Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Cultural Workers Behind the Veil | #ArtistsAreNecessaryWorkers: Facebook Live Conversation Series



Cultural Workers Behind the Veil
Facebook Live Conversation Series


This event has already occurred. Enjoy event details below, and scroll to the bottom of the page for the post-event survey and session resources. 

When: Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Facebook Live

watch conversation

Registration: No registration required. All conversations are free and open to the public. 


 ASL interpretation will be provided by LC Interpreting Services. 
Closed Captioning services provided by The Viscardi Center.

About: Dance/NYC led a discussion with arts administrators and organizers working tirelessly through this moment.

Confirmed Speakers: 

  • Clarissa Soto-Josephs, Associate Director, Pentacle
  • Kaisha Johnson, Founding Director, Women of Color in the Arts
  • Marýa Wethers, Independent Creative Producer & Curator
  • Rebecca Ferrell, Director of Programs, Dance/USA

Panelist Bios: 

CLARISSA SOTO JOSEPHS began working at Pentacle in 2011 after earning dual degrees in Dance Performance and Entrepreneurship with a concentration in Legal Studies from Hofstra University. In 2016 she earned an MBA degree from Quinnipiac University. As Associate Director of Pentacle, she has merged her passions for dance and entrepreneurship by helping dance artists navigate their craft within the performing arts and nonprofit fields. In her time at Pentacle, she has worked with over one hundred artists, trained more than 150 interns in arts administration, and has developed innovative ways to effectively serve young artists through Pentacle’s services and programs. Clarissa has been a volunteer dance teacher at Groove With Me, a youth development organization for girls in Harlem since 2013, and is the treasurer of their Young Professionals Committee. She specializes in educating artists about fiscal matters and has led professional development workshops at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference, Dance/NYC’s annual Symposium, Actor’s Equity, and Gibney Dance’s Learning & Leadership Studio Workshop, to name a few. In 2016, she was named to the New York Hispanic Coalition’s 40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars. She has also served on grant panels of major foundations. Since 2010 she has worked as a freelance bookkeeper for Robin Becker Dance, where she first got her start as an intern in college. Today she is proud of her work restructuring Pentacle’s Internship Program, growing Pentacle’s Fiscal Services, and is excited to take on her new role as Associate Director working alongside Director Mara Greenberg to help more artists in the performing arts community.

KAISHA S. JOHNSON is the Founding Director of Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA), a national service network dedicated to creating racial equity in the performing arts. Kaisha co-founded WOCA to provide a platform to give voice and visibility to women of color, to help fortify leadership roles for arts administrators of color, and to reinforce a world where everyone has a seat at the table. Prior to her work with WOCA, Kaisha served as a program director at Center for Traditional Music and Dance for over a decade, organizing in NYC immigrant artist communities working to promote, preserve, and present performance traditions from around the world. With a strong commitment to facilitating culturally equitable programming, Kaisha has served as a consultant providing vision of curation, program development, and community integration. She has consulted with countless organizations including Lincoln Center, The Apollo Theater, and Dance/NYC and has served on numerous grant panels including the NEA, USArtists International and MAP Fund. Working across the globe, Kaisha also serves as a thought partner providing consultation to organizations to help foster understanding about equity and race and their impact on organizational culture, structure, and systems. A love of community learning has led her to teaching positions at City University of New York and the Center for Bronx Non-Profits. A longtime resident of Harlem, NY, initially Kaisha got her start in her hometown of Houston, Texas as a classically-trained violinist. Ms. Johnson holds a Bachelor's degree in music from Hampton University, a Master’s in music business administration from NYU and has done post-graduate work in ethnomusicology. Kaisha has over 20-years experience as an arts manager and is a proud alumna of the Intercultural Leadership Institute. Ms. Johnson is a staunch advocate for the arts, believing in its innate ability to create social change.

MARÝA WETHERS is a dancer and Independent Creative Producer & Curator based in NYC since 1997. As a Producer, she is the Director of International Initiatives at Movement Research, leading the GPS/Global Practice Sharing program, and works with jumatatu m. poe and Edisa Weeks/DELIRIOUS Dances, and previously with Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light, nora chipaumire, Paloma McGregor/Angela’s Pulse, David Thomson, Olivier Tarpaga/Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, and others. As a Curator she conceived and created the three-week performance series “Gathering Place: Black Queer Land(ing)” at Gibney (2018), Queer NY International Arts Festival (2016 & 2015), Out of Space @ BRIC Studio for Danspace Project (2003-2007), and Watershed Lab residency at Mount Tremper Arts (2018 & 2019). Her writing has been published in Configurations in Motion: Curating and Communities of Color Symposium publications, organized by Thomas DeFrantz at Duke University (2016 & 2015) and the 25th Anniversary Movement Research Performance Journal #27/28 (2004). She has served on selection panels for several presenting and funding organizations in NY and nationally. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Dance cum laude, minor in African-American Studies, 1997. As a performer, Marýa received a 2017 NY Dance & Performance (“Bessie”) Award for Outstanding Performance with the Skeleton Architecture collective. She has also danced with iele paloumpis, Daria Faïn, Jack Gray, Deborah Hay (at MoMA in 2018 & 2012), visual artist Senga Nengudi (Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at Studio Museum Harlem, 2013), and in the acclaimed Parallels Platform 30th Anniversary at Danspace Project (2012) in evenings curated by Jawole Zollar and Bebe Miller.

REBECCA FERRELL (she/her) is a dance advocate, artist, educator, producer, and programmer. She holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as an MFA in Dance from Arizona State University. As a longtime activist for the arts, Rebecca has served as the Director of the VA Dance Symposium, Co-Producer of the Richmond Dance Festival, dance critic for GayRVA and RVA Magazine, ACDA Central Region Conference Coordinator, Director of Public Relations and Engagement for the University of Illinois’ Department of Dance, Director and Curator of the Flatlands Dance Film Festival, and Executive Director of Dance Metro DC. Additionally, her arts administrative skills have supported organizations, universities, and dance artists throughout the United States, with funding secured through a number of resources including the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, HumanitiesDC, the Lang Foundation, and Yellow House NYC. She is currently the Director of Programs at Dance/USA, on faculty at American University and Shenandoah Conservatory, and an Advisory Council Member for Arts Education Partnership.

Please fill out our post-event survey


  • Women of the Color in the Arts (WOCA): WOCA is dedicated to creating racial and cultural equity in the performing arts field, by promoting professional opportunities for arts administrators and providing a platform to give voice and visibility to women of color.
  • Pentacle: Pentacle designs and provides unique and robust programs for performing artists at critical stages in their careers. At the same time, Pentacle enriches the cultural landscape through cross-sector partnerships in multiple communities across the city of New York and the United States.


#DanceIsDignifiedLabor #DanceWorkforceResilience #dancenyc #nycdance

Dance/NYC convening is made possible, in part, by leadership support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts.



Dance/NYC seeks partners and speakers with a variety of viewpoints for its events with the goal of generating discussion. The inclusion of any partner or speaker does not constitute an endorsement by Dance/NYC of that partner's or speaker's views.




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