Black Arts @ WAA Symposium

Sunday, August 25 @ Lula Washington Dance Theatre (SOLD OUT)

Drawing on Black leadership, perspective, experience, and voice, this day-long symposium will focus on the performing arts of the Black arts diaspora. The program, which will take place in Leimert Park, the historic center of LA’s Black community, will include a keynote speaker, workshops and panels, networking events, and showcasing. The initiative seeks to recognize, champion, and uplift Black artists and ensembles as it works to address systemic racism and implicit bias in the field of touring and presenting. WAA recognizes that there is no quick fix to these complex issues, but a process rooted in transparency, honesty, and generosity, can be a powerful instrument for change. 

8:30 am │ Shuttles depart from J.W. Marriot LA Live

9:00 - 10:15 am │ Opening Program


Okaidja Afroso

Performance by Okaidja Afroso, the Ghanaian singer/songwriter

Keynote with Patrisse Cullors, Artist, Organizer, Freedom Fighter, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter

“We want to build a world in which undeveloped and unrefined emotional instincts - like possessiveness and jealousy—are minimized as much as humanly possible so that all eyes, hearts and spirits are not distracted from the goal. And the goal is freedom. The goal is to live beyond fear. The goal is to end the occupation of our bodies and souls by the agents of a larger American culture that demonstrates daily how we don’t matter.” — Patrisse Cullors, When They Call You A Terrorist

10:30 am – Noon │ The State of Black Arts
Learn about the challenges, barriers, and opportunities for Black artists and works in the United States. In this discipline specific panel, you will hear from three prominent artists and arts leaders in the fields of music, theatre, and dance, share their personal and professional take on what inspires, informs, and motivates the performing arts of the Black diaspora.

  • Dance - Gesel Mason, Artistic Director | Gesel Mason Projects, Austin, TX 
  • Music - Dae Bogan, Music Industry Professional, Los Angeles
  • Theatre - Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director | Oregon Shakepeare Festival, Ashland, OR
  • Moderated by Krista Bradley, Director of Programs & Resources, Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), Washington, DC

Noon – 1:00 pm │ Lunch (included in registration)

1:00 – 2:00 pm │ Breakthrough Performance: Pathways to Success
This panel, including an artist, agent, presenter, and theatre executive, looks at groundbreaking examples of touring, presenting, audience engagement, and outreach for Black artists and audiences. What can we learn from these efforts that can be replicated in our own agencies, communities, projects or programs?

  • Pamela M. Green, Agent | PMG Arts Management, Durham, NC
  • Don Roth, Executive Director | Mondavi Center, UC Davis, Davis, CA
  • Darrell Grant, Jazz Pianist & Composer | Portland, OR
  • Shay Wafer, Executive Director Consultant | WACO Theater Center (Where Art Can Occur), North Hollywood, CA
  • Moderated by Renae Williams Niles, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, Los Angeles, CA

2:00- 3:15 pm │Breakouts
Find your kindred spirits in one of our following breakout groups designed to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, exchange, and networking.

  • Art & Activism Artists and arts organizations are increasingly leaning in to make social change. Connect with colleagues to learn how you can better address issues in your community. Facilitated by Maurice Kitchen and Marie Kellier.
  • Emerging Leadership & Empowerment Next-generation arts leaders are seeking a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable field. Meet with peers who are reimagining leadership and empowering change on our stages, in our offices and boardrooms. Facilitated by Terry Scott.
  • Creating Inclusive & Safe Spaces A seat at the table is not enough. Connect with peers who are committed to creating inclusive, accessible, and safe spaces for everyone – including underrepresented and marginalized peoples. Facilitated by MJ Brown aka Miss Barbie-Q
  • Breaking Boundaries Are you breaking new grounds, ceilings, and barriers in your field? This is the place to be if you are an artist, activist, or arts leader with a penchant for coloring outside the lines and knocking down institutional barriers. Facilitated by Adilah Barnes

3:15 - 3:30 pm │ Closing Program

3:30 – 5:00 pm │Guided Tour at the Art + Practice
Visit the Art + Practice for a guided tour of the exhibit, Time is Running Out of Time, by co-curator Jheanelle Brown, Program Manager at The Broad Museum. This exhibit is a satellite program of the Soul of a Nation exhibit at The Broad and presents early short works of Black filmmakers and video artists in Los Angeles.

5:00 – 7:00 pm │ Networking Reception Hosted by Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs *Learn more and RSVP here*

7:00 – 10:00 pm │ Showcase Program Hosted by Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs  *Learn more and RSVP here*

*Please note the official Black Arts @ WAA Showcases will take place on Tuesday, August 27, 4pm at the Japanese American Cultural Community Center.*

Black Arts @ WAA is made possible by grants from:

Additional Support from: