The Aspen Institute Arts Program was established to support and invigorate the arts in America, and to return the arts to the center of the Aspen Institute's "Great Conversation." Directed by Damian Woetzel, it brings together artists, advocates, educators, managers, foundations and government officials to exchange ideas and develop policies and programs that strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the arts and society.

New Initiative: Race, Arts, and America

Our Union cannot be truly perfected until the problems that exist on account of race—the skewed levels of opportunity, the barriers of bias, and the alienation of misunderstanding—are finally erased. The arts have a unique capacity for assisting in the achievement of this goal. This initiative of the Aspen Institute Arts Program examines opportunities for progress by bringing to the table voices who can contribute, including: artists, creators, and presenters—all of whom bear responsibility for what and who appear on stage, page, or screen; educators and critics—who share and elucidate for our citizens the value of, and the values in, our arts; and policymakers and funders—whose actions shape, sustain, and nourish our artistic communities. We look forward to a creative dialogue that can connect to the national conversation, striving for improvement on this vitally challenging problem that our country continues to face.

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Lil Buck in Conversation with Keith Haring

On January 30 we were hosted by the Keith Haring Foundation for a private, one-time workshop of "A Conversation Between Lil Buck & Keith Haring: Exploring the Intersections of Words, Art, and Movement." Keith Haring's untimely death in 1990 has not stopped his art's ability to awe and inspire, which was proved by Lil Buck. In the space Haring used for his studio between 1985 and 1990, framed in walls bearing the palimpsests of old paintings and limited edition prints, Lil Buck used Haring's art and words as a vehicle to ignite his own movement. This private performance will be staged publicly for one day only at San Francisco's de Young Museum on February 15. Click here for details.

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie in conversation with Damian Woetzel one of the Institute's most popular videos of 2014.


Watch other videos from our latest events here.

1 in 99 Adults in the US Lives in Prison. Can the Arts Help Reduce That Number?

“I’d call prisons before anybody knew about the work and say, ‘Hey would you like us to come to your prison and put makeup on your guys, and do, you know, four hours of what we call the theater of sweat with no breaks?’ They were kind of like, ‘Well, that’s so crazy you should really come and try it.’”