Announcement: Liz Lerman and Deepa Gupta to Judge “Business Unusual” Contest












We are pleased to announce that Liz Lerman, choreographer and founder of Dance Exchange, and Deepa Gupta, Program Officer at the MacArthur Foundation will serve as judges for the ArtsFwd Business Unusual” Innovation Story Contest. Both have made it a priority to foster innovation and experimentation in the arts sector and we look forward to working with them to determine which innovation stories show the most ingenuity, organizational and public impact, and value for the field.

They join Janet Brown, Executive Director for Grantsmakers in the Arts, and Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and popular blogger at Museum 2.0.

Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, most notably a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance. She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance until 2011. She is now pursuing fresh partnerships: she was an artist-in-residence and visiting lecturer at Harvard University in fall of 2011, and is creating collaborative works at Arena Stage, Center Stage, and Baltimore’s Performance Kitchen, as well as continuing to teach nationally and internationally. Current projects involve genre-twisting performance with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, of Urban Bush Women; a new work with David Gordon; an investigation of the impact of war on medicine; work in London with Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the London Sinfonietta; comic book structures as applied to narration in performance; and an online project called “The Treadmill Tapes: Ideas on the Move.” Her collection of essays, Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer, was published in early 2011 by Wesleyan University Press.

Deepa Gupta is currently the Director of Education Initiatives and Strategy in the global corporate citizenship group at The Boeing Company.  She is responsible for developing a strategic plan to further enhance support of early learning, primary and secondary education and ensure alignment with higher education and STEM initiatives across the company aimed at developing the future workforce. Among other projects, Deepa will partner with stakeholders to understand workforce needs, provide educational investment guidance, and interact and engage with key external organizations  engaged in shaping and influencing education policy and practice. Throughout her career, Deepa has worked on a range of issues including U.S. public health, global health and economic development, and the performing arts. Prior to Boeing, Deepa served as a program officer for The MacArthur Foundation where she managed its institutional building program called the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the arts and culture grant program, and internal efforts to define a framework for MacArthur’s programmatic strategy development and impact assessment. Before MacArthur, Deepa was a senior associate at McKinsey & Company and earlier in her career, Deepa worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Deepa holds an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Biology from the University of Chicago.


Karina Mangu-Ward is the Director of Activating Innovation at EmcArts, where she leads the development of, an interactive online platform for arts leaders to learn and share stories about adaptive change and the power of effective innovation.