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Culture Caucus is a group of 20-30 individuals and organizations, based in the DC area. They will be working with the Social Impact team to produce a variety of events, the majority of which are slated to occur at The REACH.

Community is earned through honor and trust. We have invested heavily in creating an architectural olive branch to our community, but how do we begin to initiate a culture of invitation? How do we imbue our campus addition with a sense of home? How does The Kennedy Center systemically earn its place among new communities?

The REACH affords us the opportunity to honor ‘everyday citizens’ in new ways. In alignment with the world’s greatest artists, programming in the REACH reflects the active intelligence of culture makers of all stripes and vocations. The REACH intersects the functional with the sublime…it is a place where our community has its needs met while also having its imagination fed. The Kennedy Center Culture Caucus is an assembly of DC individuals, organizations, and initiatives that we honor, financially support, and hold space for in our programming of the REACH. The Culture Caucus is our means of curating community. It reflects our evolving belief that we can be a leader of social practice and creative community empowerment as well as the nation’s beacon for the performing arts.

  • 4421 Productions

    Inspired by family and a shared love of art and music, 4421 Productions is a creative agency founded in 2019 by Bisah Suh, Nabil Abdulkadir, and Maureen Smith. The three came together through weekly artist dinners in D.C. and shortly thereafter began collaborating with each other on shows, exhibitions, and other creative projects. As artists themselves, they realize the importance of uplifting and supporting other local artists. 4421 Productions aims to support DMV artists through the production of digital media content, pop-ups, exhibitions, and unique collaborations across sectors.

    4421 Founders

  • Shirikiana Aina Gerima

    Shirikiana Aina is an award-winning independent filmmaker, film educator, and owner of Sankofa Video and Bookstore and cultural center in Washington, D.C. She was born and raised in Detroit where she was shaped by the political and cultural activism of the 1960s and 70s. She also credits this era with the definition and aura of Sankofa Bookstore, where black literature and arts flourish amidst community interaction.

    Aina graduated from Howard University and UCLA, where she studied filmmaking and African area studies. She has taught film as a lecturer at Howard University. She produced and directed the documentaries Footprints of Pan Africanism, on the pan African experiment of the Nkrumah years; Through the Door of No Return, a personal journey bridging the 400-year gap between filmmaker and the slave trade; and Brick by Brick on 70s gentrification and displacement of people of color. Aina has screened her films and participated in numerous film panels in Egypt, Burkina Faso, Brazil, and the United States.

    Shirikiana Aina Gerima

  • Nabil Abdulkadir

    Nabil Abdulkadir is Chief Marketing Officer of 4421 Productions. He is an Ethiopian American multimedia artist from Rockville, Maryland. Falling into the creative world by chance, Abdulkadir has done digital content work with Sony Music Entertainment, Turnaround Arts and Arts Across America powered by the Kennedy Center, and multiple artists originating from the DMV area. His work draws upon music, community, and building connections with the subjects he features in his work. Abdulkadir believes in the power of storytelling through different forms of visual media. See also 4421 Productions.

    Nabil Abdulkadir

  • Jason Barnes

    Jason Barnes was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area and grew up in its theaters and rehearsal halls. At 18, diving headfirst into the New York entertainment industry, Barnes began with styling photoshoots and working backstage at fashion shows. He spent some time in Paris, enchanted by the European fashion and art scenes, and is influenced by the time to this day.

    Mixing his background in music, theater, art, and fashion, the Pussy Noir character developed into an androgynous entity within the nightclub circuit; later, museums and galleries around the city. A popular act in the D.C. region, Barnes continues to culture his brand by giving the audience exuberant energy during performances and providing a gender-queer imagery inviting the audience to have a full sensory experience during their/his performances. Barnes has made appearances and performed in many groundbreaking shows and events. He also produces and performs in a “one-woman” cabaret at Trade, now in its third-year run.

    Sistr Mid9ight

  • Vanda Berninger

    Vanda Berninger immigrated to Germany during the civil war in Croatia in 1991. She finished her studies with a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Political Science at Goethe-University in Frankfurt. Subsequently, she got engaged in German politics as a board member of the Green Party in Frankfurt/Main and spokesperson for immigration and refugee policy in Hessen. She was executive director for Organization Against Sexual and Racist Exploitation, and contributed to a joint Germany-Ethiopia program to promote science and engineering training programs in Ethiopia. In Brussels, Berninger served as a liaison to Southeast European countries for the Institute for European Training and Integration. Since moving to the U.S. 10 years ago, Berninger was active as an Executive Coach, Adjunct Professor for Intercultural Communication, and Strategic Partnership Consultant for Refugees International. In 2017, she co-founded One Journey, a coalition of grassroots organizations, companies, and NGOs building a movement to welcome, connect, and celebrate the “oneness” of humanity.

    Vanda Berninger

  • Damara Catlett

    Damara Catlett is the Executive Director of Full Color Future, a think tank and advocacy organization committed to changing the narrative about people of color in media, tech, and innovation. She is also a Principal at The Raben Group where she specializes in tech policy and racial justice issues. Catlett has more than a decade of experience in building grassroots advocacy and messaging efforts and running advocacy campaigns. She has deep relationships across the civil rights community and has provided strategic planning counsel and facilitation to some of the top organizations and companies in the country. She helped manage efforts for the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign, which brought national awareness to Stand Your Ground laws following the shooting of Trayvon Martin. In 2012, Catlett led a multi-state civic engagement campaign focused on voter registration and engagement efforts for the National Urban League. Through her work, she has remained committed to making sure diverse creators are fully represented at policy tables and debates.

    Damara Catlett

  • Wendy Chan

    Wendy Chan is a co-founder of One Journey, a movement dedicated to shifting the narrative of refugees through showcasing their stories and contributions through culture, storytelling, sports, and technology. Chan immigrated to the U.S. from China when she was 12 years old. Her humble, blue-collar immigrant background helped her appreciate the courage and tenacity of the refugees and see the talents they could bring to America. She is also a co-founder of NOVA Friends of Refugees, a network to support local resettlement programs. Chan works at Accenture, and holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a recipient of the Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leaders Award and DC Mayor’s MOAPIA Ajay Ojha Volunteer Service Award.

    Wendy Chan

  • Kathy Crutcher

    Kathy Crutcher is the founder of Shout Mouse Press, a D.C. area nonprofit writing and publishing program dedicated to amplifying under-heard voices. Shout Mouse coaches young people from marginalized communities to tell their stories and, as published authors, to act as agents of change. Their authors include incarcerated, immigrant, and ethnic and religious minority youth. Their goal is to create a catalog of diverse and inclusive books—from children’s books to novels to memoirs to comics—all of which aim to affirm and engage the next generation in building a more just and equitable world. Shout Mouse authors have earned national awards and starred reviews, and most importantly, have inspired the young people of the District and beyond to read, to listen, to write, and to share, with courage and with heart. Crutcher founded Shout Mouse in 2014 as a way to combine her passions for writing, youth mentorship, and social justice. She received a BA in History from Duke University, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and completed the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program at Georgetown University. She’s been a proud D.C. resident since 2009.

    SMP logo - Kathy Crutcher

  • Kayenecha Daugherty

    Kayenecha Daugherty is an arts + creative professional with almost 20 years of experience designing entertainment + experiential events and connecting artists and brands with interested audiences. Rising through the music industry as one of the first Hidden Beach Recordings’s interns, she then founded her own entertainment company, Gypsy Soul, more than a decade ago. More recently, educating both professionals and youth through arts and music has evolved Daugherty’s professional passions, leading her to leave her six-year position at the Grammys to dedicate herself to further building Creative Nomads and its youth program, Where Art Starts. The mission of Creative Nomads is to both enhance the professional development of arts entrepreneurs and to provide access to art, music, and cultural education and programming for youth and families. She believes that emerging arts professionals without professional development and access to successful peers are less likely to fully realize their potential. Her personal goal is to provide more educational resources to both arts professionals and youth in ways that are fun, build community, and foster personal growth for all involved. She looks forward to connecting with anyone who can assist in expanding the services of Creative Nomads to those who need and cherish art and wellness in their lives and the lives of everyone in our communities.

    Kayenecha Daugherty

  • DC Legendary Musicians, Inc.

    The DC Legendary Musicians, Inc. is a service organization for musicians of the DMV. The mission is to preserve, protect, educate, and promote the artistic legacy and wellbeing of the DMV’s professional musicians.

    DCLM

  • Don’t Mute DC

    Don’t Mute DC is an organization dedicated to battling Black displacement and cultural erasure in the city of Washington. The #DontMuteDC uprising began April 7, 2019 with a springtime battle over music and public space on an iconic street corner, 7th Street and Florida Ave, NW. It has since morphed into a conversation about how gentrification displaced more than 20,000 Black Washingtonians, the city’s history, culture, and racial justice. D.C.’s indigenous go-go music has given a voice to these issues.

    Group pioneers include: #DontMuteDC hashtag creator Julien Broomfield; writer, go-go scholar and professor Natalie Hopkinson; activist and author Tony Lewis Jr.; activist, author, and founder of Check It Enterprises, Ronald “Mo” Moten; and recording artist and 2X gold producer Tone P. The pioneers have addressed audiences including the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Forum, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, American University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, DC Public Libraries, and Empower DC.

     

  • Carol Foster

    Carol Foster is Special Programs Assistant for the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) and is one of just four Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) Emergency Preparedness Consultant/Circuit Riders in the country. She is a founding member of IABD and has committed more than 45 years of dedicated service to the arts and arts education. Foster founded and was the artistic director of the 37-year-old DC Youth Ensemble. She has also worked as Dean of Arts at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, taught visual arts in DC Public Schools, and was on staff as Adjunct Professor of Dance at the University of the District of Columbia. Foster has personally worked as a choreographer, performer, writer, director, and visual artist. Foster worked with the President’s Committee on the Arts Turnaround Arts Initiative; she was invited to bring students she trained to perform at the White House on 10 occasions. She is the recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Mayor’s Art Award and was also recognized in the United States Congressional Record. Ms. Foster is an artistic consultant for the Turnaround Arts National housed in and an affiliate program of the Kennedy Center. 

    Carol A. Foster

  • Ahmane’ Glover

    See “The Sanctuaries

     

  • Long Live GoGo

    Founded in 2017, Long Live GoGo are the curators and producers of the Moechella Rallies sweeping D.C. During these events, notable leaders, advocates, and organizations receive an opportunity to give their platforms to thousands of Washingtonians. It has produced Back to the GoGo Live!!, a weekly live stream featuring performances by popular gogo bands; curated the DC Lobby Day Rally; executed four pop-up installations; and more. Under the leadership of its founder, Justin “Yaddiya” Johnson, Long Live GoGo is steadily expanding. As a collective of liberators, they believe in an inclusive and spacious movement that unites all Washingtonians to protect D.C. culture.

    J YADDIYA

  • Risikat “Kat” Okedeyi

    Risikat “Kat” Okedeyi shares her time between two passions: cultural architecture and teaching. Kat is a self-defined cultural architect and owner of LiL SoSo Productions, LLC (www.lilsoso.com). She creates high-quality, multi-sensory experiences, produces and directs conversations on and around progressive Black culture and aesthetics, and works with artists and creatives of all sorts in a variety of branding and strategic planning capacities. Kat is also an associate professor in the English department at Prince George’s Community College. She teaches courses in composition writing, specializes in African-American and world literature, and also serves as the college’s director for its PGCC Book Bridge Project. She serves as adjunct faculty at Bowie State University and teaches a course on self-promotion and marketing as part of the university’s Visual Communication & Digital Media Arts (VCDMA) program.

    Risikat Okedeyi

  • Goldie E. Patrick

    Goldie E. Patrick brings more than a decade of experience in grantmaking, nonprofit management, and as a leader and practitioner in the local arts community. After earning her BFA in Theatre, Patrick pursued a career in the nonprofit sector to bridge gaps that left organizations and communities under-resourced, disproportionately funded, and disengaged. She has worked with local nonprofits in the areas of program development, cultural competency, and community engagement. After successfully completing the Nonprofit Roundtable’s Future Executive Director Fellowship, Patrick has worked for various institutions internationally, consulting to increase community engagement, advocacy efforts, and cultural competency. An arts educator and professor, Patrick has also been essential in the development and evaluation of arts education, youth development, and Hip Hop education. She has worked with large organizations and institutions, including Hi-ARTS NYC, and the Kennedy Center, as well as Life Pieces to Masterpieces and Horton’s Kids. She is the executive director and founder of D.C.’s FRESHH Inc Theatre company, a grassroots theater company dedicated to celebrating and cultivating the voices of Black women and girls in theater.

    Goldie Patrick

  • Lori Pitts

    Lori Pitts is an Applied Theatre practitioner, Theatre of the Oppressed Joker, teaching artist, performer, and director in the DMV area who is passionate about creating platforms for voices that often go unheard. She is the Founding Director of Voices Unbarred, a re-entry program that aims to amplify the voices of those currently incarcerated by using Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to help them write and perform an original play around relevant issues, and is a core member of the DC Coalition for Theatre & Social Justice. Pitts teaches and performs regularly with Young Playwrights’ Theater and has recently been seen on stage with Rorschach Theatre, Ally Theatre, and The Welders. She is a recent graduate of the 202Creates Fellowship and is a recipient of the Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program grant through the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for her work within the community.

    Lori Pitts

  • Rose Powhatan

    Rose Powhatan is descended from the Pamunkey Tribe of Indians of Virginia. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate arts degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and has completed further studies at Trinity College, Georgetown University, Catholic University, and the University of London. Numerous academic, professional and community service awards have been presented to her. Formerly the Southeastern Region Artists’ Circle representative for ATLATL (the nation’s premier Native American arts organization), her select board memberships include the Intertribal Women’s Circle and Fondo del Sol Multicultural/Bilingual Museum. Powhatan has created critically acclaimed paintings, installations, murals, totem poles, plays, costumes, and educational artwork; her select film credits include The New World movie and HBO’s John Adams mini-series; she is a published author; and the co-founder of the Powhatan Museum and educational website (powhatanmuseum.com). Having worked as an arts educator for more than 25 years in D.C. and the United Kingdom, Rose inspires her fellow artists and educators by being an activist actor/artist/author/educator from a large extended family that includes 29 arts practitioners.

    Rose Powhatan

  • Nistha Raj

    A 2013–2014 Strathmore Artist in Residence, Nistha Raj is emerging as a fresh voice in creative and world music. A versatile musician, she pursues new horizons by melding tradition with contemporary innovation—lending her talents to the jazz trio The Fourth Stream, collaborations with National Symphony Orchestra musicians, The Last Stand Quartet, Grammy®-nominated Hip Hop artist Christylez Bacon; and recording on rock band NRI’s album. A distinguished performer and teacher in the D.C. community, Raj has performed at the United Nations, the Kennedy Center, and the American Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. She is a recipient of multiple grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Raj is co-founder and curator of District of Raga, a monthly event focused on presenting traditional and authentic Indian classical music as well as multicultural musical traditions.

    Nistha Raj

  • Rev. Erik Martinez Resly

    See “The Sanctuaries

     

  • Suzanne Richard

    Suzanne Richard is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Open Circle Theatre (OCT), a professional theater including the work of artists with and without disabilities. OCT has produced many critically acclaimed shows including Jesus Christ Superstar, which earned four Helen Hayes nominations.

    Mixing arts with advocacy, Ms. Richard has worked on and served in various local, national, and international accessibility and disabilities-related councils and committees.

    Academically, she has a BA in Theatre from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has authored chapters in a number of books, as well as contributed to the National Endowment for the Arts and Kennedy Center’s Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook.

    She has partnered with Story Tapestries to create workshops and PDs on Inclusive Arts Integration and has been presenting workshops and residencies in local school systems as well as around the country.

    She currently works as an actress in Washington, D.C. and has performed in more than 30 productions at Ford’s Theatre, The Folger Theatre, Studio Second Stage, and others. She has toured as a dancer and continues to perform and collaborate with Liz Lerman’s Dance Exchange.

    Suzanne Richard

  • The Sanctuaries

    Ahmane’ Glover and Rev. Erik Martinez Resly are multicultural organizers who use arts-based strategies to build power, shift culture, and heal spirits for the wellness of the people. Through their Co-Directorship of The Sanctuaries, they have trained hundreds of visual and performing artists to work on the front lines of grassroots organizing campaigns, civic engagement projects, and national social movements impacting more than 100,000 people in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

    Erik Martinez Resly

  • Maureen Smith

    Maureen Smith is Chief Creative Officer of 4421 Productions. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Smith is a visual artist and storyteller. She graduated from American University with a BA in Communications Law Economics and Government & Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, with a focus on feminist art and social change. She has worked for Americans for the Arts, documentary production company Meridian Hill Pictures, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Recently, her work was featured in the By the People x Monochrome Collective art exhibition. Her artistic practice often explores themes of embodiment, trauma, womanhood, and joy. See also 4421 Productions.

    Maureen Smith

  • Bisah Suh

    Bisah Suh is Chief Executive Officer of 4421 Productions. She is a Cameroonian American performance artist from Laurel, Maryland. She recently graduated from American University with a BA in Public Relations and Strategic Communications. She has vast experience working in the arts having worked with organizations such as Sony Music Entertainment, Nubian Hueman, Songbyrd Music House, and the Kennedy Center. Suh is also a trained contemporary vocalist and has been performing for 15 years. She is currently working on recording her first album and enjoys exploring other mediums of art through storytelling. See also 4421 Productions.

    Bisah Suh

  • Maryann Taruc (Tahrook)

    Maryann Taruc, also known as Tahrook, is a visual artist and co-founder of Mxdhouse, an all-women’s collective in Washington, D.C. It is also a full-service entertainment production and marketing company that is always looking for meaningful work in the creative sector where they can put their extensive knowledge of the arts and creative economy to work. Artists in this area have taken a huge step of courage into the art world, going against social norms, by making many sacrifices in order to bring art back to life. She is honored to be living in the midst of a local renaissance initiated by amazing young creatives. The main goal of each event they put together is to celebrate the profound impact that artists have been and are having on our society, their courage to confidently and passionately pursue art, provide a supportive platform, and offer an opportunity for new connections and inspiration, celebrating the true essence of what DC art is about.

    Maryann Taruc

  • Tatiana

    Tatiana was born in the Soviet Union and raised by her grandmother. As a teenager, she joined a number of tusovkas (street groups) to survive, one of which was the “farsovshiki,” new wave kids who ran around big cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev, using trade as a way to interact and learn about the wild, wild (and very taboo) West. Tatiana was adopted by an American family and moved to California in 1991. After earning her masters degree in Information Systems from the University of Notre Dame, she moved to D.C. where she started the non-profit Skate Girls Tribe (SGT) and sPACYcLOUd. She believes action sports can be used as a very powerful tool to empower women. SGT invites girls of all ages and abilities to unite and skateboard in a safe and nurturing setting. sPACYcLOUd HQ is located in Adams Morgan and provides a space for entrepreneurs, especially women, to utilize resources, test out concepts, and market to retail customers. sPACYcLOUd is a green company with a focus on alternative resources and sustainable practices, including a low alcoholic consumption space for people to engage in art, music, social health, wellness, and a plant-based menu that is inspired by classic international cuisines.

    Tatiana Kolina

  • Dvonne (Devon) Trotter

    Black, poor, and queer, DMV native Dvonne (Devon) Trotter was born in Salisbury and raised between there and Hampton Roads, Virginia. Growing up, these qualifiers left Trotter feeling subversive and drew him toward subculture and the underground. Music, dance, and community have always been pillars for Trotter, from elementary school through graduating from The College of William and Mary.

    It was in the late 1990s at the under-21 clubs of Ocean City, Maryland, and later at D.C.’s Nation, where he learned he could have music, dance, and community in one place: the dance floor.

    In 2006, he moved to Prague on a whim to seek out transformative experiences in dark spaces with throbbing beats across Europe. He sought to replicate these in the U.S. when he moved to D.C. in 2009. He’s planned and programmed numerous dance parties and DJ’ed throughout D.C., serves as resident DJ for House of Sonique, and is regularly booked for Capital Pride.

    When Trotter is not bringing folx together on the dance floor, he serves as a co-chair for the annual Fall Brunch for local LGBTQ youth advocacy organization Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocate Leaders (SMYAL) and enriches lives as a volunteer group facilitator and peer mentor for newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals at Whitman-Walker Health. Professionally, he is a certified life coach and environmental justice professional for a national conservation nonprofit.

    Devon Trotter

  • Joel Ulmer (Joel Vincii)

    Joel Ulmer also known as Joel Vincii was born and raised in Washington, D.C. He studied Studio Art at Central State University in Ohio, earning his Bachelors in 2012. After college, Joel worked as a Visual Arts Program Specialist at the Art and Drama Therapy Institute assisting adults with mental illness. Today, Joel works part time at The Phillips Collection and full time at the National Gallery of Art in Visitor Services. Joel predominantly works in oil but notes that he loves to explore other artistic mediums such as charcoal, sculpture, and digital arts. His paintings encompass both a traditional and modern style of painting. He aims to create what he calls a “social surreal” style of work.

    Joel Vincii

David M. Rubenstein
Cornerstone of the REACH