AAAC’s 9th Annual Creative Sector Summit

The Asheville Area Arts Council’s 9th Annual Creative Sector Summit will focus on the equity and inclusion of underrepresented artists in Buncombe County, reflecting on problematic historic issues, celebrating current successes, and strategizing to increase arts access and opportunity for those who empower the community through their art.

Through presentations, group panels, and open discussion, the conference will highlight local community leaders who will examine the past, present, and future for a more equitable and representative arts community. The goal is to highlight and understand the challenges that underrepresented artists and cultural workers face, and explore innovative solutions for better collaboration between artists, arts organizations, and their audiences.

The Arts Council has historically promoted the arts as a catalyst for progress. To help set solution-oriented initiatives and spur long-term changes will create a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous Buncombe County. The public is invited to participate and make their voices heard.

Dina Bailey
Dina Bailey

Telling The Whole Story

Thursday, May 16

Opening Reception from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Bailey will share lessons she has learned from communities in the U.S. and around the world that are working to tell more inclusive stories. Bailey knows how telling truthful stories is often tied to ideas about voice, scope, agency, and power. That informed her work with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Bailey is an independent consultant and CEO of Mountain Top Vision.

Held at the YMI Cultural Center. Free to attend; registration is required. To register go to

Art in Full Color

Friday, May 17

9 a.m. Registration & Light Breakfast

10 – 10:30 a.m. Opening Remarks

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Stories of Injustice, Perseverance, and Progress. Panelists Shirley Whitesides, Roy Harris, Kimberly Floyd, Sara Henry, and Rasheeda McDaniels will discuss the importance of representation in historical interpretation and ways in which our community is pushing forward.

11:40 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Arts Build Community Grant. The AAAC’s Arts Builds Community Grant funds innovative, arts-based ideas that inspire diverse groups of participants to be more active, involved, and civically-engaged by creating together. Current grant recipients Ponkho Bermejo, Martha Skinner, Lydia George, Janesha Slaughter, and Nuestro Centro will discuss projects and how they impact our community.

12:15 – 12:55 p.m. Lunch

12:55 – 1:05 p.m. State of the Arts County Address by Commissioner Al Whitesides

1:05 – 2:05 p.m. Building Bridges. Cortina Caldwell, Ponkho Bermejo, DeWayne Barton, Erinn Hartley, and Yashika Smith with present and discuss innovative programing that elevates underrepresented artists, cultural arts programming, and the equity training that is critical to their success.

2:15 – 3:30 p.m. Breaking Barriers. Panelists Luis Carlos Serapio, Catherine Mitchell, Claude Coleman, Jasmine Washington, Valeria Watson, and Michael Hayes will share their vision for the future, discuss upcoming opportunities, and envision future projects that will increase opportunities for artists of color and underrepresented communities of Buncombe County.

3:45 – 4:45 p.m. Networking Mix and Mingle

The Creative Sector Summit: Art in Full Color takes place Friday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center. Cost to attend: $35; AAAC Members $25. For more details, and to purchase tickets, please visit


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