The Aspen Institute Arts Program was established to support and invigorate the arts in America, and to return them 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 to develop policies and programs that strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the arts and society.


COMING UP: Theater of War December 2, New York

with actors Reg E. Cathey, Amy Ryan, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Featuring conversation between Theater of War founder Bryan Doerries and former Marine and playwright Maurice Decaul


VIDEO: Theater in Extremis, with Wendell Pierce, from HBO's The Wire and Treme

Waiting for Godot in New Orleans and Antigone in the World. With Wendell Pierce, Gregory Mosher, and Phumzile Sitole

From October 1, at the Studio Museum in Harlem

VIDEO: The NEH @ 50, with Chairman William "Bro" Adams

in honor of the 50th anniversary of the NEH and the NEA

From September 30, at the Washington Ideas Roundtable

Damian Woetzel on Misty Copeland

Copeland on June 30 was named principal ballerina of the American Ballet Theater, the first black woman to hold the position.

Woetzel, the former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, speaks on American ballet's past and what Copeland's promotion portends for the future.

Making Arts Work: Ideas Festival 2015 Highlights

Producer and Director Gregory Mosher: The Big Idea—Bring Antigone to Communities Around the World

Mosher helped open this year's Ideas Festival.

2015 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Cameron Carpenter: The Organ is "Steeped in Science"

Carpenter explains to Michael Eisner why, for him, the choice between organ and piano as primary instrument was a simple one.

Aspen Young Poets Read Their Collaborative Renga

Each year the Arts Program convenes a group of award-winning student poets to take a modified version of the Aspen Seminar called "Leadership, the Arts, and the Good Society." As part of their work, the young writers collaborate on a renga, a Japanese form in which each person contributes two lines, referencing only the two lines written before them. The performance was part of our "Poetry, Justice, and Alienation" Panel with poets Claudia Rankine and Elizabeth Alexander, moderated by Eric Liu.


Harry Belafonte: His Life, Art, and Activism

“I’d watch [my mother] come home night after night, with no income, with no success in looking for work, and one evening she came, and… she says, ‘Harry, let me tell you something. Never ever in your life go to bed at night knowing there was something you could do to fight injustice and never do it.’ And with that instruction, I had my marching orders at the age of seven.” Read More...

Watch the video of Harry Belafonte's full conversation with Damian Woetzel: