Moderator: Rocco Landesman, Former Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Dr. Kate Levin, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs
Theaster Gates, Artist
Helen Marriage, Co-Director, Artichoke
Angel Taveras, Mayor, Providence, RI
Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU.
Theaster Gates is founder and president of the Rebuild Foundation and director of arts program development at the University of Chicago. He is an artist, musician, and “cultural planner.” In his performances, installations, and urban interventions, Gates transforms spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions. Gates’s training as an urban planner and sculptor, and his subsequent time spent in Japan studying clay, has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. With this experience, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that industry has for the body. When Theaster is not making art for museums, he is committed to the restoration of poor black neighborhoods, converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces. Gates was a Loeb fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design and has received awards from the Joyce Foundation and the Graham Foundation.
Rocco Landesman is the Former Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kate D. Levin is the commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. In this role, she directs cultural policy for New York City, supporting and strengthening nonprofit cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs through public funding, technical assistance and advocacy. Prior to her appointment, Levin taught at the City College of New York/CUNY, worked at several New York City cultural organizations, and served in the Koch administration.
Helen Marriage is a co-director of Artichoke, which she founded with Nicky Webb in 2005. Her previous work has included a seven-year period as Director of the Salisbury Festival which she transformed from a local affair to what The Times described as a ‘miracle of modern British culture’.
Helen went to Salisbury after creating the first Arts & Events programme for the developers of Canary Wharf in London. Prior to that she was an Associate Director of the London International Festival of Theatre. She began her working life with Artsadmin where she managed a variety of independent artists in the early 1980s.
Angel Taveras, the City's 37th Mayor, grew up on the South Side of Providence and went from Head Start to Harvard via the Providence Public Schools. As a third grader at the Mary Fogarty Elementary School, Angel was encouraged by his teacher to set big goals. After graduating from Harvard, Angel attended Georgetown University Law Center to pursue his childhood dream: becoming a lawyer in order to help others. As an attorney, Angel established himself a litigator and a widely-respected elections lawyer.
In 2007, Angel was appointed to serve as an Associate Judge on the Providence Housing Court, where he helped to streamline the interaction between inspectors and the Housing Court and improve the code enforcement tracking system.
In 2010, Angel stepped down from the bench and entered the race for Mayor of the City of Providence. This opportunity to serve the people of Providence was unexpected, yet Angel was up to the challenge. On September 14th, 2010, Angel won a four-way Democratic Primary with 49% of the vote and carrying 11 of the city's 15 wards. He went on to win the General Election in November of that year with 82% of the vote.
Angel Taveras was sworn in as Mayor of Providence on January 3, 2011.
Dr. Kate Levin, New York City's Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, talks about the gentrification of SoHo and Brooklyn and argues that investing in 'the yearning business' of artists and nonprofits pays off in long run.