Wednesday, May 19, 2010

press releaseContact:
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Washington, DC — May 19, 2010 — The Arts Education Council of Americans for the Arts welcomes arts education leaders from across the country for an opportunity to examine the future of sustainable, student-centered arts education. The arts education pre-conference will take place in Baltimore, June 24–25, 2010, prior to the Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit. Arts educators will be looking at action-oriented strategies for moving decision makers from simply valuing arts education to prioritizing arts education.

The pre-conference will feature roundtable discussions, focusing on identifying strategies, tools, and actions to address arts education trends, as well as the three pillars of arts education. Artist, activist, and Sirius XM radio host Derrick Ashong will deliver the pre-conferences keynote address on June 24. Ashong will discuss the impact of arts education and the value of the arts in creating social change.

The Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit and Annual Convention will follow the pre-conference, June 25–27 in Baltimore. The Half-Century Summit will celebrate the accomplishments and advances of the arts over the last 50 years and bring together leaders from the across the country to learn, connect, and discuss how to keep the arts relevant throughout the U.S. over the next half century. Attendees will hear from 150 dynamic and inspirational speakers addressing how we all can build a vibrant future for the arts in America.

The full schedule for the Arts Education Pre-conference, as well as the Americans for the Arts Half-Century Summit is available online. Session highlights include:

Thursday, June 24 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront

11:00 a.m. — Keynote address with Derrick Ashong

Derrick Ashong—or DNA as he is sometimes known—is literally the voice of a new generation. Whether heard in the eloquent expression of his thoughts on Senator Barack Obama as seen in one of the most-viewed YouTube videos of 2008, in his music as leader of the emerging band Soulfège, or acting in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, the Harvard-educated talent has found myriad ways to inspire, engage, and activate young people with positive messages for social change.
Dubbed a “YouTube phenom” by the New York Times, the Ghana, West Africa, native has dedicated his life to building bridges between the fields of business, media, technology, youth culture, pop culture, and politics. DNA is the host of “The Derrick Ashong Experience” on SIRIUS XM’s Oprah Radio. The show is a mash-up of politics, pop-culture, social media, music, and the arts. He offers inspiration, wisdom, and an open mic to listeners of all ages and welcomes a wide variety of guests from the worlds of politics, new media, entertainment, and beyond.

Ashong has lectured on five continents on the use of media as a tool for human development, including recent talks at the London School of Economics, King's College (Cambridge), the Reconciliation Forum in Washington, DC, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and before UK Parliament on the subject of “The Obama Generation.” He is a member of the internationally recognized Next Generation Leadership Forum and a participant in the Arts & Entertainment task force of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum. He is also the founder of Take Back the Mic, a youth-centered cultural movement that encourages young people to take leadership in four key areas of life: art, society, business, and politics.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, DC, and New York City, Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Visit us online at

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