Turnaround Artists are creative professionals who engage with partner schools to celebrate the power and potential in our communities and help amplify the positive impact that the arts have on school transformation.


Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen, a BFA graduate of Howard University in Theater and Classical Greek Studies is an award-winning director/choreographer who has choreographed the Academy Awards a record ten times. She has directed and choreographed for legendary artists such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Gwen Verdon, Lena Horne, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Ms. Allen received the Golden Globe for her role as Lydia Grant in the 1980s hit series Fame, and is a three-time Emmy Award winner in Choreography for the series Fame and The Motown 25th. Awarded ten Image Awards as director, actress, choreographer and producer for Fame, A Different World, Motown 25th, The Academy Awards, The Debbie Allen Special and Amistad, she has also directed the best that Network TV offers, including Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Jane The Virgin, Empire and currently serves as directing Executive Producer of Grey’s Anatomy where she also holds a recurring role as Catherine Avery. In 2001, she founded the non-profit Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles. The school’s mission is to fill a void for youth who have an interest in learning dance and performance technique.

A native of Houston, Texas, she is the daughter of Vivian Ayers and Dr. Andrew A. Allen. She is daughter of Vivian Ayers and Dr. Andrew Allen, wife to NBA All-Star Norman Nixon and mother of Vivian and Thump.

DJ IZ Avila

Aside from acquiring 5 Grammy’s in music, numerous nominations as a Songwriter/ Producer and selling over 40 million records to date in Pop Music, IZ Avila has traveled the world as the DJ for Usher for the last 6 years, performing for Obama’s 2013 inauguration in Washington DC, 5 SOLD-OUT nights at the 02 Arena, and even for Bill Clinton’s Charity event at the Hollywood Bowl with Bono of U2 & Stevie Wonder. In addition to his chops as an accomplished Drummer, Percussionist, and Bassist, IZ Avila is perhaps best known for his mastery of his MPC3000, his turntables, crates of vinyl, and world-renowned live DJ work and musical production with superstar artists.

In 2016, IZ joined the Turnaround Arts program, partnering with Standing Rock Middle School in North Dakota and encouraging local leadership, teachers, and students around the country. In 2008, IZ started his involvement with the “Grammy in the Schools Program,” speaking at various career days at local high schools. That led IZ to creating his own weekly webinar / streaming show called “Connected” in 2016, which focuses on providing education, mentoring, and jobs in the fields of music, recording, film, radio, and culinary. Today, he has introduced over 430 jobs to aspiring musicians, producers, directors, engineers, and chefs.

These days, aside from songwriting, producing, and traveling as a live DJ, IZ and his brother Bobby Avila continue launching new landmark products such as the ARQ Drum Machine, UE Boom Bluetooth speaker, and DJ808. IZ Avila is focusing his attention on expanding the Avila Brothers brand along with disrupting the way education is presented to kids in high school who have a passion to pursue an unconventional career in the arts.

Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles first achieved mainstream critical praise in 2007 with her widely successful hit “Love Song,” which reached No. 1 in 22 countries around the world from her debut album “Little Voice.” Since then, Sara has gone on to receive six Grammy® nominations throughout her career, which include Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Love Song” and one Album of the Year for her highly acclaimed third studio album, “The Blessed Unrest.”  Her book, “Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song,” was released in the fall of 2015 by Simon & Schuster and is a New York Times best seller. Making her Broadway debut Sara composed the music and lyrics for “Waitress,” for which she received her first Tony® Award nomination for Best Score and a 2017 Grammy® Award nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. She also made her Broadway acting debut in 2017 by stepping into the lead role in “Waitress”.

2018 has been a big year for Sara, she co-hosted the Tony Awards®, was nominated for an Emmy® for her role in “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” and was awarded with the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Hal David Starlight Award.   Sara has also teamed up with Apple as an executive producer for “Little Voice” a 10-episode series, which she will create the original music for. “What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress,” her most recent solo studio album, is out on Epic Records. She is currently working on a new album. For more information, please visit www.sarabmusic.com.

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne has written and performed some of the most literate and moving songs in popular music and has defined a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion, and personal politics. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2007. Jackson’s career began in the mid-60s in Los Angeles and Orange County folk clubs. Except for a brief period in NYC in the late 1960s, he has always lived in Southern California. His debut album came out on David Geffen’s Asylum Records in 1972. Since then, he has released fourteen studio albums and four collections of live performances. His most recent studio album, Standing In The Breach, is a collection of ten songs, at turns deeply personal and political, exploring love, hope, and defiance in the face of the advancing uncertainties of modern life.

Browne is known for his advocacy on behalf of the environment, human rights, and arts education. He’s a co-founder of the groups Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) and Nukefree.org. In 2002, he was the fourth recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, given to artists whose works exemplify the environmental and social values that were essential to the great California-born author. He has received Duke University’s LEAF award for Lifetime Environmental Achievement in the Fine Arts, and both the Chapin-World Hunger Year and NARM Harry Chapin Humanitarian Awards. In 2004, Jackson was given an honorary Doctorate of Music by Occidental College in Los Angeles, for “a remarkable musical career that has successfully combined an intensely personal artistry with a broader vision of social justice.”

Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz, an American actress, producer, and fashion model, rose to stardom in the 1990s, with roles in The MaskMy Best Friend’s Wedding, and There’s Something About MaryShe has also appeared in Charlie’s Angelsand the Shrek series as Princess Fiona. Ms. Diaz has received four Golden Globe Award nominations to date as well as the New York Film Critics Best Lead Actress Award.

“All children deserve to have access to the arts, not only to discover their passion, but as a tool to engage them in the joy of learning. Turnaround Arts is an amazing organization and I look forward to working closely with them to help inspire [students] to discover and reach for their dreams.”

Daveed Diggs

Tony, Grammy, and Lucille Lortel Award-winning actor and rapper Daveed Diggs is widely known for originating the dual roles of ‘Thomas Jefferson’ and ‘Marquis de Lafayette’ in the Broadway sensation, HAMILTON. He can next be seen in Liongate’s BLINDSPOTTING, which he stars in, produced, and co-wrote with Rafael Casal. The film debuted to rave reviews at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and hit theaters this summer.

Diggs most recently appeared in the hit Lionsgate feature WONDER, opposite Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay, in a performance heralded as “irresistibly charming” and “deeply sympathetic.” He’s also recognizable as the voice of Dos in Fox’s Academy Award-nominated animated feature, FERDINAND. He recently wrapped production for Netflix’s untitled Dan Gilroy thriller alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalia Dyer, Tom Sturridge, Toni Collette, and John Malkovich, expected to release in late 2018.

On the television side, Diggs will next star in TNT’s SNOWPIERCER and lend his voice to Fox’s BOB’S BURGERS and Apple TV’s CENTRAL PARK, a new animated musical comedy from BOB’S BURGERS creator Loren Bouchard and 20th Century Fox Television. He was last seen on ABC’s Emmy-nominated series, BLACKISH, and Netflix’s hit comedy, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT. He also starred in HBO’s TOUR DE PHARMACY, alongside Andy Samberg and Orlando Bloom. Furthermore, Diggs executive produced ABC’s, THE MAYOR and is creating original content for ESPN. Previous television includes NBC’s LAW & ORDER: SVU and Netflix’s, THE GET DOWN, created by visionary director Baz Luhrmann.

Before HAMILTON, Diggs was already well-respected in the underground hip- hop scene as a member of the West Coast-based experimental trio “clipping.” Diggs toured nationally and internationally, both as a solo artist and with “clipping.” playing venues including Sonar Festival in Barcelona; Off Festival in Krakow; ATP Iceland in  Keflavic; and Brooklyn’s AfroPunk Fest. Special engagement bookings include the Red Bull Music Academy and Moog Electronics. The group was also nominated for a Hugo Award for their sophomore album, Splendor & Misery.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Jesse Tyler Ferguson currently stars as “Mitchell Pritchett” on the Emmy Award-winning ABC comedy Modern Family.In its first four seasons, the show has a number of awards, and Mr. Ferguson himself has also received four Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
He has also appeared on a number of other television shows and films.

Mr. Ferguson made his Broadway debut at the age of 21 as “Chip” in George C. Wolfe’s revival of On the Town, and he later went on to work in other acclaimed theatre productions and in particular has worked extensively with The New York Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Most recently, Mr. Ferguson co-founded the nonprofit organization, Tie The Knot. The charitable cause features bowties designed by Mr. Ferguson, with sales going towards various organizations that are fighting for marriage equality. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

“Ever since I can remember, the arts have played a critical role in my self-expression and in shaping me into the person I have become. I am excited to partner with Turnaround Arts to help ensure that local arts programs continue to thrive across America, giving kids like me the ability to express themselves freely.”

Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards

Tune-Yards was formed by Merrill Garbus in 2006, and that band name has ever since been synonymous with forward movement—whether because of the group’s explosive performance style, the always-surprising way in which their songs unfold, the danceability of the music, or the connections Garbus highlights between song and social consciousness.

First gaining notice with the debut BiRd-BrAiNs, which The New York Times called “a confident do-it-yourselfer’s opening salvo: a staticky, low-fi, abrasive attention-getter,” Garbus forged a reputation as a formidable live presence through relentless touring.  She became a producer in her own right working with bassist Nate Brenner and engineer Eli Crews on 2011’s   w h o k i l l, a startling and sonically adventurous statement that led to a whirlwind period where the band accrued accolades from critics (including the #1 spot on the Village Voice’s 2011 Pazz and Jop poll.) In 2014, Tune-Yards released Nikki Nack, and through touring and licensing music from that album, they raised money to begin The Water Fountain, a fund for water-related causes which has donated over $75,000 to various nonprofits since its inception.

Tune-Yards has collaborated with Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Mavis Staples, and others.  Their latest record, I can feel you creep into my private life, was released in January of 2018. A fully collaborative effort between Garbus and Brenner who co-wrote and co-produced the record, Garbus’ lyrics explore her place in the world, ruminating on race, politics, intersectional feminism and the environment.  Rolling Stone called it, “an LP determined to conjure kinetic joy while staring down our present cultural fright show.”

Garbus currently curates and hosts a radio show dedicated to showcasing female-identifying producers on Red Bull Radio. Garbus and Brenner recently scored Boots Riley’s acclaimed film, Sorry to Bother You.  Both will continue to produce music for Tune-Yards and for other artists in the coming year.

Photo by Aly Fae

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is one of the most renowned architects in the world. He was raised in Toronto, Canada, and moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947. Mr. Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In subsequent years, Mr. Gehry has built an architectural career that has spanned over five decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe and Asia. His work has earned Mr. Gehry several of the most significant awards in the architectural field, including the Pritzker Prize.

A few of Mr. Gehry’s notable projects include Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower located in New York City; and Opus Hong Kong Residential. Current projects include Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris, France; Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building for the University of Technology, in Sydney, Australia; and West Campus for Facebook in Menlo Park, California.

Mr. Gehry co-founded Turnaround Arts: California in 2014

“Every child should have access to art and creativity in school. No matter what career path they choose this creative play sets them up to trust their instincts, believe in themselves and to solve problems. I was afforded this as a child, and it changed my life.”

David Hockney

Known for his photo collages and paintings of Los Angeles swimming pools, David Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

Born in Bradford, England, in 1937, David Hockney attended art school in London before moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s. There, he painted his famous swimming pool paintings. In the 1970s, Hockney began working in photography, creating photo collages he called joiners. He continues to create and exhibit art, and in 2011 he was voted the most influential British artist of the 20th century.

Las Cafeteras

In 2005, rooted in community & tradition, a group of students learning Son Jarocho music became known as ‘Los Cafeteros,’ named after the Eastside Cafe community center, which 2 members helped found.  They soon changed their name to Las Cafeteras to honor the feminine spirit of the group. Without intending to, they organically evolved from student-group into a performance group aimed at sharing Afro-Mexican music from Southern Veracruz, Mexico in their neighborhoods.

Over the years, Las Cafeteras would develop a genre-bending sound & electric live performance infusing lyrically rich storytelling with the purpose of sharing the hidden stories of migrant life in Los Angeles. Las Cafeteras, who grew up in Los Angeles, were inspired not only from Mexican music, but from rock, reggae, hip-hop and Motown. For Las Cafeteras, it was essential to use music as a way to build bridges among the different cultures and communities that historically have had tension. Through music, Las Cafeteras were trying to help build ‘a world where many worlds fit.’

As Native and migrant children who are remixing roots music, the Las Cafeteras sound was brought to life by 4 distinct vocalist and their eclectic instrumentation, including jaranas, a donkey jawbone, a West African bass instrument, cajón, and a wooden platform used to dance Zapateado. Their 1st album, “Live at Mucho Wednesday” was a recording at the famous, “La Cita” Bar in Downtown LA. After receiving local praise for a raw and authentic sound that could not be replicated, Las Cafeteras jumped into the studio to do what no one ever thought they would do … record a real record.

The success of their first studio album “It’s Time” launched the band to new heights, placing them on stages with Mexican icons Café Tacuba, Lila Downs, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s & the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.  They’ve since toured North America from the Santa Barbara Bowl in California to the Lincoln Center in New York; from the Montreal Jazz Festival to WOMAD Festival in the UK.

Las Cafeteras released their highly anticipated new album in the Spring of 2017. Las Cafeteras play music with the spirit that can only be explained through an ancient African Proverb, “if you can walk, you can dance, and if you can talk you can sing.”

Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz has quietly amassed a youthful, diverse, and vibrant fan-base throughout all parts of the globe. His critically acclaimed live performances have propelled him from the San Diego coffee house circuit to amphitheaters, arenas, festivals, and stadiums all over the world. Among many other international accolades, Mr. Mraz has won two GRAMMY® Awards and garnered six nominations, a People’s Choice award, the Hal David Songwriter Hall Of Fame Award and a few Teen Choice Awards. Mr. Mraz is indisputably among the most gifted and beloved artists of the modern era—recently making pop history with his record-breaking classic single, “I’m Yours,” while also earning platinum and multi-platinum certifications in more than 20 countries for his various releases.

Moreover, the San Diego-based troubadour has proven a truly diverse creative presence. A dedicated surfer, farmer-gardener, filmmaker, and photographer, Mr. Mraz is first and foremost a committed global citizen. His impassioned social activism and philanthropic efforts span wide-ranging environmental advocacy and ardent support for LGBT equality. He has participated in global activism, such as a rescue mission to Ghana with Free The Slaves and an internationally broadcast performance in Myanmar, with MTV Exit, to bring awareness to human trafficking. Through it all, Mr. Mraz continually confirms and celebrates music’s myriad forms and miraculous power, inspiring and delighting his countless fans around the world he calls home.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to support and represent a school in our country and my local community that will greatly benefit from the support of a vibrant arts education program. The arts are the key to life and the Turnaround Arts program will open the doors for youth to life, love, creativity and endless imagination.”


Since its inception in 1995, innovation and creativity have defined Ozomatli. Hailing from Los Angeles, the group found a way to represent the city’s eclectic culture through music that appeals to the local community and the world beyond. Ozomatli’s success is exemplified in an impressive variety of genres, from classic to modern Latino, urban, hip-hop and other world styles. The “Dioses del Baile,” or “Gods of Dance,” have created one of the most exciting, captivating and flat-out fun live shows touring today. They continue to harness their musical instincts by conceiving new concepts and forging new sounds that keep fans on their toes and the world dancing.

Prior to paying respects to the classic Latin catalogue, Ozomatli was creating its own repertoire adored by fans and critics alike. The band catapulted to the top of the live music scene with their first eponymously titled album. The impact of the then 10-piece band’s album was felt throughout the music world, and earned them the opportunity to open for Carlos Santana on his Supernatural tour. Following the success of its first album and touring with Santana and Mana, Ozomatli released its sophomore album, Embrace the Chaos, which garnered a Grammy award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. The follow up album, Street Signs, won both the same award and the Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 2005.

Ozomatli takes firm stances on various social justice issues. Their work focuses on giving voice to Latino culture, opportunity to children, fighting for workers’ rights, and promoting global unity and peace amongst people, cultures and nations. Ozomatli were named Cultural Ambassadors for the U.S. State Department in 2006, were the first musical group to speak at the TED Conference in San Francisco, and performed for President and First Lady Obama at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 32nd Annual Award Gala.

In addition to politics and social issues, Ozomatli emphasizes the importance of family and children. The band has strived to make music to be shared through the generations and have even recorded music specifically targeted towards children and families. Their 2012 release, Ozomatli Presents OzoKidz, features all original children’s music that captures the innovation and liveliness that Ozo fans have become accustomed to, while educating children on the values of nature and knowledge. The band continues to perform the album at special OzoKidz concerts, where parents and children alike dance and play along on OzoKidz kazoos.

Steve Padilla

Steve Padilla is a longtime staffer at the Los Angeles Times and editor of the paper’s signature front-page Column One feature. Mr. Padilla likes to say he got his start by launching a newspaper for his sixth-grade class at Ramona Elementary School in Alhambra. “The 203 News” – after Room 203 – contained more jokes than actual news, but it was a start.

In his 31 years at the Times, he edited a wide variety of subjects, including politics, immigration, higher education and religion. He helped direct the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of a botched bank robbery in North Hollywood in 1997. Before assuming his Column One duties, he was an editor on the paper’s foreign-national desk, handling news from overseas and across the country. Before the Times, Mr. Padilla was a reporter for the San Diego Union and was founding editor of Hispanic Link Weekly Report, a Washington-based newsletter on Latino affairs.  

Mr. Padilla serves as a writing coach – working with students and professionals — and lectures frequently about writing technique. As @StevePadilla2, he tweets about how writers can improve their craft. He is also a trained musician, a tenor with the Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble, and says his musical education heavily informs his writing and editing. In his lectures, he often notes the importance of contrast—long-short, loud-soft, staccato-legato. That’s writing, he says, as well as music.

Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins is a multifaceted actor, writer, director and producer whose films include Dead Man WalkingShawshank Redemption, and Mystic River, for which he won the Academy Award®.

Mr. Robbins has been a consistent and influential voice in the theater for the past 30+ years as an actor, director, playwright, and Artistic Director of the Actors’ Gang—a theatre group that offers a supportive environment for a diverse ensemble of artists to present new, unconventional, and uncompromising plays and dynamic reinterpretations of the classics. Founded in 1981, The Actor’s Gang has produced over 100 plays in Los Angeles, in 40 U.S. states, and on five continents with ensembles that have included accomplished actors such as Jack Black, John Cusack, John C. Reilly, Helen Hunt, Kate Walsh, Fisher Stevens, Jeremy Piven and Jon Favreau, among many others.

Mr. Robbins and several other Actors Gang members also regularly conduct theater workshops with incarcerated men in an effort to fill the gap in arts rehabilitation programs in the California prison system.

“I am here today because of the importance of arts in education. When I was in school, I went from being a good student in grade school to a struggling student in high school. The arts became a lifeline for me.”

Smokey Robinson

William “Smokey” Robinson, Jr. is a singer-songwriter, record producer, and co-founder of Motown Records. Robinson produced 26 Top 40 hits with the Miracles and was the principal songwriter for Motown, penning several hits for The Temptations, Mary Wells and Marvin Gaye. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center, and awarded stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was awarded a medal at the National Medal of Arts and a BET Lifetime Achievement Award. Howard University and Berklee College of Music have awarded him honorary Doctorates in Music.

Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson is an internationally renowned DJ and five-time-Grammy-Award-winning artist and producer. Fusing his eclectic turntable skills with his knowledge of musical instruments and songwriting, Ronson has released four critically acclaimed albums: Here Comes the Fuzz (2013), Version (2007), Record Collection (2010), and Uptown Special (2015). His latest album reached #1 on the U.K. albums chart, entered the Top Ten on Billboard’s 200 albums chart, and features collaborations with Bruno Mars, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow and many others. The album’s lead single, “Uptown Funk,” held on to the No.1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks straight – tying it for the second-longest No.1 in chart history.

In the 3 years since Uptown Special, Mark has focused his efforts towards producing Lady Gaga’s fifth studio album, Joanne (2016), and Queens of the Stone Age’s seventh studio album, Villains (2017). He is currently at work on his 5th studio album, as well as “Silk City,” a collaborative project with Diplo.

Over his career, Ronson has worked with some of the greatest and most diverse artists of his generation including: Amy Winehouse, Adele, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Macy Gray, Jack White, Nas, Wale, Christina Aguilera, Duran Duran, Queens of the Stone Age, Rufus Wainwright, Lily Allen, Action Bronson, Sean Paul, Mos Def, and Rivers Cuomo. He is famed for his work on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black LP that has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Chad Smith

As a member of pioneering, award-winning superstars Red Hot Chili Peppers—which he joined in 1988—Chad Smith is widely regarded as one of music’s most accomplished drummers and articulate musicians. With the Chili Peppers, Mr. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. He received six Grammy Awards, while two of the band’s albums are among Rolling Stone’s 10 Greatest Albums of All Time. Additionally, Spin Magazine ranked him at #10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music.

Musically prolific—he has recorded seven studio albums with the Chili Peppers and appears on a total of 22 releases with the band, including 23 top-ten singles—Mr. Smith has drummed for such diverse artists as Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks, George Clinton, and many more. He has performed on dozens of international tours and is a founding member of the supergroup Chickenfoot with former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar.

Mr. Smith, who began playing drums at the age of 7, credits his public school education for the opportunity to excel at his chosen instrument. He’s an active supporter of a number of non-profit organizations, including MusiCares, Little Kids Rock, and Bystander Revolution, a group that speaks out against bullying in schools. In 2013, NAMM (National Association Music Merchants) tapped Mr. Smith as advocate for arts in public schools. He has spoken publicly about his passion for music education, noting “it’s proven that graduation rates and attendance are higher when there are music programs. If we don’t have them, there are people like myself who won’t be exposed to the music and arts.”

“Without public school music education I would not have been able to realize my dream and my career path. I am a professional musician today because of the music classes I had access to all throughout my public school experience. I’m living proof it works!”

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington is an award-winning actress who has numerous films and television credits. She is on the Artist Committee for Americans for the Arts, an organization that works to promote the arts in America. She is also on the board of V-Day, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. In 2005, Americans for the Arts presented her with the Young Artist Award for artistic accomplishments and exemplary leadership; in 2008, she was awarded the Phoenix Award for Commitment to social advocacy from the Congressional Black Caucus; and in 2009, she received the Artist-Citizen Award for public leadership in the arts from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

In 2015, Ms. Washington received the Vanguard Award at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. She dedicates much of her time to public service and is active on political and social issues.

Ms. Washington was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and has been a Turnaround Artist since the program’s pilot phase.

“It’s an honor to be part of this program. Through my work in Turnaround Arts schools, I have witnessed the power of integrated arts education to move the needle on some of our toughest educational challenges and to give all students the chance to excel and to shine.”