Check out the talented group of panelists joining us to celebrate our 5th birthday on 9.19.19 at BostonArt! These leaders in the arts and culture sector will respond to Phase II of our Cultural Equity Gap Study, in which we share the stories and experiences of Boston area artists and arts leaders of color. You can join the conversation too, and RSVP today!
Courtney D. Sharpe is an urban planner who focuses on advancing equitable access to resources in communities. Prior to becoming the Director of Planning for the Office of Arts and Culture, she served at the Boston Planning and Development Agency as the Senior Planner for Back Bay, Roxbury and Mattapan.
Courtney completed her bachelor’s at Northwestern University and her Master in Urban Planning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. For her graduate studies she focused on urban governance and social justice and co-chaired the inaugural Black in Design Conference. Prior to joining the City of Boston, she was an Innovation Fellow and Innovation Field Lab Coordinator at the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center, worked for the federal government with General Services Administration, assisted with immigrant rights as an AmeriCorps member in Chicago, and taught English and Arts as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco.
Karen Young is a cultural organizer, artist, and educator living in Boston, MA. Her primary art is the Japanese drum (taiko). Influenced by Japanese-American taiko activists of the 70s, Karen is most interested in the intersection of art, grassroots organizing, and policy. In 2018, she was selected as one of seven Boston AIRs (Artists in Residence) charged with addressing issues of resilience, racial equity, and policy by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Her resulting project Older and Bolder, utilizes the arts to mobilize Boston elders. She is the founding director of The Genki Spark, co-founder of the Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival, and one of the key organizers behind womenandtaiko.org. Prior to pursuing the arts full time Karen played a key role in the youth and community development fields as the founder of Youth on Board and as a Presidential appointee on the Commission on National and Community Service.
After over 20 years as a performing musician, 15 years as a music professor, and 10 years as an arts administrator, Lecolion Washington has established himself as a leader for the next generation of arts entrepreneurs. He has been a staunch advocate of music as an agent for social change. Lecolion is the Executive Director of Community Music Center of Boston. Prior to moving to Boston, Lecolion was the Co-Founder/Executive Director of the PRIZM Ensemble in Memphis from 2009-2017, and he was the founder of the PRIZM International Chamber Music Festival. In 2015 he was named as one of the Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. In 2019 he was selected as a Musical American Top Professional of the Year, honoring Innovators, Independent Thinkers and Entrepreneurs. In 2020 he was celebrated as a Boston HUBWeek "Change Maker", and he is the 2020 Chamber Music America Conference Planning Committee Chair.