On Tuesday, June 23rd, the Ford Foundation hosted our first Art of Change Convening on Art, Identity and Movements. This was the first event in a yearlong exploration of the interplay between art and social justice.

Increasingly, many of us experience our identities in complex ways that transcend (yet still include) categories of nation, gender, religion, ethnicity, class, age, or race This complexity creates new challenges as well as new opportunities for movements for social justice in terms of how we organize and advocate. Many artists are ahead of the curve in investigating this complex territory—challenging restrictive identity categories, shaping new narratives around contemporary experience, and affirming identities that have been historically misrepresented.

This convening asked—how does art enable us to understand the complexity of the human experience and find common ground with others, as well as envision and enact new social and political possibilities? Are there opportunities to build more inclusive and collaborative social movements around shared values and needs?

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Opening Remarks

Hilary PenningtonFord Foundation Vice President for Education, Creativity and Free Expression

Colorizing Us: Seeing Identity and Equity Now

Jeff ChangExecutive Director, Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University

Art and Identity


  • David Henry Hwang: Playwright; Librettist; Screenwriter; Art of Change Fellow
  • Julio Salgado: Visual artist; Co-Founder, DreamersAdrift.com
  • Carrie Mae Weems: Visual artist; Art of Change Fellow
  • Moderator: Gregory Rodriguez: Publisher and Executive Director, Zócalo Public Square

After Identity, What?

Hank Willis Thomas: Photographer


 Identity and Movements


  • Polly Carl: Creative Director, ArtsEmerson, Emerson College
  • Gail Christopher: Vice President, Policy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Ai-jen PooDirector, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Moderator: Laura Flanders: Founder and Broadcaster, GRITtv


Closing Remarks
Darren Walker: President, Ford Foundation