Keynote Speaker

Lily YehLily Yeh

Urban Alchemy, Art Transforms

Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist whose work has taken her to communities throughout the world. As founder and executive director of the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia from 1968 to 2004, she helped create a national model of community building through the arts. In 2002, Yeh pursued her work internationally, founding Barefoot Artists, Inc., to bring the transformative power of art to impoverished communities around the globe through participatory, multifaceted projects that foster community empowerment, improve the physical environment, promote economic development, and preserve indigenous art and culture. In addition to the United States, she has carried out projects in multiple countries including Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Rwanda, China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Syria, Republic of Georgia, Haiti, and Palestine. (

Using her projects from the inner city of Philadelphia to the genocide-ravaged countryside of Rwanda, Lily Yeh will show the process of transformation on the individual and collective level through the communal act of creating beauty and launching innovative social programs.

Plenary Session

Randy Cohen Randy Cohen

Transforming Delaware through the Arts

Randy Cohen is Vice President of Research and Policy at Americans for the Arts, the nation's advocacy organization for the arts.  He publishes The National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S. as well as the two premier economic studies of the arts industries.  Randy developed the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture, in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute.  A sought after speaker, Randy has given speeches in 49 states, and regularly appears in the news media—including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, and NPR.

Advocates are made, not born. Your ability to articulate the social, educational, and economic value of your organization to government and community leaders is critical to your funding.  Take the mystery out of how to be an effective arts advocate in this lively session with national arts advocacy leader, Randy Cohen.  Bring home the tools and strategies that will make you the knowledge resource that decision makers look to for years to come.

Workshop Presenters

Maren Brown

Maren BrownMaren Brown, M.B.A. is a national arts management consultant with over 25 years of experience as an arts management practitioner.  In her consulting practice, she offers services in strategic planning, program evaluation, cultural districts, partnership development, marketing, and financial analysis.  She offers training programs on arts management topics throughout the nation and founded the University of Massachusetts’ arts management degree program.  She is also the co-editor of the Fundamentals of Arts Management, a publication used in 45% of the nation’s arts management degree programs. Maren has taught thousands of arts practitioners nationally.  

Ed Friedman

Ed FriedmanEd Friedman is executive director and co-founder of Lifetime Arts, a national nonprofit arts organization that offers a positive, modern, artistic, and social lens through which to serve, inspire, and engage America’s growing population of older adults.  Friedman has spent over 30 years in parallel careers serving the arts community, and older adults and their families. As Deputy Director at the Bronx Council on the Arts , he played a leadership role in the formulation of policy and programming, advocacy, grantmaking, and community development, as well as overseeing technical assistance services. He has served on the boards of Mind Builders Creative Arts, Bronx House, and Center Stage Playhouse, and as a panelist for the NY State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Commission. Friedman has also directed programs at senior centers and home care programs, and created and led a caregivers' support group in the Bronx. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Empire State College (SUNY). Friedman's plays and monologues appear in a number of anthologies and have been produced throughout the NY metropolitan area.  

Bob Harlow

Bob HarlowBob Harlow, PhD, is a social psychologist and statistician who develops research programs that help organizations more deeply understand their target audiences. He has partnered with marketing managers and senior executives at some of the world’s largest companies and leading nonprofit organizations to develop brand, communications, and operations strategies. He has held senior and management positions at IBM and at market research consulting groups such as Yankelovich Partners, and currently leads his own market research consulting organization. Bob has written hundreds of surveys and conducted hundreds of focus groups and interviews with broad audiences in 30 countries. He has more than a dozen scholarly publications in social psychology and research methods, and is the lead author of The Wallace Foundation publication series Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences. He has a PhD from Princeton University in social psychology and completed the postdoctoral program in quantitative analysis at New York University’s Stern School of Business and Graduate School of Arts and Science.

  Maura O'Malley

Maura O'MalleyMaura O’Malley is CEO and co-founder of Lifetime Arts, a national nonprofit arts organization that offers a positive, modern, artistic, and social lens through which to serve, inspire, and engage America’s growing population of older adults. O'Malley is an arts specialist with more than thirty years of experience in program design, arts education, and community cultural work. She has informed policy and created innovative programming with the Westchester Arts Council, NYC Department of Education, Stamford Public Schools and the Center for Arts Education, Studio in a School Association, Young Audiences/NY, and many other premiere arts and educational organizations. Maura graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in painting and earned a Masters of Public Administration in arts policy and planning from NYU. She has served as a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, The Bronx Council on the Arts, and ArtsWestchester; served on the Pelham Art Center Board of Directors and the New York Public Library Community Advisory Committee; and is a member of the National Center for Creative Aging’s Steering Committee for the 2015 White House Summit on Creativity and Aging in America.  

Mary Margaret Schoenfeld

Mary Margaret SchoenfeldMary Margaret Schoenfeld is an arts management consultant. As a practitioner she focused on promoting cultural development by providing training and technical assistance to artists and arts administrators, providing strategic planning services, conducting research and providing analysis about arts in the community, developing and supporting peer learning networks, and managing funding programs. Her consulting work includes coalition and project management, strategic planning, facilitation, research, training, and teaching. Schoenfeld is the National Coordinator for the US Regional Arts Organizations and represents them as an advisory member on the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies board of directors.  

Andrew Simonet

Andrew SimonetAndrew Simonet (Artists U Founder and Director) founded Artists U in Philadelphia in 2006. He is the author of Making Your Life as an Artist and works with artists nationally to build sustainable lives. He was, from 1993 to 2013, a founding co-director and choreographer of Philadelphia's Headlong Dance Theater, along with his collaborators Amy Smith and David Brick. Headlong created collaborative dance theater in Philadelphia, and toured nationally. Andrew’s projects included CELL, a performance journey for one audience member at a time guided by your cell phone, and This Town is a Mystery, performances by four Philadelphia households in their homes, followed by a potluck dinner. Headlong’s work was funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts, The Creative Capital Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Japan Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Headlong's work was produced by The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Dance Theater Workshop (NYC), P.S. 122 (NYC), Central Park Summerstage, The Jade Festival (Tokyo), The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Andrew is currently the writer and producer for The Way Up, a documentary film about the community based anti-poverty work of Mauricio Miller. Andrew lives in West Philadelphia with his wife Elizabeth and their sons Jesse Tiger and Nico Wolf.  

Nella Vera

Nella VeraNella Vera is a Group Director at Serino/Coyne, New York's largest live entertainment marketing agency where she works with both Broadway and performing arts clients. Prior, she was Director of Marketing and Communications at Theatre for a New Audience and led the company’s marketing and branding efforts in the opening of a new center for Shakespeare and classical theater, resulting in a 300% increase in subscribers and doubling the number of patrons under the age of 30. Previously, she was the Director of Marketing at The Public Theater where she oversaw marketing and audience development for five venues, as well as Shakespeare in the Park and the Under the Radar Festival. Other experience includes positions at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, the Tony-winning Signature Theatre Company, and Manhattan Theater Club. She serves on the boards of Waterwell and ERS is an adjunct instructor in Arts Marketing at NYU.

Donna Walker-Kuhne

Donna Walker-KuhneDonna Walker-Kuhne has been acknowledged by the Arts and Business Councils as one of the world’s foremost experts on developing multicultural audiences for the arts. She is currently Vice President, Community Engagement for New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She is founder of Walker International Communications Group, a boutique marketing, press and audience development consulting agency. She has generated over $20 million in earned income promoting the arts to multicultural communities and is the author of Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to Arts, Culture and Community (2005), a top-selling, recognized resource for non-profit arts marketers, producers, and students. Her clients have ranged from the Apollo Theater and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to Broadway shows to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Walker-Kuhne is an internationally sought after speaker delivering presentations and workshops on the topic of community engagement and cultural tourism. She most recently returned from presentations in South Africa and Australia, and has been an adjunct professor at NYU, School of Education for over 10 years. She is the recipient of numerous awards and sits on several non profit boards.



MelomanieMélomanie presents "provocative pairings of early and contemporary works" – Baroque music and works from the 20th and 21st Centuries, including 40+ world premieres. The ensemble has recorded works of Telemann as well as two contemporary CDs, Florescence in 2011 and Excursions in 2014.Mélomanie performs regionally and presents a concert series at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.

Kimberly Reighley, flute; Christof Richter, violin; Donna Fournier, gamba; Douglas McNames, cello; and Tracy Richardson, harpsichord

Hannah Sturgis

Hannah SturgisHannah Sturgis, a junior at POLYTECH High School, is Delaware’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud Champion. She aspires to be a writer, actress and most recently, a poet. Hannah hopes to have a career in the arts someday. From a young age, Hannah has loved how the written word can affect the human spirit; Poetry Out Loud has given her the opportunity to bring those words to life.


C. Mercedes Walls

C. Mercedes WallsAfter a career as a Probation/Parole Officer, C. Mercedes Walls (aka: Cathy) opened her studio in Milford, DE. Painting in watercolor, pastels, and oils in a realistic style with intense color, she loves “people scenes.” A devoted advocate for the arts, founding member of Mispillion Art League, and signature member of the Delaware Watercolor Society, she widely exhibits her award winning work.


Dept of State2015 Arts Summit keynote speakers and workshop leaders are sponsored, in part, by the Delaware Department of State.

The Department of State strives to improve public access to arts and history and improve the quality and increase the use of historic, recreational and cultural assets that make Delaware an attractive place to live, work and visit.