The National Performance Network (NPN) contributes to a more just and equitable world by building and shifting power for artists; advancing racial and cultural equity; fostering relationship-building and reciprocity between individuals, institutions, and communities; and working towards systems change in arts and philanthropy.

For more than three decades, NPN has supported a diverse network of artists, organizations and cultural leaders through regranting programs, networking, professional development opportunities, knowledge sharing, advocacy and convenings.


The 2018 Annual Conference is designed to:
  • Create an environment where Artists and Presenters can develop peer relationships — not power relationships

  • Expand professional development

  • Provide support to artists, Partners and colleagues through shared best practice

  • Connect with what’s going on creatively around the country

  • Deepen the field’s knowledge of Pittsburgh’s culture

  • Show the breadth of work that NPN has subsidized

Learn more about our work at npnweb.org

Host Partner

Kelly Strayhorn Theater

Named after 20th century entertainment legends, Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn, both natives of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) is reflective of the passion that its founders had for the arts. Today, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater carries on the legacy of its founders by fostering bold and innovative artistry with a global perspective. The theater celebrates diversity in voice, thought, and expression, and upholds a firm commitment to inclusion. Furthermore, KST provides a safe and welcome space for dialogue and artistic expression for all who enter.

The Kelly Strayhorn Theater has a dynamic footprint in Pittsburgh, with two venues running along Penn Avenue. The KST Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. “Together We Build Community” at Kelly Strayhorn Theater. And more than 15 years after the founding of the theater, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community.

Learn more at kelly-strayhorn.org

Pittsburgh Host Committee

Host Name
Host Title
Janera Solomon
Executive Director, Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Nina Barbuto
Director, Assemble
Yvonne Campos
Board of Directors, Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Nick Daniels
Silvia Duarte
Editor of Sampsonia Way, City of Asylum Pittsburgh
Madeline Gent
Executive Director, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
Sarah Gilmer
Program Manager, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Jake Goodman
Executive Director, Opportunity Fund
Divya Heffley
Associate Director, Office of Public Art 
Lori Hepner
Artist;  Associate Professor of Integrative Arts, Penn State University
Charlotte Ka
Artist;  Founder, MOKA
Taylor Knight
Dancer/Choreographer, slowdanger 
Christiane Leach
Artist Relations Coordinator, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
Diana Lowe
Conference Site Coordinator
Caden Manson
Theater Artist;  Associate Professor, The John Wells Directing Program,
Carnegie Mellon University; Artistic Director, Big Art Group 
Adil Mansoor
Dreams of Hope; John Wells Directing Program Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University
Bekezela Mguni
The Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project, Dreams of Hope
Mario Quinn Lyles
Artist; Owner, Level Up Studios
Maree ReMalia
Kendra Ross
Lauren Russell
Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, University of Pittsburgh 
Anna Thompson
Dancer/Choreographer, slowdanger
Jasiri X
Artist, 1Hood

Annual Conference Anti-Oppression
Statement + Guiding Principles


In alignment with NPN’s commitment to creating an arts sector rooted in justice, we are committed to ensuring a space that is free of racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, misogyny, classism, or other bias. Our hope is that all Annual Conference participants – whether leading a discussion, performing/presenting work, or simply attending – both honor and accept a shared commitment to this ethic, and join us in a spirit of openness, learning, and respect.

At our conference – and throughout our work – we invite conversation and action that address racial and social justice. We recognize, too, that examining these issues takes a human toll and we wish to create a healthy environment in which to do so. We have developed meeting agreements as well as protocol for addressing both interpersonal and event-wide reports of racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, misogyny, classism, or other oppressions.

NPN strives to be an anti-racism, anti-oppression organization, and we recognize this is an ongoing practice, rather than a box to be checked off. We welcome Partners, colleagues, and peers to join us in learning, listening, and engaging together in this work.

Thank you for joining us!



We believe in…

  • Creating a safer space: We ask all attendees to question oppression openly, listen generously, and respect each other's personal boundaries and confidentiality.
  • Critical analysis without censorship: We encourage activities and dialogues that reflect the challenging times in which we find ourselves and we support artists’ opportunities to develop and show work without artistic compromise. We strive to make space where participants can take risks while engaging each other in thoughtful critique.
  • Complexity: We recognize the complex identities we each embody and do not assume or diminish other’s perspectives.
  • Holding each other accountable: We aim for an environment where we respectfully call each other in, help each other see our blind spots, and learn together how to move toward more just and equitable words, actions, and practices.
  • Making space for learning: Disagreement, discomfort, and vulnerability are essential for growth, while defensiveness and dismissiveness inhibit learning. Allow yourself and others time and space to reflect and grow.