A people-powered department is nothing without its people. The USDAC is an evolving act of collective imagination, conceived by many. The following people, along with our Cultural Agents and members of the National Cabinet,  are helping hold it together and bring it forth.


Office of instigation

Chief Instigator  (aka Deputy Secretary Norman Beckett)

Chief Instigator  (aka Deputy Secretary Norman Beckett)

Adam Horowitz is a “projectician”—a co-creator of sector-blurring, border-crossing projects rooted in storytelling, cultural exchange, and social change. Adam was Co-Executive Director of Bowery Arts + Science—which programs the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC—and has worked with numerous organizations at the intersection of arts, education, and social change, including the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Ashoka, and The Future Project, where he was a founding team member.  As a performer, musician, and researcher of intercultural exchange, he has worked with ensembles in Europe and in South America, presenting original work in forests, churches, public plazas, and living rooms, as well as traditional theaters. He has been an Artist in Residence at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Adam holds a BA from Yale University and was a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, where he wrote about performance and politics for Theater Magazine, devised original theater pieces with teens, and printed out hundreds of posters for an imagined entity known as the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture…

Chief Policy Wonk

Chief Policy Wonk

 
Rhapsodist of Wherewithal

Rhapsodist of Wherewithal

Chief of Operations

Chief of Operations

Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, consultant and cultural activist whose focus is the intersection of culture, politics and spirituality. Her blog and other writings may be downloaded from her Web site: www.arlenegoldbard.com. She was born in New York and grew up near San Francisco. Her two newest books on art’s public purpose—The Wave and The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future were published in spring 2013. Prior books include New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development, Community, Culture and Globalization, an international anthology published by the Rockefeller Foundation, Crossroads: Reflections on the Politics of Culture, and Clarity, a novel. Her essays have been published in In Motion Magazine, Art in America, Theatre, Tikkun, and many other journals. She has addressed many academic and community audiences in the U.S. and Europe on topics ranging from the ethics of community arts practice to the development of integral organizations. She has provided advice and counsel to hundreds of community-based organizations, independent media groups, and public and private funders and policymakers including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Independent Television Service, Appalshop and dozens of others. She serves as President of the Board of Directors of The Shalom Center

Yolanda Wisher is the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia. Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Fence, Chain, MELUS, and GOOD Magazine and the anthologies Gathering Ground and The Ringing Ear. Wisher is a 2016 Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence, 2015 Pew Fellow, Center for Performance and Civic Practice Catalyst Initiative grantee (2015), Leeway Art & Change Award recipient (2008), and the inaugural Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999). She holds an M.A in English/Creative Writing-Poetry from Temple University and a B.A. in English/Black Studies from Lafayette College. Wisher founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival (2006-2010) and served as Director of Art Education for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (2010-2015). 

 

Mo Manklang is a creative strategist focusing on cooperative solutions and network building. She has been convening people in the arts, nonprofit, social enterprise, and cooperative areas the past five years in Philadelphia. Mo is Board Vice President of the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, a member of the Media and Marketing committee of the Kensington Community Food Co-op, a member of the Policy Committee of the Sustainable Business Network, and is cofounder of The Bechdel Test Fest, an annual festival highlighting women and transgender comedians in Philadelphia.

regional envoys

West Coast Regional Envoy (California, Oregon, Washington)

West Coast Regional Envoy (California, Oregon, Washington)

Southeast Regional Envoy  (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)

Southeast Regional Envoy  (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)

New England Regional Envoy  (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island)

New England Regional Envoy  (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island)

Southern Regional Envoy     (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama)

Southern Regional Envoy     (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama)

Raised between Oakland and San Francisco, Katherin Canton envisions living in a community that values creative and cultural expression for all to participate in. She earned a BFA from California College of the Arts, with an emphasis in Community Arts through a studio practice in photography and textiles. During her time at CCA, she was the administrator and Community Collaborations Director at the volunteer-run arts center Rock Paper Scissors Collective; here she developed funding, business, and partnership processes that resulted in awards from the East Bay Committee Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, and the City of Oakland’s Cultural Arts Program. Katherin organizes with Arts for a Better Bay Area and consults with the Housing Rights Committee of SF. As the Co-Director of the Emerging Arts Professionals SF/BA, she strives to build a visible network for artists, local/small businesses, and government to communicate and share resources.

 

Yvette Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA, is Principal and Chief Storytelling Officer at Narratives for Change. Embracing “all things narrative” as her work in the world, Yvette is a poet and essayist, teaching artist, and narrative practitioner in applied behavioral science. A passionate mixed-media artist, Yvette uses collage and fiber arts to express stories. Projects span from autoethnography, story circles, writing workshops, developing leaders, narrative inquiry, and facilitating community change. Goddard College and the University of Denver is where Yvette completed her graduate studies in Transformative Language Arts for Personal and Social Change and Creative Writing. She publishes on the topics of intersectionality, diversity and inclusion, transformative narratives, and "women as leaders of their lives." The Community Foundation of North Florida ArtVentures recognized Yvette’s writing and awarded her a grant to support the completion of her essays and letters project. Jennifer Chen Tran, Fuse Literary Agency, represents Yvette’s work.

 

Devon Kelley-Yurdin is a maker, educator, and community arts activist living in Portland, Maine. She specializes in illustration and design, printmaking, and art direction, as well as community arts administration and collective/cooperative models. As a Vermont native and graduate from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn who has also lived in the Bay Area; Austin, TX; and rural Maine, Devon carries a diverse set of skills and community experiences in her tool belt. She believes creativity can be found everywhere, and that putting together a well curated outfit or finding the perfect bread-to-filling sandwich ratio are perfectly viable creative activities. Her activism and personal art practice are formed around the belief that art is a powerful avenue to learn new technical skills, discover ways of thinking and looking, explore ideas of place and community, learn histories, and find points of connection with others.

 

Harold Steward is a Dallas, Texas based arts administrator and theater practitioner who is dedicated to social justice and cultural equity. He currently serves as the Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center and is a founding member and Director of Marketing for the Next Gen National Arts Network. Harold is also the Artistic Director of Fahari Arts Institute, a multidisciplinary, black queer, arts organization in Dallas. He is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Zilphia Horton Cultural Organizing Institute in association with the Highlander Research and Education Center. Harold is a proud member of Alternate ROOTS and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Performance Network.

 

Action Squad

A growing group of engaged volunteers are coming together as the Action Squad to activate and enable the USDAC's continued activities and growth.  Interested in joining? We're always recruiting for new roles . Or if you have an idea, send us a note about how you'd like to get involved.

Current Action Squad Members include:

  • Josh Adler, Poet-in-Residence (New York, NY)
  • Liliana Ashman, Story Hunter-Gatherer (New York, NY)
  • Dorit Avganim, Strategic Advisor of Treasure (New York, NY)
  • Jordan Cambell, Artreach Coordinator (Washington, DC)
  • Jax Gil, Sparkitect (Providence, RI)
  • Liz Green, Magister of Matchmaking (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Sara Harvey, Secretary of Tweets and Pokes (New York, NY)
  • Kristen Scott Kennedy, Artreach Coordinator (Washington, DC)
  • Liz Maxwell, Chief Dot Connector (New York, NY)
  • Marinna Guzy, Media Editor (Corvallis, OR)
  • Shawn Lent, Artreach Coordinator (Chicago, IL)
  • Karie Liao, Artreach Coordinator (New York, NY)
  • Laurenellen McCann, Artreach Coordinator (Washington, DC)
  • Angela Miles, Master of Swag (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Jalessa Mungin, Deputy Deputy (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Allison Schifani, Lead Initiative Investigator, Bureau of Speculative Acts and Technologies of Empathy (Cleveland, OH)
  • Ralph Stalter, Jr., Artreach Coordinator (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Les TalusanMinister of Funk (Washington, DC)
  • Vanessa Urbina, Embajador al Español (Miami, FL)
  • Jenna Zhu, Interpreter of Discourse and Expression (NYC, NY)
  • Lea A. Gilmore, Deputy of Fullfilment (Nottingham, MD)
  • Kate McNeely, Action Maest@ (New York, NY)

The USDAC is an ongoing project shaped by many. Other catalytic collaborators include Jess Solomon, Stephanie Johnstone, Cordelia Istel, Kathy Engel, Susan Clark, and Alissa Schwartz.  Through interviews and conversations, dozens of individuals have contributed to its development (though are not responsible for current programming). They include, but are not limited to: Marcy Arlin, Caron Atlas, Daniel Banks, Jack Becker, Eric Booth, Andrew Boyd, Kevin Bott, Alexa Bradley, Jeff Chang, Emma Shaw Crane, Stephen Duncomb, Kathy Engel, Lee Sunday Evans, Caleb Hammons, Jonathan Harris, Bob Holman, Morgan Jenness, Stanley Katz, Erica Kohl-Arenas, Liz Lerman, Todd Lester, Roberta Levitow, Jessica Litwak, Randy Martin, Hannah Merriman, Grace Needlman, Rachel Parish, Rachel Plattus, Marlene Ramirez-Cancio, Lisandra Maria Ramos, Yosi Sargent, Levana Saxon, Alissa Schwartz, Baraka Sele, Niegel Smith, Doris Sommers, Aaron Stern, Molly Sturges, Caridad Svich, Carlton Turner, Duncan Wall, and others. Special thanks also to artists and former Action Squad members Jeff Placencia, Christie Goshe, Jessica Halfyard, Bob Bland, David Tomassini, Beth Brodsky, Melissa McClung, Lauren Zanedis, Soo Hyun Noh, Max Powers, Nikhil Melnechuk, Amanda Damewood, Claire Arkin, Veena Vasista, David Greenson, Rafa Kern, Monica Montgomery, Mary Morgan, and others who've lent talent and time to the USDAC.