The Art of Justice 7

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
120 East 125th Street
New York, NY 10032
The Art of Justice 7

The Art of Justice 7: Invisibility of Institutions that are Diverse in the Age of Diversity!

An InterActive Presentation/Conversation

The Civil Rights Movement, Black Power, Nuyorican, Native American, Gay, Asian and other movements in the 60s birthed a significant number of cultural arts organizations that reflect the aesthetics of our varied communities. In doing so, these movement took a strong stance against the exclusionary practices of major cultural organizations.  

Almost sixty years later, underfunding and systemic discriminatory practices continue, placing these historic cultural institutions at risk. As a result, a new array of conversations, studies and research around diversity have ensued.

Despite these efforts, institutions that reflect the racial and cultural diversity of the nation remain underfunded. This trend is unlikely to stop any time soon without the interruption of the organizations that once arose to ensure and protect cultural equity in the nation.    

This is a pivotal "moment" for the future of social justice in the arts and culture. It is the moment for energetic discussions and initiatives that forecast change in historically inequitable systems of access and funding in the arts.

Through the Art of Justice series, thinkers and policymakers come together in an open discussion with the community to sketch out paths that will positively impact our efforts in achieving racial justice, cultural equity and an accessible arts environment that embraces the spectrum of who we are as residents of this diverse majority city.

Join us for an interactive discussion with experts in the field that are working on these issues and will address the needs and actions that are important to the most vulnerable artists and community-based organizations. 

WHEN: October 5, 2017 | 6:00-8:00PM

WHERE: Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspira Insisitute 


Speakers include:

  • Maurine Knighton - Program Director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Kerry McCarthy - Program Director for Thriving Communities and Arts Historic Preservation
  • Arleta Little - Program Officer and Director of Artist Fellowships 
  • Holly Sidford - Chair & President of Helicon Collaborative

Panel Moderator: Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo








Meet the Panelists & Moderator 


Maurine Knighton | Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Maurine Knighton is the program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In that capacity, she supervises a $15 million grants program focusing on organizations and artists in the theater, contemporary dance, jazz and presenting fields.

Knighton’s previous positions include senior vice president for Grantmaking at the Nathan Cummings Foundation; executive producer and president of 651 Arts; senior vice president at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone; program manager at the Nonprofit Finance Fund, where she established and managed the Community Alliances program of the Cultural Facilities Fund; and managing director of the Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, MN. Knighton has also served as board member of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and Grantmakers in the Arts, and panelist and advisor to the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, Arts Presenters Ensemble Theater Program and others. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS.


Kerry McCarthy | Program Director for Thriving Communities and Arts Historic Preservation

Beginning in 2009, Kerry McCarthy was a program officer for The New York Community Trust. And with more than 20 years' experience in museum and arts administration, McCarthy certainly knows her way around New York’s robust arts landscape. Today she serves as the program director for the Thriving Communities and Arts and Historic Preservation programs.

Previous to joining The Trust, McCarthy ran a consulting company serving New York City nonprofit arts organizations, as well as more than 20 years of experience in museum and performing arts administration with organizations spanning the Queens Museum of Art to Jim Henson Productions.

McCarthy received her bachelor's degree from Seanee: The University of the South. She then made the pilgrimage to NYC, receiving her master's in Folk Art Studies from New York University. She is also a graduate of Coro's Leadership New York Program.

The Trust—one of the largest private funders of NYC's nonprofits, making roughly $130 million in grants locally each year—has long been a supporter of the city's arts organizations. Currently, The Trust's arts program has a strong undertone of building equity in the arts and expanding arts access to diverse audiences.


Arleta Little | Program Officer and Director of Artist Fellowships

Prior to working in philanthropy, Arleta served as the executive director of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a literary arts organization in Minneapolis dedicated to advancing and celebrating African American literature and writers. With degrees in English, Social Work, and Public Affairs, Arleta has also worked for over 15 years as an organizational development consultant providing strategic planning, program evaluation, and grant writing services to organizations in Minnesota.

Committed to public service, Arleta taught English for two years in Thailand as a Peace Corps Volunteer and has since served on numerous boards. She is a current board member of Grantmakers in the Arts. As a poet and writer, she was most recently published in Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota. A native of Washington D.C., Arleta loves to travel, has lived abroad three times, and has visited more than 35 countries.


Holly Sidford | Chair & President of Helicon Collaborative

Holly Sidford is the President of Helicon Collaborative, a consulting firm working with nonprofits and philanthropic organizations, and a strategic thinker with three decades of experience in the field. Prior to launching Helicon in 2007, Holly was the founding president of Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a ten-year initiative to expand support for creative artists. Prior to that, Holly was program director for arts, parks and adult literacy at the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund; interim director of arts and culture at the Ford Foundation and The Howard Gilman Foundation; executive director of the New England Foundation for the Arts; and associate director of the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. She holds a BA in American history and literature from Mount Holyoke College and a management certificate from Columbia University.


Panel Moderator: Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo

Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo represents the communities of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and attended PS 279, JHS 211, The Berkeley Carroll Day School and Brooklyn Technical High School. She graduated from Spelman College with a BA in Art History and New York University with an MA in Visual Arts Administration. She is proud to have worked and contributed to the growth and development of Prospect Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The High Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum and The Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Moreover, she enjoyed serving as a Graduate Professor at Pratt Institute for a decade in the Arts and Cultural Management Program.

Combining her academic training with her cultural experiences, Ms. Cumbo took her graduate thesis at New York University and set it into motion by founding Brooklyn’s first Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in 1999 within a four-story Brownstone owned by Bridge Street AME Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Through community support, the Museum relocated to a ground floor space designed by the architectural firm of studioSUMO within the heart of the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District in the James. E. Davis 80 Arts Building. MoCADA has gained a reputation for bringing together the diverse community of Brooklyn to address the challenging issues of our time, ranging from gun violence and police brutality to homelessness and gentrification. In 2018, Ms. Cumbo’s dream will be realized when the Museum reopens in a brand new state-of-the-art facility in The Ashland designed by architect Enrique Norton, in cultural partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Brooklyn Public Library, and 651 Arts.


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