Kendal Henry is an artist and curator who lives in New York City and specializes in the field of public art for over 30 years. He illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for
social engagement, civic pride and economic development through the projects and programs he’s initiated in the US and internationally. Henry is currently the Assistant Commissioner of Public Art at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. A guest lecturer at various universities and educational institutions including Rhode Island School of Design Senior Studio; and Pratt Institute’s Arts and Cultural Management Program. Kendal served as the Director of Culture and Economic Development for the City of Newburgh, NY where he created the region’s first Percent for Art Program. Prior to that post he was Manager of Arts Programs at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Art and Design for eleven years. During this time, he has overseen the commissioning, fabrication and installation of MTA’s permanent art projects, served as a member of the MTA’s in-house design team, and produced temporary exhibitions at Grand Central Terminal. Kendal was also elected to serve two 3-year terms on the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council.
Duke Riley received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from Pratt Institute. Riley’s work explores his lifelong fascination with urban waterways, their historical relationship to the transgressive culture of life at sea, and the uneasy intersections of human geography with the physical world. His signature style interweaves historical and contemporary events with elements of fiction and myth to create allegorical histories. His re-imagined narratives comment on a range of issues from the cultural impact of over development and environmental destruction of waterfront communities to contradictions within political ideologies and the role of the artist in society.
Praised as “one of the most exciting opera composers in the country”” (Washington Post), composer Kamala Sankaram moves freely between the worlds of experimental music and contemporary opera. Recent commissions include works for the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, the PROTOTYPE Festival, and Creative Time, among others. Kamala is known for her operas fusing Indian classical music with the operatic form, including Thumbprint, A Rose, Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers, and the forthcoming Jungle Book. Also known for her work pushing the boundaries of the operatic form, recent works include The Last Stand, a 10-hour opera created with Creative Time for the trees of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Only You Will Recognize the Signal, a serial space opera performed live over the internet, Looking at You, a techno-noir featuring live datamining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers, all decisions will be made by consensus, a short absurdist opera performed live over Zoom, and The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera. Kamala is the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble whose accolades include two awards for Best Eclectic Album from the Independent Music Awards, the 2018 Mid-Atlantic touring grant, and appearances on WFMU and NPR. Awards, grants and residencies: Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, HERE Artist Residency Program, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center. Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculties at the Mannes College of Music and SUNY Purchase.
Nico Wheadon is an independent art advisor, curator, educator, and writer based in New Haven, CT. She is founder and principal of bldg fund, LLC, an innovation platform for BIPOC artists, entrepreneurs, and neighbors. An advocate for BIPOC and womxn artists in all endeavors, she uses her myriad platforms to expand the canon of contemporary art, whilst cultivating an engaged community of practice. Nico has curated group exhibitions for international art fairs, cultural institutions, and both nonprofit and commercial galleries. Recent exhibitions include Somewhere in Advance of Nowhere: Freedom Dreams in Contemporary Art at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (Winter 2022); RED at Welancora Gallery (Summer 2021); Home Body at Sapar Contemporary (Spring 2021); and Treacherous with Old Magic at Future Fair (Winter 2020). As a curatorial consultant, she’s recently supported the Legacy Museum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Arizona State University Art Museum, the Barrett Art Center, and the Association of Art Museum Curators on organizing exhibitions and programs. Nico is the author of Museum Metamorphosis: Cultivating Change Through Cultural Citizenship. Nico is also a contributor to Art Handler Magazine, Artnet News, The Brooklyn Rail, C&, and Dossier. A thought leader in the field, Nico currently serves as a board governor at the National Academy of Design; a board director at The Arts Council of Greater New Haven; an advisory board member at the Lubin School of Business’ Transformative Leadership Program; an advisory board member at MoreArt; a guide at the Institute of Possibility; and a cohort member of Arizona State University’s Readying the Museum initiative.