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Overture Center for the Arts

Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter

MARCH 2019

Dr. Ed Holmes named Overture’s Senior Vice President of Equity and Innovation

I am excited to move to the next phase of this journey at Overture in the role of Senior Vice President of Equity and Innovation. It is a clear vote of confidence and deliberate message that Overture is committed to the ideals of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The new position was created with the approval of the Executive Committee of the Board with the authority to oversee the creation and implementation of an organizational framework oriented towards equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“Dr. Holmes’ former position laid the groundwork for Overture’s next steps in our response to the Racial Equity Initiative implemented in 2016,” said Overture’s President and CEO Sandra Gajic. “His new role expands his responsibilities to implement programs that not only shine light on the issues but also uses the visual and performing arts as a bridge to understanding and communications.”

While equity is the why and what, innovation is the how: the plan is to be intentional about utilizing new ideas, creative thoughts, new imaginations and methods to create better solutions. We will meet new requirements and articulated needs, while using multiple perspectives rooted in ‎interdisciplinary views and resources to address both challenges and opportunities. Our aim is to create equity with high levels of engagement that is bias-free.

Equity and innovation work will focus on the deliberate application of information to derive greater value from new ideas to generate useful structures and outcomes. I look forward to shining an even brighter light on how the arts and Overture can change the narrative of equity, diversity, and inclusion in Madison.

Ed Holmes, PhD

Ed Holmes

Senior Vice President of Equity and Innovation

Deja Mason, Overtures First D&I Intern, Joins Overture’s Administrative Team

Deja Mason

Deja Mason graduated from the UW Madison School of Business in the Spring of 2017 with a degree in Management and Human Resources. She is currently pursuing her artistic goals both on and off the stage. Mason is a vocalist who has performed solo, in choirs, and with other performance groups her entire life and currently is a part of local Madison band, Wilder Deitz Singers. Mason describes herself as a patron of the arts.

“Growing up, my family made it a point to immerse me in all areas of artistry, be it visual with art and theatre or music with concerts of every genre."  

To continue to be a part of the art world, Mason decided to make it her career. While a student at the Wisconsin School of Business, Mason took an Arts Enterprise class with Sarah Marty who introduced her to all that she could do with a background in arts and business. 

“I never truly realized how I could connect both aspects of my life together until I took that class.” 

Mason set out to pursue an arts administration career. After working with the City of Madison Planning Department and the Arts Administrator, Karin Wolf, Mason landed an internship with Overture working in HR and Diversity & Inclusion. She is now working fulltime in the Human Resources Department as an HR Coordinator for Overture.

International Festival 2019

Despite the icy weather conditions for this year’s 39th Annual International Festival the event was once again an incredible celebration of arts and culture from across Dane County, featuring:

  • 34 performances
  • 443 performers or artists
  • 42 vendors
  • 65 unique cultures represented
  • 13,227 audience experiences!

Though attendance was down just a bit from last year there was no lack of energy, enthusiasm, and fun.

Dawn Crim

Dawn Crim, Overture Community Advisory Board Chair, appointed Secretary of Safety and Professional Services by Governor Tony Evers 

Governor Tony Evers and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes announced the appointment of Dawn Crim as Secretary-Elect of Safety and Professional Services, overseeing licensing and regulation of businesses and service providers as well as prescription drug monitoring.

Crim is vacating the role of Assistant State Superintendent for Student Success with the Department of Public Instruction. Despite taking on this new demanding role in state government, she has agreed to continue to provide leadership for us here with Overture’s Community Advisory Board. 

"I am pleased to be able to remain as the Chair of the Board. We have an ambitious agenda that I would like to see through.” 

We are excited for Crim and wish her the very best in her new role in state government.

New Overture Interns

Overture Center for the Arts welcomed three new interns for the spring 2019 semester. Two of the interns work in marketing, while one works for programming and community engagement. This cohort of new young talent will bring fresh ideas and provide much needed support to these growing Overture departments.

Roberto Torres Mata

Roberto Torres Mata graduated from Western Illinois University in the Spring of 2018 with a degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Marketing. He is currently a first-year graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking. His work has been exhibited in Madison, the Quad Cities, Dallas, and New York City. It is his goal to represent his views through his art and he believes in the positivity that can be created through his work as a first-generation, Mexican-American artist.

Roberto Torres Mata

He is working hard to understand the business side of the arts to further help him in his career. Torres Mata says, 

“I believe in a space where great ideas can flourish and present themselves as opportunities for everyone to see and be part of.” 

His dream for the future is to open a printshop, so that he would be able to engage with the community and educate the youth through the arts. Torres Mata is excited to face the challenges of pursuing an advanced degree and working at Overture, which will help him develop as an artist. He learned about the internship opportunity to work along with Ed Holmes, Director of Diversity and Inclusion as well as Heather Harris in Marketing at Overture this semester from John Hitchcock.

Jamie Dawson

Jamie Dawson is a recent graduate of UW Madison where she studied psychology and Afro-American Studies with a focus in the arts. She had the honor of being the student speaker during the December 2018 Winter commencement ceremonies. Dawson came to UW­–Madison by way of the 9th cohort of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Scholarship Program for her spoken word and performance art. Arts, academics, and activism are the foundation upon which Dawson built her undergraduate career.

Jamie Dawson

She combines these passions into her performance art, which was showcased in her one woman show "Goddess at Your Feet" at Overture in April 2017.

“Through the arts I have been able to learn the discipline of a craft while elevating myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. The arts have shaped me into the woman I am today.”

During her summers, Dawson turned the world into her classroom, studying abroad and interning in New York, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Her additional experience includes research assistant and mentor. As an intern at Overture in the programming and community engagement department and under the direction of Ed Holmes, Dawson plans to continue to inspire and excel. 

“I’m excited to be pursuing energetic and fast-paced opportunities with Overture Center for the Arts where I can focus, be a leader, give back to the community and flex my creative mind.” 

Jamie will be able to do that and much more throughout her experience here at the Overture.

Tehan Ketema

Tehan Ketema graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences and Communication and two certificates in Digital Studies and Studio Art Photography. As an alumna of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Scholarship Program, the performing arts of theatre and spoken word have always been a centerpiece in her life. Through her undergraduate career, Ketema focused her photography on the intersections of the diaspora and communication theory.

Tehan Katema

She has showcased her work in UW-Madison’s Student Art Show sponsored by the Offices of the Provost and the Secretary of the faculty, the Playhouse Gallery at the Overture Center for the Arts, the University of California Santa Barbara’s Black Research Center, and Vogue Italia’s PhotoVogue platform. In the fall, she will be begin Master of Fine Art studies. As of publication of this newsletter, Ketema has accepted a new position with a local arts organization. You can find her work on her website and on instagram @tehanmichael

Amadou Kromah, Overture’s First Unofficial Intern

Amadou Kromah

Overture’s first unofficial intern, Amadou Kromah, continues to work for us in the role of freelance photographer. He has received both local and national recognition for his photography and has photographed iconic music legends such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Patti Labelle, Boyz II Men, Wynton Marsalis, and John Legend, among others. Kromah has plans to take his work to the next level and is in the process of building his own photography studio. He credits Overture with helping him identify and deepen his passion for photography.

Upcoming Events

The King and I
Rodgers & Hammerstein's THE KING AND I
TUE, FEB 26 - SUN, MAR 3
Asere! – Havana Cuba All-Stars
Asere! – Havana Cuba All-Stars
FRI, MAR 15, 8 PM
Experience Hendrix
Experience Hendrix
WED, MAR 20, 7:30 PM
Miss Saigon
Miss Saigon
An Evening with Branford Marsalis Quartet
An Evening with Branford Marsalis Quartet
TUE, APR 9, 7:30 PM
Ballet Hispánico
Ballet Hispánico
THU, MAY 9, 7:30 PM


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Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street, Madison, WI 53703

© 2017 Overture Center for the Arts. All rights reserved.