Art & Activism

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Art & Activism

I am thrilled to be back to produce and host the 4th annual “Art & Activism” event for Division of Continuing Education at the School of Visual Arts. Normally held in a large theatre followed by a lovely post-event reception, of course, this year on September 25, from noon to 7 PM, it will be virtual.

The symposium will feature several very accomplished speakers including:

Earl Thomason, Jr., marketing specialist and Executive Director of Foundation of Freedom, Michele Washington, climate designer and educator, John Cloud Kaiser, Director of Education at Materials for the Arts, Dianne Smith, multi-disciplinary and installation artist, and chef Pierre Thiam, cookbook author, entrepreneur and speaker.

Earl will lead a workshop on marketing and show how arts and service organizations can galvanize communities through messaging and content creation. Michele, who works with communities to create solutions for the natural and built environment, will talk about her numerous neighborhood projects throughout the city, John will explain all about the New York City agency Materials for the Arts, a resource for artists, organizations and educators, Dianne will lead a workshop on how to “upcycle” materials around us to create art, and chef Pierre Thiam will be in the kitchen, preparing fonio, the ancient grain from West Africa that he introduced to the American market.

Also appearing international opera singer Camille Zamora, co-founder of Sing for Hope, and educator Bruno Estrada from Solar One. Both organizations work with youth and will be speaking about their involvement with climate justice and sustainability.

The subtitle of this year’s event, “Nourishing Conscious Communities” covers the pressing issues of climate change, environmental waste, and food distribution.

 The event is free and can be joined any time throughout the day. Register here.

You can hear from some of these talented individuals on a special edition of “Bagels and Broadway” radio show on Saturday Sept. 12 from 9-10 AM on WNYM-AM. It is available to listen to on podcast following airing of the show:

And I hope you will join me on Sept. 25 for this exciting free symposium!


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at

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