Erika Hawthorne, emerging leader with a passion for social justice and the transformative power of the arts, started her career as a teaching artist with the Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC) in her hometown of Rockford, IL.
Erika moved to Washington, DC to attend Howard University and remained in the DC area working to address the needs of underserved communities through programming, funding, and capacity building work in the nonprofit sector. During her undergraduate studies, Erika interned with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the Arts Education Division, which fueled her interest in funding arts programs. Erika is now a Grants Management Specialist with the Commission on the Arts and Humanities where she continues to support the DC community.
Erika also serves on the planning committee for the Arts Administrators of Color Network and the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy DC Steering Committee. She has been as a panelist for the NEA, the Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and a National Round Reviewer for the National PTA Reflections Arts Program Awards.
Erika holds a BA in Communication and Culture with a minor in Psychology from Howard University and is pursuing an MA in Arts Management and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at American University. Erika’s graduate research is focused on addressing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access issues related to arts education, and she is currently supporting the Arts Education Partnership’s research for their Equity Working Group.