Co-Founders

Co-Founders, Alison McNeil and Kaisha S. Johnson

 

Kaisha S. Johnson

Kaisha S. Johnson currently serves as Director of Touring Artists at the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD). In this capacity, she serves to introduce audiences to cultural traditions from around the world and help affirm the value of cultural diversity as an essential component of our national identity. As director, she collaborates with major performing arts and cultural institutions across the country to present vibrant ethnic artists, in addition to, curating, programming and producing collaborative events throughout New York City. Most prior to her position at CTMD, Kaisha worked and lived abroad in Buenos Aires, developing her interest in the Latin American arts market.

Formerly, Ms. Johnson held the position of Director of Programs at JazzReach Performing Arts and Education Association, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering new audiences for jazz music. Her responsibilities included managing education and outreach performance programs for young people, planning and administering national tours, and cultivating partnerships with performing arts and cultural institutions. During her tenure, she managed to help propel JazzReach from a small New York-based organization to a leading national non-profit dedicated to jazz with presence in scores of communities throughout the country.

Currently, Ms. Johnson is also involved in a unique new project that showcases performing arts from throughout The African Diaspora with a focus on The Americas, highlighting the evolution of traditions outside of the African continent. With a commitment to helping to facilitate diverse programming, Kaisha also serves as an arts consultant providing assistance to artists and non-profits in the form of tour management, program development,  marketing and fundraising. She designs and implements integrated programs for the arts, while researching and soliciting funding from private, government and corporate foundations. Kaisha has served on multiple grant panels including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. In addition, Ms. Johnson serves as a lecturer at the City University of New York (CUNY) in the Non-Profit Management Certificate Program, teaching courses in grant writing, fundraising and marketing.

As an active member of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and with over 15 years experience in the music and performing arts industries, Kaisha has formerly held positions at Herbert Barrett Management and Warner Music. A fifteen-year resident of New York City, initially Kaisha got her start in the performing arts in her hometown of Houston, Texas as a classically trained violinist. Ms. Johnson holds a Bachelor’s degree in music from Hampton University, a Master’s in music business administration from New York University and has done post-graduate work in the field of ethnomusicology at the City University of New York. With a dedication to serving the performing arts field, Kaisha co-founded Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA) in 2009 with the intent of diversifying the field and providing greater opportunities for an underrepresented community of arts administrators.

Alison T. McNeil

Originally from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Alison McNeil has actively engaged in the performing arts for over 20 years as an artist, teacher, and most recently as an performing arts administrator. Alison has over 10 years of professional experience providing community engagement, grant making, assessment & evaluation and program development support to performing arts organizations, federal agencies, for-profit educational consulting firms, educational nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities.

Trained as a researcher, Ms. McNeil has successfully married her passion for the performing arts with her skills in research, grant making and professional development & training. She has recently accepted a position with Windwalker Corporation where she is responsible for designing and conducting program evaluations that assess the effectiveness of programs that benefit children and communities.  Before joining Windwalker Corporation, Ms. McNeil managed the grantmaking  programs for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP). While at APAP, she awarded grants to artists, agents, managers and performing arts presenters. She also administered APAP’s  professional development programs.

In 2009, Ms. McNeil co-founded Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA) with the intent to support, connect, collaborate and share resources among underrepresented communities within the performing arts field. Ms. McNeil is committed to being of service to the performing arts field. She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member with Live Unchained and on the Alexandria Commission for the Arts’ Dance Resource Panel. She has previously served on Step Afrika! and Tappers with Attitude’s Board of Directors, and the Emerging Arts Leaders DC’s Steering Advisory Committee.

Ms. McNeil received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Hampton University and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from American University.

 

promoting equity. fortifying leadership.

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