Blog Posts for Membership

Member Spotlight: Asiyah Kurtz

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Oct 25, 2021 0 comments

Located in Camden, New Jersey, Camden FireWorks is a Black-led, community-based arts organization that works to grow, gather, and invest in artists and artists-to-be in the Camden community. Executive Director Asiyah Kurtz is an applied anthropologist with 20 years of experience in leadership of private, nonprofit, and public sectors. “As a young arts organization, we had previously only relied on volunteers to teach our open studio workshops for our first five years of operations. With the support of our Board, one of the changes I made this year was to pay a meaningful wage to teaching artists for their time, labor, and talent. If I have anything to do with it, there will be no starving artists in Camden.” 

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Member Spotlight: Morgan Ritter

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Oct 13, 2021 0 comments

Public Art Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator Morgan Ritter is an artist, poet, and arts worker, and has been responsible for the care of art and arts spaces for 14 years within many of Portland, Oregon’s nonprofit arts institutions. Morgan joined the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) in 2019 and her personal art practice includes sculpture, installation, books, video, poetry, and performance. “Often, I feel playful, relating with the world around me in a flexible way where things like mud puddles, soda cans, and potatoes become compelling material to work with. Much of my artwork is sourced from these various fragments and consists not only of found objects, but found language from dreams, conversations, and texts. I find most interest in making meaning with matter that is not classified as precious or valuable. And now in these times, I am finding all the more reason to be resourceful and utilize the available domestic systems and dusty, garage detritus for their extrasensory, healing potential.”

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Member Spotlight: Bernadette Carroll

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Sep 13, 2021 0 comments

Bernadette Carroll joined Act One as their executive director in March 2020, just as arts organizations across the country shuttered due to COVID-19. She hit the ground running and worked on a new strategic plan with board and staff to address the needs of schools and arts organizations during the pandemic, its impact on the future of Act One, and on the communities served by the organization. Adapting to the changes of remote work, Carroll and her team launched Act One’s new virtual reality field trip program for students.

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Member Spotlight: Billy Ocasio

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Apr 12, 2021 0 comments

Located in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (NMPRAC) is the only museum in the country outside of Puerto Rico dedicated exclusively to Puerto Rican arts and culture. Under Billy Ocasio’s leadership as executive director, the museum’s budget has tripled, staffing has grown, and visitor attendance has increased 67%. In 2012, NMPRAC was named the latest City of Chicago’s Museums in the Park, making history as the first new addition in over 20 years. “At NMPRAC, our vision is to be the premier organization that both influences and connects diasporic arts, culture, and history to evolving generations. Supporting both local and national Puerto Rican artists has always been important to the museum. To this day, finding new and creative ways to engage with our communities remains a top priority and can be witnessed through our programming, including the annual Barrio Arts Fest, various workshops, lectures, and panel discussions, as well as through exhibiting work from Puerto Rican artists.” 

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Member Spotlight: Jenice Gharib

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Mar 22, 2021 0 comments

Jenice Gharib serves as the grants program and policy director at New Mexico Arts (NMA), the state arts agency and a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. NMA’s primary function is to provide financial support for arts services and programs to nonprofit organizations statewide and to administer the 1% public art program for the state of New Mexico. Gharib manages the department's Arts & Cultural Districts, Local Arts Councils & Service Organizations, Arts Trails, and Economic and Entrepreneurial Development programs. Her varied experience includes running an organic coffee company, starting a joint venture in Poland, and turning around a bankrupt cable TV company. As a writer, she has published articles, reviews, essays, poetry, and short fiction, and has had three plays produced. 

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Member Spotlight: Sasha Dobson

Posted by Linda Lombardi, Jan 25, 2021 0 comments

Sasha Dobson has been the outreach coordinator for the Lied Center for Performing Arts since 2012. She serves as the primary project manager for the Master Classes for university students and community members, Pre-Performance Talks, and the Performance Fund program, which offers free tickets to youth in the community and their summer high school programs (Lied Center Triple Threat Broadway Intensive and the Lied Center Piano Academy).

This series features the many Americans for the Arts members doing transformative work for arts education, public art, advocacy, arts marketing, and more. An Americans for the Arts Membership connects you with this network of more than 6,000 arts leaders and gives you access to latest professional development and research. 

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