Looking Ahead: A Conversation on COVID-19, Racial Justice, and Arts and Culture

Sponsored by AARP

This event will be streamed live on Facebook LiveYouTubeTwitch, and our Virtual Stage.

The past year has been a flashpoint in the country’s reckoning with racial justice and has created space for a collective reimagining. How has this time of dynamic change manifested in the arts and cultural sector? What is happening at the national level and the state and local level? What shifts are temporary and what is here to stay? How has COVID spotlighted inequity in all other facets of our community? Tune in to a panel and discussion by arts leaders from around Connecticut as they reflect on the past year and look to the future.

Captions will be available on Facebook Live.

Malakhi Eason

Director of Programming & Community Impact for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Malakhi RL Eason II brings more than 15 years of arts administration experience to the Festival. Originally from Boston, Eason was most recently Programming Manager at Omaha Performing Arts, where he curated the expansive Jazz on the Green Series, ranging from intimate cabaret performances to outdoor concerts featuring artists like Ladama, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Kim Waters, Sammy Miller and the Congregation, and Marcos y Sabor. Eason was formerly a background singer for touring artists while living in Los Angeles, CA.

A graduate of University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT, Eason earned a Masters of Arts in Leadership from Grace University and is working on a Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University, Eason has also served in many positions that convey his passion for service and youth mentorship; he encourages young people to find their passions.

Eason is an active member of numerous organizations, including the Lincoln, NE, Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc; Lambda Pi Eta (National Honors Society); and the NAACP.

In his free time, Eason loves to travel, write songs, eat at great restaurants, and spend time with family and friends.

Daniel Fitzmaurice (he/him)

Executive Director, Arts Council of Greater New Haven

Daniel Fitzmaurice (he/him) is positive that everyone benefits from creativity in our community, which is why equity, belonging, and justice are central to his work. He and his young family enjoy our vast creative ecosystem from their home base in Orange, not far from his hometown of Milford. He became the Executive Director at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven in 2017 after leadership appointments at Creative Arts Workshop and Elm Shakespeare Company.

Shelley Quiala, Moderator

Executive Director for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Shelley Quiala came to the International Festival of Arts & Ideas from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she led a team that programmed and produced concerts, comedy, dance, and educational programming that reached more than 150,000 people annually. She worked with colleagues and community to grow the Flint Hills Family Festival over more than two decades as a national and international model. During her tenure at the Ordway, the participation in school programming grew by more than 50 percent to reach more than 60,000 youth each year. She also led major initiatives in bilingual programming and community engagement work that centered the narratives of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. She managed a statewide arts awards program for impact in the arts, championed socioeconomic access and led collaborations with universities, community centers, and school districts. Prior to her work at the Ordway, Shelley worked with Teatro del Pueblo, a Latinx theater company in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In her former role as a  board member for the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), she co-led professional development with the executive director. She is currently a board member of TYA-USA Theater for Young Audiences, US division (TYA-USA) where she is active in supporting their annual festival and conference. Committed to reducing barriers to arts and educational participation, she is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences. Quiala graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a double major in Spanish and Performance as a Medium for Social Change. She put herself through school and was able to study in both Cuba and Venezuela as an undergraduate.

Jacob Padrón

Jacob G. Padrón (he/him) is the Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut and the Founder and Artistic Director of The Sol Project, a theatre initiative dedicated to producing the work of Latinx playwrights in partnership with leading Off-Broadway theaters in NYC and beyond. He was formerly the Senior Line Producer at The Public Theater in New York City and, prior to that, was the Producer at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago where he oversaw the artistic programming in the Garage, Steppenwolf's second stage dedicated to new work, new artists, and new audiences. From 2008 to 2011, he served as the Associate Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Padrón is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University (BA) and Yale School of Drama (MFA), where he is now on faculty in the theater management program. He is originally from California where he began his life in the theater with El Teatro Campesino.

Angelica Durrell

Angelica Durrell is an Ecuadorian-born violinist, educator and social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Executive Director of INTEMPO, an intercultural organization that strives to make classical music and native instruments relevant, accessible and inclusive through innovative youth development and community engagement programs. She began her musical studies at the National Conservatory of Music in Quito at age six, continuing them in the Norwalk Public Schools under the direction of her father, David Durrell.

Durrell was a guest concertmaster of the Ecuadorian National Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador under the baton of Andrea Vela. UConn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and the United States Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, funded her 2010 research trip to Ecuador, which led to the first international tour of the university’s Collegium Musicum Ensemble, of which Durrell was the Artistic Assistant. In 2015, she was invited to perform for Pope Francis on his first visit to Latin America at St. Francisco Church in Quito, Ecuador. There she joined renowned indigenous musician, Jesús Fichamba, in a quichua rendition of a song celebrating the Pope’s visit.

She was a faculty member of the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians in Connecticut. In 2010, she co-founded a pilot strings project at the Hall Neighborhood House in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she taught violin, and then went on to work with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a recipient of the Sphinx Organization’s inaugural MPower Artist Development Grant, is an alumna of its 2007 Sphinx Performance Academy, and served as the Assistant Dean of the Sphinx Performance Academy at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and Roosevelt University in Chicago. Sphinx Organization President and Founder Aaron Dworkin, a 2005 MacArthur Fellow and President Barack Obama’s first nominee for the National Council for the Arts, has been Durrell’s mentor since 2007.

She has attended the American Express Leadership Academy in New York City. In 2014, she became the first person from Connecticut to be accepted into the Advocacy Leadership Institute hosted by the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) in Washington, D.C. Her leadership has been recognized by the National Assembly of Ecuador, which awarded her the Immigrant Women Award and named her a cultural ambassador between the cities of Riobamba (Ecuador) and Norwalk (Connecticut). She is an Artist Ambassador for SpreadMusicNow and became the first Latina to be appointed to the inaugural Arts and Cultural Commission for the City of Stamford.

She has served on local and national art grants panels, including the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the Rasmuson Foundation in Alaska, among others. She has had speaking engagements at the University of Michigan, Princeton University’s Keller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School Community Partners, Hartt School of Music, and at the University of Connecticut. Her recent TEDx talk has been acclaimed for creating institutional awareness and action towards cultural equity and representation.

Angie holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Connecticut, which awarded her a full talent-based from the Louis and Sylvia Lazar Endowment for the Arts. She resides in Stamford, Connecticut.

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