FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Introducing 4A Arts – American Alliance of Artists and Audiences: A Catalyst for Transforming America Through Arts and Culture
New York, October 23, 2023 – 4A Arts (American Alliance of Artists and Audiences) is a revolutionary advocacy organization igniting a social movement to change the narrative around American arts and culture for American society and consequently influence the way local, state, and federal officials support and fuel the American creative economy. With the launch of this strategic and timely movement, they announce the mission statement, board of directors, and passionate team.
4A Arts Mission Statement:
We believe that arts and culture are basic human rights and powerful tools for building a whole and healthy society. 4A Arts works to democratize, catalyze, and prioritize arts and culture in America.
4A Arts Vision:
4A Arts envisions an America where all who create, maintain, and celebrate our cultural ecosystem is elevated to a position of high regard commensurate with the extraordinary contribution it makes to our country. To that end, 4A Arts envisions a United States with arts represented at the federal level via a Secretary of Arts and Culture, NEA funding multiple times greater than today, and having ratified Article 27 of the UN’s Declaration of Human rights.
Board of Directors:
Our board members are leaders from various fields who share a deep commitment to the transformative power of the arts. They include:
- Charles L. Reinhart – Chair: Charles is a luminary of American modern dance from fostering the careers of Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, and Shen Wei, to bringing dance to the Kennedy Center, to directing the American Dance Festival for three decades. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to the arts. His founding leadership continues to guide 4A Arts in fulfilling its mission.
- Ariane Malia Reinhart – Secretary: As an actor, singer, and dancer, Ariane brings her artistic insight to the board. As an arts administrator, she has worked for The Paul Taylor Dance Company and is now a member of their Board of Directors, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Hunter College. Ariane is on faculty at The Joffrey Ballet school and has taught at The American Dance Festival, Peridance and privately.
- Paula Lawrence – Treasurer: Most recently serving as the Vice President of the Starr Foundation, Paula has served in philanthropy and arts nonprofits in New York City for decades. Drawn to international performance festivals, she served as the Director of Performing Arts for the Japan Society and as the Assistant Director for Performing Arts for the Asia Society. She
- Luis R. Cancel: Luis had the honor of serving as Commissioner / Director of the Cultural Affairs offices for both the City of New York and San Francisco, served as the Executive Director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts for 14 years, and was appointed by then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission to study the potential creation of such a museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution.
- Dr. James Frazier: Dr. Frazier serves as the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Florida State University. He currently serves as secretary/president-elect of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and as a board member of the American Dance Festival (ADF). He is a former secretary and past president of the Council of Dance Administrators, and previously held the positions of co-dean of the ADF and associate artistic director of the Dance Institute of Washington.
- Bill Burton: In 2020, Bill founded Bryson Gillette, a consulting firm focused on political, litigation, and public affairs projects of all different scales, from individuals to world famous brands. Bill was one of the earliest hires on President Obama’s first presidential campaign, where he was the National Press Secretary beginning in January 2007. He served in the Obama administration as Deputy White House Press Secretary and Special Assistant to the President. He is a passionate advocate for the arts.
- Lawrence Ridley, Ph.D.: Dr. Ridley spent a career in jazz playing on tours and in studio recordings with a wide range of notable musicians, including John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Jackie McLean. He developed Rutgers University’s jazz education program at Livingston College, chaired the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Panel, served as the coordinator of the Jazz Artists in Schools program, and was the executive director of the African American Jazz Caucus.
- Carlos Cuevas: Former Deputy Borough President of the Bronx Carlos Cuevas is an advocate for social justice and civil rights who brings his passion for equality and diversity to our board, fostering a more inclusive arts landscape.
- Jodee Nimerichter: As the Director of the American Dance Festival, Jodee contributes her expertise in dance and arts administration to our board. In her capacity, Jodee has expanded outreach and performance programming, created new collaborative partnerships, produced performances in New York City, and launched the successful $3 million Shall We Dance campaign allowing the festival to purchase its first year-round studios.Her commitment to expanding access to the arts aligns with our mission.
- Ruby Shang: Ms. Ruby Shang joined The Asia Foundation Board of Trustees in 2017. Ms. Shang was Country Director, Asia Director and Advisor at the Clinton Foundation from 2003 to 2015, where she established the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam. Previously, Ms. Shang performed with The Paul Taylor Dance Company and served as a member of the dance faculties of The Juilliard School, and the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She was Chair of the Dance Panel for the New York State Council for the Arts, and a member of the Board of Governors for the New York Foundation for the Arts.
4A Arts Leadership Team:
- Gavin Lodge – Executive Director: Seasoned political strategist, actor and entrepreneur, Gavin brings a unique perspective to 4A Arts. With a 20-year career on stage and screen (including five Broadway shows) and regular service as a union representative for actors, Gavin’s diverse background in arts and politics fuels his commitment to arts accessibility for all Americans. Gavin served as a political strategist with Bryson Gillette, an executive assistant to then-candidates United States Senator Maria Cantwell, and was a political organizer for Vice-President Al Gore. Gavin holds a B.A. in International Affairs and Philosophy from the University of Colorado. A father of two young children, Gavin has also served as a NYC PTA president and is a candidate for his local Board of Education committee.
- Whitney S. Christiansen – Director of Research: After a decade teaching secondary English and drama in public schools, Whitney received her second master’s degree from Colorado State University in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management, where she began working with Be An #ArtsHero, a grassroots campaign dedicated to bringing COVID relief to Arts Workers (now Arts Workers United.) She was the researcher on staff for AWU’s lobbying team for the U.S. House Small Business Committee’s January 2022 hearing on the creative economy, and for Ovation TV’s The Green Room.
- Elena K. Holy – General Manager: Elena K. Holy is proud to join the 4A movement as General Manager. Her 30+ year arts management career includes NYC’s non-profit Roundabout Theatre Company, commercial Broadway and Off-Broadway at Richard Frankel Productions, and producing the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) for 20+ years. As Producer, Holy was awarded the 1997 New York Magazine Award for her “creativity, vision and enterprise”. In 2006, she was named one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” because she “turned the Fringe Festival, which she founded in 1996, into Sundance for the theater crowd…Her triumph: retaining the fest’s brilliant lunacy amid commercial success.” Other achievements include the 2007 Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture from then-Mayor Bloomberg, serving as a Tony Awards™ Nominator from 2008, and being named an Indie Theater Hall of Fame “Person of the Decade” in 2015.
- Katherine Lander – Manager, Strategic Planning and Development: Katherine has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit arts & culture administration and fundraising. Prior to joining 4A, she held fundraising leadership roles with KET (Kentucky Educational Television), and Actors Theatre of Louisville, and was an Individual Philanthropy Advisor at Centre College. Katherine spent several years working in arts & culture in New York City, having done her graduate internship with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and served on the Development teams at Jazz at Lincoln Center and WNET-New York Public Media.
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