past event

The Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series: A Most Beautiful Thing

A Most Beautiful Thing chronicles the true story of the country’s first African-American high school rowing team. Award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio (I am Jane Doe) and original crew captain and memoirist Arshay Cooper (Suga Water) discuss this highly anticipated new documentary (Executive Produced by Grant Hill, Dwyane Wade, and Dion (No I.D.) Wilson) and preview clips with Aspen Institute Arts Program Executive Director Erika Mallin.

Mary Mazzio, an award-winning documentary film director, Olympic athlete, and former law firm partner, is Founder/CEO of 50 Eggs, Inc., an independent production company dedicated to making socially impactful films. Mary wrote, directed and produced the highly-acclaimed films: Underwater Dreams, TEN9EIGHT, The Apple Pushers, A Hero for Daisy, Contrarian, Apple Pie, and Lemonade Stories. Her newest film, I AM JANE DOE, narrated by Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain, opened in AMC Theatres and is now on Netflix. The film catalyzed bipartisan federal legislation signed by the President in 2018.

Arshay Cooper is an award-winning author, USRowing Golden Oars winner, motivational speaker, and partners with several community outreach organizations. After years of working in the foodservice industry, Arshay returned to his true passion, working with young people. He coached rowing at the Chicago Urban Youth Rowing Club and worked as the youth program guidance counselor for the Victory Outreach’s Midwest/Gulf Coast region. Arshay has also started several rowing programs for low-income youth across the country–anywhere a puddle of water exists–so that other young people can experience the profound change that can happen on the water. His first book, a memoir titled Suga Water, was released in 2015, and won silver at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards for best inspirational memoir.

The Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series is made possible with the generous support of Michelle Smith and the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.
Event information
Wed Dec 4, 2019
12:00pm - 1:30pm EDT
Aspen Institute
Washington, DC