Plenary Session

Friday, September 16

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Jane Chu

Photo by Michael G. Stewart

Jane Chu is the 11th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. With a background in arts administration and philanthropy, she is also an accomplished artist and musician. From 2006 to 2014, Chu served as president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, overseeing a $413-million campaign to build the center. She was a fund executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City from 2004 to 2006, and vice president of external relations for Union Station Kansas City from 2002 to 2004. Previously, she was vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation from 1997 to 2002.

Chu was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and was raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She studied music growing up, receiving bachelor's degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University, and master's degrees in music and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Chu holds a master's degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and a Ph.D. in philanthropic studies from Indiana University. More about Jane Chu


Aaron P. Dworkin

Named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow and President Obama's first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin serves as dean of the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance and is a member of the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs. He is the founder of The Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization for transforming lives through the power of diversity and the arts.

A multimedia performing artist, author, social entrepreneur, artist-citizen and educator, Dworkin has received national recognition for his leadership and service to communities. He founded the Dworkin Foundation, where he serves as chairman of the board. His memoir, Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee's Journey to Leadership, was released through Aquarius Press.

Dworkin earned his bachelor of music and master of music degrees in violin performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors. He also attended the Peabody Institute, the Philadelphia New School and the Interlochen Arts Academy. More about Aaron Dworkin


Keynote Performance

Friday, September 16

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Kai Kight

Kai Kight has a diverse background that has been fueled by creating and making. He holds an engineering degree from Stanford University's d.school (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design), where he was introduced to the innovative culture of Silicon Valley. As a Kleiner Perkins Design Fellow and Mayfield Fellow, Kight got an early start in entrepreneurship.

Kight began playing the violin when he was three years old, was classically trained, and studied under the concertmaster of Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. His music has brought him to perform in venues from the White House to the Great Wall of China.

Today, Kight composes his own music using an innovative style on the violin that blends classical technique with rhythms and textures from popular genres such as hip hop and jazz. He is a native of the Washington, D.C., area and currently resides in Los Angeles. More about Kai Kight