past event

NY Forum: Freedom from Fear: The Arts and Civic Engagement Forum

Join the Society of Fellows for our inaugural SOF Forum in New York City:Freedom from Fear: The Arts and Civic Engagement. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt used his State of the Union address to rally the nation to promote the “Four Freedoms” – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Since that time, American artists have expressed their interpretations of these freedoms through creative works, starting with Norman Rockwell’s iconic paintings of the same name, which served to encourage the public to support American engagement in the Second World War. Today, using a variety of art forms, a new generation of artists aims to deepen public discussion and civic engagement on current issues that challenge our understanding of the Four Freedoms.

This half-day program will focus on the Freedom from Fear. A series of panels, comprising contemporary artists, filmmakers, and policy experts, will discuss issues of bias, gun violence, and criminal justice reform, as well as their interconnection and a path forward, all within a studio where walls will be digitally transformed into an art exhibition. Join us for a visually and intellectually stimulating discussion that will include artists and experts from March for Our Lives, For Freedoms, Sandy Hook Promise, When They See Us, and more. These important and timely issues are sure to be hotly debated in the 2020 election, and we are excited to unpack them with you in this unique and immersive way.

**If you are not yet a member of the Society of Fellows, and would like to join, please contact the SOF Hotline at or 970-544-7980.

Panelist Bios:

Sanford Biggers’ work is an interplay of narrative, perspective and history that speaks to current social, political and economic happenings while also examining the contexts that bore them. Working with antique quilts that echo rumors of their use as signposts on the Underground Railroad, he engages these legends and contributes to this narrative by drawing and painting directly onto them. In response to ongoing occurrences of police brutality against Black Americans, Biggers’ BAM series is composed of bronze sculptures recast from fragments of wooden African statues that have been anonymized through dipping in wax and then ballistically ‘resculpted’. Following a residency as a 2017 American Academy Fellow in Rome, the artist recently began working in marble. Drawing on and playing with the tradition of working in this medium, Biggers creates hybridized forms that transpose, combine and juxtapose classical and historical subjects to create alternative meanings and produce what he calls “future ethnographies”. As creative director and keyboardist, he fronts Moon Medicin, a multimedia concept band that straddles visual art and music with performances staged against a backdrop of curated sound effects and video. 

Claire Bryant is a musician and founding member and director of Decoda’s justice initiative, Music for Transformation, which brings collaborative songwriting workshops to correctional institutions. Through this project she has collaborated with the Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, and world-class artists including Emanuel Ax, Sir Simon Rattle, Meredith Monk, Daniel Hope, Dawn Upshaw, the Weilerstein Trio, the Danish String Quartet and members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, among others. She regularly performs with acclaimed ensembles in NYC such as Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Novus NY, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She is a recipient of the the Robert Sherman McGraw Hill Companies award for excellence in community outreach and music education.

Rabia Chaudry is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book, “Adnan’s Story”, and Executive Producer of the Emmy-nominated HBO docuseries “The Case Against Adnan Syed”. She is an attorney and a partner at the Chaudry and Anwer Immigration Law Firm where she supervises asylum cases and immigration appeals. She is well known as the co-host and co-producer of the hit criminal justice podcast Undisclosed and the political podcast The 45th, with nearly 300 million downloads combined.

Chaudry is a recent Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), where she researched the intersection of religion and violent extremism. Prior to this, Chaudry served as an International Security Fellow at the New America Foundation (NAF), where she led a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) community project in partnership with Google, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Paula Crown is an artist, advocate and entrepreneur. She has spearheaded initiatives in education, women’s issues, the arts, children’s health, and environmentally sustainable business practices. In 2012, Crown founded PAHC / studio • lab, a professional artist practice in Chicago and Aspen. She is a technologist and employs a range of tools from pencil to 3D printing. Her multimedia work includes painting, sculpture, video and public installations. Learn more on Instagram at paulacrown_art and Crown has had solo shows in New York, Dallas, Chicago, London and Venice, in addition to numerous group and museum exhibitions. She is a member of the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art, where she chairs the Education Committee. She also serves on the Aspen Institute Committee of the Arts. Crown is a former member of President Obama’s Presidential Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  She is a principal at Henry Crown and Company in Chicago.

Jennifer Eberhardt is a social psychologist at Stanford University, conducting research on race and inequality. She is currently the Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor of Public Policy, a psychology professor, and a faculty director of Stanford SPARQ, a university initiative to use social psychological research to address pressing social problems. Previously, she taught at Yale University. The author of Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, Eberhardt was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences in 2016. In 2014, she was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow and one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. 

Eric Gottesman is the co-founder of For Freedoms, along with Hank Willis Thomas, an initiative for art and civic engagement that won the 2017 Infinity Award and was named the “largest creative collaboration in United States history” by TIME Magazine. He is an artist who studied history before art and whose work addresses nationalism, migration, structural violence, history and intimate relations. Frequently engaging communities in critical self-expression, Gottesman’s projects have been shown at health conferences, in government buildings, on indigenous reserves, in post-war rubble and in museums including MoMA/PS1, MFA Boston, the Cornell Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Center of Photography, MoCA Cleveland, and the Addison Gallery of American Art. Gottesman is a Creative Capital Artist, and a Fulbright Fellow. His co-translation of Ethiopian writer Baalu Girma’s banned novel “Oromaye” was published in Hayden’s Ferry Review. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at SUNY-Purchase College and a Mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Program in Beirut, Lebanon.

Nicole Hockley is co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, a leading gun violence prevention organization providing evidence-based Know the Signs programs at no-cost to schools nationwide. After the tragic death of her son Dylan, one of 20 first-graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Nicole has focused her life on bringing people together in search of innovative solutions to prevent shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools. She currently leads and manages the organization’s communications, program development, and outreach efforts, and serves as a key spokesperson on gun safety and knowing the signs of someone who may be in crisis, or planning violence toward themselves or others. 

Jammal Lemy is a storyteller and designer from Florida and a graduate from Stoneman Douglas high school. From March of 2018 to March 2019, Lemy served as the Creative Director for March for Our Lives. Through design and art, Lemy has helped build the largest youth movement in the world. His creative approach—no matter the medium—is to build art that amplifies voices that are often never heard, voices like his own. Activism comes in many forms, and art is one of the strongest tools to empower change. Whether it’s trying to combat disenfranchisement by making voting easier or traveling to 60 cities in less than three months to create a national dialogue on gun violence prevention, Lemy’s duty is to leave the world better than he found it. For him, that’s all it’s ever about.

Erika Mallin is executive director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program. Previously, she served as executive director of the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in New York City. She has produced over 100 shows with world-class artists, shepherded Signature Theatre’s expansion to the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center, and championed its subsidized ticket program to make theater more affordable — which has served more than one million people. Mallin previously was development director at Atlantic Theater Company and director of corporate relations at Manhattan Theatre Club. Prior to that, she worked for New York City government and started her career as a journalist. 

Marilyn Minter lives and works in New York. She has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005, the Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, OH in 2009, La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Ceutí/Murcia, Spain in 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH in 2010, and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany in 2011. Her video Green Pink Caviar was exhibited in the lobby of the MoMA in 2010 for over a year, and was also shown on digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. and the Creative Time MTV billboard in Times Square, New York. Minter’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions in museums all over the world. In 2006, Marilyn Minter was included in the Whitney Biennial, and in collaboration with Creative Time she installed billboards all over Chelsea in New York City. In 2013, Minter was featured in “Riotous Baroque,” an exhibition that originated at the Kunsthaus Zürich and traveled to the Guggenheim Bilbao. In 2015, Minter’s retrospective Pretty/Dirty opened at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX. Pretty/Dirty and then traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, and on to the Orange Country Museum of Art. Pretty/Dirty opened at the Brooklyn Museum in November, 2016. Minter is represented by Salon 94, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Baldwin Gallery in Aspen. 

Liza Jessie Peterson is an ARTIVIST: an actress, playwright, poet, author and youth advocate who has been steadfast in her commitment to incarcerated populations both professionally and artistically for over two decades. Her one woman show, The Peculiar Patriot, premiered at The National Black Theater in Harlem for two separate runs and garnered rave reviews from The New York TimesThe Boston Globe, and a five star review in Time Out NYThe Peculiar Patriot now tours nationally after being awarded a generous grant from Agnes Gund’s prestigious Art for Justice Fund. During the early years of the play’s uncanny trajectory and true to her artivist nature, Liza performed The Peculiar Patriot in over 35 penitentiaries across the country in a self funded prison tour spanning the course of four years. Petreson is author of “All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island” (Hachette). She was featured in Ava DuVernay’s Emmy award winning documentaryThe 13th (Netflix) and was a consultant on Bill Moyer’s documentary RIKERS (PBS).

Bradford Young, ASC is a cinematographer who studied under the tutelage of filmmaker Haile Gerima. Young’s recent film contributions include: Ava DuVernay’sWhen They See Us; Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for achievement in cinematography); Ron Howard’sSolo: A Star Wars Story; Ava DuVernay’s Selma, (for which Bradford was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography in a Motion Picture); JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year; David Lowrey’s, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George, both of which won him Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition Excellence in Cinematography awards (2013). Other films include Dee Rees’ Pariah, (for which he won the 2011 Sundance US Dramatic Competition Excellence in Cinematography award), Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, Tina Mabry’s, Mississippi Damned, Paola Mendoza’s Entire Nos and Andrew Dosunmu’s, Restless City. Bradford is an 2014 inductee into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a 2015 inductee into the American Society of Cinematographers.

Nan Whaley is proud to choose Dayton as her home. Originally from Indiana, Whaley attended the University of Dayton where she graduated in 1998 and soon settled in the Five Oaks neighborhood where she and her husband Sam reside today.

Whaley’s career is distinguished by her commitment to public service, civic involvement and interest in local government. First elected to the Dayton City Commission in 2005, Nan was the youngest women ever chosen for a commission seat. She was proud to be elected as Dayton’s mayor in 2013 by a double-digit majority. As mayor, she has focused on the areas of community development, manufacturing, and women and children.

Whaley is a national leader among her peers serving on the Board of Trustees for the US Conference of Mayors as well as the Chair of the International Committee for the conference. She serves as a Vice Chair for the National League of Cities, Council on Youth, Education and Families. She is also a founding board member for the Ohio’s Mayor Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of Ohio’s 30 largest cities.

Nan has been committed to the political process in local, state and national elections. While in college, she served as Ohio Chair of the College Democrats. She currently serves as Second Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. Additionally, she is a four time delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Douglas Wood is a Senior Fellow at the Forum for Community Solutions. Previously he was a program officer on the youth opportunity and learning team at Ford Foundation. Prior to 2011, he was associate dean of administration and planning at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at the New School. Additionally, he was executive director and CEO of the Tennessee State Board of Education, chair of the Basic Program Review Committee that oversees Tennessee’s K-12 budget, a member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and principal investigator of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching. Wood began his career as a public school teacher, worked as a research assistant, and has held several posts at Harvard, including at its Graduate School of Education.

Event information
Tue Sep 17, 2019
8:30am - 1:30pm EDT