"Make it Monday" forum - The Future of Arts in Anchorage
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people enjoy arts and culture. Hear from local leaders on the impact of COVID-19 on their respective arts organizations, how they're utilizing resources and continuing to operate, and the bright spots among it all.
MODERATOR: Ben Brown, Chairman, Alaska State Council on the Arts
- Jason Hodges, Anchorage Concert Association
- Teresa Pond, Cyrano's Theatre Company
- Emily Edenshaw, Alaska Native Heritage Center
- Julie Decker, Anchorage Museum (via Zoom)
- Reed Smith, Anchorage Opera (via Zoom)
- Sherri Burkhart Reddick, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra (via Zoom)
The Anchorage Chamber is committed to creating and providing an environment where our members feel comfortable, but also have the freedom to do business. We will continue to follow the latest guidance from the CDC and the Anchorage Health Department. We encourage everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear facial coverings when not actively eating or drinking. Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided at all in-person events, and we ask that you keep your distance from others. Please stay home if you feel sick or have been exposed. Lastly, we encourage everyone to consider getting vaccinated. Visit anchoragecovidvaccine.org.
Benjamin Brown has been Chairman of the Alaska State Council on the Arts since 2007, before which he was Vice-Chairman from 2004. He’s a lifelong Alaskan and company member at Perseverance Theatre, and has performed across the Last Frontier. Brown is an attorney-at-law and a member of the Alaska Bar Association since 2002. He’s worked for all three branches of Alaska State Government, and as an attorney in private practice for many years. In July 2019, Brown became Development Director at Perseverance Theatre. Brown served on the Board of Directors of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) from 2012 through 2019, as Chairman for the last two years of this period. He is Chairman of the Board of Women & Children’s Health Associates (a nonprofit that provides scholarships to young Kenyans pursuing education in medical fields), Secretary of the Board of Alaska Public Media (a statewide public broadcaster based in Anchorage), and on the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce Board. He has previously served on the boards of the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Capital Community Broadcasting (Juneau’s public broadcaster), CoastAlaska (a consortium of Southeast Alaska public radio stations), and the Friends of the Alaska State Museum. Brown was educated at Palmer High School, the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and Northeastern University School of Law.
Julie Decker, PhD, is the Director/CEO of the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, which is a leading center for scholarship, engagement, and investigation of Alaska and the North. Decker’s career has been focused on the people and environment of Northern places and building projects and initiatives that are in service to local and global communities. Before becoming Director/CEO, Decker served as the Museum’s Chief Curator. She has a doctorate in art history, a master’s degree in arts administration, and bachelor degrees in visual design and journalism. She has curated and designed numerous exhibitions, taught classes, and authored and edited numerous publications on subjects ranging from contemporary art and architecture of the North, to many aspects of the Arctic environment and histories.
Reed Smith, General Director Anchorage Opera (AO) since 2014, has taken the company from insolvency to one that is debt free and an organization highly valued by the community, producing the AK premieres of 5 contemporary operas. Key to the turnaround was re-envisioning AO by focusing on the needs of the community. Reed’s artistic vision for the company engages the public with repertoire that offers a mix of standards and new works. In 2015-16, a new model was launched of 3 mainstage productions with 1 serving a particular demographic or societal issue, designed to reach underserved communities and demonstrate the diversity of artists and the artform. The USA premiere of Missing by Marie Clements & Brian Current, which gives voice the current epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, is slated for Feb ’22. His strong conviction to building future opera audiences led him to oversee the creation of a new education program, AO2Go, which collaborates with the University of Alaska Anchorage Opera Ensemble to produce operas for touring to schools and other organizations. In 2015, AO2Go toured to Nome and Unalakleet with Aklaq & Nayak - Alaska Native Adaptation of Hansel & Gretel and provided first contact with the art form to students and villagers. Through a partnership with the Anchorage School District, AO launched their School Lunch Flash MOB-pera program, with the first of these happenings delighting students at the most diverse school in the nation, Clark Middle School. In Feb ’20 AO was 1 of only 2 opera companies selected to be in a study from SMU DataArts/The Wallace Foundation of 20 high-performing arts organizations. “Interviews with leaders…suggest that the key to success lies in high-quality art that resonates with an organization’s community.” Previous to his engagement with AO, Reed served as CEO & GD of Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY for over 13 years. He is the recipient of a Heart of the Arts award from the Broome County Arts Council and a Distinguished Service award from OPERA America, the national service organization for the field. Reed is active with Anchorage East Rotary, is a Past President of the Binghamton Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow.
Teresa K. Pond: Teresa is honored to be Producing Artistic Director of Cyrano’s Theatre Company (CTC). She has a BFA in Theatre from Chapman University and an MFA in Drama-Directing from University of California-Irvine. Her professional directing career spans New York City, Anchorage, and regionally across the country with credits Off-Broadway and regionally across the country from California to Kentucky and more. In Alaska she has directed with Anchorage Opera, Perseverance Theatre and of course Cyrano’s Theatre. Teresa previously served as Executive and Artistic Director of Millbrook Playhouse (PA) and Anchorage Community Theatre. A New York DramaLeague finalist, she was co-leader of the play development group NewShoe (offshoot of The Women’s Project Theatre in New York City) for several years and member of the Director’s Lab at The Women’s Project Theatre (Off-Broadway). Teresa is a proud member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).
Sherri Burkhart Reddick has served as Executive Director of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra for twenty-nine years. A lifelong Alaskan, Ms. Reddick is committed to the growth of the arts in Anchorage and worked with several Anchorage area arts organizations as a free-lance marketing and development consultant before accepting a permanent position with the Anchorage Concert Association as Office Manager and Box Office Manager. Ms. Reddick held that post until she joined the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra as Associate Director in 1989. As Associate Director, she was responsible for implementing the organization’s fundraising goals and objectives. Following a national search, the ASO Board of Directors selected Ms. Reddick as the ASO’s Executive Director in the summer of 1992. Reddick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon, has attended eighteen League of American Orchestras National Conferences and completed The Fund Raising School. In April 2012, Ms. Reddick was awarded the Heart of Anchorage George M. Sullivan Leadership Award recognizing “executives who demonstrate strong leadership qualities and work well with a team”. In addition to her interest in the arts, Ms. Reddick enjoys walking, reading, knitting and time spent with her beagle buddy Murphy.
All registrations, including punch cards and coffee reservations, are due by 10 am the Friday before the forum.
CANCELLATION NOTE: To receive a full refund, registration must be canceled by 5 pm the Thursday prior to the forum. No refunds will be given after this date. Punch cards will still be punched if not cancelled by 5 pm the Thursday prior, as mentioned. If you do not arrive by 12:15 pm. your seat will be forfeited. All registrations are transferable to another person upon your request.
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Date and Time
Monday Sep 27, 2021
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM AKDT
11:30 am to Noon - Networking
Noon to 1 pm - Presentation
Dena'ina Center, 2nd floor
Registration by 10 am Friday is required. Including punch cards and coffee-only!
General Admission* + Lunch: $30 Members / $35 Non-Members
Coffee only: $13
Students: $15 w/ID
Punch Card (10 lunches): $280
*Admission includes a chef’s choice plated entrée, including salad, dessert, and coffee.
Registration by 10 am Friday is required. Including punch cards and coffee-only!