NPN Announces New Board Officers

July 23, 2021  •  2 minute read

NPN Staff & Board of Directors, September 2019

The National Performance Network is thrilled to announce its new Board officers, as of July 2021, leading the board’s Executive Committee and serving as leadership liaisons to NPN’s senior staff.

Chair Joan Osato is Producing Director at Youth Speaks (San Francisco), providing free arts education to youth with limited access, in order to empower young people with opportunities to discover and develop their own voices. Joan produces live performance events for Youth Speaks, including Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival as well as Life is Living in cities around the country. As a practicing artist, she has received recognition for both her theater work and her photography. 

Vice-Chair Stephanie McKee-Anderson is Executive Artistic Director at Junebug Productions (New Orleans) as well as a performer, choreographer, educator, facilitator, and cultural organizer. Junebug emerged from the Free Southern Theater in 1980 with a mission to create and support artistic works that question and confront inequitable conditions that have historically impacted the Black community. Stephanie was one of ten artists who collaborated to create the original production “UPROOTED: The Katrina Project,” about post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and is deeply committed to creating work that contributes towards a just society. 

Treasurer Harold Steward is Executive Director & Cultural Strategist at The Theater Offensive (Boston), dedicated to presenting liberating art by, for, and about queer and trans people of color that transcends artistic boundaries, celebrates cultural abundance, and dismantles oppression. Harold joined NPN’s board in 2016 when he served as Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center. Harold is a board member of Theater Communications Group, where he co-chairs the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and he is a Steering Committee member of the Black Theater Commons. 

Secretary Marlène Ramírez-Cancio is Executive Director at EmergeNYC (New York City), an incubator and network for emerging artists-activists in New York City and beyond, focused on developing the voice and artistic expression of BIPOC, women, and LGBTQAI+ practitioners. A Puerto Rican cultural worker, artist, and educator, Marlène joined NPN’s board in 2019 when she served as Associate Director of Arts and Media at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute.

“I am honored and thrilled to work alongside this extraordinary class of Board leadership,” says NPN’s President & CEO Caitlin Strokosch. “Individually, they each bring such different wisdom and experience to our work together. Collectively, they are a powerful force of grace, guts, humor, and brilliance.”

Stepping down from the board are three members: Shay Wafer, Executive Director at WACO Theater Center (Los Angeles), who joined the board during her tenure at 651 Arts (Brooklyn) and most recently served as NPN’s Board Chair; Jevon Collins, Performing Arts Program Director at The King Arts Complex (Columbus, OH); and Olga Garay-English, an independent arts consultant whose decades-long connection to NPN includes as an NPN funder (during her tenures at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs), an NPN Partner (at Miami Dade College), and an organizer and advocate for NPN’s international engagement.

“Shay, Jevon, and Olga have seen NPN through a time of turbulence and transition, and have helped guide us to the joyful, fierce, justice-centered place we are in today,” says Strokosch. “They will always remain part of NPN’s community.”

NPN’s Board of Directors is comprised of 15 members一including arts presenters, artists, and cultural leaders across the country一dedicated to building artists’ power and advancing racial justice in the arts. Meet the full board here.