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EmpowerHER: Black Women in the Arts

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Reception to follow
Registration is requested
Free and open to the public

EmpowerHER: Black Women in the Arts

in partnership with the Network for Art Administrators of Color Boston (NAAC)

with Lyndsay Allyn Cox, Catherine T. Morris, Courtney D. Sharpe, and moderated by Theo Tyson

and performances by Victoria Awkward, Allegra Fletcher, and Amanda Shea


Join us for an artful conversation with three preeminent leaders catalyzing change in Boston to make its cultural landscape more inclusive and supportive of Black women artists. Representing backgrounds ranging from music and museums, to the public art sector and philanthropy, our experts and advocates will explore their views on the importance and necessity of the work they’re doing to empower Black women artists. The Athenæum is excited and fortunate to welcome Lyndsay Allyn Cox, Director of Theater Arts at the Boston Center for the Arts, Catherine T. Morris, Founder and Executive Director of Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest and Manager of Public Programs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Courtney D. Sharpe, Director of Cultural Planning for the City of Boston, as our featured guests. The event will be interspersed with performances by Boston-based Black women artists, including movement and dance artist Victoria Awkward, musician Allegra Fletcher, poet and organizer Amanda Shea, and Miss Massachusetts USA 2020 Sabrina Victor.

This lively conversation moderated by Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art & Culture Theo Tyson will feature performances by local Boston artists, co-selected by our partner and co-producer, the Network for Art Administrators of Color (NAAC). The NAAC Boston is an ArtsBoston program that was established to enhance the visibility of professionals of color in Greater Boston’s arts and culture sector, as well as widen the leadership pipeline and highlight opportunities for professional and personal growth in the field.

Lyndsay Allyn Cox is a Boston based artist, curator, and activist. She is currently the Director of Theatre Arts at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) where she launched BCA’s #HellaBlack series. She holds a BA in Theatre Performance and a minor in Vocal Music from Appalachian State University. Prior to joining the staff at the BCA, she was the Development Manager at Company One Theatre. From 2012-2017, she was the Managing Director for Fresh Ink Theatre Company, a small company dedicated to developing new work by New England based playwrights. During her early years as an arts administrator, Lyndsay volunteered with companies including New Exhibition Room and The Theater Offensive. She is currently a member of NAAC Boston's steering committee. In 2019, she was selected by WBUR’s The ARTery as one of the 25 millennials of color impacting Boston’s arts and culture scene. She is also a member of the Jewish Multiracial Network, Stage Source, and the Actors’ Equity Association. You can find out more about her and her work at

Catherine T. Morris is a mother, social entrepreneur, visionary, and events producer who works at the intersection of arts, culture and creative placekeeping. Over the last 15 years, she has produced shows, as well as mobilized and engaged local audiences in interactive panels to experience the arts. Now, as the Founder and Executive Director of Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest, she has created an organization that strives to breakdown racial and social barriers to arts, music and culture for marginalized communities and artists of color across Greater Boston. One of the goals of BAMS Fest is for it to become a pipeline to Boston’s arts and culture ecosystem and creative economy in a manner that inspires hope, changes individual and societal bias, and positively impacts the livelihoods of future creatives. Morris has also been a presenter, panelist and moderator with SPARK Boston, Podcast Garage, Berklee College of Music, Emerson College, Northeastern University, Simmons University, Company One Theater, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Fenway High School. She is a 2018 National Art Strategies Creative Community Fellow (The Barr Foundation), and has served on grant review panels for the Cambridge Arts Council, The Lewis Prize for Music, and the Boston Neighborhood Fellowship (The Boston Foundation). She is an alumnae of Temple University School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management in Philadelphia, PA, and received her Masters of Science from Simmons University in Boston, MA.

Courtney D. Sharpe is the Director of Cultural Planning for the City of Boston. Her work prioritizes the preservation of cultural heritage across neighborhoods and increasing opportunities to access affordable spaces for artistic production for creatives of all disciplines. As an artist, her primary practice is writing. Courtney co-chaired the inaugural biannual Black in Design Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and remains active in the design community. Courtney has a Bachelors from Northwestern University and received her Masters in Urban Planning from the GSD where she specialized in Urban Governance and Social Justice.      

Theo Tyson interrogates sociocultural themes of race, gender, and sexuality through the lens of fashion, its histories, and theories in conversation with historical and contemporary photography. As a curator and scholar, Tyson uses visual culture and accessible language to offer counternarratives of sartorial resistance with her work focused extensively on the performativity of fashioning an identity. Tyson is currently the Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art and Culture at the Boston Athenæum. She seeks to reach beyond simply studying the collections to creating innovative programs and curating experiential exhibitions that engage new communities to reimagine Boston’s cultural landscape.

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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or