The Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership is awarded each year to an individual who has had a positive impact on their community, who embodies the broad Aspen Institute ideal of values-based leadership, and who has exemplified this ideal in innovative ways that can serve as models for other leaders. We are honored this year to present the award to playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith.
This discussion on leadership, activism, and innovation in the arts will be moderated by Kate D. Levin, principal at Bloomberg Associates and head of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program.
This award presentation and discussion panel will take place at in the Bennack Theater at the Paley Center for Media on Monday, December 5. For those who are not able to attend in person but would like to join virtual via livestream, you are welcome to register here.
Anna Deavere Smith
Playwright and Actress
Anna Deavere Smith is a playwright and actress, credited with creating a new form of theater. Her plays, which focus on contemporary issues from multiple points of view, are composed of excerpts of hundreds of interviews. Plays and films based on them include Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, Let Me Down Easy, and Notes from the Field, about the school-to-prison pipeline. Her work as an actress on television includes: Inventing Anna, The West Wing, Nurse Jackie and Black-ish. Mainstream movies include Philadelphia, The American President, Rachel Getting Married and Billy Crystal’s new movie Here Today. President Obama awarded Smith the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. She’s the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, several Obie awards, a Drama Desk award, the George Polk Career Award in Journalism and the Dean’s Medal from Stanford University School of Medicine. She was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for two Tony Awards. A professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she has several honorary doctorate degrees including those from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Spelman College, Juilliard and Oxford.
Kate D. Levin
Principal and Head @Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program
Kate D. Levin leads the Cultural Assets Management team at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consulting firm working with mayors to improve quality of life for their citizens. Client cities include Chicago, London, and Newark. She also oversees the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts program, supporting artists and organizations in the United States and around the world. Current initiatives include management training, public art, and digital technology. Previously, Levin served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs where she increased support for cultural organizations, and expanded creative sector participation in economic development, tourism, human services, and education initiatives. The inaugural fellow of SMU DataArts and a former professor at City College/CUNY, Levin also served in the administration of New York City Mayor Ed Koch.