2021 Arts Education Symposium on Anti-Racism

November 13, 2021 @ 10:30AM — 4:30PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Join us for a day of insightful and compelling experiences to deepen your understanding of anti-racism and abolitionist teaching in arts education including breakout sessions on racial equity facilitation, small group affinity spaces, and arts education content breakouts that address national trends that may affect your classroom. This symposium is produced in partnership with Baltimore Corps. Register by Monday, Nov. 8th for automatic eligibility to enter the raffle to win $100. Winner to be announced during the symposium.

2021 Arts Education Symposium on Anti-Racism image


There are currently no tickets available for this event, but you can still make a donation.



10:30 AM | WELCOME

Speaker: Quanice Floyd, Executive Director - AEMS

11:00 AM | KEYNOTE

Speaker: Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings

11:45 AM | BREAK

1:00 PM | RACE 101: Racial Equity Facilitation

Presented in partnership with Baltimore Corps

2:00 PM | Healing and Learning Sessions

featuring Rebecca Kelly G & Amy Smith

3:00 PM | Anti-Racism Arts Education Breakout

Discipline centered content sessions: Visual Arts, Theatre, Community Arts, Dance, Music

......10:30 AM - WELCOME.....

Quanice G. Floyd is a renaissance woman who wears many capes. Born and raised in NYC, she has spent over a decade in Washington, DC where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Howard University and Kent State University respectively. Her passion for arts administration led her to pursue her second Master’s degree in Arts Management at American University and is currently a doctoral student at Drexel University. Quanice is coming to AEMS after previously serving as the Director of Learning and Leadership Development at the National Guild for Community Arts Education. She is also the Founder & Director of the Arts Administrators of Color (AAC) Network, an organization committed to empowering artists and arts administrators by advocating for access, diversity, inclusion, and equity in the arts in the DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas. She has also been a public-school music educator where she taught elementary and middle school general music, chorus, band, and orchestra.

Quanice serves as a commissioner for the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, a member of the National Teaching Artist Advisory Committee, and is an alumna of Fractured Atlas’ Artist Campaign School, the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s Leadership Institute (CAELI), ArtEquity’s Racial Facilitator Cohort, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Educators and Arts Administrators Academy, 4.0 Schools’ Essentials Program, and the Arts Education Collaborative’s Leadership Academy. In 2018, Quanice received the Americans for the Arts’ American Express Emerging Leader Award.

.....11:00 AM - KEYNOTE SPEAKER.....

Gloria Ladson-Billings is the former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and faculty affiliate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was the 2005-2006 president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Ladson-Billings’ research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. She also investigates Critical Race Theory applications to education.

She is the author of the critically acclaimed books The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children and Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms, and numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is the former editor of the American Educational Research Journal and a member of several editorial boards. Her work has won numerous scholarly awards including the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Palmer O. Johnson outstanding research award. During the 2003-2004 academic year, she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

In fall of 2004, she received the George and Louise Spindler Award from the Council on Anthropology and Education for significant and ongoing contributions to the field of educational anthropology. She holds honorary degrees from Umeå University (Umeå Sweden), University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the University of Alicante (Alicante, Spain), the Erickson Institute (Chicago), and Morgan State University (Baltimore). She is a 2018 recipient of the AERA Distinguished Research Award, and she was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2018.

*biography provided by the National Academy of Education

.....11:45 AM - BREAK.....

.....1:00 PM - RACE 101: Racial Equity Facilitation.....

Presented in partnership with Baltimore Corps

Beyond Diversity & Inclusion: Applying an Antiracist Lens

This 45-minute workshop is designed to provide participants with an initial understanding of an Anti-Racist identity. Participants will leave the workshop with a better understanding of:
● The difference and connection between DEI and Antiracism
● Intro to methods of applying antiracism understanding to programs and/or organizational culture


Maryam Abdul-Kareem is a racial equity and justice advisor. She facilitates workshops and training on antiracism education, applying a racial equity lens to nonprofit and philanthropic workspaces, and using visioning and imagination to create collective and equitable organizational cultures and programs. She seeks to live by the great words of Ella Baker, "Give light and people will find a way."

“The Lion’s Side: The Utilization of Storytelling for Transformation in Arts & Health”

Provide participants with an exemplar showing how a common artistic element - storytelling - can assist with implementing more equitable arts resources, programming and policies

Participants will:

  • Be introduced to the basic components of narrative and storytelling
  • Be better equipped to relate equitable principles to the real (i.e., not hypothetical, theoretical or conceptual) circumstances of populations
  • Begin to appreciate how recognition and focus on positive intrinsic qualities, through storytelling, aid equitable practices


David Olawuyi Fakunle, Ph.D. is the co-founder and CEO of DiscoverME/RecoverME, an organization that utilizes the African oral tradition to empower use of narrative for healing and growth. Among many affiliations, David serves as Chair of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first state-level commission in the U.S. dedicated to chronicling and bringing justice to racial terror lynchings; is the Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine; and Associate Faculty in the Mental Health department of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Additionally, David has applied artistic and cultural practices such as Black storytelling, African drumming, singing and theater in the proclamation of his truth for over 20 years, collaborating primarily with organizations in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. region.

....2:00 PM - Learning & Healing Spacese..

Healing Space for People of the Global Majority


Rebecca Kelly G (She/Her/Hers) is an Equity & Justice Consultant/Facilitator and multidisciplinary healing artist rooted in anti-racist practices. As a former civil rights attorney, her approach is informed by experience in structural and institutional advocacy and understandings of oppression. As an artist and facilitator, her methods are led by heart, inquiry, and intuitive communication. Rebecca supports the cultivation of self-love and accountability for collective justice with individuals and organizations.

She holds such honors as The Adjunct Professor Award for Diversity and Inclusion from Wagner College; George N. Lindsay Civil Rights Legal Fellow with The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and American University Washington College of Law MBP Catalyst for Change Award. Her work has been included in American Theatre Magazine, Rolling Stone, Playbill, and Elia Alba’s book The Supper Club. She has a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law and a B.A. in Theatre Performance from Wagner College.

Learning Space for white people


Amy Smith (She/Her/Hers) is a dance and theater artist, educator, and facilitator. She works to dismantle oppressive structures in non-profit organizations and other groups so that artists and low income folks can achieve collective liberation. She does this through financial well-being workshops, one-on-one work with clients giving financial advice and doing tax preparation, consulting with arts organizations, co-facilitating anti-racism sessions with co-facilitators of color, and as a dance and theater educator.

Amy co-founded, co-directed, and performed with Headlong, a dance theater non-profit that transformed into a community arts organization over 25 years. She left Headlong in 2019 to pursue her freelance work. She leads financial well-being workshops through Creative Capital, Assets for Artists, and in many other settings. She holds a BA from Wesleyan University and has been greatly affected by her learning as part of artEquity’s National Facilitator Training and other anti-oppression trainings.

...3:00 PM - Anti-Racism Arts Education Breakout...


This session will provide participants with a chance to learn about some ED&I Resources for Visual Art Teachers, and also to discuss what their needs are, as well as challenges they face with these topics in the classroom.

Session Goals:

  • Share ED&I Visual Art Resources for Elementary, Middle, and High School Teachers
  • Create space for dialogue around ED&I in the classroom
  • Develop priorities for MAEA/NAEA to respond to in order to best support teachers.


Sherri Fisher (She/Her/Hers) is the Director of CTE & Fine Arts for Baltimore County Public Schools. A native Baltimorean, she believes in the power of art to transform lives, that art is a human right and that art makes everything awesome. Sherri is a two time Fulbright scholar conducting arts based research on classroom culture in Peru in 2012 and Finland in 2015. Additionally, she is the president-elect for MAEA and the 2019 Eastern Region Supervision/Administration Art Educator by NAEA.

Ray Yang (They/Them) is the Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I), and Special Initiatives for the National Art Education Association. Their work is guided by the recommendations of NAEA’s ED&I Commission and encompasses professional development, teacher leadership and mentorship, resource management, and networking.


In this session, we plan to discuss the anti-bias antiracist action on the national level, and how it drills down to the local level, as well as in our classrooms.

Session Objective: Inform participants of the ways that they can get involved in antiracist practices at all levels, from the national movement, to small changes that they can make in their theatre programs and classrooms.


Alexis Truitt (She/Her/Hers) is the Executive Director of the American Alliance for Theater & Education (AATE). She earned her B.M. in Vocal Performance from the Boston Conservatory and M.A. in Arts Management from George Mason University. Alexis currently serves as the Artistic Director for the St. Mark’s Players and is co-founder/Managing Director of the Fat & Greasy Citizens Brigade.

She has been the Program Coordinator of the Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program at the Kennedy Center where she managed the professional development workshops for teachers, organized teaching artists retreats, and programmed concerts for the Millennium Stage.

Julie Ann Hawk is the Vice President of Programming for Maryland Theatre Education Association and the Director of the ERHS Theatre Department in Greenbelt, Maryland. A proud New York University, Mercyhurst University, and Edinboro University alum, she is a curriculum writer for Prince George’s County Public Schools and DigitalTheatre+. She is passionate about creating Safer and Accountable classroom and community theatre spaces, so that our students will accept no less than an equitable theatre industry in the future.

Steven L. Barker (Technical Director, Publick Playhouse) has been a theatre-maker, technician, and educator for the last 20+ years. He holds an MFA in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University (ASU) and a BFA in Theatre Education and a BS in Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He has completed the MSDE Credentials for Creative Classrooms, Supporting LGBTQ+ Students, and Creative Aging. He is a proud member of the Alpha Cohort of Anti-Racists Educators of the Arts Learning Lab (A-REALL.org)

Mr. Barker has been involved in over 70 professional productions in his 20-year career. He has a range of directing and design credits including Radium Girls (world premiere – one act version), Godspell, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (with LHS), The Mouse Trap, The Lion in Winter and Macbeth (with CCCC) and Spring Awakening and Hair (with Ovations Theatre). He was nominated for both directing and design work, earning the North Carolina Theatre Conference’s 2012 Excellence in Directing award.

Mr. Barker has been a teaching artist for Young Audiences of Maryland, Pied Piper Theatre (Manassas), Imagination Stage (Bethesda), Orlando Repertory Theatre, ASU and VCU. He has successfully directed the theatre programs at Lejeune High School and Falls Church High School. He has also been a professor at several colleges including McDaniel College and Northern Virginia Community College, where he currently teaches Acting for the Camera and Intro to Communications.

Steven currently is the treasurer of the Maryland Theatre Education Association (MTEA).


During this session, the Teaching Artists Guild will share anti-racist tools and tactics available to teaching artists nationally. TAMA will share its action plan, recently developed by its board and Genesis members, to disrupt systems of knowledge, wealth, privilege and power. Join the discussion on how TAs can contribute to the creation of an equitable, just arts ecosystem in Maryland, the mid-Atlantic and nation.

Session Goals: Participants will gain a greater understanding of anti-racist tools available to them, and identify individualized next step(s) as part of the collective TAMA action plan.


Khaleshia Thorpe-Price (She/Her/Hers) is the Owner and Master Teaching Artist of Dramatic-Play. She has worked in the field of arts education for over 20 years. She is a versatile creator and educator. She aims to dazzle participants with the love of play and creative exploration.

Khaleshia is the Maryland Director for Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic (TAMA), a network that advocates for, empowers, and supports Teaching Artists throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. She has a BA in Theater Arts from Morgan State University and an MA in Arts Management from the University of Central Florida.

Jennifer Ridgway

Jennifer Ridgway (She/Her/Hers) is a theatre teaching artist who creates theatre experiences with participants that develop openness with ambiguity and multiplicity, probe at assumptions, invite perspective taking and encourage creative transformation. She holds a MFA from UNCG and a BA from UMCP. Residing in Prince George’s County, she brings YARD DRAMAS to her neighbors. Jennifer is committed to and ready to reset, reimagine and play our way into a new world that is just and equitable for all.

Miko Lee (She/Her/Hers) is on the leadership team of Teaching Artists Guild. She is the former Executive Director of Youth in Arts, where she created the Digital Toolkit and Arts BANK. She was Director of Art and Education at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, where she designed and directed Learning Without Borders, recipient of three consecutive U.S. Department of Education Model Arts Awards. Miko has developed arts education programs for the Bay Area Discovery Museum and the National Park Services Rosie the Riveter project. She was a member of the Advisory Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts Professional Development for Arts Education.

Miko also served as Artistic Director of Theatre of Yugen where she created original Asian fusion multimedia productions. Miko’s extensive background in theatre, as a performer, choreographer and director, include shows at American Conservatory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre and New York’s Public Theatre.


During this session, attendees will engage in guided discussion while learning about state and national trends in musical anti-racist pedagogy.


JJ Norman Noted as a progressive and creative thinker and leader, JJ Norman currently serves as Executive Director of the Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA) where he is responsible for the association’s advocacy efforts, professional development events, and various state music assessment festivals. JJ previously served on the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) staff. Through his work, he has offered engaging and interactive sessions at state and national conferences. Norman holds degrees in music education and organizational leadership. He now lives in Morningside, MD, with his husband Samuel and puppies Titan and Aria.


The presenter will discuss the Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) initiative that the National Dance Education Organization has implemented in 2021. The focus of the program is an audit of the NDEO programs, services, systems, and processes through a social justice lens.

Session Objective: To provide an overview of the JEDI initiative implemented by NDEO in 2021 and its initial findings.


Sonia Synkowski (She/Her/Hers) For the Maryland Dance Education Association, Sonia Synkowski serves as the Past-President and one of the founding members of the organization. Sonia Synkowski also serves as the Dance Resource Teacher in the Office of Music and Dance Education for Baltimore County Public Schools. The 2021-2022 school year is Sonia’s 10th year in her current role as a 12-month Resource Teacher supporting our K-12 BCPS Dance programs. Prior to working in the Office of Music and Dance Education, Sonia taught Dance at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts from 2007-2012 and taught elementary music in Baltimore City Public Schools and Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

Susan McGreevy-Nichols (She/Her/Hers) is the Executive Director of the National Dance Education Organization, located in Silver Spring, MD a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and promotion of high-quality education in the art of dance. NDEO provides the dance artist, educator and administrator a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy, and access to programs that focus on the importance of dance in the human experience. Susan is a member of the National Coalition of Core Arts Standards Leadership Team and developed the Model Cornerstone assessments for dance and multiple courses for the NDEO Online Professional Development Institute.

danah bella, is the artistic director of d a n a h b e l l a DanceWorks, a modern dance company focused on reclaiming evocative movement as social practice. danah is an award-winning choreographer who has performed & presented her work throughout the country including the Red Rock Dance Festival, Cool New York Festival, United States Asian American Festival, Bates Dance Festival, American College Dance Association’s National Dance Festival, ReVIEWING Black Mountain College, as well as in Mexico and Italy. She has taught workshops and has been artist in residence in festivals and universities throughout the United States and abroad; including, Pro Danza Italia, Bates Dance Festival, Monterey Dance Fest, the American College Dance Association's Regional and National conference, etc.

danah is also a founding member of Colectivo Caliban, an artist collective that transgresses disciplinary borders through sound and movement. She has worked in higher education since 2002 teaching modern dance technique, dance theory, and history. danah is currently the Director of the BFA Dance program at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. She was named one of Baltimore Sun’s 25 Women to Watch in 2018 and just recently received the Maryland Dance Education Association’s 2021 Higher Education Dance Educator of the Year Award.

She was awarded an MFA in performance from the Ohio State University and a BA in Dance from the University of California in Santa Barbara.