written a popular weblog on the business of arts and culture, ”The Artful Manager, ” hosted by ArtsJournal.com (www.artfulmanager.com)


Putting Artists First: Arts Incubators and Other Support Structures

Gregory Allgire Smith

Gregory Allgire Smith - B&W Laughing Since 2011 Gregory Allgire Smith has been the Executive Director of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), based in Virginia and France, which provides residencies to 400 artists a year. A native of Washington, DC, he trained in art history at Johns Hopkins and Williams College.

Greg began his forty-year career in arts administration at the Washington Project for the Arts, worked for a dozen years in art museums in Minneapolis, Akron, and Toledo, and led the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah as Director for seven years. From 1994 through 2009 Greg was the President/CEO of the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Amy Scheidegger

Amy Scheidegger is a Philadelphia visual artist/artist advocate with a bachelor’s degree in Painting/Drawing unnamedfrom East Carolina University and a Masters in Arts Administration from Drexel University. Amy spent two years on the Drexel Arts Administration Graduate Association board as Art Advocacy Director and her thesis won Drexel’s Best Thesis award in 2010.

In January 2011, Amy founded the Artistic Rebuttal Project, an arts advocacy initiative to assert the importance of arts access and artists’ rights. That year, Amy was granted the honor of becoming one of Philadelphia’s Top 76 Creative Connectors.

This project has allowed Amy to use every skill attained throughout her undergraduate and graduate degree programs to further express her infinite love for the arts.

Laura Zabel

ZabelHeadshotLaura Zabel is the Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts, which operates Creative Exchange, a platform for sharing free toolkits, resources, and profiles to help artists and citizens collaborate on replicating successful and engaging community projects. An economic and community development agency run by and for artists, Springboard provides programs that help artists make a living and a life, and programs that help communities connect to the creative power of artists.

Sunny Widmann, Moderator

Arts ManagementAs Director at National Arts Strategies, Sunny Widmann designs educational experiences for the cultural field.  Her programs support executives (Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture) and entrepreneurs (Creative Community Fellows) who lead community change through the arts.  Sunny helps cultural leaders find their “tribe” by building communities of likeminded leaders both on line and in-person.  She works with experts in the fields of business, urban planning and social entrepreneurship to craft tools and curriculum for these leaders.

Sunny joined the NAS team in 2009. Prior to that she served with the Peace Corps in Togo. She holds a graduate degree in Arts Management from American University.

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