IDEAs at Work: Creating a Space and Place for All in the Arts

Eventbrite - 2019 Art Works for Virginia Conference

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Virginia Commission for the Arts is pleased to announce that the 2019 Art Works for Virginia conference will take place at the Hilton in Short Pump. The keynote speaker is Crystal Ann Williams, Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Boston University, and a published poet/essayist.

The conference will focus on inclusion, diversity, equity and access to the arts for citizens across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Attendees will be introduced to the Cultural Equity Statement adopted by the Commission Board in June 2018. Sessions will address essential areas of our work in the arts including arts education, audience development/marketing, rural arts, arts and healing, and more.


Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump
12042 W Broad St
Henrico, VA 23233
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Keynote Speaker: Crystal Williams

She began her administrative career at Reed College where soon after her appointment as an assistant professor, she became a faculty activist, envisioning a more inclusive and diverse institution, catalyzing a collective of faculty members who shared the same goals and objectives, and working collaboratively and strategically over the course of several years to effectuate significant institutional change. The results of that work was her appointment as Reed College’s inaugural Dean for Institutional Diversity, where she developed the footprint for a major new office of the college, and worked closely with the President and Dean of the Faculty to initiate a series of strategic endeavors to further diversify the faculty as well as lay the groundwork for the creation of a new teaching and learning center, among other endeavors.

Crystal Williams began her career in the arts as an actress, working in Washington, DC. before moving to New York to pursue a career in the arts. Once in New York, she transitioned from theatre to performance and poetry, becoming a regular at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the mid-90s where she earned a spot on the 1995 Nuyorican Slam Team, which competed in the National Slam in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

An ardent arts advocate, Williams regularly engages in leadership positions within the arts community and has served on several arts boards and selection panels, including as a board member for Write Around Portland and The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center; on the Oregon Poet Laureate Selection Committee; as a judge for the 2015 Donald Hall Poetry Prize, Regional Arts and Culture Council Literary Arts Fellowship, and the Oregon Arts Commission Individual Fellowship; on the Governor’s Ad Hoc Committee to Reduce the Achievement Gap; and on the editorial board for The Writer’s Chronicle.

In 2011, Williams was appointed to the Oregon Arts Commission and in her role as a state-wide arts commissioner and advocate, worked to broaden access in the arts and help arts and philanthropic organizations operationalize their goals to become more diverse and inclusive.

In October 2017, Crystal Williams joined Boston University as Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion.

Read Crystal Williams full bio, here:

Additional presenters will include:

  • Kelly Barsdate, Chief Program and Planning Officer, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
  • William (Bill) Bodine, Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation
  • Becky Caldwell, Executive Director, Virginia Highlands Festival
  • Jay Dick, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs, Americans for the Arts
  • Carrie Cleveland, Education and Resources Manager, CERF+
  • Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle, WA
  • Dr. Niyati Dhokai, Veterans and the Arts Initiative Program Manager, College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University
  • Maryo Gard Ewell, Director of Community Impact, Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley (CO)
  • Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
  • Jan Newcomb, Executive Director, National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness & Emergency Response (NCAPER)
  • David B. Trinkle, M.D., FAPA, Associate Dean of Community and Culture, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
  • Haowen Wang, Program Officer, Performing Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation


The discounted hotel rooms are now fully booked. Please contact us if you are still seeking lodging at (804) 225-3132 or

Art Works for Virginia Conference 2017 is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Dominion Energy Foundation.

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