On March 12, 2018, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie G. Bunch III and National Museum of African American History and Culture Board Member and Board Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation Richard D. Parsons delivered a conversation style lecture which was moderated by Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden.  The Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy is a leading national forum for arts policy, intended to stimulate discussion of policy and social issues affecting the arts. The lecture provides an opportunity for public discourse at the highest levels on the importance of the arts and culture to our nation's well-being.  Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch delivered opening remarks, and Americans for the Arts Board Chair Julie C. Muraco delivered closing remarks.  The evening featured an inspiring special performance by the Washington Performing Arts Men, Women, and Children of the Gospel Choirs.  


Watch the 2018 Nancy Hanks Lecture

Click to view the 2018 Transcript


Lonnie G. Bunch III

Lonnie G. Bunch, III is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture. Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001-05) and held several positions at the Smithsonian, including associate director for curatorial affairs (1994-2000) and supervising curator (1989-92) at the National Museum of American History.

Bunch is author of the award-winning book, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on Race, History and Museums (2010), and published several books including Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives (2014) and Memories of the Enslaved: Voices from the Slave Narratives (2015). Since 2008, Bunch has served as the series co-editor of the “New Public Scholarship Edition” of the University of Michigan Press. Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums, the African American Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the ICOM-US.

Bunch has received several awards and recognitions including being appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. In 2017, Bunch was given the President Award at the NAACP Image Award, presented with the Impact Leader Award from the Greater Washington Urban League, and was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Richard D. Parsons

Richard D. Parsons is the Senior Advisor of Providence Equity Partners Inc., a leading private equity investment firm specializing in media, communications and information companies. He also serves as the Chairman of The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees and as a member of the board of The National Museum of African American History and Culture.

He previously held positions as Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, Inc. as well as the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Time Warner, Inc.  Before joining Time Warner, Mr. Parsons was Chairman and CEO of Dime Bancorp, Inc., one of the largest thrift institutions in the United States and the managing partner of the New York law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler. Prior to that, he held various positions in state and federal government, as counsel for Nelson Rockefeller and as a senior White House aide under President Gerald Ford. Mr. Parsons received his undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii and his legal training at Union University’s Albany Law School.

In 2008, Mr. Parsons served as a member of then President-Elect Barack Obama’s Economic Transition Team. He also served as a member of President Obama’s President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. More recently, he served as the Chairman of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New NY Education Reform Commission. His other civic and nonprofit commitments include Chairman Emeritus of the Partnership of New York City; Chairman of the Apollo Theater Foundation; and Chairman of the Jazz Foundation of America. He also serves on the boards of Teach for America, the Commission on Presidential Debates, Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Lazard Frères and Company, and Madison Square Garden, Inc.

Dr. Carla Hayden

Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13.

Prior to her latest post she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and was confirmed to that post by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991. Hayden was library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982 to 1987. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979.

Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.

Artistic Performance: Washington Performing Arts Men, Women, and Children of the Gospel Choir

Celebrating 25 years of excellence in gospel music, Washington Performing Arts Men, Women, & Children of the Gospel Choir honors the traditions, vibrancy, and significance of this uniquely American art form through dynamic performances, community engagement, and education programs for youth and life-long learners.  Under the artistic leadership of Michele Fowlin, Theodore Thorpe III, and Stanley J. Thurston, this versatile 140-voice choir has shared the stage with many distinguished artists, including Edwin Hawkins, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Three Winans Brothers, Ramsey Lewis, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and Kathleen Battle.  In addition, it has been featured at The White House, The Kennedy Center, The Historic Howard and Lincoln Theatres, the National Prayer Services for President Barack Obama at Washington National Cathedral, on Sirius XM Radio, and NBC’s Today.  The Choir recently released its Silver Jubilee recording, Why Do We Sing?