Envisioning The Future Of Higher Education In The Arts
August 18, 2020 | 2:00-3:15pm EDT
Artist, Arts Administrator, and Educator
President and Executive Director of AICAD
President and Executive Director of AICAD
In 2020, colleges and universities across the world have rushed to adapt to a new reality that questions the very nature of their work: a pandemic sent students home and protests shone a spotlight on inequality supported by many of our institutions, including those in higher education. Since March, everyone involved in education has had to rethink fundamentals and challenge core assumptions ranging from the format of instruction to what and who creates value. Since arts education is historically vulnerable to funding cuts and much of the instruction relies on hands-on studio classes, specialized equipment, in-person mentorship, and tuition dollars, the systemic changes necessary to thrive require radical, ethical thinking. What are the responsibilities and priorities being considered going into this exceptional academic year?
Artist and educator Natalia Nakazawa will facilitate a discussion between two important leaders in arts education: Deborah Obalil, the President and Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), and Meme Omogbai, the Executive Director and CEO of the College Art Association (CAA). Both institutions support and advocate for artists, arts workers, and scholars in the art and design fields. Together, they will discuss the evolving paths forward for higher education in the arts, including structural changes and very significant challenges. What is the role of higher education in times of crisis? Since creativity is nurtured by the institutions they oversee, what are the creative solutions being implemented to address health concerns, anti-racism efforts, adjunct culture, and affordability? What are their hopes and expectations for the future?
This 75-minute webinar is designed with everyone in the art world from current students to artists, arts administrators, and art historians in mind. Questions submitted during registration will be incorporated into the discussion as appropriate.
About the Speakers
Natalia Nakazawa is a Queens-based interdisciplinary artist working across the mediums of painting, textiles, and social practice. Utilizing strategies drawn from a range of experiences in the fields of education, arts administration, and community activism, Nakazawa negotiates spaces between institutions and individuals, often inviting participation and collective imagining. She has held the position of Assistant Director of EFA Studios for over 8 years, supporting a large network of contemporary artists through subsidized studio spaces and professional practice opportunities in midtown Manhattan. Nakazawa received her MFA in studio practice from California College of the Arts, a MSEd from Queens College, and a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has recently been exhibited at Wave Hill (Bronx, NY), Arlington Arts Center (Washington, DC), Transmitter Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), The Old Stone House in Brooklyn (Brooklyn, NY), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). Nakazawa has been an artist-in-residence at MASS MoCA, SPACE on Ryder Farm, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and Wassaic Project. She teaches at CUNY.
Meme Omogbai is Executive Director and CEO of College Art Association (CAA), the preeminent international support organization for professionals in the visual arts. Before joining CAA, Omogbai served as a member and past Board Chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust, one of four landmark entities dedicated to preservation of the state’s historic and cultural heritage and Montclair State University’s Advisory Board. Named one of 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, Meme has over 25 years of experience in corporate, government, higher education, and museum sectors. As the first American of African descent to chair the American Alliance of Museums, Omogbai led an initiative to rebrand the AAM as a global, inclusive alliance. While COO and Trustee, she spearheaded a major transformation in operating performance at the Newark Museum. During her time as Deputy Assistant Chancellor of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education, Omogbai received Legislative acknowledgement and was recognized with the New Jersey Meritorious Service Award for her work on college affordability initiatives for families. Omogbai received her MBA from Rutgers University and holds a CPA. She did post-graduate work at Harvard University’s Executive Management Program and has earned the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant. She studied global museum executive leadership at the J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Leadership Institute, where she also served on the faculty.
Deborah Obalil has over twenty years experience as a leader in the national arts and culture industry. She was appointed the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) in June 2012, and then President in the fall 2015. Prior to her appointment with AICAD, Obalil operated a successful boutique arts management consulting firm, Obalil & Associates for four years. The firm provided consultation and facilitation in strategic business planning, marketing research and planning, and board development for non-profit arts organizations, independent artists of all disciplines, and creative for-profit ventures. Obalil has also served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities and Director of Arts Marketing Center & Research at the Arts & Business Council of Chicago.
Author, Faculty Member at New York University
Holding an MFA and an MBA, Amy studies the friction between art and business and proposes new structures to support economic sustainability for artists. Her third book, Economics of Visual Arts, was published in the fall of 2021 with Cambridge University Press. Amy is also author of two other books, Museum Legs and Art Thinking. Serving on the arts administration faculty at NYU, Amy researches what would happen if artists retained equity in their work. Her work on fractional equity has appeared in Management Science (with Kraussl) in the "Fast Track" intended for "high-impact research that is of broad interest.”
Amy's work has been featured in The Guardian, Harpers, The Atlantic, the Financial Times, Artforum, and The Art Newspaper. Her early work with the artists' cooperative project Trade School was covered in the New York Times and The New Yorker. She speaks widely including at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Meaning Conference (Brighton, UK), and The Conference (Malmö, Sweden). She has taught at Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and California College of the Arts, and is a past recipient of the Sarah Verdone Writing Award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
Image © Shieva Rezvani
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Attorney, Deputy Director of Legal Services at the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston (A&BC)
Luke Blackadar is an attorney and the Deputy Director of Legal Services at the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston (A&BC). An artist himself, he helps artists, creative start-ups, and arts nonprofits manage legal issues involving copyright, trademark, contracts, entity formation, and corporate governance. Luke also enjoys talking to groups of law students and artists and has recently spoken on art legal issues to the Americans for the Arts, the City of Boston, and students at Brown University, RISD, MassArt, and Lesley University. In addition to managing the A&BC’s legal interns, he teaches at the Boston University Metropolitan College and the Roger Williams University School of Law, and mentors students through the Northeastern University and Northeast Regional Black Law Student Associations. Luke is a graduate of Clark University and Northeastern University School of Law. In his spare time, he enjoys drawing, running, reading, and playing video games.
Marci Blackman + Diana Y Greiner
Founders of Treehouse Taxes
Treehouse Taxes, run by Diana Y Greiner and Marci Blackman in Brooklyn, New York, caters specifically to self-employed individuals and small businesses. They built the Treehouse so you will have a safe, fun, and friendly place to get your taxes done.
Marci has been providing a combination of tax preparation, bookkeeping, and accounting services to a wide range of clientele, including individuals, partnerships, and small corporations for the past 20 years. As a longtime freelancer and award-winning novelist, Marci understands what it means to “hustle” for your dreams, particularly as it pertains to taxes. As a partner in Treehouse Taxes LLC, Marci believes transferring knowledge and helping artists and freelancers become savvy taxpayers is a form of social justice.
Diana Y Greiner knows about cobbling together an income, tracking expenses, and pursuing a dream. She has spent over 20 years juggling the life of a performing artist while developing and maintaining her left brain as the managing director of an arts organization, a waitress, an acrobatics instructor, an office manager, a massage therapist, a bookkeeper, and finally a full-fledged tax nerd by earning her EA. Through it all she maintains that connection is the point of everything.
Pamela Capalad + Dyalekt
Hosts of Brunch & Budget
Pamela Capalad is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Accredited Financial Counselor™ who has worked in the field of financial services for over a decade. She founded Brunch & Budget to provide people who felt ashamed or embarrassed about money with a safe and friendly place to speak openly and make financial progress. Her mission is to make financial planning as affordable as possible for the communities who need it most. Her work has been featured in publications including the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and Vice Magazine. She was named in New York Magazine’s Best of New York 2019 and has brunched with over 400 people and counting.
Dyalekt is an MC, playwright, educator, and podcaster. His work focuses on defining personal identities and finding one’s voice, authentic communication, and supporting one’s community. His first album and one-man show, Square Peg Syndrome, is also a 6-week school curriculum that toured through St. Croix’s 17 schools. His new album and one-man show, The Museum of Dead Words, explores communication, race, and empathy in the internet age. Dyalekt was named to the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and his performance venues include the Bowery Ballroom, SXSW, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mozilla’s Internet Festival in London, the United Nations, Santa Barbara’s Lucidity Festival, and the Divadlo Archa in Prague, CZ.
Pam and Dyalekt host the Brunch & Budget podcast, where they discuss how personal finance and racial economic inclusion intersect. They also co-founded the Race & Wealth Podcast Network with Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Chief of Race, Wealth and Community at NCRC. Through what they’ve learned in their work, Dyalekt and Pam have started a group financial planning program called See Change, specifically designed for People of Color and make financial planning more inclusive.
Staff Attorney at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of NY
Laura Levin-Dando, Staff Attorney at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of NY, advises clients on a range of issues, including disputes, contracts, and intellectual property matters. Laura also teaches and facilitates VLA’s educational programs. Laura received her J.D. from George Washington University Law School and graduated summa cum laude from Yeshiva University, where she studied history and music. A lifelong musical theatre nerd, Laura feels very fortunate to be able to help artists from all disciplines through her work at VLA.
Actor, President and Founder of Abundance Bound
Miata Edoga is an actor and the President and Founder of Abundance Bound, the premiere financial education company for creative entrepreneurs. She created The Artist’s Prosperity System™, which has provided thousands of artists with a step-by-step process to significantly improve their financial situations, giving them more time and freedom to focus on their creative careers. Miata and other Abundance Bound facilitators, all working artists themselves, lead workshops and seminars on financial empowerment for organizations including: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Television Academy, WGA, DGA, SAG-AFTRA, The Actors Fund, The Motion Picture & Television Fund and The Center for Cultural Innovation.
Director of Education Outreach at Next Gen Personal Finance
Yanely Espinal is the Director of Education Outreach at Next Gen Personal Finance and the Creator of the MissBeHelpful YouTube channel, where she posts weekly videos about money. Born and raised by Dominican, immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, Yanely is a proud product of NYC public schools. She majored in Art at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School before going on to receive her bachelor's degree in History of Art/Architecture and Visual Art at Brown University. She later earned her master's degree in teaching and after struggling with credit card debt, became passionate about personal finance education. When she isn't working, she sews, paints, listens to podcasts, and babysits her 8 nieces and nephews.
Director of Artist Services at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)
As Director of Artist Services at LMCC, Ana Fiore oversees re-grant programs in support of community-based arts programming in Manhattan; artist residencies providing work space for creative development; the SU-CASA program, connecting artists with senior centers; and other artist service initiatives within the organization. The core of these programs is to increase the range of resources available to artists. Prior to LMCC, Ana aided fiscally sponsored artists at the New York Foundation for the Arts with a focus on demystifying the fundraising process. She has also served the Center for Performance Research, The Joyce, and Danspace Project.
Co-founder and Partner of Westfuller
Ian Fuller is a co-founder and partner of Westfuller, a financial and wealth management firm that provides advice, strategy, and investment management for values-aligned global individuals, families, and institutions.
A specialist in evidence-driven, global wealth advisory and planning, strategic investment management, and philanthropic giving, he works closely with people and institutions to empower wealth with purpose. Ian is also the board chair of Common Justice, a restorative and criminal justice reform organization, and serves as the treasurer/finance chair for many social justice organizations, including: civil rights organization Color of Change, economic justice impact fund The Workers Lab, the private foundation Proteus Action League, and Amalgamated bank’s Charitable Foundation.
He holds a B.S. in Economics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and an M.S. in International Affairs and Global Finance from New York University. He also holds a Chartered Financial Consultant designation for the Series 7, 66, 24 securities licenses. He lives on the Lower East Side of New York City with his family.
Math Educator, Personal Finance Advocate
Joel Kwabi was born in Ghana and moved to the United States for college. After receiving a bachelor's degree in mathematics and working in finance, he obtained a masters degree in mathematics education in pursuit of his passion for teaching. For over a decade, he has taught math in the classrooms of Brooklyn. He is passionate about personal finance and helped lead a Financial Peace University course in his church community after an eye-opening experience paying off student debt and saving to buy a home. He currently lives on Long Island with his wife and two kids.
Partner in the Advanced Media & Technology Practice at Loeb & Loeb
Jessica Lee is a Partner in the Advanced Media & Technology practice at Loeb & Loeb, where she counsels clients on the privacy and intellectual property issues that arise when launching, marketing, and monetizing digital products and content. Named one of New York’s Notable Women in Law by Crain’s, Jessica has helped a variety of media and technology companies negotiate the agreements that support their digital media initiatives. She is a member of MoMA’s Friends of Education and sits on the board of directors for The Laundromat Project.
Anibal A. Luque
Founder and Managing Attorney of Luque PLLC
Anibal A. Luque provides legal advice and practical counsel to creatives and entrepreneurs across the globe. Following today's progressive merging of industries, Anibal caters to the needs of companies and individuals who create products and provide services utilizing technology in the areas of music, art, and fashion. His clients consist of companies that provide services and innovative products in the technology, media, apparel, and beverage industries, as well as those with an eye toward social enterprise. As an enthusiastic young entrepreneur himself, Anibal strives to help like-minded people achieve success with the right legal planning.
National Director of Health Services for Entertainment Community Fund (Formerly The Actors Fund)
Renata Marinaro is an experienced social worker and current National Director of Health Services for ECF, a human services organization that helps all professionals in performing arts and entertainment. Her accomplishments include starting the Friedman Health Center for Performing Arts, a primary and specialty care center in partnership with Mount Sinai Doctors in New York City; training and managing a national team of health insurance navigators and agents; and developing creative health literacy products. Her overarching goal is to create educated healthcare consumers with increased access to affordable care.
Executive Director of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA)
Kay Takeda has worked for over 25 years to support the advancement of artists and the arts sector. Currently, she is Executive Director of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), which recognizes artists making innovative work through unrestricted grants and responsive project support. Previously, she developed strategy and oversaw artist-focused initiatives at Joan Mitchell Foundation, including the launch of the multi-year Joan Mitchell Fellowship. In prior roles, Kay expanded local grantmaking community partnerships and professional development at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; led national grantmaking programs at Arts International, and managed exhibitions and programming at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Snug Harbor. She serves on the board of Movement Research, frequently sits on funding panels, and lectures widely on professional issues affecting artists.
Aaliya Zaveri is an immigration attorney whose practice focuses on extraordinary ability petitions. She represents individual and institutional clients from a diverse range of professions, including architectural design, classical music, and visual art. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Fordham Law, she worked in corporate securities litigation before practicing immigration law. Born in India and raised in Hong Kong, she now makes her home in Brooklyn, NY.
Artist, Cultural Worker
Rad Pereira (they/them) is a queer (im)migrant artist and cultural worker building consciousness between healing justice, system change, reindigenization and queer futures based in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn) and Haudenosaunee territory (northern Hudson Valley). Their work in performance, education, and social practice has been experienced on stages, screens, stoops, and sidewalks all over Turtle Island through the support of many communities, institutions, and groups. Their book, Meeting the Moment: Socially Engaged Performance, 1965-2020, By Those Who Lived It, is available through New Village Press. They are building a Native led food sovereignty project called Iron Path Farms.
Community Architect, Cooperative Journal Podcast Host
Ebony Gustave (she/her) is a web weaver, community architect, and storyteller. She is the host of Cooperative Journal podcast, an archive of interviews highlighting international examples of the solidarity economy. As a co-steward of its multimedia umbrella, she is bridging the gaps between political education, imagination, co-creation, and actualization. The common thread between all of her work is bringing awareness to, and activating, collective autonomy, care, and trust.
Founder of Olu & Company
Dubbed the “King of multi-tasking” by Anthony Haden-Guest in The Art Newspaper, Amani Olu is a serial entrepreneur with a strong background in exhibition making and art writing. He is the co-founder of Humble Arts Foundation, a 501c3 that began to support and promote new art photography in 2005. From 2008 to 2012, he curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary photography, and spearheaded the four-part series Young Curators, New Ideas. In 2011 he joined Nadine Johnson & Associates as an art publicist for clients such as the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Marlborough Chelsea, and the Dallas Art Fair. Eighteen months later, he was named managing editor of Whitewall, having previously contributed articles on artists William Eggleston, Zoe Crosher, Elad Lassry, and Rashaad Newsome. He left to establish Olu & Company, a marketing and business consultancy for individuals, businesses and organizations in the arts. Amani makes art under the name "Scott Avery,” and is currently developing IMG SRVR, a visual cloud storage service for creative industries.
Image © James Adams
Image © James Adams
Founding Coordinator of The Kola Nut Collaborative
Mike Strode is a writer, cyclist, IT consultant, facilitator, and solidarity economy organizer residing in southeast Chicago whose community engagement work has included ride leadership with the Chicago chapter of Red, Bike & Green; editorial and archival oversight for Fultonia; and co-facilitation of Cooperation for Liberation Study & Working Group. He is founding coordinator of the Kola Nut Collaborative, a time-based service and skills trading platform which promotes timebanking throughout Chicago. He also serves as a current board member for Dill Pickle Food Co-op.
Artist, Somatic Educator, Cultural Organizer
Marina Lopez (she/her) is a Mexican American performing and social practice artist, massage therapist/somatic educator, and cultural organizer. Her experience as a bodyworker is essential to her practice as an artist because we can’t separate the art from the body that makes it. Care work is culture work. As an artist, her work is an interdisciplinary weaving of many voices that links to history, social movements, and tradition. She is a co-organizer and creative collaborator with Art.coop. Marina seeks to create work that articulates and provides an embodied cognition of the ways in which art, culture, and care are foundational within a thriving society. Her work challenges the status quo of who we as a society uplift as expert voices, and inspires curiosity, collaboration, and solidarity.
Artist, Educator, Chief Culture Officer at Open Collective
Caroline Woolard (she/her) is an artist, educator, and the Chief Culture Officer at Open Collective, a technology platform that supports 15,000 groups to raise and spend $35 million a year in full transparency. Caroline is a founding co-organizer of Art.coop which exists to grow the Solidarity Economy movement by centering systems change work led by artists, and is the co-author of three books: Making and Being (Pioneer Works, 2019), a book for educators about interdisciplinary collaboration, co-authored with Susan Jahoda; Art, Engagement, Economy (onomatopee, 2020) a book about managing socially-engaged and public art projects; and TRADE SCHOOL: 2009-2019, a book about peer learning that Caroline catalyzed in thirty cities internationally over a decade. Caroline’s artwork has been featured twice on New York Close Up (2014, 2016), a digital film series produced by Art21 and broadcast on PBS.
Caroline was integral to the writing, making, and funding of all the courses in the Solidarity Economy section of the site.