The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland hosts its Fellowship for four weeks each summer. The Fellowship is a three-year program. Three cohorts are in residence in Washington, D.C. each summer for an arts management intensive led by DeVos Institute executives, consultants, and experts from the field. 

Biographies of the Institute’s new and continuing Fellows are below, listed by cohort.

2024 Cohort, who will return for their 2nd Year in in the Three-Year Program in 2023:

Name Position Organization City Country
Alexis Spieldenner Co-Founder & Executive Director Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Canada
Jorge Silva  Executive Director  The Neo-Futurists  Chicago,  Illinois United States
María Catalina Prieto Executive Director Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín Medellín Colombia
Scott Watson  Director of Cultural Affairs City of Charleston, Office of Cultural Affairs  Charleston,
South Carolina
United States
Sydnie Liggett  Executive Director  A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham Brooklyn,  New York United States

Alexis Spieldenner
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada  

1st Year, 2024 Cohort
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts

Alexis Spieldenner is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Bravo Niagara! Festival of the Arts based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and lifelong love of music, she launched Bravo Niagara! in 2014 upon graduation from Duke University. A mother-daughter-led nonprofit charitable organization founded by “two women dreamers” (Toronto Star), Bravo Niagara! produces and presents transformative artistic performances featuring leading Canadian and international artists in the Niagara region. Born in the US and now based in Canada, Alexis brings a unique binational perspective to her work with Bravo Niagara! and strives to contribute to Niagara’s rich cultural landscape and role as an international destination for the arts.  

As executive producer of Bravo Niagara!’s annual Voices of Freedom Festival, Alexis is committed to fostering intercultural dialogue and celebrating diversity through the arts. In recognition of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, the inaugural 2015 festival illuminated Niagara’s history as a terminus of the Underground Railroad and was endorsed by the UNESCO Slave Route Project. The Voices of Freedom Festival has since developed into an important platform for amplifying underrepresented voices and histories through inspiring performances enriched with educational outreach initiatives. Alexis is the recipient of the 2016 Lincoln M. Alexander Award, presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, which recognizes young leaders for their efforts to end racial discrimination and promote positive social change. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Comparative Studies from Duke University, where she graduated with high distinction.

Jorge Silva

Chicago, Illinois, United States

1st Year, 2024 Cohort
Managing Director, The Neo-Futurists

Jorge Silva is a writer/performer, producer, and the Managing Director for The Neo-Futurists in Chicago, Illinois. Silva was previously the Producing Coordinator for the Goodman Theatre serving as the producing liaison for community engagement projects and the curator for artistic programming. He earned a dual degree in Government and Theatre (Advanced Undergraduate Theatre Program) at Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences. He is currently a Neubauer Civic Scholar and MBA Candidate at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

He previously served as the Production Manager for the Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theater in Washington, D.C. and as a founding teaching artist for the District of Columbia Public Schools’ in-school arts education program, ‘Tools of Discovery.’ Silva was also a deviser with the interactive theatre company dog & pony DC and was a part of a collective that developed the socially conscious, trilingual (English, Spanish, and American Sign Language) experimental works Toast and Squares. Silva is also an Artistic Affiliate with Teatro Travieso in Wooster, Ohio.

Silva is also a freelance writer and essayist. His works have been featured in the online magazine Scout & Birdie, Junior Varsity, Pivot Arts: Voting Rights, Salonathon, Hot Kitchen Collective, National Cool Shorts, The LIVINGroom, Story District [in DC], Prop Thtr, and THE ARROW with The Neo-Futurists. Silva has been nominated for a Chicago Latino Network Award and several Alliance for Latinx Theatre Artists of Chicago Awards. 

Outside of theatre, Silva is an Affinity Group Leader for the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund’s mentoring program and, similarly, is a Career Coach with the The Posse Foundation: Chicago. He is a Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Writing Program and an advisor for graduate projects. Notably, Silva was a featured speaker at Latinos Progresando’s flagship community event, MEX talks [2018], and continues to serve as a member of the event’s Host Committee. 


María Catalina Prieto
Medellín, Colombia

1st Year, 2024 Cohort
Executive Director, Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín

María Catalina Prieto is Executive Director of the Medellin Philharmonic Orchestra, the only privately-run self-sustainable professional Orchestra in Colombia where she is in charge of the artistic programming of the Orchestra as well as the Research & Development, Education, Outreach, and Production Departments. She has led the creation of new programs such as the Education Program in different rural areas of the Department; the Coro Reconciliación, a choir made of former participants of the Colombian armed conflict; Música por la vida, a program that brings music to the hospitals; as well as the collaboration with soloists from the Top 5 Orchestras of the world according to Gramophone Magazine. 

Before moving to Medellin, she worked at the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra where she helped create the youth orchestras system providing a first income for approximately 200 talented young musicians and singers aged 18-26, as well as the education program that now benefits more than 20,000 kids and youth from all over the city with music education. 

Previous experiences include serving as Cultural Affairs Specialist at the United States Embassy in Colombia where she developed several programs such as Tu Voz Cuenta, a joint venture with USAID and NAS to use Hip Hop as a tool to address gangs and illegal groups recruitment with at-risk youth in eleven cities across the country. She has also worked as General Manager of the America Cantat 7 Festival and at the International Center for Choral Music where she worked as project manager for the World Youth Choir, Namur en chœurs and several other choir-related multicultural projects. 

María Catalina received a Bachelor in Music for Universidad de los Andes as well as a Master in Arts Administration from Barcelona University and a Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from EAN University in Bogotá, Colombia. 


Scott Watson
Charleston, South Carolina, United States

1st Year, 2024 Cohort
Director of Cultural Affairs, City of Charleston

Scott Watson is an arts and communications professional with over twenty-five years’ experience producing and advancing public appreciation of cultural events, having worked in close coordination with artists and arts organizations across a range of disciplines and scale.

As Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Charleston, Scott leads a team of nine full‐time employees charged with producing large‐scale events (Piccolo Spoleto, MOJA Arts Festival), facilitating citywide public celebrations (Holiday Magic in Historic Charleston), and managing ongoing initiatives that enrich the community’s quality of life (Charleston Farmers Market, City Gallery at Waterfront Park). The Office of Cultural Affairs additionally serves as an advocate and resource for regional arts constituents, and publishes a comprehensive online and print calendar to cultural attractions in Charleston. A member of the City’s senior staff, Scott is responsible for guiding policy and advising the Mayor and executive office on issues impacting the creative sector and local artists.

Before moving to Charleston in January 2013, Scott was Marketing Director of Gluckman Mayner Architects, a New York City‐based architectural practice specializing in spaces for the creation and exhibition of art. Scott has previously worked for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and New York Theatre Workshop, and from 2001 to 2003, he was based in Ireland as Executive Producer of the Dublin Fringe Festival.

In the late 1990s, Scott worked with a varied roster of cultural and not‐for‐profit clients while an Account Executive at a boutique public relations firm, The Kreisberg Group, where his projects included national media campaigns for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, The New 42nd Street/New Victory Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, Signature Theatre Company, Aaron Davis Hall/Harlem Stage, and the renovation of Grand Central Terminal.

As a consultant and freelance publicist, Scott has worked on the planning and communications management of public events for The New York Times (Arts & Leisure Weekend, TimesTalks, Great Read in the Park) and for American tours by international performing arts ensembles and companies including the Bolshoi Ballet (Moscow), Gate Theatre (Dublin), Druid (Galway), and Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), with productions visiting venues and festivals including Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and The Kennedy Center. In addition to his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University, Scott holds a Masters of Arts in Eastern Classics from St. Johns College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sydnie Liggett

Brooklyn, New York, United States

1st Year, 2024 Cohort
Executive Director, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham

Sydnie Liggett is the Executive Director of A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, NY-based dance company founded by Artistic Director and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Kyle Abraham. She joined A.I.M in 2019 and in a short time, she has re-organized the operations teams, re-set the strategic direction, and implemented operational efficiencies for a more agile organizational flow. In 2021, Sydnie was selected for Cause Effective's inaugural program for Executive Directors: Focus on Fundraising, building bridges across race, gender, experience within a cohort setting for peer learning. 

Sydnie's 10 years of experience in arts administration, management, and programming includes her previous position as the Director of Programs at Dance/USA where she activated the national network of dancers, choreographers and dance administrators through meaningful programs, networking, and educational opportunities. This included the production and curation of the organization’s signature event, the Dance/USA Annual Conference.

Prior to her time at Dance/USA, Sydnie served as School Director of The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, New York. As School Director, Sydnie designed and managed many new programming initiatives. Among them, she created a curated Guest Artist Series to provide teens and adults exposure to the nation’s most prominent artists, along with an annual teacher audition process to address the lack of diversity in the teaching staff. Under Sydnie's leadership, overall student enrollment increased significantly as she additionally provided guidance and support to countless students, staff, interns, and teaching artists.

Previous positions in non-profit include School Assistant of the Mark Morris Dance Center, Education Assistant and Programs Coordinator of Dance New Amsterdam, and member of Dance/NYC’s 2015-2016 Junior Committee. Sydnie has also worked in corporate America, providing client services to senior executives in biotech and pharmaceutical industries; connecting them with prominent thought-leaders for direct mentorship and counsel. Sydnie is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Communications. Her enthusiasm as a performer has never wavered and for quite some time, she enjoyed dancing for various choreographers on the East Coast.



2022 Cohort:

Name Position Organization City Country
Libertad Guerra
Executive Director
Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center
New York, New York
United States
Martin Inthamoussú
President & CEO
SODRE, Ministry of Education and Culture
Dantes Rameau
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Atlanta Music Project
Atlanta, Georgia
United States
Sunny Sumter
President & CEO
DC Jazz Festival
Washington, D.C.
United States
Aleksandra Szymańska
Instytut Kultury Miejskiej / City Culture Institute

Libertad Guerra
New York, New York, United States

2022 Cohort
Executive Director, Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center

Libertad O. Guerra is an urban anthropologist, curator, and cultural organizer / producer with extensive experience in arts administration as well as commissioning, programming, producing local and international cultural events, and working with numerous independent artists in and outside of New York City.

In 2020 she was named Executive Director of The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Education Center (The Clemente) in the Lower East Side.  Previously she served as Director and Chief Curator of Loisaida Center between 2015-2020.  At Loisaida she lead the strategic update of the legacy organization’s mission, forged a new inter-generational and multi-disciplinary program design and forum series that explored the cross-currents of how art and place is produced and consumed in a way that does not erase one group or another. She shepherded the center through an intense period of growth, produced critically- and community-acclaimed exhibitions; developed a wide roster of institutional partners, and revitalized the historical Loisaida Festival, adding a depth of cultural offer in Caribbean and Latinx music genres, street theater and performance-art platforms for emerging and established artists. 

Libertad is a recipient of the Lower East Side Community Hero Award and the NY ACKER Award for Avant-Garde Excellence (both in 2019). She led the community engagement process and study leading to the Loisaida Cultural Plan policy advocacy document, and her work was featured in the New York Times best exhibitions of the year and listed within the 10 Galleries to Visit Now on the Lower East Side.  Her most recent exhibit productions include Pasado y Presente: Art After the Young Lords (Spring 2019), and Activists Estates: A Radical History of Property in Loisaida (Fall 2019). 

Libertad received her Master’s in Cultural Anthropology at Université Laval, Québec, and a second M.A. in Contemporary Art/ Urban Studies/ Museum Studies at NYU’s Gallatin School. Her academic research has focused on Puerto Rican, Latinx, and NYC’s aesthetic politics of place and collaborative art practices in im/migrant urban settings; and recently published ‘SovereignTies: The Shared Sovereignty of Trust, Culture, and Land’ for FIELD Journal of Socially Engaged Art and Criticism. 

Libertad is a co-founder of the environmental justice / place-keeping coalition South Bronx Unite, serves on the board of the Mott Haven/Port Morris Land Trust, advocating for environmental and cultural equity, and is member of the Naturally Occurring Cultural District network (NOCD-NY). She is a Ford Foundation grantee for the project Just X Changes (2020-21).

Martin Inthamoussú

Montevideo, Uruguay

2022 Cohort
President and CEO, SODRE - Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay

Martin Inthamoussú is the President and CEO of SODRE in Uruguay, the oldest cultural institution in the country dedicated to audience development, culture and art promotion, arts education, growth of traditions, and the search for artistic excellence, taking its services to the whole country and beyond borders. SODRE is in charge of the National Ballet, the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Choir, the National Opera, four venues for performing arts and the National Conservatories for dance and opera. Within the institution, Inthamoussú has been commissioned to create the Contemporary Dance Department of the National Dance School, of which he is the founder. He also has been the General Director of the National School of the Arts (2015-2020). In SODRE he has also developed different programs working on access to culture for citizens in the whole country. He has also innovated in the fundraising methods applied for the organization, doubling the budget in just one year, which allowed the institution to develop new programs and deepen the scope of existing ones. As an arts manager he introduced new ideas and models of festivals management in Uruguay, where he created and directed the International Dance Festival Montevideo Sitiada from 2003 until today. Under his leadership, the festival has gained international recognition and developed new audiences for contemporary dance in Montevideo.

Inthamoussú is a professor at the Catholic University of Uruguay, is regularly invited to present at international symposiums all over the globe, and sits as co-chair of the International Society for the Performing Arts Programming Committee. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Theory Arts from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He holds a Master's Degree in Communication with an emphasis in Reception and Culture from the Catholic University of Uruguay. He also holds a Postgraduate in Arts Education of the OEI / MEC. He has also obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in International Cultural Affairs from the University of Girona, Spain, and holds a specialist Certificate in Cultural Management and Marketing from Miguel de Cervantes University, Spain. He was a guest student at the Faculty of Arts of Amsterdam, Holland. He has received the danceWEB Europe scholarship (2003 and 2004) in Austria sponsored by UNESCO Uruguay and the Dutch Performing Arts Funds and the SIWIC scholarship in Switzerland (2005). He has been awarded the Scholarship Fund for the Promotion of Artistic Training and Creation granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Uruguay in the 2012-2014 period. He has been a resident of the American Dance Festival in the United States in 2014 and an international fellow at the International Society for the Performing Arts in 2018 and 2019. As a teacher he teaches regular classes at University in Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Germany as well as private institutes in Latin America and Europe. He has published papers on dance theory, arts management and cultural access.

Dantes Rameau
Atlanta, Georgia, United States

2022 Cohort
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Atlanta Music Project

Born in Ottawa, Canada, bassoonist Dantes Rameau is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Music Project since 2010. With a mission to empower underserved youth to realize their possibilities through music, the Atlanta Music Project provides intensive, tuition-free music education to underserved youth right in their neighborhood. As CEO of the Atlanta Music Project, Dantes has grown programming to 350 students, 50 teaching artists, 11 employees and five program sites.  In 2019, AMP opened its first ever headquarters space, the AMP Center for Performance and Education. 
Dantes holds degrees in bassoon performance from McGill University and the Yale University School of Music. In 2010 he graduated from the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory, where he studied non-profit management and music education.
As a bassoonist, Dantes performs regularly as part of the faculty of the Atlanta Music Project. Most recently in 2018 he was soloist with the Orchestre Symphonique des Jeunes de l’Ontario Francais in Ottawa, Canada. He is currently the bassoon teaching artist with the Atlanta Music Project. In addition Dantes has lectured on music entrepreneurship and music education at Emory University, the New England Conservatory, and Clayton State University.
Musical America named Dantes a 2018 Top 30 Music Professional. In 2019, Atlanta’s leading publication for the arts, awarded Dantes its Luminary Award for Arts Education. Dantes has spoken at conferences and symposiums, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, Sound Music at the Kennedy Center, Georgia Art & Criminal Justice Forum, Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, and the Yale School of Music Symposium on Music Education. 

Sunny Sumter
Washington, D.C., United States

2022 Cohort
President & CEO, DC Jazz Festival

Sunny Sumter is President and CEO of the DC Jazz Festival, a nonprofit organization established in 2004 to present jazz-related cultural and educational programs in the nation’s capital. Its signature programs are the annual DC JazzFest held each June, the year-round DC Jazz Festival Education Program, and the Charles Fishman Artist Embassy Series. DC Jazz Festival is the recipient of the 2018 DC Mayor’s Art Award for Excellence in Creative Industries. Sumter has raised more than $16 million dollars for the DC Jazz Festival and has participated as a panelist in discussions on jazz funding at the WeDC JazzFest, Jazz Philadelphia Summit, and U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the DC Jazz Festival in 2008, she held management/director positions with the Aspen Institute, National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Smithsonian Institution, and Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Sumter earned her bachelor’s degree in music business from Howard University, where she minored in jazz voice. She performed as a vocalist at some of the finest festivals, performance venues and clubs across the U.S. and internationally for 15 years, and hosted “Jazz Central” on the BET network. Sumter is the recipient of a Howard University Benny Golson Award, the 2018 Sitar Arts Center Visionary Award, a DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship, a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award, and the Aspen Institute’s Staff Achievement Award for Excellence. She is also one of the exceptional leaders selected in 2019 for National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program at Harvard Business School. Sumter is a member of Americans for the Arts, National Academy for the Recording Arts and Sciences, and the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative, and has served as a program director member of the National Collaboration for Youth.

Aleksandra Szymańska
Gdańsk, Poland

2022 Cohort
Director, Instytut Kultury Miejskiej / City Culture Institute

Aleksandra Szymańska has been Director of the self-governing Instytut Kultury Miejskiej (City Culture Institute) since March 2011. Ms. Szymańska is also co-author of the cultural strategy of the City of Gdańsk, cultural manager, and expert of cultural policies. Since August 2008, after winning the competition for a strategy to prepare the city for European Capital of Culture, she was the Strategic Manager of the team responsible for the Gdańsk and the Metropolis – European Capital of Culture 2016 project.

Ms. Szymańska has been engaged in independent cultural projects throughout her professional life. When studying in London, she worked with the ISAN foundation (Independent Street Arts Network) as co-ordinator of a market research pilot project for street festivals and with the City of London Festival (design of the festival’s evaluation model and studio management for one of the main festival artists). For over 8 years beginning in 1993, she worked in the music market (BMG Poland, later Sony BMG), and then as co-owner of the independent events company impresJOT (management of top Polish music group). She is also a member of the Polish Phonographic Academy. In 2002, she began work in media as the Special Events Manager in Hachette Filipacchi Polska Publishing, marketing director, then publishing director on the weekly “Gala” in the G+J Gruner + Jahr Polska Publishing House.

Ms. Szymańska is a graduate of the National Higher School of Theatre, Television and Film in Łódź (specialization: Production Management); the University of Warsaw (Applied Social Science); and City University in London (specialization: Management of Institutions and Cultural Projects, Cultural Politics and Music Management; MA in Arts Management). She is a traveler and lover of good literature and music.

2021 Cohort

Name Position Organization City Country
Ivan Ghezzi Director Chankillo Archaeological Program Lima Peru
Cayenne Harris Vice President of Education and Community Engagement
University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan United States
Elham Khattab Founder and Director Out Of The Circle Organization Cairo Egypt
Michael Orlove Director of Regional State and Local Partnerships and International Activities National Endowment for the Arts Washington, D.C. United States
María Olga Arias Sánchez Management and Interinstitutional Relations Director
Esperanza Azteca
Morelia Mexico
Amy Thomas Chief Operating Officer Penumbra Theatre Saint Paul, Minnesota United States
Palencia Turner Chief Development Officer Idyllwild Arts Foundation Idyllwild, California United States

Ivan Ghezzi
Lima, Peru

2021 Cohort
Director, Chankillo Archaeological Program

Dr. Ghezzi is a Peruvian archaeologist (Ph.D. Yale University), Director of the program for the study, conservation, and revalorization of Chankillo, an ancient solar observatory in Peru nominated to UNESCO's World Heritage List, and Coordinator of Cultural and Strategic Projects at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He has led research in many parts of Peru, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Grenn Foundation, the World Monuments Fund, etc. His interests include the study of ancient complex societies, prehistoric war, ancient architecture, dating methods, archaeoastronomy, and paleoclimate. He has published papers in top-ranked scientific journals, including Science, chapters in academic and non-academic books, and edited two books. His archaeological findings have been reported in prestigious media outlets, from The New York Times to The Economist. As former director of the National Museum in Peru, he oversaw a revival that led to a record increase in visitors.

Cayenne Harris
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

2021 Cohort
Vice President of Education and Community Engagement
University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan

Cayenne Harris currently serves as Vice President of Education and Community Engagement for the University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan. Cayenne began at UMS in February 2020 after 8 years as Vice President of Lyric Unlimited, the education/community engagement arm of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and 12 years in ascending roles at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including Director of New Initiatives for the CSO’s Institute for Learning, Access & Training.

A French horn player, Cayenne received music degrees in performance from San Francisco State University and Yale University in addition to a Certificate in Philanthropy and Non-Profit Fundraising from Northwestern University. She was twice named one of NewCity Magazine’s 50 Outstanding Leaders of Chicago’s Theater, Dance, Opera, and Comedy Culture and has served as a speaker at numerous professional conferences including Opera America, the World Opera Forum, the League of American Symphony Orchestras, and Grantmakers in the Arts. Cayenne is a 2022 Fellow in the Institute’s Global Fellowship Program.

Elham Khattab
Cairo, Egypt

2021 Cohort
Founder and Director, Out Of The Circle Organization

Elham Khattab graduated from Helwan University in 2004 with a major in graphic design. She started her arts management career at the Cairo International Film Festival (and Cairo International Film Festival for Children) as Program Coordinator. She then organized several exhibitions while working as Executive Exhibition Coordinator for El-Sawy Culture wheel (2006 – 2008).

In 2008, she raised funds for the first intake of the 'Out Of The Circle’ initiative, delivering a workshop and an exhibition for Egyptian and Syrian artists with the cooperation of All Art Now in Damascus. The project was funded by Al Mawred Al Thaqafy, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, and Beit Jabry in Syria. Since then, it has been the cradle for numerous visual and digital arts projects in Egypt and abroad. In addition, Ms. Khattab founded DI-EGY Fest in 2013 a digital art festival in Egypt that presents workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions, and DI-EGY kids for the children. The Festival is one of the main projects that Out Of The Circle presents for the audience in Egypt. The festival is funded by the British Council, the US Embassy, the Japan Foundation, the Netherlands Embassy, the French Institute, the Egyptian Culture Ministry, Darb 1718, Prohelvetia, and the Austrian Embassy in Cairo.

Ms. Khattab participated in the British Council’s cultural leadership international program, where she completed curating and arts criticism short courses from the University of Arts in London in 2012 and served as the curator in residence for British Council Cairo in 2012/2013. As part of the CrossCulture Programme (CCP) of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), she completed a curating internship in the arts mediation department at Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig, Germany in October/November 2012. Finally, she completed a research residency with Prohelvetia, focusing on digital arts in Geneva, Zurich, and Basel in year 2015.

From 2005 till now, Ms. Khattab has participated in several local and international curatorial and arts management workshops and programs in Egypt, MENA, Europe, and the United states. She took part in the 2008 International Visitor Leadership Program, organized by the US Department of State and the International Meridian Centre. She is a member of Egypt's Syndicate of Plastic Artists, the global community of U.S government-sponsored exchange programs' alumni, and the Egyptian State Alumni Community in Egypt.

Ms. Khattab is currently working on DIGI MENA a mapping research project that maps digital artists from the Middle East and North Africa. DIGI MENA is happening with a project curators' team from North Africa, supported by the Goethe Institute and the German Federal Foreign Office.

Michael Orlove
Washington, District of Columbia, United States

2021 Cohort
Director of Regional, State and Local Partnerships and International Activities
National Endowment for the Arts

Michael Orlove has been Director of Regional, State and Local Partnerships and International Activities Director for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) since April 2019. Prior to this role, he was Director of of Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works and Artist Communities for the NEA since 2012, and in October 2013, he also took over the NEA's International Activities. Previously, Orlove spent 19 years as senior program director for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. His tenure with the department led to nearly two decades of innovation, creativity, and passion for public service with the City of Chicago. Michael helped transform the Chicago Cultural Center into a prime downtown performing arts venue, as well as launched Chicago SummerDance and World Music Festival: Chicago, two staples in the summer festival season. Michael also served as the director of music programming in Millennium Park since its grand opening in 2004 and helped establish many of the program series at that venue. Honors include being named one of the 'Chicagoans of the Year' in music by the Chicago Tribune in both 1999 and 2009, as well as one of Chicago's 'Global Visionaries' by Chicago Public Radio WBEZ and the Chicago Matters: Beyond Burnham series. He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in Performing Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago.

María Olga Arias Sánchez
Morelia, Mexico

2021 Cohort
Management and Interinstitutional Relations Director, Esperanza Azteca

Ms. Sánchez is currently Management and Interinstitutional Relations Director at Esperanza Azteca, Mexico’s national network of symphony orchestras and choirs dedicated to providing a better quality of life for underprivileged children and youth. In this role, she leads projects held in partnership with the Orchestra of the Americas (EUA) and Armonico Consort (RU). Ms. Arias also serves as an instructor in the Master in Arts Management and Cultural Policies of the Panamerican University in Mexico City.

Prior to this role, Ms. Sánchez was General Director of the Morelia Music Festival Miguel Bernal Jiménez, as well as General Director of the International Violoncello Competition Carlos Prieto. She has more than 20 years of experience in the organization of events, communications, and public relations, mainly focused on the cultural field. Until July 2016, she was in charge of communications and institutional marketing at the Mexican Center for Music and Sonic Arts (CMMAS). She has also worked as a content analyst for the Ibero-American Portal of Cultural Management ( and a counselor for the master's degree in Cultural Management at the University of Barcelona. She worked as Director of Image and Development for the Conservatorio de las Rosas for several years.

Ms. Sánchez is the Founder and Director of MC, Ep Consultoria, Evento al Punto for 9 years. One of her main interests is social welfare and the creation of projects that can promote the improvement of her society. What she enjoys the most is the management of events and projects that lead her to constantly meeting new and interesting places, people, and situations. Currently she is part of the Board of the Teatro Matamoros, a new and innovative cultural center in Morelia, as well as on the Board of the WOMAD Mexico 2020, festival that will take place in March 2020. As a member of the board for Teatro Matamoros she is in charge or the strategic planning, logistics, agenda, and programming. Her efforts are focused on the idea that art and culture as engines for city and community development.

Ms. Sánchez holds a degree in Communication Sciences, a Master's Degree in Cultural Management, and Diploma in Management and Cultural Policies, all from the University of Barcelona. These studies were possible thanks to a grant from the National Fund for Culture and the Arts. She is a Certified Meetings Specialist, and also completed the Harvard Manage Mentor Diploma. In 2020, she received a grant from the Santander W50: The Next Generation of Leading Women program to attend its first European edition of the program at the London School of Economics, to be held in 2021-2022.

Amy Thomas
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States

2021 Cohort
Chief Operating Officer, Penumbra Theatre

Amy Thomas is currently Chief Operating Officer of Penumbra Theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has over 17 years of management experience with performing arts organizations ranging from university presenters (ArtPower!, UC San Diego) to multi-genre producers (The Broad Stage, Santa Monica). Under Thomas' leadership, Penumbra recently underwent a major brand refresh to usher in a new era for the nation's preeminent African American theatre. She was part of the creative and management team behind The Loft, a 250-capacity performance lounge, restaurant, and bar voted "Best Venue in San Diego." Thomas was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley; she holds a B.A. in Visual Arts – Art History and Media from the University of California, San Diego. 

Palencia Turner
Idyllwild, California, United States

2021 Cohort
Chief Development Officer, Idyllwild Arts Foundation

Palencia J. Turner is an institutional advancement strategist with nearly two decades experience leading fundraising efforts, public affairs, fund development, community engagement, and marketing programs for organizations in the education, non-profit, and government sectors.

She joined Idyllwild Arts Foundation as Chief Development Officer in July 2015 and works closely with the President and Head of School to create a sustainable foundation for Development. She is a member of the Leadership Team and leads the Development Department in the areas of Annual Giving, Major Gifts, Special Events, Planned Giving, Alumni and Parents Relations, Foundation Relations, and Development Services. 

Before arriving at Idyllwild Arts, Palencia was the Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer for KCET Public Television Station where she was in charge of Development and Membership for the organization, and was a member of the President’s senior staff. In her role at KCET, Palencia led Member & Viewer Services, Membership, Special Events, Corporate Sponsorship, Individual and Campaign Giving, Foundation Relations, and Development Operations raising $28,000,000 annually.

Prior to joining KCET, Palencia was Senior Development Officer for Art Center College of Design, served as Director of Community & Fund Development for the Urban Education Partnership—now the Los Angeles Education Partnership—and worked as Government Affairs Manager and Legislative Representative for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office during both the Richard Riordan and James K. Hahn administrations.

Palencia is currently Vice Chair of the Pasadena Fire Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors of MUSE/IQUE. She previously served on the City of Pasadena’s Arts & Culture Commission for over 6 years.

She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Master of Policy Management and Howard University receiving a Bachelors of Arts in History with a minor in Political Science, both institutions located in our nation’s capital.


1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 410        Washington, DC 20004        P: 301.314.0963     

© 2015 University of Maryland. All rights reserved.