About the Arts Program

Group 1The Aspen Institute Arts Program was established to support and invigorate the role of arts and culture in public life through initiatives, public and private convenings, and strategy work across the United States. Directed by Damian Woetzel, it brings together artists, advocates, educators, foundations, government officials, and others to exchange ideas and develop policies and programs that strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the arts and society. By examining how artists shape our views of community and country, the Arts Program draws us into causes of social concern and helps uncover creative solutions based in empathy and shared understanding.

Program activities include the Creative Young Leaders Alliance; ArtStrikes; Civic Practice Scholars; and the Race, Arts, and America initiative. The Arts Program produces curated conversations, events, and performances in New York City and elsewhere around the country, as well as arts-focused discussions for the Washington Ideas Roundtable Series and film screenings for the New Views Documentaries and Dialogue Series. The Aspen Arts Strategy Group meets in various American cities to strategize on ways the arts can solve problems in realms such as education and community development. The Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Program brings distinguished artists to participate in the Aspen Ideas Festival and other Institute programs throughout the year. Artists-in-residence for 2017-18 are Ava DuVernay and Jeff Koons.

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Group2The Program draws upon the Institute’s long-established convening power, and its well-known association with ideas, values and leadership. It responds to needs identified in a survey across the full spectrum of the arts in America for less isolation among arts advocates and directors, and for more communication and exchange of ideas and best practices. It takes advantage of the Institute’s fertile nonpartisan and interdisciplinary foundations, and works to integrate arts and artists across the full breadth of the Institute’s programs.