401 N Tamiami Trail
“State of the Arts in Florida”
with Hermitage National Curatorial Council Member Nataki Garrett, Tony and Olivier Award-winning Producer Tom Kirdahy, and President of Manasota ASALH David Wilkins
Presented in partnership with ASALH
Thursday, November 30 at 5pm
Historic Spanish Point (entrance at 401 N Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229)
Registration is required. $5 per person.
No matter where you get your news, it is a given reality that America – and Florida in particular – feels more divided now than at nearly any point in our history. How does that impact the artists who call Florida home or who come here to make work? What challenges does this create for our state’s cultural economy? Leading Theater director, administrator, and Hermitage National Curatorial Council member Nataki Garrett has first-hand experience of this polarized climate. She brings her knowledge into conversation with Tony and Olivier Award-winning producer Tom Kirdahy, a Sarasota resident and frequent friend of the Hermitage, as well as President of the Manasota Chapter of ASALH, David Wilkins. In a candid and frank conversation, hear from these local, national, and international experts on the state of the arts in Florida and beyond.
Nataki Garrett recently served as Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s sixth Artistic Director. She is a member of the Hermitage National Curatorial Council and previously served as a juror for the 2021 Hermitage Greenfield Prize. Garrett is currently leading the charge to mobilize theatre organizations across the nation to procure long-term federal government support to ensure the theatre industry’s reemergence post-pandemic. Dare to Dream, OSF’s emergency relief campaign that included a first-ever virtual Gala celebration, was conceived and launched by Garrett with a significant portion of the with a significant portion of the revenue generated going to organizations doing front-line work with underserved communities. Garrett’s forté and passion is fostering and developing new work, including those that adapt and devise new ways of performing the classics. She has directed and produced the world premieres of many well-known and important playwriting voices of our time. Garrett served as the acting Artistic Director for Denver Center for Performing Arts Theatre Company. Additionally, she was former associate artistic director of CalArts Center for New Performance. Garrett has served on nominating committees for the MacArthur Award, the Kilroys, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust Distinguished Playwright Award, Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship panel, Mellon Foundation Playwrights Award Panel, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize (2021), the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, several NEA panels, and countless juries supporting artists around the world. Garrett is a recipient of the first-ever Ammerman Prize for Directing, given by Arena Stage. She also received the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group Career Development Fellowship for Theatre Directors. She is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and a member of the board of directors for Theatre Communications Group, a company member at Woolly Mammoth, and an advisory board member for Mixed Blood Theatre. Garrett is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in directing.
Tom Kirdahy is a Tony and Olivier Award-winning producer whose projects have spanned Broadway, off-Broadway, the West End, national and international tours. A Longboat Key resident and a champion of the Hermitage, Kirdahy is currently producing the Broadway smash-hit Hadestown (8 Tonys, incl. Best Musical) and its tour; the off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors (Drama Desk Award, Best Revival); and Here We Are, Stephen Sondheim’s final musical with a book by David Lives and directed by Joe Mantello. He recently produced the first Broadway revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson (Drama Desk, Best Revival) starring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by LaTanya Richardson Jackson; the new musical New York, New York from legendary songwriting team John Kander and Fred Ebb, featuring additional lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, an original story by David Thompson with Sharon Washington, and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman; and the new play Grey House by Levi Holloway, starring Laurie Metcalf, Tatiana Maslany, and Paul Sparks, with direction by Joe Mantello. Select Broadway: The Inheritance (4 Tonys, incl. Best Play); Terrence McNally’s Frankie & Johnny in the Claire de Lune starring Audra McDonald & Michael Shannon (2 Tony noms. incl. Best Revival); Anastasia; It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick; The Visit starring Chita Rivera (5 Tony noms.). Select West End: The Inheritance (4 Oliviers, incl. Best Play), The Jungle, Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?. Select Off-Broadway: world premiere of The White Chip, The Jungle, White Rabbit Red Rabbit (all NY Times Critic’s Picks). Additional Tony noms: Mothers and Sons, After Midnight, Ragtime, Master Class. Recipient, Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Achievement in Commercial Theater Producing. Recipient, Miss Lilly Award, a prize in recognition of his advocacy for women in a male-dominated industry. Recipient, 2023 Medal of Honor, Entertainment Community Fund. Recipient, NYU Distinguished Alumni Award. Kirdahy serves on the Broadway League Board of Governors, the Executive Board of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and is a member of the Harry Ransom Center Advisory Council at the University of Texas. As an attorney he spent nearly two decades providing free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS and served for many years on the Executive Committee of the NYC LGBT Center. Graduate, New York University School of Law, NYU CAS.
David G. Wilkins is the current President of the Manasota chapter of ASALH (Association for the Study of African-American Life and History). Wilkins retired from The Dow Chemical Company in March 2014, after twenty-five years as a lawyer and human resource leader. In his last role for Dow, Wilkins served as an Associate General Counsel and as the company’s Director of Ethics and Compliance. Previous roles included Vice President and General Counsel of the Union Carbide Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow, Director of Diversity for Dow, Division Counsel for Dow’s North American Operations, Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary for Dow Agrosciences, and a variety of other legal and human resource roles across Dow’s U.S. Operations. Wilkins also served as Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for the American Red Cross from 2003 to 2005. Following his retirement from Dow, he served as Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc., in Montreal Canada, from April 2014 until November 2015. Wilkins joined Dow in 1987 after ten years of private law practice in Chicago with the firm of Strauss, Sulzer, Shopiro and Wilkins. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois School of Law. He attended the Babson College Executive Education program in 1991. He served on the Board of Trustees of Illinois Wesleyan University until January 2018, and is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court and an Emeritus member of the Michigan State Bar Association. Wilkins and his wife, Lois Bright Wilkins, have four adult children and one granddaughter. David and Lois reside in Sarasota, Florida, where they both are active members of ASALH, and Wilkins volunteers at the African-American Cultural Resource Center, located at the North Sarasota Library.