AS220’s Board of Directors is delighted to announce the appointment of Anjel Newmann to Co-Executive Director of AS220, in partnership with Shauna Duffy. The appointment recognizes the impact Anjel has made since she became part of AS220’s Leadership Team, particularly her vision for the organization’s Racial Justice Initiative and anti-racist work, and her tireless efforts to keep an equity focus front and center in AS220’s artistic programming and operations.
Of her appointment to Co-Executive Director, Anjel says “I never left AS220 because it’s always been the place that seems to grow along with me. It’s like a magical orb that transforms into the right shape and right size for my ever-growing wings. To serve alongside Shauna at this critical juncture in AS220’s evolution is an honor and responsibility I am ready to hold. My vision for AS220 — and the Rhode Island arts and culture sector more broadly — is to shape a future rooted in justice, joy and possibility by committing to the following:
- Invest in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) leadership
- Develop an anti-racist analysis and culture
- Acknowledge the role that arts and culture institutions play in upholding white supremacy and their complicity in the oppression of Black and Brown people
- Re-design systems that allow for the brilliance and creativity of BIPoC leadership to shape the future we want to live in
- Ensure sure that Black and Brown young people are at the core of our work at AS220
Thank you to everyone who mentored me into this position, especially AS220’s founder Bert Crenca.”
Anjel’s first introduction to AS220 was at age 13 as a member of the Youth program. She developed her talents as an emcee and dancer there, and regularly performed and toured with AS220 Youth’s performance group, Rhodeshow. In 2009, she was hired as Youth’s Performing Arts Coordinator, before being promoted to Director of AS220 Youth in 2015. During her time leading AS220 Youth, she devised Futureworlds, a nationally respected Afrofuturist-inspired curriculum and public showcase that unites the creative practice of the 450 young people who participate in the program each year.
In 2018, Anjel was promoted to the role of Director of Programs and became a member of AS220’s newly formed Leadership Team. Since then, she has taken the lead on more closely aligning AS220 Youth and our community maker spaces, AS220 Industries; facilitating cross programmatic conversations about safety with the goal of creating a culture that does not rely on policing; developing plans and frameworks for reopening aspects of AS220’s programming, with a focus on community-driven processes; and continuing to develop innovative strategies to engage, support and serve AS220’s community of artists and youth through the pandemic and beyond.
Outside of AS220, Anjel is a member of the City of Providence’s African American Ambassadors Group and advocated for the establishment of an Arts and Culture subgroup. She participates on several local school boards and is training to be a facilitator for the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, an anti-racist collective of organizers and educators that aims to undo racism and other forms of oppression. As if that wasn’t enough, over the last four years Anjel has served as a parent coordinator for the West Elmwood Intruders football team, given birth to two babies, mentored her two teenagers, and earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from College Unbound and Providence College respectively.
Of the Co-Executive Directorship, Shauna says “Since being appointed Executive Director in 2018, I have relied heavily on the support of the entire Leadership Team — it’s a role that is never carried alone. But over the last year and a half, Anjel and I have worked together more closely than ever to ensure AS220 makes it through the pandemic and evolves to even better live our mission and values. It has been my privilege to build our partnership, rooted in trust and a shared love for AS220 and our creative community. I am so excited to formally recognize Anjel’s leadership, for this natural growth of our work together, and I appreciate the support of the entire AS220 staff and Board of Directors in getting here.”
AS220’s board chair Janella Watson shares: “With her proven skill in community organizing, creative, strategic, and compassionate leadership, masterful facilitation skills, and unwavering dedication to the staff and communities at the heart of AS220, the board was unanimous in our decision to elevate Anjel to Co-Executive Director. We are inspired by her visionary spirit, energized by her passionate advocacy for youth, the arts and equity, and fully committed to supporting Anjel and Shauna in their work together to fulfill AS220’s critical mission and spark transformational change in Rhode Island’s artistic and cultural landscape.”
If you would like to donate in celebration of Anjel’s leadership, dedication to AS220, and vision for an anti-racist future that centers the talents of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, please consider donating to our Racial Justice Initiative or AS220 Youth.
– AS220’s Board of Directors