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Are you interested in the arts as an engine for social change, in advancing equity in public education, or in D.C. politics? Join us for a conversation with John Abodeely ’01, CEO of the Houston Arts Alliance and former deputy director for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. This conversation will explore national policy and advocacy work, the use of the arts in community improvement, and successful efforts to improve public education in high-poverty environments.

As CEO of Houston Arts Alliance, a citywide arts service organization, John directs strategy in grantmaking, civic art development, and new programs. He is committed to developing the organization’s positive impact on arts production throughout the city, in collaboration with board, staff, grantees, investors and other stakeholders. In ten months, Abodeely has reorganized the Alliance’s financial structure, launched new programs in disaster recovery and resilience, and engaged the challenge of educational equity throughout Houston.

As deputy director and then acting executive director of the Presidents’ Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, an advisory body to the White House on cultural issues, John was instrumental in the expansion of Turnaround Arts, a program that leverages the unique power of arts education to improve non-arts outcomes in a cohort of the nation's most struggling schools. During John’s tenure, the program successfully scaled from eight schools to sixty-eight. Also at the Committee, Abodeely served as trip director for the first-ever U.S. cultural delegation to Cuba, which featured artists Dave Matthews, Usher, Alfre Woodard, and John Guare in cultural exchange with Cuban artists, as well as bi-lateral meetings with U.S. and Cuban dignitaries.

Prior to the President's Committee, Abodeely served as manager of National Partnerships for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and as manager of Education at Americans for the Arts. John has taught education policy at the graduate level, and served on boards and various review panels. He is a graduate of Amherst College with a bachelor's degree magna cum laude in Biology and Fine Arts, and holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

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Phillip Pang
(413) 542-2265
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