Category: Members in the News

The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Elects Seven New Board Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                       

June 23, 2021

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable is pleased to announce the election of seven new members to the Board of Directors: Asari Beale, Leena Bhutta, Keith Kaminski, Meredith Kirchheimer, Sara Morgulis, Purple S. Norris, and Alexander Santiago-Jirau.

“The Roundtable is delighted to welcome an amazing slate of new directors to our board,” says Board Co-Chair Sobha Kavanakudiyil. “I look forward to continuing the work of the Roundtable with our Board and new Executive Committee.”

The Roundtable has appointed Gary Padmore as Board Co-Chair, Traci Lester as Vice Chair, and KeriAnne Murphy as Treasurer effective July 1, 2021. Former Board Co-Chair Jennifer DiBella will transition into the role of Emeritus after an incredible three years of leadership in partnership with Co-Chair Sobha Kavanakuidyil.

“As the Roundtable enters its 30th year of service to NYC’s arts in education community, I look forward to partnering with these incredible leaders in deepening our impact and driving our mission forward,” says Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director of the Roundtable. “We are excited to channel Asari, Alex, Keith, Leena, Meredith, Purple, and Sara’s expertise and energy into the collective work to improve and advance arts education across the five boroughs.”

With gratitude and admiration, the Roundtable also announces the departure of David Shookhoff (founding Board Member), Piper Anderson, and Bryan Powell who will each have completed their Board term limits as of June 30, 2021. We thank them for the critical role in the development and success of the organization. Their inspirational leadership and dedicated service have forever changed the organization.

Please click here for a complete list of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors.

Meet Our New Board Members

Asari Beale
is an Afro-Latina writer, educator, and leader deeply committed to children’s literacy. She is the Executive Director of Teachers and Writers Collaborative, one of the nation’s oldest writers-in-the-schools programs, and a steering committee member of LitNet, a network serving America’s literary community. She has taught literature and creative writing at Hunter College, Brooklyn College, and Fordham University. Prior to joining Teachers & Writers, she worked with LSA Family Health Service and Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, both organizations which center early childhood literacy. She holds a BA from New York University and an MFA from Brooklyn College, and lives with her family in Harlem, New York City.


Leena Bhutta is the Deputy Chief Investment Officer for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation where she oversees the foundation’s portfolio across the various asset classes it is invested in. Doris Duke Charitable Foundation gives grants in the areas of the Environments, the Arts, Medical Research and Child Well Being. Before joining DDCF in 2019, Leena served as Director of Alternative Investments at the Hollyhock Foundation. Prior to that role, Leena was an investment professional at Joho Capital, an Asia-focused hedge fund. She started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Leena earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and her BA in Economics from Wellesley College. Leena grew up in Lahore, Pakistan and she lives in Westchester County with her husband, three kids and a cat!


Keith Kaminski is a queer, Brooklyn-based nonprofit professional with sixteen years of experience in community-focused arts, education, and equity work. He currently serves as BRIC’s director of education, overseeing youth and family programs in partnership with over forty Brooklyn public schools. He holds a BFA in art education from Syracuse University and is pursuing an MPA with a concentration in nonprofit administration at CUNY Baruch College in the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. In his spare time, Kaminski is also a multimedia artist, DJ, and podcaster.


Meredith Kirchheimer currently serves as Global Marketing Manager for Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm developing solutions to transform companies, industries, and society. She helps drive the growth and development of BCG’s content programming and marketing capabilities. Meredith joined BCG in 2016 and is currently based in New York. Prior to BCG, she supported Business Development for Cambridge Associates, a global investment consulting firm. Meredith received an MPA, concentrating in Social Impact, from American University and a BA in History and Political Science from Villanova University.


Sara Morgulis is an educator, theatremaker, and consultant. She is the Director of Education at New York City Children’s Theater, where she leads with her personal mission of engaging New York City students through accessible and inclusive theatre practices. She is an Adjunct Faculty Member for the M.F.A Performing Arts Management Program at Brooklyn College, and the M.A. Applied Theatre program at CUNY, where she graduated from in 2013. Her Master’s thesis research about training young people to be peer facilitators was published in RIDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. In 2015, Sara received the TYA/USA Ann Shaw Fellowship Award, which funded a trip to London to visit Oily Cart Theatre and learn about their play development process. Sara used that research to co-create FIVE, a multi-sensory touring musical designed for students with disabilities, which has now toured to over 10,000 students in schools across NYC. Sara also serves as Director of Programs at Actionplay, where she curates self-advocacy focused theatre, film and music programming for and with Disabled artists. Sara has served on panels and presented workshops on accessible arts education at many conferences, including the American Alliance for Theatre and Education Conference and the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference. She acts as an Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Consultant for nonprofits nationwide.


Sheikia S. Norris, lyrically known as Purple was born in The Bronx. Currently residing in Newark, NJ & is in the Graduate program at Goddard College. Purple’s performance or classroom experience is dynamic & unforgettable! This independent international Emcee rocks with funk & soul, naturally connect with ease using a voice that inspires audience movement.  Enthusiasts appreciated her energy, her impeccable flow, and a clever deliverance of truth. Haze has mastered her own rich style of spitting lyrics with both power and substance. She is recognized as a skilled performer, presenter & leader in Hip Hop Educator. Acknowledgments from participating as a “Lady’s First Fund” grant recipient, NJPAC’s Hip Hop Art & Culture Program Director, Next Level Program U.S. Cultural Diplomat, Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, and as a presenter facilitating curator conversations for Hip Hop art, culture & performance. Purp is a diversified talent poised for success in a host of areas.


Alexander Santiago-Jirau (he/él) is Director of Education at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW). In this role, he oversees all of NYTW’s education and engagement initiatives, including the Mind the Gap (MTG) intergenerational theatre program, student matinees, in-school teaching artist residencies, after-school programs, master classes, administrative fellowships, and community-based programs. Some of his favorite work at NYTW has included developing educational materials and curating programming for the world premiere of David Bowie’s and Enda Walsh’s Lazarus directed by Ivo van Hove, the world premiere of Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin, a production of Othello directed by Sam Gold featuring Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, Heidi Shreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me, and Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play. Recent work has included facilitation of MTG devising intensive workshops in London, Chile, and North Carolina, and the creation of NYTW’s Youth Artistic Instigators program.

A Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) practitioner who studied and worked with Augusto Boal, Alex has facilitated many workshops throughout his career, particularly with youth, educators and immigrant communities. He is Past-President of the Board of Directors of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc., a national organization devoted to the work of liberatory educators, activists, artists, and community organizers.

Alex has presented his work at numerous conferences and his writing has appeared in American Theatre, The IndypendentTYA TodayThe Cross Border Project Blog (Spain), the anthology “Come Closer”: Critical Perspectives on Theatre of the Oppressed, The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed and Applied Theatre with Youth: Education, Engagement, Activism. He has taught Latin American and Latinx Theatre at Drew University and also teaches TO for the Department of Drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

He holds a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and an M.A. in Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt.



About the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. We are a community of organizations and individuals that shares information, provides professional development, and communicates with the public to promote our work in schools and beyond. Founded in 1992, the Roundtable produces a major annual conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs; a destination website; and other activities, in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for over 1,000 individuals and member organizations.

For more information please visit:

Urban Arts Partnership Announces New Funding Partners

Urban Arts Partnership Chief Executive Officer Philip Courtney has announced new funding partnerships with The Wallace Foundation and The New York Community Trust. The funders have made a combined contribution of $357,000 in support of the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the USDOE to support Story Studio’s expansion in New York City and Los Angeles. Urban Arts Partnerships is the only arts-education organization included in Mayor DeBlasio’s New York City Community Schools Initiative.

Brooklyn Arts Council Welcomes New Executive Director

Dr. Thomas F. Schutte, Board Chair of Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), announced today that Charlotte Cohen has been named executive director of one of the borough’s premier non-profit cultural organizations. She succeeds Ella J. Weiss who is retiring after serving 16 years as president of the organization.

Cohen, whose arts and culture experience includes service with the federal government, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Smithsonian Institution, will assume her new post on August 31, 2015.

“We are pleased to welcome Charlotte to Brooklyn Arts Council. Though Ella leaves big shoes to fill, Charlotte brings a wealth of invaluable experiences to this new role and a strong connection to artists and the arts. We are confident she will be a great asset to both BAC and our constituents, thanks to her strong knowledge of the artistic landscape of Brooklyn, a commitment to public service, and her rich experience of more than 30 years as an accomplished administrator in the field of contemporary art,” says Dr. Schutte.

For the last ten years, Cohen served as Fine Arts Officer at the U.S. General Services Administration where she oversaw every aspect of the federal government’s fine arts collection in the Northeast and Caribbean region. Previously, she was the director of Percent for Art, New York City’s permanent public art program administered by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, where she worked closely with artists in all stages of their careers and from across the globe. She also served as project director at the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service and program director and curator at Maryland Art Place, a contemporary art center in Baltimore, Maryland.

A third-generation Brooklynite, Cohen is committed to promoting and expanding access to the arts throughout the borough. She has served on the boards of a range of local, national, and international cultural non-profit organizations and has lectured nationally and internationally on issues surrounding contemporary and public art. She is a faculty member at the School of Visual Art’s Master’s Program in Curatorial Practice and is on the editorial board of Public Art Dialogue.

“I am so proud to bring my experience in public service home to Brooklyn, the most vibrant and dynamic artistic community in the country,” said Cohen. “Ella Weiss has been an extraordinary leader who helped shepherd Brooklyn’s cultural renaissance over the last sixteen years. I am deeply honored to carry on her mission to support and strengthen the borough’s thriving and ever-evolving cultural life, and to ensure that everyone has access to it.”

Ella J. Weiss said: “Over the last 16 years, BAC has played a pivotal role in shaping the arts community in the borough. We’ve been at the helm of providing much needed resources to artists and arts organizations in every neighborhood from Brownsville to Bay Ridge. It’s been exciting, rewarding, and immensely gratifying to be part of such a trailblazing organization. It’s my belief that Charlotte will enrich and continue my legacy of keeping Brooklyn alive with art.”

A cultural anchor in Brooklyn since 1966, Brooklyn Arts Council serves artists and arts organizations in all disciplines, and enriches the cultural life of the borough by providing access to affordable arts experiences to Brooklyn residents of all ages and backgrounds throughout the borough. BAC administers the annual re-grant programs of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the NY State Council on the Arts, which provide funding to hundreds of emerging and established Brooklyn artists and arts organizations, helping launch new projects across the borough. BAC also presents arts events, maintains an extensive artist registry and directory of organizations, trains artists and arts professionals, and provides educational services for students and seniors.

Dr. Schutte added: “As Kings County’s foremost supporter of artists and community arts organizations, our leadership has worked with some of the most influential artists and arts organizations in Brooklyn. Collectively, BAC’s programs benefit some 15,000 Brooklyn artists and cultural groups every year, reaching more than a quarter of a million residents.”

Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) is the borough’s leading nonprofit organization supporting artists and cultural groups in all disciplines. BAC reaches hundreds of thousands of artists and audience members each year through literary, performing and visual arts, web-based directories and communities, arts education, urban folk arts initiatives, grants, training programs and art services.

Reprinted from

Eric Pryor Leaving Center for Arts Education

Executive Director Eric G. Pryor is leaving The Center for Arts Education, ending nearly four years of inspired leadership.
Executive Director Eric G. Pryor will be leaving The Center for Arts Education this week to become the new Executive Director of Harlem School of the Arts.

During his tenure, Eric and the CAE staff have grown and strengthened the organization considerably. Among the highlights:
Increased the number of schools served citywide from 50 to 200, including the new Runaway Art: Interpreting Colonial Slave Ads middle school arts and social studies program. Providing professional development to more than 500 educators annually – some in partnership with the UFT Teacher Center and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators – working with school leaders, teachers and teaching artists to establish effective ways of integrating the arts into the school day. Advocacy efforts have resulted in improved transparency and reporting on arts education and helped spur the new administration to invest $92 million over four years to expand access to arts education citywide.
Today, there is real momentum for ensuring every child has access to the arts as part of their school day – not only in New York City, but across the country. CAE will continue its leading efforts as we work together toward the day when all students, regardless of the neighborhood in which they live, have the advantage that only a curriculum steeped in the arts can provide.
The Roundtable wishes Eric much success as Executive Director of Harlem School of the Arts and looks forward to working with him in this new capacity